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Detention Lounge, Vol. 1

(MVD Visual; US DVD: 30 Jan 2007)

An example of the sophisticated level of humor presented on Detention Lounge, Vol. 1: Plastic surgeon finds out a client has not paid for her breast implants, so he hires a repo man to take action. Repo man creeps up on busty girl, he drags her off camera, girl emerges with fake blood smeared across her (marginally) flattened chest, repo man emerges with two bloody water balloons in his hand.


In what has to be the most chronically unfunny comedy DVD to come out in a very long time, a group of New York City hardcore musicians, “pissed off at the NYC music scene and all the visionless, gutless club promoters who try and run it”, (according to the accompanying blurb) attempt to create their own version of Hee Haw, with catastrophic results.


Led by a dude named Bocko, the lead singer for the band Weedkiller, this modest little troupe of amateurs’ attempt at comedy is an absolute trainwreck, with no sense of comedic timing, no sense of when a sketch has worn out its welcome, and most fatally, no sense of humor to speak of. You know how Saturday Night Live buries its lamest sketches between 12:45 and 1:00? Well, the ones on Detention Lounge are infinitely more squirm-inducing. The show was not recorded in front of a studio audience, but then again, if it was, nobody would be laughing, anyway.


Sitting and watching this excruciating 123 minute DVD is like the only sober person being forced to watch home videos by a group of wasted friends who think it’s all hilarious, and in fact all the sketches are written and shot as if everyone involved was insanely high or roaring drunk. We all know the DIY ethic remains strong in hardcore music, but it goes overboard here, as scenes are sloppily shot, boom mikes slipping down into the frame, cameras zooming out too far, exposing the edges of the green screen, the audio muddy, and coupled with the utter dearth of laughs (another quickie: Pirates spot a gay man walking on the water, cos, well, that’s how those guys are. One pirate asks, “Is it Jesus?” “No,” say the other, “More like a MARY!”), anyone watching would be choosing death over this, if it weren’t for the convenience of the on-off switch.


But I have to be fair. They try. Bocko, who seems to be the primary creative force here, does what he can with his limited acting skill. And an artist who calls herself Purple Pam puts in a mighty valiant effort to squeeze whatever laughs she can out of some of the most idiotic sketches ever conceived, whether it’s singing (very well, I might add), jiggling her boobs, mugging the camera, or even having her and a friend try to straddle a Playskool Sit ‘n Spin while wearing revealing miniskirts (the closest this writer got to chuckling). On the other hand, experienced comedians like Jim Florentine and Don Jamieson, from Comedy Central’s Meet the Creeps, are either just phoning it in or are actually that devoid of genuine talent.


Like Hee Haw, there’s plenty of music, and the NYC hardcore and metal presented here is the DVD’s lone bright spot, with Jesus Knevil and the aforementioned Weedkiller tearing out some workmanlike hardcore tunes, while aptly named crust-punk band Krust and stoner-doomsters Sun Lord deliver some heavier numbers. Even the flamboyant Purple Pam pops in for a few acoustic numbers, proving her songwriting ain’t too shabby, either.


Unless you’re a fiercely devoted fan of New York hardcore, though, there is absolutely no reason to waste one’s valuable time with this atrocity. I watched this DVD, dear reader, so you wouldn’t have to. And you are very welcome.


I have to lie down now.

Rating:

Adrien Begrand has been writing for PopMatters since 2002, and has been writing his monthly metal column Blood & Thunder since 2005. His writing has also appeared in Metal Edge, Sick Sounds, Metallian, graphic novelist Joel Orff's Strum and Drang: Great Moments in Rock 'n' Roll, Knoxville Voice, The Kerouac Quarterly, JackMagazine.com, StylusMagazine.com, and StaticMultimedia.com. A contributing writer for Decibel, Terrorizer, and Dominion magazines and senior writer for Hellbound, he resides, blogs, and does the Twitter thing in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.


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