Someone once asked Judge Eric Profancik if he had a barber named Sven. Later he found out he was on a hidden camera...from the FBI.
The game show you don't even know you're on!
It's quite apropos that this title ended up in my hands for review, for I'm quite fond of using the word "oblivious" in casual, day-to-day conversation. I think most of us are oblivious to the world around us, barely tuning in for just the slimmest nuggets of information that interest us. As such, I was oblivious to Obliviou$. I had never heard of the show, which isn't too bad considering it only lasted two seasons (2002-2004) on TNN/Spike.
Obliviou$ can be perfectly described as a blending of Candid Camera and Street Smarts. Hosted by Regan Burns (The Gristle and many supporting character roles, but never before a host), the show puts together silly, hidden camera skits, and in the midst of the chaos and fun, asks the people involved easy trivia questions. If he or she answers the questions correctly, the unwitting contestant wins $20 per correct answer, and, even better, there's often a bonus question worth $100. It's just that simple.
"The asparagus festival got out of control."
I found most of the bits entertaining, and I laughed out loud quite a few times. Burns is a gifted comedian, and he's able to improvise in the situation to make it work better. Whether he's playing an Irish priest, an auto parts clerk, a wacky recluse, or a mariachi singer, his enthusiasm is infectious. He's a great host for this type of show, and he truly is the glue that puts it all together; but, he is not the sole star of the show. In addition to himself, there are a group of beautiful female sidekicks, who, from time to time, are used in sketches to distract unsuspecting men—like wearing bikinis at a car wash. This DVD, called "the best of," is culled from the run of the entire show. (The end credits are broken down by season one and season two.) There are about two-dozen sketches on the disc, with some of the funniest being the "turnaround" segments. In these, the contestant, after learning they were on a hidden camera game show, is then given the opportunity to pull the same "trick" on someone else, thereby winning more money. Watching these ordinary, everyday folk pull the con on other people is more amusing knowing they haven't practiced the bits and aren't as familiar with improv as Burns. However, the all-around best improv line comes from the "florist turnaround" segment where the former female contestant has just made a young gay male dance and she screams…Well, I'm not going to tell you, but it is absolutely hilarious. Glad I wasn't drinking anything at the moment, or it would have shot out of my nose!
Obliviou$ isn't much of a game show, for the questions are extremely easy, related to common knowledge and "what's hot." (Who is J. Lo?) I almost batted a thousand and ended up getting only one question wrong (Who was the original drummer from KISS?). The thrust of the show, and its strength, is the hidden camera routines and jokes. They may not be new bits, but they nonetheless will make you laugh.
Being a rather recent television show, the disc comes with solid transfers. The full frame transfer has crisp, accurate colors, good details, and no errors. That is especially impressive since the show is using many hidden cameras. As for the audio, the Dolby Digital 2.0 mix is nothing spectacular, yet it allows you to easily hear all the jokes. Aside from a few trailers for other television shows, The Man Show, The Mole, and Celebrity Mole, this is a bare bones disc.
If you were a fan of the show, then this disc will please you with its selection of sketches and you can go ahead and buy it for your collection. As a newbie to Obliviou$, I had a great time seeing this now cancelled show but it only garners a rental recommendation for the rest of us.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Red Distribution
• Trailers for The Man Show, The Mole, and Celebrity Mole
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