J.D. Lafrance
Viva La Bam: Season 1 DVD Review

Viva La Bam: Season 1

May 4, 2005

Starring: Bam Margera, April Margera, Phil Margera, Don Vito, Ryan Dunn, Raab Himself, Brandon DiCamillo, Rake Yorn, Tim Glomb, ,

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DVD Review

J.D. Lafrance

No matter how bad your parents thought you were as a kid, they should thank their lucky stars that they aren’t Phil and April Margera. Professional skateboarder and all-around pain in the ass, Bam Margera is the Dennis the Menace for the new millennium. After the Jackass show ended it splintered off into two strains, one of which, Viva La Bam (2003), stars Bam and his crew (other Jackass survivors, Ryan Dunn, Raab Himself, Rake Yorn, Brandon DiCamillo) as they find new ways to torment his long-suffering parents. Bam and his gang pull all sorts of pranks and stunts to make his parents’ lives a living hell. Throw in the nearly incomprehensible Don Vito (Phil’s rather large brother) and you’ve got the makings for one of the more entertaining reality shows.

Every episode seems like a perverse endurance test for Bam’s parents. How much of his crap are they going to put up with? There is even an episode that addresses this as Bam spends a day trying to see if he can do everything in his power to make his father mad. In one episode, while his parents are away, Bam transforms their house into an indoor skate park and invites fellow pro skater Tony Hawk to try it out. In another, Bam denies his father food for 24 hours. As you can imagine, the concept of the show is pretty easy to grasp.

At first glance, Viva La Bam seems like merely a brainless continuation of the Jackass format. And, in many ways, it is. However, after watching an episode or two it becomes apparent that each one is a carefully edited mini-melodrama. The episode begins with laughter as Bam and his buddies goof around, hit each other or Vito, then it arcs as Bam does something horrible to his parents and this is followed by a dramatic conclusion. As crazy as it may sound, in its own way, each episode tells a story.

You end up feeling a lot of sympathy for Bam’s parents by the end of each episode. However, they do get their revenge on Bam in one episode where they turn the tables on their son. Originally, he was going to take them on a boat ride to Three-Mile Island and leave them there. April catches wind of this and leaves him and his friends there instead. Of course, Bam, ultimately, gets his revenge.

I have to admit that I wasn’t crazy about this show when it originally aired. But subsequent re-runs on MTV have worn me down. The show is actually pretty funny if you’re willing to engage it on its level. We’re not exactly talking high-brow humour, here, and to its credit, Viva La Bam doesn’t pretend to be anything it isn’t.

Special Features:

Fans will be pleased to know that all the episodes are featured gloriously uncut with all the cuss words intact! Breathe easy, parents. The uncut nastiness is limited to the language. The shameless nudity is still blurred.

There are audio commentaries for every episode by Bam, Phil, April, Ryan, Brandon, Rake, Tim and Raab. As you can imagine, these are pretty funny, chaotic tracks as Bam and co. dish on all sorts of behind-the-scenes stories. Bam, obviously, dominates these tracks, but his mom does comment quite a bit as well. Although, the glaring omission of Don Vito is unacceptable!

There are nine deleted scenes, including more footage of Bam building a skate park in his parent’s house and Raab under the thrall of a hypnotist while the boys were in Las Vegas. Another gem is footage from the Three-Mile Island debacle with someone putting a can of beans on a campfire and it exploding as soon as it was touched (fragments come dangerously close to taking Bam out!).

“Scavenger Hunt List” is the entire list of tasks that had to be accomplished from the season’s climatic final episode. There are crazy items, like “Get kicked in the balls by a kid,” or “Lick a mannequin’s ass.”

“Q&A**Holes” is a bunch of text screens with the cast answering several questions not so seriously.

There is a small collection of behind-the-scenes photos.

There is also music video’s for Bam’s brother’s band, CKY, Clutch, Turbonegro and the DiCamillo Sisters (basically Brandon, Bam and the lead singer from the Bloodhound Gang).

There is also music video’s for Bam’s brother’s band, CKY, Clutch, Turbonegro and the DiCamillo Sisters (basically Brandon, Bam and the lead singer from the Bloodhound Gang).

J.D. is a freelance writer who is currently doing research for a book on the films of Michael Mann. He likes reading anything written by Jack Kerouac, James Ellroy, J.D. Salinger, Harlan Ellison or Thomas Pynchon. J.D. is currently addicted to the T.V. series 24 and enjoys drinking a lot of Sprite. This is not a blatant plug for the beverage but if they ever decided to give him a lifetime supply he certainly wouldn’t turn them down.
view all DVD reviews by JD Lafrance


Rating: 84%



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