'Indecision 2004': Many Happy Returns

"The Daily Show" makes its DVD debut with a set that revisits the Bush/Kerry election. (Jean Roy - Comedy Central)

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By Jen Chaney
washingtonpost.com Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 28, 2005; 12:00 AM

"The Daily Show With Jon Stewart: Indecision 2004" (List price: $39.99)

Release Date: June 28

The sharp, satirical minds behind "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" regularly poke fun at politicians and celebrities. So it comes as no surprise that "Indecision 2004," the first-ever collection of "Daily Show" episodes on DVD, takes great pleasure in mocking itself.

"Choice of full-screen or letterbox versions. (For letterbox, please tape cardboard to the top and bottom of your TV screen.)" advises the promotional text on the back of the box. You know a DVD will be funny when you're already laughing before removing the cellophane.

Indeed, this three-disc collection -- featuring full comedic coverage of last year's Democratic and Republican national conventions, the first Bush/Kerry debate and election night 2004, as well as other campaign-related segments -- could give even the stodgiest policy wonk a case of the giggles.

"We put a lot of repackaging into [the DVD]," host Jon Stewart quips during the introduction to disc one. Turns out he's serious. The bonus features disc is comprised of familiar (but still funny) segments by the show's correspondents, audio commentaries on three of the "news" pieces and a few less frequently seen bits, such as the phony PSA ("Continental Skiff Boat Oarsmen for Veracity") created for last year's Emmy Awards. Introductions hosted by Stewart and correspondent Stephen Colbert on the first two DVDs round out the extras. Many fans may be left wanting more.

Still, many "Daily Show" moments -- like Sen. John Edwards's announcement of his candidacy for president ("We're a fake show, so I want you to know this may not count," advises Stewart) or coverage of Zell Miller's spitting-mad keynote address during the Republican convention -- merit multiple viewings; so it's nice to finally have them on DVD and in uncensored form. (Uncensored, by the way, means all the f-words and s-words usually bleeped during Comedy Central broadcasts can now be heard.)

It's unclear how many consumers will be anxious to relive news events that happened less than a year ago; but for many, "The Daily Show's Indecision 2004" will be a welcome treat, as well as a sign that, hopefully, more robust "Daily Show" DVD packages are coming soon.

Most Impressive Bonus Point: The back of the box wasn't kidding about this: Correspondents Colbert, Samantha Bee, Rob Corddry and Ed Helms actually sing the National Anthem in four-part harmony. And you know what? They don't sound half bad.

Most Played-Out Bonus Point: The animated "Schoolhouse Rock" parody -- "Daily Show Rock! Presents Midterm Elections" -- is mildly amusing, but might have been funnier if we hadn't seen a similar bit on "The Simpsons" 10 years ago.

Funniest Bonus Point: It's a tough call, but the title has to go to Colbert's introduction to the second disc, "Requiem for a Show That Was Daily," in which the always hilarious correspondent takes a "nostalgic" look back at a show that is still on television. Whether he's paying a visit to the office copy machine, Old Xeroxy, or fondly remembering Stewart when he's sitting right next to him, Colbert is truly in classic form.

Also New on DVD This Week: "Diary of a Mad Black Woman," "Gunner Palace" and "The Pacifier."

If you have feedback about "Bonus Points" or want to suggest a DVD for review, e-mail Jen Chaney.


© 2005 The Washington Post Company

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