It's a window *and* a metaphor of your life!
December 16, 2011 8:38 AM   Subscribe

In 1999 MTV launched Downtown, an animated slice of life show about young people in Manhattan's Lower East Side based on interviews with non-actors (Pilot part 2 part 3 ) created by animator Chris Prynoski (Daria, Beavis And Butt-head, Metalocalypse). Despite an Emmy nomination, the show was cancelled after one season (with one unaired episode). Like so many MTV shows, licensing complications prevented it from reaching DVD, meaning the only way to watch the show was to e-mail Chris directly. Until someone uploaded the entire series to Youtube.
posted by The Whelk (18 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
And available as a playlist now too
posted by NiteMayr at 8:47 AM on December 16, 2011

D'Oh A playlist
posted by NiteMayr at 8:47 AM on December 16, 2011

I kinda like the 'email Chris directly' idea better.
posted by spicynuts at 8:52 AM on December 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

I bought the DVD a while ago when it first came out, and it is definitely worth it. I would highly recommend emailing Chris directly.

Thanks for the great post, The Whelk!
posted by artichoke_enthusiast at 9:01 AM on December 16, 2011

Oh, man. I love Downtown, not least for Jen. Her sarcasm, her oversized sweaters, her adorable awkwardness (drunkenly singing Rockwell in a piano bar)...such a thing I have for that cartoon woman I can't tell you.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 9:14 AM on December 16, 2011

I saw this in my early teens and couldn't even remember the name of the show. I knew if I just waited long enough, someone would present me with the information.

Once again, inaction pays off!
posted by NerdcoreRising at 9:16 AM on December 16, 2011 [5 favorites]

artichoke_enthusiast: “I bought the DVD a while ago when it first came out, and it is definitely worth it...”

So, er – was this ever available on DVD, or not?
posted by koeselitz at 9:26 AM on December 16, 2011

Wow, completely forgot about this, but it all came roaring back as soon as I saw the first screencap.
posted by SpiffyRob at 9:27 AM on December 16, 2011

In middle school I used to have an outfit I called my "Jen" outfit because it mostly consisted of an XL men's long-sleeved shirt hanging off of my teensy 5'2" frame. Oddly, I didn't really watch the show that much and I don't remember it much except for Jen and her oversized sweaters.
posted by Polyhymnia at 9:42 AM on December 16, 2011

I love the idea of emailing the creator directly. There's this weird feeling like you know the guy who created it personally, even if you know deep down that it is not really true. These experiences are not quite the same as meeting a bigger celebrity, which you generally describe as something like "that time I met Danny Devito" or some such. It feels more personal than that, even if it is more or less the same thing.

Years ago, I bought Twigger's Holiday, and when I received it, there was a DVD defect. After a quick email exchange with Rob Schrab, he sent me a new DVD, no questions asked. There's also that time I bought MC Frontalot's shirt from the man himself at one of his shows.

So yeah, I vote for 'email Chris directly', though I may just watch it on YouTube in the meantime.
posted by mysterpigg at 9:49 AM on December 16, 2011

koeselitz: So, er – was this ever available on DVD, or not?

Yeah, Chris made it available on DVD back in 2007 himself. You just had to place an order (I guess by sending him an email) and pay him $25 via paypal. Not sure if the offer is still valid, but for the 3-DVD set, it was a great deal. So, technically, they have never been released to DVD, but in practicality, I have a DVD set that looks professionally made sitting on my shelf.
posted by artichoke_enthusiast at 10:47 AM on December 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Upon watching, the time capsule quality really sticks out, even just in the little details (Print shops!). I must have been a ...Sophomore? in high School when this came out and it pretty much colored what I thought moving to New York would be like.

To be fair it was more accurate then my other model, Go.
posted by The Whelk at 11:02 AM on December 16, 2011

Well, there goes my afternoon.
posted by anniecat at 11:54 AM on December 16, 2011

To be fair it was more accurate then my other model, Go.

You must not have a cat.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:59 PM on December 16, 2011

posted by The Whelk at 2:07 PM on December 16, 2011

Weren't a bunch of spammers on mefi shilling a black market DVD set of this for $20?
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:15 PM on December 16, 2011

I bought this DVD from Chris a few years ago and have been ever-so-slowly savoring the episodes. I still haven't watched the secret, never-aired 13th episode but my friend tells me it's amazing! I'm saving it for a special occasion.

I love good animation, and this series really takes the cake. It's easily my favorite animated show. The animation style is awesome: The characters look cool. The backgrounds are deep. They do these really cool flashback/dream/story-telling sequences where the drawings melt or distort as the transition. The stories are brilliant. They based a lot of the material on interviews with people around New York or on their own lives. If you listen to the commentary, Prynoski is drunk for a lot of it.

These guys made this thing when they were young, talented, and reckless. They make Star Wars and Star Trek references all the time and apparently they got no permissions to do so. MTV apparently just didn't care back in the day.

In one of the secret nooks of the DVD, they have footage of what I think was the crew from the show throwing a party where they had a room full of TVs that everyone was taking turns smashing.

If you love good animation, buy yourself the DVD. It's fucking amazing.
posted by cman at 4:04 PM on December 16, 2011

And FYI the DVD and packaging quality are top-notch.
posted by cman at 4:07 PM on December 16, 2011

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