Cartoon Network’s Regular Show is full of hilarious characters that keep the show fresh and fun for every episode. These characters have well defined personalities that are, for the most part, grounded and are immutable from episode to episode. We expect Pops to act as the cheery old man, Muscle Man to prank and love Starla endlessly, and Skips to come up with a reliable solution.
Likewise, Mordecai and Rigby’s personalities were set in stone until 2014 rolled around. For this year, something special happened to them that changed both of them as how we perceive them as characters.
In the episode “New Year’s Kiss,” which premiered on December 31st, 2013, Mordecai’s accidental kiss to CJ culminated to the end-of-the-year disastrous episode “Merry Christmas Mordecai.” In that same episode, Rigby made a promise that 2014 was going to be the “Year of the Rigby.”
To sum it up, yeah! He was right! Rigby was pretty ballin’ in 2014!
For a show such as…er…Regular Show…I was highly surprised, but happy, that Rigby of all characters grew while still retaining his personal identity.
For instance, during the uncomfortable Mordecai and CJ pre-dating episodes, Rigby was the voice of reason for Mordecai. He gave him solid advice to follow mainly that he needed to stop pulling a Mordecai and get over his awkward feelings with CJ! This was most prevalent in the episode “I Like You Hi.” Rigby’s role as a close friend wanting to help Mordecai out seemed natural as well as the information he gave him.
Rigby also matured during his respective year as he became more reliable. He began to take selfless actions to save the people around him at the cost of either his time or sometimes the threat of his life. His new selfless attitude made me realize how much of a dick Mordecai was when he didn’t trust Rigby to do work without him.
In fact, since the beginning of Regular Show, Rigby seemed to be the one that would do work only if Mordecai was doing it as well. He was the hardest to convince to stop being a slacker. Mordecai would many times tell him to do his job and stop being lazy.
Rigby’s slacker attitude finally came back to haunt him in “Lift with Your Back” when he realized nobody could trust him to do an honest day’s work. Understandably angry, his decision to quit the park and work at the moving company was reasonable. His determination to work hard and get that paycheck was both hilarious and tear-inducing (yes, you heard me! TEAR INDUCING). That paycheck he earned was a symbol to his tenacity.
But what caused all of this? What caused Rigby to be selfless and reliable?
The theory that I hear being toss about is that because Mordecai hung out with CJ so much during the year it forced Rigby to find someone else to hang out as well. In this case, he found solitude in Eileen of all characters. Eileen! Rigby didn’t even like Eileen in the beginning of the Show! Sure, over time, his feelings for her have grown to toleration and then to amicable at best but there was never any sort of drive for him to get to know her more.
I think through Eileen’s constant support, such as “Tants” or “One Pull Up,” Rigby found someone who was willing to go the extra mile for him without looking any favors. He grew to like Eileen and as such, when Mordecai started dating CJ more often, he went to her to shoot the breeze. As such, through constant exposure of Eileen’s moral and responsible attitude, Rigby became more mature. She’s a good influence on him.
Good influence or not it would be mean to say that the only reason why Rigby changed was because of Eileen. It wouldn’t do him justice. As much as I like this theory I think it’s more than that. Remember, Rigby was giving Mordecai solid relationship advice that Mordecai would not follow up with. All this happened before he started hanging out with Eileen. He was already becoming a better person without anyone driving him to become one. I believe it was Rigby who wanted to become a better person because that’s what he wanted.
Year of the Rigby will be missed but I know it is not the end of Rigby’s growth. He has grown, admittedly slowly, throughout the course of the show and it really showed during 2014. I’m excited to see what’s in store for Rigby this year and how he’ll be able to flex his responsible muscles. And who knows, maybe this time Rigby will teach Eileen something. Now wouldn’t that be crazy.