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"Workaholics" Seasons 1 & 2 Combo Doggy Blu-ray Review

Workaholics: Seasons 1 & 2 Combo Doggy Blu-ray cover art - click to buy from Amazon.com Workaholics: Seasons One and Two (2011)
Show & Blu-ray Disc Details

Creators: Blake Anderson, Adam DeVine, Anders Holm, Kyle Newacheck, Connor Pritchard, Dominic Russo

Writers: Anders Holm, Kevin Etten, Kyle Newacheck, Blake Anderson, Adam DeVine, David King, Leila Strachan, Connor Pritchard, Dominic Russo, Brian Keith Etheridge, Scott Rutherford / Directors: Kyle Newacheck, Tristram Shapeero, Chris Koch, Jay Karras

Regular Cast: Blake Anderson (Blake "Blazer" Chesterfield Henderson), Adam DeVine (Adam DeMamp), Anders Holm (Anders "Ders" Torfin Holmvik), Jillian Bell (Jillian Bellk), Erik Griffin (Montez Walker), Maribeth Monroe (Alice Murphy)

Recurring Characters: Kyle Newacheck (Karl Hevacheck), Waymond Lee (Waymond), Jet Set Hudson (Jet Set)

Season 1 Guest Stars: Brian Huskey (Robbie), Brandon Soo Hoo (Punk Kid), Craig Anton (Bart), Adam Paul (Clark), Michelle Glavan (Chelsea Neiderdeppi), Ally Maki (Brenanda), Marc Summers (Himself), Ptolemy Slocum (Waiter), Mikey Reid (Chef), Tom Virtue (Client), Edward Barnabell (Bradley), Mel Rodriguez (Ryan), Peter Navy Tuiasosopo (Cashier), Clint Howard (Dean), Rance Howard (Jerry), Rebel Wilson (Big Money Hustla), Laurel Coppock (Meegan), David King (Davis King), Chris D'Elia (Topher), Laura Kightlinger (Sharon), Chris Parnell (Bruce Benson), Reggie Brown (Barack Obama Look-alike), Jefandi Cato (Michelle Obama Look-alike), Olen Holm (Jason Statham Look-alike) / Season 2 Guest Stars: John Farley (Principal Wesley Senn), Charlie Saxton (Jerry), Steven Krueger (Quaid Franklin), Lavell Crawford (Cheesy Eggs Guy), Mitch Hurwitz (Cool Eric Rossdale), Nicky Whelan (Naomi), Lee Weaver (Tim), Ray Wise (Kyle Walsh), Gary Anthony Williams (Craig), Brooke Long (Stripper #1), Natalina Maggio (Stripper #2), Ian Roberts (Cal), Kathrine Narducci (Maria), Craig Cackowski (Randall), Eric Edelstein (Security Guard), Katee Sackhoff (Rachel), Carla Gallo (Bunny), Hana Mae Lee (Hannah), Eileen Barnett (Karl's Mom), Kyle Kinane (Sewer Dwayne), Jeff Fahey (Doug), Patrick Cox (Tough Dude), Lurie Poston (Damien Carmichael), Lori Alan (Betsy Russ), Pete Gardner (Dale Carmichael), Joel McKinnon Miller (Head Cop)

Running Time: 432 Minutes (20 episodes) / Rating: Not Rated (TV-14 on air)

1.78:1 Widescreen / Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (Uncensored English), Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0 (Uncensored English)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired; Not Closed Captioned; Extras Not Subtitled or Captioned
Season 1 Airdates: March 15 - June 1, 2011; Season 2 Airdates: September 20 - November 22, 2011
Blu-ray Release Date: June 5, 2012 / Suggested Retail Price: $29.99
Two single-sided, dual-layered discs (BD-50s) / Blue Eco-Friendly Keepcase
Also available on DVD (Season One, Season Two) and Amazon Instant Video

Buy Workaholics from Amazon.com: Seasons 1 & 2 Blu-ray Season One DVD Season Two DVD

On the subject of television comedy, the first word that comes to mind is "sitcom." So, it's weird how few of those have emerged from Comedy Central in its over twenty years on the air. They've had sketch shows, fake news shows, fake talk shows, real talk shows, stand-up shows, game shows, movie-promoting shows, and a B-movie commentary show.
As far as sitcoms go, the basic cable channel has had animated ones (most significantly, "South Park"), some improvised ones (most notably, "Reno 911!"), and no shortage of reruns. But very few original things that would meet a standard live-action sitcom definition have made much of a mark. "Strangers with Candy" and "The Sarah Silverman Program" are about the only ones in Wikipedia's 94-deep Comedy Central shows category that qualify as recognizable sitcoms and both of those alternative hits were cancelled after three short seasons.

In "Workaholics", Comedy Central has a definite live-action sitcom, one made in the prevailing modern mode, with a single camera and no studio audience or laughter. The series adds to the long tradition of workplace comedies, a genre best represented in recent years by Office Space and "The Office." Of those two iconic properties, this show falls closer to the former, avoiding the wry sensibility and mockumentary format that have defined many a recent high-profile network comedy. Still, this also lacks the satirical and intellectual value of Mike Judge's movie. Basically, it's what you would expect from Comedy Central and a group of young guys.

The house-sharing protagonists of Comedy Central's "Workaholics" (Adam DeVine, Anders Holm, and Blake Anderson) are more about play than work.

The series centers on three young adult friends who both live and work together. Workaholics, they are not. None of them displays any passion or motivation for their cubicle existence at what we're told is a telemarketing company. The focal trio is played by three of the show's six creators, who no doubt draw upon their real experiences and friendships for storytelling. The stars even lend their names -- well, mild variations of them -- to their characters. The tallest and most cultured of the three, Anders "Ders" Holmvik (Anders Holm), harbors city councilman ambitions. Adam DeMamp (Adam DeVine) is the shortest and vainest. Then, there is shaggy-haired and mustachioed Blake Henderson (Blake Anderson), the pun-appreciating weird one of the bunch.

The guys are all a bit nerdy, often crude, basically harmless, and of little interest to the opposite sex. I wasn't crazy about any of the lead characters, but I didn't hate their show.

While first impressions may be lasting impressions, I never give up on a show I'm reviewing and thus I was able to discover that "Workaholics" improves from the stupid, sophomoric show it starts as. This aspires to cult status, the best a basic cable comedy can typically hope to achieve. To realize that goal, the creators write for themselves. That formula has worked for FX's "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia", soon to start its eighth season. If "Workaholics" can reach the same modest but passionate viewership, it has the potential for a similarly fruitful run. Its third season, a rare achievement on the network, begins airing tonight.

Blake, Adam, and Ders are starstruck by the sight of their childhood icon Marc Summers. Adam (Adam DeVine) tries to figure out a crossbow as part of the guys' manly weekend hunting trip.

It is apparent that "Workaholics" is most directly aimed at adults in their twenties and early thirties. The show is loaded with 1990s cultural references that this demographic will most appreciate. The first episode pays extensive homage to Die Hard, establishing 1988 as a kind of birthdate of awareness. Other references follow suit, celebrating and acknowledging things like the Nickelodeon game show "Double Dare" (complete with Marc Summers appearance), Entrapment, Rudy, The Program, 2Pac, Titanic, Home Alone, "Darkwing Duck", Bo Jackson, Mrs. Doubtfire, MTV's Rock N' Jock celebrity basketball games,
The Chase, Con Air, "Rugrats", Air Bud: Golden Receiver, Jingle All the Way, and Cool Runnings. I'm as fond of a good '90s reference as anyone, so this ranked as the show's most appealing aspect to me. The references do extend into the 21st century (with things like 2 Fast 2 Furious, Coach Carter, and Collateral, to name just a few, also being shown love), but the show and the generation it reflects seem more nostalgically inclined, as evidenced by how knowingly out-of-place a Rihanna concert storyline plays.

Less appealing would be the drug content and gross-out gags with which the series is launched. The entire first episode establishes the guys as stoners. The third finds them graduating from marijuana to mushrooms. Subsequent ones back off some on the drug use, "bro" culture, and things like vomiting and "poop dollar" (a human turd wrapped in a dollar bill) as objects of fascination. It seems like a given that a 2011 Comedy Central sitcom would be inappropriate and "Workaholics" certainly is, though it's less dark and demented than several of its cable contemporaries.

Beyond the three leads, three actors make impressions as recurring characters: apathetic boss Alice Murphy (Maribeth Monroe), her dorky, disrespected assistant Jillian (Jillian Bell), and the gang's wonky-eyed weed dealer Karl (Kyle Newacheck, regular director, another of the creators, and the fourth member of the stars' executive-producing sketch comedy group Mail Order Comedy).

Near the beginning of Season 3's early summer broadcast run, Comedy Central brings Season Two to DVD and addresses last fall's DVD-only release of Season One with this review's two-disc subject, a Blu-ray called Seasons 1 & 2 Combo Doggy (your guess is as good as mine regarding the "Combo Doggy" part).

Seeing Season 2 and revisiting Season 1 completely reinforced my feelings toward the series. There are definitely some funny ideas and bits in play here, but it's unfortunate that they must be filtered through three completely unlikable, immature characters. I can appreciate their camaraderie somewhat and just about every one of their pop culture references registers for me and quite nicely. But having now spent over seven hours with these characters (and another seven hearing the commentaries of the real people who play them), I doubt I will ever be able to warm to them, their slang (e.g. "tight butthole" for good, "loose butthole" for bad), and their nasty ways. At one point, I felt that way towards "It's Always Sunny", whose characters have done far worse things than these. But whereas those degenerate antiheroes are lovingly created for our amusement, these obnoxious ones kind of just feel like extensions and exaggerations of the actors, their mannerisms adding definition but subtracting appeal.

Neither better nor worse than its predecessor, Season 2 ventures outside the guys' home and workplace a little more for some on-location shooting and storytelling.

Anders (Anders Holm) poses a potential solution to the guys' workplace drug test concerns in the pilot episode. The guys spend a trippy night at their cubicle with a bag of shrooms in "Office Campout."

Disc 1 - Season 1

1. Piss & Shit (21:28) (Originally aired April 6, 2011)
In an attempt to pass their unexpected workplace drug tests, the guys try to buy clean urine.

2. We Be Ballin' (21:38) (Originally aired April 13, 2011)
The guys look forward to attending a Clippers game with the company of two ladies. They just need tickets.

3. Office Campout (21:38) (Originally aired April 20, 2011)
While their home is being fumigated, the guys camp out in their office. Tripping on shrooms there, they encounter a break-in.

4. The Promotion (21:38) (Originally aired April 27, 2011)
Anders and Adam compete for the same promotion and pay raise, prompting Anders to move out.

5. Checkpoint Gnarly (21:23) (Originally aired May 4, 2011)
The guys show Alice's mentally handicapped brother (Edward Barnabell) a good time (and vice versa) with a wild Tuesday night out.

Adam (Adam DeVine) and Blake (Blake Anderson) strike after their workplace refuses to observe half-Christmas. The guys take to Juggalo culture, as Adam falls for Big Money Hustla (Rebel Wilson).

6. The Strike (21:38) (Originally aired May 11, 2011)
When their efforts to celebrate half-Christmas are denied, Adam and Blake go on strike, while Anders tries to train in their replacements (Rance and Clint Howard).

7. Straight Up, Juggahos (21:38) (Originally aired May 18, 2011)
The guys turn to online dating to get Jillian out of the way for their young professionals' mixer.
When that doesn't go as planned, they try to rescue her from an Insane Clown Posse gathering.

8. To Friend a Predator (21:38) (Originally aired May 25, 2011)
The guys try to bust Topher (Chris D'Elia), a pervert from an online Justin Bieber Fan Club, but instead end up hanging out with him.

9. Muscle I'd Like to Flex (21:38) (Originally aired June 1, 2011)
Adam moves into the mansion of his office building's manager (Laura Kightlinger), endangering the guys' renaissance fair wizard rap plans.

10. In the Line of Getting Fired (21:38) (Originally aired March 15, 2011)
The company CEO (Chris Parnell) offers the guys $10,000 to kill him. They do the next best thing, throwing him a party with celebrity look-alikes.

The guys hit high school without the most current notion of what teenagers consider cool. Anders (Anders Holm) celebrates his 25th birthday with pitchers of beer and torn-off sleeves at a children's pizzeria arcade.

Disc 2 - Season 2

1. Heist School (21:38) (Originally aired September 20, 2011)
The guys go undercover in high school to figure out who stole the dragon statue they stole from a park (as entitled taxpayers).

2. Dry Guys (21:38) (Originally aired September 27, 2011)
After an especially destructive bender, the guys try to stay completely sober for a week.

3. Temp-Tress (21:38) (Originally aired October 4, 2011)
Needing a new TV in time for WrestleMania XXVIII, the guys try to win the one their office is giving away to the top refrigerator salesman. Also, they compete for the attention of the office's hot new Australian temp (Nicky Whelan).

4. Model Kombat (21:38) (Originally aired October 11, 2011)
Wanting desperately to be the male model Alice is looking for, Adam challenges Ders, who she picks instead, to a fight.

5. Old Man Ders (21:38) (Originally aired October 18, 2011)
Anders' 25th birthday is cause for celebration and a bit of crisis, as he and his friends leave work to party at Dante's, "the black Chuck E. Cheese's."

Adam (Adam DeVine) asks homeless woman Rachel (Katee Sackhoff) to be his date at Karl's classy wedding. Trapped in the sewer, the guys channel their inner Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, complete with colored ties for their masks.

6. Stop! Pajama Time (21:38) (Originally aired October 25, 2011)
Put in charge after a sick Alice goes home, Jillian struggles to win her colleagues' respect, even when she finds out she is to fire four of them.

7. Teenage Mutant Ninja Roommates (21:38) (Originally aired November 1, 2011)
After raising a bit of hell at co-worker Montez's pool party, the bickering guys get trapped in a sewer.

8. Karl's Wedding (21:38) (Originally aired November 8, 2011)
Cleaned-up Karl's "classy" wedding ceremony creates romantic challenges for Ders and Adam.

9. Man Up (21:38) (Originally aired November 15, 2011)
After Jillian has to stand up for them in an embarrassing karaoke bar confrontation, the guys plan to unearth their masculine sides in a weekend hunting trip.

10. 6 Hours Til Hedonism II (21:33) (Originally aired November 22, 2011)
The guys are extremely excited to spend Thanksgiving at a sex resort in Jamaica, but their plans are threatened when it's discovered that Blake is without a passport just hours before their flight departs.

VIDEO and AUDIO

The Blu-ray's picture and sound quality are pretty much flawless. Clean, sharp, vibrant and detailed, the 1.78:1 widescreen video is quite excellent. Audio is offered in both Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and plain Dolby Digital stereo 2.0. Unlike the Season 1 DVD, both of those tracks are uncensored, allowing hard profanity that is bleeped on Comedy Central to frequently fly. The closest we get to the broadcast audio is hearing it under the guys in the commentary tracks. Certain visuals remain blurred (such as a sex doll's genitalia), but it's still kind of tough to believe that even sanitized, this graphic content airs with just a TV-14 rating on basic cable. The English SDH subtitles are a nice touch rarely extended to Comedy Central DVDs.

"Countdown to Vagina-Town" tags along with the creators/stars as they hit the road to promote their series' launch. Anders (Anders Holm) confiscates his DVD player in a Season One deleted scene.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

The Season 1 Blu-ray retains all the same bonus features from the DVD and adds an exclusive.

They begin with audio commentaries, which are easily missed in the Setup menu where they are designated "Drunkmentary." Creators/actors Blake Anderson, Adam DeVine, Anders Holm, and Kyle Newacheck talk over all ten episodes. They're joined by writer/showrunner Kevin Etten starting with the second episode, by guest star Edward Barnabell via phone on his episode "Checkpoint Gnarly", and by the group's manager Isaac Horn on "The Strike."

The rowdy group drinks many cans of beer and offers a mix of observations, personal revelations, misinformation (CGI grass, predator research), and genuine answers to Twitter questions. The talk gets increasingly immature and vulgar as it proceeds,
devolving into bickering, loud belches, and inane discussions (like whether they'd be more willing to eat feces or perform fellatio). For the most part, they're a waste of the speakers' time and even more so the listener's. The ten tracks do their part to chip away at the show's appeal too, so if you're on the fence, you might wish to avoid these.

Video extras are all presented in HD, although some were clearly shot with resolution below 1080p.

First up is that exclusive, the behind-the-scenes featurette "Countdown to Vagina-Town: Lead Up to the Series Premiere" (8:37). It follows the four prominent creators as they edit the show to "tight butthole", fly to Miami for the South Beach Comedy Festival, hit Panama City for Spring Break to promote the show, and return home to watch the sneak peek premiere. It gives us a taste of what it's like to launch a Comedy Central series as well as candid looks at the guys hanging out in a manner that reflects the series.

Next comes a reel of deleted scenes (6:57), arranged chronologically and with their intended episode clearly identified. In the same vein are alternate takes (7:46), which are given adequate context and played in succession, concluding in Adam's extended muscle show flexing. This unused content is about as amusing as what has made it into the show.

The guys talk about themselves and their show in three South Beach Comedy Festival interview shorts. The Workaholics get a tepid reaction with a friendship sketch live at Bonnaroo.

In three cast interviews (6:52), taped at the South Beach Comedy Festival for jokes.com, Anderson, DeVine, Holm, and Newacheck shed some light on the series and themselves. "Meet the Workaholics" covers their friendship, oddly blurry "Office Survival Tips" are the guys' suggestions for making the work day more bearable, and "About Workaholics" discusses the show, its characters, and development.

"Live at Bonnaroo" (5:58) is a stage sketch from the annual Tennessee music festival. It doesn't get much of a crowd reaction until a line is "forgotten", prompting a song about friendship.

"Extended Catherine Zeta-Jones Song" (2:26) repeats and remixes the handful of lyrics from this Entrapment ode from "Office Campout", setting them to some trippy video effects. "Extended Ders Rap" (0:49), on the other hand, merely shows us a little bit more of the embarrassing home movie than what was in that episode.

The Digital Originals shorts find Anders (Anders Holm) and his cubicle mates -- gasp! -- actually working. Blake Anderson makes his contribution to Comedy Central's Shart Week with an embarrassing self-defecation story.

A "First Look Trailer" (1:26) previews the show's first season's April 6th premiere. TV shows rarely include such promos on DVD, but they're fun to see.

Sorely lacking a "Play All" option, nine "Digital Originals" (11:02) are shorts apparently made for the web. They show the guys actually working (trying to sell knives in cold calls) in addition to relaxing and reflecting on modern slang. The last, longest, and only out-of-character one of these bits captures a "Jackass"-like dare in which Adam Devine collects $500 for eating a donut dunked for a full five seconds in a toilet bowl.

Finally, we get three "Shart Stories" (7:12) from Comedy Central's "Shart Week." The three stars of "Workaholics" each share the gross circumstances of personal sharting experiences (Bing it if you don't know/can't figure out what that is), Anders' being the longest and most detailed.

Kyle Newacheck struggles to keep a straight face in the Season 2 bloopers reel. Jillian (Jillian Bell) offers some variations on her flirtatious talk with Naomi in Season 2's collection of deleted scenes and alternate takes.

Season 2 likewise offers commentary, er, "Drunkmentary" on all ten of its episodes by the four focal creators and writer/executive producer Kevin "Kevbo" Etten. The first episode's track isn't bad, but things take a sharp turn south at the start of Episode 2 as the guys obscenely create a porn movie soundtrack for several minutes. Getting past that and through the rest is an endurance challenge as belches, inane shout-outs, invented Twitter hashtags, and talk of "blowing dro" and guest stars' penises take you to astonishing levels of immaturity for adults given real creative power.
An occasional remark on Kurt Russell, Steve Jobs, Ed Helms, Michael Jordan's Playground, or censorship may get your attention and some sincere facts regarding filming and visual effects do emerge. Still, who'd have ever guessed that the loathsome characters are actually smarter, more mature, and more likable versions of the creators?!

In addition, the set's second disc serves up three video bonuses.

A reel of bloopers (4:22) shows us ad libs, improvs, in-between take chatter, and yes, the occasional goof.

"Alternate Takes and Deleted Scenes" (16:03) are self-explanatorily combined as opposed to Season 1's equivalent. As usual, the more you like the show, the more you'll appreciate these, even if there's nothing groundbreaking among the cuts.

Kyle Newacheck amuses Blake Anderson with his soft drink can balancing act in "Behind the Scenes in the Writers Room." The Workaholics Blu-ray menu offers many mature smushed face pictures of the guys like this one.

Last but not least, "Behind the Scenes in the Writers Room" (14:43) takes us inside television's least mature writers' room. A variety of casual sources (including cell phone cameras) capture the boys entertaining themselves with horseplay, vulgar talk, and, once in a while, a bandied about story idea.

One item not carried over from the Season One DVD is the insert with unique access code to three free song downloads by The Wizards, the guys' ren fair rap group, from their 2009 album Purple Magic. I'd guess it was an oversight and not anything more malicious than that.

Each disc's menu plays a slideshow of wild cast photos while a much extended version of the theme music plays. In a nice touch, the pop-up menu works over everything on the disc. Each episode is divided into five or six chapters, though no scene selection menus are offered.

Typical for a Paramount Blu-ray, the discs do not resume playback. That's especially frustrating on a television series you won't consume in one sitting. Furthermore, these BDs don't even support bookmarks on episodes.

Adam (Adam DeVine), Blake (Blake Anderson), and Anders (Anders Holm) hatch a plan in their shared work cubicle.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

After two seasons, my feelings on "Workaholics" remain mixed. The show definitely has some funny ideas and moments, but the immature tone and petty characters prevent me from enjoying it more. The logic behind the creative choices is understandable and likable characters are not a requisite for a funny sitcom, but pushing the envelope with gross gags and slacker/stoner types just doesn't really do it for me as it does for the show's numerous vocal fans.

So long as they have a Blu-ray player, those fans will be satisfied by Comedy Central's two-disc, two-season bundle, which delivers a high quality presentation and a lot of extras at a very reasonable list price. Those with hi-def setups who bought Season One on DVD have good reason to unload it and replace it with this BD set.

Buy Workaholics from Amazon.com: Seasons 1 & 2 Blu-ray / Season One DVD / Season Two DVD

Buy from Amazon.com

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Reviewed May 29, 2012.



Text copyright 2012 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2011 M.O.C.: Mail Order Comedy, 5th Year Productions, Avalon, Gigapix Studios, Comedy Partners,
and 2012 Comedy Central Home Entertainment. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.