Much like the rest of Aardman Animations works, Shaun the Sheep is hilarious no matter how old you are.
Aardman Animations, most well known for Flushed Away, Chicken Run, and Wallace and Gromit are the masterminds behind Shaun the Sheep. Each episode is under ten minutes in length, and focuses on the antics that take place on a farm. Mumbled gibberish takes the place of a script, making intonation and body language the primary form of communication with the audience. This show would actually be a great learning tool for people with Aspergers, as it would help train them how to read facial expressions and recognize differences in spoken tone. Because everything is conveyed through intonation and body language, Shaun the Sheep finds a lot of inspiration in classic silent comedies, resulting in some very creative physical gags that range from funny to outright hilarious. Of course, what physical comedy would be complete without the characters?
The “Shaun” in “Shaun the Sheep” exhibits the most intelligence out of all the other sheep on the farm, often engaging in complex problem solving and logic. He comes across as laid back, well intentioned, and big hearted. He communicates through gestures and various forms of bleating, all of which are presented in a way that implies he is the equivelent of a young teenager. Unlike almost every other sheep on the farm, Shaun’s curiosity never seems to get him in trouble…he knows when something isn’t a good idea, and tries to resist the urge to do things he knows that he shouldn’t. Still, like any good character, he does have his flaws, and occasionally will get himself in trouble with the warden.
The aforementioned warden is the farmer’s dog, tasked with keeping the sheep under control and helping things run smoothly. He is the most anthropomorphic character on the show, regularly engaging in human activities such as reading, playing pool, listening to music through headphones, and marking off chores on a checklist. His responsibilities aren’t just limited to the sheep, however…he seems to generally be in charge of things while the farmer is preoccupied, and helps keep the place running. While he keeps a watchful eye over what goes on with the animals on the farm, he isn’t a hardass…he lets them have their fun, unless their fun includes something that could piss off the farmer.
Ah yes, the farmer. He lives a relatively simple life, although there are episodes where he appears to have spent a fair amount of money on stuff ranging from a cd player all the way up to a fully-autonomous robotic dog. Looking around the farm, it appears that the farmer is something of a hoarder, as junk can be found in many outside scenes. His communication with the dog is done almost exclusively through gestures and grunts, which the dog (amazingly) always seems to understand.
As with everything Aardman Animations creates, the stop-motion animation in this show is top-notch. The farm itself is amazingly detailed, and various foley effects accentuate the movements of the animals on the farm. I would venture to say that Shaun the Sheep has some of the best foley effects I’ve heard in a show…kid oriented or otherwise. The music in the show ranges from short banjo picking (used for the primary theme) to drum n bass to breaks all the way to some minimalist house. That’s right, the majority of the music in Shaun the Sheep is electronica…and good electronica at that.
If you even mildly enjoy mischievous antics and anthropomorphic animals, you absolutely have to watch Shaun the Sheep.