Dave’s World: The Second Season
Directed by James Widdoes et al
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Running Time: 583 minutes
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo English
MSRP: $ 42.99
Release Date: February 3, 2009
Review Date: January 30, 2009
Comedian Harry Anderson followed up his hit NBC series Night Court with the popular CBS comedy Dave’s World. Based on the syndicated columns of prize-winning journalist Dave Barry, Dave’s World is a mildly pleasant domestic comedy but of no great distinction. Though it managed to win enough viewers to rank as CBS’ second highest rated comedy for the season (in twenty-first place behind Murphy Brown), it was no match for the powerhouse sitcoms on the other two major networks. ABC had Home Improvement, Grace Under Fire, and Roseanne. NBC had Frasier, Friends, Seinfeld, and Mad About You. Dave’s World really wasn’t in the same league with any of those hits on the other networks.
All of the usual minor family problems get aired in this kind of sitcom. Dave’s oldest son Tommy (Zane Carney) has his first date in one episode and in another complains about a lack of privacy at home. In a third he runs away from home when he isn’t allowed to see a horror movie. The Barrys meet their neighbors so they can start a neighborhood watch group and in another episode almost come to blows over a stolen teddy bear. There are scares about an unplanned pregnancy, anxiety about trying to score Rolling Stones tickets, and enduring an impromptu trip to Paris to scatter ashes of a deceased friend. The Barrys have two close male friends (one a confirmed bachelor played by Shadoe Stevens and one divorced played by Meshach Taylor), a whiny, needy sister Julie (Tammy Lauren), and Dave’s brain-dead assistant Mia (J.C. Wendel). Mia also begins dating inept handyman Eric (Patrick Warburton) during the season thus adding another recurring character to the mix.
The regular actors almost all play the material a bit too broadly and over emphatically (Tammy Lauren and Meshach Taylor are particularly guilty of this), and the writers don’t help matters with an irritating overuse of sarcasm and dim-wittedness on the parts of too many of the cast. No one can keep a secret in this exaggerated Miami sitcom land, and you can count on some folks overhearing true opinions and getting their feelings hurt on a regular basis. There are a few generally welcome guest stars who arrive during the season: Bill Macy, Emma Samms, Reni Santoni, Jack Riley, Eugene Roche, Montel Williams, Florence Henderson, Dick Martin, Tony Plana, Bobcat Golthwait, John Ritter, Audrey Meadows, and Stella Stevens. Still, apart from Shadoe Stevens' rather breezy take on his stereotypical lothario role and Harry Anderson’s usually unassuming Dave Barry, the actors can become a little grating especially watching all of the episodes in a concentrated viewing over a couple of days.
Here are the twenty-five episodes spread over three discs in the second season set:
1 - I Lost It at the Movies
2 - The Last Auction Hero
3 - A Room with a View
4 - Please Won’t You Be My Neighbor
5 - You Can’t Always Get What You Want
6 - Gone with the Wind (Part 1)
7 - Gone with the Wind (Part 2)
8 - Lobster Envy
9 - Family Membership
10 - One Mump or Two?
11 - Donor Party
12 - How Long Has This Been Going On?
13 - Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word
14 - Dis Who’s Coming to Dinner
15 - A Pool’s Paradise
16 - Bear with Me
17 - A Cut Above the Rest
18 - The Country Girl
19 - The Accidental Tourist
20 - The Joint Venture
21 - Those Wedding Shel Blues
22 - Nightmare on Maple Street
23 - The Mommies (a Mother’s Day episode that was my favorite of the season)
24 - Piano, No Strings
25 - Tommy Doesn’t Live Here Anymore
There is a note on the back of the case saying that some episodes may have been edited from the network versions. Others more familiar with the series will be able to shed more specific light on this statement.
The series is presented in its original television aspect ratio of 1.33:1. Though color is solidly saturated and flesh tones accurate, sharpness is a very erratic proposition with these masters. Close-ups and medium shots are usually acceptably sharp but longer shots and some other set-ups look soft, almost hazy. Without anamorphic enhancement, there are numerous examples of aliasing and a fair amount of pixilation in these episodes. Each episode has been divided into 4 chapters.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo track is weakly stereophonic. The dialog, of course, occupies the center channel along with sound effects and music of the piano background score. Some of the music and the audience response leaks into the front right and left channels, but this is basically a mono mix in stereo clothing.
Apart from previews of Becker, Caroline in the City - Season 1 and Dave’s World - Season 1, there are no bonus features in this set.
A mildly pleasing but sometimes exasperating family comedy, the second season of Dave’s World arrives in a barebones set that’s sure to be a bit of a disappointment to its fans with only average video masters and no special material.