Reviews: Home Movies

Filled a Niche, But Filled it Extremely Well

Home Movies is the type of show that you'll either love or hate. Well, "hate" is the wrong word. At all levels, the show does at least an adequate job. The animation, while rather simplistic, is acceptable. The character designs make everyone recognizable, much like the cast of The Simpsons. And the transition music is repetitive but sets the mood well enough and is usually slightly catchy to boot.

Characterization and writing is what sets Home Movies apart from other animated shows, and is what makes it such a treasured cult classic while leaving other people wondering what all the fuss is about. Home Movies is not a wacky, far-fetched, bombastic comedy, and if that's what you want in a television show, you're better off looking elsewhere. The stories the show tells are almost completely grounded in reality (even if some of the background details are a little more surreal). The issues of divorce, writer's block, parent-teacher conferences, and other mundane aspects of typical modern suburban life are explored.

The comedy in the show derives not primarily from the characters getting into wacky situations, or from the characters saying funny things (don't worry; these are present, but are more subtle and subdued than normal). Rather, most of the humor comes from the way characters deliver their dialogue. A typical conversation in Home Movies is filled with a high degree of inflection, emotional tone, misunderstandings, interruptions, awkward starts and stops, and the occasional (and hilarious) fevered pitch. Because the voice actors do not sound as if they are reading lines (indeed, during the first few episodes, most of the dialogue was improvised), it sounds incredibly life-like, something that everybody can relate to and is fun and easy to follow. The voice of each character is easily identifiable and, along with their unique appearances, makes for strong characterization. Coach Mc Guirk, Jason, Walter and Perry, and Erik Robbins are especially fun to watch and hear.

Special mention must be made of Duane and his band, Scab, which play incredibly concentrated metal music, derived from creator Brendon Small's musical skills, and dress the part. Fans of the genre will not find Scab's outbursts offensive, and the band provides the show with much of its sparse over-the-top humor.

I recommend you check it out, to see if it's for you.