Not “Regular Show,” but Close Enough

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Chris Shields, Head Editor

Hey 2000’s kids, do you remember the Cartoon Network animated sitcom Regular Show created and directed by J.G. Quintel? This show was always my favorite growing up and remains my all-time favorite cartoon to this day. If you too were heartbroken over the show’s premature conclusion in 2017 after only 261 episodes, mourn no further. Close Enough is currently streaming on HBO Max as an exclusive program to rekindle your adoration for cartoons, but with a grown-up twist. 

Animator and voice actor J.G. Quintel got his TV animation start working on other Cartoon Network shows like Camp Lazlo, The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack, and Star Wars: Clone Wars before settling into his claim to fame Regular Show in 2010. This CN series documenting the random and action-packed adventures of best friends Mordecai the blue jay, Rigby the raccoon, and their slew of outlandish acquaintances quickly became a favorite among children and the target of controversy. Its sexual innuendos, dirty jokes, and dark humor made this raunchy program truly unique and entertaining. 

After a three-year hiatus, Quintel has created a new show in a similar style, catering to the same, now grownup audience that originally fell in love with his work on Regular Show. Close Enough is an HBO Max exclusive animated sitcom that made its debut in 2020. 

This show follows the hectic, haphazard everyday life of a dysfunctional family in the same animation style as Regular Show. It also draws its sense of humor from the same variety of provocative jokes and unplanned snowballing of events that create each episodes plot.  

The show focuses on husband and wife Josh and Emily, their daughter Candice, and their two friends Alex and Bridgette, a divorced couple who live with the family to save money. Their seemingly normal lives always seem to result in a surreal domestic crisis of biblical proportions, making each episode a non-stop thrill ride of excitement and humor. 

Josh works for a television installation company but holds his fading childhood dreams dear to his heart. He is voiced by and based on Quintel himself, like Mordecai in Regular Show. 

His wife Emily (Gabrielle Walsh) is an employee at a food corporation and is based on Quintel’s wife Cassia. She and Josh’s lovable relationship and efforts to parent six-year-old daughter Candice (Jessica DiCicco) through her struggles in school and life drive this show forward.  

Alex Dorpenberger (Jason Mantzoukas) is a college professor and Josh’s best friend. The two have a friendship dating back to when they were teenagers and have numerous inside jokes and goofy traditions that make their bond relatable. Alex’s ex-wife Bridgette No Stress Yoshida is Emily’s best friend and a social media influencer. Emily and Bridgette perform together writing comedy/parody songs as a part-time gig and have a give and take dynamic to keep each other equal parts grounded and free-spirited. 

Characters that provide additional comedic relief include Pearle Watson (Danielle Brooks), their landlord and a former LAPD cop, Randy (James Adomian) her adopted son, Mr. Campbell (John Early) Candice’s hippie teacher at Chamomile Elementary, among others. Other celebrity guest star voices that have been featured include George Lopez, “Weird Al” Yankovic, David Hasselhoff, Dave Foley, Jane Lynch, and many more.  

Also, like Regular Show, Close Enough features famous songs and bands throughout the episodes for background or montage music. Regular Show famously featured songs like “I’m Alright” by Kenny Loggins, “Workin’ for the Weekend” by Loverboy, “I Get Around” by the Beach Boys, “Ballroom Blitz” by Sweet, and so many more. So far, Close Enough has included songs like “Crazy on You” by Heart, “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen, “Too Much Time on My Hands” by Styx, “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds, and several others. This was an ambitious move on Quintel’s part the first time around since young kids may not have known much about that music, but it paid off handsomely in making each episode memorable, much like it does this time around.  

Close Enough is currently two seasons long and has a total of 16 episodes in all. Much like a children’s cartoon, each episode is broken into two, approximately 11-minute episodes. Season one, released on July 9, 2020, and was originally set to premiere on TBS. This fell through and it debuted on HBO Max instead. Season two was released February 25, 2021. 

The kids that grew up watching Regular Show before their parents got home are now grown up. Luckily, J.G. Quintel realized this and crafted the perfect continuation of his animated world, even if it isn’t necessarily in the same “universe” as its predecessor. It’s funny, action-packed, quirky, and entertaining; everything that Regular Show was, but with a mature adult twist. Its adult themes and real-life subject matter cater to any viewer but proves especially great to fans of Quintel’s breakout series.  

Growing up doesn’t mean out growing, and no one understands this premise like J.G. Quintel. Close Enough is fantastic and will hopefully continue for a long time. 

 

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