This week is Valentine's Day and the cast of Cartoon Network's Regular Show is celebrating a bit early with the release of Regular Show: Mordecai and Margaret Pack, a new DVD chronicling the relationship, and break up, of Regular Show's favorite love birds. The 16-episode DVD shows the start of their relationship with "Caffeinated Coffee Tickets" and ending with "Steak Me Amadeus".
Newsarama spoke with showrunner and creator (as well as voice of Mordecai) J. G. Quintel about the romance and relationship between Mordecai and Margaret, as well as Mordecai's awkward situation with newcomer Cloudy Jay, and some helpful hints for aspiring cartoonists as well.
Newsarama: It's been over a year since we last chatted and Regular Show is still going strong. How does it feel to have lasted this long and become a Cartoon Network staple?
J. G. Quintel: Pretty awesome! It's nice to see the ratings are holding up and we're not running out of ideas. I mean now we're up to 140-some odd episodes, it's just crazy. We're still chugging along [laughs]. The stories are changing and the world keeps evolving as we go and it's really fun to see what it's turning out like because I've never really worked on a show this long before.
Nrama: Before we get into talking about the new DVD release, I want to talk about the evolution of Thomas. What was the decision to promote him from background to reoccurring character? I've noticed he's in a lot more episodes recently.
Quintel: Well definitely in the initial "Exit 9B" episode, we wanted to add a character, but we really wanted to add an intern because all of us have been interns and we thought it was funny of that dynamic to see how people treat interns in a joking way. I think some kids take it a little too literal and don't realize we're poking fun, but now as his character grows it's funny to us because people ask "why is he in the show" and "what is the point" and it's like, he's an intern. He's kind of always there in the background and maybe he'll say something important or not, usually not, he's just become this running joke. We'll eventually we'll deal with that but I kind of like where he is right now.
Nrama: Also since we've talked, Regular Show has licensed comics coming out from BOOM! Studios. Now, are you involved in that process in any way?
Quintel: I was in the process in the beginning, but I kind of just leave it to them because they know comics well and we are working really hard to keep the show at the level we want to keep it at and it's just a lot to be able to work on both at the same time. They're doing a great job and it's really weird to see it in print, in comics, and to see all the different styles. I didn't want them to copy the style verbatim, since as a comic it can be anything and it's kind of neat to see different artist's takes on different characters like how they look and everything.
Nrama: Okay, so finally Regular Show finally has the first two seasons out on DVD and the next DVD release chronicles the relationship of Mordecai and Margaret. How would you describe their relationship?
Quintel: I would call it "extremely slow".
Nrama: Well it has been four years...
Quintel: [laughs] Yeah, only took a couple of seasons...but I was really glad he was able to go for it and it was kind of interesting to see where it led. He just took a little too long and she ended up going to school and ugh, it's just painful. To be able to watch through them again and to be able to watch them in order because, usually, we wouldn't put the emotional episodes back to back, we'd spread them out and they'd be about one a month. Now, you can watch them all together and realize that was a conscience decision on our end, and it's just a neat relationship to watch unfold.
Nrama: So the DVD almost telling a story was intended?
Quintel: It was! It was one of the things in the show, at that time, that did kind of connect and wherever we were with Mordecai and Margaret in one episode, we'd pick it up with the next one so as they slowly get pushed together with liking each other more a bit, you know, hanging out more...because in the beginning in season one, he sort of liked her from afar. He really had a crush on her, but they weren't really friends, and then they started hanging out and then it started getting closer and he finally made his move, it's just kind of cool to watch.
Nrama: While Margaret's been away to school, there's been hints of Mordecai having a budding relationship with Cloudy Jay, or C. J. as she likes to be called, are there plans for that to develop?
Quintel: Well, we definitely have C. J. back. She's in the show now and we know we just have to go along for the ride and see what happens this time. Hopefully Mordecai will learn from his past mistakes.
Nrama: Some fans might not realize that C.J. is voiced by Emmy-nominated actress Linda Cardelini, who approached her about the role, or was it a case of her coming to you?
Quintel: We approached her and she said yes. We were really pumped when she did. She really brings that character to life and there's a sweetness to her voice and she's a great actress. We're huge fans of "Freaks and Geeks" so we were excited she wanted to come in.
Nrama: Speaking of C.J., why make her a cloud? I mean the most likely answer is "why not", but curious about that decision.
Quintel: I think it was something that Sean Szeles boarded when he was storyboarding that episode and he made her a cloud. I like that the design she just seemed like a free spirit and I liked the fact that, you know in the episode when we first saw her, it was a neat way to show she had a temper and to see her erupt into this storm cloud. It was fun. So, yeah, that's why she's a cloud.
Nrama: Aside from Muscle Man, Mordecai, and Benson, will love bloom elsewhere? It seems like Rigby is left out of the cold for now.
Quintel: You know, it's just a little off of his radar. He's a dude's dude and just likes hanging out with his bros. He's not in that space, yet, since we leave it to where Mordecai and Rigby are the troublemakers who's dragging everybody on these adventures, but you never know. We have a lot of episodes to go, so anything could happen.
Nrama: You really love your holiday-themed specials, having recently done a Thanksgiving episode and New Year's, what's the next one centered around, if you have one planned?
Quintel: Oh geez, let me see if we do have one planned...[ponders] Arbor Day? [laughs]
Kidding, of course. We are going to be doing more of the type like the Halloween specials . We do have a lot of fun making them and when we find a holiday that has been untapped, that's usually what we go for. They're really fun. It was a sort of debate of saying oh, we really shouldn't do Christmas and do something that comes across as fake, but on Regular Show we wanted to do the literal holiday and it makes it relatable because we find out what the holiday means to them. The Thanksgiving special was really fun because it was sort of "what is Thanksgiving about" and we tried putting in all that stuff in there. It's fun and it's been nice to know people are reacting well to them.
Nrama: I'd like to end with what advice could you give to budding artists and cartoonists who want to work in this field.
Quintel:- Definitely go to school and study story. Story is very important. Also, make films. It's important to make films and show people what kind of cartoons you want to make. I think that's the best way to do it.
Regular Show: Mordecai and Margaret Pack is in stores today, Feburary 11, 2014.