Uncle Grandpa arrives on DVD this Tuesday with Uncle Grandpa: Good Mornin’, a collection including a variety of episodes randomly selected from season one. Good Mornin’ includes twelve 11 to 12 minute episodes. Uncle Grandpa is a show following the adventures of the eponymous Uncle Grandpa who, along with a variety of his strange friends, travels the world helping children in need. In this case, children in need are those who need help finishing a video game or acquiring a nickname.
Uncle Grandpa is a magical being. He is simultaneously the uncle and grandfather of everyone in the entire world. He travels with three companions (four if you count his talking fanny pack, Belly Bag). The others’ names are Pizza Steve, a sentient pizza slice with a face, arms, legs and sunglasses; Mr. Gus, a talking dinosaur/Godzilla/swamp thing; and a Giant Realistic Flying Tiger who is not animated, is made out of photographs of a tiger, and is just exactly what her name suggests.
Episode 1, “Brain Game”, focuses on a child who needs help with a video game. Uncle Grandpa and Pizza Steve shrink down, enter his head, and take over his brain with a video game controller. This does not help the kid play video games; it completely takes over his body. They destroy his fish tank and crash out of his house through a wall. After a series of life-threatening adventures, they accidentally save the kid’s life with their eyes closed, leading them to tell him to play video games with his eyes closed. This advice makes the kid a video game expert.
Episode 2, “Mustache Cream”, follows the gang as they attempt to buy a tube of mustache cream in order to “save the world.” After a navigating the treacherous maze of Mart Mart, they get the Mustache Cream back to the RV where Giant Realistic Flying Tiger is holding a giant flying mustache captive. They battle the mustache until they are able to subdue it and shrink it with the mustache cream. They give the mustache back to a child, warn him not to expose his mustache to toxic waste, and drive away in the RV. Then, changing his mind, Uncle Grandpa races back, crashes into an old lady, and disintegrates the mustache.
Episode 3, “Nickname”, finds Uncle Grandpa meeting a child named Eric who wants a nickname like his friends: Blondie, Duckhead Donnie, and Spaghetti Legs (a blonde haired girl, a child with a duck head, and a boy who has spaghetti-like legs). Uncle Grandpa tells Eric he must do something legendary in order to get a nickname. The legendary trials they put him through all involve landscaping a yard. Eric blows leaves, whacks weeks, pulls a stump, gets attacked by a possum, and stung multiple times by a swarm of bees. None of this is enough to earn a nickname, and he is sent to cut down a bush. The bush attacks him, and grows into a giant, two-headed, lunatic, flame-blowing tree dragon. Uncle Grandpa gives Eric a sword, which turns him into a huge, muscle-bound barbarian who easily defeats the tree dragon. In return he is given the nickname ‘Cupcake’.
Episode 4, “Locked Out”, follows Uncle Grandpa as he accidentally locks himself out of the RV. He tries everything he can to get back inside (he set up the entire gang on mystery dates and needs to get them there on time). After trying too many attempts to enter the RV, the security system in the RV goes into self-destruct mode. This involves the RV growing six very different arms and going crazy. The entire gang has to work together to defeat it. After subduing the RV, they race to the restaurant where they find their dates to be exact copies of themselves (because no one loves them more than themselves).
Episode 5, “Mystery Noise”, sees the gang all at a sleepover dream night together. In the middle of the night they are all awoken by a terrifying noise. The noise is a screaming, gagging squawk that sounds like a demonic Donald Duck. They spend the entire rest of the night fighting and tearing the RV apart looking for the noise only to discover that it was their “Breakfast Bird,” a hideous, molting chicken-turkey, telling them breakfast was ready. They apologize to each other for fighting. Uncle Grandpa tells them that everything is okay and to remember that, “Wars don’t decide who’s right, they decide who’s left. Now lets go eat that breakfast bird!”
Episode 6, “Bad Morning”, involves Uncle Grandpa waking up on the wrong side of the bed and angrily destroying the RV. Mr. Gus tries to discover why Uncle Grandpa is acting out and his investigation leads him to Pizza Steve (who admits to driving Uncle Grandpa’s race car bed to the store in the middle of the night for ice cream). Pizza Steve parked in such a way that Uncle Grandpa could not possibly have gotten out of bed on the correct side. Uncle Grandpa then goes crazy and drives his race car bed up the side of a skyscraper, with Mr. Gus and the gang in hot pursuit in the RV. Mr. Gus leaps into the race car bed, leaving Pizza Steve and Giant Realistic Flying Tiger to drive the RV. Just as he is about to drive off the top of the skyscraper Mr. Gus shoves Pizza Steve’s ice cream sundae into Uncle Grandpa’s mouth, sending him into a sugar crash, and the car spiraling into a pillow and steel factory. Uncle Grandpa lands safely on the pillows, Mr. Gus lands on the steel, and the day is saved.
Episode 7, “Best Friends” follows Uncle Grandpa as he launches Pizza Steve to the moon. After hearing Pizza Steve say that “Pizza Steve” is his best friend, Uncle Grandpa mistakenly think that there is a second Pizza Steve. He decides to get rid of the second Pizza Steve in order to secure his place as Pizza Steve’s best friend. After Mr. Gus and Giant Realistic Flying Tiger explain the concept of speaking in the third person to Uncle Grandpa, they decide to go the moon to find Pizza Steve. They stick Giant Realistic Flying Tiger’s back end out of the end of the RV and she farts a rainbow, launching them to the moon. There, they discover that Pizza Steve made a new best friend: Moon Man. During a quiz show (to determine who will be Pizza Steve’s real best friend) Moon Man answers the question, “Who is the coolest guy in the whole universe?” by stating that he is the coolest. Obviously, the real answer is Pizza Steve. Uncle Grandpa is determined the winner and they fly back to earth victorious.
Episode 8, “Hide and Seek”, finds the whole gang, sans Uncle Grandpa, playing hide and seek in the RV. Uncle Grandpa refuses to play, saying that is a dangerous, horrendous, and evil game. He tearfully admits that his fear stems from losing his friend Tony while playing hide and seek. The rest of them decide they need to get him over his fear by forcing him to play with them and they all hide while Uncle Grandpa seeks. 875,000 minutes later he still has not found anyone and is in hysterics. Finally, in the back of a storage closet in the basement of the RV, he finds the skeleton of his friend, Tony, who is still alive and enraged at being left alone for so many decades. Just as Tony is about to hide Uncle Grandpa and all his friends forever, Uncle Grandpa tricks him into one more game of hide and seek. Tony leaves to hide and the gang breathes a sigh of relief thinking that Grandpa planned to leave him to hide and wait forever again. But they panic as they see Uncle Grandpa counting, “Hotdog, hotdog, seven, ten! Ready or not, Tony, here comes Grandpa!”
Episode 9, “The History of Wrestling”, sees the gang in what is apparently an alternate universe where Uncle Grandpa and Pizza Steve are wrestlers named Chicken Man and The Best. Mr. Gus is a dinosaur person (named Mysterious Gus) who sells peanuts and wishes he were a pro wrestler, Belly Bag is part of the wrestling ring named Turnbuckle Bag, and Giant Realistic Flying Tiger is a reporter named Giant Realistic Interviewing Tiger. Chicken Man and The Best are scheduled to fight each other, but they end up making a mockery of the sport and angering the fans in attendance. The angry fans charge the ring and Chicken Man and The Best give their costumes to Mysterious Gus. Mysterious Gus proceeds to defeat the entire audience and fulfill his lifelong dream.
Episode 10, “Vacation”, finds Uncle Grandpa mobbed by a massive crowd of children. He is exhausted and tells his friends that he already helped 190 children that day and is burned out. Mr. Gus tells him to take a vacation and that he is not to help anyone. Uncle Grandpa, hesitant at first, agrees when Pizza Steve tells him that he is allowed to eat all the hotdogs he wants while on vacation. Uncle Grandpa walks across the ocean floor and ends up on a tropical island filled with hotdogs. As he relaxes a native island girl in a grass skirt runs up and exclaims that “The Chosen One” has arrived. Uncle Grandpa leaves her to go water skiing, but everywhere he goes the natives tell him that he is the chosen one and that he must help them. He even finds a mural that depicts him appeasing an angry volcano god (which he doesn’t get). After getting sick of everyone annoying him, Uncle Grandpa agrees and jumps into the volcano, which stops rumbling, and decides to spend the rest of his vacation there.
Episode 11, “Aunt Grandma”, features Uncle Grandpa attempting to help a child, only to be beaten by Aunt Grandma, everyone in the worlds’ aunt and grandma at the same time (which Mr. Gus says does not make sense). She is exactly like Uncle Grandpa except cuter, more practical, and able to help children without dragging them on a pointless adventure. Everywhere Uncle Grandpa goes that day Aunt Grandma is there as well. She helps the children faster and more efficiently, while Uncle Grandpa is still busy singing a song about where he will take the children to solve their problem. After going on a series of adventures and helping all the children she’s already helped, Aunt Grandma reveals that her real name is Pricilla Jones. When she was a little girl, back in 1993, Uncle Grandpa showed up and was supposed to help her. He accidentally broke her school project and, instead of helping her, took her to play hacky sack with Martians, leaving her no time to fix her project. From that day on, she took the name Aunt Grandma and helped children without subjecting them to pointless adventures with Uncle Grandpa. The two of them begin fighting and, after he beats her, she rips off his mustache, sticks it to her own face, declares herself Uncle Grandpa and flies away. Pizza Steve rejoices in how handily Uncle Grandpa beat her, but Uncle Grandpa tells Pizza Steve that every bone in his body is now broken and he collapses to the floor.
Episode 12, “Grounded”, opens with a delinquent teenager named Riley getting grounded and told to fold laundry. Uncle Grandpa shows up, not knowing that Riley is grounded, and lays an egg containing a laundry lizard to help him fold the laundry. Riley asks him if he can help him with one more thing and tells Uncle Grandpa that he is unable to leave his room as he is allergic to doors. Uncle Grandpa makes a magic door portal to help Riley get out of the house, but, after he’s gone, Uncle Grandpa hears Riley’s dad yelling at him to be quiet while he is grounded. Uncle Grandpa, realizing his mistake, takes it upon himself to bring Riley back home. He tricks Riley and his friends into entering another door portal, telling them that it leads to a party. But when they get inside, his friends turn into demons and everything bursts into flame. Uncle Grandpa makes another door that sends Riley back to his room (where the laundry lizard has finished the laundry). Riley dumps it out and begins refolding it frantically as his dad and Uncle Grandpa enter and high five each other.
Uncle Grandpa is one of the strangest shows I have watched in a long time. And I’m not sure how to feel about that. I don’t think I plan to watch any more after watching these episodes. This is really strange for me because, normally, the wackier a show the more I love it. I grew up on Looney Tunes and Animaniacs and I now watch Adventure Time, all extremely crazy shows, which very frequently do not make sense. I loved them then and still do now. They have a weirdness that appeals to kids, but they also have some really smart humor and underlying themes for the adults watching. Uncle Grandpa is not smart and has no underlying themes or plots for adults. Don’t get me wrong, once in awhile it can be kind of funny. But it lacks the heart and wit of the other crazy shows I loved as a kid and still watch today.
Uncle Grandpa is not a bad show, but it is not made with adults in mind. It is definitely for kids. While I may not enjoy it, I know firsthand that kids definitely do. My cousin and her kids were in town for a few days and, while we visited, at one point her kids were watching Uncle Grandpa on TV and laughing at his crazy antics. I told my cousin that I was in the middle of reviewing the show and she told me that she could feel her brain melting while watching it, but it was one of her kids’ favorites. They love it, and I think that’s what Uncle Grandpa is made for: to entertain kids. And it does that really well.
Uncle Grandpa, Good Mornin’ arrives on DVD March 7th. If you have kids, it’s a good bet that they’ll enjoy this DVD!
Jonathan North is writer, photographer, video editor, and animation fan from Iowa. He studied advertising and design at Iowa State University, and also has degrees in multimedia and art. His favorite movie is Fantasia, and his favorite cartoon is Gravity Falls. Or maybe Steven Universe. He can’t decide. You can find more of his work on his blog, as well as his Podcast and YouTube channel, where he reviews animation, movies, TV, or whatever else his guests feel like talking about. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, @jonjnorth.