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Reviewed by Jason Thompson
t long last, the great “Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!” is here on DVD in its first season’s installment. I can finally delete the episodes on my TiVo, and chuck the DVD-Rs I made from the same episodes to show all my friends. A glorious day, indeed! Granted, some of those friends didn’t “get it,” while others “got it” right off the bat. It’s certainly one of those shows that seems to split viewers right down the middle. But then, the same was true of Tim and Eric’s previous Adult Swim show on Cartoon Network, “Tom Goes to the Mayor.”
But while “Awesome Show” carries over a few ideas from that series (characters Jan and Wayne Skylar, guest star John C. Reilly), it’s a completely different show altogether, which turns out to be its greatest strength. It’s hard to recall another show of its kind that was as free-wheeling and literally all over the place, unless you go back to the days of the great Ernie Kovacs who had so many incredibly imaginative and fun shows during his brief life that enjoyed a similar feeling of anything and everything goes.
Each of the 10 episodes here is only 11 minutes long, but Tim and Eric manage to cram them full with so many genuinely hilarious moments, that the show feels a bit longer (in a good way, mind you). Fan favorites such as “Casey and his brother” on the “Uncle Muscles” broadcast and puppeteer David Liebe Hart regularly collide with other oddball sketches featuring the Beaver Boys (shrimp and white wine never seemed so sexy) and the Mahanahan brothers (who specialize in a “child clown outlet” and a shoe store for said child clowns). Watching “Awesome Show” is a lot like being treated to a bygone day of TV when the cable stations were just sort of getting started and the airwaves were still filled with a lot of weird local things to watch on the tube. Indeed, local cable access programs have inspired Tim and Eric during their own career.
Helping the guys out is a stellar crew of special guest stars. Along with the aforementioned John C. Reilly (who debuted on an episode of “Tom Goes to the Mayor”), such celebs as “Weird Al” Yankovic, Zack Galifianakis, Fred Willard, Paul Reubens, “Mr. Show” alumni David Cross, Tom Kenny (the voice of SpongeBob Squarepants to those of you who may not be familiar), and Bob Odenkirk and Michael Cera who stop by to lend a hand. Cross’s porno pizza delivery boy sketch is especially hilarious, as is Galifianakis’ “Gravy Robbers” portion. It’s always a treat to see who pops up on this series, as oft times it’s someone you wouldn’t expect (Season Two has featured the likes of Jeff Goldblum and Tom Skeritt), and to see them interact in Tim and Eric’s weird world is pretty much the only place you’re going to see something like that happen. It’s kind of like when the great “Captain Kangaroo” show was still on the air and he’d have a whole bevy of stars appear at the beginning of the show saying “Good morning, captain!” You get that same sort of fun reaction from seeing these people guest on the show.
Along with the full season of shows with commentary on each episode, the DVD includes plenty of extras that the fans will really love, such as “How’d Dey Do Dat??” which goes behind the scenes of some of the favorite bits, “Lost Gems and Deleted Scenes,” which is self-explanatory, but also features a couple of moments that weren’t used in their original versions, but recycled into newer, better material. Other include “Awesomecon,” a live event held by Tim and Eric in 2007 featuring contests, games, and the like, “Oops and Ding Dongs,” your standard blooper reel fare, “Promos,” and “Great! (But Not Great Enough): Extended Scenes and Missing Moments.” And take note Beaver Boys fans: if you really enjoyed the closing tune featured on the episode where the boys debuted, you are treated to the full-length version of the song here while the guys get all sexy on a bed while performing it. Awwww yeah.
In a world where cable TV shows have become stale with the same old “reality” based crapola, “Awesome Show” is one of those true gems that just does whatever the hell it wants to without any regard for everything else going on. And while the show may put off some viewers, it’s apparent that Tim and Eric love what they’re doing, have great respect for comedy as a whole, and have created something here that really does tap into those younger years for the Gen X viewers (where we do remember what life was like before cable TV took over and the oddest stuff could be seen on the tube most any time). In that regard, “Awesome Show” is a loving tribute to the wonders of the microcosm that is television and the programming that appears on it. Perhaps these guys are the last great pioneers of a dying TV age. If that’s the case, then it can only be an even more fascinating ride with Tim and Eric from here on out.