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Case Number 16994

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The Mighty Boosh: The Complete Season 3

BBC Video // 2007 // 169 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Ryan (Retired) // August 10th, 2009

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All Rise...

Judge Dave Ryan is a woman in the prime of her life who needs love-squeezins!

Editor's Note

Our reviews of The Mighty Boosh: The Complete Season 1 (published August 5th, 2009) and The Mighty Boosh: The Complete Season 2 (published August 5th, 2009) are also available.

The Charge

Bouncy bouncy, ooh such a good time!

Opening Statement

English comedians Julian Barratt and Noel Fielding formed the comedy troupe The Mighty Boosh in 1998, performing an eponymous show at Edinburgh's famous Fringe festival. Since then, the pair have produced multiple live stage shows, a BBC radio show, a book, and three seasons of a Boosh TV series. The series—also entitled The Mighty Boosh—was recently brought to America by Cartoon Network's Adult Swim programming block, its bizarreness unleashed upon an unsuspecting (and very probably stoned) mostly college-aged, predominantly male viewership. Seeing an opportunity, the BBC has produced Region 1 versions of the previously-released DVD sets of the show, which are now available to blow your mind. This, then, is Season Three of The Mighty Boosh, presented for your consumption in all its awesomeness.

But man is it weird…

Facts of the Case

Season Three finds Howard Moon (Julian Barratt) and Vince Noir (Noel Fielding) still living in the Dalston flat—but they're now working downstairs at the Nabootique, a curiosity shop run by their shaman friend Naboo (Michael Fielding) and his gorilla familiar Bollo (Dave Brown). This two-disc set has all six of their third season adventures, as follows:

• "Eels"
Howard and Vince are left in charge of the Nabootique while Naboo and Bollo are off at a stag party with the shamans from the Season 2 episode "Nanageddon." While Naboo is gone, Howard is shaken down for protection money by The Hitcher (Noel Fielding), and turns to prostitution in order to pay him off.

• "Journey to the Centre of the Punk"
Vince is infected by a jazz virus, threatening his job as lead singer of a punk band. Naboo shrinks Howard and his blind jazz-loving friend Lester Corncrake (Rich Fulcher) down to microscopic size and injects them (in a miniature submarine) into Vince's bloodstream. Their task: destroy the infection.

• "The Power of the Crimp"
A pair of imposters—Lance Dior (Tom Meeten) and Harold Boom (Simon Farnaby)—are calling themselves The Flighty Zeus and stealing Vince and Howard's thunder. Only a crimp-off can settle this…

• "The Strange Tale of the Crack Fox"
Howard leaves Vince in charge of the Nabootique while he goes to a class. Vince promptly allows the store—specifically, a cache of Naboo's shaman juice—to be robbed by a local crack fox. (A fox who is addicted to crack, natch.) The Council of Shamans sentences Naboo to death for losing the juice, and it's ultimately up to Vince to save his neck.

• "Party"
Vince throws a party in the flat—theoretically it's for Howard's birthday, but actually that's just an excuse. As always, it's really all about Vince. Unfortunately, Vince is hit on by the wife of Dennis the Head Shaman. Dennis (Barratt) vows to kill Vince. But it all ends well, with everyone in the bouncy castle Vince rented.

• "The Chokes"
Vince desperately wants to be the new lead singer of The Black Tubes (played by real-life punk band The Horrors), but they'll only let him join if he can fit into a reaaaaallllyyy skinny pair of drainpipe trousers. Meanwhile, Howard has an opportunity to impress one of his heroes, avant-garde film director Jurgen Haabermaaster (Barratt), but first he must overcome his severe case of the chokes, which cause him to freeze up when he tries to act. Special guest star: Sammy the Crab.

The Evidence

The Mighty Boosh really defies description. It's a really weird show—I mean really weird, even by Adult Swim standards—yet I can't stop watching it. It requires the viewer to pay really close attention (and almost forces you into repeated viewings) just to understand it. Its humor is profoundly intelligent and profoundly stupid, usually simultaneously. And the more I watch it, the more I want to watch more of it. I guess it's English video comedy crack.

Season Three (Series Three in BBC nomenclature) is the most fully realized of the Boosh seasons. Season One felt a bit claustrophobic, limited as it was to the zoo and its environs. Season Two, although more aggressive in its humor, was ultimately disjointed, each show seeming like its own comedic island rather than part of a greater whole. Season Three gets it just right. The Nabootique gives the show a convenient and consistent jumping-off place for the narratives, one that feels more open than the zoo did. It's also the best-looking of the three Boosh seasons, which is ironic since this season had the smallest production budget. Season Three has the best acting by Barratt and Fielding, too—at this point, they really understand the characters and how they relate to each other. A number of the popular side characters introduced in Season Two—the Shaman Council, most notably—return in Season Three, often with more significant roles. Finally, Rich Fulcher is once again given a great deal of comedic leeway in creating new characters, as he was in Season Two, but does get to bring good old Bob Fossil back too. All in all, it's a cavalcade of Booshy goodness.

That, however, is also why this season is the absolute wrong place to begin if you've never experienced the Boosh. While it's the best season, it's also the most impenetrable, if you don't have any prior exposure to the show. So of course this was the season Adult Swim chose to air when it brought The Mighty Boosh across the pond. Go figure. In any event, you, fair DVD purchaser/renter, have the option of choosing to start wherever you want. Although the first season is definitely weaker than Seasons Two and Three, I'd strongly suggest starting there. You can pick up the show here, at the end (for now)—like I did originally—but you'll be awfully confused. Entertained, but confused.

Technically, this two-disc set is fantastic. With six half-hour (give or take) episodes spread over two discs, there's plenty of room available for the video files—which means very light compression and a beautiful, crisp, colorful picture. It's one of the better SD discs I've seen from a picture quality standpoint. There are a good number of extras included, all of which are worthwhile for fans of the Boosh. The two main featurettes—a behind-the-scenes view of the filming of this season, and a selection of some of the promotional appearances Barrett and Fielding made to promote the season—are not only stylishly shot and edited, they're really interesting glimpses into the dynamic between these two very different men (Howard and Vince are basically exaggerated versions of Barratt and Fielding themselves). What becomes apparent is that the key to their partnership is that despite their differences (Barratt is somewhat reserved and publicity-shy; Fielding is highly outgoing and loves the spotlight), at the end of the day they really enjoy entertain each other. The best of the rest of the extras is a terminally clever video for the English techno band Mint Royale that features Fielding and Barratt. There are also commentary tracks—more on them below. And yes, there are subtitles (English only) you can use if the accents get too thick for you.

The Rebuttal Witnesses

It's a weird show. It's a really weird show. It can be weird in very disturbing and uncomfortable (albeit still funny) ways. It's an acquired taste. Several viewings might be necessary before you start to really "get" the show. In that sense, it's a lot like The Kids in the Hall—if you get it, you love it and immerse yourself in it; but if you don't, it's just a bunch of damn freaks. Some of the accents are pretty thick, and we Americans probably lose something by not recognizing their regional diversity.

Also—remember how I mentioned that Fielding and Barratt seem to really enjoy entertaining each other? Well…that's what the commentaries are. Fielding and Barratt entertaining each other. (Fulcher is also on the tracks—he's even less serious.) At one point, Barratt notes that commentaries are supposed to be useful…but that falls on deaf ears. It's not a terrible set of commentaries (they do point out some interesting production notes, like how a particularly hot redhead is in virtually every shot of an episode because "the director fancied her"), but it makes you feel a little like you're interrupting someone else's conversation.

Did I mention that the show is really, really weird, too?

Closing Statement

If the rumors of an impending "breakup" of Fielding and Barratt are true, then this set of Boosh will be a fitting finale, conclusively proving that they left while they were still at the top of their game. But let's hope they come back for more. In any event, this show and this Season Three set are both highly recommended. But still very, very weird…

The Verdict

This is an outrage! Not guilty!

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Scales of Justice

Video: 95
Audio: 90
Extras: 90
Acting: 90
Story: 95
Judgment: 93

Perp Profile

Studio: BBC Video
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Subtitles:
• English (SDH)
Running Time: 169 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Genres:
• Comedy
• Cult
• Foreign
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• Episode Commentaries
• Deleted Scenes
• Featurettes
• Outtakes
• Music Video

Accomplices

• IMDb
• Official Site








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