That game has officially been replaced by something much narrower and definitely much cooler. It also puts me a link away to the Hollywood machine, which bumps me up to not having to pay that bum to spit on me.
I recently got an advance copy of MTV's long awaited DVD box set of all four seasons of The State and found this personal connection in a sketch from the third season called "Fan Names."
Comedy Central has been showing episodes from the single season the show lasted in the run up to Michael and Michael Have Issues, and it has been a pleasant reminder of Stella's brief experiment with a half-hour TV comedy. It's hard to imagine keeping that premise going - Wain, Black, and Showalter free associating with different guest stars season after season. But it's been fun to watch it again.
It's very rare, however, for anyone to get their grubby little hands on a title powerful enough to reverse the polarity of the universe and restore order to chaos. I managed to score that very thing a week before anyone could and I didn't have to sell my soul, my first-born child or any of my bodily objects to get it.
Now this is a DVD release week. Lots of stuff for every type of TV fan. I'm definitely getting Mad Men (and I'm going to watch all of the episodes again immediately to get ready for next month's launch of season 3), and I'm tempted to get the season 8 set of Bewitched, though I'll probably wait for the inevitable complete series set. I've never seen The Guns of Will Sonnett, but friends tell me it was good. Hopefully that's on Hulu or AOL Video or Retro TV so I don't have to actually buy it yet.
- American Gladiators - Season 1
- Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations - Collection 4
- Bewitched - Season 8
- Bleach - Uncut Box Set Vol. 3: The Rescue
- ER - Season 11
TV Shows on DVD reported MTV's official announcement earlier this morning that the entire sketch comedy series will hit store shelves on July 14th. That was followed by a trailer release of the DVD on The State's official site. It's going to have full commentary from the cast, four interview features on the troupe's origins and the show's many catchphrases, some unaired sketches and outtakes. It sounds like this five disc set will be chocked full of Stately goodness. You'll want to do a lot more than just dip your balls in it. Please keep those things to yourself.
Founding State member, writer and Role Models director David Wain was nice enough to give us his first interview (via IM, no less). He talked about the work that went in to getting things to this stage, why the announcement first appeared on cast member Joe Lo Truglio's site and what he and the rest of his crew hope to accomplish with their DVD.
This time, however, there seems to be disagreement within the ranks of the comedy troupe.
We reported earlier this month about State member and recent Reno 911! addition Joe Lo Truglio announcing a release date for the long beleaguered DVD of the complete series. The following week, the group's official site, run by writer, director and cast member David Wain according to their FAQ, denied that any date for the DVD's release has been set.
One minute, it's on and the next minute, it's off. Then it's back on again, then the whole thing gets called off. Then it rises from the ashes like a flaming phoenix into the never-ending sky only to get doused with a fire extinguisher by an MTV Home Entertainment executive.
Now it appears that ill-fated collection of magic discs is coming soon to a DVD store near you until MTV decides it's time to destroy your dreams and tell your children there is no Santa Claus again.
I credit the irreverent MTV sketch comedy show with keeping me from slipping into a full-blown depression during my teenage years, aka the angsty, Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains-drenched years. The State ran from 1993 to 1995 and helped launch the careers of some of my favorite comic actors, writers and filmmakers, including David Wain (Wet Hot American Summer, Role Models), Thomas Lennon (Reno 911, Balls of Fury) and Michael Ian Black (Stella, Ed). All 11 members of the comedy troupe reunited recently to perform new material at SF Sketchfest in January. The A.V. Club talked to State alums Wain, Lennon and Kerri Kenney-Silver this week about the reunion and about their future plans. Among the things that came up in the interview was the status of that promised complete-series DVD.
But eventually, the show evolved into a 60-minute scream fest of recurring characters spouting catchphrases over and over and celebrity satire that taught lessons about the proliferation of pop culture and ignorance. Important lessons, such as "Boy is Anna Nicole Smith dumb and fat!" and "Hey, is that Paris Hilton a whore or what?" Every episode felt like a hand was reaching out of the TV and rubbing a cheese grater across my face. Now 14 years after its inception, Fox has finally decided to pull the plug on Mad TV and let it die a slow horrible death instead of taking it out Old Yeller-style, the way God intended.
The premise is a show-within-a-show, with segments from the stars addressing issues that the Michaels have with "themselves, each other and the world at large."
I missed The State, but I did catch episodes of Stella (also starring David Wain), which was another attempt by the same comedians to create a show that blurred the line between reality and fantasy (such as having character with their actual names. You know, the old Jerry Seinfeld trick).
I liked Stella, but didn't think it would last more than a season (and it didn't) because the humor is very abstract and cerebral (sort of the anti-According To Jim). My gut instinct is the same for this show even though I want it to succeed. Is it better to have a good show that lasts one season or a mediocre-at-best show that lasts eight? I vote for the former.
Comedian contestants include Kyle Cease, Chris Fairbanks, Jeff Garcia, Red Grant, Tiffany Haddish, Bert Kreischer, Mo Mandel, Donnell Rawlings, Amy Schumer, and Theo Von. The series will satirize shows like American Idol, Survivor, The Amazing Race, The Biggest Loser, American Gladiators, Dancing with the Stars, and So You Think You Can Dance.
Thomas Lennon, the star and co-creator of Comedy Central's Reno 911!, got to together with Mahalo's Lon Harris to talk about basic cable, the how it's not gay to love Sting in Dune, Christopher Walken's answering machine, and Falcon Crest. He also dishes about the finale of Reno 911! (currently in its fifth season), the Upright Citizens Brigade, and Balls of Fury. Oh, and he might mention something about The State reunion.
Fans of Thomas Lennon and all things Reno 911! will enjoy this interview. Lennon is genius! The video is after the jump.
Thomas Lennon, currently of the Comedy Central series Reno 911! and formerly of MTV's cult sketch series The State, was on the podcast Guys with Feelings recently to discuss all things Thomas Lennon. The podcast is a lot of fun, but to just hear the Tom Lennon portion, skip ahead to about 1 hour and 19 minutes.
Lennon talked about the upcoming ping-pong movie he wrote with Ben Garrant called Balls of Fury (trailer below), and about the fifth season of Reno 911! that just wrapped taping (also, he wishes his character, Jim Dangle, didn't have to wear those tiny shorts).
David Wain debuted his latest directorial outing The Ten at Sundance. The feature, which sounds like Kieslowski's Decalogue gone zany, puts together ten shorts - each musing on one of the ten commandments. The screening has been getting positive reviews. Those of us without Park City press passes will hopefully be enjoying that film later this year. Keep your eye on The Ten's website for more info.
Kittenpants over at CC Insider found a video on YouTube of one of my favorite sketches from MTV's The State, a gritty drama edited for television that kind of loses something without all the cursing. There's just nothing especially menacing about the word "poop," no matter how much anger and passion you put into it.
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