I have been loving everything I’ve seen from J.G. Quintel’s Regular Show since the pilot showed up on the internet. The series premiered September 6th at 8:15PM on Cartoon Network’s Monday night comedy block and you can catch a preview reel on Cartoon Network‘s website. The first episode, the pilot short and another one of Quintel’s animated shorts titled “2 in the AM PM” share an interesting similarity. They all start out with a relatively normal situation reminiscent of real life with a couple of friends shooting the breeze and occasionally acting silly. The humor is rather dry and occasionally catches you off guard by how witty it actually is. However, at some point things take a turn for the bizarre and that’s where the irony of the title Regular Show comes into play. Be it an innocent game of rock paper scissors causing a portal to another world to open and unleash it’s horrors on the populace or some creature shooting what is presumed to be coffee out of its’ nipples, you can be sure the situations in Regular Show are anything but normal. This contrast of dry wit and completely bizarre happenings makes for a very amusing combination.
I have seen my fair share of absurdly random cartoons but there is something about the low-key dialogue based humor mixed in with that absurdity that works well for Regular Show. I find the mixture oddly refreshing. However what really excites me about this show is that I have no idea what to expect from it. The inspiration for the pilot came directly from a chair Quintel stumbled upon one day. He told Thurop Van Orman the creator of Flapjack about this chair and Orman took it upon himself to purchase the chair. Quintel found the chair to be oddly uncomfortable. This uncomfortable vintage chair was the springboard for Regular Show’s pilot short. I read that on Quintel’s Deviant art account where he had a picture of the chair in question. There’s probably a lot of interesting stories that animators, writers and producers never bother to mention when they talk about how ideas for their shows were conceived but I’d have to imagine that was at least a somewhat unique situation.
Another reason I appreciate Regular Show is that it’s the first Cartoon Network original since Megas XLR to have an all adult cast. Most of their original shows feature casts of children, tween and maybe teens. Rarely are there more than a few adults present much less making up the primary cast. Mordecai the blue-jay and Rigby the raccoon act like your typical college guys of 23 balancing the necessity of responsibility with their youthful urges to goof off and have a good time. They’re old enough to know but too young to care. As a 25 year old dealing with the daily grind I find myself relating quite a bit to Mordecai and Rigby. At least I do when they’re not fighting monsters and using a keyboard to fly to the moon. The ensemble of Benson a grouchy gumball machine, Pops the eccentric old lollipop and Skips the Yeti along with Mordecai and Rigby makes up a cast of lively characters who are either caught up in fantastical mis-adventures or doing every day normal tasks. The show is somewhat reminiscent of Rocko’s Modern Life another entertaining show. Similarly it involved a typical guy doing normal stuff but things would spiral out of control for no apparent reason and hilarity ensues.
The voice acting in Regular Show is another high-light. Nothing is grating on the ears and the majority of the dialogue is very natural sounding. The comedic timing also never skips a beat. J.G. Quintel himself lends his voice to Mordecai and I feel that adds a certain creative touch that not even that many creator driven cartoons have had. Though Rocko comes to mind again along with Ren and Stimpy and of course Family Guy. William Salyers plays off Quintel quite well as Rigby, Sam Marin gets double duty as both the lackadaisical Pops and the firm but fair Benson and the cast is rounded out by Skips voiced by none other than the great Mark Hamill. Even the way this show is cast reminds me of the good old days though maybe that’s actually for budget reasons.
Thus far Regular Show has been rather formulaic by having a normal situation spin into insanity and I’d like to see the show break away from that formula at least on occasion. However, if the zany antics are what will keep kids watching then that’s a compromise I am more than willing to make, if it means Regular Show lives a long healthy life on the Cartoon Network.
The show reminds me of a time when such clever cartoons were the norm for Cartoon Network. My final thought for now is if this is a regular show for Cartoon Network then I cannot wait to see what the future may hold for the network, which at the very least has always been a bit daring and willing to try new things. As for now we can enjoy J.G. Quintel’s Regular Show every Monday night on the Cartoon Network.