[Contains numerous dropped napkins and SPOILERS!!!]
For no apparent reason, the second season of The Sarah Silverman Program (2007) was released in Australia as a region-free boxset… which is also waaay cheaper (and slimmer) than the American R1-only release. Hurrah! The only downside is that it doesn’t have all of the extra features that the American version does… but it’s still well worth the price I paid for it.
Every episode of this show is pretty much a self-contained world-unto-itself, so there aren’t really any story or character arcs to write about here… just lots of square-baiting irreverence, drug-fuelled surrealism, and cheery cartoon sing-alongs! While some sitcoms make me smile, and others make me chuckle, TSSP is one of the few that can make me double-over laughing as the “Tilt!” light in my brain flashes on and off. Granted, the episodes can be a little inconsistent, and I could happily skip (almost) all of Brian-and-Steve’s subplots… but when Sarah Silverman is firing on all cylinders, she’s absolutely electric… a lightning bolt of pure comedy genius! On-screen/off-screen sister Laura Silverman is also a very capable/watchable actress, of course, and it was good to see/hear her singing a couple songs this season, considering her fine contributions to the Jesus is Magic soundtrack. She was a very good sport about that whole “product of Mongolian rape” plotline in ep #2.8, too… bless her.
As for the supporting cast: Kate Freund and Carrie Aizley appeared together in ep #2.1 as ‘Margaret’ and ‘Carol’, a platonic couple of “Pro-Lifers” who recruited Sarah to their cause… while Lauren Pritchard appeared (uncredited) as the friendly ‘Abortion Clinic Receptionist’ seen in Sarah’s flashback montage, and returned for another mute cameo in ep #2.13. Amy Hill appeared in ep #2.2 as ‘Judge Gu’, overseeing Sarah’s trial for sexually abusing her dog ‘Doug’ (Duck), while Lindsey Stoddart made her debut appearance as ‘Peggy’, a “weird” coffee shop waitress who returned to clash with our heroine in eps #2.9/14-15. Susan Yeagley appeared in ep #2.3 as ‘Denise’, the Anti-Semitic country club receptionist who refused Sarah entry, thus prompting our heroine to don “black-face” make-up to prove that Jewish-Americans have it tougher than African-Americans. The same episode also featured Henriette Mantel as a ‘Middle-Aged Woman’ who objected to this tasteless display, while Norma Jean played one of Sarah’s (surprisingly numerous) supporters. Yeagley would return briefly in ep #2.10, to short-sightedly mistake Laura’s overgrown “lady garden” for a prohibited pet!
Laura Marano re-appeared in ep #2.4 as ‘Young Sarah Silverman’ for a couple flashbacks, alongside Adair Tishler as ‘Young Laura’. [I really hope Marano’s showreel includes the clip where she’s stood by the side of the road with a dog-poop-spear yelling “Doodie!” at passing cars, because it’s television gold, I tells ya!] She returned in ep #2.8, for another flashback… but Tishler was never seen in the series again, poor thing. Meanwhile, Marin Hinkle made her debut as the girl’s ailing/deceased mother ‘Rose Silverman’… who was arguably the most loveable character in the whole show, combining Sarah’s mischievous sense of humour with Laura’s compassion and kindness. Hinkle returned in eps #2.10/14, and (fun fact) also played ‘Chloe’s wheelchair-bound Mom in Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23… so yay her! Lucy Punch appeared in ep #2.5 as ‘Sally’, an old classmate of Sarah’s who had returned to town for a high-school reunion… but didn’t really get much to do, beyond representing an unwitting annoyance to our heroine.
Tonita Castro made her debut appearance as Sarah’s amenable maid ‘Dora’ in ep #2.6, standing (wrongfully) accused of stealing one of her immature employer’s treasured toy figures… though trust was eventually restored, so she could return in eps #2.13/16. Meanwhile, Tig Notaro made her first re-appearance as Officer ‘Tig’, who recurred throughout the season (eps #2.7/10/13/16), but didn’t get as much attention here as in the previous run… though she did look pretty darn dashing in the wedding episode (#2.16), so that’s some compensation. Missi Pyle made her first re-appearance as local TV presenter ‘Scarlett Lacey’ in ep #2.7, reporting on a news story that eventually implicated the President of a conniving corporation. Fun fact: The unscrupulous suit was played by Garry Marshall, a multi-talented veteran responsible for creating Happy Days (and its spinoffs), adapting The Odd Couple for television, and directing Pretty Woman, Beaches, and The Princess Diaries! What he was doing in this show is anybody’s guess… though I imagine there are plenty people who’d pay good money to get tied to a chair and verbally abused by Big S! His ‘Secretary’ was played by Dawn Cody… and Pyle returned in ep #2.14, to publicly reunite the Silverman sisters with their supposedly-deceased father (Mark Cohen).
Lucille Soong appeared in ep #2.8 as ‘Mrs. Xiongnu’, Sarah’s rent-raising Mongolian landlady… and her Fresh Off the Boat co-star Randall Park also had a small cameo as a fun-loving ‘Mongolian Aide’, though they didn’t share any scenes together here. Karen McClain appeared in ep #2.9 as an annoying new friend of Sarah’s named, er, “Karen McClain”… and Hong Chau appeared in ep #2.10 as an outraged ‘Asian Masseuse’. [I was rather disappointed to check Chau’s IMDb page and see that she hasn’t booked any new roles since A to Z got cancelled. Boo to that!] Sydney Park appeared in ep #2.11 as ‘Stella’, a precocious young girl with a cunning cure for bed-wetting, involving the mass consumption of ice cream and jelly beans (which she promotes with the help of a catchy song!). Patty Jenkins appeared in ep #2.13 as ‘Jill Talley’, a sincere woman with a “fake laugh”, who’s trying to adopt Sarah’s unborn baby… but I’m pretty sure Big S called her “Patty”, not Jill! Incidentally, Jenkins is also a celebrated film-maker in her own right, best known for writing/directing the Oscar-winning biopic Monster (2003), and bagging an Emmy for directing the pilot of the The Killing remake.
Lisa Loeb and Kristen Stewart both had blink-and-you’ll-miss-’em cameos in ep #2.14, (presumably) playing “themselves” at a gig performed by Sarah and her resurrected father. Rachael Harris (aka “Rachel Harris”) re-appeared in ep #2.15 as an unnamed ‘School Teacher’ taking a passing interest in the new word that our heroine was trying to foist into the American-English language (“Ozay!”). Finally, Natasha Leggero appeared in ep #2.13 as a vet named “Dr. Leggero”, reporting on Doug’s failing health in a storyline that’s been rendered rather bittersweet by the dog’s actual death, a couple years ago.
Note: This season also featured cameos by two former Mighty Boosh cast members: Matt Berry appeared in ep #2.15 as ‘Sir Corin Ashley’, a representative of the Oxford English Dictionary, and Rich Fulcher appeared in ep #2.16 as the ‘Reverend’ overseeing Sarah’s betrothal to her beloved “puppy”.