An all-cynical, all-evil absurdist variety show that parodies the classic educational PBS shows of the 1970s, made up of old cartoons and educational films, children, and puppets from one's worst nightmares.
TV series about the life of Brendon Small, an eight-year-old visionary who, using his friends Jason and Melissa as actors, have managed to direct over a thousand homemade films. His parents are divorced, but it doesn't feel strange since so many other kids' parents are divorced. His friend Jason actually feels upset because his parents are still together. At school, he is taught soccer by his coach John McGirk, or as he calls him, "that weird Irish guy". Written by
In the third season episode titled "Broken Dreams", the lifeguard calls Mr. Lynch "Donald Lynch". In the same episode, the name "Ronald Lynch" appears printed on Mr. Lynch's personal check (stolen by McGuirk). See more »
'Home Movies' has an interesting history. First given a brief run on UPN, it later found a new home on Cartoon Network's then-new "Adult Swim" block. The first season was animated in a jittery, amateurish style called "Squigglevision" (think "Dr. Katz"); subsequent seasons were rendered using Macromedia's popular Flash software. And yet it never gained much more than a small, loyal cult following. (Fortunately, the complete series has been released on DVD.)
Brendon Small (loosely based on the show's creator, also named Brendon Small) is a 4th-grade kid living with his divorced mom Paula and bespectacled baby sister Josie. And he has an interesting hobby: creating shoestring-budget home movies on his camcorder with his friends Melissa and Jason. These movies often run parallel to his day-to-day misadventures, including those involving school, rabid pets, bullies, road safety, and even little Josie's curious tendency to shove marbles into her nostrils.
Other acquaintances include angsty rocker kid Duane, Melissa's father Erik, the hyperactive pals Walter and Perry, a spoiled brat named Fenton, and the dorky cat-loving teacher Mr. Lynch. On top of that, Brendon has a rather unwanted mentor and adult figure in the form of his soccer coach, Jon McGuirk, a beer-bellied, obnoxious, loud, money-squandering oaf.
The episode which introduced me to 'Home Movies' was, in fact, the one in which Josie is sticking marbles in her nose; Brendon makes a film instructing kids about the dangers of doing such and also has Duane's band perform a metal-rock song about not putting marbles in your nose. (As it turns out, Brendon's production unintentionally encourages children to do just that.) It's situations like these and the show's brand of sarcastic, off-the-wall humor that made me fall in love with it.
On the other hand, the first season was the most enjoyable to me because, behind the scenes, the show was somewhat improvised in that the actors were given the general idea for a scene and basically just ad-libbed it from there. The spontaneity of it all made the show funny, while the squiggling animation gave it the look of something a child such as Brendon would make. That said, while the show remained funny (the gross-out humor was largely phased out, thankfully) and the transition to Flash made the animation easier on the eyes, the later seasons lost some of the first season's humanity, so to speak.
In the end, although Brendon and his pals give the impression that they act like miniature adults, this is a goofy look at childhood that aims more toward high-brow humor than 'South Park', and I think it's worth it to check out at least the first season.
27 of 30 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?