When MTV picked up The Tom Green Show, they opened the floodgates to a whole new (and bizarre) genre of television; reality pranks. “But what about Candid Camera?”, you might ask. That show was close to this genre, but not quite the same. This new breed of prank show takes much more from reality shows such as The Osbourne’s than their earlier counterparts. In these new shows, the prank is not really a one-time event as much as it is a lifestyle. The main target of Bam Margera’s pranks are his loving and amazingly understanding parents. Viva La Bam is much less physically harmful than Jackass… and much more entertaining. Part of what made The Osbourne’s so addicting was the fact that for as odd as the family was, it was clear that they still genuinely loved each other. There is something of that spirit here as well.
So the show is entertaining enough. However, there are only 6 episodes on this disc. It is as if the producers of the disk know that they are offering a poor product to the consumer, as a note on the back of the package clearly states, “This is not the complete first season and contains no bonus features.” If that’s not the studio’s way of saying “this is a poor product”, then I don’t know what is.
Audio on this disc is adequate. As this is a show that is recorded documentary-style, there are many scenes where the dialog is hard to hear. However, I give credit to the show’s producers for subtitling those scenes that are hard to hear. While such a move certainly doesn’t make the show sound any better, at least it makes the action easier to follow.
The video is nothing special, but it gets the point across. As the show was produced for television, it is only available in full screen. While that is fine for television, it shows up “extra-small” on the PSP’s 3.5″ portable screen. The quality is very much the same as your typical shot on-the-fly documentary. Picture quality is not a major concern for this show. It is merely a means to an end.
Yet again, here I am with nothing to write about. Granted, there are a couple of trailers for other seasons of this show and for Jackass, but that’s the full extent of it. On the one hand, the show itself is a sort of a documentary, so any behind-the-scenes or making-of footage would be redundant. Still, a commentary track would be both cheap and easy to produce, and very entertaining.
As is almost always the case, a perfectly fine title turns out half-hearted performance on UMD. As is also almost always the case, I firmly suggest that if you are a fan of this program, you pick up the title on DVD instead of on UMD. While this release only includes six episodes, if you pick up the complete first season on DVD you get two more episodes, plus a selection of extras (including those commentaries I spoke of earlier). If you are a big fan of the show, I can understand picking this up so you can watch some episodes on the go, but as far as casual fans are concerned, they should most definitely go for the DVD releases instead.