Finding a show equally loved by me and my kids (Arden, 10 and Oscar, 7) is no simple task. Bob’s Burgers, a show we adore, leads to some uncomfortable questions (Daddy, what’s a rimjob?). While on the other end of the spectrum, a certain breed of diminutive horses covers my brain in a sickly film of overly-chirpy goo. There are shows that are watered down to benign uselessness for some imaginary child audience and shows that mistakenly believe that adult comedy must teeter on the line of offensiveness to be funny.
Then there’s the amazing sweet spot of shows that transcend target audiences and hit us all – here Regular Show stands supreme.
Cartoon Network’s Regular Show, like its creative cousin Adventure Time, brilliantly weaves the surreal with the silly, and the mundane with the outlandish, and occasionally, the outright macabre. Roommate squabbles, workplace trivialities, and the never-ending desire to slack off leads to strange and supernatural misadventures. Show creator J.G. Quintel has a gift for making the outrageous relatable and hilarious.
We’re fans. So the whole family was thrilled to sit down and experience Regular Show: The Movie.
The film begins with a massive future space battle and deaths of nearly all the major characters, including a devastating shoot off in which our heroes, Rigby the raccoon and Mordecai the blue jay, fatally wound one another.
Arden: This is intense.
Oscar: It’s the kind of movie that starts with ‘What’s going on?!’ but in a good way.
Regular Show: the Movie is filled with all that we love about the show: the soft-brained kindness of Pops, the reticent spiritual and physical strength of Skips, the destructive joy of Muscle Man and Fives, the unquenchable irritation of Benson. It also includes explosive volleyballs, a near cosmic apocalypse, and time travel paradoxes.
Oscar: Did he just watch himself die? Cool.
At the center of the film, as in the show, is the oft-tested friendship of Rigby and Mordecai. It’s their bond and the betrayal of trust between them that form the emotional spine of the story. And it works! The universe is being sucked into a galactic timenado (according to Skips: “A tornado that can travel through time and space. Come on, Benson, keep up!”), but it’s the straightforward lie that a teenage Rigby tells Mordecai that hits us in the gut.
Arden: That’s just wrong.
The film, like the show, never stops moving, never stops popping, never fails to surprise you and head in a direction just off of what you may have expected. The last reel is an action packed sequence of time portholes, decapitations, and self-sacrifice. Not to mention, burritos.
But it’s the simplicity and believability of Rigby and Mordecai’s friendship that carries the wonderful madness of the story and affords the movie a few moments of near sublimity. We’ve got hallucinations of time incarnate and issues of mortality in this flick. We also have one particularly well-executed moment when two Mordecais from different times watch a third future Mordecai die from war wounds all while the Velvet Underground’s “Pale Blue Eyes”plays on the soundtrack.
Regular Show introduced my seven year-old to the Velvet Underground. How could I not be grateful?