Last February, I wrote an article about Cartoon Network’s Regular Show and how it speaks to the 80s generation of gamers with genuine love and attention to detail. Whereas other shows make only cursory, often disparaging references towards the medium, Regular Show recognizes that games have long been cultural artifacts that deserve just as much respect as film or music. In other words, the show “gets it.”
Regular Show is easily one of my favorite TV programs, so you can imagine how excited I was to be given the opportunity to interview series creator J.G. Quintel. He explained how influential gaming was to him during his youth as well as how important it was for that influence to be reflected as accurately as possible within the show. He also talks about his being the only family in the neighborhood with a Sega Master System and how his dream Regular Show videogame would play like ToeJam & Earl.
The interview was conducted by telephone on March 21, but rather than leave you guys with a simple mp3 of the conversation, I decided to turn it into an extremely ghetto, 20-minute slideshow. I apologize if the audio is difficult to make out, especially during the times when I talk over J.G. like a total ass. Since our incoherent mumblings may be too much to handle, I’ve transcribed of few choice highlights past the break for your benefit.
00:27 — Regular Show was green-lit as part of a push to “age up” Cartoon Network.
01:25 — “2 in the AM PM,” one of J.G.’s short films that served as prototypes for Regular Show, contains cursing and drug use. Yep, definitely child-safe material!
02:09 — “Weekend at Benson’s” is an episode that spoofs the 1989 comedy Weekend at Bernie’s, with the important distinction that Benson isn’t actually dead.
04:00 — J.G.’s first game console was the Sega Master System, while his friends all had an NES.
05:51 — Several notable SMS games from J.G.’s youth include Double Dragon, Time Soldiers, Shinobi, Thunder Blade, Psycho Fox, R-Type, and Snail Maze, which was built into the machine and could be played when no cartridge was inserted.
08:12 — So sad! J.G. is too busy with work to be able to play games anymore!
09:06 — Other TV shows suck at demonstrating typical gamer posture and button-pressing.
10:55 — In Regular Show, J.G. tries to demonstrate that videogames are the “equivalent of reading a book or watching a TV show,” just as in reality.
13:20 — For a proper Regular Show videogame, J.G. would either want a co-op brawler similar to old Konami arcade games or a chill, two-player, exploration-based title just like ToeJam & Earl.
16:25 — “Video Game Wizards” is an episode that spoofs everyone’s favorite movie / commercial, The Wizard, right down to the Power Glove. The episode first aired last week, so I obviously hadn’t seen it when I conducted this interview.
18:39 — Regular Show: The Slack Pack, which just came out today, is a compilation DVD that contains 12 staff- and audience-favorite episodes.
19:50 — “Over the Top” is an episode that spoofs the Sylvester Stallone arm wrestling movie, Over the Top. It features one of the many deaths of Rigby throughout the series.
20:35 — The world of Regular Show is caught in a time warp, where 80s culture reigns supreme but little bits from later decades manage to worm their way through.