SCTV: Volume 2
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SCTV Volume 2 picks up where the first volume left off, presenting nine more 90-minute shows from SCTVs memorable fourth season. Originally broadcast on NBC in 1981 and 1982, this set contains several of the episodes widely considered to be SCTVs best. Eugene Levy in "The Jazz Singer" or John Candy as the village idiot in the Russian TV show "Hey Giorgy!" are just two examples of the level of excellence the series achieved throughout this season. "CCCP 1," "The Godfather," "Zontar" and "Teachers Pet" are some of the inspired wraparounds for these memorable shows.
Commentaries, interviews, hidden treasure and other special features round out another stellar collection of programming from Guy Caballeros experiment in television. SCTV is on the air...and you will be on the floor.
And loaded with over 90 minutes of special features including new & unreleased material:
*Larger Than Life: The Norman Seeff Photo Sessions
*SCTV Remembers, Pt. 2
*The SCTV Writers
*The Juul Haalmeyer Dancers
*Behind-The-Scenes Photo Gallery
*SCTV At The 1982 Emmy® Awards
THIS 5-DISC BOX SET INCLUDES:
*Nine 90-minute episodes from the NBC seasons with the comedic talent of Eugene Levy (New York Minute, American Pie, A Mighty Wind, Best In Show), Catherine O Hara (A Mighty Wind, Best In Show), Joe Flaherty (National Security), Andrea Martin (My Big Fat Greek Wedding), and Dave Thomas (Whos Your Daddy? ), Rick Moranis (Honey, I Shrunk The Kids) and the late John Candy.
*A photo-packed 24-page booklet with an essay by Pulitzer-Price winning television critic Howard Rosenberg.
*Deluxe DVDigistak style package with graphics behind the clear trays in a sturdy slip-case.
*Performances by musical stars Al Jarreau, The Plasmatics, Natalie Cole, The Boomtown Rats, The Plastics and Talking Heads.
*Commentaries by Dave Thomas, Dick Blasucci, writer John McAndrew, Andrea Martin and Catherine OHara.
*This set now fully indexed and episodes detailed in booklet.
For those who never missed a Friday, and especially for those who only know SCTV by reputation, these nine episodes, presented chronologically on this five disc-set, are as great as we remember, and perhaps even better than you've heard. With the first nine episodes of SCTV's expanded Network 90 incarnation under their belt (available, naturally, on volume 1), the peerless ensemble (John Candy, Joe Flahrety, Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin, Rick Moranis, Catherine O'Hara, and Dave Thomas) really found its voice (or voices), and the show relied less on the so-called "golden classics" from the show's early days to boldly subvert sketch-comedy convention with brilliantly conceived and performed wraparounds that link the sketches. Looming large in SCTV legend are the program-length Godfather parody, in which Don Caballero launches an all-out network war; the devastatingly funny, "I'm Taking My Own Head, Screwing It On Right, and No Guy's Gonna Tell Me That It Ain't," arguably one of Martin and O'Hara's finest hours, and the sci-fi spoof "Zontar," in which glowing cabbages take control of the network.
Other moments for the pantheon: Meryl Streep blowing up real good on the "Farm Film Report"; Bob and Doug McKenzie demonstrating how to stuff a mouse inside a beer bottle; the cross-parody "Benny Hill Street Blues," and the late Wendy O Williams and the Plasmatics really cutting it up (with a chainsaw!) on Gil Fisher's "The Fishin' Musician. Some of the more topical bits are understandably dated, and that canned laughter reeks of network Zontars imposing their will, but this second, equally indispensable volume rescues SCTV from mere cult object of obsession. Original cast member Harold Ramis is right: In Thomas's encyclopedic history, SCTV: Behind the Scenes, Ramis observes, "Everyone just got better and better. You would notice, if you had the time to sit and watch all the shows, the progression in excellence." --Donald Liebenson
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When a mammoth Soviet satellite infringes on the tiny SCTV orbiter (complete with hot dog rotisserie), the network is taken over by CCCP1, or "3CP1 on your dial, Russian Television." The Russian TV parodies that follow are savagely funny. Watch especially for "What Fits into Russia," "Hey, Giorgi," and Russia's favorite game show "Uposcrabblenyk."
Self-absorbed host of the ironically titled "You!" show, Libby Wolfson makes her stage debut in ... deep breath ... "I'm Taking My Own Head, Screwing It On Right And No Guy's Gonna Tell Me That It Ain't."
The classic Godfather parody show is here, with Guy Caballero as the Don. How many bullets can that guy take anyway? And never tell anyone outside the family that your favorite sport is soccer.
And who can forget the invasion of Zontar, the Thing from Venus?
There's great glopping heaps of funniness to be had here, as well as in every SCTV release. Thanks again to Shout! Factory for doing the hard work that makes these releases possible.
When SCTV moved into an expanded timeslot in 1981, the first batch of episodes featured a great deal of older material from the late seventies, such as their full-length "Fantasy Island" parody. Although some of these earlier sketches had dated badly, it was simply the most effective way of introducing the cast of characters to the new viewers who hadn't seen the syndicated episodes.
The second cycle of episodes had a higher amount of newly-written material, although the quality of the shows became less consistent from week to week as the writers struggled to meet the demand for fresh new comedy. There was also the challenge of having to write sketches for guest musicians who just couldn't act. The show desperately needed a new energetic, creative writer-performer; unfortunately, Martin Short would not arrive until the start of the third series.
It should be pointed out that each sketch on the second box set is indexed for easy access. This is not the case with the first box set, which can lead to some frustrating moments as you impatiently scan through five identical-looking discs trying to find your favorite moments. You can look for clues by checking the episode summaries in the accompanying booklet, but it's no substitute for index stops. In addition, disc 5 from the first set suffers from audio dropouts.
Both box sets are excellent overall with a high percentage of laugh-out loud moments (Sammy Maudlin's ill-timed coughing fit during his rendition of "Here Comes Santa Claus" is a riot), but I'm recommending the second one slightly over the first - not just for the technical reasons listed above, but also for the bonus commentary tracks from Catherine O'Hara and Andrea Martin, which are gossipy and hilarious. Fans of Martin Short are advised to hold out for Volume 3.
Although some of the humor is a bit dated now (as many there are numerous references to then-current events that younger viewers may not grasp), this is still a wonderful and very funny set of DVDs, which I recommend.
Seeing Eugene Levy's "Perry Como: Still Alive" promo is worth the price of the set alone. I thought it was hysterical when I saw it originally in the 1980s, and it still makes me laugh today.
There's also the brilliant switch on "The Jazz Singer" in which soul/jazz singer Al Jarreau wants to be a Jewish cantor instead of an R&B star, much to the distress of his father, played by Eugene Levy's hysterical short Jewish character, Sid Dithers, who sports cornrows for the duration of the sketch.
Then there's Catherine O'Hara's Lola Heatherton interviewing Andrea Martin's Mother Theresa. If Ms. O'Hara's constantly calling Mother Theresa "Mommy" doesn't make you laugh, then Ms. O'Hara's singing Steve Miller's song "The Joker" to her will.
I have to mention another sketch that's on these disks. It's a promo for a 1970s-like action TV show entitled "Fish Police" that's so dumb and silly, it's unforgettable. The ironic thing about the sketch is that 11 years later, there was actually an animated series entitled "Fish Police"--and it too was dumb and silly.
I'm not an expert on SCTV. I don't quite understand the show's on-again off-again history. All I know is that I started watching it as a kid on NBC and got hooked. For the last 15 years I've tried to record the show as much as possible but sadly the opportunities have been few. I only could get the 30 minute trimmed down versions on late night NBC.
Now, the dvd sets offer the original and complete (except for some music) NBC shows. Watching both Volumes 1 & 2, I've already seen hours of additional material that was not included in the 30 minute shows.
Volume 2 also includes my favorite episode, "CCCP 1" which provides a hilarious scenario of the Soviets pirating SCTV's signal and supplying it's own special programming, such as "Tibor's Tractor" (a Soviet version of "Mr. Ed"), "Today is Moscow" (a Soviet style coffee talk show), and a public service announcement deriding Uzbeks ("they are the weak link in the great chain of socialism").
Other great sketches in Volume 2 include: "The Godfather" spoof with SCTV President Guy Caballero declaring network war on the heads of the 4 networks; Bobby Bittman and his brother Skip on the Sammy Maudlin Show; the Plasmatics on the "Fishin' Musician"; the Plastics on "Midnight Video Special" and the SCTV staff Christmas party featuring many of SCTV's best characters such as Gerry Todd, the Boils, Johnny La Rue, and Mayor Tommy Shanks. The X-Mas show also includes the deeply disturbing "Dusty Towne's Sexy Holiday Special."
If you are even a casual fan of SCTV, I highly recommend SCTV Volume 2.