IFC – GREG THE BUNNY FILM PARODIES SEASON ONE (2005)
IFC was somewhat dissatisfied with the half-hour special. As such, they shot down our pitch to do a 30-minute series based on the daily lives of our characters. What they proposed was that we do 10-12 minute parodies of films being shown on their network. They could continue to tie our content in with their promotions, and we could continue to work for a living.
These episodes aired in 2005 as part of a series of original shows on IFC, including Bob Balaban’s animated show, “Hopeless Pictures.” Twelve episodes aired, six of which contained brand-new content.
The other six were re-packaged versions of previous episodes from 1999, including Blah!, Daddyhood, 2001-1: Space N Stuff, The Blues She Is My Friend, The Godpappy and The Addiction (see descriptions in IFC 1999-2000). All of these shows were released, many in director’s cut form (longer than the aired versions) on DVD on October 24th, 2006 as “Greg the Bunny: Best of the Film Parodies.”
Creative decisions were made to revert fully back to the style of the original IFC Greg, and so his mouth would no longer move as it did in the reunion special. In addition, Spencer Chinoy and Sean Baker now reprised their roles “as themselves” and interact with the puppets from behind the cameras. Puppet agent Pal Friendlies joined the cast, as well as The Wumpus, a character who had not been seen since the public access days.
The six new episodes were a full return to the low-budget style of the pre-Fox series, were largely improvised based on written outlines, and featured much darker humor. The episodes alternated between documentary-style looks behind the making of the show to actual narrative parodies based on popular movies. Sometimes both! It was not unusual for our major characters to kill or be killed in any given episode, since they would always return again the following week, as if nothing had happened.
Each episode began with a brief introduction, based on the title sequence from the 80s TV series, “The A-Team.”
1. “Sleazy Rider” (Easy Rider)
After a botched attempt at filming a “Tootsie” parody, Warren the Ape quits the IFC show and hits the road in search of America. Greg joins him as Dennis Hopper to Warren’s Peter Fonda. They travel to a hippie commune, skinny-dip with some girls, and pick up a wayward hitchhiker (The Wumpus, in the Jack Nicholson role). Unfortunately, our puppets learn of society’s intolerance for their kind when the Wumpus is savagely beaten in the night. Eventually, Greg and Warren are heckled by two effeminate rednecks in a pickup truck, who shoot Greg with a shotgun, leaving Warren to crawl back to the show to resume his Tootsie role.
2. “Ya Know, For Kids!” (Cohen Brothers parody)
Several scenes in this episode pay homage to Cohen Brothers films, including “Raising Arizona,” “Fargo,” “The Big Lebowski,” “Miller’s Crossing,” and “O Brother Where Art Thou.” Basically Warren tries to blackmail the creators of the IFC show by pretending (as an anonymous kidnapper) to have abducted Greg. Pal Friendlies hires a local sheriff (Wumpus) to track them down. We soon learn that Greg is actually in on the kidnapping scam with Warren. They narrowly avoid capture by the Wumpus at a local super-market and end up in the woods, where Warren threatens to kill Greg so that he can blame him for the crime. Wumpus captures them and they end up in a chain-gang. Our heroes manage to escape and take vengeance on Wumpus, who ends up being ground in a woodchipper. The entire episode ends with Greg opening a small, wrapped box – a nod to “Barton Fink,” that actually ends up becoming a parody of David Fincher’s “Seven,” in which Greg, like the Brad Pitt character, is horrified to discover the head of Gwenneth Paltrow in the box. Yep, it’s weird.
3. “Martian Serum 7 From Mars” (Ed Wood)
This entire episode is a documentary about the professional and personal life of our own Count Blah. Through interviews with Greg, Warren, Pal Friendlies and the Count himself, we learn of Blah’s days in the film industry. We also learn of career milestones such as his hit pop-song, “The Blah!” and his short-run television series, “Blah’s House of Horrors.” Included throughout the episode are clips from this series, as well as footage from Blah’s oldest film, “Martian Serum 7 From Mars,” a 50s sci-fi/horror film in the style of filmmaker Edward D. Wood. The episode concludes with Blah paying his respects to his wife’s grave (after a quick stop at the OTB). Blah’s wife, Maldorah, was also referenced in the “Blah Bawls” episode of the Fox series.
4. “Dead Puppet Storage” (Pulp Fiction)
This episode is a documentary that looks at the making of our show, specifically a parody of the movie, “Pulp Fiction.” Although we never see actual footage of the finished parody, we watch as the characters (in full costume) rehearse their scenes and cause trouble on set. Feeling that Pulp Fiction has been parodied to death in popular culture, Warren the Ape causes turmoil by complaining and acting the diva. He suffocates Greg in the gimp costume and engages in a sexual relationship with his female co-star, Gerry (performed by puppeteer Victor Yerrid) only to find that she’s not exactly all-woman. Also features Warren doing Samuel L. Jackson’s Ezekiel 25:17 speech. (the DVD features the same speech also performed by Greg, Blah and Wumpus).
5. “Sex, Button Eyes and a Video Ape” (Auto Focus)
Though the title is a reference to Steven Soderbergh’s “Sex, Lies and Videotape,” this episode is actually a parody of “Auto Focus,” the biography of actor Bob Crane which starred Greg Kinnear and Willem DaFoe. Like Bob Crane, innocent Greg is introduced to the world of amateur video porn thanks to his debacherous buddy, Warren. Together the two shoot a series of skin flicks (featuring human actresses) and Greg loses his grip on reality. His addiction causes him to strain his friendship with Seth Green (who makes a cameo as himself) and be fired from the IFC show. But Greg has the last laugh when he finds a new job selling his puppet pornography to the likes of Gilbert Gottfried (in a cameo as himself).
6. “Naturally Sewn Killers” (Natural Born Killers)
In this faithful parody of Oliver Stone’s violent film, Warren the Ape loses his temper and kills the creators of the show in bloody, psychopathic style. Taking Greg as the Juliette Lewis to his Woody Harrelson, they embark on a psychedelic murder spree. Making headlines, they are soon the obsession of exploitive TV journalist Wayne Gayle (puppeteer Victor Yerrid in the Robert Downey Jr. role). Warren and Greg murder the executives at IFC, and a spiritual Indian Chief (played by Count Blah). Ultimately, Greg tries to make up for their atrocities by penning a letter of public apology, which bears resemblance to Anthony Michael Hall’s letter at the end of “The Breakfast Club.”