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Tracey Takes On: The Complete First Season

Tracey Ullman , Anna Berger , Michael McKean , Nicola Pecorini    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Woman-of-a-thousand-faces Tracey Ullman spins out a dozen crazed characters in her HBO series Tracey Takes On..., ranging from rampaging Jewish matron Fern Rosenthal to gay airline steward Trevor Ayliss to self-conscious/self-deluded college student Hope Finch. Each of ten episodes is dedicated to a different topic--among them Romance, Vanity, Death, and Family--and comprised of monologues, vignettes, and multi-part stories starring Ullman's wildly varying personae. Though comedy abounds, what makes Ullman's work special is her commitment to her characters as fully-rounded human beings; these are not one-joke Saturday Night Live-style gimmicks. Given the choice between a quick gag or a story turn that will make a character richer and more multi-dimensional, Ullman goes for the latter. The more time you spend with these characters, the more nuanced, vivid, and funny they become. The scenarios are delicious: Linda Granger, over-the-hill sexpot, hires a stalker to get herself some publicity; Fern Rosenthal puts on a fundraiser for a disease, then becomes furious when a cure is found just before the performance; lifestyle magazine editor Janie Pillsworth, who claims her parents are dead so they won't embarrass her, likens the genocide in Bosnia to a fight over a rent-controlled apartment in order to make it understandable to a supermodel. Guest appearances abound, including Cheech Marin, Hugh Laurie (House), Tobey Maguire (Spiderman), Michael Palin (Monty Python's Flying Circus), and Udo Kier (Blade, Blood for Dracula, among many, many more. Tracey Takes On... is a smorgasbord of Ullman's madcap charm. --Bret Fetzer

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars tracey's multi-character fun Aug. 31 2009
By Cheryl TOP 100 REVIEWER
With her multitude of characters, Tracey Ullman is often unrecognizable, yet always fascinating. Of these 10 episodes, I love 8 (plus the bonus Tracey Takes on New York), am fond of the 9th, and am so-so on the 10th (not in that order). There's a lot of humour, but many of the personalities are true to life, and are honed into a specific subject matter for each show (ie. Romance, Royalty, Health etc.). There are some great guests including Michael Palin, Hugh Laurie, Julie Kavner etc. There is a commentary (on the first episode only) where she talks about the make-up requirements (though it would have been nice to see), and the other bonus material seems to be a bit repetitive on specific characters - still, recommended for any Tracey Ullman fan.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Funny but not as strong as the second season Oct. 22 2009
She polishes the characters more as time goes on... so while it's nice to be a complete-ist and have this season as well, I'd recommend the second season more. The makeup is better done, the show looks fresher and cleaner, the characters are more defined - and interact with each other more. This is still Tracey though... and this is funny stuff from strong characters with some great cameos.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally Tracy is Here on DVD ! Oct. 10 2005
By Tv & Cd Reviewer - Published on Amazon.com
Tracy Ullman was a absolute pleasure in her one women show Tracy Takes on , every character she played was hillariously funny.Every episode of the first season were great when they firsted aired in the mid 90's on HBO , too bad their isnt more the 10 but who cares because Tracy Ullman is a hilarious woman and so is this show , Defenitly buy this if you like comedy tv or Tracy Ullman
The Boxset Features These Ten Hillarious Episodes
Ep 01 Tracy Takes on ... Romance
Ep 02 ...Family
Ep 03 ... Charity
Ep 04 ... Fame
Ep 05 ... Nostalgia
Ep 06 ... Death
Ep 07 ... Health
Ep 08 ... Royalty
Ep 09 ... Vanity
Ep 10 ... Law
These are sure going to be great to have in your DVD Collection !
Ep 06
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You've been away for such a long time now... Sept. 15 2005
By D. James - Published on Amazon.com
This mid-90's, one-woman sketch comedy was very funny and original. Ullman's characters were a riot and very likeable while the format is a five-minute monologue from each one with no real interaction with any other characters. Ning Nong Nang, the Vietnamese donut-store owner delivers hers at the end of a long day in the kitchen with her bare feet resting in the next days' donut batter! The crude but sincere Aussie stunt-woman is a treat as is the even more vulgar Middle-Eastern taxi driver.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Amazing! Jan. 1 2006
A Kid's Review - Published on Amazon.com
One of the funniest comedies ever on television. Launched HBO original series! You've never seen a show until you've seen this! Tracey is a genius and needs to do more original programming in the future.

I wish the DVDs contained more missing sketches that never aired and more audio commentaries from Tracey.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love love love it! Oct. 30 2005
By Lewis - Published on Amazon.com
Tracey Takes On is an extremely well directed show with skits about a certain subject which Tracey "takes on". From an Eldery Hair Dresser to Gay Flight Attendant, the range of characters is astounding. She brings each to life with her wonderful accents and their enlightening observations. It's easy to forget it's her acting.

I was so excited when I heard Tracey was coming to DVD. I've preordered my own copy and think about it every day! A must own!

HBO at it's best.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yahoo - Season 2 is on the way now as well! May 25 2006
By DonMac - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is a must have for your dvd collection. Ullman is just a comedy master. Her chameleon-like transformations are unbelievable and she is always very, very funny. This is an excellent set of episodes that you can watch over and over again. Her best trait though, is the humanity in her comedy. Ullman creates charaters and worlds that make you laugh and make you cry at the same time. This series was long overdue on dvd - enjoy!
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