Home Movies is a dialogue-driven American animated series that originally aired from 1999 to 2004. The plot surrounds an eight-year-old Brendon Small (voiced by the creator, head writer, and lead musician of Home Movies, Brendon Small), who makes home films with his friends, Melissa Robbins and Jason Penopolis, in his spare time. He lives with his divorced mother, Paula, and his adopted baby sister, Josie. He is also friends with his alcoholic, short-tempered soccer coach, John McGuirk.
Home Movies was produced by Soup2Nuts and originally aired on the UPN network -- only to be canceled after five episodes. The show was then picked up by [adult swim], whereupon it finished the first season and ran for three more.
In its first season, Home Movies utilized Soup2Nuts’s Squigglevision technology to animate the show but later abandoned that for the cheaper, more malleable Macromedia Flash animation. The switch was initiated for several reasons: scattered negative response to Squigglevision (from both critics and potential fans), limitations in regard to movement (fluid motion is rare in Squigglevision), and the view that Squigglevision was inherent to Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist and that Home Movies should develop its own unique style.
Another quality that Home Movies carried over from Dr. Katz was its initial use of “retroscripting”, a process in which an episode’s scripts are purposely left vague, and instead of exact dialogue, the plot of a particular scene is merely outlined—the rest of the dialogue is then created through improv by the actors. The use of retroscripting in Home Movies gives the show very casual, realistic dialogue with an often dry, sarcastic wit. Although retroscripting was only used officially in the first season (the entire first episode was improvised from start to finish), the dialogue in the following three seasons remained heavily improvised, with the written script serving mainly as a guide or something to fall back on for jokes if needed.
Another prominent feature of the show was its use of completely original music written and performed by the series creator Brendon Small, a graduate of the Berklee College of Music, a self-proclaimed shredder, who went on to become the composer, vocalist, and guitarist of Dethklok.
A recurring visual theme within the show are lawn gnomes, which tend to make random but subtle appearances in the background of many scenes (even a gnome-shaped guitar appears in a music shop in the episode “Guitarmageddon”). At least one lawn gnome can be found in almost every episode of the series, as well as on the DVD box art.
- Main article: List of Home Movies characters
Season plot summariesEdit
Animated in Squigglevision and heavily using retroscripting, the first five episodes aired on UPN in 1999 and the remaining eight on the Cartoon Network in 2001. The show introduced the main characters in this season, and mainly consisted of episodes revolving around Brendon’s movies. Much of the style of the writing is loose and improvised. The season ends with Brendon saying hello to his, until then absent, father on the phone.
Now animated in Flash, this is the first season commissioned by the Cartoon Network as a result of moderate ratings of Season One reruns. The episodes are now heavily scripted, but the creators now have much more freedom, allowing for creative episodes (“History”), introducing new characters (Fenton Mewly, the Addleburgs) as well as a multiple-story season arc, which included:
- Brendon meeting his father’s fiancé, Linda, resulting in therapy sessions, leading up to a wedding.
- Brendon develops a crush on Scäb choreographer Cynthia, and tries to win her over.
- Paula loses her job and searches for a new one.
The show also develops a writing device that carries through the next seasons, in which the plots of one episode usually all have an underlying theme. Emphasis on Brendon’s movies become key here, and the subtext of their creation is finally discussed.
A bit looser than Season Two, the show ditches the idea of seasonal story arc, and many of the episodes air out of order. Brendon’s father has two episodes and remains unseen for the rest of the series. The episodes become racier, with more resounding sexual themes and cursing than before. Secondary characters, such as Fenton and Duane, begin to have a chance to shine, as episodes focused on them and others are made. Another noteworthy aspect is that the show finally recognizes actual movies, and starts parodying them heavily. The season ends with Linda, Brendon’s stepmother, having a child, but afterward she, Andrew, and the child are never heard from again.
The last season: the creators apparently knew they were getting cancelled throughout the entire production of the final thirteen episodes. Many of the episodes are straight parodies of movies, including three allusions to Hitchcock thrillers. The bulk of the episodes consist of plots that involve Brendon doing something other than making films. Part of this revolves around Brendon trying to figure out whether he still enjoys making movies, or if it's becoming more of a chore. An entire episode (“Curses”) dealt with swearing and adult themes. The loose dialogue and long conversations lessen for humorous plot devices and a speedier delivery at jokes and gags. The final episode (“Focus Grill”), was made in mind as a series finale, and brought back the long conversations and loose dialogue, as well as a resolution to the series as Brendon, Jason and Melissa finally make a conclusion to their first film, declaring their friendship before they come to the conclusion that their movies aren't as good as they had always believed. He accidentally drops his camera from a moving car while filming scenery in the final sequence and watches in distress as it gets run over, but is thereafter distracted from his grief by a discussion of fast food prompted by his mother and Coach McGuirk. The final episode aired on April 4 2004.
- Main article: List of Home Movies episodes
|Season||Ep #||First Airdate||Last Airdate|
|Season 1||13||April 26, 1999||October 7, 2001|
|Season 2||13||January 6, 2002||March 31, 2002|
|Season 3||13||August 4, 2002||May 25, 2003|
|Season 4||13||November 11, 2003||April 4, 2004|
|DVD Name||Release Date||Ep #||Additional Information|
|Season One||November 16 2004||13||This three-disc boxset includes all 13 episodes from season one. Special features include 10 commentary tracks, animatics, interviews with cast and creators, animation galleries, and short films by Brendon Small and Jon Benjamin.|
|Season Two||May 31 2005||13||This three-disc boxset includes all 13 episodes from season two. Special features include commentaries and interviews with Brendon Small, Melissa Galsky and executive producer Loren Bouchard, Winner of the “Small Shorts” film contest, animatics, songs from the series, Landstander, and the Decide Your Doom interactive adventure video game. It also includes a “how-to” guide to playing the Home Movies theme.|
|Season Three||November 15 2005||13||This three-disc boxset includes all 13 episodes from season three. Special features include commentaries, animatics and a featurette for “People who don’t necessarily like Home Movies.”|
|Season Four||May 16, 2006||13||This three-disc boxset includes all 13 episodes from season four. Special features include 24 commentaries, animatics, and featurettes. Also included is a CD with 52 tracks composed and performed by Small for the show.|
|Home Movies 10th Anniversary Set||November 4, 2008||52||This 10th Anniversary thirteen-disc boxset will include every episode of Home Movies plus new special features.|
In the episode of the Family Guy program titled "Blue Harvest," Coach McGuirk is seen mingling amongst the aliens in the background of the recreated Mos Eisley Cantina scene. It should be noted that H. Jon Benjamin, the voice actor who lends his voice to Coach McGuirk, is a reoccurring actor on Family Guy, lending his voice to Carl.
In the 2006 Halloween edition of Homestar Runner, Bubs is dressed as Coach McGuirk.
- Official site
- Super site
- Soup2Nuts' official site
- Home Movies page from Shout! Factory
- TV.com page
- IGN’s 10 Questions: Brendon Small
- MP3 audio interview with creator Brendon Small from public radio show The Sound of Young America.
- Precious Roy Studios Website of the film company that won the Small Shorts Film Contest as seen on the Second Season DVD of Home Movies.
- An interview with Small in regard to the release of season three of Home Movies on DVD and his new cartoon, Metalocalypse