March 01, 2013

Interview: J.G. Quintel of REGULAR SHOW

Next week, we're releasing the first watch in our new partnership with Cartoon Network. As we prepare to wrap wrists with artwork from Regular Show, we had a few questions for the show's creator, J.G. Quintel. Here's pop culture collector Jeremy Brautman asking J.G. about his 'regular' days, love for 80s technology and advice for artists.

When you initially pitched the idea for Regular Show to Cartoon Network, could you imagine it extending into its 5th season?

Definitely not. I’d been used to working on shows that went three or four seasons at a time, so I just assumed that it would be the same for Regular Show. I still can’t believe that we have 160 episodes. It’s actually getting hard to remember all of them.

What does your average 'regular' workday look like?

It generally starts with coffffeeeeeee. And then after that I sit for art approvals for an hour. Then we have a writers meeting to go over ideas and to come up with new ones. Then we head to lunch, which usually only lasts 30 minutes before getting in some stick hockey, the tabletop bubble type. Then the rest of the day is filled with pitches, retakes, animatics, and anything else that needs to be done, depending on the day.

Given your love for 80s pop culture, was it kind of a dream to work with Devo's Mark Mothersbaugh on the music?

Yes. I remember when I was doing the pilot, I wanted to get Mark Mothersbaugh to do the music, but wasn’t sure if he’d want to. So we sent the animatic and just asked, and he wanted to do it. It was pretty cool to check out his studio and meet the people he works with. They do a great job on the music in the show.

Can you describe your love for such 'bygone' technology as cassettes and VHS tapes?

Growing up, it’s what I had. So all the old 8-bit games, cassettes and VHS tapes are just what I remember from growing up. I feel like it’s funnier to have all that stuff than a bunch of MP3 players and smart phones in the show. In a way, all the retro stuff makes it feel more real.

You said in an interview with MTV Geek: "I can remember a time buying a new [video] game based on the cover and thinking "Oh, it's going to be so awesome," and then the graphics would be total crap, but you'd still be like, "Oh yeah, it's so cool!" And just, like into it." It seems like you still have that excitement in you, but as an 'adult,' are you now more likely to say, "Well, this sucks!"

Unfortunately, yes. I’ve realized that the more you’re exposed to things, the more everything starts to look lame. It’s a kind of desensitizing. When you’re a kid, pretty much everything is awesome, but then you look back on some of that stuff and realize it was complete garbage. The challenge is trying to make things that will hold up after you grow up. We definitely try to do that with Regular Show.

Regular Show won an Emmy in 2012, but it seems like the real trophy of modern culture is the meme (which you also have). How does it feel to make something so outlandish and yet so well received?

It feels great. We’re really just happy to get to come to work everyday and try to make each other laugh. It’s nice to know that other people are enjoying it too.

Regular Show got nominated for a BAFTA Children's Award in the UK. When writing the show, do you think about how it will play in other cultures?

Not really, but I do feel that I’m heavily influenced by British Comedy, and it’s definitely made its way into the show. Maybe that had something to do with the BAFTA nom. Haha.

If you could travel (Tron-style) into a video game or animation, with which characters would you most like to hang out?

Probably ToeJam and Earl. They seem pretty chill.

If could only take one comic book, one cassette tape, one VHS tape and one videogame cartridge (along with the necessary equipment) with you for a year to a desert island, which ones would you bring?

The Watchmen, Rush, Rushmore, and Shadowrun for Genesis.

Any tips for artists and writers who would like to get their ideas seen by Important People?

The internet is a great way to get your work out there. I think if you want to get into making animated shows, you have to make films. Go to school and make tons of films.

What are your must have tools — from pencils and post-its to computers and Cintiqs?

Tombow Mono 2B Pencils, Post-its, and the most important tool… a Sakura Electric Eraser.

Do you have any vices?

Right now it’s stick hockey. We have an episode called Stick Hockey where Mordecai and Rigby find Benson’s old Stick Hockey game and they think it’s so much fun. We recently got one at work. It is the best thing ever.

What's next for J.G. Quintel?

Hopefully a break. But after that, more cartoons.


Vannen Watches and Cartoon Network Enterprises  announced a partnership that will bring the network’s Emmy® Award-winning television series Regular Show to wrists everywhere via a line of limited edition watches set to debut next week! Featuring iconic art from the series and designed by Vannen’s creative team, the limited edition Regular Show Vannen Watch will be available for sale online at beginning Wednesday, March 6 at 9:00 a.m. EST. These highly collectible watches will be available for $75 and limited to 300 pieces.

Created by J.G. Quintel, Regular Show revolves around the lives of a raccoon named Rigby and a blue jay named Mordecai whose surreal adventures offer something for fans of both mainstream and indie animation. New episodes of the Regular Show television series can be seen on Cartoon Network Monday nights at 8:00 p.m. (ET/PT).

Additional details on the first Regular Show Vannen Watch will be announced soon. Stay tuned.