Rick [2003]

Funny is funny whether you're gay or straight, and Rick & Steve is a very funny series. A comedy breakthrough in more ways than one, this stop-motion animated sitcom premiered on the Logo channel on July 10th, 2007, and "The Happiest Gay Couple In All The World" became an instant hit with Logo's target audience. The show's gay and lesbian demographic shouldn't scare off potential straight fans, however: Rick & Steve is unabashedly R-rated with its provocative and occasionally raunchy humor (this is definitely NOT a show for prudes), but it's readily accessible to any open-minded fans of The Simpsons and South Park. Expanding on an award-winning 1999 comedy short that he created with animated Lego figures, series creator Q. Allan Brocka brings refreshing candor to Rick (voiced by Will Matthews), Steve (peter Paige), and all the other plastic-toy characters who populate West Lahunga Beach, "the gayest of gay ghettoes" where Rick & Steve share their "fabulously decorated double-income-no-kids home." In the premiere episode "Guess Who's Coming for Quiche?," Rick is thrilled when his lesbian best friend Kirsten (Emily Brooke Hands) asks him to be a sperm donor so she can have a child with her partner Dana (Taylor M. Dooley), a mullet-sporting bull dyke who hates men with a passion. The only problem is that Steve and Dana can't stand each other, and much of the humor in Rick & Steve arises from their constant barrage of gay and lesbian insults. Adding to the fireworks is the co-dependent coupling of 19-year-old "club kid" Evan (Wilson Cruz) with Steve's best friend Chuck (British gay icon Alan Cumming), a "bitter old queen" who's disabled and HIV positive. Also included in the regular cast is Condi Ling (Margaret Cho), the show's resident fag hag (er, make that "alternative lifestyle companion") and Rick & Steve's occasionally magical cat Pussy, who can talk, but only when she wants to. Good writing is the foundation of any successful sitcom, and the 6-episode first season of Rick & Steve has plenty of it. Loaded with snappy comebacks, outrageous one-liners and absurd situations that somehow make sense, the series is propelled by a defiant disregard for political correctness, but its edginess (unlike the juvenile antics of South Park) derives from good-natured compassion for its mostly-likeable characters, contrasted with a low-budget aesthetic that combines Day-Glo pastels and primary colors with simple Playskool anatomy. Released almost immediately after the first season ended in August 2007, this highly entertaining DVD offers an abundance of bonus features including 12 hilarious one-or-two-minute "digisodes" originally shown on the official Rick & Steve website, a pair of informative behind-the-scenes featurettes, interviews with the voice cast, and clips from other MTV Networks programming. (Check out the clip for "Tranny 911" - it's almost as funny as Rick & Steve.) The only thing missing here is the original Rick & Steve short from 1999 --Jeff Shannon

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