Background: With all the cable channels pumping out shows these days, there is an ever increasing need to provide niche entertainment to a variety of markets, a quick glance at any comprehensive TV guide showing you just how many hundreds of offerings are out there. While most network shows are so expensive that they are designed to appeal to a broader audience, in effect resulting in the "designed by committee" approach I hate so much, far cheaper cable shows can be targeted to many of us. One of those that I never saw last season is the topic of today's review of Manswers: The Best of Season One, a show guaranteed to weed out the ladies in cable land and give most "real men" a bunch of laughs.
Show: Manswers: The Best of Season One collects almost 30 questions originally presented on the first season's nine episodes, 25 of them outlined with several bonus questions given up too. Narrator Matt Short presents various questions that guys ask, typically relating to booze, broads, and barroom discussions with montage clips. The crew then provides some answers offered up by a variety of people "on the street" so to speak, and follows up with an answer from some expert or study, the sex questions typically answered by Dr. Ava Cadell (or occasionally a porn performer). While some old stuffy types might find the questions often offensive as much as women would, I couldn't look away from the show and watched it three times (some friends joining me for the third viewing laughing their half drunken asses off).
Much like the manly man favorite The Man Show, Spike TV's Manswers is decidedly for a target audience of guys from about 10 years old to 90, preferably without your female partner hanging around to fuss at the way Matt talks about women (using terms relating to their period, a heap of sexual innuendos, and lots of devotion to showing ladies in bikinis, thongs, and other skimpy clothing. I learned how to be a better cannibal, what kind of women are more likely to put out, how deer are the most dangerous animal in North America, and even tips on picking up hookers if you're so inclined to need them. There was a bit of language that some wimpy guys might fuss about (like a handful in the DVD Talk forums) but nothing you wouldn't hear in most settings these days. The emphasis was on babes/sex as often as not too but there was no explicit sex or nudity (the major problem I had with the DVD release since guys want that kind of thing as an extra if they can't get it during the show). You can also see the entire series (all nine episodes) legally on the Spike TV website (Manswers) but the resolution and box size is so much nicer on this DVD that I'd suggest dropping the minimal dough to get it as a Recommended title.
Lest I offend some of the delicate folks in the forum yet again, I'll refrain from adding in any bikini or scantily clad gal pictures in this review in favor of the list of questions but the DVD is full of silly fun that anyone with balls should enjoy as a guilty pleasure. The second season will hopefully be longer and any follow up DVD provide some extras that are too hot for TV but the collection of engineers, safety experts, sexologists, and more importantly, hot babes found in this "best of" release were better than the sole reviewer at Amazon seemed to think. The company website said it like this: "Spike TV answers all of the burning questions men have been dying to ask, but never found socially acceptable in the comedic late-night series, MANswers. The fast-paced series works to satisfy the curiosity of Spike viewers by asking the tough questions only guys would appreciate and taking the viewers on a wild ride to find out the answers. In each episode, MANswers races through re-enactments, expert one-on-ones and man-on-the-street interviews to educate Spike viewers on the taboo topics in terms only guys can relate to. The truth is never what you would expect and will inevitably end up being talked about around the water cooler the next day."
Picture: Manswers: The Best of Season One was presented in a 1.33:1 full frame color offering as shot for Spike TV using the MPEG-2 codec. The single camera, frantic edit style of the show was a lot of fun and the clips varied substantially in terms of how crisp and clear they looked but having seen the show on TV since getting this one, I thought the DVD looked at least as good as the cable version. There was no moiré, artifacting, or added grain but some of the clips were in B&W and grainy, some of the clips of ladies should have lasted longer, and some of the interviews at night could have been higher resolution (this was offered in 480p with a bitrate hovering in the mid 5 Mbps area when I checked it out.
Sound: The audio was presented in 2.0 Dolby Digital English using a 48 kHz sampling rate and a 192 Kbps audio bitrate with no subtitles. The vocals were clear and balanced well with the special effects and score. There was no separation and limited dynamic range with no substantially different sound than what I heard off my cable.
Extras: The only real extras here were some bonus questions that were integrated into the show itself (so most people won't consider it a true extra).
Final Thoughts: Manswers: The Best of Season One should be enough to hold your attention until season two comes out next month on Spike TV but I would have liked the entire 9 episodes to be included here rather than merely a "best of" outing. Considering there were no extras included, the going rate of around ten bucks (less if used) wasn't terrible but Spike TV should consider providing full season sets with cool, "too hot for TV" extras in the future. The questions gave plenty of opportunities for showcasing attractive women in various states of undress but also offered tips for drinking, drugs, fighting, and the kind of topics men discuss when women aren't around. The answers are handed out in a tongue in cheek fashion with a lot of laughs, the DVD being truthfully advertised as exactly what you would expect (and worth your attention).