Plot: What’s it about?
You know, I think I’ve found more “hidden gems” while channel surfing in the past few years than in the last ten years combined. What? I guess what I mean is that there is so much television programming on these days, it’s nearly impossible to keep track of what’s on and what’s not unless you do a little exploring. Case in point, a few years ago my wife and I were trying to decide what to watch when we stumbled across a little show named Impractical Jokers. Now the name alone might be enough to deter someone or lure them in (I guess it depends on the person), but suffice it to say that after a few minutes we were hooked and laughing uncontrollably. This might also beg the question: what’s the show about? Well, let me tell you…the show follows four “life long friends”, but in this case it’s actually true. Q, Sal, Joe and James “Murr” Murray grew up together and are members of a comedy quartet known as “The Tenderloins.” This show is essentially a way for them to flex their comedic muscles. Each show is divided into a number of tasks and each one of the members must complete that task, else they fail to gain a point. The person (or persons) with the least number of points at the end of the episode loses and must complete a more grievous task much to the delight of the others. The catch is that the person doing the task has to be told what to do by the others. This complicates matters (for the person, to us it’s just hilarious).
The first season of the show contains seventeen episodes and ran from Dec. 2011 to May 2012. And we find the guys walking around the streets of New York City to some suburban shopping malls in New Jersey. I have to imagine that they have some agreements with some of these places and don’t just arbitrarily show up. Highlights of the first season include a few of my personal favorites: analyzing handwriting at a local mall to telling off customers at a local Costco (“Hey mustache!”). But after watching the show, I think that the guys themselves get more pleasure out of torturing one another than we do watching it. Honestly I think that if the shows goes off the air, I don’t think they’d stop doing some of this stuff! Each performer has their own distinct personality with the lovable, likable “Q” being my personal favorite. James “Murr” Murray is probably the most fearless and least intimidating of the four while Sal is so much of a sweetheart, you feel bad for him sometimes. That leaves us with Joe, perhaps the most outspoken of the four and someone who’s not afraid to tell it like it is. This is probably one of those shows that you’ll either love or hate within five minutes or so. But I’m sure it’s evident where I stand on the matters.
Video: How’s it look?
Each of the seventeen episodes is presented in a 1.78:1 anamorphic image that looks just a shade “worse” than it does over the air. The show airs on TruTV and is shown in full HD, so these DVD’s don’t quite live up to the same standard as set by that. Still, colors are bold, there’s a bit of edge enhancement (something that’s immediately noticeable when being spoiled by watching Blu-ray or HDTV all the time) and detail is generally very good. Fans of the show shouldn’t really mind as these look just about as good as possible.
Audio: How’s it sound?
The included Dolby Digital 2.0 mix won’t win any awards for sound, but for a show like this it doesn’t really matter. Vocals are crisp and clean, the announcer gives us the updates and there’s no problem there which leaves the rest of the show for the quartet’s laughs and the skits that they do. The show lacks any sort of surrounds and again, not that it needs them – this is just fine as is.
Supplements: What are the extras?
The first season includes a series of extras that were most welcome to a fan like myself, so let’s delve in and see what’s what.
- Audio Commentary – Five of the seventeen episodes contain an audio commentary by the guys and I have to admit that I was looking forward to hearing what they had to say, but I was also pretty disappointed as not a lot of information was learned. The show is set up so that they pretty much dictate to the audience what’s happening and who does what and so forth, so aside from a few things like “this took us five takes and that guy was pissed off…” there’s not a lot of good stuff here.
- Deleted Scenes – It’s kind of the same deal for the deleted scenes. They’re more along the lines of a few seconds here and there and maybe a segment that was taken out, but the show’s format makes it such that these are relatively inconsequential.
- Meet the Stars of Impractical Jokers – We get some biographical information for each of the four along with a “highlight reel” of sorts for each.
- Behind the Scenes – Essentially more of the same here as we get a look with some stuff not captured on camera.