Monday, February 13, 2012

Billy the Exterminator: Season One DVD Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson

A&E brings you Billy the Exterminator, my new favorite reality show. As the title suggests, Billy Bretherton is an exterminator. He runs the family business, Vex Con – a very busy company located in Lousiana. Billy and his team remove everything from cockroaches to alligators and it does not appear as though he ever turns down a job. Billy and his family are as white trash as they come, but somehow it’s part of their charm. Billy gets himself in some intense situations where pest removal could actually be life threatening. I’m ashamed to admit that I occasionally root for the animal when it appears Billy might get bitten, eaten, or stung.

Film (3 out of 5 stars) 

Soon after the season starts, it becomes obvious that although he is Billy the Exterminator, he doesn’t exterminate everything in his path. Cockroaches and wasps obviously have to go, but larger animals are trapped and relocated whenever possible.   We also soon learn that Billy takes a lot of last minute emergency jobs, and leaves a trail of very satisfied customers.  In season one, Billy will match wits with snakes, beavers, skunks, bobcats, and alligators, as well as the more traditional creepy crawlies – wasps, ants spiders, and cockroaches.   For those of you with a slightly sick sense of humor, I can promise Billy does not make it through the list unscathed.
The show is equally about all the crazy things people call Vex Con for, and the semi crazy people working at Vex Con.  Vex Con is a family owned and run business staffed by Billy’s Mom Donnie, Dad Bill, Sr., brother Ricky and wife Mary.   This is a very entertaining family that should make more people rethink calling their own clan crazy.   No one in the family seems to be able to separate business and their personal lives.  Donnie especially does not seem to have many boundaries.   She even goes as far as putting an ad in the paper to find Ricky a date.  The family meets the women who answered the ad in order to narrow down Ricky’s choices to someone they deem acceptable.   Ricky, amazingly agrees to go on the date and chooses the lucky lady with a flip of a coin.  We even get to tag along on the oh-so- awkward first date.
Season one is less than 5 hours total and makes a great marathon.  I watched it with my toddler, who probably thought it was part of the Animal Planet channel.   I hope early exposure to images of dead rats doesn’t turn toddlers into serial killers.  Just in case, I think I’ll watch Season Two alone.  Can you completely warp a child before he turns three? Kids are resilient, right?

Video (2 out of 5 stars) 

Considering this is DVD and a TV show, the video quality is adequate.  The aspect ratio (1.33:1) does not allow Billy to fill my entire screen and I do find that bothersome.

Audio (1 out of 5 stars) 

Dolby Digital sound is equal to watching this on TV.   They did not choose to use surround sound to allow me to hear alligators hissing in my ear as I would have hoped.

Special Features (3 out of 5 stars) 

Disc two of the set contains brief featurettes worth watching. We learn a lot about Billy including the fact that he is a licensed entomologist. We are allowed to take tours of Billy’s house (conveniently located above the Vex Con office) and his parents “crib”. Surprisingly, none of them live in a double wide trailer.
  • About Billy – here we learn Billy’s career started in the Air Force
  • Billy’s Words of Wisdom – Billy knows stuff. The history of the fleur de lis, magnetic fields, trapping.   Here I learn that peanut butter and jelly traps anything.
  • Billy the Storyteller – Billy talks about his most exotic jobs in the last twenty years, including naked clients.
  • Meet the Family – Billy and Mary introduce us to their two “kids” – which are actually cats. They tell the story of how they came to bring the cats into their family. For some reason I pictured Billy owning a big dog with a leather spiked collar. Billy also spends some time look at photos with brother Ricky on the porch of the tiniest cabin I have ever seen.
  • Dangers on the Job – Here we learn that Billy was once exposed to toxic chemicals and it has given him a unique outlook on how he deals with unwanted pests.
  • Donnie – Donnie shares her cancer story, in addition to her recipe for fried chicken.

Final Thoughts (3 out of 5 stars) 

With his spikey hair/mullet combination and home made leather and chains Billy is the strangest looking exterminator I’ve ever seen.   Him and his family are a complete train wreck that I can’t look away from.  I am excited to have Season Two waiting to watch and review.   I can’t imagine where else Vex Con is going to go.
Order yours today!

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