An unusual feature of Dr Katz is the novel animation technique called Squigglevision, whereby, essentially, there is no lateral movement by any of the characters or objects, with only lips,... See full summary »
H. Jon Benjamin,
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 Japanese dubbed version of the series, Brendon was renamed "Brandon", and Coach McGuirk's surname was changed to "McGuire". See more »
In "Shore Leave", Coach McGuirk takes Melissa's wings while at the mall, puts them on his back, and walks away with them, but later when Melissa is back in the Fairy Princess boss's office, she has them on again. See more »
Rashes come from bad hygiene, all right? So what you've gotta do, whenever you go to a public restroom, and you sit on a toilet seat, put the toilet seat cover down. And if they don't have them there, manufacture one out of toilet paper, or your shirt, or your socks. Anything to cover the seat.
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If Oscar Wilde and Woody Allen made music videos with "Flash" animation, the results might resemble "Home Movies"
I came late to "Home Movies" - I never saw the UPN season because I don't pay any attention to network television. And I knew (somehow) that it was in "Squigglevision", which was one aspect of "Dr Katz" which I really didn't care for. However, I happened to catch a couple of episodes on the "Adult Swim" segment of the Cartoon Network a year ago and was instantly charmed by the quirky humor, whimsical plotting, and brilliant voice work by an (obviously) skeleton cast and crew and have spent the last few months catching up on the backlog via reruns on Cartoon Network and the collected DVD reissues of Seasons 1 and 2.
Folks, this is brilliant stuff which will sink right into your cortex if you give it half a chance. Saying that it's about an eight year old who make movies with his friends in his basement just doesn't do it justice. "Home Movies" is an elusive blend of Oscar Wilde style "comedy of manners", deadpan pop culture lampoon, childhood memoir, character study and multi-part acapella choir. It almost always manages to sustain a certain wistful, tender attitude towards its characters even in the middle of some truly hilarious dialog exchanges and slapstick physical comedy. That's not an easy thing to do.
About the actual animation: Season 1 is indeed cursed with "Squigglevision", a truly annoying design choice, but the eye eventually accepts it and gets on with enjoying the proceedings. And fortunately, by Season 2 the creators decided just to go with straightforward "Flash" style animation, and the remaining episodes are much easier to watch. The animation never rises above the level of "barebones minimalism", but it is effectively harnessed in service to the story and voice work. In fact, if you pay attention you soon realize that the artwork is quite sophisticated in terms of storyboards and layouts - the "camera" zooms and pans and sets establishing shots and even manages some moments of delicate mood and beauty. For comparison think of the old cheaply made "Hanna Barbera" cartoons from the 70's, 80's and 90's ("Yogi Bear", "Flintstones" after the first season, cookie cutter crap like "Wacky Races" and "Josie and the Pussycats"). In terms of storytelling sophistication and care, this animation style compared to that is like London Broil compared to a Big Mac.
My favorite episodes (that I've seen) are probably "Bye Bye Greasy" and "The Art Of The Sucker Punch", and "Marbles and Mortgages", which contain a mix of parody, slapstick, and character study which many full blown feature comedy movie releases can't match. Watch these episodes carefully (especially the parts where H. Jon Benjamin's "Coach McGuirk" is involved), and you will see an awesome mastery of comedic timing and superb delivery that Woody Allen might envy. It's not so much that the writing is tight (though it is inspired) - rather, the whole thing has a loose, improvised, inspired feel, where even the dead ends and misfires are used as a springboard for further hijinks and blandishments.
I don't know how well Small and his group of creators would have done with furthur episodes if "Home Movies" had gone past the fourth season. This kind of inspired inanity can have a very short "shelf life" as the pressure of constantly coming up with fresh scripts and performances weigh upon the creators. But man, while these guys were in the groove, they were GOOD. I plan to get the Season 3 collection as soon as it comes out, and will relish completing the viewing of every episode there-in. My thanks to Small and his co-creators for a wonderful series that has given me many hours of pure delight.
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