This week on Toonopolis, The Blog, I’m reviewing another Cartoon Network original show. Today’s Saturday Morning Cartoon Review is Regular Show.
Much like Adventure Time (SMCR Here), I had very low expectations of Regular Show. The commercials leading up to the launch of the show did not appeal to me. A lot of it seemed like repetitive yelling and stupid sight gags. What I failed to realize, though, was that the marketing for the show was designed for a younger audience of Cartoon Network fans. The show, though? Yeah, written by and for 80’s pop culture junkies like me.
The primary cast is actually very new to the game. With the exception of Mark Hamill (who voices Skips the Yeti), the main characters are voice acting newbies. Mordecai, the blue jay, is voiced by show creator J.G. Quintel (who, like Adventure Time creator Pendleton Ward, is a veteran of The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack) and his raccoon friend Rigby is voiced by William Salyers. The rest of the primary cast (Benson, Pops, Muscle Man) is all voiced by the same guy: versatile Sam Marin, whose only other credit prior to Regular Show is in a short by J.G. Quintel from 2006. The show has a bit of a Kevin Smith-esque I’m-going-to-have-fun-making-some-shows-with-my-friends feel.
The show itself is about the odd adventures of two early-twenties slackers trying to avoid work as much as possible and their interactions with their co-workers. Watching Regular Show for me, though, is more of a “spot-the-pop-culture” reference. Anyone who has read my debut novel, Toonopolis: Gemini, knows that I love that game and write it myself! While my son and I were watching episodes, I would shout out various things I picked up along the way.
In the episode “Grave Sights,” Mordecai and Rigby show a 3D horror movie (which was a very thinly-veiled Evil Dead/Army of Darkness spoof). A recent episode called “Over The Top,” parodies the really bad Sylvester Stallone movie of the same name with a plot centered on underground arm wrestling contests. I marked out for the “slow-motion, switch-the-grip” shot they used when Skips arm-wrestled Death.
The writers also slip in great songs from time to time in the show. I’ve heard homages to New Kids On the Block (okay, maybe not great songs… but… you know what I mean) and karaoke to Twisted Sister and “Footloose.” In one of the first episodes, they even broke out a classic 80’s-style montage to Loverboy’s “Working For The Weekend.” It doesn’t get any better than that! (Or worse, depending on how big a fan you are of 80’s-style montages.)
Chalk up another pleasant surprise show to Cartoon Network’s new line-up. If you remember from a few weeks back, I was pleasantly surprised about Adventure Time also. The two of these shows together pack a great one-two punch for Cartoon Network’s line-up, especially one that hits the 10-30+ year old male crowd with such amazing accuracy. 4/5 Giant Cartoon Mallets for Regular Show… could have gotten 5 if they showed Pops playing tractor-chicken while singing “Footloose” during karaoke.
That’s the way to do a good cartoon. If you can make it appeal to the age group having kids right now as well as the kids, people are going to watch it. Right now, the people with kids old enough to watch cartoons probably grew up in the 80s and maybe some 90s for those that started early, so 80s pop culture references would go over really well.
Exactly. It’s the same way I try to write Toonopolis books… multi-leveled jokes: some for kids, some for adults. Any good cartoon has that second layer.
I was very surprised by this show too. I was sure it was going to be another weird kid’s show like Chowder. Chowder was ok but not really to my liking. The Regular Show is aimed at a totally different audience. Kids may like it but the pop culture references will be way over their heads. I saw many “ester eggs” too. Numbers on clocks making reference to things most kids won’t know about. I didn’t get to see each episode as it aired. I’ve been getting caught up at DISHOnline.com. They have thousands of movies and TV shows On Demand, all free with service from my TV provider/employer, DISH Network. I’m still not sure about this show but I’m willing to give it more of a chance then Chowder got.
See, now this is how people need to handle slipping in an advertisement so they don’t get blocked on a blog! Nice work at least contributing to the conversation first! 😉
I felt the same way, Adam. I liked some of Chowder but would probably rate it 3/5 on the site if I reviewed it (I won’t because it’s not an active show). Poot from Chapter 13 of Toonopolis: Gemini was partly inspired by Kimchi from Chowder.
I love this show. My favorite episode is Party Pete (Probably watched that 20 + times) Im only a teenager, but unlike most of the trash that is on tv today (Directly pointing at MAD and Problem Solvers, these are just horribly bad,) i find regular show to be very unique and always a good thing to watch when your bored 😛