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Has MadTV aged well? We'd better defer to Season Two hosts Bobcat Goldthwait and Pauly Shore on that one...
Shout! Factory / 960 Minutes / 1996-1997 / Unrated / Street Date: March 26, 2013
The fact that we live in a world where a studio like Shout! Factory would actually take the time and effort to release a comprehensive edition of MadTV’s second season is implicitly geek-approved. TV-on-DVD isn’t what it once was, thanks to the advent of Netflix and Hulu Plus, and there honestly can’t be all that money in liberating nominal shows like this one from the vaults and throwing them out into the world in standard-def.
But ignoring these buzzkill factoids, here is MadTV. Fox’s attempt to out-SNL SNL is loony, laugh-track-heavy comedy with a brazenly infantile kick. Adhering quite strictly to the funny ha-ha shtick of the magazine it was ostensibly based on (or at least inspired by), this skit show definitely lacks the nuance of a show like Saturday Night Live (if, for the sake of argument, Pat or Wayne and Garth showcased nuance), instead relying on flashy, loud, often cacophonous setups to keep its viewers in front of the set.
In hindsight, MadTV is kind of a nightmare, but a fascinating one. Folks like French Stewart and Ice-T are given hosting duties on this compilation, and this caliber of celebrity actually suit the show perfectly. On the third disc here, we get a one-two punch of Bobcat Goldthwait and Pauly Shore as emcees, and for those of us who have spent more than our fair share of time being entertained by those lovable dorks, the curiosity to revisit these episodes is pretty intense.