Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule
Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule is an American comedy television series starring John C. Reilly as Dr. Steve Brule. The show is a spin-off of Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, originating in a segment called Brule's Rules. The series premiered on Cartoon Network's late night programming block, Adult Swim, on May 16, 2010.
|Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule|
|Starring||John C. Reilly|
|Opening theme||"Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule Theme"|
|Ending theme||"New Instructions" by Tobias Becker|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||4|
|No. of episodes||24 & 1 special (list of episodes)|
|Running time||11 minutes|
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution|
|Original network||Adult Swim|
|Original release||May 16, 2010 –|
|Preceded by||Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!|
The show parodies 1980s’ public-access television programs and follows Dr. Steve Brule as he examines different facets of living. His extreme and possibly pathological naivete and social awkwardness generally land him in embarrassing situations, though he remains largely ignorant of any embarrassment he's causing himself. As the series progresses, he reveals surprising and sometimes shocking details about his past and personal life. The series has completed four seasons of six episodes each.
In the series, Reilly interviews real people whose reactions, according to executive producer Tim Heidecker, are genuine. Reilly stated that he intends for the humor to derive from Brule's character rather than the reactions of his guests. In post-production, the video is piped through a VCR to simulate poor production value. Critical reception has been positive, with several reviewers highlighting the character of Brule while noting the aesthetic qualities as similar to other productions. The A.V. Club's Brandon Nowalk compared it to The Day Today and Brass Eye, while DVD Verdict's Dawn Hunt compared it to This Is Spinal Tap. The first two seasons were combined onto a single DVD release, made available on October 16, 2012, in Region 1.
The program, a surreal parody of human interest shows, follows Brule as he examines, or "checks out", different facets of living. Throughout the show Brule frequently performs embarrassing behaviors and is found in embarrassing situations, though he personally seems impervious to embarrassment. Each episode begins with a poem or lyric pertaining to the subject of the show, followed by Brule crediting the work but usually mispronouncing the author's name; his mispronunciations are a staple of the show—in the first episode, he mispronounced the name of nutritionist Dr. Johnny Bowden both as "Dr. Jimmy Brungus" and "Dr. Jungy Brogan".
As the series progresses, he reveals shocking, sometimes horrifying, details about his past and personal life, such as his mother, Doris Pringle-Brule-Salahari (Nancy Munoz), having poisoned his food when he was a child in order to "slow him down." The series also features interludes from other public-access hosts; recurring characters include Terry Bruge-Hiplo (Robert Axelrod), Doug Prishpreed (Doug Foster), Carol Krabit (Carol Kraft), and Scott Clam (Scott Stewart). Respectively, they host movie reviews, news updates, fortune-telling & weather updates, and a finance show, all in the same style of low-budget cable access segments.
According to Heidecker, Reilly's dialogue in the show is mostly improvised and the reactions of the guests Reilly interviews as Dr. Steve Brule are genuine. Heidecker stated that the humor revolves around "not necessarily fooling these people" but "more the character of Steve Brule being completely clueless and a really strange guy." He has cited Huell Howser and his show California's Gold as an influence. During an interview for Esquire, Reilly was asked about his experiences on the show; though he did not mind answering the question, he preferred not to elaborate on Brule as a character. He stated that Brule's "persona would be more interesting if left a mystery" and felt the more he elaborated on Brule's character, the less interesting it would become to him.
To achieve the artifact-ridden quality of the video, the editors pipe the footage through a videocassette recorder and the post-production crew literally hits the recorder in order to simulate a jump in the vertical synchronization. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Heidecker elaborated on the aesthetic quality of the series: "It's a show that genuinely feels like this guy made it himself. It’s as if it's 4:30 in the morning he had snuck into the studio to make this show without getting permission. It's bare bones. Lots of technical problems. Just a mess. The whole thing is a big mess. A big beautiful mess."
The series has completed four seasons with six episodes each. The first season premiered on May 16, 2010 in the United States and concluded on June 20, 2010. The second season premiered on March 18, 2012 in the United States and concluded on April 22, 2012. The third season premiered on February 27, 2014 and concluded on April 4, 2014. Adult Swim, in an announcement made before its upfront presentation, revealed Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule to be a returning show for its 2015-16 schedule in May 2016. The fourth season premiered June 18, 2016. and concluded on July 29, 2016.
A 30-minute special entitled Bagboy aired on February 20, 2015. A special episode depicting recurring character Scott Clam hosting in place of Brule (as a result of the events of the season 4 finale), aired on October 23, 2017.
On January 1, 2021, Tim and Eric hosted a watch-along of Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie. As part of it, they mentioned that they were working on a potential future project involving Dr. Steve Brule.
The series has garnered positive critical reception; Ross Luippold of The Huffington Post gave the series a positive review, noting Reilly's performance and stating he "may be the only actor alive who can get away with starring in critically acclaimed films during Oscar season… while concurrently starring in two Tim & Eric joints." Lindsay Hurd of The Michigan Daily highlighted the stage design in her review, stating that "The show's set is just as amusing as Brule's lack of coherence… [the series] amounts to a gaudy-but-comical set that oddly matches Brule's reporting style." Casey Burchby of DVD Talk "highly recommended" the series' first and second DVD release. He praised the eponymous character, stating "John C. Reilly's Dr. Steve Brule is one of the most likable characters in recent TV history." While he praised the series as "a rare example of a well-developed and justified spinoff", he found the series best enjoyed "parceled out one at a time".
Check It Out! With Dr. Steve Brule isn't just a public-access parody or a character study. It's an exciting, inventive experiment surfing highs and lows together, a thoroughly modern pastiche of analog nostalgia, train-wreck television, awkward comedy, surrealist flights, and unsettling tactics.— Nowalk on the second season finale "Life"
The series has received positive critical reception from The A.V. Club; the site has graded the first season three As, two Bs and one C grade. Writing for the site, Brandon Nowalk felt the interviews for the second-season finale "Life" accentuates "a different facet" of the series' humor: "1990s absurdism." He cited The Day Today and Brass Eye as two examples of this quality, while stating Brule's character is closer to Harry S. Plinkett than of Stephen Colbert or Sacha Baron Cohen. He later regarded its third season as "a little lighter on the laughs than usual", but found it "slightly better produced", with the audience "growing accustomed to the usual blunders."
In reviewing the first and second season D.V.D. release, Luke Bonanno of DVDizzy praised Reilly's character; however, he was critical of reprising the "bold characters" of Wayne and Jan Skylar from Awesome Show, stating that "such [characters] just aren't a good fit here and weigh down on the humor." He panned the network's lack of promotion for the series and wished for more episodes per season "even if making it with Tim and Eric had to be a creatively-liberating blast".
Dusty Somers of Blogcritics stated the portrayal of Dr. Brule "adds unexpected dimensions of naked vulnerability and a childlike fear of a world he doesn't understand." Dawn Hunt of DVD Verdict gave the series 95 out of 100; he applauded the series as an "homage to the local cable access shows of the 1980s." He compared the series to mockumentaries such as This Is Spinal Tap and stated that the visual look of the series "looks, feels, and sounds like it came straight from the MTV Generation."
The combined first two seasons were released on DVD on October 16, 2012 in Region 1. Entitled Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule: Season 1 & 2, the DVD features episodes in production order.
- John C. Reilly (March 16, 2012). Opening Theme–Check It Out! With Dr. Steve Brule–Adult Swim (YouTube).
- Tobias Becker (February 15, 2019). New Instructions (YouTube).
- "Home - Jonny Bowden". jonnybowden.com. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
- "Nancy Munoz". IMDb. Retrieved 2021-01-25.
- "Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule (TV Series 2010–2016)". Retrieved 23 March 2018 – via www.imdb.com.
- Collis, Clark (May 7, 2010). "Check it Out! with Dr. Steve Brule: Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim on John C. Reilly's Awesome Show spin-off. For your health!". Entertainment Weekly. New York City: Time Inc. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
- Tim Heidecker's Office Hours Live episode 116. July 4th Tribute to America with Larry Charles and Megan Koester
- Katz, David (July 6, 2010). "Will the Real John C. Reilly Please Stand Up?". Esquire. New York City: Hearst Communications. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
- Prigge, Matt (March 1, 2012). "Eric Wareheim – From Tim and Eric – Says It's Really Hard to Make Crappy Movies". Philadelphia Weekly. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
- "Check It Out! With Dr. Steve Brule Season 1 episodes". TV Guide. New York City: CBS Interactive. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
- "Check It Out! With Dr. Steve Brule Season 2 episodes". TV Guide. New York City: CBS Interactive. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
- Snierson, Dan (January 22, 2014). "John C. Reilly's Check It Out! gets return date from Adult Swim". Entertainment Weekly. New York City: Time Inc. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-05-18. Retrieved 2015-06-20.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Snierson, Dan (January 20, 2015). "First look: John C. Reilly is back as Steve Brule in 'Bagboy'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 20, 2015.
- Tim & Eric's Billion Dollar Movie New Years Day Hungover Hunks Watch-A-Long
- Luippold, Ross (March 19, 2012). "Dr. Steve Brule Goes Dumpster Diving In Check It Out! Season 2 Promo". The Huffington Post. New York City: AOL Inc. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
- Hurd, Lindsay (May 19, 2010). "A non-formulaic dose of TV doctor in Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule". The Michigan Daily. University of Michigan. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
- Burchby, Casey (October 16, 2012). "Check It Out! With Dr. Steve Brule: Seasons 1 & 2". DVD Talk. Los Angeles: Internet Brands. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
- Nowalk, Brandon (April 22, 2012). "Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule: "Life and Death"". The A.V. Club. Chicago: Onion Inc. Retrieved April 26, 2014.
- "Check It Out! With Dr. Steve Brule: Season 1". The A.V. Club. Chicago: Onion Inc. Retrieved April 26, 2014.
- Nowalk, Brandon (March 20, 2014). "Check It Out! With Dr. Steve Brule is a videotape triumph". The A.V. Club. Chicago: Onion Inc. Retrieved April 26, 2014.
- Bonanno, Luke (October 19, 2012). "Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule: Seasons 1 & 2 DVD Review". DVDizzy. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
- Somers, Dusty (November 16, 2012). "DVD Review: Check it Out! with Dr. Steve Brule – Seasons One and Two". Chicago and New York City: Blogcritics. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
- Hunt, Dawn (November 8, 2012). "Check it Out! with Dr. Steve Brule: Seasons 1 and 2". DVD Verdict. Archived from the original on November 16, 2012. Retrieved January 23, 2013.
- Lambert, David (August 27, 2012). "Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule – [adult swim], Cartoon Network and Warner Announce Seasons 1 and 2". TVShowsonDVD.com. New York City: CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on February 1, 2014. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
- Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule: Season 1 & 2. Burbank, California: Warner Home Video. October 16, 2012. ASIN B0048LPRDC.