The cast of this show is truly inspired.
The over the top qualities of this show sometimes get to be a little much.
Strangers with Candy: The Complete Series gives us all three seasons in this six disc set. The show's main plot is that Jerri Blank, 46, is trying to get her life together. An alcoholic and drug addict, she reenters high school as a freshmen. As you can guess, this makes for more than a few funny situations and the cast of Amy Sedaris (Jerri), Stephen Colbert (Chuck Noble) and Paul Dinello (Geoffrey Jellineck) pull it off without a hitch. In fact, when I first saw Sedaris without her makeup on I couldn't believe that I was looking at the same person.
This show is filled with comedy that isn't afraid to take things one step further than the usual live action show. It is as if a sitcom that might normally be a drama and up for multiple Emmys has been purposely dipped into the world of Comedy Central satire. Whether the characters are saying shocking things, doing shocking things or imagining shocking this, it is no surprise that Strangers with Candy: The Complete Series has the loyal fanbase that it does.
Commentary on 9 Episodes
These commentary tracks feature Amy Sedaris, Stephen Colbert and Paul Dinello. These tracks are a lot of fun and I was actually a little apprehensive before I put them on. When you get funny people together, sometimes the commentary tracks can become a game of every one trying to be funnier than everyone else. While there is some of that here, Sedaris, Colbert and Dinello seem to be enjoying looking back at these episodes and what they have accomplished.
14 Deleted Scenes
As this show played on TV it seems that the bulk of these scenes were taken out for time reasons. If I was more "into" this show I probably would have scoured through these but as they were I really enjoyed them. While not as racy as I have come to expect from Strangers with Candy, that isn't what makes this show so good anyway. It's humor lies in it's presentation which these scenes greatly compliment in addition to the episodes proper.
Never-Before-Seen Director's Cuts of "Trail of Tears" and "Is My Daddy Crazy?"
Having not seen the shows in any other form other than how they appeared here, I found myself trying to look for ways that these played differently as "director's cuts." Sadly, I don't really have anything to offer other than that these extended shows seemed a little fuller than the others.
Original Unaired Pilot
The folks at Comedy Central must have some pretty special senses of humor because this show, even in it's pilot form, is holding nothing back. While an honest send up of "After School Specials" (a genre that I love), there really is no way to dress this show up and I give the creators credit for not even trying. You either get the humor of Strangers with Candy or you don't, it's that simple.
Original Film Strip Presentation from Chuck Noblet and Geoffrey Jellineck
Okay, Dinello and Colbert are funny guys and their comedic abilities are on display here in spades as they engage this special feature. While it took me a little while to get oriented to exactly what this was, once I did I found myself very appreciative of the humor.
On-Set Interviews with Jerri Blank, Geoffrey Jellineck, Chuck Noblet and Principal Blackman
Truthfully, I wasn't expecting too much from these interviews. Now before you start wondering if I lost my sense of humor along this six disc journey, let me say that I have never been a fan of in character interviews. I don't care who it is or who the actors are pretending that they are, they just aren't that funny. I think this might have something to do with the fact that we know that they are acting.
44-minute Interview With the Cast at The Museum of Television & Radio
An enlightening look at the methods behind the madness of this show. In all honesty, I have done so many different types of interviews (for DVD and theatrical releases) that almost every response sounds canned. Still, all the actors seem engaging and engaged by the questions and at no point did I feel anyone was trying to steal the show. If anything, none of the participants really wanted to have the full spotlight on them anyway.
Interview with artist Ward Sutton
Alright, this might be going a tad overboard. I don't know that I have ever watched the extra features on a DVD and gotten an interview with the person who designed the cover. In poking fun at After School Specials they have even extended this good natured ribbing too have a laugh at the expense of their packaging. While I found the overall design not as sturdy as I would like, I think it's in keeping with the humor that they go overboard in this way.
"The Trip Back" PSA
It took me a little bit of time to get my head around this but once I did, I realized a lot more about Strangers with Candy. I am not 100% sure but I have a good feeling that this is where a lot of the show comes from. I could describe it but, as weird as this may seem, this is one PSA that has to be seen in order to be believed within the context of the show.
These were interesting from the standpoint of seeing what was drawn vs. what was shot. While I am not the biggest fan of showing storyboards (simply because I feel we have already seen it on screen in it's live action form), I do think these are worth a look especially if one is a big fan of the show.
Dance Sequence Compilation and Blooper Reel
I decided to put these together (even though they are cut separately on the DVD) simply because they similar in theme. The Dance Sequence Compilation is a bunch of the dancing moments from the show cut together. While these are amusing, I enjoyed the Blooper Reel more because we get to see this cast of characters, in character, as they blow a line or pause to laugh at themselves or the situation.
1.33:1 - Aspect Ratio. They might have been able to put this show in widescreen but I don't think that is necessary. Who knows, with the new DVD formats coming on the scene maybe they'll try? However, since this show's look is so specific to the shows that it is mocking, I really can't blame them for just keeping things simple here. Also, stretched out over six discs, the episode quality more than holds it's own through the various compression specs of the three seasons.
Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo. I didn't notice anything too special in the audio department. Once I got my TV set leveled, I didn't have to alter it when I was changing out the discs in my player. This is something that is important considering that six discs comprise this set. Overall, while I don't have anything spectacular to report, there isn't anything bad to say either.
Our three cast members grace the cover of this set in drawings that perfectly capture it's feel and themes. Even the light caramel color of this trapper keeper packaging screams "1980s After School Special!!". Since this is supposed to look like a folder one might carry around to their classes, all the discs are stored inside but they aren't as protected or as safe as I would like them to be. There is more artwork too look at and some hardcopy materials to help people wade through all the seasons and episodes.
I have friends who have been trying to turn me on to this show for the longest time. They would put it on when I was over, laugh hysterically and I didn't see what the big deal was. After watching Strangers with Candy: The Complete Series, I finally get the joke. I am not saying that this show is for everyone or that I could watch it multiple times, but I find that I understand now why people like this show as much as they do. As I mentioned, the acting and writing are really a cut above and it isn't surprising that the people involved with this show are getting the amount of hype and press that they are.
Strangers with Candy fans rejoice, you now have it all in one set.
Strangers with Candy was released .