Strangers with Candy - The Complete Series
DVD | Box Set
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Set in suburban Flatpoint, USA, Strangers with Candy twisted the conventions of the After-School Special to create a completely original comedy series. Each half hour follows the misadventures of Jerri Blank, a 46 year old high school dropout who has spent the last 32 years in and out of prison - a self described "boozer, user and loser." Strangers with Candy commences as Jerri decides to pick up her life exactly where she left it: living at home and starting ninth grade. Faced with classic high school dilemmas every week, Jerri's old habits - as well as the misguided advice of her self-centered teachers - cause her to resolve each crisis by learning the wrong lesson from every scenario.
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She joined a cult, battled anorexia, beat sexual harassers at their own game, got fake-married, and so much more. Ever since the Comedy Central series Strangers with Candy first aired, Jerri Blank has seemed fated for humiliation, disease, and a boxed set--here, her ultimate destiny is finally fulfilled.
In creating Jerri, the 46-year-old high school freshman, Amy Sedaris and her co-stars/co-writers Paul Dinello and Stephen Colbert imagined a person who is both startlingly crass and strangely innocent. One minute Jerri is uttering the immortal line "I like the pole and the hole"--the next she's only interested in "pizza, pizza, pizza," and joining the cheerleading squad. Her world view is completely unaffected by her 32 years as a "junkie whore." It won't take a rabid SWC fan--just a lover of wicked satire--to appreciate this trapper-keeper-shaped package and the After School Special-based stories inside. Some of the bonus features, including an interview with the stars at the Museum of Television & Radio, will be familiar to folks who have previous, single-season DVDs. However, certain new additions, such as "The Trip Back" PSA, which stars a real-life Jerri clone, make this set a worth-owning item. Other highlights include deleted scenes--one of which features an inspirational meeting between Jerri and Buddha Stalin, Flatpoint's most controversial rock star. A clever film strip by closeted lovers Chuck Noblet and Geoffrey Jellineck on their "research trip" to Mexico also draws chuckles. Over 30 episodes, the jokes do become a touch repetitive, but the series never loses its energy or sharp wit. If you're looking for a show that will teach you how to do the wrong things the right way, the Strangers with Candy boxed set has the lesson plan for you. --Leah Weathersby
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Now for 'The Complete Series' release. First of all, the packaging is almost unbelievably bad. BAD BAD BAD! Cheap PAPER, I don't know if I can even call it cardboard because it is so flimsy and fragile. I'll just call it thick paper. And the discs themselves are held to this PAPER only by a plastic hub glued on to the paper packaging, rubbing right against another disc on the next page. This makes it very easy for discs to fall out and become damaged. I can't stress enough how much I dislike the packaging. In one word: CHEAP.
Now moving on to the content. I haven't watched all of the content yet, but I have seen some of it and can compare it to the previous releases of all 3 seasons. I was really excited about this release in large part because of director's cuts that would appear on two episodes. I watched these director's cuts and wished the deleted scenes had instead been offered as a separate bonus. The editing of these director's cut episodes is so bad it really does take you out of the show. There will be music in one shot and it will abruptly stop when the next shot comes up. Many shots integrated into the footage are of much worse quality making it very noticeable when the transition takes place. The audio as well keeps changing so much that its really, really obvious, even in scenes that were in the original versions of the episodes. Someone will be talking from the front speaker, then suddenly you'll be hearing them talk from your rear speakers for NO REASON. Also, the video gets very bright, then very dark, from shot to shot, also occuring at points in the episode that were in the original version and looked FINE on the previous DVD releases. Then, in some scenes things were changed for NO REASON, like in "Is My Daddy Crazy" when she watches the slide show, it runs like a slow virus-infected computer powerpoint presentation and the voice of the narrator is completely changed from a guy that was PERFECT for it to some woman who SUCKS and is just NOT funny at all! I was really disappointed with the presentation of these director's cut episodes. They actually made these episodes (some of the best) a whole lot less funny. And to me, a huge SWC fan, that is a TRAGEDY.
And another thing, they changed the transition sequences where commercial breaks were to a different animation AND recording. The result is certainly inferior to the previous version.
Thank god I held on to the previous DVD releases.
This set is worth it for big collectors like me who will buy anything with extra features that I don't already have of the show, but for first time buyers just beware that some of these episodes have been altered and the result is DEFINATELY DEFINATELY inferior to the previous releases. Fans, hold on to your old copies. They are the originals, they are the cult classic. This is a nice bonus for fans, but really could easily have been mistaken for a bootleg bought on eBay.
I still look forward to the film and will love the show till I die. But I really hope one day it will get a worthy release with good packaging, remastered and clean looking episodes (the ORIGINAL versions), bonus features, and whatever else they've got to give us!
We are past the days of the after school special, but for those of you who remember seeing them on TV, or being forced to watch them in school, this will be a hilarious flashback (ironically noted).
What I didn't know about this series based on a 46 year old junkie dropout who gets out of jail and goes back to school, living at home, is that it is based on a real public service announcement about a woman with a very similar life. She even looks like the real character. It was a riot to watch the PSA because it is almost like the show. The elements of that PSA are used in the series (especially in the unaired original pilot that is also on the DVD - as a side note, they did a good job with the changes they made when the series came to air - Jerry's hair, Jerry's step mom, and Jerry's part time job at a hospital, which was thankfully totally cut out) and add a lot of depth to the narrative.
I wasn't too impressed with the voice-overs because most of it was the main characters simply chuckling like stoned people watching the show.
What sets this DVD set apart from most is how creativly presented it is. The whole thing looks like a trapper-keeper with folders and stickers and doodles that looks like a student who isn't paying attention in class. A lot of the titles and descriptions are done in interesting ways (ex: the school newspaper, a quiz where all the answers are wrong, etc). I can't get over how cool it is!
I would highly recommend getting the series this way.