Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming block has become so crowded with live-action series (“Children’s Hospital,” “Look Around You,” “The Mighty Boosh,” “Delocated”) that it’s getting to be a treat to see an actual cartoon. Thankfully, CN is adding a couple of major new animated shows this month with the cartoon spin-off of MAD Magazine (called, simply, “MAD”) and the ironically titled “Regular Show.”
“Regular Show” is the demented and slightly deformed brainchild of J.G. Quintel, who last served as creative director on “The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack.” The show is based on characters created when Quintel attended the California Institute of the Arts. (No shocker there; half the animators in Hollywood went there.) “Regular Show” relates the daily adventures of Mordecai and Rigby, a pair of goof-off twentysomething best friends who “work” as groundskeepers at a large park. It should be noted, of course, that Mordecai is a 6-foot-tall blue jay and Rigby is a hyperactive raccoon. Their uptight boss, meanwhile, is an anthropomorphic gum ball machine. The owner of the park is a terminally cheerful lollipop in a top hat. Oh, and one of their co-workers is a yeti. Yeah, “Regular Show” has got a thing for weird characters.
Basically, Mordecai and Rigby spend their days putting a monumental amount of work into avoiding work. In the process, they stumble into a number of odd situations (finding a mystical, wish-granting keyboard, unleashing the Destroyer of Worlds from an old-school arcade game). It’s all innocent fun, though, as nobody gets hurt in this rainbow-colored, kids-show-for-adults world. Talking animals and candy aside, “Regular Show” is pretty much your standard workplace sitcom. The dialogue is rapid-fire, and the characters all have their own amusing speech patterns. But mostly it’s the parade of super-strange characters that generates laughs (like, for example, a giant Japanese coffee bean who squirts java out of his man-boobs).
Quintel’s clean-lined art style looks a little like an episode of “Schoolhouse Rock!” gone horribly wrong, while the stories play out like “Beavis and Butt-head” crossed with “SpongeBob SquarePants.” Fans of the unexpectedly weird will be most at home with this one. Still, “Regular Show” has a way of growing on you, once you acclimate to its naive strangeness.