Monday, August 01, 2005

DVD Review: America’s Funniest Home Videos Volume 1

America’s Funniest Home Videos (AFV) is ABC’s all-time longest running comedy series. Its 16-year run is longer than Bewitched, Happy Days, Home Improvement, Roseanne, The Wonder Years, Three’s Company and every other ABC comedy you can think of. That’s 16 years of children flying off playground equipment, brides falling into cakes, teens with trucker hats lighting their body parts on fire and, everybody’s favorite, guys getting hit in the groin with a plethora of blunt garden tools.

In celebration of this longevity, and possibly because someone alerted ABC that not everyone in America has a PAX network affiliate (PAX, the all AFV, all the time network!) in their town, Shout! Factory has released America’s Funniest Home Videos Volume 1.

For those unfamiliar with the show, here’s a quick synopsis. Each one-hour episode is made up of a collection of funny video clips that are submitted by the show’s American audience. The clips’ subject matter varies, but the most common topics include babies doing cute or disgusting baby things, painful or amazing feats at sporting events, wedding disasters and, of course, getting hit in the groin. In fact, the 300th episode features a special segment entitled “Greatest Groin Hits” where viewers were invited to vote on their favorite crotch shot over the Internet (Thank you, Al Gore!).

To make each episode show a little more interesting, three clips are chosen to compete for a cash prize. How they are chosen, I don’t understand, but it appears to be at random. The “finalists” for the cash prize are announced toward the end of the episode. The studio audience then votes for their favorite and, finally, the winners are interviewed. So it’s kind of a game show, too.

This four-DVD set features the award-winning reality comedy’s 11th season, which was the first season for host Tom Bergeron of Hollywood Squares and Dancing with the Stars fame. The collection includes 12 full episodes on three discs and a bonus disc containing AFV’s 300th show in two episodes. All told, that’s over nine hours of entertainment.

Though the set is well packaged and the episodes are logically distributed among the DVDs, I do have one issue with the collection. Segues to and back from commercial breaks were left in each episode. These are unnecessary and get somewhat distracting after a while. It would have been nice if the editors could have pulled those out.

But even with that flaw, it’s exactly what you expect it to be. It’s mindless fun, pure and simple. If you enjoy the show, you’ll enjoy this collection. And if you’ve never seen the show, but you liked the films Dumb and Dumber and Airplane!, give it a shot.

Somewhere right now, a little league coach’s groin is about to get up close and personal with a line drive foul ball off his star player’s electric blue aluminum bat. I hope somebody brought a video camera.

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