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Close Enough is an American adult-animated sitcom web television series created by former Flapjack creative director-storyboard artist and Regular Show creator, J. G. Quintel for HBO Max.

Intially, the show was developed and planned to air on the cable channel TBS in 2017, before being quietly shelved, and was re-scheduled to be released exclusively on HBO Max on the finaliazed release date of July 9, 2020

Premise

Close Enough follows a motley crew of housemates living on the east side of Los Angeles: married couple Emily and Josh, their five-year-old daughter Candice, a anthromorphic car named Chesley and their divorced best friends Bridgette and Alex. Looking to make the leap from carefree twenty-somethings to adulting pros, Josh, Emily, and their BFFs are navigating that transitional time in your 30s when life is about growing up, but not growing old. It's about juggling work, kids, and latent dreams - while dodging time-traveling snails, stripper clowns, and murderous mannequins. Their life may not be ideal, but for now, it's close enough,

Characters

Main

  • Emily Ramirez (Gabrielle Walsh)
  • Josh Singleton (J. G. Quintel)
  • Candice (Jessica DiCicco)

Recurring

  • Alex Dorpenberger (Jason Mantzoukas)
  • Bridgette (Kimiko Glenn)
  • Pearle Watson (Danielle Brooks )
  • Randy (James Adomian)
  • Butterfly ()

Minor

  • Mr. Timothy Campbell (John Early)
  • Mr. Salt (Fred Stoller)

Production

Development

The series was announced in May 2017, four months after Quintel's previous series, Regular Show, concluded.

The series' original description went along the lines of, "The series is described as a surreal take on transitioning from twenty-something to thirty-something. The show revolves around a married couple juggling such everyday challenges as parenthood, friendship, ham theft, stripper clowns, and choosing the right daycare."

Close Enough was originally picked up by TBS in 2017, but it was shelved, and as the streaming wars heated up, the show landed on HBO Max. “We dropped the trailer three years ago, and that’s how we actually pitched the series,” says Quintel. “We used the same Regular Show team and Saerom to create that trailer, and it actually looks like it was put together from a complete show. But it was completely fabricated as a selling tool so that they could see what we were aiming to do. After that, we went through development, and now, after waiting for a long time, it will finally air in July!”

“We deal with family life and adult situations,” he says. “Just because it’s an adult show, it’s not crass just for the sake of being crass. Yes, we can do that, but I like to be pushed to find creative ways to play with the adult jokes. It’s really more about having heart and characters that you care about. The stories have to do with super relatable things, but they all go totally out of control to take advantage of animation and explore things that you can’t do in live action.”

“I’ve finally switched over to Storyboard Pro for this show,” says the 2D animation die-hard. “I was holding out and using Post-its on paper forever. It’s funny, because it has burned into my work habits: I actually draw on the tiniest iPad now, and I think it works at that size, although digitally you can make it a lot bigger.”

Quintel points out that unlike Regular Show, which was a storyboard-driven show, Close Enough is a script-driven one, and is written by a team of 10 writers before getting boarded and animated. “I felt like it gave us more control, but we wanted to keep what makes board-driven shows so alive and interesting to look at in terms of animation,” he explains. “We found a really good balance that makes for a really cool show. The writers’ sole purpose is to crack the story and come up with jokes and punch up scripts and make sure they’re as funny as can be. But on the flip side for the board artists, you can look for people who don’t spend as much of their time writing, but focus more on animation and drawing. It’s interesting to have two sets of people who are really strong in their specific fields and combine them together, as opposed to finding people who can do both. Then, you have trade-offs like they’re really funny, but not quite as good at drawing, or vice versa.”

Shelved

The series was originally being produced for TBS in 2017 and planned to air next year in 2018, however, it was shelved after the network cancelled its adult-animation programming block, following the bad ratings of "Final Space", the controversy surrounding comedian Louis C.K., which led to the cancellation of his unproduced adult animated show for the block, "The Cops", and production issues of the show's own. An official Twitter account was created in August of 2019, with minimal posts.

Revived

On October 29, 2019, after three years of silence later, it was announced that the series would instead make its home on HBO Max as an advertised Max Orignal series. On creator J. G Quintel's Twitter, he publicly announced the series' official release date of July 9th, 2020.

Release

On June 10, 2020, American print magazine and website covering the animation industry, Animation Magazine, interviewed series' creator J. G. Quintel about the series, confirming production details such as describing the TBS trailer from 2017 was completely fabricated, with all the clips created exclusively for the trailer. This was what they used to pitch the show to TBS (before the show moved to HBO Max).

The second half of the third episode, "100% No Stress Day", was premiered at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival on June 15, 2020. On June 17, 2020, the official Close Enough Twitter announced that J. G. Quintel was going live on Twitch at 12pm PT to make a ~special announcement~ and talk all things about the series while playing Call of Duty: Warzone alongside Dr. Lupo, Cloakzy, and Jordanfisher.

On June 18, 2020, a few days after its shortened premiere at the Annecy International Film Festival, an official trailer was released on HBO Max-related social media.

Reception

The series has received positive reviews, with several critics comparing it favorably to Quintel’s previous series, Regular Show, as an adult-oriented continuation for college-aged longtime fans and its familar surreal and witty comed

Critical

Film and television review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported an approval rating of 100% based on 9 reviews, with an average rating of 7.6/10. On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 73 out of 100 based on 5 reviews, indicating and/or inducing "generally favorable reviews".

Trivia

  • Unlike Regular Show, where it was re-rated as TV-Y7-FV, Close Enough is rated TV-14.
  • The show was initially planned for Adult Swim and was originally going to be called Splittin' Rent.
  • James Baxter, famous British Disney character animator and frequent Cartoon Network guest storyboard artist, supervised and animated the surrealism-inspired main title sequence.
  • According to a personalized website, indie actress Kelly Ohanian was originally listed as two unknown characters for the series before silently being dropped from the cast all together.

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