Good TV... on MTV?

One of the most amazing things about Netflix is how easy it is to track down even the rarest, most obscure movie that you'd never have a chance of seeing if you weren't in a major metropolitan area and were solely at the mercy of Blockbuster or Hollywood Video. For me, one of the holy grail movies I've been dying to see for the better part of a decade was a documentary called How's Your News?. I came across an article about the movie in a magazine and it was hard to believe such a thing even existed, and the fact that whenever I was in a store that sold videos I always unsuccessfully looked for the movie only added to the mystique. When I got my Netflix account one of the first things I did was search for How's Your News? and, lo and behold, there it was. I popped it to the top of my queue, posthaste.

It's hard to describe the joy of How's Your News? without people getting the wrong idea. See, it's about handicapped people with disabilities like Down's Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy doing man-in-the-street interviews with unsuspecting passersby who often don't know how to react to seeing such people off the short bus, so to speak. Oh yeah, it was also produced and funded by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, which is enough to make most people who haven't watched and/or don't get the satire of South Park to assume that it's wildly offensive and exploitative.

It's not, though. It's really not.

The people who made the film are counselors at a camp for developmentally disabled adults with the philosophy that shutting disabled people out of normal life and pretending they don't exist is far worse than laughing and having fun with them. Besides, most of the laughs come from the people who are clearly freaked out by being questioned by a guy who speaks a language made up completely of gibberish, or a guy who is obsessed with Chad Everett of the old Medical Center soap opera or a guy in a wheelchair with severe Cerebral Palsy who can't speak at all.

It's an awesome movie that manages to be hilarious and moving and irreverent and I was shocked when after finally seeing the movie I looked it up on IMDb and found out it was being made into a tv show, on Mtv no less. The show premieres this Sunday night (Feb. 8) and if your a fan of South Park or Tim and Eric Awesome Show or Borat and aren't easily offended (which if you are, what are you doing on this site?) I highly recommend checking it out. That is, assuming Mtv doesn't find some way to ruin it. But what are the chances of that?

The same night, Mtv is also launching a show by the College Humor guys, called, um, The College Humor Show. Sketch comedy shows can be hit or miss but if they can pull anything off as awesome as the multipart Street Fighter: The Later Years series they did last year, it might be worth a watch.

John Shelton

Writer/Podcast Host/Professor

Born and raised in the back of a video store, Shelton went beyond the hills and crossed the seven seas as BGH's foreign correspondent before settling into a tenure hosting Sophisticult Cinema. He enjoys the finer things in life, including but not limited to breakfast tacos, vintage paperbacks and retired racing greyhounds.

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