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|Index||26 reviews in total|
Sorry, Everything has a place in this world, and this show belongs in the black hole of television shows that should never be aired again. I taped all 13 episodes when they were aired on Comedy Central recently. After watching maybe 4 of them, I seriously contemplated burning the cassette. But instead decided to use it for recording quality television (Southpark, Man Show, Howard Stern Radio Show, Newsradio, Homicide: Life on the Street -- just to name a few).
This is one of those "legendary" TV shows that first appeared in 1992,
but then got canceled almost immediately. It gathered a reputation that
far exceeded what it actually was, because so many people hadn't seen
it, so they thought it was something brilliant that the evil studio
networks didn't get. Well, it turned out that the network (in this case
Fox) was correct in canceling it, as it is not a particularly good
show, but in fact, a lousy one. I saw this show (well, the first 8
episodes) a few years back, and it was painfully bad. The material is
mostly parodies from the 1990's (like Beverly Hills 90210, Studs), and
unless you're an expert on pop culture from that era, you're not going
to get the references. This is always a problem with topical comedy, as
it dates immediately and can never been seen outside the time it was
made. Even if you do get the references, it's still not particularly
funny. There are a few laughs here and there (the B-minus time traveler
sketch is the funniest, with Janeane Garofalo playing the not too
bright time traveler. Janeane is probably not the best person to play
an idiot, as she is quite brilliant in real life), but mostly it's
tired, dated, and very full of itself, a quintessential quality of
comedy in the smug, "ironic" 90's.
It was probably better if it had stayed in the vault. It did jump start the career of four people (Ben Stiller, Janeane Garofalo, Andy Dick, and Bob Odenkirk). Ben has gone on to playing neurotic nerdy types that constantly get dumped on. Andy Dick went on to sitcoms and now is indulging in typically idiotic, drug induced celebrity behaviour. Bob Odenkirk went on to Mr. Show (a better show than this one, but a bit overrated). Janeane Garofalo (who I think is the most talented of the bunch) went on to star in many films and TV shows, most of which are not particularly good. It's a waste as she is the best thing in many of her projects. Overall, The Ben Stiller Show is a major disappointment.
I've always liked Ben Stiller and heard good things about this show, so I decided to purchase the DVD containing all its 13 episodes. I wasn't too impressed. Unlike most comedies on TV, the show's writing is pretty intelligent. It takes sharp jabs at teen dramas, like "Beverly Hills 90210" and "Melrose Place," and other elements of pop culture in the early 90's. Maybe one of the reasons why the gags aren't that funny is because we're no longer living in the early 90's. Even if you recall the elements of pop culture the show parodies, it's still not as funny. Plus, the jokes are quite dry, as opposed to the broad humor we usually see in sketch comedies. The cast of performers is talented. Aside from Stiller, there's Andy Dick, Janeane Garofolo and Bob Odenkirk. The celebrity guests are also amusing. The show has reached a cult following, and it's not a terrible show by any means, but it didn't make me laugh a whole lot. The only sketch that had me dying with laughter is the one with the No, No, No Guy. If anyone has seen "Starsky and Hutch" with Stiller, this sketch is where he originates his great "Do it" line. Sometimes I put on the disc just to see that sketch, because it's sooo funny. And there are a few sketches that aren't even trying to be funny, like the mock sitcom "Skank." Every joke is supposed to contain an element of truth, and I don't see what's truthful about a sitcom about a sock puppet. (6 out of 10)
I'm a big fan of Ben Stiller, Jeanine Garfuello, and Andy Dick. They had
some good skits, but overall I think the show was less than the sum of the
parts. This probably lead to its demise. It was also competing with similar
shows such as "In Living Color" and "Kids in the Hall".
Like many other skit shows, the skits were either outrageously clever and funny, or horrible. I think Ben Stiller was funny at first being Bruce Springsteen, but this got old.
My favorite skit was The Monkees parody "The Grungies". They did and excellent job with this one. They included every detail, including the opening of the show, when they introduce the characters, and they show the four "grunge" heads at the end of the opening.
The "one" parody of U2 was good too.
It's been about 10 years since there's been any good skit tv. It's time to dump the reality shows and get back into skit comedies.
Ben Stiller had something going for him here. He had pretty good cast members like Janeane Garafolo, a great actress in comedy movies, Bob Odenkirk, future host of Mr. Show with Bob and David along with David Cross and Andy Dick back when he used to be funny. Now hes just weird and completely unfunny. Ben Stiller was okay himself. I'm not very familiar with John F. O'Donohue's work so I can't really say much about him. I think David Cross should have been a cast member. He was already the top writer on the show. This show should have lasted a little longer then it did. I don't know why it did. It was on Fox though and they don't give anything a chance. I'm surprised it wasn't more like SNL seeing it had two SNL patrons on it (Ben before the show and Janeane after). The show was more like Mr. Show with Bob and David probably being Bob Odenkirk and David Cross both did work on the show. RIP The Ben Stiller Show.
This Show was funny. they cancelled a classic. it featured funny humor, great comedians and to top it all off, a theme song from Frank Zappa's son, Dweezil. AND IT WAS CANCELLED. If Enough fans of Stiller, Dick or Garafalo tuned in, this would get SNL cancelled back in 1999 (around the time SNL stopped being funny. SNL was even less funnier after SEPTEMBER 11TH [meaning totally unfunny])
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