Review: Impractical Jokers, Season One

If you’ve ever had an affinity for hidden camera comedy, Impractical Jokers is the show for you. Funny, goofy and a little less cheesy than most shows of its type, the truTV show is one of the undiscovered gems on television. The complete first season is now on DVD.

I was first introduced to the show through a friend, who seemingly had every episode stored on his DVR for his on-demand viewing pleasure. Over the last six months, anytime he had friends over and there was a lull in conversation, watching Impractical Jokers came up as a quick fix. No one has ever turned him down.

Impractical Jokers is about four guys who formed a comedy troupe in high school and now get paid to make fools of themselves, and each other. The concept is simple: the guys compete in a series of embarrassing challenges where each one has to do something simple like serve hamburgers at White Castle or steal groceries from people in a supermarket. The catch: the other three are watching in another room and telling him exactly what to say and do. If he refuses, he fails the challenge.

The show both thrives and sets itself apart from other hidden show cameras due to the chemistry between the four friends. A good chunk of the laughs are derived not from the actual challenge but from the reactions of the four men. The guys banter constantly and often crack each other up, which in turn has a similar effect on the audience. Furthermore, due to moral reasons, the guys may refuse to do or say something that could be particularly offensive to the “victim;” often these moments are the funniest.

The one aspect of the show that is missing, that is otherwise common to hidden camera series, is that Impractical Jokers rarely shows the reactions of the unwilling participants once they learn they are on camera. Impractical Jokers keeps things focused on the dares, but it would be nice to see how some people react to the gags – even if those reactions are restricted to the DVD set.

Impractical Jokers: The Complete First Season includes approximately 10 minutes of deleted scenes, commentary for five episodes and four brief segments that give a little insight to each of the cast members. The DVD set also includes several “behind the scenes” segments, though they don’t actually go behind the scenes; they are just random montages devoted to each guy. In other words, a waste of time.

The actual bonus features are disappointing – one can only imagine how much random comedy is left on the cutting room floor – but if you’ve never experienced Impractical Jokers, now is the time.

By Erik Samdahl
Related categories: Comedies, DVD Releases, Movie Reviews