56 of 56 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Let me first state that I love, worship, and adore Weird Al. I went through a great deal of trouble to get VHS copies of this show off the internet, and remember being simultaneously joyous and disappointed by the incredibly uneven show that resulted. While on the one hand, hey, it's Weird Al, on the other, it was painfully obvious where the hand of the network was tooling our friend around. I noticed that the wonderful person I knew was, in the show, an unlovable jerk who constantly screwed over his friends who strangely kept coming over anyway. I noticed the lessons were often weak, contradictory, or a lie. And yet, there were the shining spots - the rare Fatman cartoons, the home movies, the riotously funny phony educational films, Fred Huggins, the brief song parodies sprinkled in. Basically, any moment where Al wasn't getting stomped on by a network censor and allowed to just be himself is pure gold.
Then a funny thing happened - this DVD came out and every episode had a commentary track from the director, the head writer, and oh yea, Weird Al. And I learned that not only were they aware of every single thing I noticed that was wrong with this show, they hated it as much as I did. They mercilessly assault their own program and take no prisoners. The network censors, the educational mandates, the lost sketches, the ridiculous changes...they list them and lambast them all. It proves that Al's excellent UHF commentary was not a fluke - he's very good at keeping these amusing. There's a few guest stars from his close personal friends, but the real highlight is how savagely Al attacks his own program and the difficult working environment that his show was filmed in. And ss one last snub, material such as bloopers and cut scenes are not included because Dick Clark Productions threw out everything except for the master tapes themselves.
This show belongs on every Weird Al fan's shelf - for the commentary, and to remember the few sparkling moments when this show shined inspite of the network's desperate attempts to snuff it out.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Daniel M. Silverstein
- Published on Amazon.com
As a kid I used to watch the Weird Al Show every Saturday on CBS. When it was taken off the air I was heartbroken. I have most of the episodes on tape but the tapes are dying. Now, finally, I'll be able to watch them again without fear of the tapes biting the dust.
In case you've never seen the show, it stars none other than Weird Al himself. In case you don't know who Weird Al is, take your head out from under that rock already. Al has been hired by J.B. Koopersmith to host a television show, which of course J.B. watches as it's going on and sometimes throws in his own creative input, like a Giant Banana. After all, it's his money. Al's next door neighbor is The Hooded Avenger, who often gives Al the very obvious advice which Al somehow couldn't figure out himself, thus leading him to a moment of self-discovery in every episode. Other characters include Val Brentwood, Gal Spy, Al's cousin Corky, and lots of other characters played by Al, my favorite of which being Fred Huggins, another kid's show host who has a love for everything in this universe and is accompanied by his grumpy two best friends / puppets, Papa Booley and Baby Booley.
Really, you don't have to be a kid to enjoy this show. The writing is sharp and of a quality just sappy enough for even adults to find hilarious. The show also includes many cameo appearances, including Alex Trebek, John Tesh, and Gedde Watanabe (thankfully reprising the role of Kuni from UHF ["YOU ARE SOOO STUPID!"]). Every episode follows a different life lesson, like "Don't make promises you can't keep," as this was Al's way of making it "educational." Each show loosely follows these lessons, but for the most part the show is driven by the jokes, the gimmicks, and the educational films which have nothing to do with the episodes themselves ("Where Does Dirt Come From?").
Some of the best humor in the show, however, comes in the form of Al's new parodies. Not songs, these parodies come between the show and the commercial. These ad parodies will keep you cracking up at just how genius and/or rediculous they are (like "Camp Superfun, the perfect camp for shapeless, tall, furry animals between the ages of 6 and 13."). Personally, these were my favorite parts of the show, and I get the feeling that if Al had not had the restriction of making the show educational, most of the show would have been like these.
If you've never seen the Weird Al show and are a fan of Weird Al, you will want to get this DVD when it comes out. However, if you don't like Al's music, you won't find too much too different about his show. The jokes are of the same variety, poking fun at 1997 pop culture (my god is it almost 10 years old???) and how we act on a day to day basis. The show even includes some unreleased Al songs ("Lousy Haircut," a parody of Prodigy's "Firestarter," as well as "I Like You" sung by Fred Huggins, "The Cheese Song" and more). If you've never heard of Weird Al in general, you'd be better off getting to know his music before jumping into the show, as starting on the show could be a little awkward if you are unfamiliar with Al's affinity for parody, of which the show is ripe. Me? I'm getting this the DAY it comes out, "or my name isn't Weird Al SHOELACEovich!"
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Most DVD's I get that come with commentaries are watched without them until much later as the content of the DVD is much more entertaining than the usually self-serving and boring reminiscences of the participants. In this case the opposite is the rule. The shows are OK as kids' fare and hint at Weird Al's peculiar talents. The commentaries, with Al, his producer and director and occasional guests give an insight into the agonies of trying to do something original in the constipated world of network television. Virtually everyting they wanted to do was censored or banned entirely and every episode was twisted into a mealy mouthed "educational" experience which blunted every attempt at original humor. Especially funny in the commentaries are the network's obsession with "imitatable behaviors", ie, anything dangerous depicted on the show that the tykes might try at home. But they never said a word when poor Harvey the Wonder Hamster was shot out of cannons or catapulted around the stage. This ends up a a course in Dealing With Idiots.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
At one time, Saturday morning television was an actual EVENT. Those of us who are of a certain generation remember that as children, we waited through the week of rather boring, standard television (broken up by the occasional rerun of STAR TREK) to reach SATURDAY MORNING: a chaotic place where things such as bears stealing stuff, psychedelic science-fiction, and coyotes falling for fifty feet and actually living to tell about it ruled.
THE WEIRD AL SHOW debuted in the wake of PEE-WEE'S PLAYHOUSE, Paul Reubens' very creative but unfortunately staunchly mannered and deadly serious kids' show featuring his character Pee-Wee Herman. Though both shows have the same set designer, THE WEIRD AL SHOW succeeds in bringing forth the unbridled anarchy that PWP only hinted at, mainly because of two things about Weird Al Yankovic: first, he has no pretensions about his work, and second, his humor attempts to be truly anarchic while remaining, on some level, for everybody. You have to have respect for a man who purposely designed his Ear-Booker Productions company logo (which appears at the end of every episode) to be the most nerve-wracking thing ever made.
The plot is fairly simple: Al (Weird Al Yankovic), a goofy, often jerky but still likable fellow who lives in a cave some twenty miles below the surface of the earth, is bringing you a television show featuring himself, various friends and neighbors (such as the Hooded Avenger (Brian Haley), the superhero who lives in the cave next door, and his strangely cute cousin Corky (Danielle Weeks), who shares Al's taste for clashing-but-colorful wardrobe), and his roommate/pet/best friend Harvey The Wonder Hamster, a professional stunt hamster who performs such feats as hang-gliding off a model of Mount Everest, jumping a race car and wrestling Randy "Macho Man" Savage (who is soundly defeated by said plucky rodent). Each episode has Al involved in a situation that serves as an object lesson of sorts to the viewer, which Al rarely completely learns until the end of the episode. While the lesson is fairly ham-handed in its execution (much of which happened due to CBS forcing educational mandates down the producers/creators' throats, which Al and several others detail in extensive commentary for every episode), the show manages to demonstrate the raucous nature of Saturday Morning TV at a time when it was in its death rattle.
This set features commentaries for every episode by Al, his partners in crime (director Peyton Reed and producer Thomas F. Frank), and occasional drop-ins from Emo Philips, Danielle Weeks and Judy Tenuta, who all appeared on the show. None of these are particularly complementary of the CBS network, who often went to blows with Al and made the production of every episode a struggle. The set also features concept art galleries and animated storyboards for FATMAN, the Al-produced cartoon that appeared on the show, as well as show theme karaoke (probably the weirdest feature on the set).
Pick this up if you like Weird Al, as I do: it's a very good showing from the mind of a talented comedy performer who managed to overcome many obstacles to create something interesting and fun at a time when it was really needed. Good work.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
I am a huge Weird Al fan and I never saw the show before so I was anxious to buy it on the 15th however NO STORES carried it. So I was able to buy it off of Amazon and I got it today and watched a few episodes. It is close to Pee Wee's Playhouse but this is so much more energetic. If you never seen this show but are interested in satire or even Weird Al for that matter than this is a must have for you. I really enjoy the variety and guest stars in the show. It never gets dull or boring.