Cartoon Network // 2007 // 115 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Patrick Bromley // February 18th, 2009
The second season of Adult Swim's cult favorite comes to DVD. If only someone could explain it to me.
The 10 episodes making up Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!: Season Two are all included on one disc, with each episode running about 11 minutes. Here they are:
There is edgy comedy, and then there is Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!
I consider myself to be a fan of comedy that isn't for everyone; comedy that alienates part of the audience. I like when a sketch show makes you work for your enjoyment. But Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! is an impenetrable fortress of comedy -- a show that all but dares you to like it. The two creators and stars, Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, seem to subscribe to the notion that odd equals funny (a concept that's becoming more and more popular the older I get). Hence, we get a show that at its most accessible moments is odd; at its worst, Tim and Eric is downright alien.
The late Gene Siskel used to say that the two things impossible to argue are "What is Sexy" and "What is Funny." With that in mind, I won't say that Tim and Eric isn't funny -- just that it isn't very funny to me. I know there is an audience for the show; it's a cult hit on Adult Swim and the "Tim and Eric" live show is playing to packed houses across the country even as I write this. The show has the endorsement of many comedians and actors I like, including David Cross, Bob Odenkirk, Patton Oswalt, John C. Reilly, "Weird" Al Yankovic and Zach Galifianakis -- all of whom appear in sketches on the Season Two set. On paper, I'm the audience for this show.
In reality, though, I'm left cold. The show -- mostly short sketches, songs and mock commercials -- is aggressively offbeat. It manipulates the images for little reason, sometimes pausing, rewinding or stopping in the middle, slowing down voices, morphing faces -- no distortion is off limits. But to what effect? It doesn't add to the comedy. Gimmicks like this seem exclusively designed by and for the chemically altered.
Each episode is usually able to provide at least one sketch that made me laugh, and it's usually one of the more cohesive pieces. An ad for a product called the "Poop Tube," for one (which allows users to do their business standing up), is funny in its willingness to go all the way in its grossness. A song about a young boy wanting to kiss his sister made me laugh; as did Zach Galifianakis' character, The Snuggler. But too many times, I felt Tim and Eric pushing absurdity to its breaking point. I admire their vision -- and the show is nothing if not a pure distillation of their comic sensibilities -- but I don't share the vision with them.
Having not seen Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job: Season One, I can't comment on how the quality of this second batch of episodes compares. Based on the tone of what's on display here, I get the feeling the two seasons are pretty similar. All 10 episodes of Season Two are presented here in a fine looking full frame presentation. There are two English-language audio options, but (because of the nature of the show) there's not a whole lot of difference between the 5.1 and standard 2.0 stereo options. Either will suffice. English captions are included, and actually prove to be a big help; because Tim and Eric are so big on casting unusual actors (many of whom mumble their dialogue or otherwise struggle with speech), the captions help make out what's being said.
For fans of the series, the Season Two DVD features a pretty substantial offering of bonus material. There are a few deleted sketches, none of which are necessarily any funnier than what's included in the season. The same goes for some extended bits, which don't add much but offer some insight into how Tim and Eric edit their comedy. A blooper reel consists mostly of the actors messing up or Tim and Eric laughing at a sketch off camera.
There are a few behind-the-scenes features, one of which involves an actor with dozens of headshots. A "karaoke" option features a few of the show's songs minus the vocals.
The two best bonus features of extended pieces on the 2008 "Awesomecon" (an outdoor fan event that didn't look like all that much fun to me) and a nearly hour-long documentary on the Tim and Eric tour. It was neat to see how the guys translate some of their show to a live setting, even though there's a whole bunch of staged behind-the-scenes stuff. I'd have been happy just to see a live show in its entirety.
I could call Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job outrageous, or absurd, or zany or out there. All of those words are accurate. They're also just the kinds of words that many critics would use to describe the show, but they say nothing of my experience watching it. Maybe this all says more about me than it does about the show; with something as subjective as comedy, that's hard to avoid. I don't think I'll recommend Tim and Eric, but, then, the show doesn't need me.
I will hesitate to call Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! groundbreaking, because I'm not sure we'll ever see anything like it again. That's fitting; we haven't seen anything like it before, either. For the time being, that may be as much praise as I'm able to muster.
I don't get it.
Review content copyright © 2009 Patrick Bromley; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Cartoon Network
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 115 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Deleted/Extended Scenes
* Official Site