TITLE: LESS THAN PERFECT - SEASON ONE
DVD Release Date: September 7, 2010 (Lionsgate/ABC Studios)
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 22
Running Time: approx. 464 minutes
Runtime of Special Features: n/a
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English; Closed-captioned
Special Features: None
Huge egos. Backbiting assistants. Screaming deadlines. Claudia "Claude" Casey (Sara Rue) has moved up in the secretarial world of television news, from permanent floater to the anchor's desk. It's a short elevator from the depths of the mail room to the executive summit, but still the ice queen assistants give her a chilly reception. Now, can this perky former temp's warmth and humanity melt the hearts of the competitive up-and-comers?
Relive the hilarious office drama with your favorite coworkers from the ABC hit series "Less Than Perfect" starring Sara Rue, Andy Dick, Sherri Shepherd, Zachary Levi, Andrea Parker and Eric Roberts. Begin your collection with all 22 episodes of Season 1, now available for the first time on DVD.
Claude's dream comes true when she moves up from temp to a permanent position as the assistant to news anchor Will Butler in the "Pilot." Claude thinks that Will's irritated by the sudden constant presence of Ramona and Owen, so she winds up alienating her friends in "Queen of England." When Claude is forced to lie for Will, she finds it difficult -- but after some mentoring from Kipp, she becomes a pro at it in "Claude the Liar." Tired of living in constant competition with Lydia over Will's attention, Claude decides to attend Ramona's "strippercize" class to develop her "uh-uh" in "The Pole." Ramona tells Claude she has to use her vacation days in the next few days or else she'll lose them in "The Vacation."
Claude tries to make nice with Kipp by producing a demo of him showing off his anchorman capabilities... but unbeknownst to Kipp, the demo is disastrous in "A Claude Casey Production." Claude inadvertantly brings down the wrath of Roz, the assistant to the network president, and when she attempts to reconcile, Claude realizes that the disgruntled assistant may be an older version of herself in "Future Shock." It's the office Christmas party, and nearly everyone arrives with an agenda. Kipp intends to snag a better job; Owen intends to be a social butterfly; and Lydia plans to land a man, but she's upstaged by belle-of-the-ball Ramona in "One Office Party Too Many." Claude's parents (Cindy Williams, Martin Mull) come for a visit and are smitten with Will -- until they discover that he blew off their dinner invitation in "Meet the Folks." When Will goes out of town, he leaves his apartment in the care of Claude and encourages her to invite friends over in "Telephone."
Will's contract is up for renewal just as the head of the network arrives, flaunting a new anchor in "The New Guy." George Wyner appears as Alan Turnbach and Bob Odenkirk plays Colin Hunter. Claude and Charlie try to keep their relationship a secret, but that's difficult with Owen and Ramona around. Josh Bratten appears in the recurring role of Charlie Vaughn Vobernick. Claude and Charlie try to keep their relationship a secret, but that's difficult with Owen and Ramona around in "Claude's Got a Secret." Joanna Cassidy guest stars as Norma Craft. Claude's brother, Bobby (Richard Ruccolo), shows up at the office and sweeps Lydia off her feet, though Claude learns that Bobby's feelings may not be reciprocal in "A Little Love for Lydia." Will's got a new girlfriend, Dani, who insists on having Claude run errands for her in "High Maitenance." Jenny McCarthy guest stars as Dani. Owen falls for Deidre, the new office supply rep, but her interest is only in finding a man to father a child in "Valentine's Day." Nicole Sullivan appears as Deirdre Bishop. In celebration of two years in NY, Claude decides to throw a party at her place in "Picture Perfect Party." Beth Ostrosky guest stars as Joelle. Will Sasso makes his first apperance as Carl. He would be a regular cast member in the second season.
After breaking up with Charlie, Claude gets sucked into escorting Will's fiancée, Dani, to a bridal shop in "Breaking Up." Beth Ostrosky returns as Joelle and Jenny McCarthy as Dani. Trista Rehn from The Bachelorette appears as herself. Will hosts a benefit dinner for a squirrel clinic, but nobody buys a ticket in "Save the Squirrel, But Bet the Over." Claude's new suede jacket is ruined because someone stole her umbrella, forcing her to go out in the rain in "The Umbrella." Michael Boatman guest stars as Ted Elliot. Learning that Owen has "sired" a child, Claude tries to arrange a get-together between Owen and the dad he's never known in "Oh Papa." Nicole Sullivan returns as Deirdre Bishop. Barry Bostwick appears as Max Damarius in "Oh Papa." Episode summaries and notable guest stars courtesy of TV.com .
All of the episodes appear to be unedited, with running times of 19-21 minutes. Those are typical running times for sitcoms from the 2002-03 season. There's nothing on the packaging to indicate that any of the music was changed for this DVD release. Note that the episodes are presented in their original production order (the order in which they were made). ABC aired the first season mostly out of order, so they should make more sense continuity wise on the DVDs. Here is the breakdown by disc, including the exact runtimes:
1. Pilot (21:03)
2. Queen of England (21:04)
3. Ice Cream with Lydia (21:13)
4. Claude the Liar (21:10)
5. The Pole (19:40)
6. The Vacation (21:13)
7. A Claude Casey Production (21:14)
8. Future Shock (20:32)
9. One Office Party Too Many (21:32)
10. Meet the Folks (21:12)
11. Telephone (21:32)
12. Claude the Heartbreaker (21:32)
13. The New Guy (21:07)
14. Claude's Got a Secret (21:27)
15. A Little Love for Lydia (21:27)
16. High Maintenance (20:52)
17. Valentine's Day (21:32)
18. Picture Perfect Party (21:17)
19. Breaking Up (21:12)
20. Save the Squirrel, But Bet the Over (21:02)
21. The Umbrella (21:32)
22. Oh Papa (20:27)
The 4-disc set contains all 22 episodes of the first season (2002-2003). It comes in a black Amaray movie-style snapcase. Sara Rue is pictured on the cover art sitting on a photocopier with the show logo at the top and some papers in the air. Sherri Shepherd and Andy Dick are on one side, while Andrea Parker, Eric Roberts and Zachary Levi are on the other. On the back of the snapcase, there is a photo of Rue holding a coffee cup and Levi, Dick and Shepherd in the background. A synopsis of the set and the DVD specs are provided. There are 8 smaller photos from the show at the bottom. Sara Rue is on the spine of the case. The 4 discs are held in 2 plastic holders inside the case. There is just blank space inside the case. Some episode summaries or additional photos would have been nice to have here. There's also no episode guide booklet provided and the episodes titles aren't noted anywhere except on the menus. Each disc has a light blue background with the Less Than Perfect logo in red and papers in the air. Disc One has Sara Rue on it and holds episodes 1-6. Disc Two features Zachary Levi and has episodes 7-12. Disc Three has Andy Dick and holds episdoes 13-18. Disc Four rounds out the set with Sherri Shepherd on it and episodes 19-22.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The static menus are simple and easy to navigate. They have the same photo of the cast as the cover art.
The closing instrumental theme music plays in the background. A yellow post-it note has options for Play All and Episode Selection. There is a red underline for the option you highlight that turns green upon your selection. Choosing Episode Selection takes you to another menu where the episodes are listed vertically on a post-it note across 2 screens. Disc One's menu features another photo of the cast standing on or next to a white pole. Zachary Levi is at the bottom holding a saw. Disc Two has a photo of the cast sitting on a desk.
Disc Three features Andy Dick, Sara Rue and Sherri Shepherd. Disc Four has Zachary Levi, Sara Rue and the leggy Andrea Parker on it. Chapters are placed appropriately throughout each episode.
Video and Audio Quality:
Less Than Perfect originally aired on ABC in standard definiton. The episodes on the DVD are presented in 16x9 widescreen/1.78:1 DVD screen format. Since these episodes aired in 2002-03 (has it really been that long already?), the picture quality is fine and has no problems. This is a multi-camera sitcom that was filmed in front of a studio audience. Episodes are presented in their original production order. ABC originally aired the first season wildly out of order, so there were some continuity problems. Lifetime also aired the episodes in their production order. For the closing logo enthusiasts, there are logos for Wass-Stein and Touchstone Television.
The audio is a standard English 2.0 Dolby Digital Audio track. There are no problems with the audio and the volume is at a good level. The show didn't have a theme song until the second season. I remember it was only used sporadically. The instruemental closing theme from the first season can be heard on the main menus. Closed captioning is available on the episodes.
Unfortunately, there are no special features included. It would have been great to have some new interviews and audio commentaries with the cast and crew. Some bloopers and original network promos also would have been fun to have. Maybe we'll see some if/when the second season is released.
Less Than Perfect has finally arrived on DVD. This was a show that I watched regularly from 2002-2006. I'm surprised that it has taken this long to come to DVD. Season one started off strongly with more than 8.1 million viewers weekly. Season two saw an increase to 8.8 million viewers. ABC then moved the show to Friday nights for the third season and the ratings dropped sharply. Only 5 of the 13 produced episodes for the fourth season were broadcast on ABC. The show seems to be popular internationally and is airing in many countries, but it surpisingly hasn't found a home on cable in the U.S. except for a short run on Lifetime from June-October 2009. Since the show ended in 2006, the cast has gone on to various projects. The adorable Sara Rue has made appearances on sitcoms like "The Big Bang Theory" and had a role on the ABC dramedy "Eastwick." She's currently the spokesperson for Jenny Craig. Let's hope this funny lady returns as a regular to sitcoms in the future. Sherri Shepherd can be seen on "The View" on ABC as well as on her own sitcom "Sherri" on Lifetime. Zachary Levi stars as Chuck Bartkowski on NBC's "Chuck". Eric Roberts continues to make appearances on TV and had roles in "The Dark Knight" and "The Expendables." Will Sasso will be a regular on "$#*! My Dad Says" on CBS.
This is a pretty barebones release, but it's nice to see this underrated sitcom with a talented cast make its debut on DVD. They have it priced affordably. I like that they put the episodes in their original production order instead of the way ABC originally broadcast them, which I think confused some viewers. Let's hope Lionsgate releases the remaining three seasons at a decent rate and will include some special features on any future sets. With the additions of Will Sasso and Patrick Warburton as regulars to the cast, I think the second season was even better and funnier than the first.
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
-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller
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