Plot: What’s it about?
You know, I think I’ve found more “hidden gems” while channel surfing in the past few years than in the last ten years combined. What? I guess what I mean is that there is so much television programming on these days, it’s nearly impossible to keep track of what’s on and what’s not unless you do a little exploring. Case in point, a few years ago my wife and I were trying to decide what to watch when we stumbled across a little show named Impractical Jokers. Now the name alone might be enough to deter someone or lure them in (I guess it depends on the person), but suffice it to say that after a few minutes we were hooked and laughing uncontrollably. This might also beg the question: what’s the show about? Well, let me tell you…the show follows four “life long friends”, but in this case it’s actually true. Q, Sal, Joe and James “Murr” Murray grew up together and are members of a comedy quartet known as “The Tenderloins.” This show is essentially a way for them to flex their comedic muscles. Each show is divided into a number of tasks and each one of the members must complete that task, else they fail to gain a point. The person (or persons) with the least number of points at the end of the episode loses and must complete a more grievous task much to the delight of the others. The catch is that the person doing the task has to be told what to do by the others. This complicates matters (for the person, to us it’s just hilarious).
The second season featured 28 new episodes (up from the first season’s 17) and, as we might expect, the jokes are bigger, badder and of course feature bit more risk. This is hell to the jokers, but funny as hell for the viewer to watch. Assuming you’ve seen the first season, and if you haven’t – watch it, we find our wandering heroes once again in the heart of New York City and venturing out to New Jersey shopping malls. This second season has some of my personal favorite episodes in it with the guys working at a dentist’s office, sticking pencils into unsuspecting grocery shoppers’ pockets and trying to get people to sign up for ridiculous causes (all fake, of course). The punishments at the end of each episode were a bit more extreme (Q has to explain the birds and the bees to his own parents, Murr is literally beaten when he’s a human piñata in Manhattan, etc.). As is the case with every viewer, you’ll have your own personal favorite. And that’s why the show works so well, like it did on Seinfeld, as you’ll undoubtedly see something in each one of these guys you can relate to. As of this writing the show has been renewed for a fourth season along with a six episode spin-off, Jokers Wild! No telling what that will entail. My only fear, and this is something that was actually brought up in an episode, is that the show will become too popular and people will recognize the guys thereby ruining the gags. But in New York City, I’m guessing no matter how popular something is – there’ll be plenty of unsuspecting folks.
Video: How’s it look?
Each of the seventeen episodes is presented in a 1.78:1 anamorphic image that looks just a shade “worse” than it does over the air. The show airs on TruTV and is shown in full HD, so these DVD’s don’t quite live up to the same standard as set by that. Still, colors are bold, there’s a bit of edge enhancement (something that’s immediately noticeable when being spoiled by watching Blu-ray or HDTV all the time) and detail is generally very good. Fans of the show shouldn’t really mind as these look just about as good as possible.
Audio: How’s it sound?
The included Dolby Digital 2.0 mix won’t win any awards for sound, but for a show like this it doesn’t really matter. Vocals are crisp and clean, the announcer gives us the updates and there’s no problem there which leaves the rest of the show for the quartet’s laughs and the skits that they do. The show lacks any sort of surrounds and again, not that it needs them – this is just fine as is.
Supplements: What are the extras?
The second season’s supplements are a bit more robust than the first. Each disc contains at least one audio commentary track, with the majority of the supplements residing on the first disc.
- Audio Commentary – There are four in all: “The Truth Hurts” with Joe and Murr, “Elephant in the Room” with Sal and Q on the first disc. The second disc finds Sal and Q discussing “Down in the Dump” and the final disc has “Everything’s just Rosie” with Joe and Murr (yes, Rosie O’Donnell actually appeared on the show as she’s a dead-ringer for Q. I found these tracks to be a little more lively than those on the first season, we get the usual banter and some behind the scenes information (Joe and Murr were roommates, Joe would always cut Murr’s hair and so forth). Fans will love these tracks and each is definitely worth a listen.
- Deleted Scenes – These are broken up by Disc (and episode) that add a bit of laughter to the skits we’ve seen.
- Disc 1: Manhandling a Banana, Show Me Your Feet Close Up, The Waiting Game and Glassholes
Disc 2: Sal’s Trashy Meltdown, You Look Like a Catch, You Down with G.O.P.P.?, A Dog Good Enough to Lick, Be More Urban, Leap of Faith
Disc 3: Training Day and Fake Ticket Giveaway
- Inside Jokes – This is the “pop up video” feature that we’ve seen on other discs, in essence a little Post-It sticker appears on screen telling of some things we didn’t see “Q’s pants were still being ironed in the intro shot, which is why he was wearing jeans…”)
- Behind the Scenes – Essentially more of the same here as we get a look with some stuff not captured on camera.
- Embarassing Public Punishments
Insane Video Scavenger Hunt
Clowning Around Behind the Scenes
The Girls of Impractical Jokers