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Upright Citizens Birgade
The Complete Second Season

review by Zach B.

 

 

Running Time: 222 Minutes

Starring and Written by: Matt Besser, Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts and Matt Walsh

 

Studio: Paramount

Retail Price: $26.99

Features: Audio Commentaries, Early Live Performances, Early Shorts, Audience Q&A, Deleted Scenes

Specs: 1.33:1 Full Screen, English Stereo, English Closed Captions, Scenes (7 per episode), Two-Disc Set

Released: September 18th, 2007

 

 

All the episodes are presented in 1.33:1 full screen, and unfortunately, don't seem to have been cleaned up well. The episodes are a bit on the soft side, and sometimes can be a bit grainy. There's also a bit of noise on the transfers, too. Otherwise, everything is just decent: the detail and fleshtones, and the color saturation is a bit muted. Nothing special, but they could be worse.

 

The English Stereo tracks are, as you would expect, limited in their range. But fidelity is high, and all the sound elements come out clearly in the track: dialogue is crisp and easy to hear, the sound effects provide a little juice and the music, when played, meshes with everything else. These track are straightforward, but then again, I don't know if anything more powerful would have made a big difference given the nature of many of the sketches. English closed captions through your TV are available.

 

Every single episode has Audio Commentary with Matt Besser, Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts, Matt Walsh - AKA the writers and performers that consist of the Upright Citizens Birgade. Kudos for UCB for sitting down to comment on everything they made, and since you have four funny people doing the talking, there aren't really dull spots in these tracks. Each commentary covers a lot of ground, and offers a lot of variety: there's a focus on the serious, as far as the development of sketches, episode directors and where things were shot. But there's also a lot of joking around between the four as they recall things and what's popping up on screen. Sometimes, they even transform into some of their characters, which is pretty hilarious. Two of the commentaries (for "Spaghetti Jesus" and "Supercool") were recorded live with an audience, and there seems to be an increased energy level from the performers in these tracks. They clearly want to make their fans laugh, and they feed off of the fans' laughter and interaction. Series lovers are encouraged to devour every one of these tracks. And even if you're a casual fan, switch one on and you'll probably still enjoy it.

The first disc has a some Early Live Performances and Shorts. In typical UCB style, they're all pretty subervise, but the most notable performance here might be the live sketch from the show Comic Cabana. Like the series itself, these are really funny, and are a must watch for fans of UCB and sketch comedy.

Audience Q&A has the cast taking questions from the audience after viewing the episodes "Spaghetti Jesus" and "Supercool." These are really great Q&As, that focus not just on bits from the episodes, but how the troupe adapted into making a half-hour TV series. There's a lot of laughs to be had here, and a lot of amusing (if sometimes inappropriate) anecdotes. This is a must view for fans of UCB and their namesake series. It lasts about twenty-seven minutes.

There are also nine Deleted Scenes from various episodes, which are in piss-poor quality and total a little over 7 minutes. If you're a fan of the series, you are sure to enjoy these - and they're definitely some laughs to be had in this cut material.

 

Finally, four years after the first season of "Uprights Citizens Birgade" made its debut on DVD, comes season number two. While the episodes look and sound okay, the wait was definitely worth it for the extras, all of which I am sure will please the many fans of this cult series. It's still a shame the show didn't last a few more seasons, but if you like sketch comedy and some humor that's really out there, then it's imperative that you sample UCB.