TITLE: LAVERNE & SHIRLEY - THE SEVENTH SEASON
DVD Release Date: February 4, 2014 (CBS DVD/Paramount)
Packaging: Clear plastic Viva snap case
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 22
Running time: Approx. 9 hours
Video: Full Screen 4:3
Audio Tracks: English Mono
English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Special Features: Original Promos for All Episodes; Gag Reel
Dive headfirst into Season Seven of one of America's most treasured sitcoms, Laverne and Shirley. Laverne (Penny Marshall) and Shirley (Cindy Williams) raise the stakes on comedy as they dine with celebrities, feed gossip to the tabloids, and bravely perform with a renowned Latvian acrobatic act. Love blossoms this season for Lenny (Michael McKean), who meets the girl of his dreams in the La Brea Tar Pits, and for Laverne, who moves in with her new boyfriend. With every hilarious misstep, Laverne and Shirley prove that they're the most entertaining ladies in La-La Land. With this 3-disc, 22-episode collection the girls are making all their dreams come true...for theselves and their biggest fans.
Laverne & Shirley's seventh season continued to air on Tuesday nights at 8:30pm ET/PT on ABC. Although the show dipped a bit in the ratings from a 20.6 to 19.9, it remained in 20th place overall. Betty Garrett and Ed Marinaro left the series after the sixth season. Carole Ita White made her last appearance as Rosie (Rosey) Greenbaum this season.
Season seven premiered on October 13, 1981, with "The Most Important Date Ever," in which Laverne and Shirley perform in a Latvian acrobatic act in a brave attempt to help Lenny and Squiggy's new talent agency. Laverne and Shirley's trip down memory lane results in a fistfight and a broken jaw for Laverne in "It Only Hurts When I Breathe." Laverne's ex-boyfriend, Sal (guest star Paul Sylvan), shows up on her doorstep with BIG news: he's a jmillionaite in "I Wonder What Became of Sal?" The girls attend a raucous fraternity party and realize they can't keep up with these young party animals in "Teenage Lust." Shirley inadvertently handcuffs herself to a bank robber (guest star Richard Moll) and is forced to go on the run with him in "The Defiant One." When Lenny and Squiggy crash an awards show, they find themselves on stage next to entertainer Joey Heatherton on live TV in "Night at the Awards." Laverne's hot date with a Hollywood producer is ruined when she loses one of her mother's diamond earrings in "Some Enchanted Earring." Laverne has second thoughts about moving in with her new boyfriend in "Moving In."
Laverne invites actor Charles Grodin over for dinner thinking that he's interested in dating her in "Friendly Persuasion." Shirley receives a free wedding reception and tries to trick Carmine into marrying her in "I Do, I Don't." Lenny rescues a girl at the local tar pits and falls in love with her in "Love is the Tar Pits." Laverne accidentally sets animal-loving Shirley up on a date with a renowned furrier (guest star Jeff Goldblum). Laverne catches Carmine rehearsing a love scene and thinks he's two-timing Shirley in "Rocky Ragu." A famous singer is extremely rude to Laverne and Shirley so the girls get even by feeding gossip to the tabloids in "Star Peepers." Laverne's date throws her into the restaurant aquarium when his wife shows up in "An Affair to Forget."
The girls return to Milwaukee for their high school reunion, where their classmates mistakenly believe that they're big-time movie stars in "Whatever Happened to the Class of '56?" The girls try to meet guys on the ski slopes, despte the fact that neither one of them knows how to ski in "Ski Show." Squiggy's long-lost father shows up and has big plans for the two of them -- plans that don't include Lenny in "Helmut Weekend." Carmine gets into an argument with Laverne's father about whether the current era's music is better than the music of the past in "That's Entertainment." When Carmine is struck by lighting, he thinks that he's invincible and starts performing daring acts with Squiggy as his agent in "Lightning Man." After the girls are repeatedly robbed, Frank and Carmine set up booby traps to catch the burglar in "Crime Isn't Pretty." Shirley loses Laverne's favorite pruse and has a nightmare that Laverne wants to kill her in "Perfidy in Blue."
Notable guest stars this season included Paul Sylvan, Kathleen Marshall (Garry Marshall's daughter), Tracy Reiner (Penny Marshall's daughter who Rob Reiner later adopted), Richard Moll, Joey Heatheron, Charles Grodin, Carole Cook, Jeff Goldblum, Julie Brown, Harry Shearer, Harry Dean Stanton, Anjelica Huston, Paul Wilson and Noah Hathaway .
Most of the episodes have running times of around 24-25 minutes. "I Wonder What Became of Sal?" is noticeably shorter than the rest at slightly under 21 minutes. This episode contains flashbacks to the season one episode "Falter at the Altar." I'm not sure why four minutes of footage is missing from this particular episode. There weren't any songs or cast performances in this episode. There was also a season six episode which was noticeably shorter. "That's Entertainment" is also a little shorter than the rest at 23 minutes, 45 seconds. This episode includes scenes of the cast singing. I don't have a list of the original perfomances, so I'm not what is missing from this episode. There's a disclaimer on the packaging which states: "Some episodes may be edited from their original network versions. Music has been changed for this home entertainment version."
According to the episode guide at TV.com, most of the music was played on the jukebox at Cowboy Bill's or in other scenes. Most, if not all, of the jukebox/party music has been replaced with generic instrumentals. The episodes that are affected are "I Wonder What Became of Sal?," "Teenage Lust" (9 songs from artists such as The Beatles and The Beach Boys), "Helmut Weekend," and "That's Entertainment."
"The Most Important Day Ever" (10/13/81) (24:56)
"It Only Hurts When I Breathe" (10/27/81) (25:08)
"I Wonder What Became of Sal?" (11/3/81) (20:57)
"Teenage Lust" (11/10/81) (24:58)
"The Defiant One" (11/17/81) (25:12)
"Night at the Awards" (11/24/81) (25:10)
"Some Enchanted Earring" (12/1/81) (23:59)
"Moving In" (12/8/81) (24:04)
"Friendly Persuasion" (12/15/81) (25:02)
"I Do, I Don't" (1/5/82) (25:09)
"Love is the Tar Pits" (1/12/82) (24:40)
"Watch the Fur Fly" (1/19/82) (25:04)
"Rocky Ragu" (1/26/82) (25:04)
"Star Peepers" (2/2/82) (25:04)
"An Affair to Forget" (2/9/82) (25:05)
"Whatever Happened to the Class of '56?" (2/16/82) (24:34)
"Ski Show" (2/23/82) (24:26)
"Helmut Weekend" (3/2/82) (25:02)
"That's Entertainment" (3/9/82) (23:45)
"Lighting Man" (3/16/82) (24:08)
"Crime Isn't Pretty" (5/4/82) (24:24)
"Perfidy in Blue" (5/11/82) (25:05)
The 3-disc set contains all 22 episodes from the seventh season (1981-82). The packaging is similar to recent seasons. It comes in a clear plastic Viva snap case. The cover art features a photo of Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams in costumes from the "That's Entertainment" episode. I would have preferred if they used a standard publicity photo to remain consistent with the other seasons. The Laverne & Shirley logo is in white above the photo. Their names are printed in half-circles at the top of the artwork. The color scheme of this set is teal and various shades of purple. The same photo as the cover art is used on the spine of the case. On the back of the case, there are four screenshots from various episodes. The main photo is of Shirley and Laverne in their acrobat clothing. The other smaller circular photos feature various cast members. A short synopsis of the set, a listing of the special features and the DVD specs are provided. Inside the case, there is a plstic holder that holds Discs 1-2 back-to-back. An embedded holder in the back of the case holds Disc 3. The hinges that hold the center platic holders arent't the sturdiest as mine arrived broken. Episode titles, original airdates and short summaries are listed by disc number. A teal background is used. The episode titles are printed in purple text. The original airdates and episode summaries are printed in white text. There are three episode snapshots on the right panel. A photo of Shirley and Laverne is used on the right panel. The discs are just plain looking with a light gray background. They have the show logo and episode titles printed on them. The lettering has a holographic type effect to it. Disc 1 contains 8 episodes. Discs 2 and 3 each contain 7 episodes.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menus are very colorful and easy to navigate. The main menus use the same color scheme and background as the cover art. Disc 1 has a photo of Laverne and Shirley in acrobat clothing. Disc 2 has another photo of Shirley and Laverne. Disc 3 uses the same photo as the cover art. The show logo is in white above the photos. Episode titles are listed vertically in white text in a purple box on the right side of the screen. There are white/pink dots around the option or episode you highlight. They turn light blue upon your selection. When you select an episode, it takes you to a sub-menu where there is a screenshot from that particular episode. You can play the episodic promos from this screen. A play all option for the episodes is also available on the main menus. The subitles menu features a screenshot of Squiggy, Shirley and Lenny. A previews option for some other CBS DVD/Paramount TV releases is available at the start of the first disc. They give you the option of going directly to the main menu. There are some very old promos (2:21) for the third seasons of Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, and Mork & Mindy. Other promos are for various classic television series on DVD and the final season of Cheers. Chapters are placed at the appropriate places within the episodes. There are no scene selection menus.
Video and Audio Quality:
The video and audio quality appears to be on par with the past few seasons. The seventh season, once again, appears to be remastered for this release. There is a small amount of dirt, debris and other digital artifacts. They generally have been cleaned up nicely. The overall color of the episodes is good. I didn't see any major issues. Some of the opening credits appear to be of poorer quality, but that's not a major issue. There are no vintage closing logos. They have only the CBS Television Distribution logo. There is a blue Paramount logo at the end of gag reel on Disc 3.
The audio is a standard English Mono track. There is no mention of it being a restored track like the fifth season release. I didn't notice any major problems. The volume is at a good level. The dialogue is easy to understand. English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing are available on all of the episodes.
The special features have remained consistent since the fifth season. Episodic promos are available for all of the episodes this time. There is also a short gag reel.
Episodic Promos - These are 35 second or so promo clips that were used in syndication. They are included for all of the episodes. These promos give you a good general idea what each episode is about. They are interesting to watch.
Gag Reel (Disc 3) (2:19) - The gag reel is specific to the seventh season and was produced for the cast and crew after the season ended. The video quality isn't the best, but it's watchable. There is quite a bit of dirt, debris and splices on it. The bloopers are fun to watch. Unfortunately, is is nearly three minutes shorter than the sixth season gag reel. These gag reels appear to be edited from the original source for the DVD release.
After waiting 13 months between Seasons 5 and 6, it was only about 9 months between Season 6 and 7. The seventh season was the final full season for Cindy Williams. She appeared in only the first two episodes of the eighth and final season before Shirley marries and leaves with her husband. They were still a top 20 show in the seventh season, but there were fewer memorable episodes. Betty Garrett as Edna was also missed in this season. She apparently just dumped Frank. The highlights were "I Do, I Don't," "Star Peepers," "An Affair to Forget," "Whatever Happened to the Class of '56?," "Ski Show," and "Pefidy in Blue." Look for Richard Moll and Jeff Goldblum as guest stars before they became bigger stars.
While most of the episodes appear to be unedited, this season suffers from similar problems as earlier releases. The music substitions from songs on the jukebox aren't a major loss, but it's disappointing when scenes are cut. I can't understand why "I Wonder What Became of Sal?" is missing nearly four minutes of footage. There was a similar problem with a sixth season episode. The scenes don't appear to be missing because of music licensing issues, so it's a mystery.
After nearly 10 years, the complete series will finally be available on DVD when The Eighth and Final Season is released on May 6. The final season without Shirley just wasn't the same, but it's still nice for fans to have all 8 seasons and 178 available. It was a bit surprising to see the final three Burbank seasons released much quicker than the Milwaukee seasons.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 2/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4/5
-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 01/29/14
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