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Married with Children - The Complete Fourth Season


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


Info:

DVD Release Date: August 30, 2005 (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
Color
MSRP: $39.95
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 23
Running Time: 511 minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: N/A
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English, closed-captioned
Special Features: None


Introduction:

The Bundys are back for another season on DVD! The Complete Fourth Season of Married... With Children is coming soon to DVD from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, and you too can join Al, Peggy, Kelly, Bud, and the Rhoades family for 23 episodes of hilarity! The fourth season of the show is the season where the show went into the 1990s (seems like old times now, doesn't it?) and is probably the greatest season of the show. The characters become fully developed in this season, we get to see Marcy's last days of her marriage to Steve, and we even get to see Buck talk on the series for the very first time.


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

Many of my "favorite episodes" from the series are contained in this set. It begins with "Hot Off the Grill," a Labor Day episode where nothing just seems to be going right for Peggy... but the episode has a hilarious scene at the end that you MUST see. Peggy suspects that Al is cheating on her and decides to get revenge on the other woman in "He Ain't Much But He's Mine," but is Al REALLY being unfaithful? We begin to see Marcy and Steve's "wonderful" marriage break up in "976-SHOE," when Steve gives Al a loan to start a (of all things!) shoe hotline. Al has a secret money stash that he intends to use to buy a car that is unless a redheaded monster has gotten into the money, in "Oh, What a Feeling." America's favorite Jump the Shark superstar Ted McGinley makes a guest appearance (but not as Jefferson!) in "It's a Bundyful Life," where Al finds out how wonderful his family would be without him. We get to see Buck talk for the very first time in "Peggy Had a Little Lamb." Finally, Kelly gets a job as a "weather bunny" at channel 83 in "Rain Girl."


Packaging:

The packaging this season is nicely done, and is very similar to the packaging that was used for the first three seasons. I really liked the cover art on this set... it has Al sitting in front of the doghouse with Buck (much nicer than the typical photos used for the first three sets), with Peggy, Bud, and Kelly on the side. The box has a blue color scheme this time, which is a change from the white scheme used on the first three sets. Inside the box is a four panel digipak, with the far left panel holding the episode description booklet (which, just like the previous ones, has a decent but short description for each episode) and the other three holding the discs. On the outside of the digipak, there are various pictures of the cast members and on the inside there are many quotes, quotes that one would consider a "Bundyism." The discs themselves look very nice too, with Al and Peg on Disc 1, Kelly on Disc 2, and Bud on Disc 3. The breakdown of this set is fairly even, with episode 1-7 on Disc 1, 8-14 on Disc 2, and 15-23 on Disc 3.


Menu Design and Navigation:

The menus are very nice and clean, just as most Sony DVD sets are. We have the same picture that is on the cover, with main menu options of "Play All Episodes" and "Episode Selection." Disc 1 also has "Previews." The Episode Selection option takes you to a basic menu where you can, well, select the episode you want to see. There is no scene selection in this set, but chapters ARE conveniently placed at all commercial breaks (except for the phony ones on the edited episodes, read on for more details on THAT).


Video and Audio Quality:

The way that this show looks and sounds on the television is not really a problem at all. The picture quality isn't INCREDIBLY sharp, and the audio (which is presented in stereo, there is even the original Fox "in stereo where available" logo at the beginning of each episode) is almost perfect, maybe just a tad bit low.

But beyond how great the set looks and sounds there are other issues of major concern with this set. Just as the third season, the original theme song is missing, and has been replaced with the version that was used on The Complete Third Season. That isn't a major deal to me. After all, it doesn't really affect the CONTENT of the show.

But there is another issue that DOES affect the content of the show. The set contains seven (yes, SEVEN) episodes that are syndicated episodes! Most episodes run at 23:10, but the following episodes run at roughly 22:30: "Dead Men Don't Do Aerobics," "Buck Saves the Day," "At the Zoo," "Rock and Roll Girl," "You Gotta Know When to Hold 'Em, Part 1" (oddly enough Part 2 is UNEDITED), "Peggy Had a Little Lamb," and "Rain Girl." The proof that these episodes are edited (beyond the shorter time length) is simple--you will notice that about 4 or 5 minutes into these episodes, the episodes fade to black. This is something that was added in syndication in order to accommodate an extra commercial break, and this was not in the original airings of the show. It is a shame that any of the episodes on this set are edited. I'm not sure exactly who is in charge of quality control over at Sony, but this is the second Sony set I've reviewed this week (Thatís My Mama being the other) that has had a substantial amount of edited episodes, and it seems that Sony doesn't realize that fans do not appreciate edited episodes.


Special Features:

No special features to speak of other than trailers. They are for "The King of Queens" (0:59), Newsradio (1:54), Rescue Me (1:16), The Partridge Family (1:04), Seinfeld (2:19), Bewitched TV (0:56). Honestly, I'm glad those "Easter Eggs" didn't reappear on this set, but I'd like some interviews, commentaries, anything like that! Everybody from the series is still alive and not doing much else that is in the spotlight... why not have them participate in these sets??


Final Comments:

This is probably one of my favorite shows of all time, and even I have to say I am very disappointed with this set. I could easily live with a set that has a changed theme song, I could live with a set with no special features, I could easily live with a small number of syndicated episodes, I could even live with a set of all edited episodes if the show is rare enough--but this set brings out the worst possible in all of those areas. The classic and memorable theme song has been replaced with a cheaper version, there are no special features, nearly 1/3 of the episodes are syndicated episodes, and the show airs everyday in the United States. If you are a devoted fan to the show, you'll want to get this set simply because there are so many great episodes on the set (the best season of the show in my opinion)... but otherwise, this set may not be worth your money.


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

Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Navigation/Design: 4/5
Overall: 2/5

-- Reviewed by skees53 on 08/05/2005.

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

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0009YCLBS/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20


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