Our reviews of The Man Show: Season One, Volume One (published August 11th, 2003), 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 Hokky! Hoy Hoy Hoy!
One of the most polarizing television shows ever created makes its way to DVD. The first half of Season One was popular enough with consumers that the second half was inevitable.
Is the show groundbreaking satire or tasteless sexism? The answers to this and other questions below.
Facts of the Case
Co-creators Adam Carolla and Jimmy Kimmel host this half-hour program that takes a look at the world through the eyes of a typical, red-blooded American male. Accompanied by Fox, the self-proclaimed "fastest beer drinker in the world," Adam and Jimmy take on all comers. From helpful "Man-O-Vations" to the Juggy Girls to interview segments, there is something for somebody in The Man Show.
Notice I didn't say everybody. There is a reason for that. Since its premiere in the summer of 1999, no other show on television has polarized audiences as sharply as The Man Show. Some say it's sexist garbage. Others maintain it's revolutionary comedy. Now, I have a story to share. When the show first premiered, I was in the first camp. I put it on and after five minutes I turned it off. For years, I maintained it was junk until I received this set for review. Needless to say, I was dreading screening this set for the longest time.
Then a funny thing happened: as I was watching the programs, I realized that The Man Show isn't being sexist for the sake of being sexist. Instead, the creators use the attitudes to satirize this behavior. In a subtle, sly way, the show attacks the very positions and attitudes it seems to be celebrating. Watching it, I recalled Roger Ebert's defense of Evil Dead 2—it isn't in bad taste, but rather it is about it.
I am not a sexist individual. I always believe that women should get an equal shot at all opportunities. I say that because I know I'm going to be deluged with negative e-mails from our female readership. In my defense, I say: Relax. If you look deeply enough, you'll see the satire. If the makers of The Man Show really believed in what they say, it wouldn't be so over the top, but rather more subdued and sober-minded.
Adam Carolla and Jimmy Kimmel are both engaging performers. They realize that for this satire to really work, they have to play it both straight and over-the-top. It's an effective presentation. I praise both men for the courage to do a show like this. Some of the jokes misfire, but many others succeed. That's a better ratio than most sitcoms these days.
Twelve more episodes from the first season have been spread out over three discs. On a scale of zero to five beers:
• Mysteries of Women
• Thanks, Man Show
• The Woman Show
• Practical Jokes
• Holiday Show
• New Year's Resolution Show
• Compilation 2
• Super Bowl Show
Comedy Central presents the episodes in full frame, as they were originally broadcast. The transfer is good of its type: clean but unremarkable. Colors look bright but not as rich as the best TV transfers could look. It looks better than the original Comedy Central broadcasts, but that is faint praise.
Audio is slightly better, in Dolby Digital 2.0 mono. Again, it's okay of its type, but it's lackluster compared to other transfers of television shows to DVD. You will not be fiddling with your sound system, but you'll wish the track were mixed lower and deeper.
Some interesting extras are included here, mainly segments deemed too raunchy for television. Charlton Heston's Penis revolves around a Muppet version of a talking penis, complete with hairy testicles and circular mouth that gives advice about everyday problems. Five segments are included that had me laughing so loudly that the neighbors thought an earthquake was occurring. Oprah Jimfrey is a satirical jab at America's most popular daytime talk show host. Two segments appear, one of which is hysterical, the other not. Karl Malone On… features an impersonator giving rough, often incoherent advice. Three segments appear, none of which is particularly funny. Man Show Miracles showcases four miracles that will almost never happen. Women are bound to be offended for sure, but remember, it's satire, not concrete truth. Girls Jumping on Trampolines is exactly that…except it drags on for five minutes. This is only for the initiated or extremely horny.
It's up to you to decide whether or not you want to spend the $29.95 suggested retail price. If you like the show, you will want to own it, especially for the uncensored footage. Non-fans (or über-feminists) stay far, far away.
Charges are dropped against Corolla and Kimmel, but Comedy Central is warned to work on their video and audio transfers.
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• Five Featurettes: Charlton Heston's Penis, Oprah Jimfrey, Karl Malone On..., Man Show Miracles, Girls Jumping on Trampolines
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