Judge Gordon Sullivan gets old too, but he doesn't have a podcast.
LET US F@CK!
I suspect that many addicts would rather face the horrors of addiction (which are numerous) rather than face recovery for the simple reason that recovery packs a one-two punch: not only does the addict have to deal with whatever difficulties led to the original addictive behavior (poor relationships, work stress, etc.), but they also have to deal with all the ugly things they did while addicted to drugs. Because of the stress of dealing with these two things, it's so much more tempting for former addicts to become just regular addicts again. This is why accountability is a huge part of much successful recovery, ensuring the recovering addict is both supported in their new decisions without minimizing the harm they may have done to others. For most people, that means regular, often daily meetings (AA, NA, and the like). However, that's not always what works, and Kevin Smith figured out a novel way to keep his addict buddy Jason Mewes accountable for his sobriety: Start a podcast! Thus was born Jay and Silent Bob Get Old, a podcast that's been running for several years, documenting Mewes' sobriety while also telling stories of his drug-addled past. As with many of SModcast family of shows, Jay and Silent Bob Get Old: Tea Bagging in the UK is occasionally a touring concern, the result of a 2012 tour of Great Britain and Scotland. Though it's not as visually interesting as some DVDs, the two-disc set is sure to please fans of the duo's antics.
The basic idea behind Jay and Silent Bob Get Old is to have Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes appear before an audience on a regular basis. The pair discuss whatever's on their minds, usually with either a sexual or drug focus. About three quarters of a typical show is the pair chatting, with the final quarter taken up by some kind of game between Mewes and the audience. In the case of these shows, the game du jour was "Let us F@ck," where a willing participant comes onstage and he or she is given a sexual move ("Boba Fett up the Butt" is an example) and they have to figure out how to perform it with Mr. Mewes. Given that this is the pair's first tour of the UK, many of the stories are about their adventures in Her Majesty's land.
It's hard to know what to make of Tea Bagging in the UK. For those who've been listening to the podcast for its entire run will find much of the same. It's still a pair of dudes from Jersey talking about their lives with lots of cursing and stories of sex and drugs. There are genuine moments of humor, stupidity, and general humanity sprinkled throughout. The appeal is that in addition to being fairly clever people, Mewes and Smith are still just regular guys. Some of their experiences are beyond the pale, but they're just talking about stuff many of us face, and doing so with a scatological obsession and lots of humor.
That brings us, however, to this DVD, which presumably fans will pay for rather than sticking exclusively with the free podcast. It's not as though the pair share any extra-special stories on this for-pay release that you wouldn't hear in the podcast (though once a story is told on a DVD release, Smith puts it in the vault and tries not to tell it again). The "problem" with the release is that it's really just two dudes sitting at a table chatting. Sure, both guys (especially Mewes) gesture a bit here and there, but the vast majority of the show is visually uninteresting and might as well be radio or podcast. There are some SModimations here and there, but overall it's just two guys talking (insert jokes about Smith's filmmaking career here).
The one place where the visuals become important is the audience participation portion of the show. I guess there's some interest in watching Mewes and an audience member perform bizarre fake sex acts on one another, but I found these the least interesting parts of the whole show.
These shows also seem edited, which is weird as well. Smith is known for doing shows of epic length; seven hours is not unheard of. I totally understand why he wouldn't want to turn every podcast into a marathon, but I for one would rather have a single show in its entirety than a best-of from the three shows (or better yet, all three shows in their entirety).
I know it sounds like I'm slamming these shows. I'm not trying to. I enjoyed listening to them and seeing how Smith and Mewes have aged (and, more or less, matured). I'm not sure the shows will have much replay for me, but for fans of Smith (especially those who can't make it to a live show who want a closer experience than the podcast), the release is fine.
The standard definition 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen image on this two-disc set is fine. The show was shot digitally and has a bit of that bright, digital sheen to it. Detail is fine, and colors are sufficiently accurate. Black levels fluctuate a bit, but overall, it's a very watchable transfer. The Dolby 2.0 Stereo track is impeccable. Despite Mewes inability to manipulate a microphone (though he's getting better than early attempts), the sounds is always intelligible and clear. Extras include excised bits from the shows.
For fans of Smith, and especially his podcast with Jason Mewes, Tea Bagging in the UK will be an obvious purchase. Those who have little interest in Smith's films, or haven't been following his cottage industry of Q&As and podcasts, there will be little about this release to tempt you into the fold.
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