Recently, Ian Worthington — the multi-talented animator/musician/voice actor known as Worthikids online — released the latest episode of his animated masterpiece, Bigtop Burger, on his YouTube channel. What to say about Bigtop Burger? There’s almost too much. Allow me to begin from the beginning.
Bigtop Burger is a delightful little series about a food truck run by clowns. That’s how I typically describe it to people who answer the phone at 2:00 a.m. and ask, in a tired voice, why I have called them yet again to tell them the same thing (namely, that they should watch Bigtop Burger), and at such an hour, too. But that’s just skimming the surface. Worthington’s animation oozes charm, rendered in a hybrid style that blurs the line between 2D and 3D. The voice cast, meanwhile, is clearly having fun with the material, their interactions giving the impression of a bunch of friends bouncing off one another naturally. Supporting that notion is the noticeable difference in certain characters’ microphone quality — which, rather than feeling sloppy, lends the whole production a handmade, human feel that popular animation often lacks.
But Bigtop Burger isn’t just charming production and no substance. What begins as an episodic series about the everyday lives of food truck employees putting up with the antics of an eccentric boss soon begins to hint at (naturally) a centuries-old conflict between clowns and the undead. The penultimate episode of the first season introduces Zomburger, a rival food truck run by the larger-than-life Cesare, but only by listening to the original soundtrack — which includes lyrics such as “I’m charged to keep / Our Earthly peace / And you do not belong” in Zomburger’s theme — could fans guess at what was to come. Season Two marks a transition to more chronological storytelling, and the latest episode, “Down,” goes all in on the supernatural narrative. Taking its title from the song that sparked the speculation, “Down” is where Cesare’s plans come to fruition, culminating in a one-sided showdown with Steve, Bigtop Burger’s owner and certified “genuine clown,” whom he overpowers completely. It’s an especially rewarding moment for fans who picked up on the hints early, elevated by what is perhaps Worthington’s best animation and soundtrack work yet. It’s also the first time we see Cesare, portrayed to perfection by Chris Fleming, let loose completely — and considering Fleming’s already unhinged performance, that’s saying something.
All this is to say: if you aren’t watching Bigtop Burger, you should be. With each episode a mere few minutes long, it’s an easy series to consume in one sitting. There is, quite frankly, no excuse not to watch it. (This is usually about the point the police have finished tracing my call and barge in to inform me that telephone harassment is not a victimless crime.) Anyway. Bigtop Burger is without a doubt one of the best animated series currently available on YouTube. If you’re looking for your daily slice of internet, or alternatively, a new fandom to be obsessed with, give it a look-see. You won’t be disappointed.
And Ian Worthington, if you’re reading this, please check your email. I sent you a 25-page fanfic three months ago and you still haven’t responded. But don’t worry, my inbox is always open.
You can check out the first episode of Bigtop Burger here.