The First Two Seasons of "Regular Show" Prove It's Something Special Review

Starting in 2010 and to relative little fanfare, two shows of immense creativity came out of nowhere and seemed to propose that cartoons return to a time when imagination was king and simple hand animation wasn't a sign of being behind the times. The shows in questions were Cartoon Network's Adventure Time with Finn & Jake and Regular Show, the former of which we covered just recently. And while Adventure Time took off rather quickly thanks to its whimsical fantasy setting with nerdy jokes, Regular Show didn't burst into the pop culture consciousness quite as effortlessly. But it deserved to, and more recently it's begun to get the attention it deserves. The first two seasons of the show are now out on Blu-ray, and they make for an enjoyable introduction to the strangely hilarious misadventures of Mordecai the Blue Jay (voiced by series creator J.G. Quintel) and Rigby the Raccoon (William Salyers).

It's not immediately clear who the intended audience of Regular Show is as nothing in the series could ever be considered "adult", but at the same time, references are likely to go over the heads of children and occasionally there's even a bit of innuendo let loose, but often in bizarre ways that just won't register with anyone not looking for it. The characters of Mordecai and Rigby embody the 20-something generation of today that work dead-end jobs, like as attendants at a local park, which lead their imaginations and shenanigans to distract them from ever getting anything done. It's like the social commentary on monotony of Clerks combined with the "anything can happen" spontaneity of Spongebob Squarepants or, to a lesser extent, The Mighty Boosh.

The best examples for that collision of influences come from episodes where an unholy game of rock, paper, scissors unleashes a monstrous force, or a disastrous escalation of lies, or where Mordecai and Rigby are on the verge of beating an unbeatable video game boss only to bring it to life after an act of desperation, or Mordecai and Rigby abuse the sacred system of favors known as "do me a solid". The show has lots of fun with strange concepts, and every now and then a piece of genius arises in the form the kind of episodes that receive innocuous titles like "A Bunch of Baby Ducks" resulting in a hilarious twist with the concept of imprinting.

Regular Show goes to so many strange places that the only real constant are the characters. Rigby has something of an inferiority complex that Mordecai happily exploits while still lacking confidence himself and thus not being able to ask out the Robin waitress working at the diner they frequent. A stoic yeti (voiced by Mark Hamill) is the go to solution for whenever Rigby and Mordecai cause so much trouble that their boss Benson (Sam Marin), an anthropomorphic gumball machine, can't handle it.

The writing is funny, the situations are enchantingly weird and mischievous, and the character dynamic between Mordecai and Rigby spot on. The show nicely replicates the kind of stupid and nonsensical hand motions and sayings best friends tend to repeat, and it makes the contentious relationship of Mordecai and Rigby all the better. For a cartoon comparison, imagine Ren & Stimpy but instead of Stimpy being something of a simpleton, he was just chill and relaxed, so that every time Ren lost his temper he seemed less like an abusive jerk and more like a petulant child. That's Regular Show, with Mordecai as the competent and intelligent Stimpy and Rigby is the petulant take on Ren whose outbursts seem more like desperation than loathing. It doesn't hurt that the animation is much more pleasing to watch than Ren & Stimpy also.

This first and second season set includes all 40 episodes of the first two seasons, and consequently there's a respectable 7-some hours of entertainment.

Blu-ray Bonus Features

The highlight extras of the set are the audio commentaries for all 40 episodes, a tour of the Regular Show offices by show creator JG Quintel, and the unaired Regular Show Pilot. Also included are animatics and CG and pencil tests for selected episodes, Quintel's pitch for the series' first "official" episode "The Power", a funny music video, a student short, and a kind of pointless video without audio of Sam Marin singing for the karaoke episode. A Comic-Con trailer and commercials for the show also appear on the discs.

"Regular Show: The Complete First and Second Seasons" is on sale July 16, 2013 and is not rated. Adventure, Animation, Comedy. Directed by John Infantino. Written by J.G. Quintel, Mike Roth, Sean Szeles. Starring JG Quintel, Mark Hamill, Sam Marin, William Salyers.

Jul
12
2013
Lex Walker • Editor

He's a TV junkie with a penchant for watching the same movie six times in one sitting. If you really want to understand him you need to have grown up on Sgt. Bilko, Alien, Jurassic Park and Five Easy Pieces playing in an infinite loop. Recommend something to him - he'll watch it.

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