CHICAGO – The issue of gender identity, especially for those who are born with a vagueness as to what to call themselves between/beyond boy and girl, has come front and center in the U.S., both with the legalization of gay marriage and the callous repudiation of identity by trying to pass laws dismissing it (the North Carolina “bathroom” laws). The performance companies of The Living Canvas and Nothing Without a Company is currently staging “[Trans]formation,” which presents gender identity art by six performers, who perform most of the play in the nude.
DVD Review: Complete Series of MTV’s ‘The State’ Worth the Wait
CHICAGO – It’s a vastly overused phrase in criticism, but MTV’s “The State” truly was ahead of its time. I remember seeing the show in its original broadcast on MTV and thinking it was like nothing else on television. Now it would easily fit in the comedy landscape. After years of begging, fans of “The State” are finally being given a complete series set and it was worth the wait.
Perhaps one of the reasons that “The State” feels so ahead of its time is the frequency with which its cast members pop up in film and television now. The cast of “The State” would go on to work together on shows like “Stella,” “Viva Variety,” and “Reno 911!” and films like “Wet Hot American Summer” and “The Ten,” but they would also find massive success apart from the whole troupe.
DVD Rating: 4.0/5.0
Original cast members of “The State” included Kevin Allison, Michael Ian Black (“Reaper,” “Ed”), Robert Ben Garant (“Reno 911!” and co-writer of the “Night at the Museum” movies), Todd Holoubek, Michael Patrick Jann (“Little Britain USA”), Kerri Kenney-Silver (“Reno 911!,” “The Ellen Show,” “Role Models”), Thomas Lennon (“Reno 911!” and co-writer of the “Night at the Museum” movies), Joe Lo Truglio (“Superbad”), Ken Marino (“Reaper,” “Veronica Mars”), Michael Showalter (“Stella”), and David Wain (director of “Wet Hot American Summer,” “The Ten,” and “Role Models”).
The State: The Complete Series was released on DVD on July 14th, 2009."
Photo credit: Paramount Home Video
The complete series set of “The State” includes 24 episodes on four discs and a fifth disc of bonus material. The show ran from 1993 to 1995 and has been one of the most highly-desired DVDs since it went off the air. One of the reasons for the delay was the fact that the original broadcast episodes used a lot of popular songs that would cost a fortune to license for DVD. Consequently, most of them have been replaced courtesy of series composer Craig Wedren, “while maintaining the spirit of the original sketches as much as possible”.
Fans have been clamoring for the release of the actual episodes of “The State” and just their inclusion in a DVD set would have been enough to satisfy them, but Paramount and the gang from the show go the extra mile to treat their fans to the wealth of special features that they deserve.
Each episode includes a commentary track from a different selection of cast members and the fifth disc includes a treasure trove of extras. The group was constantly reworking and refining characters and the final disc in the set allows a peek behind the scenes of the show into what the gang thought wasn’t quite ready for TV. There are unaired sketches from every season, outtakes, promos, and special appearances from “The Jon Stewart Show,” “MTV’s Shut Up & Laugh, Panama City,” “Spring Break Safety Tips,” and “MTV’s Christmas Party Video”.
Most modern television comes out on DVD immediately after it airs in its original broadcast. With the depth and devotion to its fans evident by the complete series of “The State,” it makes one wonder if it wouldn’t be wiser for other shows to wait more than a decade to hit DVD.