Winning… Like a Loser! – A Quick Discussion on “Regular Show”

It’s been a long time since I said “Screw it, I’ll just dive right into an animated show without knowing anything about it”, and after watching the episode “Meteor Moves” totally randomly one weekend afternoon, that’s exactly what I said I’d do with Cartoon Network’s “Regular Show”.

I can already hear fans now yelling at their computer screens “Nooo, that’s a terrible episode to watch first!!!”. Well, not much I could do about that, but it did showcase some good points about the show. And so here we have this little discussion. It is based around two park cleaners named Morecai and Rigby, who pretty much do whatever they can to get out of doing their work and getting fired if possible too. As with the general trend of CN shows, each episode pivots around a premise, strange event happening, and a bunch of entertainment pulled from that. The show’s been running for almost as long as “Adventure Time”, and indeed was developed by the same creator JC Quintel.

I’ve gone through the first two seasons now, so I have a fairly good sense of how the show has developed in that space of time, and to be honest, it ‘aint that bad at all. Season One focussed a lot on just finding its own feet and trying to make a space within what was at the time, a very crowded market for animated TV shows. Mordecai and Rigby are the primary characters and are set up to be that kind of idiotic pair that you cannot believe haven’t caused any more trouble than they already have. Even with Mordecai trying to be the voice of reason at times,  Rigby just convinces him over to their next ridiculous plan. But happily, they aren’t conveyed as being dumb in a one-dimensional manner – they both have their redeeming qualities.

 Umm…. shit. I need to lay off the coffee.

The ensemble of secondary and side characters are both bizarre and like most shows for kids, must have been influenced by some “substances”. I’m not pointing any fingers, but hey, I’m just saying. But that does allow for them to be a lot of fun, and as the seasons progress, their characters get better defined and a little more general focus. From the Gumball machine-boss Benson (see what I mean by substances??), to the giant noggin of Pops, and more “normal” characters like Margaret, it is a very varied list of characters.

Of course, all that besides the fact, the most important thing is if this show is entertaining or not. And for quite a bit of the first season, I wasn’t very sure if it was or not. Having an episode runtime of just 11 minutes means storylines have be very compact, and can sometimes lead to the episodes lacking detail or enough time to carry across comedic moments. As well as that, characters are included in very slowly and in very minor parts, it’s kind of a slow burn really. But one thing that kept me going was that every now and then, there would be a killer joke or comedic piece written that won me over. The show slowly grows to be at the point where it is being aimed at a slightly older demographic than you would initially except. And there are certainly jokes thrown in for the adults too, which can lead to some great laughs.

There is one thing I can say with certainty though – the variation that can happen in the animation is wonderful. The show has a definite 80’s nostalgia going on, so certain finales can go completely wild with their settings. Cheesy montages, neon landscapes, riffing classic movies and shows, it’s all here. They show off the ideas the creators have at their strongest, when there are no chains holding them back and they can go bonkers. To put it in perspective, it would happily sit in visual style between “Gravity Falls” and “Adventure Time” – crazy, but not LCD-trippy levels.

Season Two has been where “Regular Show” has found its footing and gained some genuine consistency, both in animation quality and storytelling. The episodes are sharp, quick, fast paced, and work towards a definite goal. The variety on offer is really great, and even though it is true that some episodes can mirror each other in general design, it doesn’t become as large a fault as I thought it would.

“Regular Show” isn’t the best that is on offer right now on Cartoon Network, and wouldn’t really compete against “Gravity Falls” or (I assume) “Steven Universe”. It is much better as your second or third favourite show on a Saturday morning – it fills your time before your fave is on, but you still enjoy it all the same. I like the laughably down-to-earth setting of a park blended with these absurd characters. I like the big-boss finales and bad ass fights. I like almost all of the characters that make a recurring appearance. And I dig the comedy that can spin from mucking about to being sharp as a knife with the passing of a second.

Oh hey, it’s the new Evil Dead show! – Oh, wait…

I think I’ll stay on board and keep watching through the seasons not because it is the best on offer, but because it is so damm fun. It might be easy to think of alternatives to watch, but it is hard to mention anything to knock it down either. If you haven’t taken a look at it, give it a go on the next lazy weekend afternoon.

Thanks for reading!

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