The Date
Episode 101 - Get Away From My Mom

Original Airdate: April 26th, 1999 (UPN)

Brendon Small – Brendon Small
Jason Penopolis/Coach Jon McGuirk– H. Jon Benjamin
Melissa Robbins – Melissa Bardin Galsky
Paula Small – Paula Poundstone
Josie Small – Loren Bouchard
Erik Robbins – Jonathan Katz

Play Freebird!

Synopsis: In the pilot episode, Brendon Small finds out that his single mother, Paula, is going on a date with his annoying, fat soccer coach, Jon McGuirk.

I got a cow on my arm, cause I loved that cheese back then.

· This is the first episode of Home Movies.
· This episode is one of “The UPN 5”. Therefore, it has Paula Poundstone as Paula and is 100% retroscripted.
· This is one of two episodes to have an opening (Brendon runs around the house, and stops at Paula, who has his camera)
· Brendon, Jason, Melissa, McGuirk, Paula, Josie and Erik are introduced in this episode. The referee character is introduced as well. You can also see the Shannon character as one of the soccer players, but he is not mentioned by name.
· This episode was not mapped in the slightest; the plot developed through lots of improvisation between the actors. A full version of the improv that led to the first scene between McGuirk and Brendon is on the season 4 DVD as an easter egg.

Dark Side of the Law

Brendon’s Filmography:
· "The Dark Side of the Law" - In a world gone mad, there stands one cop fighting against evil and injustice.
· "The Dark Side of the Law II" - You thought Dark Side of the Law was the last of the films, with that title. You were wrong! Coming to theaters, Dark Side of the Law II! He thought he was above the law, he was wrong! Academy Award Nominee Brendon Small gives his most paralyzing performance. This film is not yet rated.

The Movie-Episode Connection:
· Since this is the pilot episode, the movie exists simply so that we can see that Brendon makes movies with his friends. There's no real connection to the story.

The Plotline Connection: (TheJazzFighter)
· Since the plots revolve around each other, Paula dates McGuirk and Brendon doesn't like this at all, there isn't really a connection.

Nice sandbox, pal!

Random Observations & Facts:
· McGuirk was, originally, a small, one-time character on the series. When in improv, Small (as the character Small) and Benjamin (as McGuirk) worked so well off each other that the role was expanded, highly.
· McGuirk’s tattoos of the cow/banana have appeared numerous times throughout the series.
· Brendon’s attitude towards McGuirk (“big fat crappy Irish guy”, “McGuirk the jerk”) is totally out of character with the rest of the series.
· Despite this, Loren Bouchard shows how the entire basis of the series was formed in the first improv session, where Brendon and McGuirk discover an odd, mutual respect for each other.
· You know how Erik goes “Did that guy just give me the finger?” Slow the scene down, he did. Or you can just check the bottom of the page. =)
· During the telephone conversation between McGuirk, Paula, and Brendon, you
can see in one shot of McGuirk where he is drawing what seems to be a picture
of Paula. (thanks to Bender1490)
· McGuirk has a “Soccer Rules!” and “Soccer: Hardcore!” poster in his office. The office is never seen again.
· There is a weird version of Perry (with blonde hair) on the soccer field

McGuirk's gonna come after your moms!

Movie & Other References:
· The red wire/blue wire angle from “Dark Side of the Law” is one of the classic movie clichés.

End Credits: “Season One Theme”

Uh, Perry?

Reviews: WARNING: Spoilers

Superloud: Is it just me, or did some parts of this episode seem to move really quickly compared to other parts? Brendon and McGuirk's voices seemed a little bit higher than they are now, and Paula Poundstone as Brendon's mom was just really hard to get used to. This episode wasn't all that funny, but I've seen a few of the later season one episodes, so I'm glad it picks up after this slow start.

Condiment King: I think what I disliked most about this episode was the mere fact that the show hadn't developed its characters yet, which led to really juvenile versions of Brendon, Melissa, and Jason. I really hate Paula Poundstone as Paula, and all the scenes with her on the phone in the "UPN 5". It really just seemed offbeat with the rest of the dialogue in the show and took away from the overall product.

Regardless, there were moments of hilarity in this episode. What made the movies funny in this episode wasn't the actual material, as it would be in later seasons, but just how crude and ridiculous they were. France is where all things dramatic happen. What wasn't funny was the attempts with Jason at literal crude humor, which was actually promoted by UPN as the funniest part of the show. But that's American comedy for you.

The best aspects of the show to me will always be Coach McGuirk and the actual soccer games, and we see the first hilarious sketch with Coach McGuirk naively comparing an team of 8-year-olds to a professional soccer team of 21-year-olds.

What's really interesting about the whole Paula/Erik/Josie dynamic is that Paula mentions that she met Erik two years ago "and she's never felt comfortable around him." It leads in like there's an uncomfortable secret about them that they are holding from Brendon and Melissa. Regardless, Paula mentioned earlier that she had a "recent divorce", which would mean a downright scandalous affair, yet I don't remember Brendon's dad and Erik having any tumultous relationship. Not to mention, Brendon and Erik admit to not really having a relationship, which would lend to him not being around all that much. Oh well, you could go around and around, but most likely it was Paula and Erik, I suppose. ***

StrangerAtaru: Once upon a time, an animated TV show came to a network that was infamous for animated TV shows. That network was UPN, and the show was "Home Movies". Needless to say, it didn't last too long between the two of them. This was the first product of the era known as the "UPN 5", the beginning of the series where things weren't really worked out as well as they became later, especially once it was transplanted to Cartoon Network. As a pilot, there are some rather good moments, but it is muddled by situations and plotlines that never really went anywhere. The central situation in this episode involves Paula (as in Paula Poundstone, the first voice of the mother) dating Coach McGurk, the soccer coach of Paula's son Brendon, and of course Brendon's reactions to the whole thing. As we all know later, Brendon and McGurk see each other as better friends than rivals, with Brendon as the "stupid kid" and McGurk as the grumpy soccer coach who knows a lot, but not in what matters. But here, it seems more like a love/hate relationship between the two, especially with Brendon coining the term which perfectly personifies the character: "McGurk the Jerk". One of the strongest of scenes between the two involves the meeting when McGurk arrives on the date with Paula where Brendon tries to give him unneeded advise involving the shirt he was wearing and tries to call him "dad" jokingly only to get caught up with Paula showing up. This pretty much is one of the first good scenes of many throughout the entire series, although I liked the outburst Brendon has at the end of the first act trying to warn the kids of McGurk wanting to steal their moms. (but that is more of a Brendon alone scene) As for the actual scenes between Paula and McGurk, they never really seemed to go anywhere to me. Sure they tried to establish a relation between the two, but the scenes never really did anything to me. Of course, as we all know Paula in these episodes seems like a more assertive go-getter who does her own thing opposed to the more sane, motherly type later on. (you can pretty much see it in the fact that she runs around all the time in these episodes in sweats)

Outside of the main plotline here, we have a lot of little weird stuff going on, some of which works and others that, well, still need work. One of the best things about the episode is the introduction of the movies with one of the most amateurish of works: "The Dark Side of the Law" (and it's sequel, the appropriately named "Dark Side of the Law II" ) Seeing how sophisticated and seemingly professional the movies slowly become, it is fun watching a time when there was a lot of running around and a costume in Brendon's movie is just wearing a different hat than another character! The actual scene where the movie was being made showed how ridiculous the movies were even back then (including the fact that they were in France "because that was where stuff happened" ) Another thing that we have to realize about this era was the little phenominon known as retroscripting, where the characters pretty much played off each other in an improvisional way. But this lead to some not so good stuff, most infamously the "Duck Talk" sequence with Erik, Brendon and Melissa. (it seemed rather obvious that Melissa was an important character back then, while Jason...we'll get to him) The whole thing was just wrong in execution and never really went anywhere or was that funny. That doesn't mean Erik is such a bad character: I did somewhat like his conversation with Paula towards the end, which while a little dry had the infamous violin solo. ("Play Freebird!" ) Then, of course, there is Jason: it obviously seems from this and the next episode that Jason was pretty much there as the "weird gross-out character" opposed to just the weird, quirky character he becomes later on. The whole snot thing was pretty much there in order to make him like someone from South Park was in the series. (of course, there was also UPN overadvertising that aspect in their original run that also harmed it, considering that South Park was "the latest thing" when the show started) Overall, this episode shows the potential that HM had from the very beginning, but had a long way to go to truely master it.

One last note: No I am not going to mention the whole Squigglevision aspect of the early episodes. This was the style of Soup2Nuts with Dr. Katz and many of their other earlier shows and only recently switched to Flash animation. Squigglevision did make things seem more raw, but it didn't impact much except for how the characters were drawn.

The Landstander: The bizarre story of HM begins. Entirely improv (and not afraid to show it), this is probably the most oddly structured episode the show ever had. It creates an odd charm for some, and admittedly a yawn for others. This creates a kind of odd flow to the series, which can be highly seen in the first 5 episodes. Which isn't to say there aren't highlights; it's interesting to see just about every character relationship being developed, namely Brendon and McGuirk. Paula Poundstone as Paula is going for a different character, and it's one that doesn't quite fit the rest of the show. The voices are a bit off, but it's hard to find any show (animated or live action) that doesn't have that problem.

All things considered, this is an interesting beginning, but on the whole the show is still finding out what it's doing with itself. A mediocre episode.

Did that guy just give me the finger?