Case Number 27146: Small Claims Court

KEY AND PEELE: SEASONS 1 AND 2 (BLU-RAY)

Comedy Central // 2012 // 396 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Erich Asperschlager // March 27th, 2014

The Charge

"Hingle McCringleberry. Penn State University."

The Case

A decade ago, MADtv comedians Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele broke the unspoken rule that said a network sketch show couldn't have more than one black cast member. After leaving the series to pursue other projects, the duo came together in 2012 to create their own sketch comedy series, Key and Peele. The eight-episode first season was a hit with critics and Comedy Central viewers, followed later that year by a likewise acclaimed ten-episode Season Two. It's taken considerably longer to get both seasons on home video. While Key and Peele: Season One came out on Blu-ray just in time for the start of the second season, it's taken a year and a half for the release of Season Two -- available only as half of the new box set Key and Peele: Seasons 1 and 2.

I have no idea why it took so long for the release of Key and Peele Season Two. Or why there's currently no option to buy it as a standalone disc. If I had already purchased Season One, I'd want someone to explain why I need to buy it again. It's too bad, because first-time viewers are getting a killer deal on TV's best sketch comedy series.

Key and Peele fits the mold of modern sketch series like Chapelle Show, Human Giant, and The State. Where most shows have either a large cast or singular voice, Key and Peele is a duo. That may seem like a minor distinction, but it creates a unique dynamic: balance and contrast. The show is all about duality, particularly the places where black and white cultures meet.

Key and Peele are both biracial, and they draw from their life experiences to make comedy about race in America. A man talking to his wife on a cell phone talks differently when another black man stands next to him. A smartphone app tells white people when they can use the N-word (spoiler: never). Two black businessmen engage in authentic cuisine one-upsmanship at a soul food restaurant. Black moviegoers heckle the film with insightful criticisms of the director's lack of artistry. Key and Peele also confront racism in sketches about slaves who feel hurt about being passed over at an auction, racist zombies who only bite white people, and a hilarious Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers parody where everyone is called by the color of their ship except Peele.

Season Two might not be as tight as Season One, but it has many of the series' best sketches, including a profile of an inner-city version of Harry Potter's Hogwarts, a pair of excitable movie fan valets praising "Liam Neesons," and a takes on athletes' increasingly unusual names, with the two comedians trading off in the lineup for a college bowl game with players like D'Jasper Probincrux III, Javaris Jamar Javarison-Lamar, and L'Carpetron Dookmarriot.

Key and Peele's cinematic approach to sketch comedy translates well to Blu-ray. Both seasons' 1.78:1 1080p transfers are reasonably sharp. There's no substantial difference from most other hi-def TV series, except in the artistry of the direction and editing. Audio for both seasons comes in the same 5.1 Dolby TrueHD format as Season One's standalone release. It's solid enough to handle the rigors of dialogue, sound effects, and bowel-loosening dubstep music.

The bonus features on the Season One disc are identical to its previous release:

* Audio Commentaries for episodes "Bitch," "Das Negroes," "Flicker," and "Soul Food."
* Outtakes (6:57): A collection of flubbed lines and alternate jokes.
* "Poolside Interview" (4:34): A jokey chat with the duo about their different comedic styles, Reggie Watts' theme song, their favorite sketches, and forgiveness.
* "Obama's Anger Translator": Of the many characters Peele does on the show, his most famous is the President, paired with Key as his "anger translator." This first season disc comes with the following bonus Obama/Luther sketches: "Meet Luther" (2:32), "Martin Luther King Jr. Day" (0:55), "Where's My Mayo" (0:58), "Michelle Calls" (1:17), "Therapy Session" (1:15), "Makeup Job" (0:41), and "The Last Four Years" (2:08).
* "Key and Peele Live at the South Beach Comedy Festival": Not a performance, as it might sound, but two short interview segments backstage.
* Easter Egg (0:48): Hunt around on the main menu for this extra bit from the poolside interview.

That Season Two is two episodes longer but still on one disc might explain why it has significantly fewer bonus features. Sadly, there are no new audio commentaries, outtakes, or hidden content that I could find. Instead, you get:

* "Vandaveon and Mike: Critiquer's Corner": This collection of ten 2-3 minute videos (one for each episode) come from a Key and Peele side project on YouTube, playing two guys who offer their constructive criticism to make the show funnier.

* "Obama's Anger Translator Luther": A new batch of bonus sketches made during the 2012 elections -- "Tropical Storm Luther Pounds the RNC & DNC" (1:37), "Obama Responds to Clint Eastwood" (2:05), "I Sunk Your Battleship, Bitch" (2:35), and "Alternate Obama Outcome" (1:26).

Key and Peele: Seasons 1 and 2 is a great value and a must-buy for any fan of comedy. Unless that fan already bought Season One and just wants Season Two. They either need to hold out and hope Comedy Central puts out a separate release or suck it up and spend more to buy something they already have. Episodes aside, the second season extras alone aren't enough to recommend a double dip (one-and-a-half dip?), but added to the first season's offerings it becomes a much better deal. I hate that I have to qualify my recommendation. I love this show. You should own it. Possibly more than once.

The Verdict

The Straight Tooken Liam Neesons of sketch shows. Not guilty!

Review content copyright © 2014 Erich Asperschlager; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 95

Perp Profile
Studio: Comedy Central
Video Formats:
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)

Audio Formats:
* TrueHD 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)

Subtitles:
* English (SDH)

Running Time: 396 Minutes
Release Year: 2012
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* Commentaries
* Featurettes
* Bonus Sketches
* Outtakes

Accomplices
* IMDb
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt1981558/combined

* Official Site
http://www.cc.com/shows/key-and-peele