Artwork by Brittany Langlois. Her work is amazing, be sure to check it out! http://brinnyart.blogspot.com

Season Two of Hey Ash, Watcha Playin’? has finally arrived on DVD.

Note: I was not approached to write this review or endorsed by HAWP, Once Upon a Pixel, or Destructoid in any way.  I’m just a huge fan!

As stated in our review of the Season One DVD, Hey Ash, Watcha Playin’ is held in high regard in our household.  The antics of Anthony and Ashly Burch are well-written and creative as always, but Season Two introduces a lot of changes in the show.  Not all of the skits necessarily focus on video games, with some of them almost completely avoiding the subject.  The humor isn’t as slapstick in nature, there aren’t as many fast edits, and the whole show feels less “random stream of consciousness” and more “organized stream of consciousness”.  Basically, just about everything has been improved. 

While the first season will always hold a nostalgic place in my heart (due to many things, including the overall feel, the time in my life when I first discovered the show, the games they covered, etc), the second season definitely feels more refined and well put together.  The experience gained by filming the first season is evident here, as everything from writing to editing comes across as more mature and deliberate.

I had seen all of the episodes on Gametrailers when they first aired, but everyone else in our circle (including Brittnie) hadn’t seen any of them.  The first thing our group noticed was how much more prevalent the Dad is this season.  He isn’t just there, he actually plays an integral role in the show.  This was a very good move on the part of Anthony and Ashly, as their Dad makes for an excellent nemesis for both of them.  It gives the two main characters something they can join forces to combat, while still being able to retain their own rivalry.  I’m not sure how much of the Dad’s lines were actually written and how many were improvised (although, now that I think about it, there is a distinct difference in his acting style between different lines.  The truth may lie within that difference…), but just about everything he says is comedic gold.

Just like the previous DVD, there are loads of commentary tracks, outtakes, and even the inclusion of some pre-HAWP stuff the crew did back in the day (all of which our group HIGHLY enjoyed, especially the first one where they are supposed to be ninjas.  Brittnie (who is a teacher) said “if a group of my kids brought this ninja dealie in as a project, they would get an A on it…plus an A on whatever their next project was!”)  There’s also a short series that focuses on a guy too nervous to talk to a girl…and what happens when he finally works up the courage to do so.  It’s a bit high-schoolish, but the writing is superb and the minimalist acting is great.

Also just like the previous DVD, there’s an easter egg (no spoilers!) hidden in one of the DVD menus.  It was completely immature, but absolutely HILARIOUS.  It was definitely a bit harder to find than the easter egg on the first DVD, but it’s well worth it.  Hell, even the physical location of it on the screen is laugh inducing.

I don’t really have any complaints, save for two: just like the first DVD, the color in this one is very orange-ish.  I’m starting to think this may just be because of the color of the paint in their house, but still…it does get a little fatiguing on the eyes after a while.  The other thing is that, for nearly $20, I would have liked to have seen a bit more content…perhaps some stills, or maybe bios of the actors.  With that in mind, I realize that this is basically a pet project of some very busy people, and putting the DVD together as it is likely took up far more of their time than they could afford to give up.  More content would be nice, but I completely understand why what’s on the disc is all that we get.  If Ashly or Anthony read this, suggestion for the Season Three DVD: bios for the actors!  OOH!  Or maybe you could do a “special edition” that includes HAWPcast content, in addition to some other extra stuff!

Hey Ash, Watcha Playin’? has been a staple in my household for a while now, and Season Two has been granted primo shelf space right next to the Season One DVD.  We already have a repeat viewing party planned for this weekend :)   Be sure to pick up  your copy today!