In Living Color: Season Two

In its time, In Living Color was thought to be one of the most groundbreaking sketch comedy shows in history, a serious challenger to the standard-setting Saturday Night Live. Alas, time has granted SNL and producer Lorne Michaels an extended stay of execution, while ILC is a distant memory and its visionary creator Kennen Ivory Wayans has been relegated to directing ill-conceived films by his less talented younger brothers (i.e., Scary Movie, White Chicks). Such a future would've been difficult to imagine in 1991 during the mostly stellar second season of ILC. The strong ensemble cast had hit its stride after a fearless rookie year, enabling all of them to steal scenes in one-off sketches as well as bolstering the reps of their unique recurring characters. While utility players like Tommy Davidson, Kim Wayans, and Kelly Coffield have their moments (Coffield's "Andrea Dice Clay" is ingenious), the consistent core of this crew featured Damon Wayans, David Alan Grier and future Jim, James Carrey. On their own, these three created truly memorable characters such as Homey D. Clown, Handi Man, Calhoun Tubbs, Fire Marshall Bill and Vera De Milo, who rightly were prominent features throughout this season. Wayans and Grier form the hilarious gay "Men On" duo, and brothers Damon and Keenen provide some of this season's most memorable moments as the Uncle Tom "Brothers Brothers," as well as the shysty "Mo' Money" Homeboys with their scam infomercials. Carrey's budding genius is visible in every scene he's in, which saves him from being regarded as the show's "token white guy." Beyond the comedic treats, there is the influential musical programming spearheaded by Fly Girls choreographer Rosie Perez. As the "Season 2 Overview" feature suggests, Perez was key in keeping the show street by booking hip-hop giants such as Queen Latifah, Ice Cube and Public Enemy to play during the closing credits. Ironically, Perez's Fly Girls themselves (along with portions of the show's content) cause ILC to seem quite dated. By and large, however, this collection is an excellent document of an important, funny show in its prime. Plus: commentary, three featurettes. (Fox)