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It's a Wrap

6 May, 2006 By: Brendan Howard

Every film has to end. Even the video-camera films from the animated kids of “Home Movies” would always finish.

Now, co-creator and title star of “Home Movies,” Brendon Small, faces the end of his quirky show on DVD, which finished on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim in 2004. Home Movies: Season Four streets May 16 (three-DVD set $34.98) from Shout Factory.

Small and co-creator Loren Bouchard had the luxury of knowing the series was ending, so they had little Brendon's video camera, the one he'd effectively lived through in the series, break.

“We thought it'd be a nice metaphor,” Small said.

Months after recording the many commentaries for the set and years after finishing that episode, Small felt regret that the characters were done for, but also relief that the work was done.

“I think about Brendon in high school becoming an artistic personality,” he said. “Maybe that could be a show.”

But with the work wrapped up, it's like school's out.

“It's such a huge burden,” he said. “It's a satisfaction to end, like your homework's done.”

In the final episode, the makeshift family of Small, his kid sister, his single mom and the coach father figure leave the home together.

“It was sad to see the characters go away,” he said. “So many [of them] didn't get to meet each other. But [the last episode] showed the whole show was about building your own family.”

In the end, Brendon and friends went back and watched their movies that no one but them had ever seen — a fitting metaphor for Small's experience making the show.

“That's how I felt about ‘Home Movies,’ he said. “[The DVDs] were the only way I gauged people were watching.”

The show didn't win Small much recognition on the street, either, and what recognition he did get was a little mixed. Inevitably, someone would approach him, and it started out sounding bad: “‘Hey, man, I first saw your show, and I hated it. But it kept on being on, and now I gotta tell you, I love it.’

Celebrity fans ended up liking it, too. That's how he snagged guest commentators for the final-season set from the online satire magazine The Onion and musicians from Modest Mouse and The Shins.

Shout Factory also gave Small the go-ahead for a bonus CD with incidental music and wacky songs that Small wrote from the show's four-year run.

“I liked writing the show, but the most fun I had was sitting down and abandoning myself and doing the music,” Small said of his guitar noodling and occasional heavy metal solo. “I graduated from Berklee [College of Music]. My real love is music.”

That could be why Small's next project for Cartoon Network is “Dethklok,” an animated series about a half-American/half-Norwegian heavy metal band with popularity on a par with the Beatles and an income that rivals nations.

The Web site brendonsmall.com has a link to a trailer.

Small thinks his “Home Movies” fans will follow him to “Dethklok.” He's just not sure how his old fans will get along with the metalhead army he's trying to cultivate.

“There's gonna' be a fight,” Small joked. “A big fight.”

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