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Data Graham
Dec 28, 2009






https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUPqUL4TdpU

I'm not sure what it is about it, but I'm fascinated by this show. To get this out of the way up front and explain perhaps a part of why I'm obsessed with it, I will say that ever since about 2004 (when it was in regular rotation in the 1:30AM slot on Adult Swim, where it had first-run 1999-2003), I have used it as my "falling asleep" show. I stream it to my TV and fall asleep usually within about three minutes, and that's how I gradually work my way through it over and over, usually starting over the 4-season run two or three times per year. It's just great comfort food; it isn't overly loud or screechy, it treads familiar pathways in my brain, and I've basically got it all memorized by now. I'll probably keep falling asleep to it till I die.

That said, I keep thinking about how rich an artistic production this show is. It came into being at a time when it was in vogue to do crappy squiggly animation on top of a mostly ad-libbed script (inheriting the idea from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dr._Katz,_Professional_Therapist, along with several actors and producers, such as Loren Bouchard, Jonathan Katz, and H. Jon Benjamin, who still produce things together to this day, Bob's Burgers among them). The free-form nature of this style of production allowed them to cover a vast range of subject matter and references to anything and everything in daily life, just rambling freely across an entire landscape of cultural touchstones; just in one episode you might find yourself looking up what that "African Queen" quip Coach McGuirk made was all about, pausing the screen to see if they'd in fact done a split-second Fight Club dick-spliced-into-the-footage gag, covered the weird dynamic of gym membership contract negotiations, and a million other little ephemeral moments densely packed into every moment of screen time.

There were five episodes originally produced for UPN in 1999, but it flopped and was quickly dropped; but then Cartoon Network picked it up to finish out the season and bought three more. The remainder of S1 featured Janine Ditullio in place of Paula Poundstone (most of the characters share the real-life names of their actors, which is another weird and fun thing — every time I wonder what it's like to play a "fictionalized version of yourself", the way Tim Heidecker and others do, I imagine Brendan Small having to imagine himself as this weird little kid who makes movies about everything); and then from S2 onward the animation tightened up a whole lot and it dropped the "Squigglevision" gimmick (whose time had passed by 2000) and started using more properly prepared scripts instead of just ad-libbing scenes off of hastily scrawled cue cards. But the plotting and storytelling only benefited from that, with individual episodes becoming properly encapsulated stories, usually using Brendan's latest film project as a play-within-a-play commentating on the events surrounding him, and falling nicely into season-long arcs, like the S2 one centered around Brendan's father (played by Louis C.K.) and his role in the family as it grew.

One of the remarkable things about the show is the amount of original music it features. Fans of Metalocalypse know Brendan Small as a very prolific musician and composer, and nearly every episode of Home Movies has original songs to punctuate it and make it feel a lot higher-budget than it is. A lot of it is in the person of aspiring metal rocker Dwayne and his band SCÄB, which covers a lot of genre ground:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8uaaF83eVig

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpz67hBIJwg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Az3Qz3x6SaQ

But probably the pinnacle is the "Bye Bye Greasy" episode, which in S4 came at a time when they knew they were getting cancelled and they were free to go all-out. It's a fully in-the-bag revelry in the process of putting on a musical or play, soaked in behind-the-scenes Broadway gags. Every time this one comes up in my rewatch cycle, I have to pay attention from end to end because it's just completely delightful.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CORHv71qz0

I've tried to find definitive lyrics for all the show's songs, but discussion of the show is relegated to old defunct forums which are slowly disappearing and hardly definitive; that's part of why I wanted to create this thread in the first place.

I don't want to belabor this OP, but something that's always intrigued me about the show is how fast-and-loose it plays with its characters. There's plenty of top-notch character development over the course of the series, in the primary as well as secondary characters, but there's an equal amount of complete reboots that make no sense from a continuity standpoint and I can't imagine what was going through their heads:

- Melissa veers wildly from "tomboy" to "girly-girl", notably comparing her portrayals in "Shore Leave" (in which her dad signs her up for a Fairy Princesses club that turns out to be a hellish MLM scheme forcing girls to sell merchandise in malls) and in "Focus Grill" (the series finale, in which she's so starved for feminine influences she ends up covering her whole face in makeup and glomming on to Brendan's mom for "girl talk") (typing it out this feels like one of the few not-aged-well parts of the show really, but it's not as bad as it sounds)

- Brendan's grandparents are completely reimagined from their first appearances later; at first they are a quiet stay-at-home middle-American elderly couple without much characterization, but later when they get divorced his grandmother becomes a sort of martini-toting femme fatale and his grandfather, completely redesigned visually, goes through a depressed sherry-drinking phase to become a crazy old kook trying to relive his glory days

- Fenton (Sam Seder) goes from being a horrifyingly spoiled, mother-berating brat to a sycophantic, whining acolyte of his mother, who turns from a complete doormat into a crazy household tyrant. There's an episode ("The Party") that is ostensibly the catalyst for this change, but holy poo poo it's extreme how far it goes

- Walter and Perry, who in the last throes of S4 turn into creepy little Children of the Corn. I mean they were always weird as gently caress but toward the end you're pretty sure they're going to end up as some kind of inseparable serial killer team

It's crazy to watch the places this show goes. Most people these days only seem to know about it from the various Coach McGuirk clips:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qfFZfzPAOg

But he's just a minor part of it, and I'm being completely serious. A HUGE minor part, and it's probably some of the best stuff he's ever done, but there's just so much more about this show and I feel like I need a place to put random thoughts about it, so uh here we are.


e: BTW this show also features some of the last work by Mitch Hedberg, so that's a good selling point right there. And Emo Philips as Shannon is some of the most incredible casting I've ever seen

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WHY BONER NOW
Mar 6, 2016



Pillbug

It's time to pay the price

Coaaab
Aug 6, 2006

Wish I was there...


As far as I'm concerned, it has the best series finale ever and, aside from watching every episode prior to it, most of the legwork was done in the last five minutes

Data Graham
Dec 28, 2009






Coaaab posted:

As far as I'm concerned, it has the best series finale ever and, aside from watching every episode prior to it, most of the legwork was done in the last five minutes

There are some strong contenders out there, but I'd definitely put HM's in the running.

I was going to make a list starting off with Star Trek: TNG and Babylon 5 and the original run of Futurama, but I quickly realized that most other shows that have pat finales actually aren't necessarily all that amazing. Breaking Bad was good for instance, but not an all-timer I don't think.

Focus Grill, that final car ride, McGuirk in the dad role he was always destined for, Brendan letting go — and the final Terminator-style camera's eye view.

My only wish is that there had been a custom bit of music for the credits, like in the S1 finale when he picks up the phone to take his dad's call.

The crazy thing is that aside from the main story (which is all meta-commentary on the series as a whole and the general idea of finding a way to wrap it up), there's this B-story about Melissa's makeup that feels like it could be from any random episode.

Coaaab
Aug 6, 2006

Wish I was there...


Data Graham posted:

My only wish is that there had been a custom bit of music for the credits, like in the S1 finale when he picks up the phone to take his dad's call.
Sunset Theme and slower credits, natch

(I even remember the dvd commentary complaining about the ending rushing into the credits)

Data Graham
Dec 28, 2009






That would have been perfect, yeah.

drat, I don't know if I've ever even listened to the DVD commentaries. My videos are ripped from them but I did it over 15 years ago lmao

Timby
Dec 23, 2006

Your mother!



Spaghetti time.

Data Graham
Dec 28, 2009






There are a few one-liners and moments that always, always make me crack up no matter how many times I hear them.

Lynch talking about his Halloween costume: You don't uh, happen to be a little curious about what I'm going as, are ya? Hint, that's a hint, "curious"
McGuirk: Hint, as to ...
Lynch: What I'm going as, yes.
McGuirk: "Curious".
Lynch: Right.
McGuirk: ... Hitler?

Coaaab
Aug 6, 2006

Wish I was there...


New York Times
New York Times
You think you're better than us?!
Us?!
Us!
U.S.
U.S.A.
No way
The end

Jeep
Feb 20, 2013


I haven’t seen this show in like 15 years and I still have Coach McGuirk doing “I’ll race” from the grease episode stuck in my head. Gonna rewatch ASAP

Sanguinia
Jan 1, 2012

~Everybody wants to be a cat~
~Because a cat's the only cat~
~Who knows where its at~


Did you know that Starboy is NOT The Captain of Outer Space?

Data Graham
Dec 28, 2009






Jeep posted:

I haven’t seen this show in like 15 years and I still have Coach McGuirk doing “I’ll race” from the grease episode stuck in my head. Gonna rewatch ASAP

And the camera cuts to the audience view, and his singing goes all muffled because he can’t get his window to go down :lol:

Sublime


e: I only just now put together that the bit at the beginning where they're talking about how he won't be able to drive his car in rehearsals wasn't just the show's typical texture dialogue, it's really good foreshadowing

Data Graham fucked around with this message at 16:31 on Dec 5, 2021

squibble
Sep 30, 2003



Trust yourself!

Data Graham
Dec 28, 2009






Can I just say that there are some moments that capture those unforgettable moments of ugly real life better than I've ever seen before, no matter how limited the animation.

Like throwing up:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfBTUQxh9oc

I don't think I've ever seen a more realistic animated vomit scene.

And I can't ever resist the show's rendering of his exploding gas station scenario

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01Bdm3TRdxo

Maduo
Sep 8, 2006

You see all the colors.
All of them.




Sanguinia posted:

Did you know that Starboy is NOT The Captain of Outer Space?

But he is his brother. His actual brother.

Data Graham
Dec 28, 2009






Also holy poo poo who puts a thing like this in their show

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXxy_ais54A

but god drat if it isn't "I'm in this and I don't like it"

Sash!
Mar 16, 2001




This conversation is a prison

Gaunab
Feb 13, 2012



It's a good show.

The United States
Jul 18, 2004

Please grab the extinguisher


Melman v2

Timby posted:

Spaghetti time.
Spaghetti time/Swords! will always be the finest 5 minutes this show has ever produced and it remains infinitely relatable to anyone who has watched late night HSN/QVC with insomnia.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdGpvnNUehM

Data Graham
Dec 28, 2009






The way his eyes fall on the phone as he goes “S-s-s-s-ssswords…” :lmao:

SweetMercifulCrap!
Jan 28, 2012


Lipstick Apathy

This is totally a comfort show for me. Like when my anxiety is high it helps a lot because of the mostly chill, laid back tone and pace. I can't really tolerate season 1, however.

Agreed that Bye Bye Greasy is the pinnacle of the show. It's perfect.

A Fancy Hat
Nov 18, 2016

Always remember that the former President was dumber than the dumbest person you've ever met by a wide margin



McGuirk singing "I'll Race" while locked in his car was the funniest thing I had ever seen up to that point. I saw a play years later where someone had a parked car on stage and it was all I could think about.

SweetMercifulCrap!
Jan 28, 2012


Lipstick Apathy

What’s even funnier is that he wasn’t locked in, the window was just stuck. He could have stepped out. And then they top it off with him not being able to back up and driving off the stage.

Also: “uh, Brendan, there’s like, five more scenes in this play.”
“Wait really? Probably best to just end it here.”

Data Graham
Dec 28, 2009






And Shannon's transcendent performance as Maloney out of nowhere. Performed on top of the car after it drove off the stage into the orchestra pit

Tokyo Sexwale
Jul 30, 2003



my personal favourite part of the play is Jason freaking out when the girl lead goes catatonic and he has to intersperse trying to get Brendan's attention with his audition song.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QKyeAfyNJk#t=107s

Brolander
Oct 20, 2008

i am but a vessel

i love this show so much. i recommend it to everyone


GolfHole
Feb 26, 2004



Wee-yow.

Data Graham
Dec 28, 2009






If "I'll Race" is the peak moment of comedy, it's not without its close runner-ups. Like when McGuirk blows out his pecs at the gym.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjSCzC4R6gk

The two meatheads backing away in horror, the timing and editing is just :discourse:

squibble
Sep 30, 2003




Did you just say 'weow'?

ONE YEAR LATER
Apr 13, 2004

Fry old buddy, it's me, Bender!


Oven Wrangler

Fenton's naked mom dot com

BioEnchanted
Aug 9, 2011

He plays for the dreamers that forgot how to dream, and the lovers that forgot how to love.

I actually just rewatched episode 1 of the show and even back that far it has some great moments like Brendan getting run over on the soccer pitch and McGuirk being all "WHAT'S A 21 YEAR OLD KID DOING ON THE OTHER TEAM!?"

Also with the improvisational style it reminded me of Angry Beavers because I watched a couple of early episodes of that show a bit ago and it has similar styles of humour relying on relatable moments rather than funny ones. Like in the pilot, Dagget yells a particularly ridiculous your mom joke at a pack of dogs once they find momentary save haven from them in a car, and in that moment of silence they just... reflect on the situation and start giggling like idiots at what Dag just said. It was a very cute and genuine moment. It's a recurring thing in the show too, where once the tension in a situation is relieved they just start laughing at how stupid they were being.

Sharks Eat Bear
Dec 25, 2004


It’s a great show. One of my favorite scenes that imo captures the essence of what makes it uniquely great rather than just a wacky adult swim show:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjm3oAb9XzU

Data Graham
Dec 28, 2009






For real, does anyone know what the deal is with why they played so fast and loose with characterization as I talked about in the OP? I don't know if I've ever seen a show just be so blasé about continuity, especially when there's a ton of character development over the course of the show (not actual serialization, but earlier events definitely do have later effects).

Paula's parents in S1:




In S3/S4:





The designs are different but the voices and characterizations even more so. I'm sure the overriding answer is just "it was funnier to do it this way", but I have trouble even getting myself into the mindset of being able to ignore stuff I'd done previously.

Barudak
May 7, 2007



As with everything in the show I chalk a lot of stuff up to its a kid failing to be able to express or fully grip his emotional state and the world around him and people's real intentions. Its why the last episode works so much for me because its him inadvertently taking control even if he doesn't totally get why.

Data Graham
Dec 28, 2009






Sharks Eat Bear posted:

It’s a great show. One of my favorite scenes that imo captures the essence of what makes it uniquely great rather than just a wacky adult swim show:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjm3oAb9XzU

On this note, I love how McGuirk is able to capture that thing certain kinds of people do who are always on a hair-trigger to abruptly pivot from perfectly happy and easygoing to defensive, sharp, lashing out at ghosts of their own creation:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIkJCrwu034

Like he's just happily making up his "fat father" theory off the cuff and somehow corners himself with his "phases of fatness" thing, and next thing you know he's suddenly all sullen and barking at you as though you did something to deserve it.

He does this in the car when he's drunkenly hitting on the nurse too

FishBowlRobot
Mar 21, 2006





Everyone’s mentioned a lot of the good bits I remember, but I always crack up at Brendan’s disgusting rash.

“I call it the crab!”

Hope my DVDs still work, I know I have the music CD somewhere.

Data Graham
Dec 28, 2009






Yeah, well, uh, let's go to the doctor now.

ONE YEAR LATER
Apr 13, 2004

Fry old buddy, it's me, Bender!


Oven Wrangler

In the den?

Levin
Jun 28, 2005


TRUST YOURSELF

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GolfHole
Feb 26, 2004



Levin posted:

TRUST YOURSELF

🎵 TRUST YOUR F***ING SELF YOU LITTLE PUNK 🎵

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