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The Sarah Silverman Program – Season One (2007)

by on 2013/04/14

Sarah_Silverman_Program_2007“Mrs. Silverman was my mother, and she was a bitch. I’m Sarah.”

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I had once written on this site that I believed children needed to complete a post-secondary degree before they watched Sarah Silverman’s Jesus is Magic. In fact, my exact words were, “Please, please, please don’t show this to your children until they have received a post-secondary degree from a respected university.”

I really love Ms. Silverman. I do. I was worried, however, that she posed a bit of a Bob Roberts-type danger for the very, very stupid, or the as-yet uneducated. For fans, you’ll know that Sarah loves to channel a ditzy, empty-headed, self-absorbed twit to make a stinging comment on our vapid, sexist, bigoted society.

But if you aren’t in on the joke, and you think her persona, casually spouting racial epithets, is in earnest, it could be a little like the horror show of right-wing frat boys singing the anthems from Bob Roberts – the infamous fictional story of a folk-singing, right-wing candidate for the U.S. Senate.

In her book, The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption and Pee, Silverman said the laughs from these kinds of fans are the “mouthful-of-blood-laughs.” The laugh comes at the wrong time – smack-dab after the racist or sexist slur – for the wrongest, wrongest reasons.

All of my concerns notwithstanding, I decided Miss_Tree, my favourite teenager, had reached a point where her sagacity, good naturedness and general educational levels (she attended a trial university course) were sufficient to begin a tentative foray into Ms. Silverman’s world.

I thought The Sarah Silverman Program would be a good place to start.

Turns out I was right to relent and let Miss_Tree witness the hilarity that is Ms. Silverman.

Miss_Tree got the joke. (Thanks be to Tucker Smallwood).

I read that Comedy Central wasn’t overly thrilled at the per-episode cost of SSP Season One. I can see why – there are some serious production values in this certifiable romp through an unemployed, self-centred woman’s life in Valley Village, CA. Stop-motion animation sequences, car accidents, a giant Evita-style set, a supernatural haunting, full-blown music videos – each episode is positively baroque with comedic tangents and flourishes.

Elaborate production supports a simple premise. Sarah’s got nothing going on, save caring for her dog Doug (that she found in the garbage), leaving time for 24/7 insensitivity. Her sister Laura (Sarah’s real-life sister Laura), a nurse, pays her rent.

When Sarah isn’t being rude and parasitic to her enabling sister, she’s having brunch with her gay neighbours (gaybours) Brian Damien Spukowski (Brian Posehn) and Steven Ned Myron III (Steve Agee). Laura’s love interest is Officer Jay McPherson (Jay Johnston) who makes no secret of his disdain for the lazy and frankly, personality-disordered Sarah.

Sarah’s breathtaking thoughtlessness, her ability to make every situation about her, is somehow improbably and completely adorable. She experiments with lesbianism, cough syrup, being a stage mom, rooming with a homeless guy and having sex with god. All with hilarious (and no doubt, polarizing) results.

I suppose know what pole I’m on …the funny one with a Sarah on top.

Miss_Tree vehemently agrees. I have now have a rabid Sarah Silverman fan on my hands. Now I guess I need to find a teenage-proof place to hide Jesus is Magic) for just a little while longer.

Stay in school, sweetheart.

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Rated TV-14

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