The Daily Show with John Stewart: Indecision 2004(Paramount Home Entertainment, 6.28.2005)
As the DVD packaging indicates, this set brings together some of the most "repackageable" moments from one of the most memorable president elections of the last five years...also available on 326 Cassingles. So how do you package a show that's on four nights a week? It's an impossible feat. The next best thing is clearly what we get here. Having consistent coverage of a major historical event such as the 2004 U.S. presidential election packaged in one modest set is definitely a superior alternative to a random best-of compilation.
Not that this set is lean. The first disc contains four episodes from late July that cover the Democratic national convention. Disc two has four more episodes from late August/early September which take place in New York City and cover the Republican national convention. Finally, the third disc contains plenty of bonus material, as well as two crucial additional episodes. One supplementary episode covers the first presidential debate. The second -- which is actually the length of two full episodes -- covers the main event: election night. Both episodes are terrific, especially the one on the election because it's just so unnerving. By the end of the episode, everyone is quite depressed over the final results. However, as always, they manage to keep grace under fire and the episode is (again, as always) funny as hell.
Other extras include hilarious sections for each of the four co-anchors. These are additional segments related to Indecision 2004 content. Also included on some of these segments are audio commentaries (with Rob Corddry, Samantha Bee, and/or Ed Helms) that have absolutely nothing to do with what we're watching but are entirely funny as stand alone material, especially anything that involves Corddry and Bee together.
If you click on Jon Stewart (rather than one of his troops), you get to what's actually referred to as bonus material. We get a two minute School House Rock tribute, the national anthem performed by the four co-anchors, a story of a broken man whose jacket was tarnished from placing a polling place sticker on it, an Emmy Awards skit on continental skiff oarsman for veracity, and finally (don't think we forgot about) Steve Carell: Trail and Tribulations, in which Carell infiltrates the Howard Dean campaign.
Everything on this set is completely side-splitting and not-to-be-missed. This is one of those sets where you look though every morsel of extras, each and every faux commentary, and you can never get enough. Everything is fresh, relevant and entertaining, even the main menus. Speaking of which, I forgot to mention that each disc's main menu is accompanied by an amusing (skip-able) introduction.
So who's the funniest personality on the show? I'd have to say Rob Corddry and then Samantha Bee, a close second. Everyone else is great, especially Stewart who, naturally, carries the show. Still, Corddry and Bee are what I look most forward to whenever tuning in. Steve Carell is dearly missed -- though he has gone on to bigger and (debatably) better things -- and here's hoping The 40 Year-Old Virgin rocks my socks off.
The image and stereo sound quality of the show are top-notch. The full-frame video is sharp and clearly looks better than it did when it was broadcast. If you want to watch the show in glorious 16x9 widescreen, the packaging recommends that you simply tape cardboard to the top and bottom of the screen. Problem solved. -- Neil Karassik