Not being a real rugby league fan, I was surprised in two ways by this DVD. The first was by the fact that it contains very little actual footy and the second was that it is actually funny on occasions. Being on the air for nearly ten years, The Footy Show succeeded in somehow surviving with an irreverent attitude and a bunch of blokes who don’t speak the clearest (or cleanest) English in the world. Hosting what is in essence a rugby league themed variety show, ex-players Paul ‘Fatty’ Vautin and Peter ‘Sterlo’ Sterling manage to keep the show at least headed in the right direction while all about them is chaos.
Subtly borrowing some of their ideas from other sources, the show appeals to the lowest common denominator some of the time, whilst remaining focused on the subject of rugby league. Not that this DVD contains any of this. This DVD is a collection of their funnier moments, street interviews, celebrity guests, regular segments and ad libs. Whilst no one should expect rocket science here, what good grace the show manages to find is let down by the ongoing gay jokes and stereotypes. Yes, homophobia is alive and well around here, folks. They’re pretty clever to have come up with a gay airline steward. Who would ever have thought of that?
Looking past this obvious failing, the boys seem to have a definite love of their game and are having a lot of fun with this show. On occasion it becomes a strictly boys only affair with talk of nuts and tackle and sausages and all manner of other lewd genitalia-related metaphors. This boys club is also apparent in the occasional sexist titbits here and there. Oh well. Still, it’s obviously entertaining to the army of devoted fans of the show and logically half must be women, so maybe I’m looking too deep or reading too much in. I dunno.
Being made for television before widescreen and then during the widescreen revolution, portions of this show are in original 4:3 with sidebars while the newer material is at 1.78:1 and 16:9 enhanced all the way. It isn’t introduced in any way other than a chapter title screen before each part and doesn’t even contain opening titles or the original opening night footage or anything. Still, with nine years worth of material to wade through, I guess they just wanted to crowd it with the laughs. To someone like myself, however, it might have been interesting to witness the humble beginnings of the show, but I suppose anyone interested in purchasing this DVD already loves the show and knows all about it anyway.
Flesh tones are all okay and natural enough, as are shadows and blacks. The colours are a little washed out at times and the film does have occasional segments that are fairly grainy, but this is due to the age of the original stock I imagine. It’s a little disappointing when this grain shows up though and you’ve gotta wonder why they haven’t attempted to clean it up a little. Anyone hear that cash register ringing? And right before Father’s Day and all (funny, it’s also DVD-5 – meaning single layered. Ka-ching!)
Dialogue (including occasional Neanderthal grunting) is fairly clear throughout and presented in Dolby Digital stereo. Music is even and well balanced when used, although it’s usually from a live band on set and sporadic. Sound effects are usually quite funny and translate well onto DVD. I can never get enough fart noises and naturally, with this DVD, there are plenty.
As far as extras go there’s just the one: The Making of The Footy Show, which runs for a quarter hour. This is a surprising inclusion because the main host, Paul ‘Fatty’ Vautin walks us through an average day making the show. He is actually rather reserved in this and wholly unlike the persona we see throughout the rest of the disc. That struck me as a little odd. There is also a weird moment at 5:16/7 which I only caught by accident on the machine readout. At first I thought it the layer change, but then realised it's single layered. I don't know what to call it as it doesn't affect the show in the least, it was just an oddity. Finally, the menu is animated with one particular scene from the show which repeats each time you come back to that main menu. A little irritating to say the least. Still, it is Fatty getting a pie in the face, so it has its humour factor.
So overall if your a big ol’ footy fan or a fan of the show, you’re bound to love this DVD. My brother lives in Melbourne and he loves it. He raced out to buy this the day it was released and was in raptures describing how funny it was and whatnot to the rest of us baffled family members on a recent visit (on video too, whatever that is).
There are plenty of laughs and I actually quite enjoyed it, regardless of my stand on football itself. It reminded me a lot of that sad and now deceased icon Hey! Hey! It’s Saturday! in some of its prop-related viewer contests (I give you ‘Crack a Fat’ where the viewer must break one of 20 revolving ceramic casts of the host, Fatty Vautin. The ghost of Plucka Duck lives on...) Without asking too much of the viewer, the laughs are delivered but for the rather lamentable gay jokes. Oh well. Some politically incorrect things take longer to eradicate from society than others, I suppose.
All up, over two hours of material for the hardcore initiates of the show and without doubt the first in a line of projected Footy Show Greatest Hits DVDs.