TITLE: GROUNDED FOR LIFE - THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON (MILL CREEK)
Release Date: September 13, 2011 (Mill Creek Entertainment)
Packaging: Double-Thick Keepcase or Regular Keepcase (see Packaging section)
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 22
Running Time: 603 minutes
Running Time of Features: 24 minutes
Audio: English Stereo
Subtitles and Captioning: Closed-Captioned
Special Features: Interviews (Ashton Kutcher, Kevin Corrigan, Jake Burbage, and Griffin Frazen); Season Two Bloopers; Season Two Highlights
Get ready once again to enjoy three generations of family dysfunction survive everyday life and still stay cool! Grounded for Life - The Complete Second Season brings 22 episodes that actually aired (note, not just episodes PRODUCED as the previous release of the second season from Anchor Bay included) from the 2001-2002 season of the series to a three-disc set. As just previously alluded to, the second season (the entire series, actually) of this series was released by Anchor Bay several years ago, but those releases included episodes by production season. These sets are presented by the seasons the episodes aired, in the correct order. So, get ready to be grounded... for life... again!
The second season begins with "Baby, You Can't Drive My Car," where the family has a little crisis when the family car goes missing one night. Claudia has an erotic dream about Eddie in "Dream On." In "Don't Let Me Download," Claudia discovers some questionable history on Jimmy's computer. Sean (naturally) freaks out when he sees Brad buying condoms in "Rubber Sold." In "Bang on the Drum," Sean and Eddie revive their old high school band to play a wedding reception. Claudia becomes a closet smoker in "Smoke on the Daughter." In "I Saw Daddy Hitting Santa Claus," Sean brings violence to Santaland. Henry catches his parents having sex in "Let's Talk About Sex, Henry."
In "Is She Really Going Out with Walt?," the family plan to push Walt back into the social scene backfires almost instantly. Sean fears that Claudia's Uncle Sal may be up to no good in "We Are Family." Jimmy's class is having a robot science fair (and Sean ends up helping a bit too much) in "Mr. Roboto." Sean discovers Lily with a bag of weed in "Don't Fear the Reefer," but things go from bad to worse when he finds out where she got it from. Lily is having some compulsive credit-card usage issues in "Take it to the Limit." In "Eddie Said Knock You Out," Sean accepts a boxing challenge from his neighbor. Sean and Claudia are chaperoning the school dance in "Safety Dance," and naturally, Lily causes trouble.
Sean tries to talk a gay co-worker into coming out of the closet in "Relax." In "The Kids Are Alright," Sean and Claudia win a free weekend in Atlantic City, and are forced to leave the kids in Eddie's care. In "Swearin' To God," Sean exploits a nun after a foulmouthed slip of the tongue. Sean winds up in jail for buying some shady diamond earrings in "Eddie and This Guy with Diamonds." Ashton Kutcher guest stars in "Dust in the Wind," where Sean and Eddie have to go out of their way to honor their late cousin's wishes. The season ends with "Oops... I Did It Again," where Sean is convinced that Lily is pregnant once again.
The episodes appear to be unedited, with runtimes as follows:
1. "Baby, You Can't Drive My Car" (22:27)
2. "Dream On" (22:27)
3. "Don't Let Me Download" (22:07)
4. "Rubber Sold" (22:27)
5. "Bang on the Drum" (22:08)
6. "Smoke on the Daughter" (22:07)
7. "I Saw Daddy Hitting Santa Claus" (22:09)
8. "Let's Talk About Sex, Henry" (22:28)
9. "Is She Really Going Out with Walt" (22:28)
10. "We Are Family" (22:08)
11. "Mr. Roboto" (22:06)
12. "Don't Fear the Reefer" (22:07)
13. "Take it to the Limit" (22:07)
14. "Eddie Said Knock You Out" (22:08)
15. "Safety Dance" (22:06)
16. "Relax" (22:05)
17. "The Kids are All Right" (22:06)
18. "Swearin' to God" (22:08)
19. "Eddie and this Guy with Diamonds" (22:08)
20. "I Fought the In-Laws" (22:08)
21. "Dust in the Wind" (22:05)
22. "Oops... I Did it Again" (22:05)
This set is one of the many Mill Creek releases that are out there with both a larger and a smaller package; I received the double-thick keepcase, but there is also a regular sized case that seems to be the one found more often in stores. Of course, as usual, the discs inside the case will be found in those obnoxious paper envelopes. It is a tragedy, really. On the cover, we have a cast photo, along with a blurb from an online DVD review of the second season (from the previous release). On the back, we have another cast photo, along with a brief description of the series and a listing of all of the special features. Inside, you'll find the three discs, which have the same artwork as seen on the cover, along with a listing of the episodes on each disc. The episodes are broken down incredibly unevenly on this set. Discs 1 and 2 contain 10 episodes each, but once you get to Disc 3, there are only 2 episodes, although Disc 3 does contain the special features as well. Still, it isn't an even breakdown.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menus on this set are professional looking, but they just aren't fancy like those on many Mill Creek sets typically are. The main menu on each disc just has a still cast photo--same as the one on the cover--with the theme song playing in the background. Options on the discs include Play All and Episodes, as well as Bonus on Disc 3. Episodes will take you to a listing of episodes on that disc. Once you select an episode, it plays right away. Unfortunately, chapters were not placed throughout the episode as often as they should have been, but at least there is one in the middle of each episode.
Video and Audio Quality:
In looking over the review that was done for the Anchor Bay release of this set several years ago, I noticed that the video quality was rather poorly rated there, and thought that, just perhaps, there would be some improvement here. But sadly, there isn't. It was described as grainy and dull in the previous review, and it still is, except now, the episodes are also very badly compressed. And the audio was rated rather decently there, but it really seemed to be problematic to me on this set, with low levels and background noise at times. This series is only 10 years old, but you wouldn't know that from the quality of the episodes on this set. Luckily, the episodes are at least closed-captioned.
Most of the special features from the Anchor Bay release have carried over to this set, except for the one (and only) commentary that was featured on that set. Not carrying over commentaries has made sense for some sets, but not so much with this one, since it appears that both sets had the same episode editing. In any event, we don't get that commentary here.
What we do get, however, is three interviews. First, we have "Grounded for Life: From Ashes to Ashton" (4:16), where we have an interview with Ashton Kutcher. He was a guest star in one of the episodes in this season, and basically just talks about that experience. "Kevin Corrigan: He Ain't Eddie, He's My Brother" (9:40) is another interview, this time with (as is hopefully clearly indicated) Kevin Corrigan. He basically talks about his experience on the show throughout the series. Finally, "Grounded for Life: Sibling Revelry" (4:55) is yet another interview, this time, with the kids (Jake Burbage and Griffin Frazen).
There are also some bloopers (2:36) and highlights (11:39) from the second season on the set, which are pretty self-explanatory.
So far, I've seen all of the season sets of the Carsey-Werner series as released by Mill Creek, and I think that the Grounded for Life sets have been my only disappointment among them. Granted, I think it is fair to say that this disappointment is in large part due to the fact that the series just isn't as good or as memorable as the other series that were released, but the DVDs themselves are just a little disappointing in regards to quality. However, from what I understand, the Anchor Bay releases didn't look so great either, so it could just be that the series was just produced on a low budget to begin with. Still, this DVD set can be obtained very inexpensively. In fact, I've seen new copies appear for under $3 online. So, if you are a fan of this series, you'll definitely want this set (I actually disagree with the reviewer who reviewed the first season, as I think this set is at least better than the Anchor Bay releases in that they released the episodes in airdate order), but if you've never seen the series, you could probably afford to "splurge" to buy the DVDs at the incredibly low retail price. It would still be nice to see a better quality release, but I don't think we'll ever see that.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 3/5
Audio Quality: 3.5/5
Special Features: 2/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 3.5/5
-- Reviewed by skees53 on 01/22/12
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