Sunday, May 13, 2012

Penny Thoughts ‘12—Tenacious D (TV series 1997-2000) ***½

TV-14, 6 12-min. episodes
Creators: Jack Black, Kyle Gass, David Cross, Bob Odenkirk
Directors: Tom Gianas, Troy Miller
Writers: Jack Black, Kyle Gass, David Cross, Bob Odenkirk, Tom Gianas, Bill Odenkirk
Starring: Jack Black, Kyle Gass, Paul F. Tompkins

Back in the mid ‘90’s HBO aired an incredibly funny sketch comedy show called “Mr. Show with Bob and David”. Bob Odenkirk and David Cross were the show’s hosts and creative forces, but they relied heavily on their cast of players for material. They heard about a band that was playing comedy songs about hard rock music on acoustic guitars who were playing small clubs in the Hollywood area. They saw Tenacious D and knew they would be a perfect fit for “Mr. Show”. After introducing the world to the greatest band in the world, which consisted of a then fairly unknown Jack Black and his cohort Kyle Gass, Bob and David and Jack and Kyle decided that Tenacious D should have their own show.

The entire run of the series consisted of 3 half-hour shows (2 episodes contained in each) that were aired on the pay cable network over the course of four years. That’s right three shows over four years. That math is about right for Tenacious D. Although it was difficult to catch an airing of the short-lived show, the band would soon rise to prominence with their self-titled debut album, which consisted of odes and anthems in praise of their own greatness as a band and as sexual masters, and in worship of Satan. They’re pretty funny, if you can get past all the F-bombs.

Jack Black’s casting in the movie “High Fidelity”, in which he sang a Marvin Gaye cover, led to many people inquiring whether he was a real singer. This only added to the D’s legend, and people began to clamor for more from these acoustic Satan maestros. Their hard-to-find HBO series eventually found its way onto the D’s first video release “The Complete Masterworks”, which also included a live concert from their promotional tour for their debut album.

The series consists of sketches where the band mostly looks for inspiration for their songs about their own greatness. Almost every 12-minute episode includes a scene at an open mic night where they force the MC, played by comedian Paul F. Tompkins to read some ridiculous introduction for them. They also run into Sasquatch, crash a Christian cult, have a 70’s style kung fu street fight, and battle Satan by playing the Greatest Song in the World, which they can no longer remember.

On Tuesday, May 15, Tenacious D will release their third studio album “Rize of the Fenix” to the public. It is their most accomplished effort yet and promises that the D will be rocking out their greatness for many years to come.

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