Greg the Bunny, Warren "the ape" Demontague, and the gang are back with Volume 2 of their Best of IFC shorts on DVD. I am a huge fan of G the B and have really been looking forward to this follow-up, and it's so good that I almost forgive them for making me wait this long for it. This volume contains some extras that us fans have been waiting a long time for!
Count Blah, Pal Friendlies, and The Wumpus return, as do some of the human cast from the Fox show. Lurking behind-the-scenes as always are Spencer and Sean, the human producers of the GTB show who the audience never quite sees on camera. Overall there is less Count Blah this time around, but Warren fans should be pleased, the usually drunk, helmet-clad monkey gets a lot of screentime on this DVD!
The disc contains 6 amazing episodes from Season 2 of their IFC movie parodies:
In "Wumpus the Monster" (parodying Patty Jenkins' Monster) we find out why many people are not willing to work with monsters. I love the very first scene in which we see the GTB cast and crew wrapping up shooting their version of A Clockwork Orange which i can only imagine would be incredible. Wumpus dressed as a droog is just one hilarious example of the fantastic puppet costuming that just keeps getting better this season. Gilbert Gottfried makes an appearance and gives Greg some bad advice... and pays dearly for it!
"Sockville" lampoons Lars Von Trier's minimalist film Dogville, and recreates the films look with chalkboard sets. Following an accident on the GTB set, Greg enters a strange dreamworld, gets exploited by a sexually repressed town, and when pushed too far, eventually unleashes chaos with a piece of chalk.
In "Blue Velveteen" the GTB gang take another swipe at David Lynch, and this episode is even better than their Eraserhead parody "Daddyhood" (on Vol 1). Definitely a contender for best episode. Again we are teased at the intro with a peek at Greg and Warren remaking Dune, which is only one of many, many references to amost all of Lynch's work. One of the things these guys do best is interweaving their references, which is extra satisfying to film geeks. Warren as Dennis Hopper is a must-see, but beware, the puppet menage a trois involving John "the Elephant Man" Merrick is hard to erase from ones mind!
Next up is "PLUSH - Behind the Seams" which is a great sendup of VH1's Behind the Music series. Greg and Warren's band, Plush, expose their creative process and face the skeletons in their closet while recording their new material. Plush's recording sessions are one of the highlights of the DVD, as is his reunion with former bandmember Skuzz Mulligan, who was paralyzed by Warren's recklessness. The episode concludes with a classic '80s style music video.
"Wacky Wednesday" is possibly my favorite GTB episode yet (i remain hopeful for more). This episode lampoons the ALL-TIME beaten-zombie-horse of plots, the classic body switching story that has been told and retold since F. Anstey's 1882 novel, Vice Versa, and in my opinion the best version since FACE OFF. This time, it's Greg and Warren who switch bodies. Seeing Greg inside Warren and Warren possessing Greg is a great example of the way these guys experiment with puppetry. Also, it must have been quite a challenge for Dan Milano, who performs both puppets and both voices, sometimes simultaneously! Greg has to impersonate Warren while testifying to keep himself out of jail and it's just painfully funny, as is Warren auditioning as Greg to land a Cadbury ad. This episode also shows how Greg and Warren's agent/lawyer Pal Friendlies can do just about anything! And if that wasn't enough, Gilbert Gottfried makes his second appearance on the DVD attempting to return a malfunctioning mogwi to a Chinatown shop.
"The Passion of the Easter Bunny - Fabricated American Movie" is another contender for best episode. Greg is inspired by Mel Gibson and decides to direct and star in his own Biblical Epic, telling the story of the crucifixion, resurrection, and alien abduction, of the Easter Bunny. This incredibly blasphemous parody simultaneously satires American Movie, (Mark Borchardt's hilarious documentary on the making of a low budget horror film). Mark Borchardt and Mike Schank of A.M. help Greg make his film, and experience déjà vu while trying to get Count Blah to deliver his lines. Watch this episode again with commentary for the truth behind the ending and a valuable lesson in filmmaking which is a perfect compliment to Borchardt's film: sometimes destiny takes your film to a place you never expected.
The last of the episodes included is "Fur on the Asphalt", the 30 minute reunion special that served as the transition story from the Fox series, relaunching the IFC film parody format. This special takes Greg and Warren to Vegas, searching for Count Blah on a mission to resurrect the series, meanwhile parodying Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Rain Man, Shawshank Redemption, Casino, and IFC's celebrity dinner show "Table for 5". Lots of guest appearances in this special including GTB Fox cast members Sarah Silverman, Seth Green, and Bob Gunton! Also Jon Favreau, Adam Goldberg, Martha Plimpton, Lou Ferrigno, and Clint Howard, yes CLINT HOWARD! All those guest stars are great, but the best part is seeing Warren at the tables. Filmed at a real casino, Warren has the fever and with Gregs help they become high rollers!
This DVD is also CRAMMED with Bonus Materials: Webisodes (Learn something new about Pal Friendlies past!); Gag reel (these puppets are disturbingly promiscuous); Deleted scenes; commentary by cast and creators; behind-the-scenes clips and photos; Plush's first music video; and the UNCUT "Supper with Friends" is incrediblly funny. But the crown of gems on the extras page are the NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN clips from Junktape, the original public-access show on which Greg was introduced. Seeing the original Greg puppet out on the streets of NYC interacting with the public is something many of us die hard GTB fans have only seen snippets of on the internet before now... if at all!
I also found some easter eggs, and I'll just say, they're worth hunting for!
I obviously love this DVD and highly suggest you pick one up. A must-have for any GTB fan or film geek! I only hope that someday they release ALL of the GTB IFC episodes. I want a BOXED SET!