Judge Daryl Loomis has always dreamed of being a filthy-mouthed Jewish woman.
Talking about "number 2" made her Number 1.
The modern queen of filth, Sarah Silverman (The Aristocrats) is back for a second season of her self-named show, The Sarah Silverman Program, or at least half of it. With her sister Laura (Laura Silverman, Half Baked), Laura's cop boyfriend, Jay (Jay Johnston, Bicentennial Man), and their gay friends Steve and Brian (Steve Agee, The Bogus Witch Project; Brian Posehn, Run Ronnie Run), what hilariously un-PC adventures will they get into this year?
Facts of the Case
The Sarah Silverman Program: Season Two, Volume One contains the first six episodes of the second season, with the second half airing on Comedy Central now.
"Bored of the Rings": Sarah, because of her obsession with lemon bars, gets involved in a group of militant anti-abortionists bent on blowing up the clinic where Laura volunteers. Meanwhile, Brian's two decade long love for Dungeons and Dragons causes friction between himself and Steve (and not the good kind).
"Joan of Arf": When her dog won't quit licking himself, Sarah wants to know what all the hubbub is about, so she takes a taste for herself. As a result, the dog is taken into protective custody and Sarah must defend herself in court to get him back.
"Face Wars": After an argument with a waiter about whether it's more difficult to be Jewish or Black, they trade places. Soon, Sarah is the face of a new racial movement.
"Doody": After Sarah and Laura find out that their mother's grave has been defiled, they go on a cookie-making game show to pay for a new tombstone. Through this, Sarah realizes just how much her love of poop has made her who she is.
"Ah, Men": Sarah hasn't seen God since she slept with him that fateful night a year ago. But, when she sees him at the coffee shop, she can't help but reconnect. They start a relationship and, while he turns out to be needy and obnoxious, she keeps him around long enough to show her big-shot boyfriend off at her high school reunion.
"Maid to Border": When she finds one of her precious Happy Meal toys missing, Sarah fires her maid and has her deported back to Mexico. Sarah can't take care of herself at all, though, so goes to find the woman, who has quickly come into power in her hometown.
There are a lot of words that describe Sarah Silverman: dirty and offensive immediately come to mind, but the most important one is funny. She uses her fantastic comic timing to pull jokes about little things out of hugely absurd setups. In "Ah, Men," while the larger comedic premise of sleeping with God is crazy and funny in itself, the real humor comes from the jokes about showing off your boyfriend at a reunion, only to have everyone think he's a loser. Add back in that this loser is God and you have the charm of The Sarah Silverman Program. Her disarming delivery sets viewers up to have an offensive punchline about race, religion, or abortion to knock them down. But Sarah can't do all of this alone. Her supporting cast is fully game for the situations they're put in and they're what makes the show as good as it is. Brian Posehn and Steve Agee are great together; they're a funny, nerdy couple of stoners who seem strangely natural as a couple. It's always great to see siblings working together and the inclusion of Laura Silverman is very good. She's not as funny as her sister, but she works well giving relatively serious performances amidst the other characters' anarchy. Jay Johnston is great as her boyfriend. He's played a cop plenty of times, and does very well at it. His bumbling, mustached lawman is a great compliment to the otherwise nearly criminal characters. They work very well as a team, no matter what the situation presents.
While each episode in this volume is very funny, none ever quite reaches the heights of the first season. Nothing matches the Tab episode, though the Tab car is still around. It has great moments, but there is a little less cohesiveness in the individual plots. I find Sarah Silverman truly funny, but she's better in small doses. I love offensiveness very much, but her jokes tend to be one-dimensional and repetitive. She's correct that poop jokes are what has made her so popular, but to have an entire episode surrounding that fact gets a little long. Luckily, that particular episode features a heavy dose of "Cookie Party," a game show featuring the world's manliest transvestite to bring it up a little. Every episode has its highs and its lows, none of them is perfect but, on the whole, The Sarah Silverman Program is a worthy comedy that will offend at least one group every week.
Comedy Central's release of the first half of the second season of The Sarah Silverman Program coincides with the airing of the second half on cable. The season was stunted by the writer's strike and is now back in full. They could have waited to release the whole season together, but doing it this way means they make more money off consumers for it. Still, what's here is very good. The image and sound are as good as the episodes' original airings, but there is nothing special about either. The first disc contains all six episodes with commentary tracks on select ones. I found it odd that, as funny as Sarah Silverman and her costars have proven to be, these are some of the most dull commentaries I've ever heard and they're barely worth listening to. They act lost, like they've never even heard of an audio commentary before. The second disc contains the bulk of the extras, from behind the scenes footage to additional shorts, both live-action and animated, with the cast. The best part is a forum with the cast and crew at 2007's Comic-Con, where the group really displays their skills at improv, taking fan questions and riffing on them hilariously. It is a good set for what it is but, with a mere six episodes, it scrimps on the content. Hopefully, after the entire season has aired, there will be a complete season release, though I imagine only a Volume 2 will come out.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
The Sarah Silverman Program is certainly not for everybody. Taken out of its satirical context, the jokes are racially and religiously motivated; the writers pull no punches and couldn't care less who they offend. As a result, some will definitely be offended. This is, however, the meaning and usefulness of satire, but fair warning if the idea of a Jewish woman doing a shuffle step in blackface is difficult for you to swallow.
Though this is only half a season, it is six episodes of good material. It may not be quite as good as the first season, but Sarah Silverman continues to prove why she's the reigning queen of blue comedy.
The cast and crew of The Sarah Silverman Program are not guilty and free to go. Comedy Central, on the other hand, is guilty of shorting consumers. Case closed.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Comedy Central
• Audio commentary on select episodes
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