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Western Animation / Close Enough

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Close Enough is an animated comedy series created by J.G Quintel, best known for Cartoon Network's Regular Show. Bill Oakley of The Simpsons and Mission Hill fame serves as a writing consultant.

A surreal take on transitioning from an irresponsible twenty-something to a somewhat responsible thirty-something, the series revolves around a married couple, Josh (an aspiring video game developer who works at a Best Buy-style electronics store) and Emily (an aspiring musical comedian), who live in a Los Angeles apartment alongside their five-year-old daughter, Candice; their two divorced best friends, Alex (a community college professor) and Bridgette (a social media influencer who doesn't have a regular 9-to-5 job because she's from a wealthy family); and an elderly black former policewoman named Pearle and her white, adopted son, Randy (whose job hasn't been revealed yet).


Each day, Josh and Emily find themselves juggling such everyday challenges as parenthood, friendship, growing older in a society that worships youth, ham theft, stripper clowns, conservative Christian dinosaurs, talking dogs who are fans of Jim Carrey, and choosing the right daycare.

Originally scheduled to air in 2018 as part of a new adult animation block on TBS, it fell into limbo after production on companion show Louis C.K.'s The Cops was cancelled due to C.K. being outed for sexual misconductnote . Close Enough would premiere two years later through HBO Max on July 9, 2020. On August 6, Quintel announced that a second season has been greenlit, which released on February 25th, 2021. Two more seasons would be announced on February 10th. International distribution via Netflix began on September 14 2020.


The HBO Max series trailer can be viewed here, and the original pitch trailer here.

This show provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Adult Fear: Josh gets a brief moment in "100% No Stress Day" when he and Alex regain consciousness after being knocked out by the Ham Stealer and realizes that Candice is missing. When Josh asks the Ham Stealer where his daughter is, he is horrified when he answers, "She's in a better place now". Thankfully, that just turns out to be the name of the Ham Stealer's highly-rated daycare.
  • An Aesop: A few to name.
    • "Logan's Run'd" offers one: Growing old isn't all bad, and part of being an adult is having your tastes shift and not having to keep up with the crowd as you would in your youth.
    • "Birthdaze" is about thinking about your child's birthday then your own amusement and being there for them.
    • "Men Rock" has the rather timely aesop that creating products that cater to the tastes of oppressive regimes is wrong and only reinforces their status quo, and that creators have a responsibility to speak out against it.
  • Anthropomorphic Animals: Dog Guy and his fellow mutants in "The Canine Guy".
  • Author Avatar: The main family is based on J.G. Quintel's own family, with Josh even being a self-voiced caricature of J.G. himself.
  • Battle Couple: Josh and Emily, especially if it involves Candice.
  • Big "NO!": In "Prank War", Josh yells this after seeing his wife seemingly killed.
  • Brick Joke: Subverted due to executive interference. The broken thermostat in the Cold Open of "Quilty Pleasures" is built up to have later plot significance, but due to the 22-minute plot being cut in half and the B-plot all but removed, the payoff is only alluded to briefly in the final episode.
  • The Cameo: David Hasselhoff and "Weird Al" Yankovic voice themselves in different episodes.
  • Censorship by Spelling: While driving home after picking up Candice from school, Josh and Emily try to use this to obscure their swears, but Candice figures out what they spell right away. The parents grudgingly admit Candice's education must be pretty good.
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: Josh in the spiritual sense to Rigby. Where Rigby was kind of a jerk who spent most of his time trying to get out of work so he could play, Josh on the other hand is a very nice - if only a little lazy and naïve - who doesn't mind adding to his workload if he thinks it's for a good reason. It probably helps that Josh is older with a wife and kid where Rigby was young and full of insecurities. Emily, likewise, is similar for Mordecai, being in a stable relationship, while Mordecai was always trying to find a girl, and less willing to put up with Josh's antics than Mordecai was for Rigby.
  • Cool Car: Josh and Emily's red mid-90s Corolla is a mundane sight, especially in a car-centric climate like Southern California, but it's pushed to its limits and remains faithful to its owners without missing a beat. Not to mention, for a single-child 30-something married couple living in a shared apartment, very appropriate.
  • invokedContractual Purity: In "The Perfect House", Emily tries to escape from the sitcom she's trapped in. At one point she presumes she can break the simulation by deliberately being raunchier than the Full House-esque tone, which she does by swearing, baring her boobs, and Flipping the Bird. Unfortunately, this just causes the audience watching her to react poorly.
  • Creepy Child: The street urchins in "Quilty Pleasure" turn out to be psychotic (adult) murderers.
  • Damn, It Feels Good to Be a Gangster!: Parodied in "Sauceface," where Candice runs an illicit hot sauce racket in her preschool.
  • Death by Cameo: In "The Canine Guy", "Weird Al" Yankovic appears in the middle of the woods, says a few lines, explains his ritual to be able to balance writing comedy songs with having a family, and proceeds to get mauled by a bear. He even appears at the end of the episode as a ghost. Only to get mauled by a ghost bear.
  • Double-Meaning Title: The title Close Enough refers to both the proximity Josh and Emily have with their roommates and neighbors, as well as the idea that their current lives aren't perfect, but "close enough" to what they wanted. J.G. Quintel also happily accepted the third fanon explanation of "it's not Regular Show, but it's close enough" (meaning that the show may not be exactly like Regular Show, but it's "close enough" in humor and art style).
  • Downer Ending: Cyber Matrix ends with everyone trapped in Matrix-like tubes run by an evil smartphone for eternity. Not that it matters on this show.
  • Dustbin School: Implied to be the reason for why Josh and Emily are so intent on keeping Candice in her new school, despite the annoying teacher and frustrating obligations. We see a cutaway of a horde of near-feral children tipping over a school bus and setting it on fire. And the driver begs them to stop because he had to pay for the bus out of his own pocket!
  • Eating the Eye Candy: Emily's reaction to Josh getting shredded in "Josh Gets Shredded".
    Candice: But we were playing.
    Emily: I know sweetie, but it's important for us to support him now that he's hot.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • Though she may be sex-crazed, Bridgette freaks out over going to jail for making out with a YouTube star who's only 26 months old on "Logan's Run'd".
    • The Ham Stealer from "100% No Stress Day" has no problem murdering people, but he seems to draw the line at children. While he plans to kill Josh and Alex, he drops Candice off at a daycare.
      • Also, the stripper clowns (unlike the ham thieves) respect the honor of a bet and back down after losing.
  • Epic Fail: Josh's attempt at impressing Candice and teaching her how to skate in "Skate Dad", which ends with him falling off the board and hitting himself in the crotch at the first move.
  • Fan Disservice: Two words: stripper clowns.
  • Fat, Sweaty Southerner in a White Suit: Randy's biological father in "Meet the Frackers" is a career criminal turned Corrupt Corporate Executive who fits all the hallmarks of this trope: he's a Fat Bastard who wears a white suit, speaks with a rural drawl, and his balding head is glistening with sweat.
  • Gag Penis: In "100% No Stress Day", the red-haired clown was able to tie up his penis like a balloon animal and make it resemble a giraffe, complete with stretching. Another clown at the end of the episode offers to make a brontosaurus (with everyone objecting after Candice innocently says she wants to see it).
  • Gas Siphoning: Randy's biological parents were criminals who were experts at siphoning gas out of vehicles before getting caught and sent to prison. Their son is shown to have inherited their skills, as he was able to siphon gas out of a moving tanker truck, while riding in a car parallel to it.
  • Hollywood New England: The vasectomy robots from "So Long Boys" are said to be from Boston; as such, they speak with Kennedy-esque accents and make random references to Boston sports teams.
  • Hunk: Josh briefly turns into one in "Josh Gets Shredded."
    • Hulk Speak: He also briefly degenerates to this after becoming a muscle-bound monster in the same episode.
  • Hypocrite: The nightclub owner from "Logan's Run'd", who has anyone over 30 in his club ritually sacrificed for the crime of being old, is actually by far the oldest person there, and has been hiding the fact that he's at least 50 with a wig.
  • Incendiary Exponent: If something doesn't explode during a dramatic moment, it'll burst into flames.
    • Made of Explodium: Just like its predecessor, anything - from an alleged orphan hitting a mailbox, to skateboards - will explode or burst into flames if it's sufficiently funny or dramatic enough.
  • Marijuana Is LSD: Emily sharing a joint with Bridgette causes them both to start experiencing colorful hallucinations.
  • Murderous Mannequin: The Forever 23 store mannequins of "Clap Like This" act like regular mannequins by day and party all night when the store's closed. For them there's only the carefree life, which sounds great to the miserable new store employee Bridgette. Being forcibly turned into a mannequin in the store that doubles as an operating theater is a little less up her alley. Worse, because she's uncooperative, the mannequins threaten to use her for spare parts after turning her into one.
  • Parental Neglect: Josh and Emily are both specifically trying not to do this to Candice and try their dearest to be there for her, but the plot of many episodes explore how hard it can be to juggle parenting with their personal aspirations.
  • Parents as People: Both Josh and Emily fall into this category. They are both flawed individuals, but there is no denying that they really are trying to do their best for Candice, who appreciates their efforts.
  • Perpetual Poverty: Implied to be Josh and Emily's money situation. "100% No Stress Day" had Emily freaking out over the ham being stolen because that means no food in the house (as well as the montage of stressful moments in Emily's life, one of which includes an absurdly long student loan bill) and the reason they can afford the condo in Southern California is because they share it with a divorced couple (Alex and Bridgette, the latter of whom comes from a wealthy family) who still live together.
  • Pregnancy Scare: After having a close call, Josh decides to get a vasectomy due to the fact he and Emily can barely afford one child. He decides against it though when he gets pissed off at how the clinic treats having kids as the worst.
  • Ruder and Cruder: Close Enough is raunchier than Regular Show. Justified, since Close Enough is an actual adult cartoon rather than a kids' cartoon with questionable jokes meant for adults.
  • Shout-Out:
    • There are numerous references to Quintel's previous series Regular Show: for example, the park house is put up for sale on "The Perfect House", Josh and Emily's kitchen wallpaper have silhouettes of Mordecai, Rigby, Muscle Man, Benson, and Pops; there's a backmasked message in "Skate Dad" urging the viewer to buy Regular Show DVDs (on the shot of the demonic skateboard), "Cool Moms" has one of the little girls in the arm wrestling gym wearing an "I'm Eggscellent" trucker cap, and a set of condoms seen in "The Canine Guy" have Mordecai's face on them.
    • In "100% No Stress Day", a bunch of clown strippers are giving the Death Glare to Josh and Alex because Alex owes them money, and Alex mutters "They found me. I don't know how, but they found me."
    • "The Canine Guy" is basically a game of how many Jim Carrey movie references you can make in eleven minutes.
    • The entirety of "Logan's Run'd" is a reference to Logan's Run, which is brought up in the episode itself and is a hint that the owner of the nightclub is actually much older than he's pretending to be.
    • The stash of drugs Alex has packed in the beginning of "Skate Dad" is said to include "uppers, downers, laughers, and screamers".
    • A Gremlin appears as one of the inmates in "Prank War".
  • Spiritual Successor: The show has the same creator and much of the same staff as Regular Show. Both series have a very similar art style and carry the same Mundane Made Awesome set-up, but whereas Regular Show focused on anthropomorphic, 20-something slackers who slowly mature and figure out their identities over the course of the series, Close Enough follows a mostly human cast who are navigating their early 30s and dealing with married life, parenthood, and general adulthood. It's also a lot more frantic and less laid-back in tone compared to Regular Show.
  • Status Quo Is God: Any episode that ends with the protagonists in a worse-off place has no bearing on the next one. See Downer Ending above.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: A Running Gag of the show is that everything can explode for pretty much no reason. Some of the stuff that explodes includes a Street Urchin thrown against a mailbox, an old man that rolls against a water tank, and a skate that hits a drum.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: The thing about muscles is that you can't just get them and stop. Once you have them you have to work to maintain them otherwise you lose them. Though it happens far quicker than in reality once Josh stops working to keep his muscles he loses his new mass.
  • Surreal Humor: Much like Regular Show, Close Enough mixes bizarre or even supernatural events with Josh and Emily's everyday life to generate its laughs. Sometimes, it crosses the line into Surreal Horror.
  • The Thing That Would Not Leave: The appropriately titled Houseguest from Hell centers around Emily's horrible college friend moving into the house, with her having to find the courage to tell her to leave.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: Time Hooch has Alex and Josh go on a trip through time using the eponymous hooch to try and keep Alex's relationship from falling apart. They successively visit various milestone arguments in their journey and bring the Alex's of those times back with them, all the way to their first meeting. In the end all the extra Alex's end up in prehistory, where they end up preserved in amber, leaving them to be discovered by a more recent but still in the past company that wants to clone a caveman, implied to be where Alex himself comes from in a Stable Time Loop.
  • Unusual Euphemism: On multiple occasions, Josh and Emily refer to having sex as "doing our taxes."
  • Vocal Dissonance: The youtuber who Bridget tries to hit on ends up being a literal baby with a deep voice.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Happens a lot.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: Occasionally.
  • Vomit Chain Reaction: In The Erotic Awakening of A. P. La Pearle, this is everyone's reaction to finding out Alex wrote The Rigid Helmet. Or saying anything sexual in general.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Averted. Unlike Regular Show, Close Enough explicitly takes place in Los Angeles. The characters live in the central L.A. neighborhood of Silver Lake, and plots have them travel all over the city to places like the Travel Town Museum and Baxter Street.


Video Example(s):


"We Can Run Errands!"

While letting their kid on her first sleepover, Emily and Josh take advantage of their first kid-free night in years to run errands.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (18 votes)

Example of:

Main / MundaneMadeAwesome

Media sources:

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