America’s Funniest Home Videos – The Best Of Kids & Animals
Sound: C+ Extras: C Episodes: C
On the fringe of “reality TV” were some forerunners and
other unusual transitional works. The
advent of the camcorder was sooner or later going to have people turn the
cameras on themselves to reveal the worst more often than the best. NBC’s Real People towards the
beginning of the Reagan years was the transitional pre-camcorder era hit show
that opened the doors and the likes of NBC’s TV’s Bloopers & Practical
Jokes (which was good for a while until it felt too manufactured and phony)
showed people liked to laugh at other people beyond a You Bet Your Life
(reviewed elsewhere on this site) way. America’s
Funniest Home Videos became the final step in which people were asked to
send in their real life bloopers and became one of the all-time
cheaply-produced TV hits.
It even became a sort of long, drawn out game show and
this new Best Of Kids & Animals set offers “highlights” of the
series based on the title concept and throws in two $100,000 bonus contest
result episodes. I never liked this
show, but wanted to take a new look at it away from the sickening regular pace
of the show and especially without the commercials that seemed as frequent as
the entries. The show has not aged very
well, though it did not look great upon arrival. The old 1.33 X 1 full frame analog NTSC Beta and VHS tape entries
look horrible and have aged very badly, so they are not as funny as they may
have been, if ever. The regular
professional tapings fare a bit better.
More disturbing were reports that people were staging
accidents on purpose to kids and animals to win the money, which is more
disturbing than any of the stupidity you will see on Jackass (also
reviewed on this site) since those are grown adults consenting to what happens,
even if it is more graphic than this “family friendly” show would ever
show. That makes that aspect of this
show more sinister, ironically.
Taken for the kind of show it presents itself to be, America’s
Funniest Home Videos is that kind of “filler” TV people used to watch when
they had nothing better to do, but the Internet, DVD and other new
entertainment options changed that. For
nostalgia or those who are fans, the set has been put together by Shout!
Factory in three DVDs that run over an hour each, though the latter two get in
over 80 minutes. Maybe this is some
test to see if whole seasons would sell, but this might not be that kind of show.
- Nicholas Sheffo