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HTF REVIEW: Dilbert - The Complete Series

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#1 of 6 OFFLINE   Michael Osadciw

Michael Osadciw


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Posted January 27 2004 - 03:43 PM

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The Complete Series

Studio: Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment
Show Airings: 1999-2000

US Rating: Not Rated
Canadian Rating: PG

Film Length: 374 minutes
Genre: TV - Animated Comedy

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Audio: English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
Subtitles: None
Closed Captioned: Yes

SLP: USD$49.95

Release Date: January 27, 2004

Show Rating Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image / Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

Poor old Dilbert. He’s a workingman dealing with people in the working world. In his flipped up tie and buzz cut, he’s a man who likes to solve problems, has no social life, and cares about himself before others. But he really is a nice guy. His non-aggressive and optimistic behavior makes him the perfect candidate to be dumped on by other people. That’s what happens to the nice guys.

Dilbert is the comic that represents office workers – the day in the life of a cubicle worker. He is an engineer looking for new products to develop and shares the same space at with his two close co-workers Wally and Alice, a pointy-haired boss, a loud co-worker, and many others. He lives with his dog, Dogbert, who talks and looks like his owner, and even outsmarts him with his satirical comments. His worst enemy is Catburt – a cat who is head of the Human Resources Department who seemingly gives everyone a hard time. Each episode of Dilbert brings many commonalities of every man’s workplace in funny scenarios denoting the realities within.

Created as a comic strip by Scott Adams in 1989, Dilbert started as a part time job for him as he worked at Pacific Bell. He bought a do-it-yourself cartoonist book and begun making Dilbert doodles over the years. It wasn’t until years later when Adams realized the positive response from the comic could let him take it on as a full time job. In 1999, Dilbert achieved stardom in a television series lasting two seasons under writer/producer Larry Charles of the Seinfeld episodes. Dilbert is a composite of everyone Adams has worked with. I think it’s a composite of everyone anyone has worked. This is why Dilbert was so successful. Many people in the workforce could relate to the idiocies in Dilbert’s workplace.

These shows feature the voices of Daniel Stern, Chris Elliot, Kathy Griffin, Gordon Hunt, and Larry Miller. Guest voices include Jason Alexander, Andy Dick, Eugene Levy, Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and Tom Green. Below is the synopsis for each episode, timing at about 23 minutes each.


Episode 1 - The Name
When Dilbert wakes up after another night of having the egg dream, he discovers he isn’t the only one to have had this dream. His fellow employees Wally and Alice tell Dilbert about a guy, Chicken Man, who turned into a chicken after he was put in charge of a project that he was unable to name. Dilbert is put in charge of a project to come up with a new product. As the project hits one snafu after another, Dilbert’s reactions begin to increasingly resemble those of a chicken.

Episode 2 - The Prototype
When Dilbert, Alice, and Wally are working on a new prototype, they realize they are competing against the notoriously ruthless Lena to come up with the best idea, and the losers will be transferred to the dreaded Albany. Lena seduces Dilbert in order to steal his idea of a skin depruner, while Wally joins Lena’s team.

Episode 3 - The Competition
When rumors of competition in the field reach Dilbert, he is forced to push up the deadline on the Gruntmaster 6000. The Boss decides they need to increase security so their progress is not leaked and puts Dogbert in charge of the new extensive security. Dilbert is suspected of being a traitor and fired from his job, so he takes a job with the rival company.

Episode 4 - Testing
It is now time to test the Gruntmaster, and the legendary and jaded Bob Bastard is brought in to put the prototype to the test. The first test is the test of seismic activity, and the second is the test of high temperature endurance, both of which the prototype fails, much to Bob’s satisfaction. Alice and Wally are completely under Bob’s spell, so it is up to Dilbert to make sure the Gruntmaster passes its final test, which is the asteroid crash simulation test.

Episode 5 - Elbonian Trip
Dilbert, Alice, Wally and the Boss go to Elbonia, a third-world country which is covered in mud, where their factory is located to manufacture Gruntmasters. They discover the working conditions are horrendous, as the “Right” people have been horribly exploiting the Lefties, who are believed to be inferior because they are left-handed. Dilbert tries to help the Lefties rebel, but is arrested and sentenced to death, while Alice tries to save the babies from the assembly line.

Episode 6- The Takeover
When Dilbert discovers Wally reading Dogbert’s investing book, the two get involved in an elaborate stock-buying charade orchestrated by Dogbert, and wind up owning a controlling interest in their own company. Wally and Dilbert attend a board meeting where the board members attempt to determine how to loose more money and Dogbert becomes C.E.O.

Episode 7 – Little People
Dilbert arrives at work to discover that someone has been in his cubicle rearranging his stuff and using his computer. Later, the Boss coaxes Wally, Alice, and Dilbert to go to the dry-erase meeting with the promise of free food, but when they get there, the food is all gone. After the meeting, Dilbert receives porn magazines for little people and also discovers that all the dry-erase markers are missing. When Dilbert, Alice, and Wally stake out Dilbert’s desk to catch the marker thieves, they discover a group of tiny engineers who have been literally downsized.

Episode 8 – Tower of Babel
When a cold epidemic hits the office, Dilbert realizes the importance of an office door to stop the germ-spreading cycle. The cold soon leads to mutations as employees sprout new limbs, and the Boss decides, with Dogbert’s prompting, to build a new office building. Dilbert gets himself put in charge of the new building to ensure that he gets an office with a door.

Episode 9 – Y2K
With the year 2000 rapidly approaching, the employees discover that the computer mainframe known as Black Betty will break down when it becomes 2000. Dilbert is put in charge of fixing this problem, and Wally, who was there when Black Betty was installed, does not remember how to access the mainframe. Reminiscent of The Wizard of Oz, Dibert, Alice, Asok, Wally, and Dogbert go to see Catbert for help.

Episode 10 – The Knack
When Dilbert was little, he was diagnosed with “the knack” for technology by a garbage man disguised as a doctor. At work, Dilbert drinks from the Boss’s coffee cup, which infects him with management DNA and he loses “the knack”. Dilbert, in denial that he has lost “the knack”, attempts to design an advertising satellite.

Episode 11 - Charity
Driven by the need for a new plaque to cover up a dead fly stain on his wall, the Boss has volunteered to chair the “Associated Way” charity drive. Of course, he has no intention of doing this himself and appoints Dilbert as charity coordinator. Participation is strictly voluntary, and the t-shirt given upon donation emblazoned with “I Get To Keep My Job” is just an added incentive.

Episode 12 - Holiday
Dilbert is sick and tired of the holidays and feels they have all become a big waste of time. Dogbert has the solution. He goes to Congress under the auspices of the APWDBUD (The Association of People Who Drink Beer And Use Dynamite) and convinces them to vote on consolidating all holidays into one: National Dogbert Day.

Episode 13 - Infomercial
Much to Dilbert’s horror, he finds out the Boss has already shot an infomercial for the Gruntmaster 6000 and has sent the machine to a family for field-testing. The family – an incredibly dumb one from the depths of rural Texas – has no idea that they have in their possession a machine that could annihilate the entire solar system. As Dilbert travels to Texas to track down the Gruntmaster, the Boss develops psychic powers and his staff becomes his groupies.


Episode 14 – The Gift
Dilbert searches for a birthday gift for his mother. In desperation he confronts his greatest fear, going to the mall. As a child, Dilbert suffered from deep abandonment issues when his father left him to pursue his obsession with the mall restaurant’s “All You Can Eat” special.

Episode 15 – The Trial
Dilbert is the only one in the company with a life so boring that his blood is safe for donating. Unfortunately, his blood ends up in the wrong hands and he is implicated in a murder and ends up in jail.

Episode 16 – The Shroud of Wally
Dilbert has a near-death experience and searches for the meaning of life (and the afterlife). Then, through a bizarre accident, a group of marketing students beings to worship Wally.

Episode 17 – The Dupey
The company has been creating a buzz in the marketplace about something called a “Dupey”. Dilbert is put in charge of creating this new sensation.

Episode 18 - Art
In an attempt to exploit the art world, Dilbert’s boss assigns him the task of creating a work of art. Dilbert’s blue duck takes the art world by storm and is catapulted into the presence of Leonardo da Vinci.

Episode 19 - Hunger
Dilbert is working on a new food source called “tomeato” that may end world hunger. Marketing dismisses the idea so Dilbert goes to the famine-ridden country Elbonia to prove its worth. When everything starts to go horribly wrong, Dogbert brings in Dilmom to help.

Episode 20 - The Security Guard
Dilbert and the building security guard bet that they can each do the other’s job for one day. All goes well until Wally turns the office into a casino, jeopardizing Dilbert’s chance to win the bet.

Episode 21 – The Merger
The Boss is convinced their company needs to merge with another and hires Dogbert as the merger consultant. Dilbert has to come to the rescue when they almost merge with an alien corporation called “Brainsuck Industries”.

Episode 22 – The Off-Site Meeting
Dilbert’s already noisy neighbors compound things when they get an elephant and build a large tree house for it, right over Dilbert’s roof. Meanwhile, the “Tree Lover Society” is suing the Boss and decides to hold a meeting at Dilbert’s house.

Episode 23- The Assistant
Dilbert is promoted and given an assistant. Jealous of Dilbert, Alice convinces Catbert to make Asok her assistant and then goes into competition with Dilbert, assistant versus assistant.

Episode 24 – Company Picnic
It’s time for the company picnic and the annual softball game between the Marketing Gurus and the Crapulets from engineering. Dogbert is brought in as their player/coach and Dilbert is designated as pitcher.

Episode 25 – The Virtual Employee

The engineers and marketing fight over an empty cube. To ensure they don’t lose this precious commodity, the engineers create a new employee, Todd, to be the cube’s new occupant. Todd is quickly made engineering product head, and Dilbert and Alice find they are doing Todd’s job as well as their own.

Episode 26 – The Return
Dilbert buys a new computer from Comp-U-Comp over the Internet but receives the wrong one. Dilbert tries to complain and discovers that Comp-U-Comp is run by a computer that also runs the world.

Episode 27 - Ethics
After coming under scrutiny for unethical business practices, the Company sends the employees for mandatory ethics training. Dilbert is made project lead on a highly unethical contract and has to decide if he will sell out his integrity for the getting together with a real woman.

Episode 28 – The Fact
Dogbert’s new book on “Chronic Cubicle Syndrome” becomes a best seller. Dilbert struggles to develop a product. “Shock Pants” to combat this nonexistent condition.

Episode 29 -Pregnancy
Dilbert creates a model rocket, which Ratbert sets off into space to collect alien DNA. Upon return, the rocket deposits its collected DNA on Dilbert, who subsequently shows signs of becoming a pregnant female.

Episode 30 – The Delivery
Dilbert reviews the results of this “ultrasound” and demands a second opinion. Discovering he has no benefits, he tried to sell his story, creating a huge media circus, and ends up in front of Judge “Stone Cold” Steve Austin in a custody battle.

Video Quality? Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image / Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

Presented in its original television broadcast ratio of 4:3, the video quality is a mixed bag. The first six episodes look like they’ve come from a composite video source, as there is dot crawl and colour moiré in many areas of the picture. Episodes 7-30 look as if they come from a different source because these artifacts are absent. There are some minor compression artifacts around edges but no edge enhancement to be seen. All other aspects of image quality is fine, giving a muted color suiting the show well. Bright whites and deep blacks are good enough for this cartoon, although there is consistent grain in all of the episodes.

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Like the video, the sound is a mediocre presentation. It is available in a Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo encoding, which is strange considering the television release was in Dolby Surround. The result is sound that is thinner than I’d like, with forward dialogue that can sound strained. The front soundstage, particularly phantom center images can lack focus at times. There is a little bit of sounds that are recoded out of phase for surround if engaging matrix surround processing.

Special Features? Posted Image Posted Image / Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

The features are credited on the packaging unlike The Critic’s box released same day. The features for Dilbert are all on disc one, and they are Making Dilbert Work – Interview With Scott Adams (19m24s). There are also four Clip Compilations about 3-6 minutes each, and are based on various themes throughout the series. They are You’re Not The Boss Of Me, Marketing or Felonious Activity?, and Catbert: Feline or Pure Evil?. The press release on Columbia’s website also lists The Office Politics Handbook - Clip Compilation of Office Strategy and The Watercooler - Dilbert Office Humor as features, but they are not listed on the package and are also no where to be found in the box set.


This is a funny series many office workers can relate too. The entire series is presented here in a nifty little package that any Dilbert fan cannot miss out on. I missed the series on TV, but after watching these shows now, there is some very clever humor for some laughs. So flip up your tie and check out this set.

Michael Osadciw

THX/ISF Professional Video Calibrator

#2 of 6 OFFLINE   ChrisBEA



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Posted January 28 2004 - 10:56 AM

Thanks for the review.
I've been looking forward to this for awhile now, more so than the Critic, which I also like. I'll probably be picking this up tomorrow. Dilbert is such a great comic, and working in a cube I identify greatly with the humor.

#3 of 6 OFFLINE   Casey Trowbridg

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Posted January 28 2004 - 11:07 AM

I've got this waiting for me, the only thing I ned is money to go pay for it, and that will come next week.

Thanks for the review!

#4 of 6 OFFLINE   Keith Paynter

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Posted January 29 2004 - 02:37 AM

Although not as expensive as the 'Larry King' disater, Columbia still doesn't seem to be putting out a lot of bang for the buck. The documentary is of respectable length, but that's it.

Great show, but I'm watching this one a couple of episodes at a time. Satire is difficult in large doses (unlike, say a 'Futurama' marathon).
I don't like SPAM!

#5 of 6 OFFLINE   Joseph J.D

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Posted January 29 2004 - 01:10 PM

I picked this one up as well. I enjoy the comic strip as I too am a cubicle dweller. I look forward to watching this set. Thanks for the review.
Recently watched- Lethal Weapon 4, Lethal Weapon 3, Lethal Weapon 2, Lethal Weapon, Home Alone 2: Lost In New York, Home Alone, An American Christmas Carol, It's A Spongebob Christmas!, Four Christmases, Love & Other Drugs, Assault On Precinct 13(1976), Lovejoy Christmas Specials, Die Hard 2: Die Harder, Die Hard, Up 3D, The Grandmaster

Currently watching- Planet Earth, True Blood: Season 2, Gatchaman: The Complete Series, The Equalizer: Season 2, Tales From The Crypt: Season 2, WKRP In Cincinnati: Season 1, Arrow: Season 2, Star Trek: Season 1
"Keep the change your filthy animal!"


#6 of 6 OFFLINE   MarkHastings


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Posted January 29 2004 - 01:42 PM

I can't wait to get mine in the mail...and all 30 episodes in one collection is Posted Image
and working in a cube I identify greatly with the humor.
This is definitely a requirement to understanding the show. So much of what Scott comes up with is so DEAD ON with the way big corporations run. It's so funny to see my former bosses qualities in cartoon form.

One of my favorite bits was when Dilbert was looking at the manual of "Generic" employees. One of the employee descriptions was about the person who photocopies articles and puts them on everyones desk to read Posted Image I have someone in my company that does that.