Strangers With Candy: Season Three

A lot of television's broader comedy requires familiarity for appreciation. And comedy doesn't come much broader than Strangers With Candy: Season Three. Originally appearing on Comedy Central from 1999 to 2001, this show is so over-the-top that until its conventions are recognised and digested it's hard to take in. Strangers With Candy is a two-pronged attack built around Amy Sedaris's Jerri Blank character and a format derived from after school specials. Here's the premise: 46-year-old Jerri, a lycra-stretching, dentally disfigured ex-prostitute, after a life of substance abuse and jail time, goes back home and re-enrols at Flatpoint High School. If you don't foresee getting a good laugh from scenes involving gay bashing, animal cruelty, racism and syphilis, syphilis, syphilis, Strangers With Candy isn't for you. You should also rule it out if you have an aversion to goofy dancing, track team girls with beards and relentlessly stupid people. When it comes to celebrating the moronic, SWC moves in the same elite circles as Beavis and Butthead and South Park. More than anything it's a vehicle for Sedaris, who sets the tone with her willingness to completely abandon anything resembling dignity. Jerri's outfits alone define Sedaris's commitment to lampooning a pasty, solvent-hazed America. Unflinching in its political incorrectness, and borderline crazy like vintage Jerry Lewis, Strangers With Candy: Season Three is a celebration of super-trash. Plus: bloopers, more. (Paramount)