Monday, December 27, 2010

MWC DVDs and why they suck (a work in progress)

Married with Children being released on DVD made fans everywhere say, "about frigging time!" but will a severe lack of extras, replaced music and worse - a crime that should be punishable by death, surely - CUT episodes.

Here I'll do my best to explain what's up with the DVD releases in Australia, and perhaps some other countries' releases too. A work in progress as I go through all discs.

The Big Bundy Box (27 Disc Box Set) (AUSTRALIA, released December 2nd, 2008)

Includes Seasons 1-9 across 27 discs plus space for Seasons 10 & 11 (coming in 2009!).

Special Features:
  • Exclusive Bonus Disc with an hour of extra behind-the-scenes features (Katey Sagal and David Faustino remember Married... With Children)
  • Bundyful autographed collectible poster

Yes, this came out in Aussie land before season 10 & 11 were out. But, they thought ahead and provided room to insert these discs in later.
This boxset was out in Germany previously (MWC is still fairly popular in Germany), and the 2 interviews were included. They're fine and fun to watch, especially Sagal's.

Season 1: Fine. No edits, music still in tact, including credits. Extras included 'hidden' Easter eggs contains leftover material from the MWC Reunion Special (2003). Another extra that could have been included is the original unaired Pilot, with the original kids.

Season 2: As above. No noticeable edits, credits & music remain the same. "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" is not a DVD edit, but I'll expand on that later...
More bits excluded from the Reunion special as Easter Eggs. Extras that could have been included: The original airing of "Peggy Loves Al - Yeah Yeah Yeah" which included an audience vote and an extra scene.

Season 3: Ahh. This is where the music replacement for the theme starts, and will remain until the end of the series. It's not Frank Sinatra's fault. It's to do with the publisher; there's an excellent explanation here:
It was expensive to use the theme on first airings, let alone DVD releases. However, you can still hear the original theme on all episodes when shown on TV, all over the world.
OBTW, listen closely to the very start of the closing credits for "The Harder They Fall"and you can hear the very start of the original theme!

Season 4: Oh dear. All was going swimmingly (well, sort of - episodes sound very sped up causing everyone to sound like they're on helium) until "At the Zoo" and I noticed a little bit cut out. Then a little bit more. THIS BLOWS CHUNKS! These are not cuts due to "offensive" material, but for time, a la syndicated episodes. Not happy.

Then there is the issue of "It's A Bundyful Life", but that, like "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun", is for a future update.

Season 5: No noticeable edits.

Season 6: No noticeable edits.

Season 7: No noticeable edits, but "Chicago Wine Party" and has the L&M text in the end credits!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Favourite TV Shows - #2.

French and Saunders

"Who is Victoria Wood, anyway?"

Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders. Two extraordinarily talented funny women who make me love them and admire then, and then hate them because I am not them.

Britney and Madonna have nothing on them.

So, why? Well, there's the sketch show:

There's also this:

Absolutely Fabulous

and this:

The Vicar of Dibley

and these:

Girls On Top

Let Them Eat Cake

Jam & Jerusalem

and this is where it all began:

The Comic Strip Presents, a rather brilliant series of various themes and satires. 5 Go Mad, Bad News, The Supergrass, Strike...

Plus, do not forget all the work they do for Comic Relief. Harry Potter and Mammia Mia, anyone?

No movie or celebrity gets out unscathed; Their parodies are just excellently observed and there are so many nuances and references in most sketches that I fear go unnoticed by a lot of people.

Seeing them live in 2009 was just fantastic. MEETING THEM afterwards was just... well, a dream. I think I may have been having an out of body experience, with only the photos and signatures to prove it actually happened.
Both very nice and English, plus extraordinarily beautiful and Jennifer's soft velvet buttery skin has to be touched to be believed.

Dawn just looks drunk, unless she's eaten too much chocolate

Sadly, they have "retired" the sketch show after 20 years, choosing to focus on other projects, both together and separately, just like they always have. Comic Relief comes around every two years (next one in 2011), and there's always hope for new material.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Favourite TV Shows - #1.

Let's Rock.

The little show that could.

MARRIED WITH CHILDREN is my favourite show and has been for many a year. So, I felt my first official blog should be about MWC.

Why do I like this show so much? I can't remember what first attracted me to it, but I have fond memories of rushing home from school in the early '90s to catch it on channel 9 at 3:30pm. Me wanna watch the funny show! Whether it's the dysfunctional blue collar caricature-ness or its satirical approach to family life and life in general, I took to it. We first got cable television in October of 1997, and I was chuffed to bits to see MWC on FOX8 every night. The end of the third season was playing... I kept watching and watching and decided 5 episodes later to start recording the episodes to keep. Episode #404, "Tooth And Consequences" was the first I ever kept.

My mother, upon seeing some videos of episodes on the table: "Four whole tapes? That is beyond a joke." What must she think, 250+ tapes later?

January 1998 saw it move to TV1 (its current home) with the beginning of the fifth season. And guess what? Back then, the channel didn't have commercial breaks! Bliss. It was smooth sailing until the eight season began to wind up and the ad breaks started coming in - rather clumsily at first. I still hate them, but I understand the fact they need to show them to keep sponsors happy and generate money.
Nowadays, after collating all the episodes from various sources, I have a huge collection of specials, interviews and some rarities. I am always looking for anything MWC things I don't have, particularly from the 80s/90s.

From 1987 to 1997, America's first family of FOX was the Bundys. Al was a shoe salesman bogged down by life and family. Peg was the "evil, red-headed, high-heeled spandex monster"; Kelly, the definitive blonde bimbo, and Bud, who would often strike out with the ladies, was the smartest of the Bundy clan, and the first to graduate college. Marcy is the chicken-like next door neighbour - conservative on the outside, a wild sexual deviant on the inside. The Pilot introduced us to the Bundys, and the Bundys to their new neighbours, Marcy & Steve - a newly married couple they could really sink their teeth into. "Greedy, materialistic pig" Steve would leave in season four to be replaced later by Jefferson, a good looking gigolo-type who would rather work on his tan than anything else.

I feel it's best to sum up the show and the characters, particularly Al, with this quote from the season 4 Christmas episode:

Al reciting a la 'Twas The Night Before Christmas:

"Bundy", he said. "You only sell shoes.
Your son is a sneak-thief, your daughter's a flooze!
Ho ho," Santa said, "should I mention your wife?
Her hair's like an A-Bomb, her nails like a knife!"
Then I heard him exclaim, as he broke wind with glee:
"You're married with children... you'll never be free."

Yes, I watch and obsess over other shows as well. So why this show as the all-time favourite? It was the first I felt connected with it. It's wall-to-wall laughs, with no real-life, heavy issues bogging down the story lines. Other shows took care of that. It pushed the envelope, a rich, angry housewife is hugely responsible for the show's huge ratings in early 1989... but for such a controversial show, it is one of the least racist, fascist, prejudice shows ever created. The creators are a black dude and a Jew. The casting? Inspired.

Al feared change (Peg: "well, that explains your job and your underwear.") He was every man's hero. A big star of high school football, he became a man with a job he dislikes and a family he resents. But would he have it any other way?

You can read transcripts at my site here.
You can also find episode reviews by various fans, and a growing reference database.
I also recommended Bundyology for in depth information. You can always ask me any questions you have about the show.

stay tuned for the rest of my top 10 shows! :)