Cover of the DVD release of Dumbland depicts the adult male character, “Randy”.
Dumbland is a series of eight crudely animated shorts written, directed, and voiced by director David Lynch in 2002. The shorts were originally released on the Internet through Lynch’s davidlynch.com website, and were released as a DVD in 2005. The total running time of all eight shorts combined is approximately a half hour.
The series details the daily routines of a violent and foul-mouthed three-toothed man with a bulbous head, angry expression, and perpetually open mouth. The man lives in a house along with his hyperkinetic and high-stressed wife and squeaky voiced alien-like child, both of whom are nameless as is the man in the shows. Lynch’s website, however, identifies the male character by the name Randy and the child by the name Sparky. The wife is not named.
The style of the series is intentionally crude both in terms of presentation and content, with limited animation.
Episode 1: The Neighbor
Randy develops an interest in a neighbor’s shed and proceeds to become verbally abusive towards the neighbor (as well as towards a passing helicopter). The neighbor, meanwhile, reveals that he is a “one-armed duck-fucker”.
Episode 2: The Treadmill
While watching a football game on TV, Randy loses his temper when his wife disturbs him by running on a noisy treadmill. Randy attempts – with disastrous results – to destroy the treadmill. Meanwhile, an Abraham Lincoln-quoting door-to-door salesman finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, while Randy’s son manages to present dead fowl for dinner.
After Randy electrocutes himself while trying to fix a broken lamp, a doctor arrives to test the dazed man’s pain threshold, using increasingly violent methods, until Randy finally regains his senses and decides to do some testing of his own. “Does that hurt you?”
Episode 4: A Friend Visits
Randy destroys his wife’s new clothesline and throws it over the fence, causing a catastrophic car wreck, much to her chagrin. Then Randy’s friend visits and the two talk about hunting and killing things, all the while drinking, burping, and farting.
Episode 5: Get the Stick!
When a man falls through Randy’s fence and gets a stick stuck in his mouth, Sparky cheers his dad on as tries to get the stick out. In the process, he breaks the man’s neck, pokes both his eyes out and disgustingly cripples him, before being run over by a truck. This is the most violent and bloody of the Dumbland episodes. “Get the stick! Get the stick!”
Episode 6: My Teeth are Bleeding
Sparky is bouncing on a trampoline in the front room yelling that his teeth are bleeding, while the wife yammers until blood starts pouring out of her head. Outside on the street violent traffic accidents and shootouts occur. A noisy and bloody wrestling match is playing on TV. All is well until a fly interrupts Randy’s serene existence.
Randy is given the charge from an intimidating figure (his mother-in-law), to stay home and watch after his “Uncle Bob” at peril of having his “nuts cut out” if he does not comply. Uncle Bob proceeds to tacitly engage in increasing types of self-abuse, coughing, and vomiting, and eventually punching Randy in the face from across the room. After several iterations of this behavior, Randy anticipates Uncle Bob’s actions and preemptively strikes out at him. Almost simultaneously, the mother-in-law storms back into the room and knocks Randy through a wall. Randy spends the rest of the night up a tree until his son informs him that Uncle Bob has been taken to the hospital and Randy is now safe to come down. Bob bit his own foot off.
Episode 8: Ants
Randy is plagued by an increasing stream of ants into his home. His frustrations rise to the point that he grabs a can of insect killer and attempts to eliminate his ant problem. In his haste and anger, he fails to realize that the nozzle on the bug killer is pointed not at the ants but at his own face. He is squirted in the face with the killer for several seconds. He then falls to the ground and experiences a vivid hallucination in which the ants are singing and dancing and offering gleeful taunts of “asshole”, “shithead”, and “dumb-turd”. Randy eventually snaps out of his predicament and charges at the ants slapping at them on the floor, wall, and ceiling. He is later shown falling off the ceiling and suffering substantial injuries that require a full body cast. The final scene shows ants crawling over his incapacitated body and into an opening in the cast at his feet. Randy then screams helpless in agony as hundreds of ants march into his body cast. The most complex of the episodes, “Ants” parodies Lynch’s attempts at being a music producer in the early 1990s by featuring a singer who resembles Julee Cruise and music similar to that of composer Angelo Badalamenti (both of whom Lynch worked with on the soundtrack to Twin Peaks as well as the concert film Industrial Symphony No. 1).