Wednesday, September 10, 2008

DVD Review: "The Carol Burnett Show," Vol. 3

This afternoon, right after I got home from work, I popped Volume 3 of my Carol Burnett Show subscription into my DVD player and was not disappointed in what I saw.

The first episode guest starred Carl Reiner, and opened with some cute Q&A questions from some youngsters in the audience. (Among them, "Is this a repeat show?" I love the way Carol handles all of the questions with such grace and aplomb). The first sketch featured Carol and Carl as a married couple trying to get approved for an insurance policy. The catch? Carol plays a very accident prone wife. You can just imagine the rest, all done in classic Burnett slapstick.

We follow with a semi-dramatic number, where Carol sings "Send in the Clowns," as a secretary in unrequited love with her boss, who is flying off to get married. Ahhh, interoffice romance...

We follow up with Carl Reiner as a marriage counselor, trying to mediate between Harvey Korman and his wife, Carol, who does an impersonation of Totie Fields, a comedienne from the 1960s and 1970s. I didn't know who Totie Fields was till today. Keep in mind, I'm 32 and The Carol Burnett Show aired its final episode three weeks after my second birthday, so there are a lot of 1970s pop culture figures I don't know about. So I went to good ol' YouTube, did a search, and came up with this clip, and this one, among others. The second one is a better representation of Carol's impersonation of Totie. I must say, Totie's pretty funny.

The sketch after this one is the funniest of the show. Carol plays a sassy supermarket checkout girl, and Harvey is her suffering customer, trying to score a date with the beautiful woman who's always hanging out at the grocery store. She's smacking gum, has the horn-rimmed glasses, and the teased blonde updo. It's classic.

Finally, the finale is a fabulous, fabulous number. Carol and the crew star as a Mexican acting troupe acting out the classic tale Little Red Riding Hood. Only here, it's La Caperucita Roja. Carol plays La Caperucita as Charo--or is it in reverse? Anyway, if I ever have three kids, I hope that my body is as fabulous as Carol's after she gave birth to three daughters. Her impression of Charo is amazing. And stay tuned for the very end; Carol sings part of her closing song in Spanish!

Next up is an episode with Steve Lawrence as the special guest. In the Q&A, Carol goes gaga because there's an actor from her favorite soap opera, All My Children, in the audience. I just don't understand why people go gaga over soap operas. The plots are unrealistic, everyone's sleeping with each other, and everyone is married 23 times to the same person. And what's with the constant soft-focus camera lens? Please explain, please!!!!

Anyhoo, the opening sketch features Carol and Harvey as married, overworked business executives who just can't find the time to have a simple cup of coffee. The same feeling kind of resonates today, with both overworked spouses and their families.

Steve Lawrence follows with a rendition of Cole Porter's "In the Still of the Night," accompanied on stage with the Peter Matz Orchestra, aka Carol's house band. I don't understand why Steve Lawrence didn't get more credit or recognition than he actually received; the man is an entertainer. The man can sing. And boy, does he have a voice.

Carol returns with both Vicki and Steve, as a woman who gets frustrated with her colleagues because they can figure out the answer to a riddle, and she can't. She gets even madder when her friends don't straight up tell her the answer. I myself got frustrated when I couldn't figure out the answer to the riddle. I'd google it now, but I'm too tired, and I'm in the middle of writing a post.

Then...comes comic gold. The first Tudball and Wiggins sketch. Oh, classic, classic, classic. Those are two iconic characters of television comedy.

The show finishes with a tribute to Universal studios, parodying pictures such as Earthquake and Rooster Cogburn. The most loving Universal tribute, however, comes for The Glenn Miller Story. Out of all of The Carol Burnett Show finales I've seen so far, this is my favorite. It's lovingly, thoughtfully, amazingly done. The Peter Matz Orchestra plays on stage in this one, and even plays the closing theme on stage. I'm so glad I have it on DVD.

So thanks again, Carol! Keep those DVDs coming!

1 comment:

Moozar said...

The answer to the riddle is white. It's a polar bear because you only get all southern exposure on the north pole.