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Paramount Home Video presents
Wonder Showzen: Season Two (2006)

"You're going to traverse the ages without me? I'm going to build another time machine, and I'll get cooler than him, kids. If I have to go to Hell and back!"
- Chauncey (Arthur Anderson)

Review By: Rich Rosell  
Published: October 09, 2006

Stars: Mike MacRac, Chantal Strand, Dave Willis, Arthur Anderson, Brian Drummond
Other Stars: Will Ryan, Anthony Claus, Seydonni Adams, Jacob Kogan, Alex de Castro, Taylor Bedlivy, Emma Watson II, Trevor Heins, Evan Seligman, Jasmina Lee, Scarlet Sperduto, Auden Galbraith, Ptolemy Slocum, Heather Lawless, Jon Glaser, Amy Poehler, David Cross, Zach Galifianakis
Director: Vernon Chatman, John Lee

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (mature themes, sexual humor, adult language and situations)
Run Time: 02h:49m:00s
Release Date: October 10, 2006
UPC: 097368714144
Genre: television


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ A-BB B

DVD Review

Don't expect a change of heart for Season Two of MTV's Wonder Showzen, because it is more of the same, only perhaps a tad more offensive, if possible. But that's the selling point of this envelope-pushing parody of a Sesame Street-like show, with a quick-cut collection of skits, cute children, puppets, educational films, and cartoons that boldly offer frequent sexual situations and none-too-subtle double entendres, pushing the level of morally dangerous and questionable humor involving children to new highs, or lows, as the case may be.

A show that has a child referring to Jesus as a "cross monkey" even made a liberal atheist like myself cringe a little, but I did thoroughly enjoy the sepia-toned semi-recreation of the Scopes Monkey Trial done by puppets. And in between there exists a plethora of equally uncomfortable moments, whether it be disturbing animated shorts or the recurring Beat Kids segment, where a wiseass kid hurls frank, borderline offensive questions at unsuspecting people.

Each 22-minute episode typically covers a single subject (Science, Knowledge, Mathematics) much like Sesame Street does, with the season ender actually breaking this trend by presenting itself as The Clarence Special Report On Compelling Television. And if Wonder Showzen has taught me anything, it's that the concept of "compelling" can be very subjective. I really can't stress how absurdly offensive this show tries so hard to be, and the fact that it succeeds more than it fails means that the comedy is more than just simple shock. But that's me talking.

There's a blunt disclaimer at the start of each episode, just before the sing-songy stream-of-tragedy that is the show's theme song. It's a gag that screams the truth, because woe to the unsuspecting soul who accidentally lands on Wonder Showzen without knowing where they really are. The disclaimer reads:
Warning: Wonder Showzen contains offensive, despicable content that is too controversial and too awesome for actual children. The stark, ugly, profound truths Wonder Showzen exposes may be soul crushing to the weak of spirit. If you allow a child to watch this show, you are a bad parent or guardian.

And that isn't just an idle threat, my friend.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: A-

 

Image Transfer

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


Image Transfer Review: All eight episodes are presented in their original 1.33:1 fullframe aspect ratio. Decent transfers, not all that surprising considering this is from 2006, with colors that look consistently bright and festive. Edges are a little soft, but overall image quality will not likely upset fans of this series.

Image Transfer Grade: B

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: As with the season one set, audio is presented in 2.0 English stereo. Voice quality is clear, the music sounds full, and while not a real showcase, it does the job.

Simple but effective.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 8 cues and remote access
5 Other Trailer(s) featuring Andy Milonakis Show: The Complete Second Season, Wild Boyz: Complete Seasons 3 and 4, Wonder Showzen: Season One, Beavis & Butthead: The Mike Judge Collection, South Park: The Complete Eight Season
2 TV Spots/Teasers
6 Featurette(s)
2 Feature/Episode commentaries by Professor Michio Kaku, Stephen J. Hawking, Samantha Power
Packaging: other
Picture Disc
2 Discs
2-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: A high grade for the packaging on this two-disc set, which is made to resemble a hardcover children's book (think Golden Book), with only 16 pages of surreal Wonder Showzen weirdness on the inside. This is a well made case, very unusual and perfect for the content. Even if the actual extras are a little derivative, the presentation is outstanding.

The Disc 1 menu has a young girl repeatedly saying "Ain'ts I cute?", so you'll want to make your selection quickly. Two of the episodes carry absurdist commentaries, the first of which allegedly has Professor Michio Kaku (a theoretical physicist) analyzing the concepts of time travel for the episode Time, while the second track has a computerized voice claiming to be Stephen J. Hawking interviewing author/professor Samantha Power for the Justice ep. The Knowledge ep has a bonus short (12m:57s) that serves as a followup to the recurring test market study for the fake show-within-a-show Horse Apples.

The Disc 2 menu looks like the game Candy Land, and aside from the standard selection option of episodes and extras on the "board", there are also some quick, wacky gags, depending on which square you click. Just don't click on Press For Your Prize—you have been warned. The other supplements on disc two include a couple of deleted scene reels, entitled Beat Kids Outtakes (05m:13s) and Clarence Outtakes (04m:37s), and as much as I don't want to admit it out loud, they are both very funny. There's a full installment of the Hee-Haw parody Horse Apples (05m:40s), and a collection of miscellaneous clips called Mish Mosh (02m:51s), which includes a veiled child singing about Osama Bin Laden to the music of the Star Spangled Banner.

Disc 2 concludes with a variation on deleted scenes called Q & A (02m:04s), which is basically just more unused footage, some of which wasn't quite polished enough for air apparently. There is also a set of MTV-related trailers and a couple of Original Promos for the season two premiere.

Extras Grade: B

 

Final Comments

Holy crap, this stuff is just wrong. If it wasn't so perverted, politically incorrect, and funny, I'd think there was something horribly, horribly wrong with me.

Highly recommended.

 


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