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Wonder Showzen - Season 1
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The complete first season of the TV series Wonder Showzen.
Every episode of the delightfully subversive kids' show parody, Wonder Showzen begins with a garish warning banner that reads in part, "If you allow a child to view this, you are a bad parent or guardian." They're not kidding. The sentiment is bolstered when the words to the theme song ends with the lyric, "change the channel for kids." That said, this may be the most bizarrely hilarious kids show an adult has ever watched. Patterned after the Sesame Street model of puppet characters interacting with real kids, it's rude, offensive, terribly distasteful, and savagely funny. MTV2 bravely aired this first season in 2005, and even ordered up more for at least one more season. The main puppet, Chauncey, has his hands full with the precocious children who berate and sometimes just plain beat him for the fun of it. Other crudely made (and crudely voiced) puppets include a recently out of re-hab Letter N, a disgusting worm, and a multi-eyed newscaster who frequently breaks in with shocking news bulletins. One episode features a Jewish J and Arabic 8, whose forbidden love is shown in all its pornographic puppet glory. The show is also interspersed with old archival footage, some of it funny, some of it repulsive, usually in a segment called "Funny, Not Funny" in which kids call out their personal judgment of images such as happy clowns juxtaposed with documentary footage from a '50s-era slaughterhouse. Another distressingly humorous segment is "Beat Kids!", in which real kids are sent out on the streets of New York to ask wildly age-inappropriate questions of passersby (one cute little girl on Wall Street coyly inquires, "Who did you exploit today?"). But remember, this show is not for kids, only adults who have a lot of childhood repression to exhume through tears of gross-out laughter.--Ted FrySee all Editorial Reviews
- Special Guest Commentaries by Gordon Lish, Dick Gregory, and others
- Storytime with Flava Flav
- Auditions and Outtakes
- Sneek Peek Cartoon
- Music Video
- Bonus mini-poster
- 8 episodes on 2 discs
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Unfortunately, someone at Paramount Pictures (the company that is distributing the DVD) decided that some of the social commentary needed to be silenced for this DVD release. During the "Ocean" episode, there's a great animated short called "H.O.B.O. Opps". The short is about how America always fails to take care of their war veterans. And even though the veterans in the short are from the Vietnam war, their situation can be applied to how many of our current veterans from Iraq are coming home wounded and unable to pay their bills and medical bills thanks to our inadequette health care system. Two parts of this short have been cut from the DVD. First, the audio of one of the hobos urinating in public was removed, in the hopes that now the viewer wont be able to tell what this character is doing. And second, the end of the short was cut altogether. If you catch the rerun on MTV2, it ends with a young boy asking his mother "who that man was talking to" and she tells him to ignore the man. The camera then zooms in on a tear rolling down the boy's face that has a reflection of the American flag in it and the flag bursts into flames. This was the perfect way to end the short and it really drives the artist's message home, but it's gone from the DVD release, which is a shame. It amazes me how conservative people in this country who claim to be so patriotic, are always the first to try to censor or ban opinions, speech and art that differs with their beliefs.
So, I love Wonder Showzen and highly recommend it to everyone who loves cutting edge comedy laced with truth and social commentary. However, be aware that this set is edited so be sure to watch the show on MTV2 to get the full experience.
Easter Egg Instructions:
If you would rather hunt for these easter eggs on your own then STOP reading now, otherwise...
Press enter on your DVD remote at the following times...
The THIRD Nobody Needs Me text in Birth
VERY beginning of first Tyler Time in Ocean
VERY beginning of second Tyler Time in Ocean
Beat Kids logo at the end of Beat Kids Song in Diversity
Beginning of Breaking News of Nature episode
Beginning of Breaking News of Health episode
50 years later text on screen during first half of Patience
Kramdar text on screen during backwards portion of Patience
This show is Genius... absolute genius! Wonder Showzen takes a dark, satirical look at what we are really teaching our children (?)
During the average episode it will have puppets interacting with children in sesame street style antics and of course going out on the street to ask people questions (The Clarence skit about Patience is priceless!), funny little cartoons (`Bible Brew... What would Jesus Brew?') , strange voice-overs old educational footage (Like the chicken dinner factory...) and my favorite segments with the children doing interviews... titled BEAT-KIDS (`Kids on the Street, Kids on the beat, Beat-Kids! Beat-Kids')
All in all, this is a priceless disc like nothing you have ever seen or could imagine trying to describe it is damn near impossible...
I lies somewhere between the witty satire of `The Daily Show' mixed with the raunch of `South-Park' and presented by kids that are too cool for Sesame Street. Just Freakin Awesome!!!
-If you like dark, twisted comedy and you don't check this out, you are less of a person.
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The DVD has lots of extra features.
Commentaries: The commentaries have very little to with the episodes.
Steven Hawking (Space): Obviously not him, but sounds like his electronic thing and says lots of weird things.
PFFR (Diversity): Just music by the band played throughout the episode.
Dick Gregory (Nature): He has some funny things to say but it is mostly political advice for young people. There is one section where he is censored to make a very scientific part of the commentary sound like he is saying lots of bad words.
Not sure how to access them from the menu (if possible) but they are Titles 7-11 and easily accesible through Windows Media Player
7 - Chauncey and the Letter N sing a song about things that start with N.
8 - An extended scene with Tyler with the feather in the straw hut.
9 - An extenstion of Tyler doing the silly walk down the street.
10 - A kid interviewing in the studio some guy who is the "president" Very weird and funny.
11 - The producers talking to a kid about a jaguar. Also very weird and funny.
Gordon Lish (Patience) - Sounds like he's having a conversation at a restaurant with the creators and they do their own little Patience repetition and a couple of other words that sound funny but I have no clue as to what they mean. Is played backwards during the second part of the episode and fast during the speed part.
Extras: The menu page has a kid (I think the one who does the air guitar during Slaves and might play a guitar in the series doing a "DVD extras" song.
Auditions and Outakes: Several minutes of interaction between the producers and the kids in the studio scenes, a couple of extras with Miss Amy, one where the kids are all skeletons and another where she arranges the dead baby thing with her husband, and Rufus Truthfist getting the teens to say something that a dirty mind can make very inappropriate.
Beat Kids Outakes: Has some extra scenes for the five best beat kids (the 4 with Trevor and the Petting Zoo). Some of the questions make absolutely no sense.
Clarence Outakes: Has some more funny Clarence things.
Promos: short little clips of season 1
PFFR Music video: has all the crazy animation like during Chauncey's trip on imagination.
Sneak peak of a second season cartoon: it's alright, about retarted people who are superheroes, don't do anything heroic and are still praised for their work
Storytime with Flava Flav: Probably the funniest thing on the whole set. Definitely not appropriate for Television.
Some previews for other MTV DVDs
Easter Eggs: Titles 14-16
14 - The kids teach you how to make a sandwich. With a variety of kid personalities.
15 - Clarence gets the old Asian guy from Patience to say some stupid things.
16 - A girl counts down from 100. Another patience tester.
For someone who taped all of the episodes on DVD thinking that this show would be cancelled like so many other good shows, just the extras make the price of this worth it.