HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Impractical Jokers: The Complete Second Season
HTS Overall Score:74
I’ve had some bad luck with the “reality” based comedy shows lately. “Tosh.0” really depressed me over the future of humanity, and “Key & Peele”, while funny, needs to be taken in small doses. There has been a million different hidden camera shows over the years, from “Candid Camera” to “Crank Yankers” etc etc. Some of them are funny, some are just plain revolting, and most of them are borderline unwatchable after a short time. “Impractical Jokers” is a tale of 4 friends from Brooklyn, Joe, Sal, Murray and Brian. This tight knit group of jokers decided that making a hidden camera show is the perfect way to take out their incredibly funny practical jokes to the next level (or end up shooting each other, not sure yet). The basis of the show is basically dare each other to do stupid things, improv on the spot situations that the other 3 have given the person. The person who can go through with the prank, or overcomes whatever ridiculous obstacle “wins” the round. Whoever can’t go through with it, or fails the task has a negative tally on their scoreboard. The person who has the MOST losses at the end of the episode has to have some sort of horrific punishment, whether that’s digging through an entire trash barge to find their missing cell phone, stand up and give an impromptu psychic reading, or lead a women’s rally with slogans all written by the other guys (with friends like this who needs enemies).
My first reaction when seeing the disc show up on my doorstep was “seriously? ANOTHER cruddy reality prank show”? With much trepidation and reluctance I tossed the first disc into my home theater and leaned back, really wishing I had picked up a 12 pack to try and make it through. It didn’t even take one episode before I became a convert though, as I ended up with tears streaming down my face and needing to hit the pause button constantly to keep from missing anything as I doubled over in my chair. Now, stupid comedy like this is usually meant to be taken in small doses, but after watching the first disc through and through I realized that they weren’t even CLOSE to running out of steam. The wit and variety of the stunts just keeps on going at a breakneck pace, making it very hard for lungs to not stay at a continual level of pain from laughing so hard. Sal, Murray, Brian and Joe are all very talented jokesters on their own, but when they team up is where the real fun begins, as you can totally tell the lifetime friends know so much about each other that they have an endless supply of material to pull from. Knowing each other is both a blessing and a curse, as we get to see an incredible array of practical jokes, but the poor guys just know where all the weak spots are and can totally exploit each other in ways that make you wonder if there is anything an enemy could actually DO to one of them that the other friends haven’t already tried.
Most of these practical jokes shows tend to be littered with an incredible amounts of foul language, tons and tons of WAY over the top sexual situations and gross out gags that can shock even the most seasoned MTV veteran. “Impractical Jokers” doesn’t fall prey to that inherent nature that wants to sink to the lowest possible level and utilize shock humor in order to get yucks, but actually keeps the gloves above the belt 99 percent of the time. There’s a little crudity and a few bleeped out know words that come from Joe, Sal, Murray or Brian getting scared spitless from a practical joke gone bad, but nothing that’s going to remind you of the depravities that shows like “Jackass” can go to. I don’t usually give extremely high ratings to reality humor shows due to them losing their edge and humor as time goes on, but I honestly can watch every episode of “Impractical Jokers” and be on the floor hacking up a lung every time. The guys are incredible improv artists, and what makes them even funnier is when they CAN’T improv a situation and we’re left howling at them while they flounder and stutter around a situation on screen. We’ve got everything from pretending to be a podiatrist, to trying to get toenail clippings from complete strangers and trying to rope people into helping you bury a talking teddy bear. Watching the 4 friends keep it together is usually funnier than the actual pranks or the reactions of the unsuspecting people and these guys know how to really give it to each other.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=32473[/img]The show is presented in a standard television 1.78:1 aspect ratio, but due to the hidden camera nature of the show, we’re not looking at reference quality here. The show is filmed with a myriad of cameras, from the nice hi-def cameras used to film the sequences that set up a joke, and even some decent cameras DURING the stunt, but there are also a lot of lower quality mini cameras that are spliced in to show all the different angles so that the intended victims don’t know it’s being filmed. As a result we have some mixed picture quality moments. Some can look quite good, with lots of color and pop, but then the hand held or mini camera shots will look slightly out of focus, or be rather low quality in comparison to the higher grade camera shots. This is one time where I have no qualms with the lower quality because of the nature of the show and what they are trying to accomplish here. The disc itself is actually quite impressive, albeit a little bit soft, as there seems to be very little compression issues here, with only some mild macroblocking that can be blamed on the transfer, the rest is simple source material issues.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=32481[/img]The audio is just a simple 2.0 stereo track and really not anything to write home about. The show’s audio is mainly coming from cameras that are littered around the area and pull many different levels of quality, with wind and ambient noises sometimes coming in pretty strong and other times when the dialogue is crystal clear due to being filmed indoors or what not. I’m sure a 5.1 mix might have added SOME dimensionality to the show, but since there’s nothing but dialogue going on it’s not a big deal at all. What IS there is quite well done and you can tell some nice processing was done to try and keep out as much unwanted ambient noises as possible.
• Deleted Scenes
• Inside Jokes
• Behind the Scenes
• Uncensored Commentaries
I’m honestly shocked that I loved the series as much as I did. The comedy hits all the right buttons and the 4 friends have incredible chemistry that oozes out of every pore in the situations they put each other through. The show is juvenile, but it’s the same juvenile nature that we all remembered having in college and brings back all the memories of doing stupid stuff with our friends. Hey, I guess I STILL have some of that juvenile nature left in me because I can’t breathe when watching an episode due to me all asphyxiating with laughter. Even my 71 year old dad has a hard time holding it together when he watched it with me. We all know that stupid humor can be wearing, but sometimes stupid humor is just what the doctor ordered and “Impractical Jokers” has that in spades. The audio and video aren't incredible, and while there isn't a HUGE list of extras, what IS there is incredibly funny and a perject example of quality over quantity. Highly recommended.
Starring: Fess Parker, Patricia Blair, Darby Hinton, Ed Ames
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 MPEG2
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 2.0
Studio: Warner Brothers
Runtime: 527 Minutes
DVD Release Date: Nov 4th, 2014
Buy Impractical Jokers: The Complete Second Season DVD on Amazon
Recommendation: Watch It
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