Upright Citizens Brigade: The Complete First Season
-Comedy Central (1999)
The Upright Citizen’s Brigade is a team of specialists dedicated to bringing chaos into the world. They do so very effectively with the release of this DVD.
I thank the stars this most excellent show has finally come to DVD. Upright Citizens Brigade was one of the most irreverent, and downright hilarious shows on television. I always thought this series was great and I prayed on high for it’s release. Granted, UCB is definitely not for everyone, since the comedy is so surreal. For those who appreciate the humor of Monty Python or the antics of Mr. Show, this is for you. Why this show was canceled only after a few seasons and Battlebots lasted as long as it did both amazes and mystifies me.
On the whole this first set is great. A few of the episodes and gags fall pretty flat and are actually stupid, but there are so many hilarious moments that they make up for any jokes that die. An unmotivated Einstein with a masturbation problem can attest to that. One of the biggest let downs is that the first season doesn't contain some of my favorite episodes and skits such as the mobster who turns his organization into a sperm collection racket, and the anti-fat Nazi who screams, "Free chocolates!" Sigh, the list goes on and on. Despite missing these skits, some of my favorites were on this disc including the “in bed” fortune cookie skit, and the “ugly club” skit.
The technical aspects of this edition are okay at best. The audio won't blow you away, and the picture is standard. The menu system is also on the crappy side, because it is a jumbled needless mess. These are slight problems though, since I'm happy just to have the show on disc.
The extras are rather sparse, but enough to keep you satisfied. The commentary for this edition was voted on by fans, and is on the few episodes that won. On disc one the commentary is on the “Bucket of Truth” and “Power Marketing” episodes. The commentary cannot be missed, it is often hilarious.
Disc 2 also has commentary on “Time Machine”, “Cyborgs”, and “The Little Donny Foundation.” “The Little Donny Foundation” also has a commentary track featuring the fictitious parents of Little Donnie, that at first I didn’t understand how they could extend the joke through the whole show, but it turns out to be the funniest commentary track in the set.
Disc 2 has a “Bonus Footage” section that contains the pilot episode. Several skits that appear throughout the first season are presented in a lower budget look with a live audience. I was a little disappointed since all of the skits are almost exactly the way they appear later in the series.
There’s also a deleted scene that is an advertisement for a superglue that’s quite hilarious, and a little scene from the live stage show of Upright Citizen’s Brigade. It’s cool to see how bare bones the live show was compared to the televised version.
Trailers for the show and a section entitled “Comedy Central Quickies” is set of commercials for other Comedy Central shows.
Episode Average: 8.5