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DVD Review: 'The Sarah Silverman Program' Season 2, Volume 1

About.com Rating 2.5 Star Rating

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The Sarah Silverman Program Season 2 Volume 1
Courtesy of PriceGrabber
Release Date: October 14, 2008

The Basics

This confusingly labeled set contains the first six episodes of the second season of Comedy Central’s The Sarah Silverman Program, which was split into two parts thanks to the 2007-08 Hollywood writers’ strike. It finds the show hitting a bit of a stride, but still relying too much on the politically incorrect shock tactics of Sarah Silverman’s stand-up act.

Bonus Features

  • Cast and crew commentaries on multiple episodes
  • Panel Q&A from Comic-Con 2007
  • Short videos and cartoons

Review

The limited nature of Sarah Silverman’s comedy has become apparent with the more projects she takes on, and her eponymous sitcom often suffers from simply drawing out the kind of controversy-baiting humor that she uses in her act. This shortened opening to the show’s second season definitely features way too much in the way of “look at how edgy we are” bits, the most egregious of which is an extended blackface riff that goes nowhere, says nothing and isn’t funny in the slightest. You can tick off a checklist of taboos that Silverman and her team of writers challenge, but they rarely do so in a way that’s insightful or clever.

At the same time, this second season finds the show actually developing its characters, and it helps that the supporting players are all top-notch comedic performers. The subplots with Brian Posehn and Steve Agee as Sarah’s gay neighbors are almost always low-key and inconsequential, but they’re often funnier than the louder main plots, and even sometimes feel heartfelt, despite Posehn and Agee being the least convincing gay men in the history of television.

The best episode on this set features Tucker Smallwood reprising his role as God, with whom Sarah previously had a one-night stand. The matter-of-fact absurdity is much funnier than strained efforts to offend; the same goes for the bizarre show-within-the-show Cookie Party, which is showcased in several extended extras, as well as in one episode.

The other extras include some mildly amusing slapdash shorts, as well as hit-and-miss commentary and a fairly tedious Comic-Con Q&A.

The Bottom Line

The Sarah Silverman Program finds a bit more of its footing in this second season, but also starts to show some wear and tear when it comes to comedic subject matter. Fans will appreciate the tone, but anyone not already won over can easily pass.

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the distributor. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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