[6 August 2007]
I’ve always wondered why shows disguised for kids but actually made for adults are always in the lowest spectrum of juvenile humor. Surely they can get away with a little sophistication with an older audience, but I suppose you could use that logic with just about anything. Twigger’s Holiday‘s sophomoric humor and crude, amateurish visual style is no different from the rest of the crop and viewers probably know that. But Twigger’s Holiday makes no excuses for its idiocy and its honesty is surprisingly the most endearing thing about it.
The first second of Twigger’s Holiday is an assault of over-saturated colors and sped-up video as our main characters, Twigger (Rob Schrab) and Josh, obnoxiously yell the theme song, “Everything’s Stupid”; an appropriate forecast of what awaits ahead. Twigger is a seemingly average kid who wears a headless gorilla on his head and skips around town with his imaginary friend Josh. During their journey they confront bullies, icky girls, and hot moms who like banging imaginary friends.
Twigger’s Holiday comes from the mind of Rob Schrab who has a dedicated fan following for his Scud comics and is most recently known for co-writing the film Monster House. Schrab is also known for co-creating Channel 101, a monthly film festival that doubles as an online TV network where viewers vote which shows get to stay on the website and which shows get “canceled”. Twigger’s Holiday debuted on Channel 101 with much success, quickly becoming an internet hit. The DVD consists of all five episodes, including lots of extra goodies.
The episodes themselves are fairly short, only about five minutes each. Obviously not much plot can fit into five minutes, but the first few episodes embrace this by focusing on silly, trivial things like Twigger getting beaten up by bullies or Twigger getting sent to the principal’s office for refusing to read. But later the show starts getting bogged down with too many subplots. For such a silly show, the added depth seems out of place and unneeded. Episodes four and five are almost serious and makes me want to question what exactly was Schrab’s intention? Is this show supposed to be a cute, heart warming coming of age story or a crazy, off the wall acid trip? According to the commentary, the episodes were made weeks, sometimes months apart; so I guess it’s possible Schrab simply got bored with his own show. It definitely seems like it.
Schrab even admits in the commentary that the show reaches its peak in episode two. While commenting on the last three episodes, his tone shifts and the excitement in his voice diminishes. He mumbles something about how it was all a good learning experience, but what I got from his commentary was that he clearly found the later episodes weaker.
But while the episodes continue their slippery slope, one thing that remains consistent is the songs. The songs are absurd and repetitive; idiotic on first listen, brilliantly idiotic on the second. I could type some lyric samples, but it would look quite ridiculous in print. The songs must be experienced. My favorite, “It’s So Fun To Pretend You Have a Wooden Leg”, is especially catchy and scores major points simply for being so damn random.
For a DVD with only five short shows, all of which are online, the biggest treat are the extras. Each show has three commentaries, one from Rob Schrab, one from the cast, and one from Holly King, who plays Twigger’s “hot” mom. King’s commentaries are the worst and her voice is too high-pitched and screechy to warrant a listen. She’s also as smart as a dead foot and her commentaries are nothing but her gushing about her makeup and clothes. In the out takes, King defends herself by arguing that people would treat her differently if she wasn’t blonde, but then she stumbles and mispronounces the word “provocative.” You lose, Ms. King.
Other extras include behind the scenes footage of King meeting Schrab’s real life mom (who makes a surprise appearance in the finale). There’s also a clip of Schrab’s acceptance speech after winning best director at the Channie Awards, some extended songs, out takes, trailers and an unfinished pilot for a non-related show. As far as extras go, I suppose they did the best they could, but for a DVD that’s less than 30 minutes long, it feels lacking. In the end, the goodies might only be enough for fans already familiar with the show and are simply looking for something extra.
So it all breaks down like this: 10 minutes of funny, 15 minutes of mediocrity, some nifty commentaries, some not so nifty commentaries, and some interesting extras. It might not seem like much, but I don’t think Twigger’s Holiday’s audience would care.