The Best Adult Comedy Cartoon Series In Years Gets Season 3 And Promises To Never Go Serious

By Jacob VanGundy | Published

Smiling Friends season 3 has been announced along with a promise that the show will never take things too seriously. The announcement came from the Annecy Animation Festival, where the creators announced the next season and answered questions about the hit show. The question-and-answer part of their panel revealed much of the philosophy behind the surreal comedy and prompted the promise not to get serious. 

Smiling Friends On Adult Swim

smiling friends adult swim

Premiering on Adult Swim in 2022, Smiling Friends is a surrealist comedy about a group of co-workers tasked with solving the problems of hotline callers. These problems throw the characters into disconnected situations that are usually unhinged and often incredibly dark. The show’s surreal plots are made even more strange by its disparate styles utilizing everything from traditional animation and CGI to live-action. 

Pure Escapist And Absurdist Fun

smiling friends adult swim

Smiling Friends season 3 will attempt to maintain the positive momentum the first two seasons created. The show has become a fan favorite, garnering good word of mouth and positive buzz on social media where clips of its surreal comedy frequently get passed around. The show has also become a hit with critics, with both The New York Times and New York Magazine praising the show for its unique stylistic choices and absurd comedy. 

One thing that fans won’t see in Smiling Friends season 3 is the show taking a turn towards the serious. Co-creators Michael Cusack and Zach Hadel spoke on the show’s future at the Annecy Animation Festival, telling fans they don’t think their characters could be taken seriously enough for dramatic situations. They described their show as a pure comedy meant to be escapist fun, which they believe a serious episode would be in conflict with. 

An Intentional Lack Of Tonal Shifts

smiling friends adult swim

Despite not wanting tone shifts for Smiling Friends season 3, the creators praised other shows that can have tonal shifts. They cited the South Park episode dealing with Stan’s depression as a great example of a wacky animated comedy that could deal with serious emotional topics. However, their show’s commitment to pure surreal comedy with inhuman characters doesn’t lend itself to those sorts of tonal shifts. 

Save Serialization For Other Series

smiling friends adult swim

The creators of Smiling Friends also revealed that season 3 won’t have any serialized storytelling. While they were less dismissive of that idea than a tonal shift, Hadel doesn’t see it as likely to happen as they want every episode to be fully enjoyable with no other context. This fits with their goal of making the show pure escapist fun. 

This lack of serialized storytelling and tonal shifts is pointedly different from Adult Swim’s last hit animated series Rick and Morty. With Smiling Friends season 3 on the way the show’s rapidly growing fan base is reminiscent of that show, with many drawing comparisons between the two. But Cusack and Hadel’s commitment to keeping their show episodic and unapologetic ally goofy can keep it feeling distinct. 

Season 3 Of Smiling Friends Coming Soon

Smiling friends adult swim

A ton of animation news has come from the Annecy Animation Festival, but Smiling Friends season 3 is one of the most prominent renewals announced. With the show’s growing popularity and critical praise, it’s widely considered one of the best adult animation series coming out right now. Hopefully, the next season will keep the self-contained goofy comedy coming as its creators intend.