Impractical Jokers: Season One (DVD)
Warner Home Video / 2011 / 374 mins / TV-14
In the wake of the Jackass boys leaving the TV stage, the arena is open for several dorky kids to get in on this base form of comedy. Enter Impractical Jokers, a truth-or-dare style reality show without the truth option. Four friends basically dare each other to pull the most ludicrous pranks in public places and businesses where they often act as employees. If they refuse the dares too many times or don't score enough points, the loser at the end of the episode has to accept an extremely uncomfortable dare.
Essentially, it's a Jackass competition show. And while the whole freaking-people-out-in-public bit can wear thin, I have to admit I did burst out laughing at a few of these bits. What makes these segments work is that these four friends have a higher tolerance for embarrassing themselves. This makes them jump into these dares with glee rather than awkwardness. Hence, the comedy here is actually quite effective. I'm surprised these guys haven't decided to form their own legit comedy troupe.
The competition aspect is also a little more creative as they're not all judged by whether or not the dared will go through with their task. For instance, while daring each other as White Castle cashiers, the winner is judged based on if they receive a tip for their efforts. When the boys approach strangers with a petition they don't know the subject of until they read their clipboard, they win based on if they can convince the strangers to sign. This gives the dares a little more of a challenges and forces the boys to really sell their dare.
It feels a bit odd to be watching a show like this from a network like TruTV. But, hey, for a quick cash grab on candid camera humor, it's surprisingly funny. The four men who challenge each other are all pretty likable and the majority of their antics end up being more fun for all involved than mean-spirited pranks with the intent of anger. For that reason, it may slip under the radar as their competitors are much more physical and a little more grotesque with the gags. Though it's not as shocking, it still ends up being a whole lot of fun that most audiences can enjoy.
Warner Home Video turns in a typical, but still satisfactory, DVD for a reality show. The 720p transfer and Dolby Digital 2.0 audio look about as decent as I expected for a release that crams up to nine episodes per disc. No major errors, but nothing really noteworthy with the discs.
Extras include a handful of deleted scenes, a behind the scenes featurette, an introduction to the stars of the program and commentary on five episodes. Usually I don't expect too many decent extras with reality series, but these were a delightful surprise.
Impractical Jokers doesn't quite have the insanity of the other ridiculous stunt programs, but their humor is so effective that it doesn't need to compete in that arena. Granted, it's very simple humor that won't really make you think, but darned if it didn't make me a crack a smile. It may not be remembered years from now and probably won't lead to a movie deal for these dudes, but Impractical Jokers is an entertaining distraction nonetheless.