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Grounded for Life - Season 3


TITLE: GROUNDED FOR LIFE - SEASON 3


Info:

DVD Release Date: August 8, 2006 (Anchor Bay Home Entertainment)
Color/2002-03
MSRP: $19.98
Number of Discs: 2
Number of Episodes: 13 (2 which never aired on FOX or The WB)
Running Time: Approx. 242 minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English, closed-captioned
Special Features: 6 Episode Audio Commenaries by Creators Bill Martin and Mike Schiff; Producers Aron Abrams, Ned Goldreyer, Chris Kelly, and Gregory Thompson; and Actors Lynsey Bartilson, Miriam Flynn and Chris Hogan


Introduction:

The Finnerty Family returns with an all-new season of trust, sharing, and the kind of behavior that often leads to arrests. Why does working class dad Sean (Donal Logue) have to wear a dress in front of truckers? How did hot mom Claudia (Megyn Price) become addicted to violent video games? Why is criminally minded Uncle Eddie (Kevin Corrigan) so excited about their new bar? What has out-of-control Lily (Lynsey Bartilson) done to her poor boyfriend-next-door Brad (Bret Harrison)? How will unruly boys Jimmy (Griffin Frazen) and Henry (Jake Burbage) survive a hot wings binge? And what really happens when you swallow a lizard?

Includes 13 hilarious episodes - plus 2 that were never aired on the WB - featuring such guest stars as Richard Riehle, Mike Vogel, Wilmer Valderrama, Stephen Root, Miriam Flynn, Loudon Wainwright III, Curtis Armstrong and more.


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

Grounded for Life premiered on FOX on January 10, 2001. After 2 seasons and 3 episodes of Season 3 on FOX, the show moved to The WB. Many shows have changed networks after a season ended, but this is the first time that I can remember that one switched mid-season. The WB moved to the show to Fridays, and it began airing on February 28, 2003. Grounded for Life was created by Bill Martin and Mike Schiff, who also created 3rd Rock From the Sun. It starred Donal Logue as Sean Finnerty, Megyn Price as Claudia Finnerty, Richard Riehle as Walt Finnerty, Kevin Corrigan as Eddie Finnerty, Lynsey Bartilson as Lily Finnerty, Griffin Frazen as Jimmy Finnerty, Jake Burbage as Henry Finnerty, Bret Harrison as Brad O'Keefe, Mike Vogel as Dean, and Miriam Flynn as Sister Helen. A total of 91 episodes were produced over the show's 5-season run. An interesting trivia note: the titles of all 91 episodes were named after or are references to pop songs.

This set contains a total of 13 episodes. They produced 19 episodes for season three, but only 11 aired on the networks. The first 3 aired on FOX and the last 8 aired on The WB. 6 episodes that were produced for season three aired in season four on The WB. Two episodes, "Oh, What a Knight" and "Part Timer Lover," which didn't air on either network are also included. These two episodes have been aired overseas and on the ABC Family channel.

The third season saw Sean and Eddie buy the Red Boot Pub. Memorable episodes included "Cat Scratch Fever" - When Sean and Eddie hire Nicole, an old flame of Sean's as the new bartender, Claudia gets upset. Sean loses the respect of Jimmy and Henry when, unable to change a tire, he hides in the backseat under a shawl while Claudia uses her legs to flag down a trucker in "Just Like A Woman." Henry finds a pot plant growing in the backyard and assumes that it's Sean's in "Henry's Been Working For A Drug Squad." After their recent pregnancy scare, Sean and Claudia decide that the best thing to do is for him to get a vascetomy in "Cuts Like A Knife."

Notable guest stars included Stephen Root as Tony Bustamante and Wilmer Valderrama as Eugenio in "Mustang Lily." Mike Vogel appears as Dean in "Cat Scratch Fever," "Who Are You?," "Claudia In Disguise (With Glasses)," and "Tonight's The Night." Ashley Tisdale played Leah in "Just Like A Woman." Loudon Wainwright III guest starred as Dr. Weidlinger in "Cuts Like A Knife." Curtis Armstrong appeared as Curtis in "Welcome To The Working Week." Autumn Reeser played Alison in "Tonight's The Night." Marnette Patterson guest starred as Jenna in "Oh, What A Knight."


Packaging:

The packaging is similar to the first two seasons. There is a slim outer box, with two slim cases inside, each slim case holding one disc. The front cover features a photo of 6 cast members standing or sitting on bar stools at the bar. The back of the outer box has a short summary of the set, a listing of the bonus features and DVD specs, and 6 small photos from the episodes. Eddie is featured on the spine of the box. The slim cases have photos of the cast in picture frames on the front. There are some pretty detailed summaries listed on the back of the slim cases, as well as a few more small photos. The backgrounds of the cases are various shades of green. Inside the slim cases, there is actually some more information listed! Many DVD sets I've seen just have blank space, but they have a letter from Creators Bill Martin and Mike Schiff in slim case #1 and quotes from the characters in comic-style thought balloons in both cases. There are also some additional photos of the cast inside the slim cases. The discs are green and yellow and have photos of the cast. Disc 1 has a picture of Sean and Claudia and has episodes 1-6. Disc 2 has a picture of Eddie and Lily and has episodes 7-13. A small sheet promoting the DVD releases for 3rd Rock From the Sun, Grounded for Life, and Roseanne is also included.


Menu Design and Navigation:

The main menus feature the theme song in the background that loops after awhile. The Grounded for Life logo is at the top of the screen. There is a cast photo on the left and various videoclips in a box on the right. Grass is at the bottom of the screen, and the sky/clouds are in the top background. Very similar to the season 1 and 2 menus - simple but nicely done. There are options for Episodes, Commentary, and Play All. When you select Episodes, it takes you to a sub-menu that has the same grass/sky background but not the cast photo or animated clouds. Episode titles are listed vertically in white. The episode you highlight is in green. When you select an episode, it takes you to another menu where there is a summary (the same summaries that are listed on the slim case) and a screenshot from that particular episode. Selected episodes have audio commentary. This is accessible via a separate “commentary” menu at the main menu on both discs.


Video and Audio Quality:

After filming the first two seasons in 35mm, they made the switch to high-definition for this season. The episodes look outstanding, much improved over the first two seasons. The colors are bright and the picture is sharp. They look like little films and don't have any grain or dullness. Audio is a Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0 track. It’s nice, loud, and clear, and the music and dialogue balance nicely. The band "Ween" did some nice music cues and theme for this show. Closed-captioning is available on all of the episodes. There is only one chapter stop per episode. It comes after the opening scenes/titles. These episodes also have some closing tags that aired for the closing credits that never aired on The WB.

The episodes appear to be unedited. The running times are consistent with the first 2 seasons, with each episode at just under 22 minutes. Here is the episode breakdown by disc, including the running times:

Disc 1
---------
1. We Didn't Start The Fire (21:54)
2. Mustang Lily (21:54)
3. Cat Scratch Fever (21:54)
4. Drive Me Crazy (21:56)
5. Just Like A Woman (21:55)
6. Henry's Been Working For A Drug Squad (21:55)

Disc 2
---------
7. Cuts Like A Knife (21:55)
8. Who Are You? (21:55)
9. Welcome To The Working Week (21:54)
10. Claudia In Disguise (With Glasses) (21:54)
11. Tonight's The Night (21:54) Bonus Unaired Episode - Oh, What A Knight (21:54)
Bonus Unaired Episode - Part Time Lover (21:53)


Special Features:

This set doesn't have the variety of special features as the first two seasons, but I found the audio commentaries very interesting and entertaining. There are 6 episode commentaries by Creators Bill Martin and Mike Schiff; Producers Aron Abrams, Ned Goldreyer, Chris Kelly, and Gregory Thompson; and Actors Lynsey Bartilson, Miriam Flynn and Chris Hogan. There is a mix of people on each episode. Mike Schiff seems to be the most vocal, and he did 5/6 of the commentaries that I can remember. With so many people on a single commentary, you would think there would be some over-lapping but I really didn't notice a lot of that. There isn't really a lot of scene-specific commentary, but they cover a variety of topics including: Lynsey's singing in "We Didn't Start The Fire," how FOX wanted them to shake up the show for the third season; the arrival and departure of some writers; what sitcom they got the bar set from; the switch from 35mm to high-definition; the introduction and naming of some new characters; the big move from FOX to The WB; how they shot differently than most sitcoms; some continuity errors due to the order in which the episodes were aired; the closing tags which didn't air on The WB; Ween's music; and the various sets they used and the Director of Photography.

There are some previews for Roseanne - Season 4 and 3rd Rock From the Sun - Season 2 on both discs.

Season 1 seemed to have 11 audio commentaries. Season 2 had commentary on only 1 episode. Season 3's 6 commentaries seemed to be about the right amount. With only 13 episodes on this set, I would have expected a few more season-specific special features. I would have liked to see bloopers and season highlights like they've had on the first two releases. The highlights package on the first two sets seemed to be a favorite of some fans.


Final Comments:

After our original reviewer had passed on the third season, I stepped up to the plate to cover this release. I had seen bits and pieces of the show before, but I've never really seen any complete episodes. This seems like a pretty decent show. The flashbacks and fantasy sequences reminded me of Titus. The family seemed similar to Growing Pains and Roseanne. They could have made this just like every other family sitcom, but I think they made a real effort to make it unique with some offbeat touches.

Anchor Bay has done a great job with the Grounded for Life sets. They've released 3 seasons already since February. The special features have added enjoyment and value to the sets. This set had only 13 episodes, so you should be able to find it for less than $15. When Season 4 is released, it will have a whopping 28 episodes.

Grounded for Life fans will be pleased to see the return of two of their stars to the small screen. Donal Logue will be starring in the promising ABC sitcom "The Knights of Prosperity" this fall. Megyn Price will be on "Rules of Engagement," co-starring Patrick Warburton. It is expected to air for the mid-season on CBS. Grounded for Life co-creators Bill Martin and Mike Schiff also have "The Singles Table," a new mid-season sitcom for NBC. Read our New Fall 2006 Sitcoms Preview here. Good luck to them all!


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
Overall: 4/5

-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 07/18/06

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

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000FSME4M/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20

Questions or comments about this set? Post on our message board:

http://www.sitcomsonline.com/boards/showthread.php?t=179871


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