I love some Adult Swim. There are some real standouts shown that have fun plots, edgy animation, and a whole lot of outlandish humor. Venture Bros, Robot Chicken and Aqua Teen Hunger Force immediately come to mind. Heck, I’ve even gave smaller shows like The Boondocks and Metalocalypse a try and liked them on some level. So needless to say, I was interested when I received Squidbillies Volume 1. Twenty episodes staring a Georgia-based hick squid family. How bad could it be?
The story goes something like this. Early Cuyler (voiced by Stuart Daniel Baker) is a backwoods Georgia hick squid (yes, calamari) that has sex with a rather overweight white girl named Krystal. In the process, he robbed a liquor store for cassettes and booze and was caught by the Sheriff. Convicted for 15 years of hard labor, he had no idea that he had got Krystal pregnant. Krystal gave birth to Rusty, a little green squid. Krystal leaves him on Lil’s (Early’s sister) doorstep where the squid spends the next 15 years. At that point, Rusty finds his dad working on the chain gang and the Sheriff takes pity on the two. He decides to release Early which is where this story really begins. The mis-adventures of Early bringing up his illegitimate child Rusty serve as fodder for the rest of the twenty episodes.
Upon first glance of the show, the cartoon is awful. Upon second glance you start chuckling at some of the lines and maybe interested in the story somewhat. But it is still a bloody awful show. As expected, the show takes heavy pride in making fun of the south. No problem there, I live in Texas and being from New York, I make fun of them consistently. I find humor in the Blue Collar comedy troupe, etc. Squidbillies just isn’t very funny. It perfects the ability of taking a joke that is mildly funny the first go-around and makes sure to drive it into the ground at every opportunity. Tasteless trucker hats(okay some of them are funny), how utterly stupid Rusty or Early is or the bizarre sub-plot of the Sheriff’s existence. These are brought up again and again until the viewer is willing to smash their car up against a tree just to get it out of their head.
With 1.33:1, full-screen presentation, Squidbillies has a very odd animation style. The backgrounds have the look of a 8 year old youngster going crazy with some crayons. The actual characters are animated better but it just has a weird feel that doesn’t feel very professional at all. I’m not looking for cutting-edge animation; but I would like it to resemble more than chicken scratch.
Audio was a little better and was in a very typical 2.0 Dolby Digital Sound. Let me throw one compliment their way, the southern voices sound extremely rich and distinct. The voices are top-notch and what level the show succeeds would be nothing without the voice casting for this show. The music is pretty good and it makes for an entertaining listen even if the jokes are a little flat. Subtitles are also provided for english, french and spanish.
- Commentaries: Disc One:Butt Trouble, and Disc Two: Survival of the Dumbest & Rebel with a Claus.
Three fine commentaries that actually do a lot to sell the show. Funny stuff and as you will see as we move from extra to extra; the extras outweigh the material which is unfortunate.
- Five Pilots of Apocalypse: Hot Dog Fever, 20 Minutes to Disappointment, This One Almost Cost Me My Career, Back to Square One: The League of Pointless Characters, and Space Baby in the Morning Starring Matt Harrigan as Countrysaurus
The five forgotten pilot episodes of the Squidbillies, these are shown in script form with the heavily ad-libbed voices in the background. Sadly though, the only thing worse than the Squidbillies is the Squidbillies with nothing but a scrolling script and voices.
- Anime Talk Show 10:42: A little bit of history on this one but Squidbillies was set to originally air on November 7th, 2004. Instead Perfect Hair Forever aired. After that it was followed by a Space Ghost panel discussion with Meatwad from Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Sharko from Sealab 2021 and Early. Hence the panel discussion being included on the dvd. Extremely funny stuff from everybody involved. Makes me crave volume sets of Space Ghost very much.
- Comic Con 2004 1:26: A trailer for SquidBillies that was shown during the Comic Con show.
- Deleted Scenes: 12 deleted scenes from the 2nd half of the episodes. A lot of them are not fully animated but decent stuff nevertheless.
- Back When They Were RV and Donny: Early Squid Sketches 20:35: Early artwork for the show set to music, twenty minutes of it. Shoot me, please.
- Star Bar Squidbilly Circle-Jerk 21:24: Serves as the behind the scenes featurette. Essentially all of the creators sitting around at the Star Bar talking about the show. Cuts to Billy Joe Shaver and him singing the theme song for the show. Also talks a lot about the fantastic voice casting for the show.
- Unknown Hinson: Animation Master, Cartoon Craftsman 11:06: The Unknown Hinson is the alter ego of Stuart Daniel Baker (voice of Early) which is best described as a cross between Johnny Cash and Elvis with a touch of vampire and really creepy. Apparently, it is a throwback to Andy Kaufman and how he played Tony Clifton. Basically it is 11 minutes of him going around and annoying the heck out of the animators (in character) and creators of the show. Good stuff, funny for a short time. (Please don’t give him his own show though; it would get old quick)
Another one of those show where you want to like it. Really, I want to like the Squidbillies. But I can’t. The southern humor doesn’t bother me one bit and the voice casting actually is very strong. But the humor is the same joke episode after episode. It’s not even a very funny joke at that. For fans of the show however, the dvd package is a very good one. The extras are quite grand and will be a fun time from the commentaries to the shorts to behind the scenes footage of your favorites. I just can’t get behind the cartoon no matter how hard I try. Early and crew are one-trick ponies. Despite the hardship that the show has went through to get on the air, there are sometimes good reasons why that hardship existed in the first place. Try to catch it on Cartoon Network first before you purchase the dvd set.
This Show is Called Squidbillies
Take This Job and Love It
School Days, Fool Days
Office Politics Trouble
Government Brain Voodoo Trouble
Double Truckin’ the Tricky Two
Giant Foam Dickhat Trouble
The Tiniest Princess
Meth OD to my Madness
Asses to Ashes, Sluts to Dust
Burned and Reburned Again
Survival of the Dumbest
A Sober Sunday
Rebel with a Claus
- DVDVerdict.com: “If you’re a redneck who likes Larry the Cable Guy and takes large quantities of Ritalin, this might be the show for you”
- CHUD.com: “Ridiculous targets deserving of derision seem to connect with a show that is aiming to be ridiculous and derisive at its core”
- TVShowsOnDVD.com: “Squidbillies isn’t a show for me, but fans will like the effort Adult Swim put into the DVD set.”