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DVD Review: Wainy Days, Seasons 1-4

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In 2007, David Wain brought the absurd sense of wit he’s known for in films like Wet Hot American Summer and TV shows like Stella to the web, producing a series of comic five-ish-minute shorts as Wainy Days. Produced exclusively for MyDamnChannel.com, the series chronicles Wain’s romantic misadventures in New York City, with a treasure trove of familiar faces showing up along the way.

Just out on DVD, Wainy Days Seasons 1-4 is probably worth picking up for fans of Wain’s sensibility. Sure, you can watch all 32 of these episodes online for free, but the additional content and the viewing format on the disc work strongly in its favor.

Presented here with new interstitials between episodes that feature Wain throwing a pajama party to celebrate the release, Wainy Days works best when watched in large chunks, which the DVD simplifies greatly. Produced with a “throw everything at the wall and see what sticks” mentality, the series has its share of dead spots and weird misses. But taken in large quantities, the seeming missteps start to seem like a necessary part of the equation. The anti-joke is just as important as the joke in Wainy Days, and the more time you spend with it, the more its outright ludicrousness grows on you.

Wain plays a version of himself who works in a sweatshop with friends A.D. Miles, Zandy Hartig (Wain’s real-life wife) and Matt Ballard, and spends the rest of his time looking for love. Wain often wanders the streets breaking the fourth wall and indiscriminately shoving bystanders out of his path. Ovet the course of the series, he falls for Elizabeth Banks, Jennifer Westfeldt, Julie Bowen, Saffron Burrows, Amanda Peet and Megan Mullaly. He has run-ins with Michael Ian Black, Ken Marino, Paul Rudd, Jonah Hill, Martin Starr, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Ed Helms and Nick Offerman. He transforms into Rashida Jones when cross-dressing, into Jason Sudeikis after hair plugs and into Rob Corddry in the future.

Naturally, Wain makes little headway in his romantic pursuits, but the total obliviousness of his character allows him to keep getting back up and failing again. In this totally bizarre alternate world where David Wain in drag looks like Rashida Jones and the proceedings generally veer into live-action cartoon territory, he makes for a weirdly compelling lead character.

All 32 episodes and the extras are contained on a single disc, with the newly shot pajama party footage accessed by selecting “play all.” Other bonus material includes a few outtakes, a season four promo, a performance of “David Wain is Sexy” by humor duo Garfunkel & Oates, a mega-cut of the series’ make-out scenes, a live reading of Wain’s first ever Wainy Days script (he was 12 when he wrote it), and three short films — Aisle Six, Portrait and Real World.

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About Dusty Somers

Dusty Somers is a Seattle-based editor and writer. He is a member of the Online Film Critics Society and Seattle Theater Writers.