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Married with Children - The Complete Third Season


TITLE: MARRIED...WITH CHILDREN - THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON


Info:

DVD Release Date: January 25, 2005 (Columbia Tri-star Home Entertainment)
Color
MSRP: $29.95
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 22
Running Time: 510 minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: Approximately 15 minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English, Closed Captioned
Special Features: Hidden Easter Eggs (10); Bonus Previews


Married with Children DVD Menu

Introduction:

The Bundy family is back for yet another season on DVD! After a wait of nearly one year, the Complete Third Season of Married... With Children is finally available! The third season is the season where the show really began to become the show as most of us remember it best--rude, crude and dysfunctional. Al's identity as a failure in life, although alluded to in the first two seasons, became very clear in the third season. Peg's utter laziness was showcased widely in the third season. Bud's sexual desires (and failures) are first encountered in the third season. And finally, Kelly somehow becomes even more of a ditz than ever before in the third season.


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

In the third season, we get to see the family (as well as Steve and Marcy) go on an uneventful camping trip in "The Camping Show." Al and Steve get to go on a shopping adventure to buy Peggy her favorite hard-to-find bra for her birthday in "Her Cups Runneth Over." Al takes the family out to a nice dinner for probably the first time ever in "Eatin' Out." Peggy campaigns to become Reunion Queen in the "Married...With Queen" two-part episode. Al has to make Peggy feel sexy after a Peeping Tom decides to peek at every woman in the neighborhood except for Peggy in "Here's Lookin' at You, Kid."

The third season may also be remembered as the season of controversy. It was in this season that a woman from Michigan was determined to get the show canceled after seeing it on television and being concerned about the lack of family values demonstrated in the show. As a result, the controversy started by this woman gave the show publicity (something that it had lacked in the first two seasons) and sent the show from being an obscure show on an obscure network to a well-known show on a now well-known network. As a result, the "I'll See You in Court" episode, an episode where Al and Peggy go to a motel only to find video tapes of Steve and Marcy having sex, never aired on Fox... but that isn't a problem with this DVD set! This episode has aired several times in countries other than the United States, but within the United States, the only place where you could see this episode is on FX and on one of the previous "Most Outrageous Episodes" DVD collections of the show that was released. But there is no need to rely on either of those sources--it is available right here, with all of the other third season episodes!


Packaging:

The packaging is almost identical to the previous sets. Basically, there is a four panel digipak inside of a cardboard box. The first panel contains a place to put the episode guide for the season (which, although not too descriptive, is more than adequate) and the remaining three panels hold each of the three discs. The digipak is designed (at least as far as I can tell) to look like a wall with tacky blue wallpaper, and there are several "pictures" (depicting events from the third season) hanging on the wall. Also, the discs are arranged to look like pictures that are hanging on the wall. As mentioned previously, the set contains three discs. Unlike in the past two season sets, the episodes have been arranged in a much more practical manner this time. Discs One and Two contain seven episodes each; Disc Three contains eight episodes. The Easter Eggs are found all throughout the set, and the bonus previews (although I don't think you'll be buying this set just for the bonus previews) are on Disc One.


Menu Design and Navigation:

As soon as you place the disc in the DVD player, you will find a menu that gives you the options of Play All Episodes and Episode Selections. Additionally, Disc One contains options for Easter Eggs (a menu that gives you information about them) and Previews. The menus are silent menus and aren't what anybody would call "entertaining" or "creative," but they are very practical and simple to navigate. Whenever you select the Episode Selections option, another menu comes up where you can select the episode. The title of each episode as well as a screenshot is provided for each episode. Basically, this is almost exactly like every other Columbia Tri-star release.


Video and Audio Quality:

Once you have selected an episode (or have selected play all), you may be in for a bit of a surprise. You will notice that the very memorable theme song "Love and Marriage" is missing! In place of the real theme song, you will hear some instrumental theme song that (to me) seems like a bizarre cross between the "Love and Marriage" song and the Mister Ed theme song. (Opening Theme on DVD / Closing Theme on DVD) Apparently, Columbia Tri-star was having difficulty with royalties concerning the real theme song, and had to change the theme song for this release. While the new theme song is a little different and is actually amusing to some extent, it is still a shame that the "Love and Marriage" song is nowhere to be found on this set. Hopefully though, something will be worked out regarding the royalties and the theme song will return for future releases. But for now, I think that most fans will find the theme song in this set adequate. After all, what is more important -- having the correct theme song or having the episodes released? Additionally, the episodes are uncut (as they should be), with each episode running approximately 23 minutes and 30 seconds.

There seem to be dramatic improvements concerning audio and video quality in this set. In the first two seasons, the audio sound was a bit low and the video quality was about the same as a VHS tape. For the third season, however, the video quality is about on the same level as syndicated episodes, which is about the best you can get on DVD. The audio quality is still a little lower than it probably should be, but it is still much improved from the past sets. The audio is presented in stereo.


Special Features:

The good news about this DVD set is that there are some special features included. The bad news is that the special features really aren't all that great. Obviously, some Previews for other Columbia Tri-star releases are included in this set. That isn't an exciting special feature, but they are there regardless.

The real special features that are included in this set are the Easter Eggs. Basically, throughout the set, there are ten hidden Easter Eggs that you have to find. For those that have no clue what an Easter Egg is, an Easter Egg is basically a hidden option on a DVD that isn't advertised on the menu screens, but you must instead find on your own. Usually, Easter Eggs are not announced as special features, but obviously they are in this set. Throughout each and every menu in the set (with the exception of the Previews menu), there is one hidden Easter Egg that you must find using the arrow keys on your DVD remote. They are not too hard to find... in fact, I found every single one of them with just a quick scan through each disc. Once you find the Easter Egg, you will find video clips that last about a minute (give or take about 30 seconds) that were deleted scenes from the Married...With Children reunion that aired on Fox a few years ago.

The Easter Eggs may sound nice, but it seems that Columbia Tri-star keeps milking this reunion special for more than it is worth. The Complete First Season set included the full program as it aired on Fox, and The Complete Second Season contained Easter Eggs exactly like the ones that are in this set. Although the same clips from the reunion special are not shown in more than one set, it would be much better to try unique special features. Why not do some fresh cast interviews? How about some commentaries on the episodes? Basically, every set has had special features from (and only from) the reunion special. It is time to move on to some different special features beyond this.


Final Comments:

So, although the special features are not so great and the original theme song is missing, this set is still very much worth the money. After all, the most important thing (the episodes) are included, and the quality (as in audio/video quality, as well as what the episodes are about) of the episodes is excellent in my opinion. So simply put, just buy this set... and then sit down and watch it while you enjoy some delicious Tang wipes and toaster leavings.


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 3/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 5/5
Overall: 4/5

-- Reviewed by skees53 on 01/04/2005.

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

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0006J27WY/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20


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