Warning: The following contains spoilers for Disenchantment Season 2, streaming now on Netflix.
Matt Groening's most famous animated creations, The Simpsons and Futurama, are known for their strong, but oddball, supporting casts, which help to flesh out those fictional worlds.
Unfortunately, however, that's not the case with Disenchantment. The Netflix series has serious supporting cast problems, with the established additional players being uninteresting at best or outright annoying at worst.
Elfo & Luci
Elfo and Luci are two of the principal characters. They're nominally the stars, featuring heavily in the promotional material.However, they're remarkably underutilized, especially in the newest stretch of episodes. Following the mission to save Elfo from hell, both are shunted to the sidelines as the narrative instead centers around Bean. The pair is then transformed into a lackluster comedy duo in subplots about girlfriend trouble and roommate problems.
It's an incredible waste of both characters and the actors behind them. Nat Faxon and Eric Andre are talented comic actors, but they get almost nothing exciting to play with. Luci even loses his demonic powers and transforms into a more boring character. Their plotlines are filled with hokey jokes and no clear throughline. They just exist solely to fill up time and distract from the more engaging material. If the two are nearly as important as the show seems to think they are, then it needs to give them something actually entertaining to explore.
The Rest Of The Cast
The majority of the supporting cast is even more forgettable. At best, they're one-note characters like Odval and Sorcerio who don't add anything until they conveniently step up to serve the plot. Stan the executioner and Bunty are pleasant enough but lack any real depth. The elves come to live in Dreamland, but they also remain one-note and cliche.
Still, they're largely inoffensive, except in the case of Merkimer, who remains the single worst part of Disenchantment. Merkimer is seen less in the new season, but his few appearances are grating. The show spends so much time wasting momentum by focusing on their day-to-day lives, and none of it is enjoyable.
The Royal Family
There is hope, however, in the brief flashes of depth that's afforded to Bean's immediate family. King Zøg is given a bit of pathos to his sadness, with the earlier episodes playing up his disappointment and loneliness following the betrayal by his first wife Dagmar. Bean's step-mother, who divorces her father and decides to set out as a Pirate Queen, also gets an episode of development with Bean that promises their next meeting could be more friendly and entertaining. Even Bean's oft-forgotten half-brother Derek gets an episode that explores how deeply he's disconnected from everyone else. These moments help give the characters an extended shelf life away from Bean, and help to improve the show.
The family plays an important part in Bean's character developmenty. And given how the end of the season places Derek on the throne while Zøg recovers from his accidental wounds, their interactions with Bean should become more memorable. If the series were to drop the minor beats with the extended cast, it would have more time for the elements that actually work. This could allow the creators to focus on the growing development of the family while figuring out how to use Luci and Elfo more efficiently.
The second season of Disenchantment is currently streaming on Netflix.