TV on DVD: Tracey Ullman's State of the Union: Season 2 (2009)

Now Available to Own

Eager to unload all of the knick-knacks, collectibles and "so many dreadful gifts" given to her during “so many trips ” by throwing a presidential garage sale in Crawford, Texas, Laura Bush begins pricing everything in sight with the exception of her perpetually sleeping husband George W. (now up to twenty hours
counting sheep from sixteen while in office) or the Lincoln painting she took as a souvenir.

Of course, it isn't the real Bush nor is it the real J.K. Rowling, Renee Zellweger, Ariana Huffington or countless other characters embodied by the talented award-winning comedienne Tracey Ullman in all seven episodes contained in the second season's two disc set.

But through the course of the DVDs, it doesn't seem to matter whether she's impersonating a celebrity or creating her very own unique and beloved characters of all races, both genders and various ages since the one constant throughout is that hilarity comes first.

However, this time around making a point definitely comes second. And while Ullman's comedy was always topical as evidenced in this superior program to her previous HBO hit Tracey Takes On, the second season of Tracey Ullman's State of the Union finds her far more eager to mix in the pathos she was always unafraid of exploring along with the humor to ensure her spins on immigration, health care, child profiteering, and the treatment of women from all walks of life are understood on a humorous, philosophically humanistic and political level.

To this end, it isn't quite as mindbogglingly hilarious as the first season as even my favorite characters like the Bollywood musical singing pharmacist Padma Perkesh and airport security screener/amateur healthcare provider Chantal feel slightly generic when intercut with newer material or more serious topics.

Nonetheless, it avoids the curse of the sophomore slump completely as we explore couture for Supreme Court justices, a lesbian wedding gone haywire, babies being trained for the Olympic games, and “rush hour” along the Texas/Mexico border.

From imagining the Dalai Lama on Dancing With the Stars to tagging along with J.K. Rowling on the author's 5-City American Litigation Tour or going after the everyday annoyances like airplanes charging five dollars for emergencies to outsourcing our health care by suggesting a trip to India to take care of all of our needs sans co-pay, the series is growing a much larger social conscience that happens to coincide fortunately with a larger cast better equipped to handle some of the bigger ensemble gags to ensure that Ullman can make the points she wants without sacrificing quality.

While she's willing to risk the laugh-a-minute approach by inserting some either mildly humorous or just plain ironic/sad storylines into a jam-packed half hour to ensure we understand the full effect of turning the mirror back on ourselves, it still makes for first rate television.

Furthermore, Tracey Ullman's State of the Union stands alongside The Daily Show and The Colbert Report in opening our eyes to some of the mad comedy we miss in a typical newscast that works in tandem with Ullman's mission to prove that when it comes to comedy, nothing – not even the white house – is sacred as when America is one's muse, all individuals are skewered equally.

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FTC Disclosure: Per standard professional practice, I received a review copy of this title in order to evaluate it for my readers, which had no impact whatsoever on whether or not it received a favorable or unfavorable critique.