Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory: Season One
R1 - America - Paramount Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Ethan C. Stevenson (14th September 2009).
The Show

Does anybody remember what MTV used to be famous for? No? Well, along time ago in the early 1990's (and late 80's) there were these things called music videos, and, believe it or not, a majority of the programming on MUSIC TELEVISION was blocked around these videos. Then, in 1992, a strange thing happened: “The Real World” (1992-Present) appeared on the youth oriented network and slowly, but surely, as the ratings told executives that young people wanted more “reality” TV (what the producers actually provide is faux-reality but, no matter), MTV became less about Music and Videos and more about dumb people's lives.

I think the true beginning of the end for the network was the premiere of “Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica” (2003-2005) – a show that followed the lives of two not particularly talented people as they acted idiotically and spent their millions on ridiculous things. This absurdity continues in MTV’s new show, “Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory,” a program that shows just how frivolous rich celebrities can be with their cash. I mean, I’m sure Dyrdek is talented; anyone who gets famous for playing a sport (rather than acting or signing), or ‘does’ (as apposed to ‘play’) a sport in the case of skateboarding, has to be talented, but this show is not about his skating. It’s about “funny” things he does with odd stuff that he buys, such as a “water blob” (you know, the thing that all summer camp movies have at their lake – like in “Heavy Weights” (1995)) or some other new toy, or a new prank the he plays on one of his unsuspecting employees.

Dyrdek bought a 25,000 sq. ft. warehouse for use as a “home base.” His corporate offices and a gigantic indoor funhouse reside within the complex and the show focuses around this place, known as Rob's “fantasy factory.” We get to see the zany things that happen inside it. The program chronicles the adventures of Rob, a professional skateboarder who is, apparently, a mogul in the making (he’s got clothing, real estate, and action figures and is investing in a restaurant; or so we learn throughout the show) and the ridiculous things he and his friends do. Rob’s right-hand man, his cousin Chris “Drama” Pfaff is his partner in crime. He’s welcomed based purely for the fact that he exists, adding comic relief, mainly in the form of the voice of reason. His cautions of “this is so stupid” or “we really shouldn’t do this” and “this isn’t safe” fall on the unlistening ears of Rob and the production crew.

Rob himself is funny on occasion, but I can’t help but thing that some of his quick quips are really part of some grander “script.” I can’t deny that some of the things that he and his “crew” do are entertaining, if limitedly so, and I was surprised to learn that the show isn’t all fun and games. Yes, sometimes Dyrdek is doing real, thoughtful, “grown up” things. One of the later episodes focuses on Rob’s idea of giving back to the community in the form of economical, environmentally and socially acceptable skate parks. He wants to try and integrate them into their surroundings as apposed to most other facilities that are highly industrial and closed off from the natural environment. With moments like this you can see that Rob’s a good guy and that’s he’s actually a strong business negotiator (he gets Carls Jr. to foot most of the bill for the project by agreeing to shoot a few viral commercials for the company). It would seem that he could be passionate about things other than goofing off with his friends.

But, as a majority of the show is just idiotic stupid-ness (the great episode mentioned above is preceded by an episode in which Rob wants to try and get bitten by a shark) I find it worthless. Most of the show reeks of a “why bother” and feels ever so faux-real (like most of MTV’s shows today, actually). Why should I care about this series? I don’t know and I, really, don’t care either. It’s crap like this that keeps me from watching MTV these days. I don’t know, maybe this really is the new hip & cool thing and people in the 16-24 age bracket really do love this kind of drivel, but, if they do, it just means I have even less of a connection with this age group (which, disappointingly, I’m a part of).

All 10 episodes of the shows first season are presented on 2 DVD's, including:

- "Blob, Super Blob"
- "Get With Your Power Animal"
- "Extreme Timmy!"
- "Hotel, Motel… Robbie’s Inn"
- "Bangin’ on Fools"
- "This is Not Mom-Certified"
- "Shark Sugar"
- "No Mandals"
- "I Call Him Butter Feet"
- "Dusty Monkey"

Video

First things first; right off the bat "Fantasy Factory" gets marked down for its bland, documentary style that is neither inventive or all that [visually] interesting. DVD already does little with this type of filming (or taping, whichever you prefer) but compound that with the way MTV presents these episodes on disc and we have a less than ideal situation. For whatever reason, even though the series is clearly shot in 16x9, the distributor has windowboxed the 1.78:1 picture, leaving a sea of black around the postage stamp of an image when viewed on native widescreen displays. Why they didn’t encode the episodes with an anamorphic flag is beyond me; what is this 1998? 16x9 enhanced DVD's aren’t a luxury; they’re a necessity in today’s world of high-definition widescreen.

Disappointing aspect ratio’s aside, this DVD set is still problematic. There are numerous instances of combing errors (interlacing artifacts). Moiré, stair-stepping jaggies – whatever you want to call it – is also present in the transfer. Noise is a bit bothersome sometimes, particularly during low-lit scenes. These defects are probably not visible on your old 480i native 4:3 tube TV but on the bigger, high resolution TV's that are far more common place today than they were 3 or 4 years ago, the deficiencies are noticeable to even the most untrained eye, on a moderately sized set. MTV needs to step up the game; they can’t keep putting out DVD's that adhere to decade old standards and expectations. This is a show produced in 2009 – released to DVD in 2009; there’s no reason it can’t look decent (or be properly presented in true widescreen).

Audio

The main audio on the series is a by-the-book English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo mix. There isn’t much to say in terms of quality. This is reality TV; it’s 2 channels. Dialogue, good. Stereo separation is adequate. In other words it’s passable but nothing special. But, on the upside there isn’t anything outright wrong with the track either – the source is clean (as it should be; this is a 2009 series after all) and levels are decently balanced.
Although no subtitles or any other languages are included on the series, MTV/Paramount has decided to offer both "Censored" and "Uncensored" versions of the shows audio. The tracks are identical apart from the bleeps that accompany the censored option.

Extras

This 2-disc set features multiple audio commentaries, two bonus episodes including a “Best of and Behind-the-Scenes” special, deleted scenes, a featurette, bonus trailers and uncensored version of the shows audio. Considering the source material I don’t know… I just expected a far less robust package. That’s not to say this is one of the best supplement offers ever, just that considering this is essentially a reality TV show, I thought there’d be some outtakes or something and that’s it.

DISC ONE:

**Optional Uncensored Audio** on All Episodes. The DVD release of "Fantasy Factory" includes an option to watch the show with completely uncensored audio. No blips, bleeps or other hindrances. This is a nice feature as it gives the viewer the option to watch the show either as it was broadcast or raw – I wish more series had this as people are usually spit when it comes to how they like to watch their shows (with bleeps; without). I hope Paramount starts to use this feature on other shows (like their DVD releases of "South Park" (1997-Present)) as its certainly welcome.

Surprisingly MTV offers an audio commentary on every single episode of the first season. Each track is episode centric and quality varies from show to show; participants are affable and decently well spoken on nearly all of them but, like most things, there is no constant. Mostly the tracks are just the fantasy factory crew laughing, reminiscing and joking (and they can be quite funny), but this set is almost completely devoid of real insight (not that I expected much considering the show). Each track has multiple participants but Rob Dyrdek, Christopher "Drama" Pfaff and executive producers Jeff Tremaine and Shane Nickerson do most of the talking and drive conversations to points they want to discuss. Commentaries include:

Audio commentary on “Blob, Super Blob” by stars Rob Dyrdek, Christopher "Drama" Pfaff, Chanel "CC", Scott "Big Cat" Pfaff, Jeremy Larner and executive producers Jeff Tremaine and Shane Nickerson.

Audio commentary on “Get With Your Power Animal” by stars Rob Dyrdek, Christopher "Drama" Pfaff, Chanel "CC", Scott "Big Cat" Pfaff, Jeremy Larner and executive producers Jeff Tremaine and Shane Nickerson.

Audio commentary on “Extreme Timmy!” by stars Rob Dyrdek, Christopher "Drama" Pfaff, Chanel "CC", Scott "Big Cat" Pfaff, Jeremy Larner and executive producers Jeff Tremaine and Shane Nickerson.

Audio commentary on “Hotel, Motel… Robbie’s Inn” by stars Rob Dyrdek, Christopher "Drama" Pfaff, Chanel "CC", Scott "Big Cat" Pfaff, Jeremy Larner and executive producers Jeff Tremaine and Shane Nickerson.

Audio commentary on “Bangin’ on Fools” by stars Rob Dyrdek, Christopher "Drama" Pfaff, Chanel "CC", Scott "Big Cat" Pfaff, Jeremy Larner and executive producers Jeff Tremaine and Shane Nickerson.

Audio commentary on “This is Not Mom-Certified” by stars Rob Dyrdek, Christopher "Drama" Pfaff, Chanel "CC", Scott "Big Cat" Pfaff, Jeremy Larner and executive producers Jeff Tremaine and Shane Nickerson.

Pre-menu bonus trailers are for:

- “Nitro Circus: Season One”spot runs 2 minutes 8 seconds.
- “Jackass: The Lost Tapes” runs for 1 minute 5 seconds.
- “Rob and Big: The Complete 3rd Season” runs for 32 seconds.

DISC ONE:

**Optional Uncensored Audio** on All Episodes continues with the episodes on this disc. Plus more audio commentaries included are:

Audio commentary on “Shark Sugar” by stars Rob Dyrdek, Christopher "Drama" Pfaff, Chanel "CC", Scott "Big Cat" Pfaff, Jeremy Larner and executive producers Jeff Tremaine and Shane Nickerson.

Audio commentary on “No Mandals” by stars Rob Dyrdek, Christopher "Drama" Pfaff, Chanel "CC", Scott "Big Cat" Pfaff, Jeremy Larner and executive producers Jeff Tremaine and Shane Nickerson.

Audio commentary on “I Call Him Butter Feet” by stars Rob Dyrdek, Christopher "Drama" Pfaff, Chanel "CC", Scott "Big Cat" Pfaff, Jeremy Larner and executive producers Jeff Tremaine and Shane Nickerson.

Audio commentary on “Dusty Monkey” by stars Rob Dyrdek, Christopher "Drama" Pfaff, Chanel "CC", Scott "Big Cat" Pfaff, Jeremy Larner and executive producers Jeff Tremaine and Shane Nickerson.

A bonus episode of “Fantasy Factory” dubbed “Factory Clips” is a clip show that aired on MTV as the 11th episode of the series. It’s just a bunch of material with roundtable (really a couch) discussion in between various scenes. 20 minutes 10 seconds.

Another bonus episode of Fantasy Factory” is included dubbed “Best of and Behind-the-Scenes” special aired on MTV as the series’ 12th episode. It’s self-explanatory; it’s a highlight reel show with behind-the-scene clips, favorite moments from the series and bloopers. Runs 20 minutes 11 seconds.

14 deleted scenes are included on the DVD. A play all option is also available. Scenes include:

- Rob and Drama talk about their family, particularly rabbit hunting with Grandpa. 1 minute 34 seconds.
- Rob new puppy, Beefy, gets delivered. Runs 2 minute 34 seconds.
- Rob talks butt-cracks and sagging. 58 seconds.
- Rob gets two wooden bulldog statues to “guard” the building. 1 minute 34 seconds.
- Rob and Drama go visit Nate Sherwood, a friend and pro-skater, who talks about his hernia. 1 minute 34 seconds.
- Rap producer/rapper Pharrell visits “The Factory.” 2 minutes 57 seconds.
- Rob practices basketball fundamentals… on stilts. 54 seconds.
- Rob’s older bulldog, Meaty, falls asleep in a desk chair. 34 seconds.
- Rob and Chanel pester Drama about his “faux-hawk.” 1 minute 16 seconds.
- Rob plays basketball with Eddie, a guest brought to the factory by Johnny Knoxville. 1 minute 3 seconds.
- Rob and Drama trick out a motorized wheelchair…. Complete with flat-white spray paint job and lions-head “ornament.” 2 minutes.
- Rob asks Drama if everything is Okay between Drama and Timmy. FYI, “Timmy” is a plastic mannequin. 1 minute 48 seconds.
- While searching for some protective gear to wear during their “American Gladiators” (1989-1997) tribute, Rob forces Drama to do ab crunches. 2 minutes 29 seconds.
- A montage of basketball shots. 1 minute 33 seconds.

A Jackassworld.com featurette “Factory Party”, running 4 minutes 5 seconds, is part EPK piece, part behind-the-scenes documentary and part nonsense.

Pre-menu bonus trailers are for:

- “The State: The Complete Series” on DVD. Runs 1 minute 10 seconds.
- “Jackass: The Lost Tapes” 1 minute 5 seconds.
- “Rockband” spot runs 33 seconds.

Packaging

The first season is split across 2-discs and housed in a standard amaray case.

Overall

The Show: D- Video: D Audio: C- Extras: C Overall: D

 


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