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Drunk History: Season 3 DVD Review

Drunk History: Season 3 DVD cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com Drunk History: Seasons Three (2015)
Show & DVD Details

Creators: Derek Waters (also concept), Jeremy Konner / Directors: Derek Waters, Jeremy Konner

Executive Producers: Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Derek Waters, Jeremy Konner, Owen Burke

Main/Recurring Cast: Derek Waters (Himself/Interviewer, Various), Bennie Arthur (Various), Tim Baltz (Various), Maria Blasucci (Various), Mort Burke (Various), Craig Cackowski (Various), Michael Coleman (Various), Aasha Davis (Various), JT Palmer (Various)

Storytellers: Tess Lynch, Mark Proksch, Jenny Slate, Greg Worswick, Jessica Meraz, Dan Harmon, Allan McLeod, Gloria Calderon Kellett, Daryl Johnson, Crissie West, Claudia O'Doherty, Lucius Dillon, John Levenstein, David Wain, Ashley Barnhill, Lauren Lapkus, Craig Anstett, Rich Fulcher, Emily Wilson, Laura Steinel, Mark Gagliardi, Jen Kirkman, Drew Droege, Cameron Esposito, Seth Weitberg, Eric Edelstein, Jeremy Konner, Fortune Feimster, Mike Still, Steve Berg, JD Ryznar, Paget Brewster, Duncan Trussell, Chris Romano, Brendon Walsh, Paul F. Tompkins, Holly Laurent, Matt Gourley, Kyle Kinane

Multi-Episode Guest Stars: Colin Hanks (Gordon Cooper, Ernest Thompson Seton), Jason Ritter (Robert Wilson, Elisha Gray)

Single-Episode Guest Stars: Tony Hale (Edward Cope), Christopher Meloni (Othneil Marsh), Justin Long (Arno Penzias), Greg Kinnear (Thaddeus Lowe), Stephen Merchant (F**kin' President Lincoln), Josh Hartnett (Clark Gable), Johnny Knoxville (Juan Ponce de León), Joe Lo Truglio (Bob Palumbo), David Koechner (Diego Columbus), Horatio Sanz (Alberto Bravo), Matt Besser (King Ferdinand), Maya Rudolph (Griselda "The Black Widow" Blanco), Thomas Middleditch (Sam Zemurray), Craig Anstett (Lee Christmas), Ben Covette (Guy "Machine Gun" Molony), Rudy Mancuso (Manuel Bonilla), Jason Momoa (Jean Lafitte), Jack McBrayer (Andrew Jackson), Maestro Harrell (Louis Armstrong), Andre Royo (King Oliver), Miles Brown (Young Louis Armstrong), Octavia Spencer (Harriet Tubman), Alia Shawkat (Virginia Hall), Will Ferrell (Roald Dahl), Samm Levine (Wayne Wheeler), Mary Elizabeth Ellis (Dorothy Fuldheim), Sam Richardson (Jim Brown), Ron Funches (Herbert Muhammad), Aidan Sussman (Young Wayne Wheeler), George Wallace (Bill Russell), Lauren Sivan (Barbara Walters), Echo Kellum (Lew Alcindor), Gaius Charles (Muhammad Ali), Topher Grace (Milton Bradley), Zach Gilford (Roger Sharpe), Taran Killam (Bobby Fischer), Jake Johnson (Boris Spassky), Jeremy Konner (Henry Kissinger), Kat Dennings (Kentucky Daisey), Jaleel White (Bass Reeves), Ellie Kemper (Nellie Bly), Natasha Leggero (Elizabeth Bisland), Michael Cera (Morris Cohen), Noah Wyle (Thomas Nast), Haley Joel Osment (Kid Blink), Jason Alexander (William "Boss" Tweed), Giancarlo Esposito (Andrés Pico), Ryan Phillippe (Benjamin Hayes), Jack Black (William Mulholland), Kyle Gass (Fred Eaton), Zach Woods (Lee Duncan), Rowdy (Rin Tin Tin), Rob Huebel (Governor Juan Francisco Treviño), Jason Mantzoukas (Popé), Thomas Lennon (Major Jesse Marcel), John Ennis (Stanton T. Friedman), Patton Oswalt (Mac Brazel), Parker Posey (Mary Phelps Jacob), Martin Starr (Alexander Graham Bell), Michael McKean (Carl Laemmle), Chris Parnell (Thomas Edison), Dr. Drew Pinsky (Judge), Henry Winkler (Zenas Fisk Wilber), Sam Rockwell (Bugsy Siegel), Donald Faison (Joe Louis), Timm Sharp (James T. McWilliams), Ben Schwartz (Meyer Lansky), Rich Fulcher (William A. Clark), Dennis Quaid (Lucky Luciano), Blake Anderson (Alexey Leonov), Adam DeVine (Pavel Belyavev), Chelsea Peretti (Ann Druyan), Paul Scheer (Carl Sagan), Nathan Fillion (Wernher Von Braun), Mark Gagliardi (John Fitzgerald Kennedy)

Running Time: 277 Minutes (13 episodes) / Rating: Not Rated
1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen (Certain Segments in 2.40:1) / Dolby Digital 5.1 (English), Dolby Stereo 2.0 (English)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired; Not Closed Captioned; Extras Not Subtitled or Captioned
Suggested Retail Price: $26.98
DVD Release Date: March 1, 2016 / Episodes Originally Aired September 1, 2015 - November 24, 2015
Black Keepcase / Two single-sided, dual-layered discs (DVD-9s)
Also available on Amazon Instant Video

Buy Drunk History: Season 3 on DVD from Amazon.com

"Drunk History" truly lives up to its title, providing an often funny mix of alcohol usage and real historical events.
Adapted from a series of shorts created for the website Funny or Die, this Comedy Central series aired its third season last fall. Not much different from the previous two, this one relayed primarily American history through the often impaired accounts of people who have been consuming large amounts of alcohol and costumed re-enactments performed by a consistently high caliber of guest actors.

Season 3 sees Will Ferrell, an executive producer, playing children's author Roald Dahl during his days as a British spy; Josh Hartnett as Hollywood icon Clark Gable; Oscar winner Octavia Spencer as abolitionist Harriet Tubman; Topher Grace as board game mogul Milton Bradley; Michael Cera as the leader of the New York newsboy strike of 1899; Dennis Quaid and Sam Rockwell as mobsters Lucky Luciano and Bugsy Siegel; Jack Black as Los Angeles water system architect William Mulholland.

In its third season, "Drunk History" teaches us that influential game maker Milton Bradley (Topher Grace) owes his success to Abraham Lincoln's beard.

You might assume the sloshed accounts of history are completely fabricated, but they're all quite grounded in real events that are simply distorted or embellished somewhat here and there by semi-famous storytellers we see have drunk too much. The drinking angle isn't always that entertaining, but the juxtaposition between what is said and what is seen is quite humorous. Those erratic, lip-synched deliveries within those cinematic shoots are a far cry from the straight-faced drama that
historical re-enactments are customarily rendered as. That is a joke that pays off again and again.

Once again, series conceiver and co-creator Derek Waters tries a little too hard to be a central part of the show, his on-location in-between segments and in-story interjections adding little. But you're willing to cut him a break since his idea is a fun one that has given this series more lasting value than most Comedy Central programming. He even begins directing some episodes this season.

With a fourth season not yet announced (the ratings appear to be fine and people generally like the show, but the production values do seem remarkably high for the basic cable channel), Season 3 hit DVD this week, a two-disc set holding all thirteen episodes and presenting them completely uncensored.

Josh Hartnett sports a mustache to play Hollywood actor and World War II  veteran Clark Gable. Ponce de Leon (Johnny Knoxville) discovers Florida, while Columbus' brother turns Puerto Rico into a party town.

Disc 1

1. New Jersey (21:20) (Originally aired September 1, 2015)
Winds blow the balloon of Thaddeus Lowe into Confederate territory, prompting the involvement of President Lincoln during the Civil War. The discovery of dinosaur fossils sparks The Bone Wars among the feuding fathers of paleontology. Two New Jersey scientists use a giant device to listen to the universe.

2. Miami (21:20) (Originally aired September 8, 2015)
Clark Gable's time in the military is detailed. While Christopher Columbus' brother takes over Puerto Rico, Ponce de Leon founds Florida. The godmother of the cocaine industry takes control of the business.

3. New Orleans (21:20) (Originally aired September 15, 2015)
The pirate Jean Lafitte gets involved in the Battle of New Orleans. Sam Zemurray becomes a banana kingpin. Jazz legend Louis Armstrong gets his start.

Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer plays abolitionist Harriet Tubman in "Spies." 1970s cool guy Roger Sharpe (Zach Gilford) single-handedly gets pinball unbanned in "Games."

4. Spies (21:20) (Originally aired September 22, 2015)
Harriet Tubman's slave-freeing efforts for the Underground Railroad are detailed. American Virginia Hall becomes an unsuspected spy for the British. Before writing children's book, Roald Dahl collects intelligence for the British government.

5. Cleveland (21:20) (Originally aired September 29, 2015)
Wayne Wheeler conceives Prohibition and takes drastic measures to see it enforced.
The long illustrious career of TV journalist Dorothy Fuldheim is recalled. Drafted for the Vietnam War, Muhammad Ali becomes a conscientious objector.

6. Games (21:20) (Originally aired October 6, 2015)
Abraham Lincoln's decision to grow a beard sends Milton Bradley into the board game business. New York outlaws pinball, until Roger Sharpe can prove it's a game of skill. Bobby Fischer takes on the Soviets in the 1972 World Chess Championship.

7. Oklahoma (21:20) (Originally aired October 13, 2015)
Kentucky Daisey takes a stand for women during homesteading times. Astronaut Gordon Cooper manages to get himself home in one piece. Deputy U.S. Marshal Bass Reeves takes on felons and outlaws.

Nellie Bly (Ellie Kemper) tries to go around the world in 80 days. Unbeknownst to her, she's not the only lady journalist on such a mission. In his second of two Season 3 guest appearances, Colin Hanks plays Ernest Thompson Seton, the wolf-hunting founder of the Boy Scouts.

Disc 2

8. Journalism (21:20) (Originally aired October 20, 2015)
Nellie Bly unknowingly has competition from a fellow lady journalist as she tries to circumnavigate the globe in less than 80 days. New York newsboys strike at the end of the 19th century. A political cartoonist exposes the corruption of New York's Boss Tweed.

9. Los Angeles (21:20) (Originally aired October 27, 2015)
The LAPD is established by Andrés Pico and Benjamin Hayes. Rin Tin Tin becomes Hollywood's biggest movie star by far. LA's Aqueduct is conceived and developed.

10. New Mexico (21:18) (Originally aired November 3, 2015)
The Indian Popé leads the Pueblo people in revolt against Spanish colonizers. After hunting a wolf, Ernest Thompson Seton founds the Boy Scouts. The Roswell UFO crash of 1947 embarrasses the military while sparking alien theories.

Thomas Edison (Chris Parnell) is ruthless at enforcing his patents against budding moviemakers like Carl Laemmle (Michael McKean). Paul F. Tompkins is one of 39 drunken people narrating the history lessons in Season 3 of "Drunk History."

11. Inventors (21:19) (Originally aired November 10, 2015)
Elisha Gray and Alexander Graham Bell both work to invent the telephone, with Bell getting credit.
Mary Phelps Jacob revolutionizes women's underwear with the invention of the bra. Thomas Edison tries to monopolize film by enforcing his patents at the medium's infancy.

12. Las Vegas (21:20) (Originally aired November 17, 2015)
J.T. McWilliams tries to establish a Las Vegas community but is outmuscled by county namesake William A. Clark. Bugsy Siegel and Lucky Luciano get involved in the city's gambling and bootlegging. Joe Louis opens the Moulin Rouge, Vegas' first integrated casino.

13. Space (21:20) (Originally aired November 24, 2015)
Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan fall in love while creating a gold-plated record for the rest of the universe. Former Nazi Wernher Von Braun helps Walt Disney and the US space program. Two Russians perform the first spacewalk.

Maya Rudolph plays Griselda Blanco, the deadly Colombian drug lord nicknamed the Black Widow and the Cocaine Godmother.

VIDEO and AUDIO

Though you might assume a show called "Drunk History" didn't take the history part that seriously, the program commits to the re-enactment segments, some of which employ the wider 2.40:1 aspect ratio. Winning the Emmy for Outstanding Costumes, the series boasts high production values that contribute to the jokes. While you kind of wish Comedy Central would spring for a Blu-ray edition, the sales figures must not be high enough to support them. Still, the Season 3 DVD looks good enough for standard definition and the default Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is suitably lively. A basic 2.0 stereo mix is also offered, and both are completely uncensored.

Dan Harmon pitches a President's Day mattress in this understandably cut bit from "Miami." Derek Waters roasts weinies on a campfire on his deleted New Mexican road trip with Steve Berg.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

All bonus features are relegated to Disc 2, where they are arranged by episode.
Nine of the season's thirteen get something extra here, most of which can be classified as deleted or extended scenes. Altogether, the 23 clips adds up to 46 minutes and 20 seconds worth of bonus content, though no "Play All" listing means you'll need more time than that to go through it all.

Season premiere "New Jersey" accounts for the first five clips: an extended version of Derek's unfunny wrestling academy training (2:38), Jenny Slate discussing "Tits Listening" (0:54) and "The Mozzarella Stick from Hell" (1:18), Derek playing Uno with Mark Proskch (2:04), and deleted scenes (1:35) from the Thaddeus Lowe segment. "Miami" includes "President's Day" (1:04), Dan Harmon's ad for a mattress sale featuring Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. "New Orleans" features extended "Dick Apron" gags (2:00) and a remote "NOLA Brewing" (2:35) segment in which someone else fills in for Derek Waters and gets a personal brewery tour. From "Cleveland", Ashley Barnhill struggles with a number of slurred words in "Words are Hard" (3:03). "Games" has a deleted scene (1:08) of Milton Bradley that devolves into narrator Lauren Lapkus's pronunciation of crayons. From "Journalism", we get a "Newz Boyz" dance sequence (0:36) and Jen Kirkman battling sneezes and sniffles (4:18).

"Los Angeles" gets a short deleted scene (1:35) from both the LAPD and aqueduct segments. From "New Mexico", we get "The Roundhouse" (1:39), Fortune Feimster's thoughts on 16th century prostitution, a campfire "Road Trip" (1:23), "Derek the Cobbler" (1:24) in which Derek repairs a narrator's broken shoe, and Steve Berg's "Conspiracy Theories" (2:56) on aliens. "Las Vegas" collects Paul F. Tompkins chuckles (1:14), Chris Romano rambling (3:40), and deleted scenes from all three segments (3:56). Finally, from season finale "Space", Kyle Kinane drunkenly rants about bears and wolves (1:09), space (3:36), and how to pronounce "crayons" (0:38).

In addition, the case mentions five episodes -- "New Jersey", "Spies", "Oklahoma", "Games", and "Space" -- are "totally unblurred", indicating they might not have been on the air. It's tough to know what would have been deemed too racy for Comedy Central visually, as there is nothing out of the ordinary in them.

The static, silent menus simply list options and episode titles on a leather book.

The two stately labeled discs share an unslipcovered eco-friendly black keepcase, though Amazon is touting some fun exclusive packaging, featuring a blurred George Washington.

Morris Cohen (Michael Cera) does some celebratory dancing following the newsboy strike of 1899.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

"Drunk History" continues to entertain quite consistently in its third season. If you enjoyed the first two, there's no reason to stop there, as the alcohol-fueled, star-studded slurred historical reenactments keep on coming without any diminished returns. Comedy Central's DVD is pretty basic but satisfactory with its quality picture and sound plus decent assortment of deleted content as bonus features.

Buy Drunk History: Season 3 on DVD from Amazon.com

Buy from Amazon.com

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Reviewed March 2, 2016.



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