Much like her cranky HBO counterpart Larry David, Sarah Silverman fans come in two flavors— you either like her or you don’t (and those who don’t really don’t). She’s funny and cute, but incredibly sarcastic and cutting and isn’t afraid to go over the line. That’s why her Comedy Central TV show, The Sarah Silverman Program, was so sharp and clever — and, when it was wisely programmed on Wednesday nights, a perfect counterpart to South Park — with Silverman unafraid to make herself look incredibly, unflatteringly bad.
Shrill, needy, demanding, neurotic and childish— the Sarah Silverman of the show berates her nurse sister Laura (Silverman’s real-life sister), despite taking care of her deadbeat sister financially and puts down Laura’s cop boyfriend Jay (Jay Johnston from Mr. Show). Antics ensue with metalhead gay neighbors Brian (Brian Posehn, another Mr. Show alum) and Steven (Steve Agee), who often double-date with Laura and Jay and usually end victimized by Sarah, who tries to do the right thing, but does everything from inadvertently calling the police on them and crashing their car. Sarah manages to be both immature and wise at the same time; unfettered by societal conventions, Sarah says whatever’s on her mind — often the awkward truth — no matter what the consequences are. The show manages to be both sunny and dark at the same time; it’s the kind of show where Sarah ends up hooking up with a benevolent, Morgan Freeman-esque God (Tucker Smallwood) one night and then uses his celebrity to make her look better at her high school reunion— or one where a viewing of Home Alone makes Sarah want to murder her neighbors.
The Sarah Silverman Program lasted for only 32 episodes over three seasons, all of which are collected in Shout! Factory’s exemplary new box set, which contains a ton of special features, including a series of digital animated shorts, behind-the-scenes videos, cast auditions, audio commentaries and the original 2007 pilot. TV sitcoms don’t get much bleaker or funnier than this. If you order through Shout! Factory direct, you get a free CD, "Songs Of The Sarah Silverman Program."
If you’re in the Los Angeles area tonight — June 27 — Sarah Silverman, Laura Silverman, Brian Posehn and Steve Agee will be signing the Complete Series sets at Amoeba Music in Hollywood at 6 PM. Amoeba is located at 6400 Sunset Blvd. at Cahuenga, just west of the Cinerama Dome and Arclight Cinemas. More info can be found here: Sarah Silverman Signing
Be on the lookout for more from Shout! this summer, including Mystery Science Theater 3000 Vol. XXIV (with both Fugitive Alien movies!) and, in the fall, the launch of Scream Factory, devoted to classic horror movies, including Blu-Ray special editions of Halloween II, Halloween III: Season Of The Witch, The Funhouse, Phantasm II and They Live.