It's time to pay the price
Loves: "Home Movies," cartoons, Shout! Factory
Likes: [adult swim], Walter and Perry
Hates: Fenton Mewley
The Story So Far...
Whether the group is running away to become appreciated artists in Europe, serving detention Breakfast Club-style or breaking up their friendship, the show gets its laughs out of a twisted sitcom sensibility, where the kids have a better sense of the world than the adults. The plots thankfully are more original than the traditional sitcom stories, poking fun at topics like child slavery, obesity, elderly divorce and French kids.
The third season of the show saw the creators get a perfect handle on the characters and the animation. Episodes like "Time to Pay the Price" are quintessential "Home Movies," taking a cue from the kids' moviemaking and spinning it off with an odd sense of humor. There are the occasional side-stories involving the always funny relationship between McGuirk and Mr. Lynch or Paula's career problems, but they don't get the time they would have in earlier episodes.
More important than who is in these episodes less, is who is in them more, namely Walter and Perry. These pint-sized maniacs are a bit more "out" this time around, freely expressing their love for each other, and annoying all those around them. There's not a moment that they are on-screen that isn't extremely entertaining, especially in "Storm Warning," where they are utter lunatics in attempting to save a tree they have a special attachment to.
While there are many great episodes in this set, the best of the bunch is "Renaissance," which sees the kids staffing a Medieval Fair, under the supervision of Mr. Lynch, who enjoys the role-playing a bit too much. Every inch and every second of this episode has something funny going on, whether it's Walter and Perry trapped in an apple cart, the sci-fi/D&D rivalry or McGuirk's hangover. The climax is the high point of the series in terms of ridiculous fun and animation quality.
While "Renaissance" is the finest episode, the season finale, "Coffins and Cradles" is excellent in its own right, as it was intended as a series finale if the show wasn't picked up for a fourth season. Life, death, fun Halloween costumes, the return of one of the more fun characters from the second season and a guest spot from Tom Kenny make for a good time, and the show actually becomes poignant for a moment. But only a moment.
The audio, presented as a Dolby Digital 2.0 track, is strong, with clear dialogue and a mix that delivers the music with a nice weight. It's a simple track, as the show doesn't try any aural acrobatics, but a good one that sounds just as it should.
The extras don't seem to get off to a great start this time out, with Disc One feeling a bit light in terms of quantity. Following up on one of the easter eggs on Season Two, "Decide Your Doom Game: Revenge of the Dorks," allows you to play a choose-your-own-adventure based on the episode "Renaissance." It's a fun little game, and even the credits have jokes in them, so it's a good time-waster. There's also animatics (or rough draft animation) for "Shore Leave." Animation fans might find this an interesting look at the creation process.
Disc Two has a pair of bonus features, starting with "A Featurette for People Who Don't Necessarily Like 'Home Movies' by Jon Benjamin." With a name like that, it's got to be good. Basically, it's just a scant few minutes of odd footage, with a couple of famous guest stars like Todd Barry and David Cross. The thing is, it's followed by "The Making of the DVD Extra You Just Saw," which is a perfect parody of the standard "Making of" featurettes that are all over DVDs, right down to the oh-so-serious music. For any DVD fanatic, it's a real treat. Animatic for "Guitarmadeddon" are also included.
Disc Three features three more special features. "Some 'Home Movies' Fans - A Music Video" is made up of stills of fans of the show at some sort of convention, getting autographs from Small and company at a Shout! Factory booth. Set to the music from the "Time to Pay the Price" commentary, the most interesting thing about this piece is how hot some of the show's fans are. There's also animatics for "Coffins and Cradles."
In my opinion, the best extra in this set is the 72-minute April 2004 radio interview, conducted by WFMU's Tom Scharpling with Bouchard and Benjamin. Right from the beginning, it's obvious that it's not the usual interview. Let's just say that Benjamin's voice is a bit unusual. At times combative, but always funny, the interview is all over the map and an enjoyable listen.
The Bottom Line