The Ben Stiller Show
DVD Reviews | Mar 4th, 2005
Starring Ben Stiller, Janeane Garofolo, Andy Dick, Bob Odenkirk
Studio: Warner Brothers
Buy on Amazon.com
The Ben Stiller Show was a short lived TV series on FOX during the 1992-93 season. It was Ben Stiller’s second and last attempt at a sketch comedy TV series. Co-Creator Judd Apatow went on to create two critically acclaimed television shows. Both of which did not survive the first season, the lost gem “Freaks and Geeks” and it’s modified spawn, “Undeclared.” The Ben Stiller Show lasted only 13 episodes and did terrible in network ratings, yet it managed to win an Emmy and have a 2 DVD set 10 years later. The show relied heavily on dry wit and absurd humor. The sketches are hit or miss ranging from slow and unfunny to ridiculous and hilarious. Much of what the show parodies is straight from early 90’s pop culture: Generation X, Grunge, and the attack of Aaron spelling TV shows.
No wonder why your show was cancelled after a season..You had guys like this on.
There are good ideas at sketch comedy in these episodes and there are bad ones too. The cast and writers were aware of all this. In the audio commentaries, many of them even ask themselves what were they thinking when they did that. Having the DVD set of the show makes it all worth while though. It allows one to weed out and just skip over the embarrassments to get to the good stuff. When the Show really hits the mark, it really hits it, especially in a place where nostalgia and cleverness roams free. The show itself is a surreal parody of what is already absurd such as Tony Robbins infomercials, shameless Gen X self promotion to sell deodorant, and everything else that influenced early 90’s pop culture. The overall redeeming value of The Ben Stiller Show is that from an introspective point of view this show was a solid platform for some future “could be” stars such as Andy dick, Janeane Geraffalo, and Ben Stiller himself. Writers of the show went places too and for the most part improved, most notably Ben Stiller, Judd Apatow, and David Cross. So in that respect, this show made it possible for a group of twenty somethings to have their first network bomb that both worked and yet didn’t work. Lurking around in the series are tons of guests in the show from Sara Jessica Parker to Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers to Star Trek’s James Doohan to Dennis Miller. All of whom are able to proudly look back and say they were a part of the successful failure of sketch comedy that was the Ben Stiller Show.
n- Unaired Sketches with Commentary by Ben, Janeane, Con-Creator Judd Apatow and Writers Brent Forrester and Rob Cohen
n- A Brief History of The Ben Stiller Show, Including Alternate Versions of the Pilot and Two Early Parodies Made for
n- MTV’s Version of The Ben Stiller Show (1990)
n- E! Behind the Scenes Special
n- Interactive Menus
ENGLISH: Dolby Digital Surround
Standard 1.33:1 Color
Favorite Scenes: Die Hard 12: Die Hungry, every Cops parody (Cops in ancient Egypt, Cops in Salem Mass, Cops in Medieval Times), Mohican Master commercial, Headslammer’s Ball, Relaxation Tape, Oliver Stone Land, The Let-Go clinic with Tony Bobbins, Ask Manson, Greatful Dead Insurance Salesman, Counting with Bruce Springsteen
Rating: Generation X, Grunge, an
Running Time: 0 minutes