First a note that these Internet DVD reviews are going to be far less detailed than they once were, simply because I have a ton of them to do and will never manage anything if I’m that insanely thorough for each. So essentially, I need to be lazier in order to be more productive, so please bear with me on this.
Up until now in the world of Chris Bores, I have reviewed the first DVD volume of the Irate Gamer, as well as the first season (complete run?) of Haunted Investigators. If you recall I find the Irate Gamer fascinating in a not entirely positive way, and Haunted Investigators is more dull than offensively bad. I will be reviewing volumes 2 and 3 of Irate Gamer soon but in the meantime, let’s switch things up a bit and talk about the recently released DVD of his side-show, Irate the 80’s.
I guess I should briefly mention what this actually is. Essentially it’s The Irate Gamer except instead of video games he’s reviewing a bunch of things from the 1980’s (except Bud Bowl, which I think was predominantly the 90’s, but anyway). A brief overview of the subject is given, then we get a little history, some personal opinion, and then things are capped off by giving the item a rating of either “Nostalgic Overload” or “Nostalgic Mediocre”, the latter of which I’m nearly 100% convinced makes no grammatical sense at all. I’m not sure if there is a third rating when something is bad since it has yet to be given out.
I had only seen a couple of episodes of this before getting the DVD (you’ll remember that I, often foolishly, go into these things blind) and they were the older ones back when it was just rants about breakfast. As a core concept, the idea is intriguing. A quick look at the episode subjects got me borderline excited since damn near all of them are things I have fond memories of. I mean take a look at what we got here:
Yummy Mummy Cereal
Garbage Pail Kids
Ninja Turtles Cereal
Not bad right? Just the fact somebody is actively talking about Madballs was enough to get me a little curious. Of course my thorough familiarity with the work of the Irate Gamer really dampened my expectations before going into this.
I will say straight out that I Rate the 80’s is a huge leap over The Irate Gamer in my opinion. I chalk much of that up to Bores seemingly giving a shit about the things he’s talking about here. I’ve said before that with The Irate Gamer it always felt like he couldn’t care less about reviewing games and was only doing it because it was the thing to do, at least at the time. He made claims of games he loved as a child but just, I don’t know I never really believed him. This is all opinion based so who knows, maybe he really does have affinity for classic games, but it certainly doesn’t feel like it. This show feels more genuine. When he says he grew up playing with these toys, it’s far more believable. So that right there makes this the superior show, but it’s still not without numerous issues.
Let’s start with the actual review/information element of things. It’s ok. You get some history on the subject to kick things off, which can definitely be a little dry. If often feels like you’re listening to someone read paragraphs off of Wikipedia, and I haven’t looked into this too much so there’s a very good chance that is exactly what is happening. One of my biggest issues however is that far too many episodes come down to a series of lists. Garbage Pail Kids, He-Man, Madballs, and Muscle consist largely of Bores going through each series of figures/cards/whatever in chronological order and saying what was released. In Series 1 we got these figures - list. They were a hit so we got a Series 2, which contained these figures - list. The Bud Bowl essentially follows the same formula, going chronologically through each commercial and giving a quick summary. The Kool-aid video is also almost entirely Bores rattling off flavours. Maybe there’s just not much to say about these things, but it doesn’t make for the most riveting viewing. Once the nostalgia factor wears off it just becomes tedious.
So that’s the half documentary portion, how about the half zany antics? Fittingly enough, the zaniness suffers from the same issue - repetition. Well that and the fact that they aren’t that zany. But mostly the repetition. In just about every episode, you can be damn sure Chris will be attacked by whatever he is talking about. Be it Madball, Skeletor, MUSCLE figure, or beer bottle, I can nearly guarantee that it will come in and attack Chris at least four times before the video is through. The rule of three does not apply here. Also this show falls victim to the Family Guy syndrome (also heavily prevalent in The Irate Gamer) of making a reference but not really putting a joke behind it. At one point Bores ends a video by showing up in a replica of A-ha’s Take on Me music video. It has no connection to the preceding video and is not a tease for his following video. It just happens. At least it is indeed a reference to something from the 80’s, so it’s fitting. It’s just not very funny.
Most of the other jokes don’t fare much better and often feel shoehorned in. If you’re not familiar with the Cousin Joey character from Irate Gamer (it’s just Bores wearing kids clothes and pitching his voice up) you damn sure will be by the time this DVD is through since he shows up no less than 3 or 4 times and at no point feels necessary. I get that it’s supposed to represent Bores as a kid when these things first came out, but it feels unnecessary each and every time. This show may work a whole lot better if it were played more straight but then I don’t know if I want to watch a Madballs video that is done with no humour. So I guess be funnier? Or at least have the documentary and humour aspects flow together better. Oh and it’s ok to only use a joke once.
I guess I should say something nice before we move on so I will say that a couple of the videos do stand out as being of higher quality. The Micro Machines one probably comes the closest to joining humour, history and personal nostalgia together in a more seamless way. I also liked at least the core idea of the Turtles Cereal video, where a decades old box of cereal is opened and consumed on camera. So there’s still hope!
Even if I was a little softer on this show than The Irate Gamer, the presentation of the actual DVD is worse here than it was there, which is actually a wee bit astounding. It’s not as though this needed to be a rushed product or anything, but it really feels like Bores had a 17-minute window to make a DVD and this is what he put together.
Let’s start with the packaging. The main image is the one used online as well, which is a minor complaint but would it have been that hard to come up with an exclusive DVD cover? Oh and the copy on the spine is upside down. I own hundreds of DVDs and this is the first one to do that. So I have to place it so the cover is upside down so this doesn’t look fucked up on a shelf.
I also need to type out the description on the back of the box. It reads:
“Youtube Celeb Chris Bores Rates everything from the 1980’s in this hit Youtube series. From Ninja Turtles cereal, to Micro Machines, to Mad Balls, each of these franchises are reviewed with alittle dash of crazy cutscenes to go along with it. If you love 1980’s pop culutre, than don’t miss this show!”
Now it’s important to note that I didn’t fuck up the rewrite, those errors are lifted directly from the back of the box. Culture really is spelled like that, there really is no space between “a” and “little”, etc. I’m not writing this to mock the guy’s grammar, I assume he can string a sentence together. I’m writing this because you can’t fuck up this bad on a DVD you want people to pay money for! And a decent amount of money too! You don’t even need to read over it really, Word underlines the shit for you. I should also mention that in the episode list, Yummy Mummy is actually listed as Mummy Yummy. The whole thing is pretty insulting.
The bonus features are pretty ridiculous as well. There are four selections on the menu. The first is a documentary about the origin of the show, not the most interesting watch but not terrible. Then we get bloopers which are largely Bores screwing up his lines to the camera and then making wacky noises. Then you get the Micro Machines commercial, which is literally footage from the Micro Machines episode, cut out and placed as it’s own selection. Finally there’s supposed to be a deleted scene from one of the episodes but when you select it, you just get the Micro Machines commercial again. How does this happen?! You have four selections on your bonus menu, you seriously didn’t click them all to make sure everything worked before you slapped this up for sale?! That is completely insane to me.
So the actual show is not the worst, but there are only 11 episodes and nothing has changed between Youtube and this DVD so you’re getting the exact same content. They come to a running time that’s under an hour total. I can’t see revisiting them too often, if ever, either. With the bonus content added in you get about an hour’s worth of watching here. For 15 bucks, it’s really not worth it. I was going to write more but I think that about sums it up perfectly actually. Moving on!