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Featured TV on DVD Review: Key and Peele: Season One

September 24th, 2012

Key and Peele: Season One - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray

Key and Peele stars Keegan Michael Key and Jordan Peele, who previously worked together on MADtv. The premiere of this sketch-comedy show was watched by 2 million people, which is a huge number for Comedy Central and does raise expectations for the show. Is it worth watching if you missed it the first time? Or was it hype and a good lead-in that gave it those numbers? And if it's the former, is the DVD or Blu-ray worth picking up?

The Show

Like most sketch comedy shows, this one is hard to review without spoiling jokes. So I will stick with a general description of the show, plus initial impressions after eight episodes. First of all, one could call this a spiritual successor to Chapelle's Show, as it has a very similar format. Most of the show is prefilmed comedy bits with Key and Peele introducing them to a live studio audience. We get to see their strong chemistry here, although not every bit works. The hit to miss ratio is strong enough that it is an asset.

Both Key and Peele are Black and that does have an impact on the humor. They do look at the racial issues that is different than many have in the past. (Their bit on trying to act more black when around black people, for instance.) Or having a Black side and a White halve of their personality. They also spend a lot of time poking fun at racial stereotypes and most of these skits are very funny. Although there are times I think they concentrate on racial issues a little two much.

There are quite a few highlight skits throughout the season. Ty Burrell has a guest shot as an SS agent looking for two escaped negroes, who are Key and Peele, in really poorly applied whiteface. (They look like mimes.) Tha Incredible Mack rap song. Jordan Peele does an impressive Obama impression in a number of sketches, while Keegan Michael Key plays arguably the most famous recurring character, Luther, Obama's Anger Translator.

Not every skit works, but enough does that it is an easy recommendation.

The Extras

Extras include audio commentary tracks on four episodes with the two leads, who have great chemistry in these tracks, as they do on the show. Next up are seven minutes of outtakes and a four-and-a-half minute long interview. There are seven Luther the Anger Translator clips, including the one on the show. Finally, there are two behind-the-scenes clips from the South Beach Comedy Festival. There is also an Easter Egg.

The video quality is very good, given the type of show it is. You can't expect the same level of quality as a first-run movie, or even a higher budget drama, but the level of detail is sharp enough and the colors are vivid enough to be a step up from the DVD. There are no signs of digital manipulation or compression issues. The audio is solid, but uncomplicated, mostly front and center. The dialogue is clear, which is all that really matters for a comedy like this.

The Blu-ray is only $2 or 17% more than the DVD, which is an excellent price to pay.

The Verdict

The hit-to-miss ratio of Key and Peele is excellent throughout Season One and with better than expected extras, the DVD or the Blu-ray is worth picking up. The show doesn't need to be seen in high definition to be enjoyed, but $14 for the Blu-ray is a deal.

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