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The trouble with puppets

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Never underestimate the purchasing power of a cult following. Despite some freakishly loyal viewers, the Fox sitcom "Greg the Bunny" was canceled before its last two episodes aired in 2002. Not a network to lose out on merchandising opportunities, Fox Home Entertainment releases the complete series -- a single season and the unaired episodes -- on DVD ($26.98) Oct. 19.

For those who don't recall, "Greg the Bunny" featured a world where puppets live alongside people. These Fabricated Americans, as they prefer to be called, share many of the same traits as their human counterparts, including a penchant for vices such as gambling, drinking, screwing, farting and lying.

The only Fabricated American with any redeeming qualities is the cuddly cute, button-eyed Greg, who lucks into his dream job on the kids' show, "SweetKnuckle Junction." His roommate, Jimmy (Seth Green), nabs a job as production assistant, which wasn't that hard to do since the director, Gil (Eugene Levy), is his father. The rest of the puppets on the cast are huge jerks that do things like pee in a network executive's car when they don't get their way.

The two-disc set features audio commentary with series creator Dan Milano, Greg the Bunny, other cast members and puppeteers.

Photo galleries always seem like cheap, boring extras to toss onto a DVD, but rabid fans may enjoy the behind-the-scenes photography, the publicity shots, the hand-drawn storyboards and -- perhaps most of all -- pictures of puppet porn.

Far more interesting are the featurettes on the puppeteers and puppet auditions, and the never-before-seen short film "Tardy Delivery," about a mentally slow turtle delivering a letter. The resemblance to the special ed character on Comedy Central's "Crank Yankers" is striking, which may explain the series' downfall. Fox billed "Greg the Bunny" as outrageous, and it was -- until Comedy Central's pranksters outfoxed the bunny with buckets of body fluids and foul language. It seems as though there's only enough audience for one puppet show on TV.

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