Regular Show is a series that kids love—mine sure does anyway. Sure, it’s a show about a blue jay and a raccoon who work at a park for a gumball machine man, but most of the humor is honestly going to hit the grown-ups in the audience much harder than it will the children, especially if those grown-ups are pop culture-minded. Series creator J.G. Quintel and his team write the Emmy Award-winning Regular Show in a way that appeals to their senses of humor as adults rather than pandering to children (something Quintel talks about in the special features of this set), and so it’s almost got more to offer adult viewers than it does their kids. As such, it’s not uncommon when Regular Show is on in my household, for example, to find my son marveling at the insanity that’s taking place onscreen while I’m doubled over in hysterics next to him on the couch.
And that’s the way it should be. Here’s my pro-tip to parents who throw up in their mouths a little bit when they think about watching another episode of Dora or Thomas with their little ones: it doesn’t have to be that way! You don’t have to watch crap you don’t want to. You’re an adult. You make the decisions. Put something on for the kids that you too can enjoy. As a parent, that’s always been my mantra. Before my son was even born, I was stocking up on Transformers DVDs and Yo Gabba Gabba so that we’d have tolerable family fare on hand at all times. And what’s great is, now that I’m a parent, I find Cartoon Network putting out numerous shows that are geared toward the entire family in the way that I’ve described Regular Show to be, not the least of which is its immediate precursor, Adventure Time. So if you’re amongst the aforementioned group of parents who can’t stomach the things your kids watch, put Regular Time on your to-do list and pick up the DVDs/Blu-rays next time you’re out and about.
Now, the last time we covered Regular Show on FilmMonthly, we reviewed the first and second season collection, which Cartoon Network released on both DVD and Blu-ray. That’s of course a fair place to start if you’re a parent desperately seeking tolerable children’s programming. For anyone who’s already a fan, the complete third season of Regular Show is now available on DVD (though sadly not Blu-ray for some reason). And it’s a terrific season, wherein the regular problems Mordecai and Rigby encounter are still blown wildly out of proportions as they take what Quintel calls “the slacker way out” of their problems. They’re still inadvertently summoning massive, deadly beasties and getting themselves transported to one alternate dimension or another for the various crimes they commit against space and time. But they’re also out there just playing games, renting video tapes, and trying to eat 12-egg omelets.
It’s also a season that comes packaged with some sweet special features, including episode commentaries and three featurettes. In one featurette on this collection, “Four Things You Didn’t Know About J.G.,” Quintel talks about the origins of some of the events in season three, in particular the 12-egg omelet challenge that is the centerpiece of “Eggscellent,” as well as his affinity for British television, which is often referenced in the series. What he doesn’t mention are the awesome movies they ape on throughout, which is particularly exciting for a cinephile like myself. Sometimes you’ll catch but a passing reference to a movie as when Mordecai, Rigby and Benson take They Live-style space teleporters back to Earth in “Cool Bikes.” Other times, a significant portion of an episode’s narrative will be influenced by a movie. In the final minutes of “Stick Hockey,” for example, the episode straight up turns into Bloodsport, only with stick hockey. You’ll also find references to The Big Lebowski, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and The Wizard, among a whole pile of others. And there’s no missing the blatant homage to Weekend at Bernie’s in “Weekend at Benson’s.” My favorite movie moment in the season, though, comes about in the episode “Fortune Cookie,” in which Benson loses the park in a card game to Big Trouble in Little China’s Lo Pan and Lo Pan sucks the park up into his fanny pack. Talk about freaking epic!
The raddest special feature on the third season set is “Characters Come to Life: Live Episode Read”! In “Characters Come to Life,” the core cast of voice actors from Regular Show AND Adventure Time come together onstage to do some live voicing of clips from their respective series’ episodes. The casts switch back and forth for about five minutes or so, presenting some hilarious moments including Mordecai and Rigby’s “Go away, Skips” song from the first season episode “The Power,” as well as Jake’s “Balloon Music” song from Adventure Time. It’s one thing to know what the voice actors behind some of your favorite characters look like, but another thing altogether to see them at work. I only wish this featurette had been much, much longer!