Directed by Matt Shakman Studio: 20th Century Fox Year: 2011 Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 1080p AVC codec Running Time: 286 minutes Rating: NR Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English Subtitles: SDH, Spanish, French
Region: A MSRP: $ 49.99
Release Date: October 9, 2012
Review Date: October 13, 2012
4/5 Siblings Dennis (Glenn Howerton) and Dee (Kaitlin Olson), their father Frank (Danny DeVito), and buddies Charlie (Charlie Day) and Mac (Rob McElhenney) are off on another season of wacky adventures, everything from going to the Jersey shore for multiple adventures to preparing a baby funeral after an IRS auditor zeroes in on Dee’s claim of a dependent after being the surrogate in a paid-for delivery occupy the gang this season. Among the other hilarious plots the group gets mixed up with this season are in producing a kiddie beauty pageant where the gang wants to be the entertainment and steal the show (they do a really entertaining satire on opening production numbers but also display some élan in singing and dancing) and the guys preparing for a tropical storm to hit Philly so they go wild in gathering provisions for their storm cellar. Mac has gotten enormously fat this season, so one episode finds him at confession telling the priest the story of his weight gain. Earlier in the season, the gang must stop Frank from marrying a crack-addicted street whore and later on they invent the most demented board game imaginable “Chardee MacDennis” which Dee and Dennis always seem to win. The two-part season finale finds the gang attending their high school reunion with the expected dire results (though it does offer a second chance this season for the gang to show off their dance skills with a neatly ironic capper). The four young members of the cast plus veteran Danny DeVito are so experienced with their roles now that playing these child-adults one step above morons is effortless, and their ensemble camaraderie and the obvious improvisation going on, essential for the comedy to work when the jokes are lame, is exemplary. True, a little of Danny DeVito can go a long way (he loves stuffing food in his mouth and then talking spraying masticated bits in all directions), but it’s all in the service of laughter and he is a bit more restrained this season than in prior years. Here are the thirteen episodes from season seven. The names in parentheses refer to the participants in the audio commentary for that episode. 1 – Frank’s Pretty Woman 2 – The Gang Goes to the Jersey Shore (my favorite episode of the season) (Charlie Day, Rob McElhenney) 3 – Frank Reynolds’ Little Beauties 4 – Sweet Dee Gets Audited 5 – Frank’s Brother 6 – The Storm of the Century 7 – Chardee MacDennis: The Game of Games 8 – The Anti-Social Network (Glenn Howerton, Charlie Day, Rob McElhenney) 9 – The Gang Gets Trapped (Glenn Howerton, Charlie Day, Rob McElhenney) 10 – How Mac Got Fat 11 – Thunder Gun Express 12 – The High School Reunion 13 – The High School Reunion Part 2: The Gang’s Revenge (Glenn Howerton, Charlie Day, Rob McElhenney)
The 1.78:1 television aspect ratio is presented in 1080p using the AVC codec, and there is stunning picture clarity, solidity of image, color saturation consistency, and flesh tone accuracy, all leagues ahead of many high definition shows with far larger budgets than this show boasts. Except for a few slightly soft establishing shots, sharpness is crisp, and there are none of the compression artifacts which plagued the scene-setting shots in previous seasons when the series wasn't filmed in HD. Each episode has been divided into 5 chapters.
3.5/5 The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix places the show’s most important element – dialogue – front and center with the recordings clear and accurate even when done live on location. The stock music score is given an expansive orchestration, but it rarely dips into all available channels. Still, the smooth, seductive music gives an ironically lush sound to the crass and classless endeavors of these loons. Ambient sounds don’t get much attention in the surround sound mix.
2.5/5 The four audio commentaries don’t really add much information to the proceedings with the guys seeming to be merely going through the motions rather than giving any kind of detailed information about shooting that particular episode. They do occasionally offer a fact or two while talking (Kaitlin Olson’s breath really wasn’t bad during the shooting of episode 9), but only obsessive fans of the show will find these very entertaining. The blooper reel for the season runs 10 minutes in 1080p. “Artemis Tours Philadelphia” is a 7-minute throwaway as Artemis tries to find anything to entertain her in the city but winds up raiding the mini-bar, winding up face down in fountains and dive bars, and generally missing the whole point of the city. It’s in 1080p. There are promo trailers of The League, Archer, and Wilfred.
4/5 (not an average)
Moronic comedy can be good for one’s constitution every once in a while, and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia offers both inanity and wit in this season seven package. Recommended!