Top positive review
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Possibly the edgiest show I've ever seen. More, please!
on 19 January 2012
WARNING: This show is not for the faint of heart! No, really: it's edgier and more pointed than a shuriken, sharper than a scalpel, and potentially more offensive than the smell of a roadkill skunk in high summer. When one of the more sympathetic characters is a serial killer who's released after 27 years (only, he never done it; he only said he done it so they'd give him his fingernails back), you have to wonder what possessed the BBC to release this series. I'll tell you what: it's laugh-out-loud FUNNY, is what. Taking a skewed, extremely dark, and unnervingly prescient look at Broken Britain years before it had even been given that name, "Monkey Dust" looks at all that is wrong in our society and pummels it with merciless, unrelenting, uncensored satire.
Using about two handfuls of talented voice actors (plus guest appearances by the likes of David Baddiel and Stuart Maconie), fun animation, spot-on writing, and the best and worst of modern music, "Monkey Dust" takes jabs at pretentious baby names, changing times, perverts, automated phone hotlines, incompetence in authority figures, mendacity in the downtrodden office-worker, the plight of the divorced dad, middle-class attitudes, repressed urges, sneery cyclists, corporate rebranding practices, theme pubs, celebrities, and scads of other topics, including a few of one-off quickie sketches and several recurring skits. Almost always set at night to better reflect and enhance the dark nature of its humour, the sketches stab straight to the heart of the matter with rapier wit, unerring accuracy, and the subtlety of a charging rhinoceros. You can play the episodes with Standard Audio or with Commentary from the writers, and with or without Subtitles or with or without Credits. If you choose the "Credits" option, the beginning of every sketch lists the artists, writers, and actors who worked on them, including the music used within the sketch. And it was this option that led to me spending a lot more money on Amazon recently.
An unexpected offshoot of my purchasing this DVD many years after the series was first shown on TV in the early years of The New Millennium is my sudden appreciation for modern music (and some music dating back to the 1970s, as well), which gets listed in the Sketch Credits. Not the cloned manufactured pop bands or carefully groomed wannabes courtesy of Agent Orange that dominate the charts these days (whose tunes are used throughout the show for purposes of irony and derision), but musicians like Paco Fernandez, Wasis Diop, Air, Pulp, Eddie Warner, The Eels, and several others, whose works are often complex, inspired, and supremely evocative. This show apparently gave us Goldfrapp before it became a well-known name. So I've been tearing around Amazon's listings lately to track down all the "good" music that is included in this show which I'd passed over in the last decade or more, and my music collection is much richer and all the more enjoyable for it. Thank you, "Monkey Dust"!
At the moment, all that is available of the three "Monkey Dust" series is this first volume, with "no immediate plans to clear and release further series on DVD," according to an e-mail sent to me by DVD publishers 2entertain when I enquired about the possibility of completing the collection. This state of affairs is highly unacceptable. So, if you liked this show, and you want to see the next two series, with great new characters like hysteria-monger The Pædo-Finder General, join in and give this product a favourable review, then I suggest you pester 2entertain with e-mails until they cave in and release Series 2 and 3. Scratch that -- See the Comments below. Another company has apparently picked up the rights for Monkey Dust. Pester them instead.
I feel I can safely recommend "Monkey Dust" for fans of other modern, no-holds-barred cartoons, in-your-face comedy sketch shows, and vicious satire.