dvd review: “Mr. Show” ***1/2

A blank page is a lot to work with. The minds of Bob Odenkirk and David Cross spawned “Mr. Show,” a series that spanned four seasons on HBO. With the show long since cancelled, the new DVD “Mr. Show: The Complete First and Second Seasons,” is probably the only way to catch a glimpse of these guys in action (unless you want to spend a sleepless week trying to download their permanently-delayed film Run Ronnie Run, or luckily catch a random rerun at 3 a.m.). The disc comes with the standard features of any DVD: directors’ commentary and so on.

“I suffer from Entitilitus!” seems an apt way to open the premiere episode, and this review as well.

Each episode is strung together, sort of how “Seinfeld” based each episode around one underlining joke, except this time it’s more quirky, sarcastic, trippy and literal. There are about ten shows in each episode, well-suited for its sketch comedy format. To start an episode in the Senate is one thing, but to have it lead to a man getting sucked off by a milking machine is another. Then to have it all lead back to the Senate, and finally (after going down every ally imaginable), to Bob and David laughing at the whole thing as it appears on a TV: well, that’s “Mr. Show”. “Goddamn it! Sh*t! F**k!” accompanied by a blue mascot named “Pit Pat” that “loves you.” Does this seem like an apt way to make a commercial? Well it got your attention, right? That is what Bob and David are all about.

The fact that the show was based around two actors/comedians hopping around, gives it a sort of thrown-together feel. The other actors who appear in “Mr. Show” are close friends of Bob and David, and several of them had a hand in the writing. Refreshing as it is to see a show run entirely by its tight-knit cast, it is also the reason why the show got cancelled and their film Run Ronnie Run never got released. Not everyone wants to hear what these two guys have to say all the time; otherwise one of them would be writing their own review.

The two-disc DVD set “Mr. Show: The Complete First and Second Seasons” is available everywhere you can rent/buy Collateral Damage.
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Sven Barth can be reached at

November 12, 2002


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