Judge David Johnson thinks the "Wildboyz" make a great case for the missteps of developmental biology.
The only wildlife show where the animals feel smarter than the hosts.
>From the ashes of jackass rises MTV's latest vehicle for idiocy—but with a twist. Juxtaposing two absolute morons with an educational adventure show results in two grown men willfully swallowing salmon semen.
Facts of the Case
Steve-O and Chris Pontius were two of the most popular alums of jackass. Steve-O's incredible threshold for pain, coupled with Pontius's utter disregard for self-dignity, headlined a power crew of imbeciles and thrust them into the realm of notoriety.
As jackass disintegrated, and Johnny Knoxville went on to a Hollywood career (it gives my the dry heaves just saying that), the guys went their own way. Steve-O and Chris Pontius brought with them some of the old crew and began a new way of making an idiot out of one's self: drag animals into the picture.
The first season takes the duo all around the world, hitting up such wildlife-rich venues as South Africa, Alaska, Florida, Australia, New Zealand, and Belize. Each of the eight episodes find the adventurer putting their life at risk, running around naked, receiving some nasty bites and scratches, and vomiting.
Their guide, Many Puig, is a renowned animal expert, yet seems to be even crazier than the two guys pressing their bare butts against porcupine quills. Interspersed through the voyages are mini-adventures that the guys undertake, including some Eskimo Olympics, Native war dances, and losing their lunch on an insane helicopter ride.
Preceding each animal encounter is some on-screen text showing the beastie's name and classification, with informative narration sprinkled in. This seems to give Wildboyz some credibility. Then, a few moments later, the two stars are ejaculating a dead squid's penis.
Whatever…it's entertaining television.
Wildboyz is a clever amalgam of stupidity and nature. As a nature show, it's pretty good. The photography is often very, very good, and the death-defying cinematographers (seriously, these guys are just balls to bones) manage to capture some truly great shots of animals in action.
Specifically, the video of the many underwater locales where the Wildboyz tread is exceptional: shark sequences in South Africa, footage from the Great Barrier Reef, even a nightmarishly murky sojourn into the Florida swamps to play with alligators
Which leads me to the danger factor. Each episode finds our intrepid explorers placing themselves in harm's way, for little reason other than to impress the audience. Hey, I'm fine with that. Watching Pontius sneaking up on a jaguar to pet him (?!) or snagging a cookie from a deadly rattlesnake is good watchin' despite the utter pointlessness of it. Every five minutes or so my wife would laugh and say "Stupid idiots." That's about right.
Like the show that spawned it, Wildboyz is pretty uneven. Steve-O and Pontius elicit laughs through their willingness to pummel their bodies and their general frat-boy dopey charm (the duo's infectious Beavis and Butt-head-type laughter seems to act as the soundtrack to the show). However, episodes are often peppered with annoying, unfunny junk, which screamed "filler." But that's in the minority.
This is a great looking set. All eight episodes are technically 1.33:1 full-frame, but the show was shot in widescreen, so that's what you get. And it looks great. The quality of the picture is an excellent companion to the richness of the vistas. Even the underwater footage is tight, clean and crisp. Only a few hiccups in darker areas (like when the boys venture into a cave) take away a bit from the score. A Dolby Digital 2.0 mix handles the sound well enough, flexing its muscle especially in the kick-ass opening theme.
The second disc is all bonus features, and it's packed. One hour of extra footage plus outtakes offer a lot of bang for your buck. A making-of documentary also accompanies this, but isn't as impressive, splicing interview snippets with show footage. Meh. A "Wildboyz Encyclopedia" includes the various species of animals with which the guys interacted, and a "bite list" chronicles the result of said interaction. Some music videos, biographies, and trailers round out this excellent companion disc.
Each episode also features commentary from Pontius and Steve-O, along with their cronies—it's essentially a group of idiots (who may or not be inebriated) ripping on each other. But every once in a while some interesting anecdotes surface.
Not as relentlessly moronic as jackass, but close. Throw in some bad-ass animals and crazy stunts, plus a fantastic set of bonuses, and the Wildboyz show how TV DVD is done.
The accused are free to go and likely get themselves mauled by a large carnivore. As long as it's captured on film—that's all we're asking.
Give us your feedback!
What's "fair"? Whether positive or negative, our reviews should be unbiased, informative, and critique the material on its own merits.
Scales of Justice
• Commentary Tracks
Review content copyright © 2004 David Johnson; Site design and review layout copyright © 2014 Verdict Partners LLC. All rights reserved.