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Grounded for Life - Season 1


TITLE: GROUNDED FOR LIFE - SEASON 1


Info:

DVD Release Date: February 7, 2006 (Anchor Bay Home Entertainment)
Color/2001
MSRP: $39.98
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 20
Total Runtime: 460 Minutes
Special Features Runtime: 220 Minutes
Audio Tracks: English
Closed Captioned
Special Features:

  • Meet the Finnertys -­ Interview with Donal Logue
  • Claudia: Not the Sitcom Mom - Interview with Megyn Price
  • Life With Lily -­ Interview with Megyn Price
  • Interview with Creators Mike Schiff and Bill Martin
  • Bloopers
  • Audio Commentaries with Cast and Crew
  • Season One Highlights


    Introduction:

    Donal Logue and Megyn Price star as Sean and Claudia Finnerty, a fun-loving Staten Island couple who were pregnant and married by age 18. Now in their early 30s, they’re stuck raising three headstrong kids while still trying to grow up themselves. Even with the meddling of Sean’s irresponsible brother Eddie (Kevin Corrigan) and judgmental father (Richard Riehel), can three generations of family dysfunction survive everyday life and still stay as cool as they think they are? Lynset Bartilson, Griffin Frazen, Jake Burbage, and Bret Harrison also star in this Emmy-nominated hit from the executive producers of Roseanne.


    Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

    I’d never actually seen an episode of this show before this review, so I think I’ve got an interesting take on the show. Having sat through as many episodes of the show as the time constraints of reviewing allow, honestly, this show’s just not my cup of tea. If you’re a fan of the show, you probably already know what episodes you want to watch. If not, well, keep reading the review anyway, I like the attention. I was a bit confused as to why there are 20 episodes on the set, but only 15 aired in “Season One”. Five episodes were held over into season two, and are included on the DVD set. As far as guest stars go, Danny Masterson from That ‘70s Show appears in episode 16 (DVD Order), “Baby, You Can’t Drive My Car”. And that’s it.


    Packaging:

    The packaging is similar to most other releases from Anchor Bay. The packaging contains a slim outer box, with two slim cases inside, each slim case holding two discs. The front cover has the family standing in front of a fence. Slim case 1’s cover has a framed picture (hanging at a slant) with Claudia and Sean in the picture. Case 2 has the same unleveled picture look, but with a picture of the 3 kids instead. Disc art is simple, but good. On Disc 1 (episodes 1-6) is a picture of Claudia and Sean. Disc 2 has a picture of Eddie and Walt, and has episodes 7-12. Disc 3 (episodes 13-18) has a picture of Henry and Jimmy, while disc 4 has a solo shot of Lily.


    Menu Design and Navigation:

    The main menus of the discs…are simple to say the least, yet awesomely done. Most of the menu is a static shot of the main cast similar to the front cover…except for the empty space on the right. Various clips from the season play while horizontal bars animate over them. The main theme plays in the background. Episodes have a simple blue sky / green grass look, like the front cover/main menu. Each selectable option is a simple bit of plain text. Selecting the episode you want takes you to a little menu screen with information about the episode with episode title, synopsis, and a screenshot of the episode. Selected episodes have audio commentary. This is accessible via a separate “commentary” menu at the main menu on the first three discs (this feature isn’t available on disc 4, so it’s replaced by special features). Bizarre glitch, in that going back from the episode when commentary is selected takes you back to the episode menu rather than the commentary one.


    Video and Audio Quality:

    Video looks fairly good. A lot of the colors seem artificially bright…almost TOO vivid. Anchor Bay may have gone just a tiny overboard in making sure the colors were correct. Other than that, it looks nice. Some shows had already switched to widescreen when Grounded for Life debuted; however, it was NOT one of them. As such, episodes are in 4:3 aspect ratio (standard box view). Other than the color issue, there’s no real problem with the video on the DVD set ­ no artifacting, no grain, etc…fairly well done. Audio is a Dolby Digital Surround 2.0 track. It’s nice, loud, and clear, and the music and dialogue balance nicely. Chapter stops ONLY after main titles.

    Episode runtimes: Due to the airdate (2001), even though the runtimes are ~22 minutes, I’m fairly confident in saying these are not syndicated cuts.

    Lily B. Goode: 22:28
    In My Room: 22:28
    I Wanna Be Suspended: 22:18
    Devil With a Plaid Skirt: 21:58
    Action Mountain High: 22:28
    You Can’t Always Get What You Want: 22:28
    Like a Virgin: 22:29
    Devil’s Haircut: 22:29
    Eddie’s Dead: 22:28
    Catch Us If You Can: 22:29
    Jimmy’s Got a Gun: 22:28
    Jimmy was Kung Fu Fighting 22:28
    Loser: 22:28
    Mrs. Finnerty, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter: 22:29
    Baby You Can’t Drive My Car: 22:29
    Dream On: 22:28
    Rubber Sold: 22:29
    Let’s Talk About Sex Henry: 22:29
    Is She Really Going Out with Walt?: 22:28
    Love Child: 22:28


    Special Features:

    Commentary:
    Lily B. Goode: Commentary by Series Creators Bill Martin and Mike Schiff, and Actors Lynsey Bartilson, Megyn Price, and Richard Riehle. This episode was never intended to be the first episode…Eddie’s Dead was shot before it. They held up the filming of an episode of Friends so that the director of this episode,­ who worked on Friends,­ could discuss the script with those working on GFL at that moment. Episode runs 22:28.

    In My Room: Lynsey Bartilson and Megyn Price: It’s obvious that a lot of this episode is just the two of them watching the episode -­ no real new information. Leather pants. You’ll notice in every opening title sequence before the switch out in which Lynsey is doing commentary; she makes a reference to it being the old titles. 22:28

    I Wanna Be Suspended: Bill Martin and Mike Schiff. 22:18.

    Action Mountain High. Bill Martin, Mike Schiff, Richard Riehle, plus writer Chris Kelly comment. 22:28.

    Like a Virgin: Lynsey Bartilson and Megyn Price: Lynsey seems fascinated about the wardrobe in this episode. Lynsey also seems to constantly make fun of the Lily character. 22:29

    Devil’s Haircut: Bill Martin and Mike Schiff: For those of you keeping score at home: Cast Commentary: Oh, look at that speck of dirt over the plant in the corner, I didn’t notice that before. Crew commentary: That speck of dirt was placed there for scene 6A in show 101 take 4. Sorry, just padding. I got nothing. 22:29

    Catch Us if You Can: Bill Martin, Mike Schiff, David Israel, and Jim O’Doherty: 22:29

    Jimmy was Kung Fu Fighting: Bill and Mike. 22:28

    Mrs. Finnerty, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter. Mike Schiff, Writers Jim O’Doherty, Gregory Thompson and Aron Abrams, and Lynsey Bartilson comment. The fake boom box nearly took out Megyn by accident. 22:29.

    Baby You Can’t Drive My Car: Bill Martin, Mike Schiff, Chris Kelly, and Richard Riehle. Another writer was supposed to be involved in commentary, but bailed. Most of the drawers in the kitchen don’t open until they need them to open. 22:29

    Dream On: Same commentators as before. Lily had a rotating group of friends due to the initial previous actresses playing each best friend getting job offers elsewhere…I swear, Lily goes through more friends than Murphy Brown goes through secretaries, and that’s saying something. 22:28.

    -----

    Meet the Finnertys: Interview with Donal Logue: This 8:12 interview is just a brief run-through of his opinions of the cast members and characters. Standard stuff.

    Claudia: Not the Sitcom Mom: Interview with Megyn Price: This interview is kind of an alternate version of the above, yet different. This focuses more along the lines of the Claudia character, as well as the family dynamic. Runs 7:06

    Life with Lily: Interview with Lynsey Bartilson: Yet more of the same, this time with the Lily character. 7:17

    Interview with creators Mike Schiff and Bill Martin. 10:04. Origin of the series stuff. This is following a pattern similar to 3rd Rock from the Sun season 1’s Special Features…

    Bloopers. 1:31. Not much here, but what’s here is good.

    Season One Highlights: 7:41. Various clips of the season designed to showcase the highpoints in a condensed version. Possibly the thing I enjoyed most about this set.

    Total Runtime of Special Features: Approx 220 Minutes (including all commentary)


    Final Comments:

    If it wasn’t already obvious, when I began this review, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the show. Admittedly, by the 2nd and 3rd viewing of some of the episodes, I was beginning to find some episodes funny…but that’s more than realistically one should ever have to re-watch an episode to start finding it funny.

    The sheer volume of special features on this set is amazing. ­ Anchor Bay’s best releases seem to be consistently from the Carsey-Werner library. Why this is, I’m not sure, but keep it up Anchor Bay.

    Ultimately, the show’s not really my cup of tea, though some episodes get better with re-viewing. If you’re a fan of this show, go ahead and pre-order it now for the February 7th release date. ­ It’s worth your money for sure. Otherwise, you might want to watch reruns weekdays on ABC Family for a few days before making a purchase, just to make sure the show’s your cup of tea. I would not recommend it, as it’s a fine set.


    Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)

    Video Quality: 4/5
    Audio Quality: 4.5/5
    Special Features: 4/5
    Menu Design/Navigation: 3.5/5
    Overall: 4/5

    -- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 01/30/06

    To purchase the DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000CEXF7O/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20


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