Have you ever seen basic cable comedy... on weed?
What this is, whatever the name, is five drug-fueled episodes of some Comedy Central favorites, labeled as "Buds" on the disc. Of the five episodes included, two have already been released on DVD, one is coming soon, and another will likely get released eventually. Only "Weed vs. Beer," an episode of "Lewis Black's Root of All Evil," might not get a release, as few such shows on Comedy Central have made it to home video. So if you are a fan of the series represented here, there's a good chance you have the episodes or will soon. If you're a newcomer though, there's some good stuff to discover.
First up is a second-season episode of "The Sarah Silverman Program," which hasn't hit DVD yet. "Face Wars" is mostly about racism, as Sarah thinks that Jews have it worse than black people, since she was denied a tennis court at a local country club. To prove her point, she decides to spend a day disguised as a black person, which, if you know Silverman, is guaranteed to be offensive and ridiculous. But that's not why it's here. The subplot to the episode sees Sarah's gay pals Brian and Steve on the hunt for some pot, and finding it in medical marijuana. Underestimating the power of the weed, they smoke their brains out, and spend the episode stumbling around. Brian and Steve are fun to watch struggle with the influence, but the main plot is much better, which is probably why it's the main plot.
The late, great "TV Funhouse" is up next, with the wonderful "Christmas Day," in which our host Doug is overtaken by Christmas cheer, which the Anipals, the animal puppets who hang out at the Funhouse, decide is a great drug, so they tap his spine to get a fix. If you've never seen the show, a real possibility for many people, that description should tell you everything you need to know about it. A beautifully animated segment about Tingles, the Christmas Tension and a short film on where to look for Christmas presents hidden around the house add to the Anipals' drug rampage, resulting in an episode that just makes me want the upcoming series collection even more.
Lewis Black's excellent new series, in which two comics argue the evil of two topics in front of "Judge" Lewis, is a great take on stand-up acts, and downplays Black's angry persona, which works to his benefit. In this episode, Paul F. Tompkins argues that Weed is the Devil's tool, while Andrew Daly (Upright Citizens Brigade) speaks out against Beer. These two are perfect portraying "lawyers," with very professional appearances and deliveries that sell the show's trial concept. I haven't watched too many episodes of the show on TV, but watching these two go at it, and getting limited, but fun bits from Black, makes me think I need to tune in more often. Only problem here is themisspelling of Tompkin's special witness Aimee Mann's name.
An old episode of "Reno: 911!", "Burning Man Festival," sends Lt. Dangle (Thomas Lennon), Dept. Jones (Cedric Yarbrough) and Dept. Junior (Ben Garant) out on an undercover mission to the alternative celebration in order to bust L.S.D. users and distributors. Simply put, it doesn't go well. This one has a double-dip on the drug theme, as Dept. Johnson (Wendi McLendon-Covey) goes undercover to catch a head shop selling weed. Again, things don't go as planned. Though these storylines are funny, the opening scene, which has Dangle working a prostitution sting, and Dept. Garcia (Carlos Alazraqui) trying to get a crackhead prostitute off the streets, are much more entertaining.
The episodes wrap up with a natural: "Old Habits, New Beginnings," the first episode of "Strangers with Candy." As a recovering addict, Jerri Blank needed a spot on this set, and this episode, which sees Jerri whip up a batch of a drug called glint, in order to become popular. Unfortunately, Poppy, the most popular girl in school, ends up overdosing on the glint, which leads to more trouble for Jerri. It's probably the most drug-focused of any of the episodes, and represents more correctly what a disc like "Home Grown" should be about.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 audio is rather standard, but boy is it nice to hear that catchy "TV Funhouse" theme nice and clear. The dialogue is clean making for a solid presentation that replicates the way it sounded on TV.
The other section, Seeds, is much more unusual, and ramps up the WTF? factor, while sticking closer to the Home Grown concept. First up is a YouTube video called "Spider on Drugs," which takes a film of an experiment showing the effect of drugs on spiders, and adds a humorous voiceover. Similar is tone is "From the Archive: Weed," a pro-drugs redub of an old educational film on pot. The spider clip is the better of the two, but neither stands up to a complete episode of stoner favorite Bob Ross' "Joy of Painting." This is a straightforward episode of the instructional series, and it maintains all the positive qualities that made the show so calming and enjoyable to watch, as the uber-relaxed Ross just gets lost in the fun of creating. No matter what state you're in, this is a a good one to watch.
The last item in Seeds is a selection of three cartoons from "The Animation Show," Mike Judge and Don Hertzfeldt's cartoon festival. Do not watch these while high, unless you want a bad, bad trip. "Psychotown," by Dave Carter is short and not bad, but next to Run Wrake's "Rabbit" and Tony Comely's "Abigail," it pales in comparison. Both of these are dark and disturbing, but utterly beautiful as well, standing as gorgeous examples of what animation can be.
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