Sometimes I get the feeling that J.G. Quintel’s hit animated comedy-sitcom Regular Show isn’t getting its proper due. Don’t get me wrong, it’s very successful and is part of Cartoon Network’s current flock of headliners right alongside Adventure Time and The Amazing World of Gumball. But it’s the comparison that it invites that make people fail to appreciate Regular Show on its own true merits.
In the current state of kids’ programming, where shows are trying to emulate more mature storytelling by tackling several intertwining subplots (some of them hinting at topics that kids wouldn’t get yet) in a single episode, Regular Show starts to betray its name, because it’s far from being Regular.
Cartoon Network’s recent release of Regular Show: The Complete First and Second Seasons on Blu-Ray (and DVD!) lets you see that J.G. Quintel has masterfully woven episodes that are wound tightly upon a single plot thread. That’s not to say that there’s no complexity involved – there are nooks and crannies to every single episode, and the characters drop as much references as you would expect from a modern comedy show (for instance, Rigby doing a kame-hame-wave.) but they are mere periphery and do not distract at all from the main yarn. In a way, Regular Show is a modern update on the old 80s comedy cartoons where status quo is set at the start of the episode, followed by chaos, and an ending that reaffirms the status quo. I’m not implying that Regular Show is better than Adventure Time and the Amazing World of Gumball, because “better” is subjective. What I’m getting at is that the show occupies its own well-deserved place in the triumvirate.
The Regular Show: The Complete First and Second Seasons Blu-Ray release shows that Cartoon Network themselves appreciate the show, judging by the quality of the presentation. For instance, the box has faux contours and design that make it stand out from other studios’ releases, which are basically just the cover art stuck inside the Blu-Ray border and logo template. The cover design gives the impression of something that was designed from the ground up instead of a cookie cutter, assembly-line design.
The set contains two Blu-Ray discs (the DVD set has 3, obviously), with the first one containing the 12 11-minute episodes that make up season one, book ended by several bonus features. The second disc is a little bit more meaty, as it holds the entire season 2, consisting of 28 episodes.
The bonus content is not limited to deleted scenes. Aside from the pencil tests, animatics and CGI tests, it also includes trailers from the San Diego Comic Con presentation and TV spots, as well as a live-action music video for the “Party Tonight” song, which gives off an impressive 80s vibe. There’s also an odd “mystery karaoke video” on disc 2, with voice actor Sam Marin being shown in the recording booth singing while the sound is muted and his lip movements censored. I can’t find any value out of the feature, but it’s the kind of randomness you would expect from Regular Show, and as such, doesn’t look too out of place.
Most people fail to appreciate audio and video clarity these days, maybe because online streaming sites managed to desensitize people to audiovisual artifacts, but for those of you who still want the H in HD to be truly H, The Regular Show: The Complete First and Second Seasons Blu-Ray will not disappoint. It does justice to the Blu-Ray format, although audiophiles may balk at the audio quality a bit as it seems like the 5.1 soundtrack stated on the packaging is only in Dolby Digital 2.0. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s not The Dark Knight Rises and you’re not going to watch it on an iMax.
At the end of the day, if you need a new Blu-Ray set to add to your collection, or if you missed the shows the first time around, you might want to plunk down a little bit of dough on The Regular Show: The Complete First and Second Seasons Blu-Ray. It will be a shame if you don’t, given how it’s one of the few shows these days that really give kids a show that they can be nostalgic about and rewatch when they become adults.