Starring Bruce McCulloch, Dave Foley, Kevin McDonald, Mark McKinney, Scott Thompson
- All twenty third season episodes
- Two best-of compilations of third season bits
- Runnin audio commentary from the cast on those compilations
- Archival early performances from the Rivoli Theater
- Cast bios
Released by: A&E Home Video.
Anamorphic: N/A; episodes appear in their original 1.33:1 format.
My Advice: Fans should own.
[ad#longpost]It’s the middle part of the show’s run and the debate is over whether or not this or the previous season was the best–and not whether or not they were good at all…something that can barely be said for a lot of other sketch comedy shows. Those that last long enough to have multiple seasons to talk about, of course. Running characters like Mr. Tyzik and Buddy Cole return, as well as plenty of other running gags, such as a series of psychotic cabbies or the It’s a Fact Girl. Odd bits are thrown around and hit the mark more often than not.
It’s hard to write a review of a sketch comedy show. Once you’ve talked about the first season, your options are limited. If the show begins a slow roll into the depths of Saturday Night Live-level mediocrity, then you’ve got a horse you can smack around for hours and hours. But I think it’s testament to the show that, because it stayed at such an even keel, even after watching through these episodes, I’m kind of stuck for what else I can say. I find the show to be pretty standard in the expectations it set at the very beginning, and although some bits stand out more than others (“Muppet Killer” and the episode with the running Secret Service gag–both from other seasons), I find the writing and acting to all be at the same level of excellence.
So rather than bore you further, let’s talk about the features. Or we could, but they’re pretty much the same as before as well. The commentary comes on the two compilation episodes, and all five Kids are in attendance. However, it appears that all commentaries were recorded at one time, since the interplay between the five is less frenetic than before–they’ve probably exhausted each other a bit–and thus, it’s all easier to follow. It’s all a nice combination of them commenting on the sketches as they appear, the reasons why they must have been included in the compilations, and other various bits. Granted, you’re not getting a lot of nuts and bolts information, but I don’t know why you would have expected anything other than this.
The other major feature is another half-hour or so of archival footage from their old performances at the Rivoli Theater. There’s twelve or so skits included, and it’s obvious they’re still working the bugs out–and live sketch comedy is always a different animal than recorded sketch comedy–so some stuff is funnier than others, but for the fan, it’s good to have this stuff for posterity. Beyond that, there’s a slideshow and cast bios, pretty standard stuff.
Fans are going to want this set for the initial content more than anything else, but the commentaries and the archival footage make for some nice gravy. Sure, we could split hairs about stuff that we might want on there beyond what’s provided, like more commentaries or interviews, but what’s provided is nothing to sneeze at. Non-fans should at least give it a rental.