SQUIDBILLIES Volume 3 DVD Review

     August 19, 2010

After a marathon viewing of c, one may come to the conclusion that it is an exercise in excessive, lucid and surreal humor. It is. Don’t confuse my syntax as some negative implication. It would be easy and lazy to dismiss the Adult Swim show as another stoner comedy. When analyzed thoroughly, Squidbillies touches on topical events in a rib cracking and smarmy manner. While the show touches on social issues, the forces behind it were architects of Space Ghost Coast To Coast and Aqua Teen Hunger Force, so it maintains a familiar schizophrenic flow. Hit the jump to delve further into the madness of the backwoods cephalopods.

Part of the disarming charm of Squidbillies derives from the irreverent yet relevant social commentary. As much of that statement may be construed as a contradiction, so is the show’s humor. Somehow I constantly found myself guiltily laughing at jokes aimed at welfare, racism, poor parenting, religion and anything and everything politically uncouth. Something this batty and surreal shouldn’t be crisp and smart, right? Wrong. Check out “The Fine ‘Ol Solution” from the Volume 3 DVD; it’s a salty example of topical biting criticism blanketed with trade mark Adult Swim absurdist humor. The episode entails the exploits of Early Cuyler concocting a “Fine ‘Ol Solution” to prevent Mexicans from hijacking grunt labor from American citizens. It’s funny because, well, it’s funny.  And it’s funny because there are backwoods knuckleheads with the mental capacity of a squid that genuinely feel that way. In turn, this is very frightening because the episode provides an honest critique of American ignorance and irrational prejudice.   Don’t fret, alongside the social conscientiousness is destructive asinine fun.  “Lerm” mutates the usually empty threat “Do you want to go there?” into a nonsensical rage fueled laugh inducer that even Early grows tired of.  Pretty much, every episode is evenly balanced and hilarious. If you don’t believe me, we can go there. We were just there, but we can go there again.

Aside from the from the subtle and snarky social humor one the best parts of the show is Early Cuyler.  Even more intriguing is the man behind the voice, Unknown Hinson. Yes, his first name is Unknown. And no, that’s not his real name. Unknown Hinson is the alias of a musical troubadour in the vein of ninja comedic actor Charlie Kaufman. The guy is a comedic maestro. Who would’ve thought that Squidbillies would bury a meta within meta joke in the show? The Unknown Hinson persona is a six shooter sporting, party liquor consuming chaser of the “womerns.” His fashion sensibilities are a morbid blend of a mortician and a gunslinger circa the mid 1800’s. Simply, dude is a bad ass mofo. Please Google and or YouTube him immediately. The voice work of the primary characters is solid as well. Dana Snyder is a standout and riot as Early’s mom. Even funnier about Snyder’s Granny character (aside from her geriatric horniness); if you look at a still of Granny and compare it to Dana there is a seemingly premeditated resemblance. Constant and consistent little detailed touches like this elevate Squidbillies above comparable fair.

After watching, re-watching and re-re-watching the ten Volume 3 episodes I chowed down on the special features. Though abbreviated and sparse, the bonus stuff is apt. The best of the extra features is a quick clip from Dragon Con 2009, which hosted a panel of the talent behind the show. The panel featured Dana Snyder (voice of Granny on Squidbillies, Master Shake on ATHF and The Alchemist on The Venture Bros.), Dave Willis (co-creator of ATHF and Squidbillies) and Unknown Hinson. Adult Swim’s bumps that run during commercials are always hilarious, and the compilation here is brief, refreshing and funny. I must admit, I was disappointed that a commentary was not included in the special features. Even if it were only on one episode, listening to the crew behind Squidbillies bullshit together over just one episode would’ve been a hoot. Lack of chat aside, Squidbillies Volume 3 is a must buy. Now, excuse me while I chug a combination of Glug and Professor Cuyler’s “Liquid Miracle Wake-Up Clarificational Get Thin and Steal Stereo Equipment Stay Up For Four Days and Lose Your Teeth” Juice Tonic”!!!

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