TITLE: MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN - THE COMPLETE NINTH SEASON
DVD Release Date: August 19, 2008 (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 28
Running Time: 630 minutes
Runtime of Special Features: 10 minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English; Closed-captioned
Special Features: Minisodes of The Facts of Life and Sheena
One thing you have to know about a Bundy is that a Bundy never gives up, and we see that first hand as the Bundy family comes to DVD with The Complete Ninth Season of Married... with Children! The series, now well into the 1990s, gives us even more laughs from the family that defined the dysfunctional family (and also, unlike most other family sitcom, reminded you of your own family) and their neighbors, the D’Arcy family (now a completely psychotic couple, a radical change from the nice neighbors from the first season). In the ninth season, we see NO MA’AM evolve into a powerful force in Chicago (and Marcy single-handedly take them down each and every time with more power) and Kelly become an actress (sort of), with her agent, Bud.
Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:
Al and Jefferson find something beneath the walls that may make them rich in “Shoeway to Heaven.” In “Driving Mr. Boondy,” Al must take a driving test to renew his license with his instructor, who happens to be the newest employee at the DMV--his own son Bud! Will Al pass? Marcy’s niece moves in on the episode “Naughty But Niece,” so can Bud keep his pants on? In “Business Sucks” and “Business Still Sucks,” Al fights the worst threat to his world--breastfeeding in public. Al agrees to sleep with Marcy (seriously) and pretend to be Jefferson in “Sleepless in Chicago.” There is a new TV family that seems awfully similar to the Bundy family in “No Pot to Pease In.”
Al’s favorite TV show is cancelled, and he’ll do anything to get it back on the air in the two-part episode “I Want My Psycho Dad.” In “Get the Dodge Out of Hell,” Al takes the Dodge to the carwash, but it doesn’t come out. David Garrison reprises his role as Steve in this episode. George Plimpton looks back at the best episodes of the series in “Best of Bundy.” In the two-part episode “Ship Happens,” Peg wins a cruise, but it quickly ends in disaster when a fat woman smells some chicken and causes the ship to go down. But be warned, Gilbert Gottfried guest stars in this episode.
Al wants to help Kelly in “Something Larry This Way,” but only because it means he might get to meet Larry Storch. Peg gets invited to a bingo tournament in “And Bingo Was Her Game-O” and wins big, but what will be the final outcome? The cast discusses their own favorite episodes in “My Favorite Married.” Steve is now the dean at Bud’s college in “Radio Free Trumaine.” In “The Undergraduate,” Kelly has a younger admirer--a MUCH younger admirer.
We have the same style of packaging that was used on the Complete Eighth Season release on this set, with the two slim cases. But the packaging is actually pretty creative this time... it seems that they’ve done a “NO MA’AM” handbook, or something along those lines. The slim case that holds Discs 1 and 2 has a picture of the Founder (Al Bundy) and the slim case that holds Disc 3 has a picture of the Secretary (Jefferson D’Arcy). Inside the case for Discs 1 and 2, in addition to the discs of course, you’ll find the “Ten Commandments of NO MA’AM.” Inside of the case for Disc 3, you’ll find Al’s letter to “Syko Dad,” as he wrote to him on the two-part episode “I Want My Psycho Dad.” Discs 1 and 2 each contain 10 episodes, while Disc 3 contains 8 episodes and the Minisodes.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menus are in the toilet--literally. The main menu on each screen shows you a toilet (with the seat left up) and gives you options of Play All, Episode Selection, and (on Disc 3) Minisodes. The menu options re fairly straightforward. The Episode Selection menu gives you a choice of three episodes per menu, laid out with snapshots from the episode. Scene selection menus aren’t present on the set, but there are chapters at all of the appropriate places.
Video and Audio Quality:
The video quality of the episodes could be better, but it isn’t a total disaster. The same can be said for the audio. Even though it is presented in Dolby Digital Surround Sound, it doesn’t sound all that clear. Closed-captioning is available on all of the episodes.
Once again, the theme song has been replaced with the “fake” theme song, which is annoying but bearable. The biggest problem comes with the fact that many of the episodes have their original closing credit scenes altered to a “freeze frame” to accommodate new closing credits. I don’t understand why they couldn’t just find some original source video and rolled the closing credits over that. There ARE a few instances in this season where music replacement within the episodes is an issue, but in each case, the original music was only used in the original airing of the episode and already replaced by the time the series went into syndication. In fact, on some of the episodes, the “original” music was removed after the initial airing, and not even used on the repeats as aired by Fox, which makes it seem that the replacement music was at least planned when creating the episodes. But there is one interesting case of music that was NOT removed. In the “No Pot to Pease In” episode, listen carefully to the background music when Kelly tells the producer about her family--you’ll notice that it is the original (as in the one we know and love from watching the series on TV) closing theme from the series! Aside from the music issues, the episodes appear to be mostly unedited, with runtimes as follows:
1. Shoeway to Heaven (22:05)
2. Driving Mr. Boondy (22:31)
3. Kelly Breaks Out (22:35)
4. Naughty But Nice (22:33)
5. Business Sucks (22:36)
6. Business Still Sucks (22:33)
7. Dial B for Virgin (22:33)
8. Sleepless in Chicago (22:19)
9. No Pot to Pease In (22:36)
10. Dud Bowl (22:33)
11. A Man for No Season (22:32)
12. I Want My Psycho Dad, Part 1 (22:36)
13. I Want My Psycho Dad, Part 2 (22:11)
14. The Naked and Dead, But Mostly the Naked (22:35)
15. Kelly Takes a Shot (22:33)
16. Get the Dodge Out of Hell (22:35)
17. Best of Bundy (22:46)
18. 25 Years and What Have You Got? (22:35)
19. Ship Happens, Part 1 (22:34)
20. Ship Happens, Part 2 (22:35)
21. Something Larry This Way (23:06)
22. And Bingo Was Her Game-O (22:34)
23. User Friendly (22:34)
24. Pump Fiction (22:33)
25. My Favorite Married (22:33)
26. Radio Free Trumaine (23:17)
27. Shoeless Al (22:31)
28. The Undergraduate (22:34)
Depending upon how you perceive things, the set either has a few special features or none at all. There are two episodes on this set that aired as “special” episodes during the original run of the series, and are not shown in syndication, but are part of this set. Both of these are clip shows. The first is the episode “Best of Bundy,” hosted by George Plimpton, where he discusses the best moments of the series as part of the celebration of the 200th episode. The second is “My Favorite Married,” where the cast talks about all of their favorite episodes of the series. This aired later in the season.
The set also contains two “Minisodes,” like most other Sony DVD sets do these days. This time, we have The Facts of Life episode “Dope” (5:07) and the Sheena episode “Doing as Romans” (5:35). Neither of these really have anything to do with Married... with Children, but The Facts of Life “Dope” Minisode is fun to watch, and is pretty funny when viewed as a Minisode.
It is disappointing that a series that was as popular as this one was can not have a better DVD release. It would be nice to have the theme song intact, all of the original music (although this show, in general, does great considering how much music was use, I shudder to think what this would be like if CBS DVD were releasing it), and to have more special features. But the important thing about this set is that every episode from the season is on it and the comedy is all still there. This is a great show, and although the series evolved over the years, the comedy in this season is funny in its own way. We only have two more seasons to go for the completion of the series after this one, and I can’t wait to see them, but I hope to at least see some more special features. Can I get a “whooooa Bundy” for that?
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 1.5/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4.5/5
-- Reviewed by skees53 on 08/10/08
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