Home Movies (TV series)
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Left to right: Melissa, Brendon and Jason.
|Created by||Loren Bouchard
|Directed by||Loren Bouchard|
|Voices of||Brendon Small
Melissa Bardin Galsky
Janine Ditullio (2001-2004)
Paula Poundstone (1999)
|Theme music composer||Brendon Small
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||4|
|No. of episodes||52 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Loren Bouchard
Mary Catherine Micka
Carl W. Adams
|Producer(s)||Loren Bouchard (1999-2001)
Melissa Bardin Galsky (1999-2002)
Carl W. Adams (2002-2003)
Jack Ferraiolo (2003-2004)
|Running time||22 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Burns & Burns Productions
Tom Snyder Productions (1999-2000)
|Original channel||UPN (1999)
Adult Swim (2001-2004)
|Picture format||4:3 SDTV|
|Original run||April 26, 1999 – May 24, 1999;
September 2, 2001 – April 4, 2004
|Related shows||Bob's Burgers|
Home Movies is an American animated television sitcom that was originally broadcast from April 26, 1999 to April 4, 2004. Brendon Small is the creator, head writer, and lead musician of Home Movies. Jon Benjamin, Melissa Bardin Galsky and Janine Ditullio also lent their voices to the show. The plot surrounds eight-year-old Brendon, who makes films with his friends Melissa Robbins and Jason Penopolis in his spare time. He lives with his divorced mother, Paula, and his baby sister, Josie. He is also friends with his alcoholic, short-tempered soccer coach, John McGuirk. Home Movies developed somewhat of a cult following during its run, and is still considered a cult show to this day.
Home Movies was produced by Soup2Nuts, and originally aired on UPN, but the network cancelled the series after 5 episodes. Cartoon Network, seeing potential for the series, purchased the rights to the series, and aired it as the first program on their nighttime adult-oriented Adult Swim block on the day of the block's launch on September 2, 2001. As part of Adult Swim, it finished the first season of 13 episodes and was picked up for three additional 13 episode seasons.
In its first season, Home Movies utilized Soup2Nuts’ Squigglevision animation 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 viewers), limitations in regard to movement (fluid motion is rare in Squigglevision), and the producers' 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 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 and guitarist of Dethklok.
A recurring visual theme within the show is lawn gnomes, which tends 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, and as a cookie (which is an Easter Egg in the DVD menus on certain discs). Home Movies is one of the few shows on Adult Swim that carries a TV-PG rating. The show also uses its own censor, which is a bit higher pitched than Adult Swim's common bleep, as well as it being used on certain words that Adult Swim might have originally allowed.
Season plot summaries 
Season 1 
Animated in Squigglevision and heavily using retroscripting, the first five episodes aired on UPN in 1999. 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.
Season 2 
Now animated in Flash, this is the first season commissioned by the Cartoon Network as a result of mixed 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 Adelbergs) as well as a multiple-story season arc, which included:
- Brendon meeting his father Andrew and his fiancée 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. Melissa's dad offers some advice.
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 becomes key here, and the subtext of their creation is finally discussed. At this point, Brendon is still enjoying his life making films and living in a "fantasy" world.
Season 3 
A bit looser than Season Two, the show ditches the idea of seasonal story arc, and many of the episodes air out of order. The episodes become racier, with more resounding sexual themes and cursing than before. Secondary characters, such as Fenton and Dwayne, begin to have a chance to shine, as episodes focused on them and others are made. Another noteworthy aspect is that the show begins to acknowledge actual movies more often than it had previously, and starts parodying them heavily. The season ends with Brendon’s stepmother Linda having a child, but afterwards she and Andrew no longer make appearances in the show.
Season 4 
The final season: the creators apparently knew they were getting canceled throughout the entire production of the final thirteen episodes. Many of the episodes are straight parodies of movies, including three allusions to Hitchcockian 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. Brendon 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.
|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 releases 
|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 the Home Movies: Bonus Soundtrack 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 includes every episode of Home Movies plus new special features, as well as the CD included in the Season Four boxset.|
Shout! Factory, through Sony BMG Music Entertainment, releases DVDs of Home Movies seasons, each on three-disc box sets. Each DVD has numerous special features and easter eggs. Shout! Factory later on released all of the Home Movies episodes on Amazon Video on Demand.
Non-regular cast/guest stars 
- Paula Poundstone (first five episodes as Paula; replaced by Janine Ditullio)
- Louis C.K.
- Todd Barry
- Mitch Hedberg
- Sam Seder
- Bill Braudis
- Jonathan Katz
- Laura Silverman
- Patton Oswalt
- Jen Kirkman
- Will Le Bow
- Andy Kindler
- Kelly Kimball
- Paula Plum
- Maria Bamford
- Eugene Mirman
- Emo Philips
- Loren Bouchard
- Larry Murphy
- They Might Be Giants
- Hansen, Tony. "Dr. Katz: Home Movies", AllExperts, March 27, 2003. Retrieved June 23, 2007.
- Amazon.com: Home Movies 10th Anniversary Set [Limited Edition] [Deluxe Edition]: Brendon Small, H. Jon Benjamin, Paula Poundstone, Melissa Bardin Galsky, loren bouchar...