Creature Comforts America is brilliant, superb, extraordinary, original, great, sublime, funny as hell, hilarious, slightly irreverent, smart, wonderful, very imaginative, a little dark and twisted at times and something you will watch over and over again not just to get the subtleties of this Nick Park / Aardman Animation work of genius but also because it will make you laugh once more, sometimes even louder. While most American versions of British TV lose a lot in the inevitable bastardization the networks impose on it, Creature Comforts America The Complete First Season is not only as good as the original British version, it is even better and a little edgier. I was absolutely thrilled to get the Creature Comforts America DVD set. I had planned to record every episode when it originally aired on CBS but they moved it around or it vanished, or whatever. Now I can enjoy all the episodes of this really brilliant Nick Park Aardman Animation show and get the extra features. Woo Hoo!!!!!
Creature Comforts America is more a show for grownups than kiddies: some of the topics are a bit over the little ones' heads and there a couple of stop-motion plasticine animation or claymation moments (dogs sniffing another dog's butt (episode 1) a quick mention of the word penis and of soft porn -in two different episodes-) that particularly sensitive soul parents might object to. But unless you find open toed shoes risqué this 2 DVD, XX episode set is must watch entertainment that will not traumatize your kids. I'd even recommend this Creature Comforts America DVD set for family viewing on the SUV's DVD player during long drives but I fear parents will always be looking to the back seat to see what they missed and that simply makes for very dangerous driving conditions.
If you are unfamiliar with the Creature Comforts concept, the staff at Aardman Animation goes around the country asking basically simple questions to many different people and then take the best, funniest, most original answers and transfer these interviews to various stop-motion animated plasticine animals and creatures. The animals are very life-like and part of the fun is some of them are recurring characters answering totally different questions. I especially like the sow mother and daughter team
It is impossible to get over how smart and imaginative the Claymation in Creature Comforts America DVD is. For example, one of the segments of episode 2 features the question "What is art?" and it is of course first answered by dogs playing poker (one of which cheats) The dog who comments on print making is also brilliant, as are the two pigeons on a statue who say that art is a way of leaving your mark. Something that happens here that did not happen in British series is some of the answers are then echoed in another claymation animal -such as when the dogs comment on the gorilla who does paintings in a zoo before you get the gorilla's answer to what is art.
A lot of the humour in Creature Comforts America comes not only from what was said in the original interviews and their transposition to claymation animals but also from the many little details the Aardman Studios animators add to the scenes and often to the background. Pay special attention to what the two polar bears in the back are doing in the Episode 3 Winter segment. The deer at the deer crossing discussing his fears is another great example of how imaginative the animators can be in adding that little touch of dark humor to the scene.
I am still totally puzzled at how, where, and who the interviewers talked to to get the comments for the Episode 3 At the Zoo segment. The transposition is so incredibly believable that you really think these are comments real zoo animals would make. My guess is part of this segment was taped at an old folk's home and with people who work in a zoo but the origins of some parts really baffle me. Watch for the antelope with the balloons.
One of my many, many favorite questions and answers is when a kid giraffe asks another kid giraffe what she is afraid of and she answers heights. The Working segment (episode 6) features a really really funny bit involving a reindeer and Santa Claus.
It is also the out of context transposition of what the people were originally talking about with the segment topic that sometimes will really make you laugh. For example the original question had to be about pets you like but transpose this to a crocodile discussing his eating habits (Creature Comforts America The Complete First Season DVD 1 episode 5) and you get something totally different and funny as hell. You also have to see it to believe what they did with the two wine tasters in that segment. Whoever came up with that one deserves an award of his or her own.
If there is one weak segment, relatively speaking, on the Creature Comforts America DVD it is the Talent Show segment of episode 6. There again, though, there are some pretty good moments, especially using the kid who can do armpit farts.
DVD 2 of Creature Comforts America features all the extras: 19 Deleted and alternate scenes which are fun to watch and feature a couple of really dark jokes, live action videos (very lame) and some character compilations that are clips from some of the shows but focusing on one or two of the characters.
We get quite a few DVDs here and we have learned to share but the Creature Comforts America The Complete First Season DVD is something that is not leaving my sight, ever.
Creature Comforts America Episode List:
Episode 1: Animal Magnetism, Secrets and Lies, Pets at the Vet
Episode 2: Self Image, What Is Art
Episode 3: Winter, At the Zoo
Episode 4 Growing Up, Fears and Phobias, Feet
Episode 5: Communication, Feeding Time, Parrot Tongue Twister
Episode 6: Working, Birds, Love Animal Style
Episode 7: Great Outdoors, Pet Peeves, Talent Show