"I don't watch television. I don't even own a television. Notice I didn't say TV. Tv is a nickname, and nicknames are for friends. And television is no friend of mine."
The year was 1997. I couldn't sleep one night, so I turned on the television and started to flip around. I was looking, looking for anything I could find that would help put me to sleep. What I found was a low budget television show that would change the way I thought about sketch comedy forever. No longer would I laugh at lowbrow fart jokes. No longer would I anxiously await catchphrases that get oh-so-tiresome. For at that fateful moment, I had discovered "Mr. Show with Bob and David."
Starring and written by two of today's most prolific comic geniuses, David Cross and Bob Odenkirk, "Mr. Show with Bob and David" was a no-holds-barred sketch comedy show that wasn't afraid to poke fun at any topic, whether it be the barrage of Hollywood A-list actors starring in movies where they play a handicapped individual and receive numerous awards for their "brave" performances, or the absurdity of 2-in-1 products, most notably a hideous concoction of Mustard and Mayonnaise called "Mayostard."
The series ended with little-to-no fanfare whatsoever in 1999. In total, there is only 30 half-hour episodes of "Mr. Show" spread over 4 seasons (4 episodes in season 1, 6 in season 2, and 10 each for season 3 and 4). But what they left behind is a rabid cult following who clamor for anything having to do with Bob and David. Very recently, "Mr. Show" has enjoyed a reincarnation of sorts. Coupled with the release of a surprisingly packed "Mr. Show: The Complete First and Second Seasons" on DVD, a well written tell all book written by Naomi Odenkirk, and a wildly successful comedy tour which I had the pleasure of attending called "Hooray for America", Bob and David are bound to attract a whole new set of fans to their offbeat brand of humor.
Watching "Mr. Show: The Complete First and Second Seasons" is probably the most enjoyable DVD experience I've ever had. There are a total of 10 episodes, each with a full-length commentary by Bob, David, and other "Mr. Show" cast mates, plus a bunch of other special features, spread over 2 DVDs. Each episode has a runtime of approximately 30 minutes. Here is an "official" skit breakdown, plus my comments on the episode as a whole:
Disc 1 (Season 1):
The Cry of a Hungry Baby Ronnie Dobbs For The National Entitilitus Foundation - Bob And Dave Take Audience Suggestions For The Show - "Hitler Sings" - Father Jim, Progressive Priest, Meets An *sshole At A Party - Change For A Dollar - Ronnie Dobbs - HBO Presents "Natural Born Drunk - The Ronnie Dobbs Story" - Incubation Pants
The standout skit here is "Change for a Dollar", along with the debut of the ever-popular Ronnie Dobbs character, a man who's famous for being arrested on "COPS" more than anyone else. Some really good stuff here, albeit unpolished at times.
What to Think Senator Tankerbell Tells "The Joke" to Underline the Inherent Perils Of Federal Arts Funding - David Wears A Shock Collar To Monitor His Performances - Ole Swerdlow, Folk Puppeteer - "Golden Books For Seniors" - The "What To Think" Network's "Good News" Program - "Overcome" Renouncing Homo-sin-uality - "The Bible Machine" Presents Marshall, The 13th Apostle - Voiceover King - "Globo-Chem" Advertising Presentation Featuring "Pit-Pat" The Pansexual Spokescreature - "The Joke: The Musical" With The U.S. Senator Seal Of Approval
From top to bottom, one of the greatest episodes of "Mr. Show." If you don't laugh at the new set of Globo-Chem commercials, or Jack Black's performance in the musical, then you're… um… a very bad person.
We Regret to Inform You The Unauthorized Biography Of Mr. Show - Bob's Mail-Order Bride - "Kiss To Prove You're Not Gay" - The Gay Porno Film - The Honeymoon Couple - The "Third Wheel" - "Screwballz" The Sex Partner Dating Show - Video Complaints - Borden Grote, Celebrity Film Extra Goes All The Way For A Role In A Mental Institution - Soul Singer Larry Black Performs "We'll Make Love Tonight" - The "Supermodel Calling Service" - "My Film Festival"
Another fun episode. The Borden Grote skit is one of the funniest things I've ever seen, and regardless what Bob thought of it, I also enjoyed the Larry Black skit.
Who Let You In? Must See TV - Pope Flees Homicide Accusations In Popemobile - A Pope Expert Speaks - Larry Learns Guitar - I.D.S. (Imminent Death Syndrome) -The Trial Of The Millennium - "Spank," A Performance Artist, Tries To Make His Statement On The American Flag - "Spank" Has His Day In Court - Courtroom Experts - The Founding Fathers: A History Of The Flag - The Museum Of History
Overall, my least favorite "Mr. Show" episodes ever. There are too many social commentaries, although the IDS skit is great.
Disc 2 (Season 2):
Now Who Wants Ice Cream? Mr. Show Becomes A Sovereign Nation - Mountain Dougie Part 1 - The Peterson Family News - Thrilling Miracles - 8-In-1 Super Pan Infomercial - Only The British Can Fly - New Freeland, Montana Mountain Dougie Part 2 - U.S. Customs - "Take Back The Streets" With F.F. Woodycooks - The Independent Nations Games - The Standoff: Day 4
This is one of the greatest episodes I have ever seen. The Super Pan Infomercial is hysterical, as is the stuff with F.F. Woodycooks. You must do yourself a favor and listen to the commentary on this episode, as it's almost as funny as the show itself.
A Talking Junkie David Affects An English Accent - "Mr. Junkie: The Talking Junkie" - Adopted Son ŕ The Red Balloon - Mom And Pop Porno Store - Three Times One Minus One On "The White People Co-Opting Black Culture Network" - "Rap: The Musical" - The Homage Awards - HBO's Creepy Peeping Videos
A good episode, with a solid second half. Everything after the Porno Store skit is hysterical. Watch out for Bob's Gold Tooth outfit.
The Biggest Failure in Broadway History Waiting For David - The Generation Gap - "No Adults Allowed" Talking To Teenagers - Slacker Discrimination - The New Ku Klux Klan - American Ad Awards: NAMBLA "We're Not Killers" - "Drunk Cops: Hammered In Detroit" - Nathan's Pet Iguana - "Jeepers Creepers Semi-Star" The Musical - Offensive Ending
Honestly, this isn't one of my favorite episodes. Some of the skits fall flat, although the Jeepers Creepers musical number was very entertaining.
If You're Going to Write a Comedy Scene, You're Going to Have Some Rat Feces in There Mr. Show Goes Public And Opens Up The Floor For Questions From You, The Shareholders - Child Labor Script Writers - Van Hammersly, Champion Billiards Player - "We Love Our Gay Son" - "Work Is Play!" Greg Sniper, Principal Stockholder Of Mr. Show, Pays A Visit To The Set - Downsizing - The New Economics Of Child Labor - Senator Tankerbell Speaks - GloboChem presents "San Francisco: The Theme Park" Family Friendly!
Van Hammersly is probably the funniest thing I've ever seen in my life, as is the Downsizing skit. Everything else is fluff, but man, are those two skits awesome.
Operation Hell on Earth Bob And David's Daughter Superstar - Deprived Youth - "American First Operation Hell On Earth" - Anchor Family Divorce - The Basketball Recruiters - Blame-A-Thon '96 Presents Fartin' Gary - Fartin' Rudy In "Second Wind" - Return Of Superstar
At this point, "Mr. Show" is absolutely on fire. All the skits are very funny, especially the Anchor Family Divorce (keep your eyes out for the one and only appearance of Famous Mortimer). God, I love this show.
The Velveteen Touch of a Dandy Fop Good Deeds For Charity - Helping The Non-Handicapped - Subway Scene - Dr. Sammy's "Old Lady, Biker, Gay Guy, Japanese Man: The 4 Voices Within" - The Last Donut - Dickie Crickets, The King Of Megaphone Crooners - Who Greenlighted "Coupon: The Movie"? - The Trial - The Trailer - The Testimonials
If you want to hook somebody on this show, show them this episode. The Last Donut is brilliant, as is the Megaphone Crooning skit. The Coupon Movie trailer is probably the smartest parody of "blockbuster" films I have ever seen.
"Mr. Show" is presented in full frame 1.33:1. Although not the quality of recent HBO shows, I am very happy with the video presentation here. Please don't forget that this is a low budget show, mostly shot on video. Flesh tones look accurate, and there's a minimal amount of grain. Trust me, it's looks better on DVD than they did when HBO was broadcasting them at 4am.
The audio is presented in 2.0. Everything sounds as good as I expected.
A static DVD menu lets you toggle between episodes, and commentaries.
Holy mother of god! Count them, 10 audio commentaries (1 for each episode). Each commentary is just as funny as the episode itself. There are lots of great tidbits for rabid fans (i.e. the differences between the budget of "Mr. Show" and SNL). Trust me, nothing I can write will do justice to how excellent the commentaries are. Along with the Fincher/Pitt/Norton commentary track on "Fight Club", this is one of my favorites.
Want more special features? Well, how about a bonus "Best of" episode? Featuring footage from Season 3, you'll bust a gut at how they assembled the episode to look like a low budget local news show from the 70s. Add to the mix the ten TV promotional spots, "Fuzz: the Musical", and "Before it was a Show" featurette, and you have one of the greatest television sets ever.
If you love dark comedy, sketch comedy, or just comedy… Then go out and buy this right now. With an affordable MSRP of $34.98, tons of extras, and commentaries; you really should give it a shot. "DVD Talk Collector Series" all the way baby!