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Look Around You: Season One (DVD Review)

14 Jul, 2010 By: John Latchem

Street 7/20/10
BBC Video
$24.98 DVD
Not rated.
Stars Nigel Lambert, Robert Popper, Peter Serafinowicz, Nick Frost, Sarah Alexander, Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright, Matt Lucas, David Walliams.

This droll series of short films spoofs those educational filmstrips that were in vogue in the 1970s.

Airing on BBC in 2002, “Look Around You” is the product of a virtual who’s who of modern British comedy, from creators Robert Popper and Peter Serafinowicz to guest stars Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright.

The parodies are presented in such a deadpan style that a viewer who didn’t know any better might at first glance think they were real. It might be fun to show them to some dullard to see how long it takes him to figure out it’s a joke.

The gags are more witty than hilarious, but the creators have so committed to the set-up it’s hard to not feel a profound appreciation for the attempt.

The 10-minute “modules,” as they are called, deal with various topics of pseudo-science and are, for the most part, gibberish. One of the segments even deals with ghosts as a serious topic. Another explores the mysteries of the brain, described to us as “like the heart, but with a brain.” There are also interviews with an intelligent form of calcium, and an experiment that grants the subject superpowers by feeding him a mix of sulfur and champagne.

The show has become something of a cult hit, having gained traction in America recently on Adult Swim and picking up a number of famous fans, some of whom provide guest commentaries on the DVD. Most notable are “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, as well as Superbad co-stars Michael Cera and Jonah Hill.

The DVD also includes a re-creation of the British Ceefax teletext system.

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