All Leslie ever wanted was his dad's approval. So when his father passed away and left him the family
grocery store in Ohio, Leslie took over the reins. Of course, the staff of Green & Grains isn't exactly
the brightest. Then again, neither is Leslie. But together, they're bravely taking on masked robbers,
skating elves, beef on the hoof, unwilling virgins, the mega-mart next door, and cleanups on
aisle five. Daddy would be proud.
Show Information / Episodes Included:
10 Items or Less premiered on TBS on November 27, 2006. The TBS comedy series -- 10% scripted, 90% improv
and 100% lunacy -- stars John Lehr as Leslie Pool, Bob Clendenin as Carl Dawson, Chris Payne
Gilbert as Todd Sykes, Christopher Liam Moore as Richard Mednick, Greg Davis Jr. as Buchwald 'Buck' Washington,
Jennifer Elise Cox as Amy Anderson, Kirsten Gronfield as Ingrid Wakowski and Roberta Valderrama
as Yolanda Nelson. The show was created by executive producers John Lehr, Robert Hickey and Nancy Hower,
who directs all episodes.
Season 1 consisted of 5 episodes. It aired on Monday nights at 11PM ET/PT with either one or two new
thirty minute episodes.
Season 1 - The New Boss, The Miracle Worker, Health Insurance, What Women Want, Bag It
Season 2 premiered on January 15, 2008. It aired on Tuesday nights at 11PM/ET. 8 episodes were produced for the second season.
Season 2 - Dollar Day, Forever Young, To Heir Is Human, First Time, The Bromance, Amy Strikes Back,
Illegal Alien, The Ren Fair
This 2-disc set contains all 13 episodes from the first 2 seasons (2006, 2008). The packaging is a cardboard box that
holds two slim cases. The outer cardboard box features a photo
of the 7 main cast members. There are drawings of various grocery items in the background and foreground.
The 10 Items or Less logo is at the top of the box. On the back of the box, there is another cast lineup
photo that includes Jennifer Elise Cox. There are four smaller photos from the episodes below that.
A synopsis of the set, a listing of the sepcial features and the DVD specs are given. The show logo
is on the spine of the box. Two slim cases slide out from the right of the outer cardboard box.
Slim case #1 (Season 1) has headshots of the 8 cast members in an egg carton. John Lehr's head is
in a broken eggshell. Slim case #2 has headshots of the 8 cast members with oranges in the background.
The show logo and tagline are at the top. There are some pretty detailed episode summaries listed on
the back of the slim cases. Unfortunately, they didn't list any of the original airdates.
There are more photos and quotes from the characters inside the slim cases with a green
or yellow background. There is an insert that promotes all new episodes starting January 6 on Tuesdays
at 11/10c. There is also a catalogue for some other Sony TV DVD releases. The discs are held in
an embedded holder on the back panel of the case. Each disc has the sow logo and photos of the cast.
Disc one has a lime green/yellow background and features photos of Jennifer Elise Cox,
John Lehr, Bob Clendenin and Roberta Valderrama. Disc two has a green background and features
photos of Chris Payne Gilbert, Kirsten Gronfield, Greg Davis Jr. and Christopher Liam Moore.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menus are colorful and easy to navigate. They open with some Polaroid shots of the cast and
a checkout line light. There is about 4-5 seconds of instrumental music played in the background. This leads to the
main static menu. It has the same photo as slim case #1 with the photos of the cast in the egg carton.
There are options for "Play All Episodes," "Episode Selection" and "Special Features" at the bottom of the
screen. There is a yellow checkmark next the option you highlight that turns orange upon your selection.
When you choose Episode Selection, it takes you to a sub-menu where there are stillshots from the episodes. A yellow
border is around the episode you highlight that turns orange upon your selection.
There are 2-4 episodes listed per screen depending on the disc.
Roberta Valderrama, Bob Clendenin and some milk cartons are featured on the Special Features menu.
Chris Payne Gilbert, Kirsten Gronfield and John Lehr are on the Previews menu.
There are chapter stops within the episodes but no separate scene selection menus.
Video and Audio Quality:
Since these episodes were just shot in 2006-07, they look and sound excellent.
They are in their original anamorphic widescreen 1.78:1 format.
10 Items or Less is a single camera comedy shot without a studio audience.
The series is filmed in a real grocery store called Jon's supermarket in Reseda, CA.
They have some excellent lighting as you might expect from a real shooting location.
The picture is very sharp, and the colors are vivid. Most of the shooting is done inside the grocery store,
although there are a few exterior shots and other locations/sets. All of the episodes appear to be unedited, with
runing times of 22:08-22:13. They are presented in their original broadcast order as TBS aired them.
The only closing logo is for Sony Pictures Television.
The packaging indicates that Season 1 is in English (Stereo), while Season 2 is in English 5.0 (Dolby Digital).
I couldn't tell much different between the seasons. The dialogue is at a good volume level and easy to understand.
Since they shoot without a studio audience, there is no audience reation or added laugh track.
Closed captioning is available on all of the episodes. The Special Features are not rated and may not
be subtitled or closed captioned.
Here is the episode breakdown by disc, including the running times:
Disc 1 - Season 1
1. The New Boss (22:10)
2. The Miracle Worker (22:10)
3. Health Insurance (22:10)
4. What Women Want (22:08)
5. Bag It (22:10)
Disc 2 - Season 2
1. Dollar Day (22:12)
2. Forever Young (22:10)
3. To Heir Is Human (22:10)
4. First Time (22:12)
5. The Bromance (22:12)
6. Amy Strikes Back (22:11)
7. Illegal Alien (22:13)
8. The Ren Fair (22:12)
Approximately 30 minutes of special features are spread out over both discs.
They are mostly interviews with the cast and crew. Season 1 seems to be the main focus.
They should provide some nice background information for people like me who had never seen the series before,
but die-hard fans probably would have wanted to see some added material like audio commentaries and deleted scenes.
Internet Viral Videos
Choking (2:58) - John Lehr and Kirsten Gronfield are interviewed after season 1. John starts to choke
after eating some food.
Apology (1:48) - John and Kirsten explain the first video. Then something happens to John at the end end of the video.
Season 3 - Back on the Market! (:32) - Season 3 starts January 6 at 11/10c. I believe they are doing 8
more episodes this season.
Previews - Pineapple Express (2:32), The House Bunny (1:35), Baghead (2:11), Step Brothers (2:36) - I
don't know if they planned to put the Baghead trailer on a show set in a grocery store, but this looks
like an interesting little horror movie.
A Look Behind the Scenes (16:23) - This featurette includes interviews with Writer/Director Nancy Hower,
Writer/Produer/Actor John Lehr, Writer/Producer Robert Hickey, Bob Clendenin, Roberta Valderrama, Chris Payne Gilbert,
Kirsten Gronfield, Christopher Liam Moore and Greg Davis, Jr. They talk about the original idea for the show and
how they pitched it with a pilot presentation. Then we meet the characters and the actors who play them.
They talk about the improv and how the dialogue is not scripted but the storylines are scripted.
The final few minutes are about the Real Green and Grains grocery store and how the episodes are edited together.
This is a good overview of the show for new viewers.
Notes from the Casting Couch (4:52) - This featurette includes interviews with Writer/Producer Robert Hickey,
Greg Davis Jr., Roberta Valderrama, Kirsten Gronfield, Writer/Director Nancy Hower, Chris Payne Gilbert, John
Lehr and Bob Clendenin. They talk about the audition process, the improv, and how they brought in hundreds
of people and narrowed it down to about 25. There is some footage of various auditions with some people blurred out.
Coffee Break - Blooper Reel (1:44) - This really isn't a blooper/outtakes reel. This is more like behind-the-scenes
footage of the cast juggling and goofing around while off camera. It would have been nice to see a real
blooper reel like you see on so many other DVD sets.
10 Items was another one of the original TBS comedies like My Boys and The Bill Engvall Show that
had premiered in the last few years that I hadn't seen before they came to DVD.
I've only watched a handful of episodes, but I like what I've seen so far. I'm usually more of
a fan of multi-camera sitcoms with laugh tracks, but there are a few single camera comedies like The Office
and My Name Is Earl that I enjoy. 10 Items or Less has been compared to The Office or Arrested Development.
I don't think those comparisons are fair. Those shows are or were more scripted. 10 Items or Less is basically 90% improvised
and 10% scripted. The storyline arcs are scripted, but the cast isn't given any script. They have really
been able to make these characters their own. This isn't a show that I would recommend to anyone without sampling
an episode or two online at TBS.com .
If you have ever worked at a grocery store, you can probably related to some of the situations.
It's pretty unique to see a show set in a supermarket. The only other series that I can remember
are Check It Out and Open All Night.
This is a pretty good release. For somebody who had never seen the show before, the special features gave
me some good background information on the premise and characters. I'm sure the die-hard fans would have liked to see
some audio commentaries or deleted scenes. They apparently edit down the 22-minute episodes from roughly 30 hours of
raw improvised dialogue and scenes. There are deleted scenes and other videos online at the TBS site, so I don't know
why they couldn't include some of them on the DVD.
10 Items or Less returns
for a third season starting Tuesday, January 6 at 11/10c on TBS. Kim Coles joins the cast
as Mercy P. Jones.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 2/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4/5
-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 12/29/08
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