Strangers With Candy - Season One (1999) Review

Strangers With Candy - Season One (1999)
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I really loved "Strangers with Candy" and was sad when it was cancelled prematurely. The series ran for 30 some episodes, and the first 10 episodes (season 1) are included on this 2 DVD set. "Strangers" stars Amy Sedaris (sister of auther David Sedaris), Steven Colbert (seen on the "Daily Show"), and Paul Dinello. These three worked together for years (e.g., "Exit 57") before creating this series.
Amy Sedaris plays Jerri Blank, a 46-year-old loser who returns to high school after being a teenaged runaway for 32 years. Her father is immobile, and her step-mother and half-brother hate her. The series is patterned after an after-school episode, and each one ends in Jerri learning a "lesson" (as well as participating in funky dance sequences!). The humor is sometimes bizzare, often raunchy, and always politically incorrect!
Episode 1: Old Habits, New Beginnings. Jerri tries to fit in by mixing up some drugs (glint) for a popular cheerleader (Poppy), with tragic results. Jerri loses the first in a long series of pets and does her first "I got something to say!" bit.
Episode 2: A Burden's Burden. Jerri is given a 10-pound baby (whom she dubs "Dizzy") by her health teacher. She fails miserably and is paired up with Tammi Littlenut to complete the assignment. Teacher Noblet and Jellineck begin their unusual "relationship." This episode is hilarious and presents a new, more demented side of Jerri.
Episode 3: Dreams on the Rocks. Jerri get a leading role in the school production of "A Raisin in the Sun," beating out several African-American students! This acting success leads Jerri's step-mother on a "hilarious" alcolohic bender.
Episode 4: Who wants cake? Jerri is asked to determine whether her lockermate, Kimberly, is "[mentally challenged]." If she doesn't cooperate, she'll miss the school trip to Good Time Island.
Episode 5: Bogie Nights. Jerri falls for the new kid in school (Ricky, played by Chip from "Kate & Ally"), much to the consternation of her fellow students.
Episode 6: Jerri Is Only Skin Deep. Jerri runs for Homecoming Queen. She tries to increase her "inner beauty" by doing volunteer work, with tragic results for a chicken.
Episode 7: Let Freedom Ring. Jerri is suspected of writing a racial slur on a school wall, and she tries to seduce a student who supposedly witnessed the event. Jerri famously asserts that she likes the "pole and the hole."
Episode 8: Feather in the Storm: Jerri wants to try out for the debate team, but everyone tells her that she's too fat, leading her to develop an eating disorder.
Episode 9: To Be Young, Gifted and Blank. Mr. Noblet tries to turn Jerri into a violin prodigy, driving a wedge between himself and Mr. Jellineck.
Episode 10: The Trip Back. Jerri becomes attracted to a young female stoner and begins doing pot.
Extras: Sedaris, Colbert, and Dinello do audio commentary for four episodes. They are hilarious together, and the commentaries help shed some light on their bizarre senses of humor.
The original, unaired pilot is also included. The plot is similar to the "Who Wants Cake?" episode, but there are quite a few differences. Notably, Jerri has a volunteer job at a genertonology rehab center and Dinello and Colbert have dual roles. The pilot is not as good as the later episodes, but it's interesting to see how the series evolved.

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Everyone's favorite middle-aged high school student has finally come to DVD. Jerri Blank (Amy Sedaris), a self-described "user, boozer and loser," takes on the perils and pratfalls of high school in these ten classic episodes. A critic and cult hit, Comedy Central(r)'s Strangers with Candy twists the conventions of the classic after-school special to create a completely original comedy series.

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