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Rocko’s Modern Life DVD The Complete Series – Review

Posted on February 26, 2013 AT 01:51pm

rockodvdFor fans of Rocko’s Modern Life, the wait is finally over! Shout Factory is releasing Rocko’s Modern Life – The Complete Series to DVD on February 26. As the name implies, all 52 episodes will be available in one box set, for the first time. At a purchase price of $29.99, the box set is quite a steal, coming in about 1/3 less than the three seasons available now – the fourth season included and bonus features not previously available.

Opening the box is quite a nice treat; one that other animated series should look to as a blueprint. Joe Murray, creator of the show, worked with Shout Factory to create the artwork for the set. What’s outside is your standard DVD front and back covers, but upon opening the set, the observant fan will find a clear plastic box showing that the inside jacket is wall to wall with new artwork of O-Town and the shows myriad characters.

The show itself is presented over 8 discs, with 2 discs per season. The first disc for each season features Rocko himself while each second disc features one of his friends. Running times for each disc are 140 minutes and go up from there depending on the bonuses.

Bonus Features:

Finding bonus material requires a bit of hunting and pecking as there is no insert included to indicate which discs hold what extra content and the discs themselves don’t indicate. Bonus features can be found on the menu once the disc is spinning, but this requires a premium of effort for what could have been a simple matter. For fans, it will probably be a non-issue as they explore through the discs.

The “Trash-O-Madness” Original Pilot Version is the pilot restored by Joe Murray and available for the first time here. The pilot is lengthened as the original 11-minute run time was too short. Rocko has also been digitally corrected to his original color here. (Season 2, Disc 1)

Behind-The-Characters Shorts is a quick, simple blog-style series of shorts featuring Murray (or at least his drawing hand) drawing the main characters from scratch on his Wacom tablet. He starts off with Rocko, while narrating how to draw the character and giving some background trivia at the same time. Heffer, Filburt and the Bigheads get the same treatment. (Season 2, Disc 1)

Season 3 Selected Scene Commentary isn’t an actual audio track running alongside an episode, but a 30 minute talking-head –style interview with Murray commenting on specific scenes he felt were important to the series development. (Season 3, Disc 2)

“Wacky Delly” [sic] Live 2012 features the full cast at a gathering in Los Angeles. Filmed before a live audience, the cast reads through the full Wacky Deli 2-part script in their character voices. Their camaraderie is quite apparent and the audience has a great time as well. (Season 4, Disc 2)


Final Thoughts:

As an animation lover, it’s generally a treat to discover a new series. Receiving a shiny, 8-disc set in the mail is therefore doubly cool. Though I hadn’t previously watched Rocko’s, I was familiar with it by name. Nickelodeon has a history of producing some pretty good animation product, so I dived right in.

Actually watching the series was another matter. Even just watching the short pilot (episodes are broken into 2 15-minute shorts), I found myself squirming and reaching for my phone to see if there were any notifications. The show is cute enough with some mild adult humor, but mostly written at a kid’s level. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing – there are many shows that succeed with just such a formula, I found the humor to be mostly run-of-the-mill and the jokes falling flat. Other, better shows come to mind. It attempts some to use some of the shock value of Ren and Stimpy or South Park, but doesn’t compete on that level. At the same time it misses out on the inanity of something like 2 Stupid Dogs.

I’m not going to say the series didn’t improve to some degree by the end. I laughed more at season 4 than what came before and several episodes were amusing, but there’s nothing over the top that makes this a classic that I’d come back to.

This is, of course, just one reviewer’s opinion. Supposedly this is a cult show, so I’m sure fans will want to vocally support it in comments here. More importantly, they should financially support the release.


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