The Good

The Bad

I knew that Jamie Foxx had a show. I just never knew about it when it was on. I also had no idea what it was about. For some reason I thought that it was a sketch comedy show. I had also figured he got his start in standup. I also knew that he made some movies, but other then Bait, I never saw them.

Then I had a chance to work with him in the movie Ali. When I heard that he was playing Drew “Bundini” Brown I was quite excited. I knew a bit about “Bundini” and I also knew something about Jamie Foxx. I felt this was inspired casting. I was an extra on Ali, so you may be saying, “Well, you didn’t exactly work with him.”

But I did...

There was scene where a police officer was needed after Ali one his first fight back from exile. The person playing the officer, decided after 12 or 13 hours on set, that he had had enough and was leaving. They threw me into a police officers uniform and there I was. Michael “Wax” Waxman, Michael Mann’s 1st Assistant Director put me with Jamie Foxx, and our job was to keep the press people in line during the scene. Our talk, while brief, went something like this...

“Hi, my name is Jamie.” He said.

“My name is Evan.” I replied.

He looked at my police tag and said.

“You’re tag says ‘Beal’, your name is ‘Beal’.”

Then we went on to do the scene.

Okay, so now I decide to follow Jamie Foxx’s career. Right now, he is at a career high. Nominated for Ray and Collateral, his star isn’t on the rise, it has risen. So imagine my enjoyment when I was given The Jamie Foxx Show to review. The diskset is the complete first season and it follows the exploits of Jamie King, as he moves to LA to pursue his acting career. He works and lives in a hotel that is owned by his aunt and uncle. He spends his time chasing after the stunningly beautiful Francesca and dealing with his uptight coworker Braxton.

The shows comedy is light. What really makes it all work is Foxx. This is really his platform. He gets to play different characters, he sings and he’s always ready with some quick witted remark. I am only guessing, but I really have to think that the people who let this show be made, just wanted Foxx to be Foxx. This was going to be a free flowing show, where he would get to explore and engage every aspect and nuance of his comedy. I also get the feeling that this show is a bit more “down” with the black culture. It’s hard to pinpoint, but there were just references I heard, things that were done, that I saw as sort of a cultural tip of the hat. Using words phrases like “ill hustlin” or the way that certain characters carried themselves. It just seemed like a very “inside” show, but in a good way. The comedy wasn’t inside. This wasn’t like the “humor” in films like Napoleon Dynamite or Rushmore, where it’s mostly cerebral and it seems like the creators, actors and everyone else are having a yarn at the expense of the characters.

This is humor that is funny. It isn’t “Black Humor”, though the jokes are rooted in that. It’s universal humor and that is where the jokes are. It isn’t pandering and it isn’t degrading. I found myself very impressed with the writing, the way the characters conducted themselves and also I thought that the acting was quite good. I remember watching the “Martin Lawrence Show” and never really thinking the acting was that good. The same could be said for Full House. While watching this show, I felt I got the sitcom feel without the pitfalls that sometimes go with the sitcom format. I also don’t watch sitcoms for the acting. I usually watch them for the nice familiar feeling that they give me. In this regard, The Jamie Foxx Show works just fine.

Features

Gag Reel

All this is is basically bloopers and outtakes from The Jamie Foxx Show. You see character’s messing up. Calling the Jamie King character “Jamie Foxx”. Actors flubbing lines. Numerous cursing moments that for some reason are “bleeped” out of the DVD. Why this is I have no idea. If somebody does know could you please e-mail me because why should they have to bleep anything out on a DVD release? That doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. The gags are funny but after awhile it gets a little old. I mean how many times can you see character mess up a line, or not stay in character because Jamie Foxx, being the funny person that he is, just makes them laugh and fall out of it.

This is all that this boxset offers. I have to admit I am a little disappointed. I would have liked to have seen a more in depth look at how this show was made. By that I mean, maybe a day on the set retrospective showing how everything came together. Something tells me this wasn’t just a regular sitcom set. I would like to have known a little more about the writing process and how all of the gags, characters and plot lines came together. It would also have been nice to see some cast interviews. Who knows, maybe they will do something when they release Season 2? If Mr. Foxx keeps his career going the way that it’s going, you can bet your bottom dollar that they will be releasing EVERY ONE of The Jamie Foxx Show seasons on to the digital video format.

Video

Standard Version presented in a format preserving the aspect ratio of their original television exhibition. The compression on this show looks great. I had to screen it on my crappy AMW and then on a Proscan and both players were fine. The show is set like a sitcom. It’s lit like a sitcom. It is a sitcom but there is something within that look. I think that the set decorator should be commended for making the decor of a hotel look so interesting. In many ways, I felt like I was watching a play. The characters and plots are really given room to breath. Jamie Foxx broke the 4th wall on many occasions, when he would just look at the audience because his character couldn’t believe that he was experiencing the things he was experiencing. I look forward to watching future seasons and seeing how the look of the show changes and seeing what they do with the DVD format. I know that new DVDs are on the horizon where one will be able to have a lot more content per disk, this will make the boxsets that are waiting in the wings to be released, very interesting.

Audio

Dolby Digital Surround Sound: English. I have viewed so many older DVD boxsets in the mono format that it’s nice to finally see “Surround Sound” somewhere. Not like it matters for my crappy DVD setup, but I think you get the picture. I am happy to have what I have, and as long as the DVDs play and I can hear everything who really cares, right? Everything sounded great here. A few times, I found myself playing back a line just because I couldn’t believe that a certain character said what they said, but low and behold they did. This wasn’t due to any issues of sound so much as it had to to do with my hearing being messed up. Also, I think I have been conditioned for sitcoms to be light, and this show, while not vulgar or obscene, isn’t afraid to turn things up a notch and raise the stakes. I think that is what sets The Jamie Foxx Show apart from many of the other sitcoms. It didn’t want to be some harsh comedy show, with language and whatnot that would turn off viewers, but it also wasn’t going to steer away from things that the creators thought were funny.

Package

Nothing too special here. Just an older picture of Jamie Foxx on the cover with a 1990s high-top fade hair style. The background is light blue, dark blue, medium blue and white. The back had a few pictures of the cast members and a brief description of the show. Inside are 4 disks with Jamie Fox doing the exact same facial expression, and using the exact same hand gesture on each one of them. Behind the DVDs are some more pictures from the episodes of the show.

This packaging isn’t that great. It’s not going to win any awards or anything, but it’s like the Full House layout. As far as sitcoms are concerned, how crazy does a layout need to be. Many of the people purchasing something like The Jamie Foxx Show, are purchasing it because they are either familiar with the show or they are fans for Jamie Foxx. What other reason would there be for owning it? Now, a show like CSI might be more amenable to that. After all, the subject matter is the show. Don’t get me wrong, I love William Petersen, but that show is a perfect blend of the actors and the material. Where as The Jamie Foxx Show is just that. It’s his show, he is it so the packaging, while it has to be decent, doesn’t have to be great.

Final Word

The Jamie Foxx Show is a great DVD boxset. I honestly think that if you like sitcoms and are a TV on DVD aficionado like myself, you will really enhance your DVD collection by owning this title. I say this because you are getting something different. I had no idea what this show was and I certainly didn’t know that it’s television run ran from 1996 to 2001. It is also impressive, that it seems that Foxx’s career really took off after he did this show. I guess it is just a testament to how truly talented this individual is. With show titles like “Break yourself, fool” and “Save the drama for your Mama”, you know that you aren’t getting the standard, run of the mill, easy sitcom fare.

I hope that Warner Bros. finds it in there hearts to release EVERY season of this show as I would count myself lucky to be able to collect it. I am very pleased to have been given the chance to find out about this show for myself. There is something very simplistic about Jamie Foxx’s humor and seeing him in a medium that lets him show off many of his talents, is a true treat.

So basically, if you have any interest in Jamie Foxx, sitcoms or laughter...buy this DVD boxset.

The Jamie Foxx Show was released .