Something Animated: Home Movies

H. Jon Benjamin recently did an AMA on Reddit, which wasn’t super insightful because he seems physically incapable of doing a serious interview. It got me thinking about a strand of the Adult Swim (Cartoon Network) family tree.

Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist was basically a showcase for comedians to do bits (animated). I watched some Dr. Katz on videotape when my brother-in-law lived in my parent’s basement, but I didn’t get it at the time. I have not, but apparently need to get to: Lucy: Daughter of the Devil, Bob’s Burgers, and Metalocalypse. But I did watch Home Movies, you guys. I did.

Anyway the journey thing:

  • H. Jon Benjamin went from Dr. Katz to Home Movies to Bob’s Burgers to Archer. Archer’s popular (starting season 5 now, 62 episodes), but it’s not my thing.
  • Brendon Small went from Home Movies to Metalocalypse, which has a pretty strong following (4 seasons, 62 episodes).
  • Paula Poundstone went from Dr. Katz to Home Movies. I remember her voice more – maybe she and Janine Ditullio, who apparently did most of the voicing for the mom, sound alike.
  • Jonathan Katz went from Dr. Katz to Home Movies.
  • Loren Bouchard wrote for Dr. Katz, Home Movies, and Bob’s Burgers. Which makes me want to check out Bob’s Burgers, I think I’ve only seen an episode or two.
  • A few comedians went from Dr. Katz to Home Movies – patients doing their bits on Dr. Katz, then small but actual roles in Home Movies. People you know: Louis C.K., Emo Phillips, Mitch Hedberg, Maria Bamford, David Cross, Patton Oswalt, Todd Barry, Gilbert Gottfried. Those are the ones I recognize from IMDB. I don’t remember all of them in the episodes except Emo, who plays a pretty convincing bully. If you needed a reason to check it out maybe that’ll help. This list of characters is pretty slick.
194px-Brendon_Small_by_Gage_Skidmore
via Gage Skidmore

Brendon Small’s pretty amazing. He co-created Home Movies, wrote and acted for it, did some of the music, and co-created Metalocalypse, writes and acts (3 characters) for it.

Home Movies is about an 8-year old kid NAMED Brendon who makes movies with Jason (Benjamin) and Melissa (Melissa Bardin Galsky, who also stayed in the family, working on O’Grady, Lucy: Daughter of the Devil, and Bob’s Burgers). The movies, as we see them filmed, are exactly like the kind of movies you’d made as a kid. Stilted dialogue dramatically acted, cheapo special effects, and respresentative of every kind of genre: horror, romance, sci-fi, action, whatever. Revolving around these movies are the kids’ lives, going to school, dealing with parents, etc.

The kicker about Home Movies is it isn’t a set up for the comedians, it really is about the characters and what kids might do if they were both dealing with kid issues (enjoying fruit boxes and playing in the sandbox) while understanding and dealing with grown-up issues and social mores. It’s really well written and casually acted – I wonder how much was ad-libbed. The grown-ups, generally, like in South Park, are the embarrassment. Brendon’s mom is all over the place, Melissa’s dad is over-eager and goofy. I guess we never really see Jason’s folks. Melissa is confident, and so is Jason, and Brendon is a mess, maybe because of who he is, or how scattered his mom is, or his parents’ divorce.

Anyway. Check it out, it’s a lot more mellow than most of the stuff on Adult Swim now.

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