Another series that's part of MTV's "Sunday Stew", "Viva La Bam" stars "Jackass" alum Bam Margera in a show that is entirely about seriously messing with Bam's parents, April and Phil. The entire series is about Bam and friends Brandon DiCamillo, Ryan Dunn, Chris Raab, and Rake Yohn coming up with new (and admittedly, somewhat inspired) ways to cause Bam's parents emotional distress.
The fourth season opens with the series once again trying to take things up another notch, as the 20-something Margera once again proves that he's the ultimate version of a bored teenager looking to mess things up, simply because it might provide some amusement and well, what else is there to do? The only difference would be that, in this case, he's working with a sizable budget and has the attention of MTV's cameras. I found the first season of the series occasionally amusing, such as when Margera and friends tried to leave his parents on an island, but had the tables turned when his parents abandoned him. However, in the early going, the show could occasionally seem repetitive, and the animated cutaways that occured at a rate of what seemed like every five seconds were a bit much.
However, once the show's budget seemed to increase in the following seasons, the scope started to get bigger and the series seemed less repetitive. The fourth season starts off with a 2-parter that has to be one of the show's biggest and funniest. The first episode starts off with parents April and Phil announcing that they're headed off to Europe for a vacation, which she's been discussing for weeks, but appears to be fresh news to Bam. His plan? Tail April and Phil to Europe, but it turns out that Vito is the one to ruin things.
One of the most amusing (and unfortunately true, given how expensive it's become) exchanges comes early in the third episode, where April informs Bam and his friends that the latest heating bill is $582. When confronted with the figure Bam flatly responds, "For the year?" She bets the bunch that they can't work it off, and their attempts to find day jobs are fairly entertaining.
The fourth episode has Bam attempting to build his own state after yet another township (see the end of season 1, where Bam and his parents forced to move after violating several of the town's ordinances) becomes infuriated with the chaos he's created. Another highlight of the fourth season is the other international episode, "Mexico", where the entire group heads South with a bet: that Vito can't learn 10 Spanish phrases.
The show's international flavor continues with the fifth season, which starts off with Bam heading to Brazil, while Phil and April's bedroom is transformed into a jungle back home. "Vito's Revenge" has Vito befriending skater Mike Vallely, who's willing to help Vito plan payback. It all ends with a house being torn down, and Vito screaming his usual subtitled babble. Another highlight of the fifth and final season is "Metal Mulisha", where the Mulisha visits and Vito attempts to become an honorary member. Meanwhile, April and Phil find themselves entertaining the band GWAR.
25. 4- 1 6 Mar 05 The Eurotrip (1)
26. 4- 2 13 Mar 05 The Eurotrip (2)
27. 4- 3 20 Mar 05 Working Class Bam
28. 4- 4 27 Mar 05 State of Bam
29. 4- 5 3 Apr 05 Bam on the Bayou
30. 4- 6 10 Apr 05 Winter Wonder-Bam
31. 4- 7 17 Apr 05 Destination: Mexico
32. 4- 8 24 Apr 05 Random Tasks
35. 5- 4 26 Jun 05 Destination: Brazil
36. 5- 5 3 Jul 05 Ape's Birthday Surprise
37. 5- 6 10 Jul 05 Vito's Revenge
38. 5- 7 17 Jul 05 Metal Mulisha
40. 5- 8 24 Jul 05 Lost Lambo
41. 5- 9 31 Jul 05 Episode 39
42. 5-10 14 Aug 05 Raab's Russian Mail-Order Bride
VIDEO: "Viva La Bam" is presented by Paramount in 1.33:1 full-frame, the show's original aspect ratio. The picture quality is perfectly decent, as the different cameras used in filming offer varied image quality. Sharpness and detail was mostly fine, although there are moments in low-light or with some of the handheld cameras that appeared softer.
Some of the low-light shots appear mildly grainy and show slight traces of pixelation. However, the source elements appeared to be in fine shape and no edge enhancement was seen. Colors appeared natural and accurate, with no smearing.
SOUND: "Viva La Bam" is presented with 2.0 audio. Dialogue, music and various sound effects are clear and clean.
EXTRAS: Commentary from Bam and his friends can be heard on the episodes for the fourth season, and April, Phil and Vito join in for the commentary tracks on the fifth season episodes. The extra bonus disc offers a few more features: we get the "MTV: Cribs" segment for Bam's house, the "Viva La Top 5" look at some of the show's best moments (20 minutes), 42 minutes of deleted scenes for both seasons 4 and 5 and previews for other titles from the studio.
Final Thoughts: "Viva La Bam"'s fourth and fifth seasons are mostly entertaining, with only a few subpar episodes. Paramount's DVD set offers fine audio/video quality, along with a generous helping of supplemental features. Recommended for fans.