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A few of my favorite movies are Blues Brothers, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, and Weirdsville--movies which are all essentially bro comedies in which almost every dramatic aspect is taken to illogical extremes. As a sub-genre, the bro comedy has become generic and overly interested in sex. With animation, especially, quality buddy comedies are few and far between, and it’s no coincidence that the slackerama Regular Show debuted alongside the surreally imaginative world of a boy and his dog in Adventure Time. It was what this world, and every dimension surrounding this world, needed. Yeah-yuh!
Regular Show’s place within the entertainment spectrum shares ground with other edgy animations like Beavis and Butthead and Ren & Stimpy, and appeal to a specific portion of the population I will objectively refer to as “super cool successes in life”(check the Beavis and Butthead laughter homage in the company tag at each episode’s end). Admittedly, due to the twelve-minute time limit and large number of episodes per season, the adventures of the 23-year-old blue jay Mordecai and his raccoon death punch bag, Rigby, do get redundant after ten episodes or so, and the handful of plot structures implemented becomes predictable. Rarely allowing it to become a disappointing crutch, creator J.G. Quintel and his staff go to extreme lengths to fill those structures with every possible strange twist and turn, all while treating each mundane scenario as if it’s the center of the universe.
Regrettably, this disc collects sixteen random episodes, not the first of its kind for this series, and Regular Show continues moving forward without a proper season by season release. The show has no real entry point anyway, other than knowing who the characters are, so it doesn’t suffer for that. However, just because it’s a kid’s show, Cartoon Network goes for the easy money and the compilation disc. I digress, as I’ll watch it repeatedly, anyway.
Mordecai (voiced by Quintel) and Rigby (voiced by William Salyers) are best friends who work together, with a shared effort to avoid work (which always forces them to work harder) as groundskeepers of a park, under the rage-fueled guidance of a gumball machine named Benson (voiced by Sam Marin). Their coworkers include a Yeti named Skips (voiced by Mark Hamill), a gigantic-headed arcane antique of a gentleman called Pops, an insult-spewing monster named Muscle Man, and a ghost with a hand sticking out of his head called High Five Ghost. Mordecai has a crush on a red robin named Margaret (voiced by Janie Haddad Tompkins), whose mole girlfriend Eileen (voiced by Minty Lewis) has a crush on Rigby.
Stories tend to begin with Mordecai and Rigby getting into a predicament, usually by ruining something, and eventually otherworldly characters and heavily dramatized villains present strange challenges so the duo can restore order to the park and its ragtag group of oddball employees. That’s just an extended way of saying, “Weird shit happens a lot.” Look only to the episodes chosen for proof.
In one episode, Mordecai and Rigby lose a series of pick-up basketball games against Muscle Man and High Five, and their frustration invokes the greatest basketball coach who ever lived to appear from the ethers and teach them physics-ignoring skills of the game. In an attempt to reverse his lack of intelligence, Rigby overdoses on a brain-building formula and gets into a Smart Off with Mordecai that sends them to a hallucinatory grid world where only a sugar-saturated concoction called Rig Juice can help. Pops threatens Benson’s job by telling him to quell his anger, which backfires by turning Benson into a giant, glowing, all-encompassing ball of rage. The ghost of Muscle Man’s dad helps them take on a group of douchebag truckers. These are synopses meant to be experienced, not read on a website. Except for the Weekend at Bernie’s parody, which features the guys getting Benson into an unconscious pepper-eating contest. That one is pretty self-explanatory.
When I got this disc in the mail, I mostly expected to write a catchphrase-heavy (Trash Boat!), fanboy love letter to Regular Show, because I do love it and all of its idiosyncrasies that must be extremely annoying to unseasoned viewers. However, listing off the things that Mordecai and Rigby do and say doesn’t give any insight as to why they’re fun to watch. They belong to the Office Space generation that believes doing what someone is good at, in this case video games, is more important than contributing to their community at large. They believe that the effortless life is the life worth living, albeit with the side ramification of having to hear about Muscle Man’s mom all the time. They’re constantly on the verge of getting fired, but never do, so they’re almost required to push every conceivable boundary that surrounds Benson’s gum-and-brimstone interior. They are posterboys for slackerdom, and the poster is still lying on the floor somewhere because they were too lazy to tack it up. It doesn’t make them role models, but we might still wish for such a responsibility-free life.
This isn’t a dream assortment of episodes, with only hastily-penned character bios as extras, so an immediate purchase isn’t necessary, as Cartoon Network plays the show ad nauseam in the afternoons. So it’s worth holding out until the full seasons get their proper releases. But if you’ve just got to watch a rap/poetry battle between Mordecai, Rigby, and Pops against MC Lyte, Donald Glover, and Tyler the Creator, and refuse to do it on YouTube, then there are worse ways to drop fifteen or twenty bucks.
Starring:J.G. Quintel, William Salyers, Mark Hamill, Sam Marin
Directed by:John Infantino
Created by:J.G. Quintel