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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Regular Show: “A Bunch Of Full Grown Geese”

Illustration for article titled Regular Show: “A Bunch Of Full Grown Geese”

Tonight marks Regular Show’s big 100th episode celebration—although, in a move that feels weirdly in keeping with the show’s slacker ethos, a scheduling reshuffle means this is the 98th episode of the show to actually air. “A Bunch Of Full Grown Geese” features plenty of callbacks to the show’s past, but it doesn’t try to cram in a ton of cameos from fan favorite characters; the season opener “Exit 9B” already pulled that trick. Instead, this episode is a semi-sequel to “A Bunch Of Baby Ducks,” one of Regular Show’s finest quarter-hours. This episode doesn’t attempt to celebrate everything that makes Regular Show special—Muscle Man’s absence precludes this being a comprehensive overview—but it takes the show back to its basic formula, then cranks the whole thing up to a thousand. It is also a tip of the hat to one of the show’s key action influences, as the final showdown between the ducks and the geese is a major homage to ‘80s Saturday morning cartoons.

As the show has developed, it has naturally wandered away from Mordecai and Rigby’s job at the park as the major driver for its stories; looking over this season’s episodes, this is arguably the first time the duo have saved the park from destruction since way back in “Exit 9B.” The back-to-basics plot helps make this feel like the quintessential Regular Show episode, as “A Bunch Of Full Grown Geese” zooms through a bunch of the show’s iconic elements. The story opens with Mordecai, Rigby, and Pops doing some impromptu singing as they make an awesome sandwich; it’s a distinctively Regular Show move to illustrate the geese’s villainy by having them destroy an amazing sandwich before Mordecai and Rigby can chow down. “A Bunch Of Full Grown Geese” doesn’t overplay its hand by having our heroes swear vengeance over their lost sandwich, but longtime fans can be expected to know that if there are two things Mordecai and Rigby care about, it’s giant sandwiches and television. Before the episode is finished, the geese will have destroyed both.

Perhaps because the season’s previous event episodes “Exit 9B” and “Christmas Special” already showcased the ensemble cast, the 100th episode keeps its focus squarely on Mordecai and Rigby. Leaving aside the absent Muscle Man and Hi-Five Ghost, the other park employees are only featured in cameos, but these quick appearances do function as nice character moments. Pops’ cameo is a sweet, subtle progression from “Guys Night,” as he is shown as one among equals in the singing sandwich preparation. Rigby doesn’t even give him a hard time for using vegetables as his main ingredient. Benson threatens to fire Mordecai and Rigby for the umpteenth time—Rigby’s complaint that Benson always says that is the episode’s clearest acknowledgment of its anniversary status—but “A Bunch Of Full Grown Geese” tweaks the established formula as Benson first puts his feet up and says he’s got two good men on it, only to reveal he means Mordecai and Rigby. Benson means this as a bit of sadistic sarcasm, but it’s also an inadvertent acknowledgment of how much the pair mean to the park, even if they are incorrigible screw-ups. Skips’ scene also simultaneously honors and plays with his established role on the show, as it further cements the geese’s terrifying status when even Skips won’t go near them. The aftermath of his scene also sets up one of my favorite jokes in the episode, when Skips finds them hanging around outside his house a few minutes later and irritably asks, “You guys are still here?”

As villains, the titular geese allow Regular Show to showcase various tones. Theoretically, aggressive geese are a realistic threat to a park’s well-being, although “A Bunch Of Full Grown Geese” doesn’t waste time pretending these are any ordinary geese. Their first, sandwich-ruining appearance paints them more as a gang of hoodlums than a gaggle of geese, and their destructive antics are accompanied by the highest honor Regular Show can bestow on its guest characters: their own kickass guitar riff. The scenes where Mordecai and Rigby attempt to defeat the geese with the hose, a special spray, and lasers—only to fail miserably each time—are an effective homage to the storied tradition of animated slapstick. Regular Show keeps expanding the scope of the geese’s threat, as they go from normal avian pests to anthropomorphized delinquents to otherworldly invaders to borderline-Lovecraftian monster. A hallmark of the series has long been its ability to pile absurdity on top of absurdity, but usually this escalation isn’t so centered on a single adversary.

The geese succeed as well as they do in part because they are firmly established as the evil counterparts to the baby ducks, who underwent a similar evolution in their debut episode; Regular Show is able to transform the geese even more rapidly because of what was previously established with the ducks. There’s plenty of pressure on the baby ducks, as they take the place of more established characters as Mordecai and Rigby’s main allies in this anniversary episode. Their reintroduction is the perfect distillation of Regular Show’s aesthetic, in which the show takes hackneyed signifiers of coolness—like the fact that the baby ducks have a half-pipe in their living room, and one of them is practicing skateboarding tricks when Mordecai calls—and commits to them so unashamedly they circle back around and become awesome again. The ducks are the right guest stars for this episode because they are effortlessly cooler than Mordecai and Rigby, but they’re not total jerks about it (they’re only moderate jerks about it), and they’re so damn cute that it’s easy to forgive their occasional rudeness.

The final fight sequence is what sends an already stellar episode over the top; it’s the natural culmination of the previous 99 (or 97, whichever) episodes’ action scenes. The use of Stan Bush’s seminal song “The Touch” is an explicit and entirely appropriate shout-out to Transformers: The Movie, but the song generally captures the cheesy but awesomely shameless aesthetic that the ‘80s embodied and Regular Show exalts in. I must admit I’m not quite the right age to recognize all of the final sequence’s references to the era’s Saturday morning cartoons, although I’m fairly certain that Voltron is the major inspiration for the upgraded look of the baby ducks’ combined form.


That upgrade affords “A Bunch Of Full Grown Geese” the perfect opportunity to cram in some more artifacts from the show’s past. The logic of the sequence is dictated purely by what would be cool, specifically what Mordecai and Rigby would consider cool. That means the pair have to fist-pump like they have never fist-pumped before to trigger the baby ducks’ further transformation, and the final defeat of the geese relies on their video game mastery. It’s an exhilarating ending to one hell of a celebratory episode, and it even ends with Benson being put in his place by the baby ducks’ mother, as she explains to the eternally irate boss that his two employees just saved the park and maybe the world. Really, that’s all in a day’s work for Mordecai and Rigby, but it’s nice that this episode finally takes the time to acknowledge their—and, by extension, the show’s—awesomeness.

Stray observations:

  • It’s always obvious when show creator J.G. Quintel takes on a non-Mordecai voice, but I do kind of love how entertainingly silly his performance as the lead baby duck is.
  • “Fist bump with everything you’ve got… Maybe dial it back a bit.”
  • “Rotten egg smell. I got just the thing! First, drive to the ocean…” I’m not sure where Skips was headed with that advice, but I’m sure it was sage wisdom.
  • “La-la-la lasers! La-la-la-la lasers! Shine them in their facers, and watch them run awayzers! Shoo, shoo, shoo, shoo, shoo, shoo, WOO!” Seriously, those baby ducks are so damn cute.