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Comedy Central Home Video presents
Crank Yankers: Season One (2002)

"And don't hate me for being ugly, I didn't make you that way, God did."
- Cammie (Lisa Kushell)

Review By: Kevin Clemons   
Published: December 17, 2004

Stars: Adam Carrolla, Jimmy Kimmel, Sara Silverman, Wanda Sykes, Dane Cook, Tracy Morgan, Kevin Nealon, David Alan Grier, Stephen Colbert, Dave Chappelle, Jim Florentine
Director: various

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for language, inuendo
Run Time: 04h:12m:58s
Release Date: September 28, 2004
UPC: 097368777149
Genre: television

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

It is in our general nature to be pranksters, to mess with those around us and generally try to make their lives hell. And when the telephone came into creation, someone somewhere first found a way to use it against its owner by way of the prank phone call, and an American tradition was born. It has been done as entertainment before, most notably with The Jerky Boys, but never with the imagination of the Comedy Central program Crank Yankers.

By taking puppets and placing them into the sketches instead of humans (though the voices are still that of the actual people making the phone calls), the creators of the wildly successful show have created a sometimes funny, sometimes annoying series that hits the mark more often than not. Actually, it is unfair to aim the previous statement at the first season, as only in recent years has it fallen in terms of quality. The debut season offered some truly hilarious moments and some terrific characters.

Existing in the fictional town of Yankerville, Crank Yankers features a large cast of puppet pranksters voiced by the likes of Dave Chapelle, Adam Corrola, Jimmy Kimmel, Wanda Sykes, and Sarah Silverman. The most impressive thing about several of the skits is the sheer amount of wit and sarcasm that they possess. Look no further than a complaint to a UPS like delivery service for the best example of this. Thankfully the writers and cast allow the first season to revolve around calls that are aimed more at being silly and fun rather than mean-spirited. As in the previously mentioned UPS call, the central joke is transferring the hapless caller all across the "company," rather than belittling the woman and taking cheap shots at her.

Some of the best moments in the first season include Gladys (Sykes) accusing a mechanic of leaving excrement in her car, Hadassah (Silverman) pleading for an unsuspecting Oprah fan to save her from the talk show host's evil empire, and of course Special Ed (Florentine) tormenting a computer store with the announcement that he has mail. Sure, the skits on Crank Yankers are mildly childish and immature, but they are also a nice way to gage the communication divide between human beings. It's no great advancement in the understanding of the human psyche, but the series does do a nice job of presenting the callers in their truest form, of showing how quickly some people reach their breaking point over the simplest of things.

Aside from the prank calls, the series also offers a collection of original sketches, including the always hilarious ”Karl Malone Says” and a few small jabs at Sesame Street, to name a few. Other odd entries into the first season include musical performances by Tenacious D and Ween. I am a huge Tenacious D fan and I can gladly say that their musical performance is the single best thing about the first season, largely because both Jack and Kyle are seen in puppet form.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: C+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Each episode of Crank Yankersis presented in its original 1.33:1 aspect. This is a well done transfer, considering the low production values, and colors look deep and vibrant while sharpness and detail are generally well done. There are some compression artifacts that hamper the overall quality, however.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes

Audio Transfer Review: Audio is presented in a dialogue-heavy Dolby Surround mix. Aside from a few instances, the surround speakers are dormant. Dialogue is well done with no distortion.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 13 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
2 Deleted Scenes
1 Documentaries
Packaging: 2 disc slip case
Picture Disc
2 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: A small amount of bonus material can be found on Disc 2, namely two un-aired calls that, while humorous, were rightfully left out of the first season. The main extra feature is a documentary titled Dial T for Torment that shows what it takes to put the show together. This is a fascinating documentary that provides insight into how the puppet world is created and how the calls are made and edited. A very well done piece.

Extras Grade: B


Final Comments

Crank Yankers is a moderately successful series that offers some truly large laughs. It is nice to have the first season on DVD, though the extras are a tad disappointing. This is a must-have for fans of the series.


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