Our reviews of The Man Show: Season One, Volume Two (published February 23rd, 2004), The Man Show: The Complete Second Season (published July 28th, 2004), The Man Show: Season Three (published June 22nd, 2005), and The Man Show Presents: Girls On Trampolines (published November 10th, 2004) are also available.
Ziggy Sokky, Ziggy Sokky, Hoy! Hoy! Hoy!
Facts of the Case
In 1999, The Man Show made its appearance on Comedy Central. Developed by and starring Jimmy Kimmel and Adam Carolla, the show broke all the rules by catering exclusively to men. With its no-holds-barred attitude, the show appealed to men at a primal level: jokes were crude, skits were brazen, and the show had lots of beautiful women jumping on trampolines. The Juggies, hot women who always wore provocative and skimpy outfits, danced around as The Fox downed glasses of beer in the blink of an eye. Whether it was fart humor, beer humor, or simply crude humor, the show featured skits starring porn stars, talking monkeys, and anything else that would offend women while simultaneously making men laugh so hard they would often cry.
He Said / She Said
In general, we Judges believe we can represent a disc fairly and fully to all our readers, but sometimes men really are from Mars and women really are from Venus and we need another Judge to balance out our gender-related biases. Enter the "He Said / She Said" review, which follows a special format in which a Judge of each sex has an opportunity to comment on a film. We use "He Said / She Said" reviews for discs we think might cause strife between the sexes or might not receive adequate treatment by a single-gendered Judge (which we all are, last time we checked).
He Said: Judge Eric Profancik
"We're not here for applause. We're here because we have a serious
problem in this country, and her name is Oprah."
Surf through the cable stations and you'll trip over numerous channels designed for women: Lifetime, Oxygen, WE, et cetera. Keep flipping, and how many channels will you find designed for men? A woman's answer would be "the rest of them;" a man's answer, "none." With the advent of Spike TV, will men finally and truly have a channel designed for them? I think not. Reruns of Star Trek and a show about a rat or a cartoon stripper don't quite cut it, but it is a start. So where can a man turn when he wants something that is brazenly masculine, overflowing with testosterone, and chock full of politically incorrect humor? About the only true refuge for a man is on Comedy Central, and it's in the guise of The Man Show.
Completely and utterly unafraid, The Man Show burst forth in an effort to cater to man and his preferable brand of humor: crude. Estrogen was flowing over the airwaves, on the radio, and in print; political correctness had sunk its ugly claws into America; and men were henpecked across the nation. But The Man Show said "Stop!" It decried that there is nothing wrong with basking in potty humor, ogling at women, chugging beer, and simply being a man. For too many years, man's innate nature had been stamped down in an effort to make us a kindler, gentler species. But that is not our way, and The Man Show took immense pride in rekindling the hammered-down male, bucking up his spirits, and making him stand tall and proud of who he was. He's a man who would no longer tolerate a world in which it's acceptable for women to bash men, but it is sexist and demeaning for a man to do the same!
I haven't seen every episode of The Man Show, but it was a refreshing change of pace to watch these episodes. Filled with skits that are consistently funny, the show just made the time fly by so quickly, it was all over far too soon—it made me wish there was more! I had forgotten about the natural rapport between Jimmy and Adam, the charming unrehearsed feel of the show, and the beer guzzling talents of The Fox. But best of all are the wide variety of skits: Man-O-Vations, Movies for Men, Household Hints from Adult Movie Stars, Stop Women's Suffrage, The Man Hall of Fame, and so on. Not every skit was perfect, but for the most part they were truly funny. By freeing themselves from the confines of worrying about what women would think, Jimmy and Adam were able to create skits that were daring, bold, and unique. But women wouldn't be caught dead using such adjectives; instead, they'd prefer to simplify things and call it all stupid, just because they don't like it and feel it's beneath them.
Any man would be remiss in failing to mention perhaps everyone's favorite part of the show, the closing credits, where you're treated to watching women jump on trampolines. Ah, there's nothing better than watching a woman in zero gravity, if only for a few seconds.
For its aggressive approach to comedy, for its unique spin on current events, and for its unflinching appreciation of the female form, The Man Show is something every man must watch. It's the rarest of shows that understands and caters to the male species. It will reaffirm the joys of manhood that we have all forgotten along the way. And if your significant other is offended, well too bad! This show is meant for you, and don't let anyone stop you from enjoying yourself. Just remind her that Oprah is on five days a week, and these thirty minutes belong to you!
She Said: Judge Elizabeth Skipper
Of all the negative comments I can make about The Man Show—it objectifies and degrades women, it celebrates the stupidity of men, it encourages alcoholism—the most important is this: it's just not funny. Sure, there were a few mildly amusing segments. Jimmy Kimmel asking women on the street to have sex with him made me smile a little; then again, watching any man get rejected repeatedly makes me smile a little. But the bit about Adam Carolla having sex with his mom? Disturbing, but not funny. Fart jokes? Gross, but not funny. The implication that a woman's sole goal in life is to "get her hooks into" a man? Offensive, but not funny.
Somebody must be laughing, though, or this show would have faded away long ago. Who's responsible for keeping this drivel on the air? Men. They claim it's funny; furthermore, they claim they need it as a safe haven from all the "political correctness" and "feminization" taking place in the world. I say more power to them. If they want to laugh at two guys getting hit in the face with dog crap, who am I to stop them? If they think watching women jump on trampolines saves them from becoming more feminine, they can have at it. Just as long as they don't make me watch. For The Man Show is exactly what it says it is—a show for men. Even the most open-minded and forward thinking of us will be unamused, baffled by its popularity.
There are a couple exceptions, of course. Even the worst of shows occasionally gets it right. One such exception is "Stop Women's Suffrage," a segment in which Jimmy and Adam took to the streets to gather signatures for their position to "end the suffrage of women." As a few more-intelligent members of the public finally pointed out, suffrage is the right to vote, so ending women's suffrage means stripping women of their right to vote. But those were a few very lone voices among many, many eager and willing voices. At first I was offended by this segment, offended that the show would use the ignorance of the general female public to make fun of, well, the general female public. I soon realized, though, that to take offense was to assume that women deserve special treatment, that they deserve to be treated with kid gloves. These are normal, functioning, adult women. If they don't know the definition of suffrage, they deserve to be made fun of. But don't allow this moment of clarity to sway you from my initial warning: The Man Show is just not funny, and "Stop Women's Suffrage" is the highest brow of humor this DVD set ever reaches.
Thus I say: women, don't watch this show; don't even let yourself remember it exists. And if you walk in the room while your husband or boyfriend is watching it, shield your eyes and leave. I say this not because you will become disgusted and angered with the show (which you'll be expecting), but because you will become disgusted and angered with him. You'll think less of him when you find out he enjoys this crap (and they all, apparently, do). You'll wonder what you could possibly have to offer if a man who can find any redeeming quality in The Man Show wants you. It will taint everything he says and does—you'll wonder what his ulterior motives are, how the show has brainwashed him. And every time you have sex, you'll wonder if he's picturing his mother. Just as there are certain beauty routines that no man should ever witness, there are certain television shows (this one) that no woman should ever witness. Ignorance, as they say, is bliss.
Being yet another member of the ever-growing community of TV on DVD, The Man Show is simply one of the crowd. With its original broadcast full screen video transfer and 2.0 Dolby Digital audio track, the show doesn't have anything to boast about here. As one should expect by now, the transfers are average and adequate: colors are correct, details satisfactory, and the video is clean and fortunately free from any detectable errors, while the audio comes through with clear dialogue and moderate dynamic range. All in all, it's nothing to get overly excited about.
There is a small handful of bonus materials available for your viewing pleasure, all of which are never-before-seen clips of skits from the show: Father and Son; Household Hints from Adult Film Stars; Monkey Bar; Karl Malone On: Investing, Taxes, and Recycling; and more girls jumping on trampolines. And, for some odd reason, there's Angelique's Audition, a brief video of one of the girls who eventually became a Juggie. It's not much, but at least it's a minimal effort.
What is perhaps the most mystifying characteristic of this set is the fact that it's The Man Show Season 1 Volume 1. Why did we need a volume 1? Who decided to break up the season? Why did we only get ten episodes (really only nine, as the tenth is a compilation)? It's an incredibly wasteful and poor decision, and we should have had entire seasons released at one time, not this piecemeal affair.
We hereby find The Man Show guilty of widening the gap of understanding between the sexes. But, for clearly labeling itself as "For Men Only," the show is free to continue giving men something they can call their own.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Comedy Central
• Father and Son -- Three Never Before Seen Clips
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