At first glance when watching the MTV show Wildboyz with Steve O and the party boy Chris Pontius, one can easily say that some of the Jackass brethren found a nice little niche for themselves, with a nature appreciation show that could be described as National Geographic under the influence of Nyquil.
There is a quality to this show however that makes it worth revisiting several times, more than even Jackass would warrant. At the most basic element, MTV has given these guys a bunch of m…ney to travel the world, and explore some of the planet in ways that the tour brochures would never think to consider. Going to New Zealand, Australia and Africa and not having to pay for it is appealing no matter who you are. Sure, there are many jackass-caliber moments here (be prepared for lots of dumb bathroom jokes and scatological fun), but that’s also part of the theme behind the show, two people learning and understanding nature by experiencing some of the stupid things you’re told NOT to do. But watching great white sharks leap into the air one episode, and killer whales and bears within throwing distance of people in the next, makes for good TV, whether you’re Steve Irwin or Steve O. The young hipsters at MTV have managed to stretch the fruits from these trips into 2 small seasons of broadcasts (with a 3rd on the way), and the first of these seasons comes to DVD in a two-disc set.
Considering there’s a lot of cool music here, some old school punker stuff, the Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack is a mild, but forgivable, disappointment. The soundtrack does the usual solid job in reproducing the TV show here.
The video is widescreen, albeit 1.78:1 non-anamorphic. Since it’s pretty much handheld stuff, there’s nothing to drool over quality wise here.
Aside from the episodes on Disc One, commentary from the boys and some of the producers comes with each episode. One of the first sounds you’ll hear on the track is the cracking open of (presumably) an adult beverage, and the group gets increasingly more “fatigued” as the tracks go. So much so one of them falls asleep a couple times during the track. The track rambles at times, with little to no value to it, though the group recalls some of the girls they hooked up with during the travels. Though the episodes come without bleeps, the commentary is bleeped in various parts for one reason or another (too hot for MTV?), and you hear about a unique punishment for those who miss a scheduled call time. The “black mamba” is even covered as well. One has to see the black mamba to truly appreciate it, and even a couple of the cast members are victims. There wasn’t too much to listen to here, but if MTV had stuck a camera in the room while they watched the broadcasts and gave us a video commentary, that may be worth some entertainment.
Disc 2 starts with over 20 minutes of bonus footage, but most of the footage isn’t worth revisiting, as it’s largely comprised of outtakes and very brief clips of less than a minute. This, and other features like them are broken down into the 6 different areas of the world where they visited.
Next is a making of featurette which is the usual look at the creation of the show and some of the stories behind it, along with the history behind the black mamba, and some of the close encounters experienced with some animals. All in all, your usual look at a TV show.
Following that are over a half hour of outtakes that ironically are more deleted scenes than anything else. Be prepared though, the first one is pretty gruesome. There is a good clip in the middle of them where the boys go to a woman’s home in Soweto South Africa, and you see a really nice experience between the boys and the woman’s family. It’s the most human moment you may see on a show with two guys who like being naked a lot. Also in South Africa was a fairly creepy scene involving dancing and a bar where very few females have ever appeared. Overall the scenes are good, but a little too hit or miss for me.
Next is a Wildboyz Encyclopedia where you can highlight an area from the show, and view video clips of a couple of the larger animals of that area that were featured. There is also a bite list for each Wildboy (35 total), with the animal, bite location, and show it occurred, along with a set of text bios and interviews. 40 stills comprising a photo gallery are next, followed by 2 music videos and trailers for various MTV shows.
It’s a pretty good bargain; for $19.95 you get two discs full of entertainment, albeit some of it is kinda goofy, but it’s a very good ride and worth watching. Fans of Jackass will enjoy this set, and it is worth renting for those who like the Discovery Channel’s darker side.
Special Features List
- Over an hour of unseen footage
- Making-of featurette
- Music videos
- Encyclopedia and bite list