The premise of "Only In America With Larry The Cable Guy" is similar to Mike Rowe's "Dirty Jobs,": Larry the Cable Guy goes beyond jobs and searches out unique and interesting history across the country. Each episode focuses on several different locations, and a variety of entertaining people who bring local/national history to life. Whether Larry's looking into making moonshine, while providing how it led to racing cars ("Larry Makes Moonshine") or visiting NASA, he always manages to turn out some interesting history found "Only in America."
While "Only In America" isn't History Channel's usual fare (after all, I remember growing up watching History Channel when the series were somewhat dry, though engaging and informative education pieces), it does a nice job of finding balance between history and entertainment the whole family can enjoy. It's a way of entertaining the kids, and yourself, while learning some new facts about jobs around the country. Though not as great as History Channel's other reality show, "Pawn Stars," there's a similar blend of history and fun (edutainment, or maybe "entercation?")
As for Larry the Cable Guy, I've never been a fan, but this series presents him in a different manner and it works reasonably well. He shows genuine interest in the people he's interviewing, as well as their hobby/trade. Additionally, like Rowe, he's not afraid to jump right in and be a part of the action. Still, Larry the Cable Guy isn't Mike Rowe, which works for him here. Where Rowe was often humorous, Larry the Cable Guy is pretty much always on. His persona is not left behind for the series, but with "Only In America," it becomes less in-your-face, "git-r-done", and more entertaining and involving due in part to his ability to interact with everyone he meets.
While not every segment is totally engrossing, each episode does manage to include some interesting facts and entertainment that help balance the series as a whole. Some standout episodes include the first episode, "Larry Makes Moonshine" where Larry is blindfolded and taken to the root of moonshine, talks about NASCAR's beginnings with Bill Elliot, gets Etiquette lessons from Emily Post's family, and frog jumps.
"Only In America With Larry The Cable Guy," was released on DVD as Volume One, which means there are only ten episodes and unfortunately there are no extra features. I wasn't a fan of Larry going in, but this series puts him to better use than a number of his prior projects (the series is certainly much easier to sit through than "Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector"), and I found some decent-to-good laughs scattered throughout the episodes.
This set offers the first 10 episodes of the series.
VIDEO: The series is presented by Newvideo in 1.33:1 full-frame. Image quality is perfectly acceptable, with reasonable clarity and detail throughout the running time. Colors remained warm and clean, with no smearing or other faults. Overall, the presentation resembles broadcast quality.
SOUND: The show's 2.0 audio remained crisp and well-recorded. Some mild background ambience was clearly heard during the outdoor scenes.
Final Thoughts: While it's not great television, "Only in America" is better than expected, offering some enjoyable takes on history and culture in various US locations. Larry the Cable Guy is still Larry the Cable Guy, but in a manner that's a little less "Git-R-Done".