Regular Show: The Complete Third Season
R1 - America - Warner Home Video
Review written by and copyright: Ethan Stevenson (4th July 2014).
The Show

Bizarre. Brimming with both obvious and painfully obscure, even impenetrably opaque, pop culture references. And almost bursting at the seams, or edges of the line-art I suppose, with a brazen anti-establishment aesthetic. Unusual character designs and a rickey animation style that makes the series look like it’s been made by a guy in his garage. A mix of slacker/stoner humor and stupefying surrealism with… sometimes I don’t even know what, and oft-times just completely bonkers.

Honestly, those are all fitting descriptors for about half the programs taking up airtime on Cartoon Network. Even creator J.G. Quintel’s “Regular Show”, despite the title, fits those criteria. It's odd, but the better for it. “Regular Show” presents a world populated by anthropomorphic animals and would-be-inanimate objects, where humans, if they're human at all, mostly seem to be green-skinned slobs and much more often resemble the walking dead. It’s a place where ghosts are not only real, but can be someone’s best friend and like to give everyone high-fives. Where it’s not uncommon for a hell-mouth to literally open beneath you, and an act of absurdism could threaten to tear the universe in two—or close enough—at any moment, but especially just before the end of the episode. Where time travel is not only possible, but a time machine can be bought from “some dude for like twenty bucks.”

Apocalyptic zaniness meshes with the more mundane moments of life at incongruent ends in “Regular Show”, and honestly, it works. As weird, sometimes really weird, entertainment, it works. Why it is works is simple. Even with all the weirdness—there are plenty of strange looking characters and surrealist sequences sprinkled throughout Quintel’s creation—more often than not, “Regular” lives up to its name, and is very, well, regular. Underneath the oddity of the entire production, "Regular Show" is just your average sitcom. Of course, it's animated. And episodes are compacted into half the amount of time (most episodes are a mere 11-minutes, as opposed to the usual 22 of a major network show). But it’s really just a normal show about a group of friends, most of them living together, and the trials and tribulations they face in their twenties. On a surface level, it's not unlike two dozen other sitcoms I could list off right now, but won’t.

Episodic plots often revolve around best friends Mordecai (voiced by J.G. Quintel) and his best pal, Rigby (William Saylers). It matters little—or a lot?—that Mordecai is a walking and talking bluejay or that his friend is a rude sod who happens to be a raccoon. They live together in a split-level house on the edge of the local park where they work as groundskeepers, playing video games and making immature, and often unwise, bets to see which of them can best the other. A fascination with food, movies, music and more, not to mention frequent girl troubles occupy most of their downtime, or all the time, because they rarely actually seem to work.

Their roommates and coworkers include a lollipop with a high-pitched voice called Pops, a gruff gum ball machine named Benson, and a slovenly green-skinned slob with a weight problem ironically nicknamed Sam “Muscle Man” Sorrenstein (all voiced by Sam Marin). There’s also an immortal white ape who skips everywhere he could walk, appropriately named Skips (Mark Hamill), in the fray as well. Mordecai is in love with a coffee shop waitress, Margaret (Janie Haddad), but is too chicken to tell her that he likes her, even when she probably likes him back. Meanwhile, Rigby decidedly doesn’t much care for Margaret's best friend, a mole named Eileen (Minty Lewis), but unfortunately for him, she is absolutely obsessed with the little raccoon.

And so it goes. “Regular Show” is either an animated series that's a show for children, mixed with some decidedly adult elements, or an adult cartoon that just has an innately child-like quality. Perhaps it's a bit of both, although leaning a little more toward the latter, which is why it appeals to both twenty and thirty somethings stuck in a state of arrested development, or those who're just childish at heart, as much as it is to actual children of a certain age. Not unlike many of the shows that dominate Cartoon Network's line up, "Regular Show" shoots straight for the slacker demographic, designed with the attention-deficit in mind. It’s micro-sized episodes are packed with gamer humor, pop culture references (usually right out of the 1980's and early 90, with VHS tapes and video stores), and outlandish characters frequently embarking on mundane adventures that somehow inevitably tumble out of control into complete chaos. Although tamer than anything in Cartoon Network's late night Adult Swim block, "Regular Show, which is rated TV-PG, earns its rating well, with gross-for-a-kids-show-gore and some decidedly sadistic touches of surrealism.

Like many sitcoms, there isn’t much serialization, beyond a loose connective narrative that charts the character’s relationships. There's the best friend’s bromance; Mordecai and Margaret’s will-they-won’t-they, which is a precarious place in season three; and other subplots that rely on recall about as often as expected. Recurring jokes, characters, or one-offs that ultimately have ramifications—major or minor—down the line build a solid foundation, like any decent sitcom, that rewards those who watch loyally.

Warner and Cartoon Network have a two-tiered approach in releasing “Regular Show” on video. It takes time to record commentaries, or gather the writers and voice-actors and ask them to appear in other special features, while they’re all still making new episodes of the series day-in and day out, so the full season sets of “Regular Show” are far behind what’s aired on television. This third season set arrives as the show’s fifth season is in the middle of its run. To fill the gap, relatively barebones DVD's, split into volumes of compilations have been released, often arranging episodes in a manic and random manner. The “Complete Third Season”, as with the two previous complete seasons before it, run through some 40 episodes in order, which reveals the subtle serializing more clearly, and at the same time exposes some of the sameness to the structure in episodes. Many, perhaps too many, “Regular Show” episodes seem to start off with some sort of dare, bet, challenge or argument, and only grow outward, and more outlandish from there. But it’s the “from there” that makes the show far from repetitious, and the sliding from simple sitcom to completely insane surrealist trip is much of the fun.

“Regular Show: The Complete Third Season” includes 40 episodes spread over 3 discs. Disc one contains episodes 1-12; disc two episodes 13-30; and disc three 31-40. Episodes are:

- "Stick Hockey”—Mordecai and Rigby are slacking off again, this time with a stick hockey table.
- "Bet to Be Blonde”—Mordecai wears a blonde toupee when Rigby wins a bet.
- "Skips Strikes”—Skips leaves the bowling league just as a rival team is about to win against his team, and his teammates very souls are in the balance.
- "Creepy Doll/Death Metal Crash Pit”—Mordecai and Rigby discover a creepy doll called Percy; Muscle Man and High Five go deep into the park and find an RV haunted by the ghosts of a literal death metal band.
- "In the House”—Rigby angers a wizard after egging his house and is cursed.
- "Camping Can Be Cool”—Mordecai and Rigby take Margaret and Eileen on a camping trip into the woods.
- "Slam Dunk”—Muscle and High-Five Ghost challenge Mordecai and Rigby to a two-on-two game of basketball. Meanwhile, Margaret asks Mordecai to help her build a website.
- "Cool Bikes”—Mordecai and Rigby try looking cool after Benson replaces the cart with bikes.
- "House Rules”—Benson's new rules for the house, which include a strict no playing video games policy, prompt Mordecai and Rigby quit their jobs at the park.
- "Rap It Up”—Mordecai, Rigby, and Pops compete in a "rap battle" with slam-poetry.
- "Cruisin”—Mordecai and Rigby believe that "crusin'" gets you the ladies. When Margaret and Eileen disagree, they make a bet to see who can get a random stranger's phone number by the end of the night.
- "Under the Hood”—Muscle Man gets fired after he’s accused of spraying graffiti all over the park.
- "Weekend at Benson’s”—Mordecai and Rigby help Benson, who wants to impress a girl named Audrey, but a guy named Chuck gets in the way.
- "Fortune Cookie”—Rigby swaps fortune cookies with Benson in hopes of improving his luck, and it works, but Benson's luck goes so bad, it almost destroys the park.
- "Think Positive”—Pops bans Benson from yelling at Mordecai and Rigby; Benson has a major meltdown.
- "Skips vs. Technology”—Skips can’t fix his computer.
- "Butt Dial”—Mordecai sings a song about Margaret, accidentally butt-dialing her in the process.
- "Eggscellent”—Rigby wants to win a trucker hat at a diner. All he has to do is eat a large omelet… but he's allergic to eggs.
- "Gut Model" —Muscle Man winds up working as a model for Mommy Monthly magazine.
- "Video Game Wizards”—Skips goes with Mordecai to a video game competition, leaving Rigby behind.
- "Big Winner”—Mordecai and Rigby have to tell Muscle Man that they pranked him with a fake lottery ticket.
- "The Best Burger in the World”—Mordecai and Rigby try to fool Benson with holograms so they can eat the world's best burger.
- "Replaced”—Mordecai and Rigby have to fight for their jobs when they are replaced by an ostrich and a possum.
- "Trash Boat”—Rigby changes his name to Trash Boat in an attempt to be "cool."
- "Fists of Justice”—Mordecai and Rigby do Skips' work for the day, which includes a number of mundane tasks... like helping The Guardians of Eternal Youth fight Klordbane the Destroyer, and saving the universe from destruction.
- "Yes Dude Yes”—Mordecai thinks Margaret is engaged, and slips into a depression. To get him out of his funk, Rigby sets him up a girl named CJ.
- "Busted Cart”—Mordecai and Rigby break the park cart and have to take a trip with Benson to the dealership before the warranty expires.
- "Dead at Eight”—Mordecai and Rigby must babysit Death's demonic kid to spare Muscle Man's life.
- "Access Denied”—Mordecai and Rigby try to get into a club for Margaret's birthday party.
- "Muscle Mentor”—When Rigby joins a mentorship program with Muscle Man, he has to prove that he can finish a job without quitting, or he'll be fired.
- “Trucker Hall of Fame”—Mordecai and Rigby have to help Muscle Man get to the Trucker Hall of Fame to spread his dad's hat ashes.
- "Out of Commission”—Mordecai and Rigby have to get rid of the cart, but want to spend one more day with it and wind up getting more than they bargained for.
- "Fancy Restaurant”—Mordecai and Rigby help Muscle Man be fancy when he has to go to a fancy restaurant with his girlfriend Starla and fancy her parents.
- "Diary”—When Mordecai and Rigby accidentally break the lock on Margaret's diary, they try to fix it before Margaret finds out.
- "The Best VHS in the World”—Mordecai and Rigby must return a video to a rental store, but a creepy gnome won't stop stealing it from them.
- "Prankless”—After Muscle Man retires from pranks, a rival park starts a prank war, and only Muscle Man can defeat them.
- "Death Bear”—Mordecai, Rigby, Margaret and Eileen go on an adventure in the old abandoned zoo to take a picture inside the infamous Death Bear's cage.
- "Fuzzy Dice”—The groundskeepers must win some fuzzy dice for Pop's birthday.
- "Sugar Rush”—Mordecai and Rigby have to pick up the donuts for the morning meeting, but when they end up with an especially sugary batch, they're in trouble with their fellow staff.
- "Bad Kiss”—Mordecai finally kisses Margaret, but has a bad breath so he tries to go back in time to prevent it from happening.

Video

All episodes included in “Regular Show: The Complete Third Season” are presented in their original 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen aspect ratio. The series' animation and style is absurdly simple, and it remains one of the few mere ink-and-paint productions without more elaborate computer assistance on air. Almost childlike in its simplicity, line art is sketchy, rough looking and indistinct, backdrops have a flattened, lightly textured, pastel fill, and actual detail is modest at best. But colors are bright, vibrant, and appealing, and while episodes exhibit occasional, mild, edge enhancement artifacts and faint banding, overall, the presentation is not terrible, for DVD. It's just rarely impressive.

Audio

“Regular Show” started in stereo but moved to 5.1 surround in it's HD broadcast after the first season. For no real reason, every episode of “Regular Show: The Complete Third Season” is stuck with an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo track on DVD. The episodes sounds fine, but offer nothing particularly noteworthy or mentionable, and even the surrealistic sequences lack the energy to support the visuals. The score, by Mark Mothersbaugh, is his usual mix of eccentricity. Mothersbaugh, as he often does, favors a fitting low-fi sound on synth, even plunging to the harsh depths of 8-bit. Optional English subtitles are also included.

Extras

Cartoon Network and the “Regular Show” creative team certainly seem to understand that fans, fans who fit in the series demographic especially, need the incentive of value added content to buy discs—although it also appears they only subscribe to this supplements-support-sales philosophy on the full season sets of the show, and not the piecemeal volumes. “Regular Show: The Complete Third Season” includes 11 audio commentaries with the cast/crew, 2 featurettes with creator J.G. Quintel and another featurette of a live performance at Comic-Con. The first disc also has forced bonus trailers before the menu.

The audio commentaries are only accessible from the “Episodes” selection menu. The tracks don’t even toggle with the audio button on a remote. If an episode has a commentary, when you hit play, a second screen pops up and prompts an option to watch the episode with or without commentary. Although the commentaries are only fitfully insightful, and very often have a giggling stoner vibe to them, would you really expect any other kind from the “Regular Show” crew? At least they're funny. A highlight includes Quintel’s solo track on “Eggscellent”, where he talks about how the episode was born out of a dare while at a restaurant in San Diego for Comic-Con. Although, then again, maybe I’m partial to the particular track just because of my personal connection with the city and the eatery that inspired the episode.

DISC ONE:

The first disc includes 5 commentaries:
- “Creepy Doll/Death Metal Crash Pit” with creator J.G. Quintel, and writers/storyboard artists Andres Salaff and Ben Adams.
- “In The House” with writers/storyboard artists Sean Szeles and Kat Morris.
- “Slam Dunk” with supervising producer Mike Roth and writers/storyboard artists Andres Salaff and Ben Adams.
- “Cool Bikes” with writers/storyboard artists Benton Connor and Calvin Wong.
- “Rap it Up” with writers/storyboard artists Sean Szeles and Kat Morris.

“4 Things You Didn’t Know About J.G.” (1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen; 3 minutes 31 seconds) is a featurette with series creator J.G. Quintel. He talks about his love for air hockey, admiration of British television, attempting to eat a 12 egg omelette—at the Broken Yolk in San Diego!—and exotic “monkey poo” coffee.

“J.G. Answers Why” (1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen; 5 minutes 40 seconds) is another featurette with the creator, where he discusses why he got into animation, who “The Regular Show” is really for (he admits, basically just himself), what it’s like writing with a team, the “regular” element of every show and how surrealism inevitably creeps in, and his relationship with Cartoon Network.

The last featurette on the first disc is entitled “Characters Come to Life: Live Table Read” (1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen; 8 minutes 10 seconds). It unites Jeremy Shada, John DiMaggio, Tom Kenney, and Pen Ward of “Adventure Time” (2010-present) with J.G. Quintel, Bill Salyers, and Sam Marin of “Regular Show” for a collaborative, live, hybrid episode for Cartoon Networks 20th anniversary panel at the San Diego Comic-Con in 2012.

Pre-menu bonus trailers:

- “Regular Show: Mordecai & Margaret Pack” (1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen; 32 seconds).
- “Adventure Time: Season 3” (1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen; 32 seconds).

DISC TWO:

Disc two includes 4 audio commentaries:

- “Weekend at Benson’s” with supervising producer Mike Roth, and writers/storyboard artists Benton Connor and Hilary Florido.
- “Eggscellent” with creator J.G. Quintel.
- “Trash Boat” with supervising producer Mike Roth, and writers/storyboard artists Benton Connor and Hilary Florido.
- “Yes Dude Yes” with writers/storyboard artists Sean Szeles and Kat Morris.

DISC THREE:

Disc three includes 2 audio commentaries:

- “Fuzzy Dice” with writers/storyboard artists Andres Salaff and Madeline Queripel.
- “Bad Kiss” with writers/storyboard artists Sean Szeles and Kat Morris.

Packaging

Warner Brothers Home Entertainment and Cartoon Network package the 40 episodes of “Regular Show: The Complete Third Season” on 3 DVD's in a white keep case. The first two discs are mounted on a spindle; the third sits on the rear panel. A paper slip listing a table of contents is tucked in on the front panel. A cardboard slip-cover, mimicking the look of a bound book, is included in first pressings.

Overall

“Regular Show: The Complete Third Season” gives fans what’s been missing from the regularly released compilation volumes: extras. That said, 11 audio commentaries and 3 featurettes would be more impressive if not for the fact the content covers not even a third of the the massive 40 episode set. Still, it’s much better than nothing, which is close to what’s usually offered on the compilation DVD's. And while the series is hardly serialized, the complete seasons of “Regular Show” do be more consistent, or at least more logically arranged than when random episodes are compiled into a single volume seemingly only based on a broad theme. Video and audio aren’t particularly impressive, limited by the DVD format and the inherent simplicity of the character design and animation. Overall, “The Complete Third Season” DVD is recommended for “Regular Show” fans.

The Show: B Video: B- Audio: C Extras: B- Overall: B-

 


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