In Living Color: Season Two (review)

Whites, blacks, men, women, gays, straights: No one escapes the razor wit of producer-star Keenan Ivory Wayans’s (White Chicks) sketch comedy show, still pertinent and relevant nearly a decade and a half later. Groundbreaking not just for its interracial cast but for its truly integrated attitude, these 22-minute episodes, which feel longer than they are, are packed with incisive, hilarious social commentary and pop-cultural satire, outrageous characters that were instantly classic when these 26 installments first aired in 1990-91: Homey the Clown, The Head Detective, the deliciously politically incorrect Men on Film. They’ve all aged well, partly because of the smart approach Wayans and his team — including brother Damon (Marci X) and sister Kim (Juwanna Mann), David Alan Grier (King of Texas), Tommy Davidson, Jamie Foxx (Collateral), and Jim Carrey (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) — took, sending up hypocrisy and deconstructing stereotypes while never descending into cruelty. Damon Wayans’s palsied superhero Handi-Man, for instance, has a sweetness in him that negates any potential unkindness in the portrayal of him; all these characters, including what is arguably Carrey’s funniest ever, the supremely silly Fire Marshal Bill, have soul. The only odd oversight in this terrific package, which includes lots of commentaries and featurettes, is the lack of chapter stops within episodes to allow the viewer to jump from sketch to sketch.

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