Fabricated-Americans Unite!

When I mention Seth Green, what do you think of? That’s right, “Greg the Bunny”. Wait, you thought about Oz, from “Buffy: The Vampire Slayer”? Or Scotty Evil from the Austin Powers trilogy? Sure that’s his old stuff, what about recent schtick, like “Robot Chicken” or “Family Guy”? Not me. I still immediately think of that awesome, short-lived FOX comedy “Greg the Bunny”. (Yeah, FOX can’t deal with Whedon alumni in sitcoms, either.)

“Greg the Bunny” is a brown bunny puppet… er, Fabricated-American, who first broke into showbiz on a NY cable access show called “Junktape”. His charm and wit caught the attention of the Independent Film Channel, who gave him his own show, “The Greg the Bunny Show”, where he and fellow puppets introduced various movies and parodied films.

Eventually, in 2002, those wily execs over at FOX gave Greg his own sitcom and paired him with Seth Green, who played Greg’s roommate, Jimmy. In the FOX show, “Greg the Bunny”, the premise is that puppets live side-by-side with people, though albeit as second-class citizens. Greg gets the chance to live out his lifelong dream of acting on public access children’s television show, “Sweetknuckle Junction”. Jimmy’s dad Gil, played by the incredible Eugene Levy, is the producer of the struggling kid’s show, and Greg’s naïveté helps give it new life.

“Sweetknuckle Junction” is hosted by Junction Jack (Bob Gunton) and Dottie (Dina Waters), and is home to many puppet characters. Amongst the puppet cast are Warren Demontague, aka Warren the Ape, Tardy the Turtle, Susan the Monster, Rochester Rabbit, and my favorite, Count Blah, the has-been vampire. Behind the camera there’s Jimmy and Gil, but also Alison, played by Sarah Silverman, as one of the studio execs.

The core of the sitcom is Greg and how he deals with his fellow fabricated-Americans, especially Warren, who is a classically-trained thespian forced to work on a kid’s show to make a living, and is often upstaged by the new kid, Greg. Jimmy’s friendship with Greg is also very important, because this helps us cement the idea that puppets are people, too. Count Blah really steals the show, not just because he is a caricature of Sesame Street’s Count, but because he delivers some great material.

Tragically, the FOX series “Greg the Bunny” was cut short in its first season and suffered from having the episodes played out of order. (Where have we heard that before?) Moreover, it suffered from the studio not knowing what to do with the show. It is evident from the writing that there was a sharp edge to the material, but the studio dumbed it down for the masses.

Eventually, Greg, Warren, and Count Blah made their way back to the IFC for a couple years, irreverently lampooning great cinema, uncensored and unfettered. You can find the FOX series on DVD, as well as two DVDs featuring a collection of shorts from the IFC years. You can also find some videos still online. I highly recommend watching them all, especially if you become a fan of Count Blah like I have. If what you really want is to see Seth Green having a lot of fun, the FOX series DVD will be a winner for you.

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