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Thursday, May 7, 2015

'Pizza' S5 DVD: Comedy Aggressively Australian as Vegemite

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[Editor's Note: This Australian DVD set is coded Region 4; playing the discs in North America requires a region-free DVD player.]

Finding the DVD set for series (my people call them seasons) 5 of the Australian sitcom "Pizza" while browsing the television section of Australian DVD distributor/producer Madman Entertainment nicely illustrates pleasant surprises associated with that exercise.

An effectively NC-15 rating for "Pizza" is one of the first hints that this show about a group of unruly pizza parlor workers is not your typical sitcom; an even stronger clue comes in the opening minutes of the first of eight S5 episodes. That opening segment has a narrator explain that protests about the numerous racial stereotypes has prompted changes that include altering the names of characters such as "Kevin the Kiwi." An immediate (and rowdy) retraction of the changes clearly shows that pizza ain't no "Two Guys, A Girl, and a Pizza Place" or even "The Popcorn Kid."

Actual changes from the prior season include parlor owner Bobo moving to a new location after enlisting the aid of Middle Eastern employee Habib to blow up the prior restaurant for insurance money. This scheme roughly coincides with apparently head pizza boy Pauly first dousing his car with gasoline and then igniting it in response to high petrol (my people call it gas) prices.

These changes mine humor from the low-income and crude customers at the shop and the tiny motor scooter that Pauly rides until getting a surprising new set of wheels through unsavory events.

Additional mayhem in the season premiere has Bobo starting a relationship with a woman who has a sordid not-so-distant past at the same time that his stereotypical Italian mother travels abroad to find him a good "pure" Italian wife.

An adventure that evokes thoughts of the similar (but more sedate) Canadian stonercom revolves around the theft of a police dug-sniffing dog for personal gain. The creative forces behind "Pizza" manage to introduce an especially un-pc racial stereotype in this dog-eat-dog one.

The laughingly unenforceable restriction of viewing to folks (nearly certainly to be almost entirely be males) over the age of 15 unless accompanied by a parent or guardian and the raunchy racial, sexual, and drug-related humor makes "Pizza" a great choice for red-blooded teen and college-aged boys across the globe. The degree to which it will appeal to the rest of the viewing public will depend on the extent to which you enjoy "Cheech and Chong," the more extreme fare that MTV airs, and webisodes of that ilk.

Regardless of where you fall on the above scale, "Pizza" is a good "slice of life" (of course pun intended) of this kind of program in Australia and the rougher side of Melbourne. It ain't no "Crocodile Dundee" or "Kangaroo Jack."

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Pizza" is welcome to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.