Human Giant: Season One

Human Giant: Season One
What with all the trite celebrity obsession and questionable reality shows MTV is pushing these days (Making the Band 4, That’s Amore and the ever-so-confusing The Hills), it’s nearly unbelievable that they not only took a chance on Human Giant but had the sense to spot such talent in the first place. The best American sketch comedy since Mr. Show — and based on one season alone, arguably the better of the two in my mind — Human Giant is the brainchild of comedians Aziz Ansari, Rob Huebel, Paul Scheer and director Jason Woliner. Mixing provocative spontaneity, childish abandon and indie pretension, the series doesn’t exactly "reinvent sketch comedy” the way one big time magazine described it but it certainly gives the tired genre a kick in the nuts before getting caught and thrown into a sewer. Nothing is sacred with these dudes, as they find endless inspiration in such taboo areas as child exploitation (i.e., shutterbugs, an aggressive child talent agency), drug abuse ("Junkie Genie”), bestiality (a killer whale, of all creatures) and 9/11 (back to shutterbugs again, with an action/disaster film starring children as "Lil’ Osama” and "Lil’ George W.”). The troupe have a true gift for embracing inappropriate behaviour, to the point where it never gets too ridiculous or shocking — yes, even when they break the leg of Lil’ Osama. Perhaps their strongest ability though is targeting clichés and turning them upside down with biting accuracy: re-establishing hipster cool with a NASA spacesuit; using a time machine to go back and get a few bottles of Crystal Pepsi; fighting the killing machine that is a group of metal heads moshing; or portraying an indie marketing guru threatening Pitchforkmedia with a Colombian necktie if they don’t choose Tapes ‘N Tapes as "Best New Music.” Best of all though, the foursome simply come across as normal, cool guys who have the same record collection and dumb ideas as you and your friends — only they’re in a position to bring them to the masses. And thanks to a little help from their famous friends, there are a number of great cameos, like Nick Swardson as Rob’s vagina’s agent, Patton Oswalt as a die-hard but rational fan and Ghostface Killah, who explains the best way to see his shows is by getting your legs broke. A second disc of extras is tacked on for even more insanity, including live footage of their weekly stand-up routine, Crash Test, some outtakes, unaired scenes, deleted stuff and a highlight reel of their 24 Hr Human Giant Marathon that ran on MTV last year. Plus: commentary, season two teasers. (Paramount)