Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule
|Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule|
|Created by||John C. Reilly
|Starring||John C. Reilly|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||4|
|No. of episodes||21 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||John C. Reilly
|Running time||11 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Abso Lutely Productions
|Original network||Adult Swim|
|Picture format||16:9 HDTV|
|Original release||May 16, 2010– present|
|Preceded by||Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!|
Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule is a spin-off of Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! starring John C. Reilly as Dr. Steve Brule. The series premiered on Cartoon Network's late night programming block, Adult Swim, on May 16, 2010. The program follows Brule as he examines different facets of living. His severe naivete and social awkwardness generally lands him in embarrassing situations, though he largely remains ignorant. As the series progresses, he reveals shocking and sometimes horrifying details about his past and personal life.
The series has completed three seasons of six episodes each. In the series Reilly interviews real people, whose reactions are genuine according to executive producer Tim Heidecker. He states that he intends for the humor to derive from Brule's character rather than the reactions of his guests. In post-production, the video is piped through a VCR to simulate poor production value.
Critical reception has been positive, with several reviewers highlighting the character of Brule while noting the aesthetic qualities as similar to other productions. The A.V. Club's Brandon Nowalk compared it to The Day Today and Brass Eye, while DVD Verdict's Dawn Hunt compared it to This Is Spinal Tap. The first two seasons were combined onto a single DVD release, made available on October 16, 2012 in Region 1.
The program follows Brule as he examines (or "checks out") different facets of living. His severe naïveté and social awkwardness generally lands him in embarrassing situations, though he largely remains ignorant. Each episode begins with a poem or lyric pertaining to the subject of the show. Dr. Steve Brule credits the work, usually mispronouncing the author's name; his mispronunciations are a staple of the show — in one episode, he mispronounced the name of nutritionist Dr. Johnny Boden (actually Dr. Jonny Bowden) both as "Dr. Jimmy Brungus" and "Dr. Jungy Brogan".
As the series progresses, he reveals shocking, and sometimes horrifying details about his past and personal life, such as his mother revealing that she would poison his food when he was a child to "slow him down." The series also has recurring characters by the names of Terry Bruge-Hiplo played by Robert Axelrod, as well as Doug Prishpreed, Carol Krabit and Scott Clam, played by actors Doug Foster, Carol Kraft, and Scott Stewart respectively. All four have interlude spots on the show announcing movie reviews, news updates, or fortunes, all in the same style of low-budget cable access segments.
According to executive producer Tim Heidecker, Reilly interviews real people, with their reactions in the series being genuine. He stated that the humor revolves around "not necessarily fooling these people. It's more the character of Steve Brule being completely clueless and a really strange guy." Heidecker also stated that Brule's dialog for the series is mostly improvised. During an interview for Esquire, Reilly was asked about his experiences on the show. Although Reilly did not mind answering the question, he preferred not to elaborate on his character Steve Brule. He stated, "his persona would be more interesting if left a mystery", and felt the more he would elaborate on Brule's character the less interesting it would become to him.
To achieve the artifact-ridden quality of the video, the editors pipe their footage through a videocassette recorder; the post-production crew literally hit the recorder in order to simulate a jump in the vertical synchronization. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Heidecker elaborated on the aesthetic quality of the series: "It's a show that genuinely feels like this guy made it himself. It’s as if it's 4:30 in the morning he had snuck into the studio to make this show without getting permission. It's bare bones. Lots of technical problems. Just a mess. The whole thing is a big mess. A big beautiful mess."
The series has completed three seasons with six episodes each. The first season premiered on May 16, 2010 in the United States; it concluded on June 20, 2010. The second season premiered on March 18, 2012 in the United States; its season finale aired on April 22, 2012. The third season premiered on February 27, 2014 and concluded on April 4, 2014. Adult Swim, in an announcement made before its upfront presentation, revealed Check It Out! to be a returning show for its 2015-16 schedule in May 2016. The fourth season premiered June 18, 2016.
The series has garnered positive critical reception; Ross Luippold of The Huffington Post gave the series a positive review; he noted Reilly's performance, stating he "may be the only actor alive who can get away with starring in critically acclaimed films during Oscar season ... while concurrently starring in two Tim & Eric joints." Lindsay Hurd of The Michigan Daily highlighted the stage design in her review; she stated "The show's set is just as amusing as Brule's lack of coherence ... [the series] amounts to a gaudy-but-comical set that oddly matches Brule's reporting style." Casey Burchby of DVD Talk "highly recommended" the series' first and second DVD release. He praised the eponymous character, stating "John C. Reilly's Dr. Steve Brule is one of the most likable characters in recent TV history." While he praised the series as "a rare example of a well-developed and justified spinoff", he found the series best enjoyed "parceled out one at a time".
|“||Check It Out! With Dr. Steve Brule isn't just a public-access parody or a character study. It's an exciting, inventive experiment surfing highs and lows together, a thoroughly modern pastiche of analog nostalgia, train-wreck television, awkward comedy, surrealist flights, and unsettling tactics.||”|
|— Nowalk on the second season finale "Life"|
The series has received positive critical reception from The A.V. Club; the site has graded the first season three As, two Bs and one C grade. Writing for the site, Brandon Nowalk felt the interviews for the second season finale "Life" accentuates "a different facet" of the series' humor: "1990s absurdism." He cited The Day Today and Brass Eye as two examples of this quality, while stating Brule's character is closer to Harry S. Plinkett than of Stephen Colbert or Sacha Baron Cohen. He later regarded its third season as "a little lighter on the laughs than usual", but found it "slightly better produced", with the audience "growing accustomed to the usual blunders."
In reviewing the first and second season D.V.D. release, Luke Bonanno of DVDizzy praised Reilly's character; however, he was critical of reprising the "bold characters" of Wayne and Jan Skylar from Awesome Show, stating that "such [characters] just aren't a good fit here and weigh down on the humor." He panned the network's lack of promotion for the series and wished for more episodes per season "even if making it with Tim and Eric had to be a creatively-liberating blast".
Dusty Somers of Blogcritics stated the portrayal of Dr. Brule "adds unexpected dimensions of naked vulnerability and a childlike fear of a world he doesn't understand." Dawn Hunt of DVD Verdict gave the series 95 out of 100; he applauded the series as an "homage to the local cable access shows of the 1980s." He compared the series to mockumentaries such as This Is Spinal Tap and stated that the visual look of the series "looks, feels, and sounds like it came straight from the MTV Generation."
The combined first two seasons were released on DVD on October 16, 2012 in Region 1. Entitled Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule: Season 1 & 2, the DVD features episodes in production order.
- Collis, Clark (May 7, 2010). "Check it Out! with Dr. Steve Brule: Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim on John C. Reilly's Awesome Show spin-off. For your health!". Entertainment Weekly. New York City: Time Inc. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
- Katz, David (July 6, 2010). "Will the Real John C. Reilly Please Stand Up?". Esquire. New York City: Hearst Communications. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
- Prigge, Matt (March 1, 2012). "Eric Wareheim – From Tim and Eric – Says It's Really Hard to Make Crappy Movies". Philadelphia Weekly. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
- "Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule Episodes on Cartoon Network". TV Guide. New York City: CBS Interactive. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
- "Check It Out! With Dr. Steve Brule Season 1 episodes". TV Guide. New York City: CBS Interactive. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
- "Check It Out! With Dr. Steve Brule Season 2 episodes". TV Guide. New York City: CBS Interactive. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
- Snierson, Dan (January 22, 2014). "John C. Reilly's Check It Out! gets return date from Adult Swim". Entertainment Weekly. New York City: Time Inc. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
- Snierson, Dan (January 20, 2015). "First look: John C. Reilly is back as Steve Brule in 'Bagboy'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 20, 2015.
- Luippold, Ross (March 19, 2012). "Dr. Steve Brule Goes Dumpster Diving In Check It Out! Season 2 Promo". The Huffington Post. New York City: AOL Inc. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
- Hurd, Lindsay (May 19, 2010). "A non-formulaic dose of TV doctor in Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule". The Michigan Daily. University of Michigan. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
- Burchby, Casey (October 16, 2012). "Check It Out! With Dr. Steve Brule: Seasons 1 & 2". DVD Talk. Los Angeles: Internet Brands. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
- Nowalk, Brandon (April 22, 2012). "Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule: "Life and Death"". The A.V. Club. Chicago: Onion Inc. Retrieved April 26, 2014.
- "Check It Out! With Dr. Steve Brule: Season 1". The A.V. Club. Chicago: Onion Inc. Retrieved April 26, 2014.
- Nowalk, Brandon (March 20, 2014). "Check It Out! With Dr. Steve Brule is a videotape triumph". The A.V. Club. Chicago: Onion Inc. Retrieved April 26, 2014.
- Bonanno, Luke (October 19, 2012). "Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule: Seasons 1 & 2 DVD Review". DVDizzy. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
- Somers, Dusty (November 16, 2012). "DVD Review: Check it Out! with Dr. Steve Brule – Seasons One and Two". Chicago and New York City: Blogcritics. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
- Hunt, Dawn (November 8, 2012). "Check it Out! with Dr. Steve Brule: Seasons 1 and 2". DVD Verdict. Retrieved January 23, 2013.
- Lambert, David (August 27, 2012). "Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule – [adult swim], Cartoon Network and Warner Announce Seasons 1 and 2". TVShowsonDVD.com. New York City: CBS Interactive. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
- Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule: Season 1 & 2. Burbank, California: Warner Home Video. October 16, 2012. ASIN B0048LPRDC.