Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

In Living Color: Season One

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
9 out of 10
Extras Rating:
5 out of 10
Movie Details:
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Buy this DVD at Amazon.com

Rating: Not Rated

Starring:
Keenen Ivory Wayans
Jim Carrey
Kelly Coffield
Kim Coles
Tommy Davidson
David Alan Grier
T'Keyah 'Crystal' Keymáh
Damon Wayans
Shawn Wayans
Kim Wayans

Special Features:
"Looking Back in Living Color – The First Season"

"Back In Step with the Fly Girls"

Audio Commentary by Tommy Davidson (Episodes 7 and 13)

Other Info:
Fullscreen (1.33:1)
Stereo Sound
English and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: Disc 1 - 115 Minutes, Disc 2 – 115 Minutes, Disc 3 – 69 Minutes

Synopsis:
This is the entire first season of In Living Color. The series aired on Fox in 1990 and was a comedy skit show like Saturday Night Live or Mad TV. It was the brainchild of Keenan Ivory Wayans and the show not only created a whole lot of memorable characters, but it spawned a number of superstars as well. Jim Carrey's career started there along with Jennifer Lopez (as one of the Fly Girl dancers), Damon Wayans, Marlon Wayans, and more.

Some truly classic skits started here. One was Homey The Clown featuring a cranky clown who looks down on kids, hits them, and declares "Homey don't play dat". Another classic skit was Men on Film featuring a couple of flaming queer men putting a homosexual spin on movies, art, literature, and more. Then there's Mo Money featuring two hoodlums selling stolen merchandise on a Home Shopping Network type show. There are also great parodies of Oprah Winfrey, Arsenio Hall, Mike Tyson, Redd Foxx, M.C. Hammer, and others.

In Living Color is not rated, but its content is more appropriate for mature viewers.

The Movie:
I remember watching In Living Color when it first came out. I was there for every episode and I remember it often being a lot better than Saturday Night Live. Going back and watching this first season brought back a lot of memories and it's apparent now that the show was way ahead of its time. It's still a lot better than Saturday Night Live and Mad TV today.

Watching the old episodes, you can see how big of a talent Jim Carrey was even back then. He went from being "The White Guy" on the show to being the superstar he is now. His performance as Vera DeMilo, Bodybuilder is as twisted today as it ever was. Damon Wayans went on the bigger and better things (for a while), and this show demonstrates how funny he is as well. His characters from Homey The Clown, Men On Film, and Mo Money are still hilarious. I bet you can still find people that can quote his catch phrases.

The skits were broken up by dances from "The Fly Girls". While their name and clothing are a little bit dated, their acts were groundbreaking for their time. They also boosted the careers of Rosie Perez and Jennifer Lopez.

All in all, In Living Color was one of those rare shows that had a great combination of writing and acting talent and it all worked well together. Their success has rarely been duplicated since. If you didn't see these shows when they first came out, they're well worth checking out now.

The Extras:
There are three extras included on this three disc set:

"Looking Back in Living Color – The First Season" – This is a 30 minute retrospective on the show's first season. It is also a major disappointment because of the inexplicable absence of any of the Wayans, Jim Carrey, or the other major actors from the show. The only players interviewed are Tommy Davidson and David Alan Grier. I guess everyone else had better things to do or they're not making money off of this DVD. There are interviews with Rosie Perez, the director, and a couple of writers, but that's it. It's fun to hear stories from the set, but without more of the cast it ends up being a lot less interesting than it could have been.

"Back In Step with the Fly Girls" – This is a 5 minute video about the Fly Girls. They talk about how much they practiced, why they were groundbreaking, and how much hard work their dancing was. It's interesting, but there's not a lot here. (They also don't talk about Jennifer Lopez in case you're wondering.)

Audio Commentary by Tommy Davidson (Episodes 7 and 13) – Davidson's commentary isn't that great. It takes him a while to get going. He starts out praising himself and others. It takes a little while to get him to talk about what it was like working with the actors, preparing for the skits, etc. There is commentary only from him and only on two of the shows. It would have been better if they had more of the cast.

The Bottom Line:
If you enjoyed the show in the 90's then this is a DVD you'll get a real kick out of. If you have never seen the show before, you'll find it to be a real treat and a better alternative to SNL or Mad TV.

Order this DVD @ Amazon

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