The PJs Season One DVD Review–A Lot Better Than You Think
Sometimes you look at something and you can’t imagine how anybody could enjoy it. Sometimes you’re convinced that something is going to be a total waste of time and perfectly good effort before you even give it a proper chance. And that’s exactly what I got with The PJs Season One, a copy of which the folks at Lions Gate sent on for me to review.
The PJs Season One takes us out to the Hilton-Jacobs housing project in the middle of scenic downtown Detroit (or so Amazon tells me–I don’t remember hearing mention of Detroit in the series, at least not here. Hit the comments section and tell me what episode it was in if you caught it.). And if you’ve been to Detroit lately you know how ironic it is to call downtown scenic. While it’s not quite as bad as The PJs portrayed it (or wasn’t back in 1999 when the series first emerged; it’s gotten somewhat worse since then), it still makes a good backdrop for the series. The Hilton-Jacobs project is something of an urban death trap, made worse by the apathy and semicompetence of building superintendent Thurgood “Super” Stubbs. His wife Muriel attempts to keep him on the straight and narrow with her longsuffering good nature, but finds her efforts often derailed by the preposterous cast of characters around her, such as irascible curmudgeon at-large and former thirties grifter Mrs. Avery, obese family the Hudsons (mother and father Hudson can’t actually leave their apartment due to their girth, and son Juicy seems well on his way to joining them), a Haitian vodouisant named Mambo Garcelle (more often simply called “Haiti Lady”) and more besides.
It surprised me how often I laughed at the various bizarre situations and events here. The residents of the Hilton-Jacobs found themselves in some strange positions, yet nothing that was out of the realm of at least believability. One episode, for instance, revolved around a penthouse apartment in the building that was nicer, and much larger, than the others. The residents each vied for the apartment themselves, but eventually found a different, and better, solution to their dilemma. They started a rooftop garden, a neighborhood watch, and attempted to save a ruined movie theater in the neighborhood, but at most every turn, something outlandish happened during their efforts and most of what happened was negated and often never discussed again in the grandest sitcom style.
Oh, and the whole thing’s filmed in Claymation. That just makes things even more surreal.
The end result is a surprisingly comic excursion that deals a few good chuckles, but not a whole lot of big laughs. I’m still laughing over the joke: “What’s behind every strong black man? Don King taking 90 percent.” That’s a quote, by the way–save your flames for the people who wrote it.
The Screenhead Ten Scale gives the reasonably funny experience that is The PJs Season One a seven out of ten. It’s got some good laughs, and though some may be offended (see the above example), many more may find some chuckles out of it. Some may even get both.