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Reviewed by John Paulsen
ccurately self-described as “really funny and kinda hot,” comedian Sarah Silverman finally has her own television show, “The Sarah Silverman Program,” on Comedy Central. Silverman’s blue humor is a stretch even for basic cable, but creative wording along with the increasingly relaxed content standards allows Silverman to bring a relatively close approximation of her stage show to the small screen.
Sarah plays a version of herself – a selfish, narcissistic and unfiltered version. Her real life sibling (Laura Silverman) plays her sister – a nurse who gets into a relationship with a cop (Jay Johnston) who has it out for Sarah. Rounding out the cast are Sarah’s gay neighbors Brian (Posehn) and Steve (Agee). A word of warning: like “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” the show feeds off a general state of awkwardness and discomfort, so it’s wise to be prepared going in.
All six episodes of the first season fit on a single disc. Bonus material includes Silverman and her fellow cast members hamming it up in a series of improvisational musical performances, seven commentary tracks with various members of the creative team, as well as a karaoke/sing-a-long of several of the show’s musical numbers.
During the brief season, Sarah gets a DUI for driving after drinking cough syrup, she takes a homeless man into her home to prove that she’s a humanitarian, she lives vicariously through a young girl by pushing her into a local beauty pageant, and…gasp! She has a sexual encounter with God.
However, the season’s best episode is “Muffin’ Man,” where Sarah decides to become a lesbian, stomping all over political correctness in the process. But what really makes this episode great is the escalating pissing match between Brian and Steve when the latter orders the former an unsolicited Tab soft drink. (Yep, they still make Tab.)
Sarah Silverman has one of the sharpest and funniest comedic minds in the business, so it was good to see the network renew the show for another season. It’s not quite as funny as “Jesus Is Magic,” her excellent live comedy film, but given the constraints of basic cable and her comedic style, “The Sarah Silverman Program” is a reasonable compromise.