Wonder Showzen: Season Two

In the space of a single season, adult-oriented kid show parody Wonder Showzen went from manic to meta to moronic. Following its relatively acclaimed "Sesame Street on acid” first season, the second runs with the big "hits” from the first - annoying street interviewing puppet Clarence and kids asking inappropriate questions segment "Beat Kids,” and tries to make them the centrepiece of the increasingly self-referential MTV hit. Second season episodes are still named thematically - "Body,” "Science,” "Justice,” etc. - but no longer adhere to those themes in content. As the season progresses, it veers from meta comedy (asking a focus group to comment on Wonder Showzen segments, then inviting them back to comment on the full episode in which they themselves unwittingly appeared) to annoying riffs on being irritating. From the test marketing joke comes a Hee-Haw rip-off called "Horse Apples”; by the end of season two, they make an entire episode of "Horse Apples,” which is essentially Southern stereotypes making the corniest, offensive Borsht Belt jokes around. Clarence takes this to a new level with his special report on boring television, where he asks street interviews to "make good TV” on the spot. Subjects hum and haw, say nothing and eventually walk away. Exactly what one should do when faced with the second season of Wonder Showzen. Plus: Clarence and "Beat Kids” outtakes, more. (MTV/Paramount)