Strangers with Candy: The Complete Second Season review
Starring
Amy Sedaris, Stephen Colbert,
Paul Dinello
Director
Various
Strangers with Candy: The Complete Second Season

Reviewed by Jason Zingale

()

Q

uirky and politically incorrect, “Strangers with Candy” was just another Comedy Central failure whose critical acclaim and die-hard cult following couldn’t save it from a quick hook after just three seasons. With the show’s lack of new material ultimately leading to its demise, “Strangers” virtually perfected the selfish humor their characters flaunted during each 30-minute episode. In a show mocking the oft-parodied after-school special, the series abandons all ethics and morals in a shameless display of conceit and disregard for political correctness.

All the staples return for the second season, like Jerri Blank (Amy Sedaris), the 46-year-old high school student who re-enrolled at Flatpoint High after 30 years of using, losing and abusing. As her life continues to unravel with that after-school special flair, Jerri wrestles with profound issues like religion and harassment while trying to regain her virginity. Meanwhile, the show’s co-stars (Stephen Colbert and Paul Dinello as high school teachers) confront their own problems with death and homosexuality.

The two-disc DVD release for the second season represents an admirable attempt to revive this abandoned series, but despite its appealing selection of bonus material, the show’s brash originality and humor fail to keep it interesting for very long. Disc one contains four audio commentaries for “Behind Blank Eyes,” “The Goodbye Girl,” “Hit and Run” and “The Blank Page,” but they fall short of what a fan would be looking for in a DVD commentary track. The real delight comes instead from a 45-minute sit-down interview at the Museum of Television and Radio with “Strangers” stars Sedaris, Dinello, Colbert, Greg Hollimon and executive producer Kent Alterman. The interview is a fun conclusion to the second disc, dominated by “Daily Show” funnyman Colbert and focused on the program’s hilarious origins and production values.

After sitting through a few hours of episodes, “Strangers” becomes less and less appealing. The show’s comedic flavor will only hit home for a select few, and that’s probably why it so quickly ran out of gas. I commend Comedy Central for its ongoing production of intelligent comedies, but unless you’re a hardcore fan of the series, it would be smart to sit this one out.

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