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Laverne & Shirley - The Season Season


TITLE: LAVERNE & SHIRLEY - THE SECOND SEASON


Info:

DVD Release Date: April 17, 2007 (CBS DVD/Paramount)
Color / 1976-77
MSRP: $38.99
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 23
Running time: Approx. 9 Hours, 27 Minutes
Audio Tracks: Dolby Digital - Restored English Mono
Video: Full Frame 1.33:1
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English; No Subtitles; Closed Captioned
Special Features: None


Introduction:

We're gonna do it! Laverne & Shirley, the hilarious female duo, returns to DVD with the Second Season. Reminisce with the tough-talking, street-smart Laverne De Fazio (Penny Marshall), the bright-eyed, naive Shirley Feeney (Cindy Williams), and their eccentric but loveable neighbors, Lenny (Michael McKean) & Squiggy (David L. Lander). Relive each laugh-filled moment from the second season of this wildly popular, best-loved sitcom that includes all 23 second-season episodes in a 4-disc set. Give them a chance to "schlemiel-schlimazel" their way into your hearts again.


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

Laverne & Shirley's second season premiered on September 28, 1976. It continued to air on Tuesdays at 8:30-9:00 P.M. on ABC. Airing after Happy Days, it finished #2 in the ratings with a 30.9 rating. Happy Days would be #1 until the next season when Laverne & Shirley would edge it out for the top spot. Laverne & Shirley would run for 8 successful seasons, producing 178 episodes.

Memorable episodes included "Drive! She Said," in which the fun shifts into high gear when the girls buy some wheels - especially since Laverne can't drive. Love is the catalyst for Laverne's decision to volunteer at a hospital in "Angels of Mercy." Laverne and Shirley become depressed when they're invited to a bridal shower in "Bridal Shower." Laverne is accused of shoplifting when a handkerchief falls in her purse in "Guilty Until Proven Not Innocent." The girls volunteer to be subjects for a science experiment in "Guinea Pigs." It becomes a scary proposition when Laverne and Shirley need a new sofa in "Haunted House." Shirley's promotion leads to a bitter reponse by her coworkers in "Lonely at the Middle."

Notable guest stars included Henry Winkler as Fonzie in "Bachelor Mothers" and "Birthday Show" (in flashbacks). Happy Days' stars Ron Howard and Anson Williams dropped by as Richie and Potsie in "Excuse Me, May I Cut In?" and "Birthday Show" (in flashbacks). Stephanie Faracy played Debra Lee in "Excuse Me, May I Cut In?." Deborah Harmon played the Receptionist in "Dear Future Model." Fred Willard was the Man in the Bathroom in "Good Time Girls." Carl Ballantine ("McHale's Navy") guest starred as Lionel T. Zimmerman in "Two of Our Weirdos Are Missing." Howard Hesseman appeared as Dr. Grayson in "Oh Hear the Angels' Voices." Richard Stahl was Marshall Stewart in "Birthday Show." Carole Ita White appeared in multiple episodes as Rosie Greenbaum. Gino Conforti (Felipe on "Three's Company") played the Waiter in "Hi Neighbor Book II."


Packaging:

The 4-disc set contains all 24 episodes from the second (1976-77) season. The packaging is quite a bit different from the Season 1 release. For Season 1, they used a thin, cardboard box and 3 slim cases. This time they use an Amaray movie-style case with clear outer edges. CBS DVD/Paramount has also used this kind of packaging on other recent releases like Family Ties and Bosom Buddies. Happy Days and Mork & Mindy also utilize the same style of packaging. The cover art features a photo of Shirley and Laverne in light purple bowling shirts. The Laverne & Shirley logo is in pink in the middle of the case and "The Second Season" is in a bottle cap to the right of that. A yellow and white background is used. On the back of the case, there is a large photo of Penny (in green) and Cindy (in red) and smaller photos of Squiggy and Lenny and another one of Cindy and Penny holding bowling balls. On top of the two smaller photos, there is a marquee sign with the Laverne & Shirley logo that is pointing to the left to the large photo of Penny and Cindy. A short synopsis of the set is given, and the DVD specs are listed on the bottom. A tiny photo of Cindy and Penny and the Laverne & Shirley logo is on the spine of the case. There is a plastic holder in the middle of the case that holds the second and third discs. The first and fourth discs are in an embedded holder inside the case. While the middle holder is quite sturdy, the embedded holders are cheaper looking and they arrived broken when I opened the case. The discs can easily scratch outside the holders. It would have been better if they used two of the middle holders. Episode titles, original airdates and short summaries are listed by disc in the backgrounds, which are yellow in color. The disc number and the episode titles are in pink, while the rest of the text is in black. With the embedded plastic holders and a black sticker bar thing in the way, it is hard to read the information. I would have preferred the individual slim cases that they used in season 1. Continuing the trend of other recent CBS DVD/Paramount sets, the discs are very plain looking and just have the show logo on them and have a silver background. The Laverne & Shirley logo on them gives a hologram-type effect when you turn them into the light. Photos of the cast on the discs would have been much nicer. Disc 1 has episodes 1-6, Disc 2 has 7-12, Disc 3 has 13-18 and Disc 4 rounds out the set with 19-23.


Menu Design and Navigation:

The menus are very basic, but they look nice and are easy to navigate. It would have been great to hear the theme song in the background, but these are just static menus. They are very colorful, with a light yellow and light blue background. The show logo and bowling ball are in a marquee in the upper right. The episodes are listed vertically in black text in a pink background box. The episodes titles have white borders that turn yellow when you highlight them and then blue when you make your selection. Each menu features a different cast photo. Disc 1 has the same photo of Shirley and Laverne. Disc 2 has Shirley and Laverne with a bowling ball. Squiggy and Lenny are featured on Disc 3. Laverne and Shirley are on Disc 4. A "Play All" button is available for those who want to watch the episodes without interruptions. Chapter stops are available within the episodes, but no separate scene selection menus are offered.


Video and Audio Quality:

The video and audio quality on these sets, once again, is very good. These episodes definitely look better than the early seasons of Happy Days. Since the show was shot on film, there are a few scenes with some dirt, debris and other imperfections, but they all are all very watchable. They look better than what I've seen in syndication over the last 10 years. The episodes are presented in their original full screen (1.33:1) and in their original broadcast order. They are spread out well over 4 discs with no more than 6 episodes per disc. For the closing logo enthusiasts, you will be disappointed to see that the Paramount mountain logo is gone. They just use a new CBS Paramount Television logo.

The audio is in Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono, and I didn't notice any major problems. The volume is at a good level, and the dialogue is easy to understand. Closed captioning is available. While the theme song is intact, there are some music substitutions in the episodes. On the back of the case, it says in very small text: "Some music has been changed for this home entertainment version." I didn't realize the amount of music that Laverne & Shirley used, until I saw the listing at TV.com. While they didn't use as much as Happy Days, there was still quite a bit. I can't say for sure what has been changed, until I've had the opportunity to watch all the episodes. If it is like the Happy Days set, there probably is a substantial amount of music changed - especially for the songs played on the jukebox at the Pizza Bowl. The episode times really vary from 22:47 to 25:23, so it is hard to say if any of them contain any edited scenes. 18 of the 23 episodes are around 24 1/2 minutes or longer. I did check "Oh Hear the Angel's Voices," which ran only 22:47. According to the episode guide at TV.com, that episode included "The Jolliest Fat Man," "Jingle Bell Rock," "Winter Wonderland" and "Silent Night." I saw all four of those musical numbers performed by the cast, so maybe there was an additional song that wasn't shown in syndication or another scene missing. A quick scan through the episodes showed that some of The Big Ragu's music numbers were included, but others were omitted or substituted. "Tutti Frutti" in "Excuse Me, May I Cut In?" is completely cut, but "At the Hop" is included. It appears that the original artists information was cut out of the closing credits, since most of it was changed for the DVD. If you notice any missing scenes or substituted music, please post in this thread.

Here is the episode breakdown by disc, including the running times:

Disc 1
---------
2-1 - 16. Drive! She Said (09/28/76) (24:30)
2-2 - 17. Angels of Mercy (10/05/76) (25:01)
2-3 - 18. Bachelor Mothers (10/19/76) (25:02)
2-4 - 19. Excuse Me, May I Cut In? (10/26/76) (24:31)
2-5 - 20. Bridal Shower (11/09/76) (24:15)
2-6 - 21. Look Before You Leap (11/16/76) (24:29)

Disc 2
---------
2-7 - 22. Dear Future Model (11/23/76) (24:57)
2-8 - 23. Good Time Girls (11/30/76) (25:02)
2-9 - 24. Two of Our Weirdos Are Missing (12/07/76) (25:01)
2-10 - 25. Oh Hear the Angels' Voices (12/21/76) (22:47)
2-11 - 26. Guilty Until Proven Not Innocent (01/04/77) (25:02)
2-12 - 27. Birthday Show (01/10/77) (25:23)

Disc 3
---------
2-13 - 28. Playing Hooky (01/11/77) (24:17)
2-14 - 29. Guinea Pigs (01/18/77) (24:54)
2-15 - 30. Call Me a Taxi (02/01/77) (24:56)
2-16 - 31. Steppin' Out (02/08/77) (25:01)
2-17 - 32. Buddy, Can You Spare a Father? (02/15/77) (25:00)
2-18 - 33. Honeymoon Hotel (02/22/77) (25:00)

Disc 4
---------
2-19 - 34. Hi, Neighbor Book II (03/01/77) (24:11)
2-20 - 35. Frank's Fling (03/08/77) (23:40)
2-21 - 36. Haunted House (03/22/77) (24:47)
2-22 - 37. Lonely at the Middle (03/29/77) (24:59)
2-23 - 38. Citizen Krane (04/05/77) (25:01)


Special Features:

Unfortuantely there are no special features included. I thought they would make up for the music substitutions with some nice extras, but this is another bare-bones release. It woulld have been great to see some blooper reels, cast interviews, original network promos and production notes.


Final Comments:

After an over 2 1/2 year wait, the second season of Laverne & Shirley has finally arrived on DVD. It had be rumored to be delayed because of poor sales and music licensing issues. I thought Paramount did a great job with Season 1 of Laverne & Shirley, Happy Days and Mork & Mindy, and they spent a substantial amount to get the original music (almost $1 million for Happy Days). Unfortunately for these releases, it appears that much of the original music has been replaced by instrumental music. The packaging also appears to be cheaper, as they've tried to cut costs. For some fans, it might not be that big of a deal. There is still 2-3 minutes of "new" footage on the DVDs that isn't shown in syndication. For the purists, you'll probably want to keep your syndicated and Columbia House copies that have the original music. Even in syndication, sometimes the music is replaced. I guess there is not much you can do about it when the show was made 30 years ago before anybody thought about music licensing rights. While I don't like to see any music subsitutions, cutting out entire scenes is much worse to me, so hopefully there isn't a lot of that on this set. The music changes aside, this is still a funny show with lots of silly humor and slapstick comedy that is enjoyable to watch. Hopefully CBS DVD/Paramount will start to release the remanining seasons at a much faster rate.


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

Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4/5
Overall: 3/5

-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 04/13/07

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

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000M343AS/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20

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

http://www.sitcomsonline.com/boards/showthread.php?t=198450


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