Upon first glimpse, they seem like the usual high-action, attention deficit comedy that has been born from the soggy corpse of SpongeBob SquarePants. Not that there is anything wrong with that. But both these shows seem to operate on a level above that of the usual SpongeBob clones. I guess the best comparison of both these shows would be something like Dexter’s Lab or Powderpuff Girls.
For example, Adventure Time is about a boy and his dog. However, the dialogue and dry humor give it the feel of an Adult Swim younger brother. But for the cherry on top, the whole show takes place in a post-apocalyptic wasteland where characters refer to the “Mushroom War.”
As for Regular Show, if the lines were read by human actors, it would be one of College Humor’s funnier shows, or perhaps a very popular YouTube channel. But despite the fact that the show is extremely well written and largely devoid of the silliness that appeals to kids (and instead filled with the silliness that appeals to 20-somethings) the show is on Cartoon Network and aimed towards the younger set. Which is why I was surprised to find what I suspect is a hidden pot joke in the most recent episode, “Do Me a Solid” (ep #30).
In that episode, Rigby the raccoon gets his friend Mordecai the blue jay to do him ten solids in exchange for the one solid of going with him on a double date. However, Mordecai refuses to do the final solid, resulting in their house nearly being torn asunder by the power of the unfulfilled solid in a scene highly reminiscent of the penultimate scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
To stop them all from dying, Mordecai performs an apparently extremely embarrassing act that is kept off screen the whole time. You never really learn what it is, only compounding the humor. The writers know there is nothing they could do that would live up to expectations, so they simply do not show it. However, Rigby records the Mordecai’s mystery act, and then he and their various amigos watch it on a VCR. I could not help but notice the time on the humorously cliche VCR clock.
However, as the show cuts back to the VCR, the time is suddenly different. Rather than 4:20 pm, it is 9:25 pm.
Now, I’ll just pass this off as a normal discontinuity in a children’s cartoon show. I mean, what, are we to believe that this is some sort of a magic VCR or something?
However, in the next cutback to the VCR, the time is at 4:20 pm again. Furthermore, it is apparent that the 4:20 pm time was pasted over the original animation for the rest of the scene!
As this scene indicates, the 4:20 pm time was pasted over the original animation. But why would they do that? Perhaps the Korean animators messed up?
Or maybe they originally made the time 9:25 pm, only to be later corrected that it would be preposterous for Mordecai to announce that he was going to the arcade that late at night, and so the show’s creators pasted the arcade-appropriate 4:20 pm time at the last minute, but didn’t quite get every scene.
Or maybe the show just snuck in a pot joke.
But nah, that’s preposterous. Why would a show about two 23-year-olds who work lame jobs, have girl problems, love to play at the arcade, and have a friend named “High-Five Ghost” have any relation to marijuana whatsoever?
Now, you may dismiss this whole thing as an “Area Stoner Convinced Everyone On TV Also Stoned” sort of situation. After all, it is not as if Regular Show creator J.G. Quintel once made an animated short about two guys who talk about pot and acid, and then hallucinate while on acid, seeing themselves as characters who would later star in Regular Show.
Oh wait he totally did that.
Quintel’s “2 in the AM PM” featured mockups of a giant blue jay and a talking gumball machine, who would later become Mordecai and Benson in Regular Show.
Given Quintel’s artistic history, this little momentary 4:20 seems like it may be more than a simple mistake. Is Quintel throwing his own shout-outs into what otherwise is a kids’ show? Maybe Regular Show really does belong on Adult Swim. As the commercials say, “Regular Show: It is anything but.”
But secret pot jokes? Come on. I’m sure that Cartoon Network’s standards and practices would have caught this. I’ll just conclude the whole thing was a big animation mistake. Boy, I really hope somebody got fired for that blunder!