I haven’t watched Cartoon Network since Justice League Unlimited ended and even then that was the only show I watched on the network. All of the other original productions and imported shows that were airing on the network never got a second glance from me and even when Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends debuted, I didn’t look twice. Though the visuals were intriguing, I had no desire to watch the show, if only from the standpoint that most of what Cartoon Network was airing at that point was unoriginal and a waste of time. And they’re still airing live action films, but that’s another rant for another time.
Because of all of this, when the second season set for Foster’s arrived I was anything but excited. After talking to a few of my friends who still watch the network, however, my attitude changed—apparently Foster’s was a rather entertaining show that had a fair amount of charm in it. I was skeptical still, but after watching only the first episode on the disc, I could tell that the show was something that wasn’t like other “new” Cartoon Network productions—Foster’s feels like it’s from the days of an earlier, Dexter’s Laboratory and Powerpuff Girls Cartoon Network. The show, in almost every way, is completely original and a giant breathe of fresh air. My only regret is not watching the show earlier.
Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends main story outline is described directly in its title. Mrs. Foster’s has a home for the abandoned imaginary friends of the world. One such imaginary friend, Bloo, was created by a boy named Mac who could no longer keep him at home. Promising to visit him every day so that he isn’t put up for adoption, Mac, Bloo and the various imaginary friends go about their daily lives, obviously occasionally getting into trouble inside the home as well as out.
One great thing about the show is it doesn’t pander to a younger audience. Like McCracken’s previous Cartoon Network original, Powerpuff Girls, there is plenty in Foster’s for older audiences to enjoy. There’s no huge amount of sexual innuendo or anything, but the jokes the show makes are in no way written for one age bracket in mind—parents could easily watch this show with their children and not feel like their intelligence is being insulted. Even if there are poop jokes thrown in occasionally. One key supporting factor for this perception of the show is located in the episode “The Big Lablooski.” The title is an obvious reference to the film The Big Lebowski and in the episode itself there is even the crew from the film in the background. They don’t say anything, but their existence is another sign that while the show is primarily for kids to enjoy, there are things for the adults to enjoy there as well.
The humor in the show is also a big deciding factor. Some of it’s in your face (especially with the new character in the season, Cheese) and some of its subtle. There are a few great extras on this DVD that are nothing more than quick gags and there’s one of Bloo watching one of those inflatable punching bags that is in his likeness being beaten up. The gag goes on for a fair amount of time and the entire time Bloo is standing there with a horrified look on his face. Not everything about this show that makes you laugh is jumping out at you and I’m a big fan of the quieter, observational humor than the kind that yells at you (though that is fun in its own right).
Another positive of the show is the animation. The show simply looks great and the absurdity of some of the imaginary friends in the show is hilarious to look at. The show also uses a bit of the Samurai Jack art style in that characters don’t have the typical black lines around the characters. I think there are a few instances where things are bordered in black, but for the most part it’s clean and clear.
There isn’t a single episode among this second season set that I didn’t enjoy watching; there are a lot of hilarious episodes, including the introduction of Cheese and the bowling episode. There’s a lot of fun to be had throughout the season and while the plots are simple affairs (Mac outgrowing his friends, Bloo being suspicious of a new arrival at the house, etc.), they’re always fun to watch.
Overall Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends is a true delight to watch. After watching this second season I’ll definitely go back and check out the first and then eagerly await the future season set releases of the show. Highly Recommended.
I’ve seen some nicely produced DVDs, but this one is probably one of the best. The packaging is bright and colorful and the interior of the two-disc amaray case includes an insert detailing the episodes and the disc contents. Disc art is even a delight to look at, with some neat printing going on with the second disc, allowing the underside silver to shine through. Menus are also hilarious, with the main menu being fully animated with music and all sub-menus featuring music as well.
Video for the episodes is probably the only weak point on this set, in terms of the DVD content. The transfers appear to be of the interlaced variety, with some compression showing up that can sometimes become distracting if too much is happening on screen at once. Audio is clean and clear and I’ve noticed the Dolby Surround 2.0 tracks on these “Complete Season” sets that Warner Home Video has been releasing are extremely clear in the dialogue department. Also a huge highlight is the chapter stops—one after the intro and a few more interspersed in between that. Another neat extra is there are episode intros by Cheese, randomly selected 5-10 second skits that play before every episode. There are four or five in all from what I could tell and they range from Cheese just walking across the screen to licking the TV and saying “television tastes funny.”
On the extras department is a full-length commentary by Cheese on the “Mac Daddy” episode. This is hilarious at first but, like the character, it becomes tiresome after awhile and a full twenty-two minutes of it is enough to drive you insane. Most of the time Cheese screams and yells on the commentary—pretty much what his character does in the show; watch at your own risk, it could cause you to throw the DVD across the room.
Following the love-affair this DVD seems to have with Cheese, a “Cheesequest” music video is included in which Cheese shoves a video game cartridge into his mouth and goes on some kind of mystical video game adventure. It’s short and hilarious to watch as it’s animated in 8-bit video game sprite style and features inspiration from the typical games from the NES era, including Super Mario, and array of other space shooters and side scrolling action games.
Promos for the show are up next and include some “adopt an imaginary friend” promos that I assume were aired to get kids to write into the network. Oddly enough the promos with the imaginary friends “interviewing” are after the ones where they respond…not entirely sure what’s up with that. Other promos for just the shows general airing are included as well.
“All-new gallery of friends” showcases some of the more obscure, one-shot imaginary friends from the show. Normally I dislike bio fests such as this, but considering there are so many of these imaginary friends in the show, it’s cool to be able to see two or three of them standing still on the screen at once and to be able to hear a bit of their backgrounds.
The final extra is some “End of episode gags” which, from what I can tell, is extended scenes or alternate takes of some of the scenes from the series. These are as entertaining to watch as the show itself and come highly recommended if you pick up this set.
That wraps up this DVDs extras. There are a few cool things to watch outside of the episodes and the whole package is presented in such a way that really impresses me. Whoever Warner hired to produce the DVD menus and the like did a fantastic job and the quality of the work definitely shows and makes this set leaps and bounds above other two-disc season sets that Warner Home Video has put out in the past. This set comes Recommended—buy it and you certainly won’t be disappointed.
Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends – Season 2 is now available on DVD.