In the sparse DVD collection of its first and only season, Comedy Central’s “Stella” follows comic trio Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter and David Wain through 10 uneven episodes. The triumvirate – all of “I Love the ’80s” fame – play socially awkward versions of themselves, donning purposely cheap suits and generally acting with an inability to relate to anyone other than each other.
Lacking any semblance of a plot, “Stella” is essentially a series of sketch bits strung together into a weak narrative, often involving run-ins with various neighbors and landlords. The resulting episodes are spotty and indicate clearly that “Stella” was better suited for its original medium as a standup comedy show by the troupe of the same name.
But chemistry between the three former New York University comics is undeniable. Having acted together since the late ’80s, they seem completely at home with one another, pulling off the most outrageous stunts with impressive ease. Their brand of irony-fueled, straight-faced humor is original and endearing. They often use uncomfortable silence, useless babbling and general absurdity to fill in our postmodern social gaps. They also manage to cover touchy topics without being too offensive (a bit about Nazis in the pilot episode is a must see).
The extras, however, are a weak attempt at beefing up a barebones DVD. Various bloopers, deleted scenes, and retrospective pieces are unnecessary and poorly presented. Die-hard fans may enjoy seeing the “Stella” trio sit down to discuss their history together, but overall the entire collection is just a drop in their career bucket. Its strain of scattershot, strait-jacket comedy just can’t survive. Fortunately for David and the Michaels, VH1 is always hiring.
Show: 2 out of 5 stars
Special Features: 1 out of 5 stars