"Accidentally on Purpose," based on the bestselling memoir by Mary F. Pols, is a comedy about a single woman, Billie (Jenna Elfman), who finds herself "accidentally" pregnant after a one-night stand with a much younger guy, and decides to keep the baby...and the guy. A newspaper film critic, Billie is barely surviving a humiliating breakup with her charming boss, James (Grant Show), who's still trying to resume their relationship. Pregnant, after a brief fling with her "boy toy" Zack (Jon Foster), Billie and Zack make an arrangement to live together platonically. Billie's party girl best friend Olivia (Ashley Jensen), and Abby (Lennon Parham), her conventional, younger married sister, eagerly look forward to the new addition and offer their own brands of advice and encouragement. But when Zack and his freeloading friends, including Davis (Nicolas Wright), start to turn her place into a frat house, Billie isn't sure if she's living with a boyfriend, a roommate, or if she just has another child to raise.
Billie finds out that she is pregnant from a fling with Zack, an aspiring chef in his 20s, and decides to keep the baby in the "Pilot." While snooping through Zack's belongings, Billie discovers a note addressed to her that he never finished writing, and sets out find what Zack is hiding in "Memento." Billie's pregnancy causes her breasts to increase in size - which causes other guys to flirt with her in "One Night Stand." David Sutcliffe guest stars as Brian. Billie and Zack discuss their feelings on dating and agree to see other people, however, Billie's pregnancy gets in the way of any potential love connections in "The Date." Billie tries to live vicariously through Zack and Davis by offering up dating advice to them in "The Love Guru."
Sarah Wright guest stars as Sasha and Diora Baird appears as Andrea. Billie and Zack have their first big argument after Zack tries to surprise Billie by installing a low flow toilet in "Fight Club." Billie unintentionally causes Abby and Nick to break up when she asks them to be godparents in "The Godfather." Michael Rapaport appears as Sully. When Billie starts dating a colleague from her newspaper, Zack is unable to hide his jealousy in "The Third Man." David Sutcliffe returns as Brian. Billie, feeling threatened when James hires another film critic at the paper, sets out to prove how valuable she is in "Working Girl."
A scheduling conflict causes Billie and Zack to take different parenting classes in "Class." Worried that she'll ruin Christmas, as she has in previous years, Billie tries to hide from her parents the fact that Zack is living with her in "It Happened One Christmas." Fred Dryer guest stars as Edward and Nancy Lenehan appears as Lara. When Billie tells Abby that Zack doesn't like Nick, they fight and Abby tells Billie to arrange her own baby shower in "The Odd Couples." Billie and Sully (Michael Rapaport) work on a story together, which leads to a surprising discovery about the paper in "The Rock." Billie tries to manipulate Zack so he does more around the apartment, but her plans backfires when Zack ends up creating a new mess each time he cleans one up in "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman." Billie invites herself to Zack's high school reunion but worries that she can't compete with his hot, ex-girlfriend in her pregnant state in "Back to School." Zack is upset when Billie hires a baby nurse without consulting him in "Face Off." Olivia Munn guest stars as Nicole. Billie pretends to go into labor to save Zack from getting a traffic ticket after they're pulled over for speeding in "Speed." After faking labor pains to get Zack out of a speeding ticket, Billie goes into labor - for real in "Speed 2." Tim Bagley appears as Gavin.
All of the episodes have running times of 20-22 minutes. It's sad when some network sitcoms have episodes that run only a little over 20 minutes. There's so many commercials these days. There's a small disclaimer on the back of the packaging which states "Some episodes may be edited from their original network versions." I don't think the show used music very often, so hopefully if there are any music changes they will be minor. I did notice that "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" by Beyoncé was used in the pilot and it is included on the DVD. Here is the breakdown by disc, including the exact runtimes:
Pilot (09/21/09) (22:03)
Memento (09/28/09) (20:18)
One Night Stand (10/05/09) (21:11)
The Date (10/12/09) (20:11)
The Love Guru (10/19/09) (21:36)
Fight Club (11/02/09) (20:39)
The Godfather (11/09/09) (21:50)
The Third Man (11/16/09) (21:11)
Working Girl (11/23/09) (21:45)
Class (12/07/09) (21:05)
It Happened One Christmas (12/14/09) (21:20)
The Odd Couples (01/11/10) (21:30)
The Rock (01/18/10) (20:45)
Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (02/01/10) (20:05)
Back to School (02/08/10) (20:25)
Face Off (04/07/10) (20:25)
Speed (04/14/10) (20:42)
Speed 2 (04/21/10) (20:59)
This 2-disc set contains all 18 episodes from the first and only season (2009-10). This release is titled "The DVD Edition." I'm not sure why they just didn't call it "The Complete Series" or "The First Season." It comes in a clear plastic Amaray movie-style case. A photo of Jenna Elfman and Jon Foster sitting on a couch, with Foster upside down holding a video game controller, is featured on the cover art. The back cover has a photo of Ashley Jensen, Nicolas Wright, Jenna Elfman, Jon Foster and Lennon Parham sitting on a couch (with Wright and Foster sitting upside down holding video game controllers). A synopsis of the set, a listing of the special features and the DVD specs are provided. Inside the case, we have the episode titles listed by disc with short 1-2 sentence summaries and original airdates. The special features are noted for each disc. There are 7 color photos of the cast from the episodes on the right panel. The discs are just plain silver, with the show logo, episode titles and special features listed on them. Disc One holds episodes 1-9. Disc Two holds episodes 10-18.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menus are colorful and easy to navigate. They open with a series of video clips from the show, with animated red and white stripes in the background. "Birds of a Feather," the theme song for the show, plays in the background for about 30 seconds before looping. There are options for Play All, Episodes, Set Up and Special Features at the bottom of the screen. Jenna Elfman and Jon Foster are featured on the Episodes menu. The episode titles are listed vertically in black text against a red background. Ashley Jensen is on the Set Up menu. You can choose from English 5.1 or English Stereo here and turn on/off the subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing. Nicolas Wright is featured on the Special Features menu on Disc One, while Lennon Parham is on Disc Two. When you first insert disc one, there is a series of Previews (3:30) for some other CBS/DVD Paramount releases, including United States of Tara S1, NCIS, Dexter, Criminal Minds, Ghost Whisperer, Medium, Numb3rs, Brotherhood, Everybody Hates Chris and others which you can play or skip. Chapter stops are placed at the appropriate places.
Video and Audio Quality:
These episodes just aired last season, so the video and audio quality is excellent as you would expect. The episodes are presented in widescreen 16:9 format. This was a multi-camera sitcom that was filmed in front of a studio audience. Most of the scenes were shot on sets. The picture is very sharp and the colors are vivid. For the closing logo enthusiasts, there are logos for Berman/Braun and CBS Productions.
The audio is available in English 5.1 or English Stereo. There are no problems with the audio quality at all.
The theme song for the show is "Birds of a Feather", written by David Fagin of the indie-rock band The Rosenbergs. John Swihart composed the music score. The show was filmed in front of a studio audience, so the show has a laugh track. Subtitles are available for the deaf and hard of hearing. Special features are not rated any may not be subtitled.
For a show that was canceled after only one season, the special features are pretty decent. They run approximately 51 minutes. These were likely all filmed before the show was offcially canceled. There was no talk about a possible second season in any of the interviews.
Mary Pols: The "Real" Billie Chase (10:33) - This featurette is about the author and book that inspired the show. They talk about the development of the series. Various clips from the episodes are shown. Interviews include Mary F. Pols, Nicolas Wright, Jon Foster, Ashley Jensen, Jenna Elfman, Executive Producer Gail Berman, and Creator/Executive Producer Claudia Lonow.
Best of "Lunch with Nic and Jon" (10:52) - This was an online CBS talk show that they filmed with a flip camera in the back of a truck. Nic and Jon interviewed some guest stars like Olivia Munn and series stars like Jenna Elfman and Pooch Hall. They also did some crazy stuff like soda pong and tobaggoning. Interviews include Jenna Elfman, Ashley Jensen, Creator/Executive Producer Claudia Lonow, and Jon Foster. You can watch the complete video blog segments at CBS.com .
An "Unconventional" Behind the Scenes Documentary (20:43) - They talk about how the show was developed and brought to CBS, how Jenna Elfman was cast, the characters of Billie, Zack, Davis, Olivia and Abby and how the actors were cast, the raunchiness of the show, performing in front of a live studio audience, how they were a non-traditional family, and how the episodes ended on a happy note. Interviews include Executive Producer Gail Berman, Creator/Executive Producer Claudia Lonow, Jenna Elfman, Jon Foster, Nicolas Wright, Ashley Jensen, and Lennon Parham.
The Bro-partment (5:51) - This featurette focuses the apartment of Davis. They also talk about some of their previous apartment experiences. Interviews include Jon Foster, Nicolas Wright, Jenna Elfman, Ashley Jensen, Executive Producer Gail Berman, and Creator/Executive Producer Claudia Lonow.
Gag Reel (3:02) - This is a montage of bloopers/outtakes with some music played in the background.
This was a pretty funny and enjoyable show, but I knew after watching the pilot last fall that it wasn't really set up to run beyond one season. The show started off with some respectable ratings of around 8 million viewers in the fall, but the show was doomed once CBS moved it to Wednesdays where it was doing 6 million or less viewers for the final 3 episodes. This was a better vehicle for Jenna Elfman than Courting Alex, which was her previous sitcom on CBS in 2006. Accidentally on Purpose had a better supporting cast and writing, but somehow it generated even less viewers than Courting Alex. That show was never released on DVD, so it's nice to see this one-year wonder available for people who missed it the first time or would like to watch it again. The finale of the season did wrap it up nicely on a good note and they didn't end with a cliffhanger at least.
If you are a fan of the show, this release delivers. There's a surprising amount of special features for a series that was canceled after one season. All of the main cast members participate on them, with the exception of Grant Show. Recommended for all fans of Jenna Elfman, Jon Foster or any of the other supporting actors.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 5/5
Audio Quality: 5/5
Special Features: 2.5/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4.5/5
-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller
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