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Fox Home Entertainment presents
Greg the Bunny (2002)

"We can sing and dance,
and we don't need pants
See, we're just like you
We've got regular jobs
Just with low doorknobs
See, we're just like you"

- from the show's theme song

Review By: Jeff Rosado  
Published: October 19, 2004

Stars: Seth Green, Eugene Levy, Sarah Silverman, Bob Gunton, Dina Waters
Other Stars: Dan Milano, Drew Massey, James Murray, Victor Yerrid, voices; Marilu Henner, David Spade, Gary Oldman, Jeffrey Ross, Austin Black, Lindsay Sloane, Michael McDonald, Sasha Alexander, Julie Hagerty, Charles Rocket, Corey Feldman
Director: various

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (risqué humor, mild language, puppet mooning, suggestive situations)
Run Time: 04h:49m:00s
Release Date: October 19, 2004
UPC: 024543130475
Genre: television


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A- AAB+ A

DVD Review

In treatment form (or even a TV Guide capsule summary to viewers at home), it must have come across as the most ridiculous concept for a television series submitted to network executives since My Mother, The Car (yet, the Peacock network dug the latter enough to give it a prime berth on their 1966-67 schedule).

Cue the Rod Serling music...

Consider if you would an out-of-work puppet, slightly unkempt in appearance, reminiscent of Peanuts' Pigpen and favoring a slightly larger version of Bunny Rabbit from the beloved children's television institution, Captain Kangaroo. Turning to his human roommate, Jimmy, for help, all he can do for the "fabricated-American" is suggest a visit with his distant father who works in the television business as the executive producer/director of the ratings-starved show, "Sweetknuckle Junction." So off the little bunny rabbit hippity-hops to the set of his favorite show, overcoming naturally expected star-struck feelings only to get caught in the middle of a dispute between Jimmy's father Gil and the long time center of attention, Rochester Rabbit. What happens next could only be described as—well, it doesn't happen every day, people. This lovable, formerly unemployed furry button-eyed (until the halfway point of a thirteen-episode order, when, without explanation, he suddenly sports more viewer-friendly peepers) creature unintentionally inherits the spotlight when Rochie is shown the door, his name instantly inserted into the current script while his human comrade also benefits by being thrust into the role of combination lowly production assistant/co-worker/sidekick, working side by side with an eerie combination of people and puppets... an occurrence that could only happen in the world of—

No, no, no, not that show. It'sGreg the Bunny!

Okay, I must admit truthfully that the synopsis for the Fox 2002 Spring replacement series initially came across as incredibly bizarre and silly to me, too, with the potential of not lasting more than a couple of episodes once overnight ratings showed up on network executive's desks. So what did this mostly discriminating, quality-minded TV geek do?

I watched it.

Eugene Levy, Seth Green, Sarah Silverman. I mean, it couldn't be a total train wreck. How bad could it be? It was bad...in a James-Brown-360-degree-combination-OW! way, that is. Skillfully mixing a bizzaro universe of strangely adorable Muppet-flavored characters gone looney with the backstage hilarity of great media-workplace programs like News Radio, The Larry Sanders Show, and WKRP in Cincinnati, Greg the Bunny was one of the most eccentric, unusually creative and supremely entertaining comedy shows to worm its way into prime time in ages.

In addition to its instantly appealing title character (performed and voiced by co-creator Dan Milano) and somewhat normal, loyal human pal Jimmy Bender (Seth Green in a role that's as light and carefree as his breakthrough gig as Oz on Buffy, The Vampire Slayer) was heavy and tortured), Greg's supporting company is equally quirk-filled: Gil Bender (Levy) as Jimmy's big-shot producer dad whose typical day is filled with the challenges of dealing with his egocentrically diverse lot of Sweetknuckle players, including Junction Jack (Bob Gunton), a grizzled gun-loving grunt whose off-camera demeanor is such that you really wouldn't be surprised to see one of the "sock people" displayed like a deer head on his living room wall; Count Blah (voiced/performed by Drew Massey), an old-fashioned vampire whose fright potential is kept in check by a Bela Lugosi-ish charm; the alternately way-too-cheerful and emotionally breakable Dottie Sunshine (Dina Waters); Alison Kaiser, a budget-minded, all business ex-PBS exec brought in to improve the Nielsens (Sarah Silverman, whose trademark acerbic wit fits this role perfectly); and Warren "Professor Ape" Demontague (Milano), an old-world actor whose dreams of doing Shakespeareand rubbing shoulders with serious purveyors of the craft will probably remain just that (unless he can part with that ridiculous football helmet atop his head—it has something to do with a fear of surgery. You really don't want to pursue your curiosity about it further, folks. Really.)

There are also sneaky little scene stealers Tardy the Turtle (Victor Yerrid), a Harvard-educated top-of-his-class grad who makes you wonder if the university's standards might have been downgraded a notch or seven, and Susan (James Murray), a jellybean gone huge-shaped female (I hope) badly in need of a Schick razor and cursed with a voice like Ernest Borgnine.

Greg the Bunny could have merely coasted on the novelty of its half-human, half-puppet hook. But what really makes this short-lived series a keeper is the "no situation too inane" zest in its terrific writing, the believable television background (the SK 2.0 episode is a hilarious, biting and scarily accurate look at how consultant meddling tweaks shows that aren't broken only to insure televised disasters of almost Red Cross proportions; Count Blah forced to be reborn as Count A'ight amongst other brilliantmoves) and the remarkable chemistry of a flawless cast, both in and out of frame, who mesh so well, you almost forget about the novelty that attracted your attention in the first place.

Save for a couple of so-so outings, most of GtB's short but superb run is filled with other classic episodes including the unaired Sock Like Me (a puzzling omission since it was basically an unofficial continuation of themes and set-ups established in the pilot), the Curtis Hanson (yes, that Curtis Hanson) directed Piddler on the Roof, which features a killer cameo by Gary Oldman in an outing that puts Warren at odds with Allison over a misinterpreted remark; Jimmy Drives Gil Crazy, which finds sonny Jim attempting to pass himself off as Mr. Demontague to score with a Catholic schoolgirl; and Dottie Heat, in which Greg nervously prepares for a little sunshine after dark courtesy of a date with Dottie (a superb showcase for both Milano and the wonderfully talented Dina Waters).

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: A

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: Although their early TV to DVD efforts left a lot to be desired in terms of quality, the biggest distributor of television programming has made a quantum leap over the first half of the decade, particularly with recent shows; Greg is the lucky recipient of one of the the most error-free presentations yet. Perfect colors, spot-on black levels, practically no shortcomings to be found. Although in full frame and nonanamorphic, the end results are on par with shows that possess such advantages; a really good set of transfers.

Image Transfer Grade: A

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Though very heavy in the scripting department, music plays more of a vital role here than in most wordy comedies; the resulting 2.0 mix is very wide in the fronts and generous in the low end with dialogue never coming up short in the center. Impressive aural qualities for a show whose budget had to be a little low on change in this department.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 52 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
6 Feature/Episode commentaries by Series Co-Creator Dan Milano, Production Designer Jim Dultz, Music Supervisor Howard Paar, Prop Master Brad Elliot, Puppeteers Drew Massey, Victor Yerrid and James Murray, Actors Seth Green, Bob Gunton, Sarah Silverman, Dina Waters and many more!
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
2 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Deleted & Extended Scenes (with optional commentary from Dan Milano and introductions from Greg and Warren)
  2. The Humans Behind The Fabricated Americans Documentary, IFC: The Greg the Bunny Show-Reality and short film Tardy Delivery with optional commentary from Director Drew Massey and Puppeteer Victor Yerrid)
  3. Puppet Auditions
  4. Conceptual Artwork, Storyboards for Jimmy Drives Gil Crazy, Publicity Gallery,
    Behind The Scenes Stills
  5. Wrap Reel and Easter Eggs
Extras Review: Since Greg The Bunny's loyal contingent of supporters continue to number in the thousands even now, their fandom is supremely rewarded with a generous helping of supplemental carrots just waiting to be nibbled. A number of deleted and extended scenes mainly bring home the necessities and occasional advantages of excising from what wound up as a very tight pilot episode (but the original ending of Sock Like Me is a howler and really should have been in the final cut for that show).

Puppet Auditions are taken from the unusual pitch meetings that sold executives on the show as Greg and Warren charm seen-it-all network suits; Conceptual Artwork and Storyboards (the latter devoted to the unbroadcast Jimmy Drives Gil Crazy episode), not only showcase the fine artistry, but also how well thought out the characters were visually prior to filming. The Humans Behind The Fabricated Americans is a superb documentary that takes you through the ups and downs of an East Coast public access show hero gone Hollywood (featuring a knee-slappingly funny cameo from Green as he reunites with Greg). The short film, Tardy Delivery, gives one of the unsung heroes of the show a chance to hog the spotlight;Reality gives a taste of the IFC days of the puppet that impressed agents and shakers enough to come calling; Publicity Stills finds the cast putting on 'dem Hollywood pearly whites to be preserved as 8 x 10 glossies in network affiliates' offices; and Wrap Reel is not just your typical end-of-season buh-bye fest but a surprisingly sweet piece of visual evidence proving just how tight the show's cast and crew were.

Finally, six really entertaining commentary tracks provide a ton of behind-the-scenes stories, great and sometimes not so great memories from certain episodes, the polite but sometimes disappointing give and take between Fox and the show's creators that resulted in grin-and-bear-it creative enhancements (such as Greg narrating setups and epilogues for one) and lots of laughs (especially when the always-on Seth Green lapses into a dead-on impersonation of an unfortunately absent Eugene Levy).

Note: Speaking of all things cool and Seth, be on the lookout for a killer hidden bonus that features a priceless outtake of the actor spontaneously asking if he could goof off and play straight man in an instant parody of a puppet-driven sitcom from the '80s.

Extras Grade: A

 

Final Comments

Like Firefly, Keen Eddie and the forthcoming Wonderfalls, Greg the Bunny is yet another terrific lost Fox series making a triumphant return on DVD. With its abundance of fan-friendly extras, excellent quality on all tech levels and a few surprises, Junction junkies need no further incentives to plop down cash, and newcomers who missed the show's brief run who are willing to take a chance will find themselves converted to the comedic gospel of Greg instantly. Beyond recommended, boys and girls.

 


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