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DVD Reviews: Quads

The Final Say!

Feature Score:
DVD Extras Score
* Please Note That Not All DVDs have extras on them due to either age or lack of source material.*

Reviewed by Alex Cuming
Review Date: 03 June 2003
Distributed by:
The AV Channel

Depending where every one of us is coming from this unashamedly very black humour will have viewers thinking and assessing their own lives.  Problems that the man John Callahan is expressed by shooting straight and not being ashamed of whom he is through the character’s lives that he portrays.  His straight and no beating around the bush attitude makes problems within our own lives that we all face seem rather trivial.  They are worn with no shame and are hanging there in front of us for all to see.  In the show “Quads” where a quadriplegic called Reilly lives in a mansion with many people with similar physical problems who seek solace and peace of mind, within their own lives and company.  The humour being of complete acceptance of the issues faced with openness will make the viewer either feel at complete ease or extremely threatened.  I for one was very pleased with this show and no I am not saying this to make me look good. 

Now the story other than what I have already mentioned Reilly receives a huge legal settlement giving him the privilege to live in a mansion with his group of comical disabled friends.  This is the story about their lives.  Some of the more funny characters are Franny the oversexed girlfriend of Reilly, Griz who has no idea what is going on, has no hidden agenda and is childishly ignorant to the rest of the world,  Fontaine a black, blind American who is not overly intelligent, a bit Homer Simpson-erish, just to name the more notable characters. 

The more favourable episodes in the series are a matter of taste, all of his work to me is witty, provocative and the characters in the series are all quite appealing.  Some of the episodes are Maimed Manor where it shows how Reilly became a cripple in an amusing slightly corny way.  Even though all this stuff is reasonably sick it will still manage to make healthy minds laugh … or cry.  Other ones are Christmas Holidays where Reilly attempts to become a reformed drinker.  His friends Griz and Blazer try to tempt Reilly back to it. Franny uses her own ways to blackmail Reilly to not drink by doing sexual favours.  One of the funnier moments would have to be is when all the gang are in the van, coming back from the bar and a rather subdued Franny stands there at the door and Fontaine's advice to Reilly, who slipped up on his promise to keep away from alcohol, was “what you do when a woman is angry, is lie your ass off”. This still has me laughing even now. 

Another favourite was the one where the gang get to be guinea pigs of illicit substances for money.  This is all fine and suits Reilly especially well “Hell it’s always been a dream of mine ” which all runs to plan until the side effects of the drugs start to kick in. 

The unembarrassed direct approach with this humour is clever and never frightened to state the blatant truth about the predicament of the characters lives.  Spalding the gay strong Australian sounds pretty typical to something that you may come across in Prahran Melbourne, not that it's a bad thing!, Spalding sees Reilly as a project for improvement and endeavours to improve his life.  His gayness is displayed with dignity and pride but consequently to the ridicule of others in the cast.  The only other simile I can think of to this show is South Park with it’s similar humour.  Quads is similar but it pokes fun at more serious issues faced in society.  Having a laugh at this show will provide a different perspective of our own lives.  Thanks Editor! 

The extras on the disc are equally interesting and the interview with John Callahan may come as a bit of a shock.  Of course he is paralysed taking Prozac and talks straight about his own life and the influences, inspiration from his own life that make up the stories in the shows.  Along with the source of humour which is in effect inspirational.  For example Blazer is just a head, no body but full of enthusiasm for life.  He is a mischievous and funny character and the others in the cast are equally unique and interesting.

Quads Features

Disc One Extras:

  • Callahan; he wont get far on foot. Documentary on John Callahan.

  • How much is that window in the doggie?

  • 1991 rare cartoon from John Callahan

  • Interview with the Australian Director, Steve French

Disc Two Extras

  • Interview with John Callahan

  • I think I was an alcoholic: A 1993 rare and classic autobiographical short film by John Callahan

  • The making of the music for John Callahan’s Quads!


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