It’s hard not to like Mordecai and Rigby, the animal heroes of Cartoon Network’s Regular Show. Featuring the same brand of off-the-wall humor that has made shows like Adventure Time resonate with audiences, the hit series is now rounding the bases on its fifth season. At WonderCon 2014 in Anaheim, the writers and voice actors behind the hit series hosted a panel full of laughs to discuss the current season and what’s next for Mordecai, Rigby and the rest of the gang.
The panel began with a video spotlight introducing the assembled talent with clips from previous shows they’ve worked on. Regular Show writer Matt Price then waltzed onto the stage in “tants” — pants with a square top around the waist — which Price said come in very handy, especially considering he has to put his notes for the panel down somewhere.
After the laughter died down, Prince introduced the other panelists: including supervising director John Infantino , writer Michele Cavin, writer and storyboard artist Toby Jones, Rigby voice actor William Salyers, Benson voice actor Sam Marin and Starla voice actor Courtenay Taylor. While Price saddened some fans discussing the fact that Mordecai and Margaret did not get together on the show, he quickly cheered them up by showing a video of Regular Show creator J.G. Quintel, who also voices Mordecai, who apologized for not being able to attend the panel.
Price then began the conversation in earnest, asking the show’s writers how it feels to continue churning out more shows as the series inches closer to its 200th episode. “It gets pretty hard when you’re trying to come up with a 189th idea,” said Infantino. “Just when you think you’re completely out of ideas of what’s happened, you talk about something about what’s happened to you and it opens up a whole mother load of ideas.”
“We’ll just be talking and then John and I will start telling stories to each other Then something will come out of that story and we’re like, ‘Wait — we can turn that into a Regular Show story.'” Cavin added. “It’s always great when you say, ‘My God, that idea is so stupid that it can work.'”
Jones is a more recent addition to the show than some of the other panelists, but has been adapting to the culture quite well. He said his biggest challenge has been keeping his ideas fresh. “Freshness is extremely important to me when it comes to working the show. It can be tempting to fall into old patterns — ‘That got a laugh five pages ago and I’ll do that again.’ I don’t like doing that ever,” said Jones. “I would try something a little weirder or something strange. Sometimes that works and sometimes that doesn’t. But the important thing is freshness!”
The panel then took a break from discussion to show off what fans were really waiting for — a video featuring clips from upcoming episodes. The reel showed Mordecai and Rigby tripping out after eating bark; Rigby throwing a burrito into a fan; and a moment where Mordecai and Rigby are trying their best not to get sucked into a portal, the consequences of which would be them going back to high school. Of course, no Regular Show clip reel would be complete without plenty of animated explosions, and this one did not disappoint. Fans saw a house getting torn apart by an intruder, a man in a turkey costume wielding a flamethrower and more.
With the clip over, Price cautioned fans that Regular Show is moving to 6:30pm before asking the actors about their audition process and whether the final voices on the show differed from what they first came up with. “It was kind of the same voice I auditioned with,” said Salyers. “There was this material that came through my agent that I didn’t have any context for. It had a bunch of weird lines — it came off as a sort of caffeinated voice. I guess that’s what [Quintel] was looking for because I ended up getting the job.”
“It was about looking at the drawings first and coming up with a voice that seems to fit that drawing, that seems to come out of that characters,” Marin said. “It’s also having known J.G. and his sense of humor, especially in Muscle Man, just the way he delivers lines.” The audience erupted in laughter as Marin started spouting lines in Muscle Man voice.
“I read for Starla and another smaller character,” Taylor said. “I wanted to do an annoying, Harvey Fierstein kind of voice. Nobody would want to hear this for any length of time. I made the cashier like that.” Taylor was surprised when the Regular Show producers told her that exact cashier voice was what they wanted, not the original one she had performed for Starla. At first she didn’t understand, but after hearing how Muscle Man sounded the show’s entire aural aesthetic clicked for her.
The panel then paused for a random costume contest, with the first place winner receiving a skateboard. Much to the dismay of some of the more ambulatory teen and adult fans, a four year-old boy dressed as Mordecai took the top prize. “Here’s your skateboard which you’ll be able to use in 12 years,” Price joked as the boy was handed his winnings.
Another clip was shown next, this one from the April 21 episode of the series. Mordecai and Rigby reform their band, Mordecai and the Rigbys, but things aren’t looking good for the group and they quickly disband (again) after a disagreement about their lyrics. Eileen (Minty Lewis) suggests Rigby bring the group back together, and he lures his bandmates with the promise of free pizza. Unfortunately for him, instead of reforming they get into a massive fight that culminates in them breaking all of the instruments in the room. This leads to infectious laughter and the group agrees to give it one more go. Asked why he wants so badly to keep the group together, Mordecai say, “I forgot what was most important.” Rigby asks him if it’s friendship, but Mordecai quickly shoots down that notion. “The air conditioner.”
The panelists turned things over to the crowd for questions, the first of which was about how the show can now get deeper with character growth and longer arcs. The fan asked how the writers felt about Margaret (Janie Haddad Tompkins) and poor, lovelorn Mordecai never making a real go of it as a couple. “I think it’s kind of sad that right when she finally got the point where she appreciated who Mordecai was and how much he cared for her that she left,” Cavin said. “That was kind of sad for me. I liked where we got to take his character after where he figures out who he is without pining over Margaret.”
Another fan wanted to know about Rigby’s development in recent episodes. “I like the fact that the guys seem to be maturing a little bit,” said Salyers. “Rigby is occasionally a little less of a jerk. Mordecai is dealing with the romance. I see something going on with Eileen and Rigby. They don’t tell me anything but I’m hopeful.”
Asked a similar question later on, Salyers said. “I would love to see it happen because I think Rigby would be so wonderfully awkward. I don’t think what he would know what’s going on for awhile.”
With the panel reaching its, a fan asked if goat intern Thomas (Roger Craig Smith) would be singing in the near future. “Thomas will be a little surprising soon,” said Infantino. “He might be singing. He might be doing something else. Something will happen of some sort in an episode.”
‘Regular Show’ airs Mondays at 6:30pm on Cartoon Network.