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FX’s ‘Little Demon’ Is a Darkly Funny Look at Family Drama, Plus the Antichrist

4/5 chicken bones

Little Demon cover art, with Chrissy in the center shooting flames from her hands.

If you grew up in a home with an estranged parent, you know how awful it is to get caught in the middle of your parents’ fights. Maybe Parent 1 was always badmouthing Parent 2. Maybe Parent 2 started a messy custody battle. If this was you growing up, you might find a kindred spirit in 13-year-old Chrissy Feinberg (Lucy DeVito), the main character of FX’s new animated comedy Little Demon. After being raised by her mom, Laura (Aubrey Plaza), Chrissy finds out that her dad (Danny DeVito) is alive, and that he’s spent her whole life looking for her. Oh, and her dad is Satan, Chrissy is the Antichrist, and her destiny is to bring on the Apocalypse. Still, surprisingly relatable! The first two episodes, which are currently streaming on Hulu, set up the premise of the series. Let’s recap them.

Mild spoilers for the first two episodes of Little Demon ahead.

The pilot episode starts off with Chrissy and Laura moving to yet another new town (after a lifetime of constantly being uprooted because, as it turns out, Laura was on the run from Satan). The day starts off like any other, but when Chrissy gets her first period in the school bathroom, her demonic powers awaken, and the show quickly spirals off into a demonic romp full of body horror and Satanic rituals. Over the course of the first couple of episodes, Chrissy falls in love with her new powers (like exploding bullies and possessing people’s bodies), makes her first friend, and gets to know her dad by hanging out with him in Hell every other weekend. Chrissy’s character is a perfect blend of teenage cynicism, vulnerability, and homicidal mischief. She’s a pleasure to watch.

Chrissy’s parents are just as fun. Laura starts off looking like a typical, suburban mom, but she soon reveals herself to be a ripped and tattooed witch, always ready to ritually decapitate a chicken in her battle against the legions of Hell. She’s a shitty mom in a lot of ways—for one thing, she lets slip in front of Chrissy that birthing the Antichrist ruined her life—but she’s doing her best in crummy circumstances, so you can’t help but root for her. Satan is a bit one-note so far, but DeVito still infuses the character with sly warmth and humor. The world of Little Demon is also enjoyable, with Chrissy’s town being surprisingly nonchalant about the demonic happenings that have sprung up. For instance—the news splits its coverage between terrifying supernatural occurrences and a teenager’s party, equally. Or a neighbor shrugs and enjoys a cocktail when Laura asks her to watch her corpse while she travels to Hell. And honestly, after two plus years in a pandemic (in which people kept going to work every day), it doesn’t feel that far-fetched that the characters keep going about their routines, even if the world might be ending.

The challenge for this series, even with its audacious premise, will be distinguishing itself from the five billion other animated shows that deal with teenage angst or have a dark, absurd premise (and there are plenty of series—like Big Mouth or Rick and Morty—that already tackle both), and the first two episodes struggle to achieve that. That said, it certainly has potential. The cast has talent to spare, the animation is great, and the writers have already shown us that they’re not going to pull any punches. Even though it’s predictable at times, Little Demon is a hellscape of sick and twisted fun.

(featured image: FX)

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Julia Glassman (she/they) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at