Mission Hill: The Complete Series (DVD)
From Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein, former Executive Producers and Head Writers of The Simpsons. It's just around the corner and close to home - a funky, colorful neighborhood where a college degree can bring you an exciting career in retail sales. Welcome to Mission Hill. Meet overqualified, underemployed, 24-year-old Andy French. Ambition: to be a cartoonist. Occupation: salesman at Waterbed World. Hobby: Where's the party? But responsibility soon knocks on the door of the loft apartment Andy shares with two fellow slackers: Kevin, a nerdy 17-year-old who wears his SAT score on his shirt and his admiration for big brother Andy on his sleeve, moves in. And for good measure, so does the French family's dog. Friends, roomies, canines, countrymen: lend me your beers. They're all part of the daze of Andy's life. And all here in this Complete Series DVD Set. Party on.
A colorful cross between the graphic art of Daniel Clowes (Ghost World) and the TV work of Judd Apatow (Freaks and Geeks), Mission Hill centers around 24-year-old slacker Andy French (Wallace Langham, CSI). A wannabe-cartoonist, Andy works at Waterbed World with part-time girlfriend Gwen (Jane Wiedlin, the Go-Gos). In the pilot, his nerdy 17-year-old brother, Kevin (Scott Menville, The Wonder Years)--beer-swilling pooch, Stogie, in tow--moves in with Andy and spacey roommates Jim (Brian Posehn, Mr. Show) and Posey (Vicki Lewis, Newsradio) when the French parents relocate to Wyoming.
Created by Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein (The Simpsons), Mission Hill began life on the WB, but was unjustly axed after six episodes. As Andy notes in "Andy vs. the Real World," "I'm not MTV material. Hell, I'm barely WB material." The hand-drawn 'toon was a better fit for the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim animation block, which aired the remaining seven. (Five more were written, but not produced.) During its run, Andy and Kevin meander through their share of mishaps. They include Kevin accidentally burning down pal Georges mini-mart in "Kevin's Problem," the brothers falling for George's sister in "Andy and Kevin Make a Friend," and Andy losing his job in "Unemployment Part One."
Guest voices include David Clennon (thirtysomething) as Jim's boss ("Unemployment Part Two") and Jennifer Jason Leigh (Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle) as the strange object of Kevin's affection ("Kevin Finds Love"). Other voices include Tom Kenny (SpongeBob SquarePants) and Dave Thomas (SCTV), who voice a variety of characters. Cake performed the funky title theme ("Italian Leather Sofa"); although not all of the other alt-rock acts featured in the show made it to DVD. Fun fact: Kevin's gravel-voiced gay neighbor, Gus (Nick Jameson, Foghat), was based on tough guy Lawrence Tierney (Reservoir Dogs). --Kathleen C. Fennessy