"There's a little Dorf in all of us."—Tim Conway
Dorf on Golf and Dorf's Golf Bible, offered here on one disc, are the first two entries in Tim Conway's tired slapstick series of straight-to-VHS shorts tailor-made for distribution via late night cable ads and the Home Shopping Network. Approximately 100,000 Dorf titles would follow Dorf on Golf, covering everything from baseball to bingo, but this is where it all started, folks.
In case you're unfamiliar with the Dorf shtick, it's essentially Conway's Mr. Tudball character from The Carol Burnett Show (forever exasperated with his secretary, Mrs. Wiggins), re-imagined as a shinless sports enthusiast and instructor. Conway slaps shoes on his knees, gives himself a comb-over, cheesy mustache, and dim-witted caddy (in place of Mrs. Wiggins), and the comedy writes itself—or so the theory goes. It's crystal clear watching Dorf on Golf that the whole Dorf phenomenon began as a subset of the vast industry that's sprung from middle-aged white men's frustration with the sport of golf, enabling mall chains like Spencer Gifts to net millions from sales of coffee mugs, T-shirts, baseball caps, and desk calendars adorned with caustic slogans like "No Matter How Bad You're Playing, You Can Always Play Worse" or "If It Ain't Broke, Try Changing Your Grip." Absurd as it is, I'm guessing the golf-is-hilariously-frustrating industry generates annual profits larger than the GNPs of, say, Senegal and Botswana combined. Dorf is just the tip of the iceberg.
The best thing about the Dorf videos is if you're confused about which parts you're supposed to find funny (and you probably will be), there's a laugh track only slightly less subtle than the ones on the Idiots Captured on Video and Yet Another Sampling of Dull Bloopers shows hosted by either Bob Saget or Dick Clark—pick your poison. Dorf's painfully cheesy and unfunny, a sad state of affairs for Conway, who used to make Harvey Korman as well as the home and studio audiences of The Carol Burnett Show nearly wet their collective pants on a weekly basis.
Dorf on DVD looks pretty much exactly like Dorf on VHS except, of course, the DVD won't show wear and tear after dozens of viewings. The thought anyone would view it dozens of times is too upsetting for me to consider seriously, though, so let's move on. The image is soft, and the overall look is low-budget shot-on-video. Honestly, there's not much to complain about in terms of the transfer. Limitations are all from the source. I saw nothing in the way of transfer-related digital artifacts or edge enhancement. If you like Dorf, you'll like the DVD.
Audio is flat, lifeless mono. Again, it's as good as the source.
Void of subtitles or multiple audio options, the disc does actually have an extra: Behind the Scenes with Dorf, an eight-minute reel that's part best of, part bloopers. It's as funny as the two feature segments. (Make of that statement what you will.)
I find Dorf on Golf and Dorf's Golf Bible not guilty of being funny.
Court's in recess. (Now, somebody tell Mr. Conway to get those stupid shoes off his knees, for goodness' sake.)
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• Behind the Scene with Dorf
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