Strangers With Candy: Seasons 1 & 2 DVD Packs
Jerri Blank makes me "moist as a snack cake down there"
Reviewed by Kate X Messer, Fri., Feb. 6, 2004
Strangers With Candy: Seasons 1 & 2 DVD PacksComedy Central Home Video, $59.98
Jerri Blank makes me "moist as a snack cake down there." The big-bootied, buck-toothed, bisexual heroine of Flatpoint High, the fictional setting of Comedy Central's late, lamented Strangers With Candy, is no stranger to moist. Amy Sedaris, sis of famous humorist bro You Know Who, plays the 46-year-old high school freshman, Jerri. A prodigal "boozer, user, and loser," she abandons her wild orgy of drugs and prostitution to get her diploma "by age 50." For her metamorphosis into Jerri Blank, the already luscious Sedaris dons a partial fatty suit (bootilicious!), cowl neck, Maude hair, and some bad brown biker speed teeth (making Austin Powers' gnarly choppers look like dentifrice posterboy material). She breathes life into one of the most churlishly delightful creeps in all of sitcom history. Potty-mouthed Jerri spouts one-liners ("I like the pole and the hole") inspired by real-life Seventies motivational speaker Florrie Fisher. But the real homage here is to Divine, John Waters' perennial protagonist. Like so many Waters characters brought to life by dragactress Divine, Jerri is a feisty femme up against life's odds. In the way that Divine made matricide, rape by crustacean, and the electric chair fodder for funny, Jerri Blank shines bright, shiny lights on dark corners like vaginal itch and death by rabid dog packs. Unlike so much modern comedy, Strangers relies not on contemporary signifiers (like Britney Spears spoofs) but upon its own uniquely perverse universe. Still not convinced? What really nails this sucker onto the comedic-genius cross is its amazing ensemble cast. Co-creators and Second City alums Stephen Colbert (The Daily Show, "Looking for Mr. Goodwrench") and Paul Dinello (Exit 57) also co-star as secret homo lovers: the pinched ass-kissing history teacher Chuck Noblet and sensitive, self-absorbed art teacher Geoffrey Jellineck, respectively. Look for guest appearances by Bebe Neuwirth (Cheers), the all-grown Frederick Koehler ("Chip" from Kate & Allie), comedienne Janeane Garofalo, and SNL's Tim Meadows, among others. Comedy Central's DVDs feature spare but impressive extras, the original unaired pilot on Season 1, and an interview with the cast/creators from the Museum of Television & Radio on Season 2. Commentary is available on certain episodes. Mmmmm-Mmm! Good times, good times. Who needs extras among such delicious raunch and decadence? This is black humor with a big heart.