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Stressed Eric is a British adult animated television series that was produced by Absolutely Productions for the BBC Two television channel in the United Kingdom and Television New Zealand. The series revolves around Eric Feeble, a middle-class man who is always stressed because of his family, work, co-workers, etc.
40-year-old Eric Feeble is still upset over his divorce two years before. He lives in a middle-class London house and is always kept under extreme amounts of pressure and stress from all aspects of life, which is represented by a throbbing vein in his temple. His two children, Brian and Claire, plague him with fear and worry daily. Claire is a frail 6-year-old who is allergic to virtually everything, including wheat, ponies, and spices; 10-year-old Brian has learning problems and has been kept back three straight years in school, and has an oral fixation and pica. The family's au pair housekeeper, Maria, is an 18-year-old Portuguese woman with a serious drinking problem; despite Eric's frequent attempts to keep her under control and focused, she stays passed-out drunk for hours at a time. His ex-wife Liz left him for a Buddhist but phones him up incessantly, which merely adds to his stress level. The next-door neighbors, the wealthy, successful, snobbish Perfect family, provide him a constant and painful view of what his life could have been.
Eric's workplace is absolutely no escape from his everyday problems. His boss, Paul Power (known as PP), is loud, rude and demanding; he has demoted Eric from Assistant Manager to a low-level clerk in an office sandwiched between the janitor's closet and the men's toilets. His secretary Alison is completely useless, spending all her "working hours" making and taking personal phone calls and shrilling rudely at Eric when he requests her attention.
At the end of almost every episode, as the climax of events cause Eric's stress to reach breaking point, the throbbing vein emerges from his temple and wraps itself around his neck, strangling him.
Why It Sucks
- As mentioned above, the show's premise is basically "The Life of a Butt-Monkey: The Animated Series".
- The original British intro for the show is short, lackluster, and uninteresting. We get a start of Eric Feeble telling Maria that he’s "ten years late already", and Maria only responds by vomiting, then Eric takes his kids to a heath school, Eric goes to work and when his last name is called by his boss, the intro ends with him and his pumping vein. That’s it.
- The second season intro is even more lackluster, as it lazily shows footage from both seasons of the characters introduced.
- Eric doesn't get a break nor even rewarded for getting through a stressful day, and almost all the episodes (excluding the 12th episode) end with him getting strangled by his vein.
- His kids don't get much of a break either, as Brian has pica and a learning disability, and Claire has an extremely fragile immune system who is allergic to almost everything.
- Maria, the au pair housekeeper, has a massive drinking problem. She's drunk all hours of the day and rarely does her job.
- Lousy voice acting, with Eric's British voice being the biggest offender.
- The concept of a middle-class man having to deal with a stressful life, family problems, and an overwhelming job is poorly executed. However, Dilbert and Duckman do it in a great manner and most of the time tend to very enjoyable and often hilarious.
- It gets boring and depressing fast.
- Most (if not all) of the characters are unlikeable, even Eric himself can be a bit of a jerk sometimes.
- Like what Discovery Kids (now Discovery Family) did to Grossology, the US airing schedule was really weird, it was so bad, that NBC dropped it after the first season, leaving the second season unaired in the US.
- The show is short-lived, it only had 13 episodes and the seasons only had 6-7 episodes.
- In the American version/dub, Hank Azaria (who’s known for playing Apu and Moe from The Simpsons) voicing Eric is entirely out of place, not to mention it’s off-sync at the times, one example when he dubbed pants over trousers in the first episode.
- In the 12th episode, "Au Pair", when things finally go right, a tank appears out of nowhere and presumably kills the Feeble family including Maria, "Totally a perfect ending to an episode", Not.
- Dull color palette, and even more dull music.
- Some episodes have sound effects that come out of nowhere, most notably when Eric’s stress gets out of hand before his vein strangles him.
- In the endings to each episode, Eric's vein spontaneously strangles him after too much stressing out, which is more disturbing than funny.
- Speaking of disturbing than funny, there are moments where it tries too hard to be funny but comes off as creepy and nonsensical. Such as Claire’s allergy reactions, two flies humping in the episode "Sex", Paul Power’s (Eric’s Boss) nickname being P.P. (which sounds a lot like pee-pee), Brian eating the baby Jesus Christ prop at the end of "Nativity", a patient stabbing his lap in "Hospital", and the donkey blowing up into pieces in "Pony".
- Stale character designs.
- Poor audio quality.
- Mediocre yet poor animation in season 2.
- Some funny moments here and there, such as Maria bursting into the bumper cars while she’s driving.
- The intro for the American version is interesting and better than the original UK intro, as it shows how Eric’s life went downhill.
- There are some likable and tolerable characters, such as The Doctor, is one of the only people who helps Eric.
- Eric Feeble himself is (at-least most of the time) relatable, likable, and sympathetic.
- Eric's boss's catchphrase ("Arseburgers!") is quite goofy (or funny).
- While out of place, Hank Azaria does do a good job at voicing Eric in the US dub.
- In fact most of the international dubs of the series like the Polish (Zestresowany Eryk), Spanish, Finnish (Stressi-Erkki), and German (Eric im Stress) dubs have better voice acting than the original.
- Okay animation in season 1, considering the fact the season was animated by Klasky Csupo, who gave us better received shows such as Rugrats and the aforementioned Duckman.