HTF REVIEW: Married...With Children - The Complete First and Second Seasons

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Michael Osadciw, Mar 1, 2004.

  1. Michael Osadciw

    Michael Osadciw Screenwriter

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    [​IMG][​IMG]


    Married…With Children
    The Complete First and Second Seasons





    Studio: Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment
    Show Airing: 1987-1988

    U.S. Rating: Not Rated
    Canadian Rating: PG

    Season 1 Length: 302 minutes
    Season 2 Length: 509 minutes
    Genre: TV Comedy

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






    Season One Release Date: NOW
    Season Two Release Date: March 16, 2004



    Show Rating
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] / [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]


    Poor Al Bundy…in high school he was the most popular guy, he was the champion on the football team. Every kid dreamed to be like him as he had promise to excel further in college. Glory was in the hands of Al Bundy.

    High school ended and Al got a summer job at a woman's shoe store to make some extra money. He met a very beautiful young girl during this time too. Unfortunately for Al he got her pregnant. Life for him immediately went downhill. He never made it to college because of the pregnancy. His job as a woman's shoe salesman became his career. Marriage. Children. The End.

    His life is an unfortunate situation people wish they could ever get into. It’s not possible to reverse time, but some people deal with it and become happy, some people run far away, and others just want to shoot themselves like Al does. There is a lasting bitterness in Al Bundy’s life that makes a family of sarcasm and dysfunction. A family unlike the Cleavers of Leave It To Beaver, for the first time on television Married…With Children represented a family with more realistic behavior with a crude comedic twist.

    In 1987, FOX was a new network to hit the air. It was supposed to be the “rebel network” sporting shows different from the rest. What better than to have Married…With Children on the air? The show was an immediate hit! For once there was a television show where the real family can relate to the problems of having children who are growing up and with couples coping with marriage and sex getting to a state of boredom. The family life becomes a mess of sarcastic exchanges and unhappiness along with the care and love. Married…With Children plays on Al Bundy’s (Ed O’Neill) sorrowful life married to his wife for 16 years, Peggy (Katey Sagal). Peggy is an unemployed housewife who believes she’s still the hot girl on the block and always dressing up in her latest fashion. She’s a couch potato who really doesn’t do her housework chores and leaves Al to pick up after their two kids, 16-year-old Kelly (Christina Applegate) and 12-year-old Bud (David Faustino). Kelly is America’s Sweetheart with the big long blonde hair wearing rock video clothes and having the intelligence of a rock. Bud, despite his bad luck with the girls, was the witty son like his father and probably had the most intelligence of the three. They share the same house with their lazy dog buck that appreciates Peg’s cooking when the rest of the family doesn’t.

    The Bundy’s can’t be left alone as they are contrasted with new neighbors Steve and Marcy (David Garrison, Amanda Bearse) who have a very different (and positive) outlook on marriage. It’s only a matter of time before Al and Peg corrupt their minds and turn them against each other.

    Full of laughs, I think Married…With Children is a great television series. On air for a total of eleven years and aimed directly at blue collared workers, the show was a success. What we view of Al and Peg can happen in any family which is why this show is so funny. Others have disliked the show thinking the themes were too taboo for TV and for reinforcing some sad realities people try to get through themselves. What also made this show successful was that it appealed to the workingman – the male crowd finally had a sitcom for them! That probably explains why I know fewer women who like the show. Whatever your tastes in television viewing, season one of Married…With Children is about as rebel as things get about the family life and season two follows along with the same Bundy humor. By the second season the show would have got everyone singing Frank Sinatra’s song “Love And Marriage” and immediately connect it with the series.

    Packaged in a slipcase with each disc folding out, each season is its own release. Here is a list of the episodes for both Season One and Two. Season One has two discs and Season Two has three discs. Each comes with an insert with a list of episodes and a synopsis of each.


    Season One: Disc One

    Pilot
    Thinergy
    Sixteen Years and What Do You Get?
    But I Didn’t Shoot The Deputy
    Have You Driven A Ford Lately?
    Whose Room Is It Anyway?
    Al Loses His Cherry
    Peggy Sue got Work
    Married…Without Children

    Season One: Disc Two

    The Poker Game
    Where’s The Boss?
    Nightmare On Al’s Street
    Johnny B. Gone


    Season Two: Disc One

    Buck Can Do It
    Poppy’s By The Tree, Part 1
    Poppy’s By The Tree, Part 2
    If I Were A Rich Man
    For Whom The Bell Tolls
    Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, Part 1
    Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, Part 2
    Born To Walk
    Alley Of The Dolls

    Season Two: Disc Two

    The Razor’s Edge
    How Do You Spell Revenge
    Earth Angel
    You Better Watch Out
    Guys And Dolls
    Build A Better Mousetrap
    Master The Possibilities
    Peggy Loves Al, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah
    The Great Escape

    Season Two: Disc Three

    Impo-Dent
    Just Married…With Children
    Father Lode
    All In The Family


    Video Quality? [​IMG] [​IMG] / [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The 4:3 video is a disappointment as it’s nowhere near a high quality presentation. While flesh tones are good, the video suffers from occasional dot crawl, colour moiré, noise (and lots of it!) and raised black levels. A significant amount of ghosting is also present in both seasons. The image has a consistent ‘warm’ appearance inside the house and I imagine that is intentional. I’ve noticed significant amounts of compression artifacts that result in poor fine detail. The artifacts crawl around edges and in the backgrounds around motion. I believe this is because of its low video bitrate that averages at just under 3.5Mbps. Since I’m viewing this on a 1.78:1 110” diagonal screen (viewing in it’s original 4:3 ratio, I never artificially manipulate the image), I can see these problems a little more than if you were to view it on a smaller screen. Season two suffers from a softness that is inconsistent scene to scene based on the same shot. It’s very strange for sure. This presentation isn’t from a first generation source that is for sure. But it’s passable so hopefully it won’t detract you too much from the comedy because it didn’t for me (unless I thought about it).


    Audio Quality? [​IMG] [​IMG] / [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Again, this is basic sitcom sound and it’s given to us in a Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo encoding. The sound is more than adequate and is always clear. It’s mostly dialogue and centered sound effects, but there is the odd bit of music here and there that help for a stereo spread. It never sounds thin or tinny, bloated or muffled. The audio is just right to enjoy each episode and to catch the hilarious rudimentary advice of Al.


    Special Features? [​IMG] [​IMG] / [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Season One consists of a few features with only one relating to the series. The feature of interest is on Disc 2 of Season One 2003, Married…With Children Reunion Special (42.35, 4:3, 2.0s) and was aired as an hour-long special with all seven cast members talking about the show and showing clips from the series’ most memorable moments. It’s a fun re-cap on the show that doesn’t go too in depth with ‘the making of’ to keep it interesting and funny for network television. Other features are a New Comedy Sneak Preview of the television series “A Minute With Stan Hoover”, and trailers of other shows. Season Two’s special features include 13 Hidden Easter Eggs featuring interviews with the cast. You have to find them within the menus on each of the discs. They aren’t hard to find especially since there actually is a spot on the screen explaining what Easter Eggs are and how to find them. The interview clips are between 30 seconds to just over a minute and are discussions of the cast that didn’t make it into the reunion special…sort of like ‘deleted scenes’…so good hunting!


    Thoughts…

    Married…With Children revolutionized sitcoms forever being the first to add deep down and dirty sarcastic and crude humour about individuals and family life. By the time the series approached its final years, many networks who were originally afraid to air such trash talk were now airing shows of their own, unafraid they’d receive bad press about their sitcoms. The Married…With Children will be one of those shows that will stand the test of time…because when you’re first on air and you’re that good, there will always be a following and a remembrance by those who watched it or not.

    04.03.01
    Michael Osadciw
     
  2. Casey Trowbridg

    Casey Trowbridg Lead Actor

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    Michael, thanks for the review, I have season 1 and season 2 is on the way.

    I wish they put more extras on these, but I'll take all the Al Bundy goodness I can get. I'm just happy that Married with Children is coming out quicker than some of the other Columbia shows.
     
  3. Mark Lx

    Mark Lx Second Unit

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    Thanks Mike.

    This will be my next TV DVD purchase. I have Season One and while the picture isn't perfect, I didn't really think about it while watching. Extras, yeah whatever.
     
  4. Scott_J

    Scott_J Cinematographer

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    Thanks for the review, Michael. This season contained one of my favorite MWC episodes, Just Married with Children. Not to mention the first appearance of the Bundys' namesake, King Kong Bundy, in the season finale.

    Quick question about the next to last episode on season 2, disc 2 (Peggy Loves Al Yeah Yeah Yeah).
    When it originally aired, FOX put a phone number at the screen at the end of the episode asking whether or not viewers wanted Al to say "I love you" to Peg. Later that night, they aired the winning ending he says it
    2 endings were probably made. If you have a minute to check it, which ending is on the episode, or do you get a choice between the 2? Thanks.
     
  5. Rob T

    Rob T Screenwriter

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    I got season 1. I'll definitely be getting season 2.
     
  6. Justin Bauer

    Justin Bauer Supporting Actor

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    I would imagine that they would air the original ending that was chosen with that episode.

    I really doubt they would have a feature to let us choose on our own between the two.
     
  7. Ric Bagoly

    Ric Bagoly Producer

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    MINE (already have Season 1)
     
  8. Michael Osadciw

    Michael Osadciw Screenwriter

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    Hi Scott

    The ending on that episode is Al confessing "I love you" to Peggy.
    There is no phone number coming up on screen, I imagine to not encourage people to call it again since it probably isn't directed to FOX anymore...and no...there is no alternate ending present...not even as an Easter Egg (unless I didn't find it...) ...that would have been cool to see if indeed there was an alternate ending shot...which I imagine there was...

    Enjoy the set when it comes out!
    Mike
     
  9. Casey Trowbridg

    Casey Trowbridg Lead Actor

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    Michael, thanks I'm a bit disappointed if the second ending isn't included, I'm pretty sure that 1 was shot. I didn't expect the phone number would flash of course although that would've been funny especially if people called.
     
  10. Joe6pack99

    Joe6pack99 Second Unit

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    Sweet can't wait I want them ALL!
     
  11. Ryan Wishton

    Ryan Wishton Screenwriter

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    I will be picking this up just as I did the first season despite the flaws...

    I just really like the show...

    Season 3 and Season 4 are probably my favorite seasons, so I look forward to those...

    I will probably stop around around Season 5 or so... IMO, the show started to go down hill after that...
     
  12. MattHR

    MattHR Screenwriter

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    Why does Columbia cram 9 episodes onto the first disc(s) of each season, then place only 4 on the last disc? Wouldn't it make more sense to spread out the episodes as evenly as possible to maximize bit space, and thus improve compression issues?
     
  13. PaulP

    PaulP Producer

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    I didn't think the video was bad at all. Of course I only have a 10-year-old 25-inch 4:3 Sony (or a 17-inch 4:3 Sony monitor).
     
  14. Dan Rudolph

    Dan Rudolph Producer

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    Isn't the last disc single-layer?
     
  15. chris_clem

    chris_clem Second Unit

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    Just ordered Season 2 on Amazon (after receiving some "love" [​IMG] )!

    I have the first season as well and projected on my 100" screen it looks very poor but oddly fitting for this series. The reunion special on season 1 has much better video quality though (even for the old clips) which shows how good it could look if Fox took the time to clean this up. I was hoping that if S1 sold well enough the next seasons would look better, I guess this is not to be. I imagine that later seasons will look better wether or not they clean it up due to the (pressumably) better equipment and quality of recordings as the series went on.
     

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