Judge Cynthia Boris says, if your idea of a seven course meal is a bucket of KFC and a six pack, you might just enjoy Blue Collar TV.
"Guns don't kill people. Husbands who come home early do."
What would you get if you crossed Hee Haw with Mad TV? You'd get a satirical sketch comedy show with more NASCAR jokes than at a Jeff Gordon roast. And if you understand that reference, well…you might just be a redneck. Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall, and Larry the Cable Guy are here to crack you up. So start your engines (on that riding mower you found hidden in the grass in your front yard), it's time for Blue Collar TV—Season 1, Vol. 1
Facts of the Case
Blue Collar TV was born of Jeff Foxworthy's "You Might be a Redneck" stand-up comedy routine. (You Might Be A Redneck if…your coffee table is also a cooler.) The show stars Foxworthy, Bill Engvall (the most normal of the three), and Larry the Cable Guy (Git-R-Done!). They're backed up by an ensemble cast that includes Gary Anthony Williams (Malcolm in the Middle, Soul Plane), Ashley Drane (That's So Raven), and Brooke Dillman (Six Feet Under).
The first season of Blue Collar TV was filmed on tour with a very large, on-camera live audience (as opposed to the live audiences used in traditional sitcoms). Several episodes were done at the House of Blues in New Orleans, others in the Classic Center in Athens, Georgia—a huge venue that is filled to the brim!
Each week, the series opens with a Foxworthy monologue where he announces the week's theme. This is followed by three or more sketches, a visit to the Redneck Dictionary, and wraps with the three stars back on stage telling stories.
There are thirty half-hour episodes in the first season, but you get less than half of them on this first volume DVD. You get:
The sketches on Blue Collar TV range from purposely politically incorrect, such as "Larry's Politically Corrected Up Fairy Tales," to lowbrow, lowest common denominator, such as "Dan Grogan's House of Gravy," which ends with a fire hose shooting gravy all over the patrons. The show's mainstay is making jokes about all the things redneck—drinking, trailer parks, white trash, and poor diction. The show's signature "Redneck Dictionary" bit is nothing but poorly pronounced word play; for example, "Initiate." Grandma ate an apple, initiate a pie, initiate a steak…(say it out loud, you'll get it).
One of the series' most enjoyable elements are the field trip segments. Forced to do so by an unhappy WB (so they say), Jeff, Bill, and Larry go out into the world to educate and better themselves. They take salsa dance lessons, visit a palm reader (to find out the future of the show), learn to make New Orleans gumbo, and try their hand at throwing pots (not literally). The comedy is spontaneous (and don't tell me if it's not, because I'd like to preserve the illusion) and the innocent bystanders are often as funny as the fellas.
Week after week, these guys prove that they are nothing more than overgrown children and nowhere is it better exhibited than in The Big Kids sketches. In this recurring bit, Jeff and Bill play toddler older brothers to Larry's infant Dooley. Pulled off on stage through the use of oversized props (like a car backseat and stroller), the boys go at it with all the grotesque and quarrelsome humor of real little kids.
The DVD set is well packaged with two discs in a foldout Digipack inserted into a slipcase. The onscreen menu is backed by that great guitar riff that is the Blue Collar TV theme and your navigational choices are clearly marked. The show is only year old, so the video and sound are as they should be—nothing different from the original run.
The DVD comes with three features. "Boyz in the Wood" is often listed as "A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Season 1," but it's really just an hour-long special that includes some outtakes from the series along with a compilation of sketches from the first five shows. It's on par with an actual episode but nothing to write home about. The second feature, "Hatfield-McCoy Redneck Dictionary," is a short cut menu that allows you to view only these sketches by choosing a word from an onscreen list.
The best special feature is a short, true behind-the-scenes piece called, "Live Comedy No Second Chances." Interviews with the cast and crew give you a good sense of what it's like to perform live in front of an audience. Many of the comments here are done tongue-in-cheek, with good-natured ribbing of fellow cast mates. But the best part of this featurette is a look at the cast in rehearsal as they perfect their own special brand of physical comedy.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
The only real complaint I have about this DVD set is that they chose to break up the season into two volumes. There are thirty episodes in the season, but with one exception, you're talking a half-hour (less without commercials) comedy. Surely they could have found a way to pack all of those episodes into a single boxed set.
Okay, so this is not what you'd call sophisticated comedy, but who cares! The Blue Collar boys really do it up each week, donning tons of make-up, outlandish costumes, and wacky accents. They give each sketch their all, with loads of physical comedy and their generally warped take on southern culture. I had the pleasure of working as an extra on two episodes of Blue Collar TV this past season, and I'm here to tell you that it is as much fun as it looks.
If you have more than two brothers named Bubba or Junior—you might be a fan of Blue Collar TV
I find Blue Collar TV—Season 1, Vol. 1 guilty of being drunk and disorderly! The fellas are hereby sentenced to another full season of making people laugh.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
• "Boyz in the Wood"
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