There’s a lengthy scene toward the end of “Trail of Tears,” the third episode from Strangers with Candy‘s third season, where Jerri Blank (Amy Sedaris) inexplicably hoists a water fountain through a window. It’s comparable to a scene from a season two episode where the 46-year-old high school freshman, confronting her illiteracy, laboriously attempts to spell the word “cat.” These are scenes that really need to be seen to be appreciated, and no amount of description can possibly give someone who has never seen the show an accurate depiction of what Strangers with Candy is all about. That said, it’s probably one of the best TV shows ever made, subversive and socially conscious in the South Park mold, but nowhere near as concerned with making a statement. In fact, creators Sedaris, Stephen Colbert and Paul Dinello seem to go out of their way to make the wrong statements. The show found its tone early on, and while the cast claims to have hit their stride in the third and final season, season three is just as hit-or-miss (again, mostly hit) as the first two. If anything, Jerri got much better looking—is she starting to look pretty or have I been watching the show too long? (Coincidentally, Sedaris reveals more of herself than ever in the series finale, which features a gaggle of guest stars—Cheri Oteri, Janeane Garofalo, Paul Rudd in a “Jordan Catalano” role, and Winona Ryder, who attempts to make Jerri popular—as well as a host of spectacular finale-esque clichés that, poetically, lead Jerri back to the street.) Season three features more of Jerri’s ever-evolving personas and hairdos (my favorite is during the jazz band recital in “There Once Was a Blank From Nantucket”) as well as her increasingly hilaaarious one-word expressions of defeat (check out her confused “quandary,” also from the “Nantucket” episode). Another notable aspect from the third season is the expanded exploration of the gay relationship between Chuck Noblet (Colbert) and Geoffrey Jellyneck (Dinello), who, by the way, looks surprisingly good in a speedo. Who knew?
As with the season two set, melodramatic musical cues are loud and clear, as is dialogue. Image quality is a bit better (and so are the production values). Colors are bright, especially the season three-specific yellow/orange hue of Jerri's teeth. The 10 episodes included here are presented in 1.33:1 full frame (duh!).
No commentary this time, but the surprisingly long (and oddly edited) multi-part blooper reel-which clocks in at 25 minutes, longer than an actual episode-is reason enough for fans to own this DVD set. (Apparently someone read my review of the season two DVD-or not.) Also included are a superfluous dance sequence compilation and an even less valuable animated storyboard for the opening credits. Oh, and one more thing: There are actually chapter stops this time! (And to think it only took them three seasons to figure that out.)
A little lean in the features department, but the blooper reel on this third season DVD set of Strangers with Candy is worth the price of admission alone.