Kevin Bailey’s NYU short Father’s Son is a blast of nostalgia for early ’90s animation. The style falls somewhere between Beavis & Butthead and Rocko’s Modern Life; the mood is all slacker-friendly apathy and absurdist humour; it’s even given a warm bath of VHS distortion, all the better to make it feel like some long-lost bootleg of a Liquid TV short. (It’s a real VHS transfer, too, not just a filter).
Unlike a lot of ’90s-aping animation, though, Father’s Son actually lives up to the standards of the shorts it’s emulating. Credit for that goes to Bailey’s knack for character details—the look on Fishboy’s face before he slinks out of the car to meet the Satanic Babes is priceless, and the whole short is packed with similarly brilliant moments. As much as he’s paying tribute to the ’90s animation underground, Bailey is also letting his own personality come through loud and clear, and the result is wonderfully odd.