Rick & Steve: The Complete Second Season
Directed by Lucy Snyder
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Running Time: 176 minutes
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo English
MSRP: $ 19.99
Release Date: March 3, 2009
Review Date: February 21, 2009
Just as Broadway’s Avenue Q purports serious adult themes and topics through the medium of a Sesame Street-style kiddie show, so, too, does Logo’s Rick & Steve investigate serious gay issues amid the context of an animated comedy series. Now in its second season, Rick & Steve remains as politically incorrect as it was during its first season, in its own way as anarchic as South Park and occasionally as graphic. Most importantly, however, it remains funny and surprisingly endearing, the characters taking on a comfortable familiarity as viewers adjust to the skewed camaraderie between the gays and lesbians, their parents and friends as they traverse their own socially charged playland called West Lahunga Beach.
Longtime lovers Rick (Will Matthews) and Steve (Peter Paige) continue to have adventures with their friends Evan (Wilson Cruz) and his elderly paraplegic lover Chuck (Alan Cumming) and lesbian friends Dana (Taylor M. Dooley) and Kirsten (Emily Brooke Hands). Also around are fag hag Condie Ling (Margaret Cho), pet cat Pussy (Liza Del Mundo), and after the season premiere where she’s born, the infant Dixie (Lori Alan).
The season premiere concentrated on the elongated agony of Dana’s long delivery of her baby (though the parentage of the birth father is a season long mystery not resolved before the inevitable cliffhanger) with subsequent episodes finding a distraught Kirsten wondering why baby Dixie bonds with everyone they know but her. Among other memorable moments of the second season are the smackdown between the mothers of Rick and Steve (Steve’s mother being rampantly homophobic), a harrowing journey to San Francisco for Gay Pride Day, an investigation into the problem of lesbian gangs, and, best of all, a marvelously witty parody of The Wizard of Oz complete with tunes by house composer Meiro Stamm and also by Jeff Marx who just happens to have also been responsible for the music for the above-mentioned Avenue Q. In fact, almost every episode contains some terrific parody songs that are often the highlights of the 22-minute shows.
The voice cast does marvelous work in their respective roles. Peter Paige’s butch Steve is miles removed from the flighty Emmitt he portrayed on Showtime’s Queer as Folk. Alan Cumming does a superb job disguising his natural brogue as the elderly (but sexually randy) Chuck. Wilson Cruz, Will Matthews, Taylor Dooley, and Emily Brooke Hands have created real characters for these stop motion puppet figures. And some notable guest stars do some great work as well. Along with the aforementioned Margaret Cho, the season also boasts the likes of Lance Bass, Jennifer Coolidge, Andy Dick, Bruce Vilanch, Coco Peru, George Takei, Kimberly Locke, Alec Mapa, RuPaul, Robert Gant, Jason Lewis, Tori Spelling, and Mark Hamill voicing various characters.
Here are the eight episodes contained on the disc for season two:
1 - Labor Days
2 - More Wickeder
3 - Mom Fight
4 - Death of a Lesbian Bed
5 - Swallowing Pride
6 - House of Race Cards
7 - The Only Straight in the Village
8 - Married Christmess
The program’s 1.33:1 aspect ratio is faithfully delivered in these DVD transfers. Color is bright and rich, but without anamorphic enhancement, there is a good deal of bothersome aliasing in most episodes. However, there is no color banding, and the images are very clean, not surprising due to their recent vintage. Each episode is divided into 5 chapters.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio track is way too loud in its default setting. Upon lowering the volume, one notices that the left and right channels can sometimes occasionally overpower the dialog in the center channel. Still, for a low budget program, the sound mix here gets the job done just fine.
There are seven short subjects each lasting a minute or two featuring various couples from the show in specific situations like discussing Halloween costumes, imagining what super powers they’d like, or talking about Christmas presents. The disc also offers the option of playing all seven shorts in a 13 ¼-minute clump.
Seven members of the voice cast participate in brief interviews for the camera. The seven interviewed are Margaret Cho, Peter Paige, Miss Coco Peru, Robert Gant, Wilson Cruz, Perez Hilton, and Bruce Vilanch. The viewer can select individual interviews or watch them all in one 14-minute group. They’re in nonanamorphic widescreen.
“Making the Band” is an interesting making-of featurette showing how the animators film the figures using stop motion photography and also visits with craftsmen who fashion the various instruments (guitar, drums) as props for the figures. It’s criminally brief at only 5 minutes.
Three brief excerpts from other gay programming on Logo include scenes from RuPaul’s Drag Race (3 ¼ minutes), a Margaret Cho stand-up act (2 minutes), and Alien Boot Camp (3 minutes).
Politically incorrect, often raunchy, and more often hilarious, Rick & Steve: The Complete Second Season is lots of fun. Fans of the show will be happy to have the new episodes here with a decent selection of bonus material.