Squidbillies: Volume 3 (US - DVD R1)
Gabe revisits the drunken, violent squids of the hills of Dougal County...
Get your Yankee ass of my property
Don't care if the bank gave you a deed
This farms been Cuyler land for generations
Since we beat back those slinky Japanese
In the war of 1812, bring our boys home.
Hmm. Here I am again, watching another Adult Swim series I’ve already reviewed in the past, and desperately trying to come up with new things to say about it. Everything I said last time pretty much stands – Squidbillies continues to blossom into one of the station’s best on-going shows without approaching the dizzying, genre transcending heights of the best the company has to offer ( Venture Bros., Boondocks, Home Movies). This show is, like all the creators’ shows (including ATHF, The Brak Show and Space Ghost Coast to Coast), still an acquired taste, but I continue to find viewings rewarding, even if the overall quality appears to have flattened out lately. This latest collection features a couple of real gems, some damn quotable dialogue, and the usual over-the-top, venom-tipped indictments of idiot redneck Americana.
Anabololic-holic (episode 44) starts things off with a grotesque look at the world of steroid use and pro-wrestling. Former real life pro-wrestler Mick Foley steals the show as Thunder Clap – a has-been wrestler who hides in the Appalachian mountains and half-assedly tries to eek out a peaceful life.
The Liar, the Bitch and the Bored Rube (episode 42) is an average episode that covers the common subject of Early’s fear of edumacation. The episode earns points for using Dean Koontz as the example of impressive literary performance, and for some hilarious dialogue between Granny and Early concerning grammar.
The Fine Ol’ Solution (episode 43) is the collection’s best. Though the subject of walling off Mexico to save jobs has been well lampooned by The Simpsons, Family Guy, and I believe South Park, this episode takes the joke about as far as it can comfortably be taken in 11 minutes, including shark-throwing gorillas, and a not so surprising ending.
Lerm (episode 41) is the other favourite. Early meets his equal in an intergalactic drunk driver named Lerm. Lerm’s angry behavior (usually followed by a fervent ‘Death to America’) proves too much even for Early, until Lerm runs a successful, and entirely unlikely political run.
Confessions of a Gangrenous Mind (episode 45) doesn’t have much of a specific, easy to sum-up plot, but mostly sees Granny discussing family history. The basic gag is that her stories are lies, or at least not related to the subject of lineage.
Atone Deaf (episode 47) is another better than average episode. After drunk driving his truck-boat-truck Early is forced into anger management and community service. As per the norm The Sheriff’s soft hand, coupled with his utter stupidity ensures Early learns nothing. This one is fast paced and violent, and features a digital compression joke.
The Big Gay Throwdown (episode 46) is a bit obvious, and covers the oft-covered subject of rampant homophobia covering for closeted homosexual urges. This is one of the weaker episodes, but still features some funny moments.
God’s Bro (episode 48) is another one of the better episodes. God’s brother, who looks kind of like a biker in his early 50s, visits Dougal County and impresses with his divine powers.
Reunited, and It Feels No Good (episode 49) and Not without My Cash Cow! (episode 50) are the first two-parter I can recall in the series’ history. The first part introduces a never before seen member of the Cuyler family – Derwood, who got out of the hills and into the city before it was too late. This episode nicely expands the show mythology, and continues the developing theme of Rusty needing to escape his terrible family. The second part vulgarly pokes fun at America’s obsession with child abduction, though Early only really cares about his missing welfare check.
This Volume Three release basically matches the Volume Two release in terms of video quality. Short story shorter, it looks fine, but as in the case of the previous collection release, and recent Aqua Teen Hunger Force collections, the lack of a Blu-ray option is a disappointment. Squidbillies features so much stuff on screen at once, given the textures of the hand painted backgrounds, and the number of moving elements, that standard definition simply can’t handle the overload. Still, once again appears to be a progressive scan transfer though, with only some slightly jagged edges, and some minor edge enhancement (especially around black lines) to really spoil things for fans. As I said last time around, things are generally better looking than most crudely animated, low budget television shows. Colours are still solid for a standard definition transfer, and well separated, with the exception of some noise and blocking in the brighter warm hues. Issues with the end credits appearing pixilated appear to have been corrected.
Squidbillies features some truly revolting sound effects, and in Dolby Digital 5.1 it’s kind of like being assaulted by grossness. I mean that in a good way. The effects are pretty flat on their own, but are layered well on the track and work directionally, though most of the movement is in the front channels. The rear speakers mostly pick up echoes from the front channels, but do have some life during the more musical moments, when the characters are outside at night time, and when certain characters speak with incredibly volume. Squidbillies continues its love affair with heavy metal and southern rock, and the quality of the show’s music remains among its strongest (and likely overlooked) aspects. Unfortunately there aren’t any really big band cameos this season/volume.
There aren’t any commentary tracks around this time, so the extras begin with another ‘Art + Music’ (13:30) collection. For those that may have forgotten this is a slide show of art from the collection’s episodes (backgrounds, character designs, etc.). The only other substantial extras is a selection of questions from the 2009 Dragon Con (8:30), featuring creators Jim Fortier and Dave Willis, and voice actors Unknown Hinson and Dana Snyder. This includes a musical performance from Hinson. This is followed by ‘This Ain’t a Hat, It’s a Ragtop for a Sex Convertible’ (1:20), an animation loop of Early walking that includes every hat from the series, ‘Funny Pete Stuff’ (8:10), a series of promos, and a series of ‘Bumps’ (2:50).
Squidbillies continues its run as one of Adult Swim’s better, and more underappreciated shows (watching the bumps and promos the channel appears to really be pushing the show despite ratings). Volumes one and two are better places to start for the uninitiated, so I’d recommend this collection to fans rather than those with passing interest. To experience the show’s acquired tastes for yourself without spending a penny visit the official Adult Swim Website. This release looks and sounds pretty much the same as the Volume Two release, but features fewer episodes and extras, so is slightly disappointing. Hopefully enough people will buy this, though, and Adult Swim will put the money into a full on Blu-ray release some time in the future. Fingers crossed!
Review by Gabriel Powers
This product has not been rated
Release Date: 6th July 2010
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 English
Extras: Art + Music, Dragon Con 2009, This Ain’t a Hat, It’s a Ragtop for a Sex Convertible, Funny Pete Stuff, Bumps
Easter Egg: No
Cast: Unknown Hinson, Dana Snyder, Daniel McDevitt and Todd Hanson
Genre: Animation and Comedy
Length: 101 minutes
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