MTV's 'The State' Finally on DVD!

From 1993 to 1995 MTV aired a sketch comedy show called The State, which launched the careers of future comic superstars–er, stars–Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter, David Wain (the three awesome dudes from Stella) and Reno 911's Thomas Lennon, Ben Garant and Kerri Kenney. (Not to mention Ken Marino, from Veronica Mars and Party Down and a bunch of other stuff. And Joe Lo Truglio, who's now on Reno 911 and had that great cameo in Superbad. And Michael Patrick Jann, who directed Drop Dead Gorgeous. And Todd Holoubek and Kevin Allison, who haven't done so much, or, at all since.)

For me and many other people my age, it was a huge influence on what type of stuff I find funny. Essentially, it's my favorite show ever. And now it's finally on DVD, after years of of rumor, innuendo and release dates that were later scrapped. Given the many false starts and like, 14 years or dreaming about such a day (even though I admittedly didn't know what a DVD was in 1995), I said I wouldn't believe it until I held the DVD in my hand, even though a firm July 14 release date was announced a few weeks ago.

Now I believe.

Unfortunately, my enthusiasm has been dampened by the same reason that it took so long to release these things. Nearly every sketch on The State had a song in it, and no one realized back then that securing the rights to such things for DVD releases would be prohibitively expensive. So all the great music–“Sexual Hearing” with Barry and Levon, “Don't Change” in the origami sketch, “Cannonball” in the try wearing pants sketch”–is gone, replaced by generic instrumentals. Sad times.

Sure, I recognize that it's a dumb thing to complain about–the jokes are still there, and yep, they're still as funny (or, nearly so) as I thought they were when I was 12. But the music really was important for The State, and each song was there for a reason. Skits like the bathroom attendant one seem almost choreographed to the music (in that case, “Voodoo Lady” by Ween). They fit perfectly, and also reflected The State's status as a product of a very specific point in early/mid '90s pop culture–and an early/mid '90s MTV show. What's even more terrifying is that in a few cases ($240 worth of pudding), removing the music meant also re-dubbing the dialogue, which results in some profound awkwardness.

But for most people that aren't huge nerds like me, it won't make a difference. Especially if you've never seen any of this before, and are interested because of, say, David Wain's films Wet Hot American Summer, The Ten and Role Models. And who cares if a Breeders song is missing, when you can experience greatness like this for the very first time?

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