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HBO’s CLOSE ENOUGH Promotes Chaotic and Unhealthy Behavior

Photo from IMDb – “Seth Morris, Jason Mantzoukas, Eugene Cordero, and J.G. Quintel in Randy Free Solos/Summer Job (2022)”

HBO’s CLOSE ENOUGH Promotes Chaotic and Unhealthy Behavior

By Trevor Jones, Movieguide® Contributor

Over its 30-year tenure, Cartoon Network Studios has produced groundbreaking content for its Adult Swim brand. The studio’s latest “stoner-esque” cartoon for the streaming wars, CLOSE ENOUGH, is a 2020 hand-drawn surrealist comedy that premiered on HBO Max.

The series follows a dysfunctional Los Angeles family and their challenges as they cope with their daily lives. Their mundane struggles usually spiral into ridiculous mayhem. J.G. Quintel, the mastermind behind the TV-PG classic REGULAR SHOW, created this TV-14 cartoon as well.

CLOSE ENOUGH excels at hyperbolic nonsense but stumbles over its moral footing. The show delivers tight comedy, great vocal performances and a dynamic cast. It also promotes familial bonding and making others happy. However, it dives into the pit of self-love, sex-humor and upstaging one’s exes. Moreover, it falls into the lazy trappings of other adult comedies. MOVIEGUIDE® issues strong caution to teenagers and adults.

CLOSE ENOUGH follows a family living in a Los Angeles apartment together. Josh (J.G. Quintel), an aspiring video game designer with a chill demeanor, leads this unit. His wife, Emily (Gabrielle Walsh), is a local singer with anxiety issues. Their daughter is Candace, a loudmouth six-year-old. Josh’s neighbors include Alex, an immature college professor, and Bridgette, an up-and-coming social media influencer.

In a normal 11-minute episode, Josh and his family get into a mundane predicament. They implement a quick solution, but the situation turns into absolute insanity. The family overcomes the cosmic horror, learns a lesson and returns to the status quo. This format mirrors REGULAR SHOW, but it focuses on married (and divorced) adults rather than anthropomorphic animals.

In terms of worldview, CLOSE ENOUGH is the devil’s minefield. The series prioritizes instant gratification, swearing and unrestrained adult humor. The characters utter expletives like “fricking,” “hell” and the “S” word. They also make numerous references to sexual intercourse and current pop culture. There is occasional nudity, but the show censors it in all circumstances. The show also includes scenes of peril and over-the-top violence. Alex and Bridgette, a divorced couple, are obsessed with sex humor.

To counterbalance this self-serving worldview, the show incorporates rudimentary moral lessons. Josh learns to overcome his ego and make his daughter proud. Alex drops his hyper-fixation on useless hobbies and sticks to his divorced wife. Emily learns to drop her toxic friend. These lessons are more of a last-minute edition rather than an integral part of the story. The only instance of a positive virtue occurs when Alex admits his true feelings to his rock-climber boyfriend. There are LGBT leanings, but they are minor occurrences.

The show is visually average in terms of production design. It uses hand-drawn animation with the occasional 3D element. Thin lines, simplistic facial features and flat colors make up the art style. CLOSE ENOUGH is passable but largely unimpressive aesthetically. It only excels in storyboarding. The show incorporates memorable locales of Southern California. Most scenes feature fast motion and dynamic angles.

The only time CLOSE ENOUGH achieves “Good Place” status is through its ludicrous set pieces. The family encounters haunted ghosts, aliens obsessed with fitness bikes and the literal devil at one point. The creators scatter cosmic curveballs into the show’s DNA. For a “turn-off-your-brain” type of series, the show incorporates a variety of spectacles.

In summary, CLOSE ENOUGH excels as an over-the-top comedy but fails the moral litmus test. Basic sex humor and a juvenile worldview fill the show, and the stellar voice cast and surreal curveballs are “close enough” for basic desires. But audiences searching for more substance should look elsewhere. MOVIEGUIDE® issues strong caution for teens and adults.

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Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.


4000+ Faith Based Articles and Movie Reviews – Will you Support Us?

Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.

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