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Mad - Season 1, Part 1 Review




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Rating
Video:   8/10
Audio:   8/10
Extras:   1/10

This is just MAD!
by Gord Lacey (All reviews)
9/01/2011

    The magazine that kids hid behind notebooks during history class turns a new page with MAD, the animated Cartoon Network sketch series inspired by the iconic periodical. Get your crazy on with Season One Part One's 13 riotous episodes. They're all fast. All funny. All certifiably MAD in style and sunstance with movie parodies, celebrity spoofs and pop culture sendups, plus classic bits done in the manner of the artists/writers known as "Usual Gang of Idiots." There's a new gang of idiots now. You're gonna love 'em. You'll also love this MAD bonus: just as the magazine from back in the day could be folded into a nifty fly swatter, this DVD case makes a really cool soda-can coaster. Such a deal.
"MAD Magazine" was first published in 1952, a product of Harvey Kurtzman and William Gaines (EC Comics), and it's been poking fun at popular culture ever since. Even if you've never read the magazine, you'll probably recognize Alfred E. Neuman; he's prominently featured on nearly every cover, and this DVD case.

This animated series, which airs on Cartoon Network, isn't the first show associated with the magazine. Most readers will likely remember the Fox sketch comedy series MADtv, but there was also an animated show created for ABC in the mid-70s, which wasn't picked up by the network and became syndicated as a special.

I was never a huge fan of the magazine growing up, but I did read it occasionally. "Spy vs. Spy," and the folding picture on the back cover were always my favorites in the magazine. I remember flipping through the pages, often mad that they were poking fun at whatever the big summer blockbuster was at the time (which I now realize said blockbuster was likely a horrible movie, and deserved to be made fun of).

This single-disc release includes the first 13 episodes from the first season:

Disc 1 (2:26:47)
Avaturd / CSiCarly (11:15)
TransBoreMores / Groan Wars (11:23)
2012 Dalmatians / Greys in Anime (11:22)
Star Blecch / Uglee (11:09)
Pirates of the Caribbean 4: Jorney to Neverland / The Batman Family Feud (11:21)
Wall-E-Nator / Extreme Renovation: House Edition - Superman's (11:09)
Clifford-field / Big Time Rushmore (11:17)
Fantastic Megan Fox / Mad vs. Wild (11:20)
I Love You, Iron Man / Ben 10 Franklin (11:13)
Class of the Titans / Zeke and Lex Luthor (11:20)
S'up / Mouse MD (11:22)
DaGrinchy Code / Duck (11:20)
Snot Pilgrim / Malcolm in the Middle Earth (11:16)

Video

I was disappointed to discover that this release is widescreen, but it's a matted 1.33:1 picture, so there will be black bars surrounding the picture on a 16:9 TV. I won't attempt to guess why this is, especially since this is a new program, I'll just say it's disappointing. The picture itself is wonderful; I didn't notice any flaws in it, besides the aspect ratio issue. There aren't any chapters in the episodes, but the disc contains a "play all" option.

Audio

Sporting an English stereo track, the release sounds decent. There aren't any flaws in the audio and it's a nice, consistent volume throughout. There are subtitles in English, and French.

Extras - How we rate extras

Trailers (2:27)
Young Justice (0:52)
Thundercats (0:34)
The Looney Tunes Show (1:01)

Summary

I thought this show was hilarious, and much better than I remember the magazine being. There were some laugh-out-loud moments for me in nearly every episode, and I'm usually a "snicker to myself" kind of guy. Some of the parodies were spot-on, though there were many movies that were picked on repeatedly (Twilight, Transformers, though they both deserved to be). I enjoyed the "Spy vs Spy" segments, and if they had found a way to include foldable scenes, it would have been a perfect show.

If you've ever read the magazine, you should definitely take a look at this DVD.


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