President, FOX Broadcasting
Somewhere in Los Angeles
Dear Mr. FOX,
Go to hell.
You know, I should have known better. I should have known, when I saw that a show with two of the funniest people on the planet in Eugene Levy and Sarah Silverman, a show with a history as a somewhat-edgy, satire-filled short on another network, a show with the easy-to-market Seth Green in one of the lead roles was coming to FOX, that your network would find a way to completely and spectacularly blow it.
So, why is Greg the Bunny no longer on the air? Which was it that did the show in – the great critical notices or the fact that, despite an advertising campaign that centered around dumb sight gags rather than the satire of the TV industry, the show finished in the top ten for the season in teenage viewership?
Or is it the case that FOX has simply lost what made it FOX in the first place – the willingness to back shows that are subversively funny?
Remember The Simpsons? No, I'm not talking about the current-day incarnation that even one of the stars of the show said isn't funny, but the early days? It was daring, it was new, and it poked holes in the formula. So did In Living Color. Hell, in its own way, so did Get a Life.
Maybe Greg the Bunny just came out too early. You've got two other one-camera sitcoms on the network (Malcolm in the Middle, Arrested Development) that are pretty much the only reasons to watch FOX. Arrested Development, in fact, showcases a lot of the same sensibilities as Greg.
Whatever it is, you blew it big. Congrats. I hope the Independent Film Channel version of the show becomes the hottest property on cable. I hope IFC makes millions off plush Greg dolls. I hope we see Greg the Bunny taking its place as the out-of-adjustment, weird cousin of the Muppets.
No, really, go to hell,
P.S. – Any chance Greg can get a Family Guy-style revival? Please?
(Okay, so it's more of a rant than a review. Let's at least get a plot synopsis out there: In a world where puppets and humans co-exist, Greg get unexpectedly drafted into the lead role on "Sweetknuckle Junction," a kids television show directed by Gil Bender (Eugene Levy), the father of Greg's best friend, Jimmy (Seth Green). Greg is surrounded by other puppets (Count Blah, Warren DeMontague), strange humans like Junction Jack (Bob Gunton) and Dottie Sunshine (Dina Walters), and the bitchy network executive (Sarah Silverman). Think "The Larry Sanders Show" except with puppets.)
The video on the DVD release of Greg the Bunny looks pretty much like broadcast television. There are no transfer issues here. The show looks like it was originally shot in 24p, which could be the source of some of the softer shots in dark scenes.
A 2.0 stereo is provided, again which is all you need. There is little directional sound movement on the discs. Dialogue is clean (well, sometimes it's dirty) and always clear. The one defect seems to be in the opening theme song – it sounds like the sound drops from stereo to mono for a couple seconds towards the end of the song itself.
These discs are fairly loaded for a television show that lasted just 13 episodes. There are commentary tracks for selected episodes, with most of the puppeteers, Green, Silverman and others included. One track is even with the puppets as themselves. Most of the tracks are spotty, with long pauses in between comments, but there are some interesting nuggets in there.
In addition, both discs contain deleted and extended scenes as menu options and "Easter Eggs" within the menus. Keep an eye out for Silverman's Rochester roast joke about waxing a certain part of her anatomy; it's recycled from her stand-up routine, but still always good for a laugh. Most of the cuts were good ideas, and optional commentary from creator Dan Milano will explain why.
There is a half-hour documentary entitled "The Humans Behind the Fabricated-Americans" that tells the whole story of Greg the Bunny, including clips from the original IFC shorts. Milano in particular does a good job of explaining how the cancellation was FOX's fault without making enemies (after all, it is FOX releasing the entire series on DVD). Many of the puppeteers, along with Seth Green and Eugene Levy (the latter only having electronic press kit samples edited in) appear. This is on disc one.
Disc one also includes "Puppet Auditions," which is exactly what it sounds like – a compilation of the auditions that puppeteers went through, using some of their own puppets and some from the show. Drew Massey as "Gary the Shark" is worth the price of admission.
The final extra on disc one is a slide-show of the conceptual artwork for Greg the Bunny, including drawings of Warren DeMontague without his helmet and a sketch of the "Sweetknuckle Juncion" set.
Disc two contains an original episode of "The Greg the Bunny Show" from IFC entitled "Reality." The IFC Greg was different from what made it to FOX; Greg was much more of a "Mr. Bill" character, taking the brunt of abuse from others. In this episode, he learns that he, in fact, is not real.
Sure to be a favorite among hardcore fans is "Tardy Delivery," a short film featuring Tardy the Turtle. It doesn't have as many memorable lines as the series did for the … um … "slow" puppet, but it's still very funny, watching behind-the-scenes folks interact with Tardy. It has optional commentary by Milano and puppeteer Victor Yerrid.
Behind-the-scenes stills, storyboards, a publicity photo gallery and the reel shown at the wrap party round out the disc.
Can Greg the Bunny get a second wind via DVD sales like Family Guy did? It already has, in its own way; the show is heading home to IFC. It might be better off there, even though the budget would likely hamper both production values and "human" talent (can IFC really afford to pay Levy, Green and Silverman?). But the DVD release at least gives us the chance to re-watch some of the funniest television of the last decade.