Judge Bill Gibron loves this Internet clip show—even in this early, uneven state.
Our review of Tosh.0: Deep V's (Blu-ray), published January 12th, 2013, is also available.
All about the hoodies…and the halfwits on the Web.
Daniel Tosh is the funniest man on television. All recent rape controversy aside, no one pushes the envelopes and buttons of an otherwise politically correct planet better than the host of yet another Internet clip commentary series. While Joel McHale of The Soup concentrates on TV, other wannabes like Rob Dyrdek (MTV's miserable Ridiculousness) and Chris Hardwick (the apparently able to be unseen Web Soup) have tried, and mostly failed, to find the right balance between merriment and meme. Tosh, on the other hand, is a skilled stand-up, like Patton Oswalt without the intricate, introspective bits or…well, that's about it. With the release of Tosh.0 on Blu-ray (under both a numeric "1" and the subtitle "Hoodies"), one can now experience the show that made the man capable of such a cruel female heckler takedown. Mocking sexual assault is never socially acceptable. Luckily, Tosh has never been, and doesn't care to be.
Facts of the Case
Divided into specific segments and featuring well-known moments in WWW infamy, Tosh.0 is a breezy, sometimes blasphemous half hour. Standing in front of a green screen, the comic introduces each clip, and then adds his own unique perspective both pre, post, and sometimes during. Almost always acerbic, with a nice amount of non-PC punch, the show is a stitch. Since this is the first season, there are still a few flies in the ointment. There's a sometimes unfunny celebrity interview, scripted bits which can be hit or miss, and the occasional misfire from the viewers at home. Other recurring bits include the "Video Breakdown," "20 Seconds on the Clock," "Is it Racist?," and a personal fave, "Na-Na, Na-Na Boo Boo Stick Your Head in Doo Doo" (where the host tries to best established challenges). The main theme for each episode is the "Web Redemption"—a chance for an infamous Internet star to see his or her fortunes reconfigured by Tosh et.al. This usually involves meeting up with subject, hearing their side of the story, and then metering out a kind of reputation rewind.
Using said feature as a guide, here are the episodes you will find here:
• "Afro Ninja"—The famous backflip fail stuntman gets a second chance.
• "Miss South Carolina"—Beauty pageant contest gets to prove her mental mantle…or lack thereof.
• "TV Puke Kid"—A young man who famously barfed on live local TV gets a do over.
• "Scarlet Takes a Tumble"—An overweight singer shows she can stand on a table and not fall down.
• "Leave Britney Alone"—Chris Crocker argues for his pro-Spears rant.
• "Billoon45"—A man tries once again to put himself inside an oversized rubber balloon.
• "World's Worst Best Man Speech"—A groomsman's groan-inducing toast is rewritten.
• "Reh Dogg"—Singer/songwriter of the infamous "Why Must I Cry?" clip gets a remix.
• "Drunken Slam Dunk"—Now sober, a wannabe baller proves he can jump and jam.
• "Skateboard Girl"—A young lady who has a hard time staying vertical on her ride gets some skills.
As he begins his latest oddly metered out X-week season (this time around, the theme is "sick kicks," aka designer sneakers), Daniel Tosh has it nailed. He's insightful, brutal, witty, and most importantly, addictive. We fans come back episode after episode to see who he'll slice up next, and nothing is off limits. Pedophilia, gay sex, political idiocy, and standard human brain damage are dealt blow after well-scripted blow, all in service of making the otherwise nominal experience of scanning YouTube for the latest viral a little less soul crushing. There is nothing really new or inventive about Tosh.0, except for Comedy Central's decision on a host. This is the closest we will ever come to seeing the promise presented by the late, great Patrice O'Neal when he was put in charge of chuckling along to VH-1's similarly styled collection of caught on film foolishness. Instead of the angry black man, we have the willowy white question mark.
That being said, Tosh.0 definitely lives or dies by its clip choices. When it panders—like the endless shots of doofuses vomiting up various amounts of milk, liquor, cinnamon, blood, etc.—it can grow dull and repetitive. But when the host witnesses a moment of pure social surrealism, as when a youth pastor crashes a motorcycle into a room full of the devoted, he suddenly becomes a sage. Tosh has that rare ability to turn any minor misadventure into a wealth of serious social commentary. It's a joke jumping-off point, that moment in an old pre-Red State Dennis Miller routine where the literalist suddenly stops riffing and goes on a well-honed rant. Usually as part of the "Web Redemption" set-up, or integrated into the "20 Seconds on the Clock"/"Video Breakdown" discussion, these segments highlight Tosh.0's greatest strength: its viewpoint. The comedian and his crew never praise anything wrong or decadent. Instead, Tosh treats every episode like a wake-up call, a chance to tell the great unwashed and unwise how addled they really are.
Of the ten installments featured here, one has to remember that this is the first go-round for this rodeo of ridicule. Tosh is trying things out, seeing what works and what doesn't. Examples of near perfection include Reh Dogg's dismal music video for "Why Must I Cry," the insular mockery of the man who gets personal "gratification" from putting himself in an oversized balloon, and the rewrite of the Best Man's previously appalling toast. But other episodes expose a real weakness—to paraphrase a famous quote, "the clip makes the show." Miss South Carolina may be a bimbo dullard, but overplaying her low IQ doesn't succeed. Similarly, letting Chris Crocker have more than 15 minutes of fame is a flaw in both execution and idea. On the other hand, most of the main moments here are just average, an uncomfortable geek given a chance to convert his claim to on-air nausea by drinking a gallon of milk and then…puking again. As a balancing act between the crude and the clever, the "Hoodies" season has a bit too much of the former and not enough of the latter.
As for the Blu-ray presentation, Comedy Central and Paramount do a fine job with what was, initially, a non-HD presentation (at least, if memory serves). The 1.85:1, 1080i image is crisp, but not as crystal as later seasons would offer. The clips, of course, are not remastered, so you get lots of noise, pixelization, and reproductive flaws. The colors are bright and the in-studio material remains vivid in all its green screen glory. As for the sound side of things, there a choice between a True HD 5.12 mix, or a standard Dolby Stereo. Either one works for the mostly dialogue driven experience. On the plus side, the episodes are offered uncut, meaning that all the bleeped F-bombs and strong sexual innuendos are restored. In the added content category, the news is a little less exciting. No commentaries. No behind the scenes featurettes. Just a series of "Digital Exclusives," Extended Segments, and "Outtakes," which end up as nothing more than 11 additional clips. That's all.
In the world of basic cable celebrity, 2009 might as well be 1999, or 1909. The rapid rise and pan-flashing fact of most ADHD offerings mandates that someone like Daniel Tosh be embraced, and then forgotten. Luckily, he's managed to play on Tosh.0's obvious strengths to turn it into a weird amalgamation of freak show and must-see TV…and with an Internet overflowing with wannabe-famous fools, he'll never want for content. If you want to see where he came from, where the stink started, so to speak, check out this terrific primer. If you want to know the real Daniel Tosh, check out a recent episode of the series. "Hoodies" isn't pristine, but it's significantly better than its peers.
Not guilty. Uneven and in need of polish, but still very funny and
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Studio: Comedy Central
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