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Maude - The Complete First Season


TITLE: MAUDE - THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON


Info:

DVD Release Date: March 20, 2007 (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
Color/1972-1973
MSRP: $29.95
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 22
Running Time: 572 minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: N/A
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English; Closed-Captioned
Special Features: None


Introduction:

She is woman, hear her roar! And that woman is none other than the uncompromising, enterprising, anything but tranquilizing Maude Findlay! For those that are totally in the dark, Maude Findlay (played by Bea Arthur) made her first appearance in television on an episode of All in the Family as Edith Bunker’s cousin—a liberal that is everything that Archie Bunker isn't. Like many other characters on All in the Family, Maude eventually got her own spin-off, where she was living in upstate New York with her husband Walter (Bill Macy), recently divorced daughter Carol (Adrienne Barbeau), and Carol's son Phillip. Living next door was Dr. Arthur Harmon (Conrad Bain of Diff’rent Strokes), who always seemed to be against Maude on pretty much everything. Rue McClanahan played Vivian, who was Maude's best friend that she has known for years. The first season had another character that we all know and love, Florida Evans (Esther Rolle) as Maude's maid, who would eventually be having some good times of her own. Much like other Norman Lear series, the show tackled some very controversial issues throughout its run.

The Complete First Season contains all 22 hilarious and unedited episodes of this television gem that seems to have mostly disappeared since the original airing of the series on a three-disc set.


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

The series begins with "Maude's Problem," where Maude finds out that Carol is seeing a psychiatrist—which naturally leads Maude to think it is all her fault. Is it? Esther Rolle makes her first appearance as Florida Evans in "Maude Meets Florida," where Maude needs to hire a maid (which Maude specifically declares must be a black maid). In "Maude & the Radical," Maude is going to host a fundraising party for a black militant leader, but trouble arises when her token black guest decides not to show up--so where can Maude find a black person at the last minute? Maude gets a speeding ticket in "The Ticket," and she can get it fixed too, but will she accept it or will she be determined to prove her innocence?

Maude is pregnant in the two-part episode "Maude's Dilemma," but Carol reminds Maude that she as an advocate for abortion rights. What will Maude's decision be in this highly controversial episode? Robert Mandan (Soap, Three's a Crowd) guest stars. In "Grass Story," Maude is determined to get arrested for possession of marijuana, just to prove a point--but first, where is she going to get the pot? A black man pickets in front of Maude's house because Maude and Walter are slumlords in "The Slumlord."

Tom Bosley (Happy Days) guest stars in "Maude and the Medical Profession," where Maude might just sue her doctor for malpractice--unless the doctor has a friend (like a neighbor of Maude's) that can stop her. Florida and Maude are on the same side for women's rights in "Florida's Problem," where Florida's husband (his name is Henry here, but he is still played by John Amos) insists that she quit her job since he found a second job. Who will win? Carol sees Walter at a cocktail lounge with a blonde in "Walter's Secret," but Carol knowing isn't even nearly as bad as Maude knowing. How can he worm his way out of this one? Walter and Maude learn that Vivian's perfect marriage may not be so perfect after all in "The Perfect Marriage."


Packaging:

The packaging is decent, but they could have done a lot better on some aspects of it. It uses two slim cases (one that holds Disc 1 and 2, the other holds just Disc 3), which is always a nice packaging design. On the front of the box, we have nine pictures of Maude—it almost reminds me of the Brady Bunch square in a way—and the basic show information on the back. Inside, the two slim cases have various pictures of Maude on them.

Basically, everything is fine up until here. Then the listing of the episodes is a problem. I am not sure who came up with the way of listing these episodes, but I can honestly say they did a horrible job of doing it. The problem is that they put way too much information about each episode, and made the print a little larger than it should have been. As a result, the back of each case includes information for five of the episodes contained within the slim case. If you want to know about the rest, you have to open up the slim case to read the titles and descriptions, but they are covered up by the discs inside the set! Seriously, they could have fit all of this information on the BACK of each slim case had they removed the useless details (basically they list the stars, directors, writers, producers, and the fact that it was A Bud Yorkin – Norman Lear Tandem Production in Association with Sony Pictures Television for EACH episode on the set!) and made the print smaller.

The disc artwork is just like the front of the box artwork. Disc 1 has the pictures from the first row on the front of the box, Disc 2 has the pictures from the second row, and Disc 3 has the pictures from the third row. Disc 1 contains episodes 1-8, Disc 2 contains episodes 9-15, and Disc 3 contains episodes 17-22, as well as some bonus previews that are AT LEAST four years old (I'm not kidding, they even say "Now available from Columbia Tri-Star Home Video" on some of them).


Menu Design and Navigation:

The menus are very basic, much like all Sony DVD sets. Basically, the main menu gives you options of Play All Episodes and Episode Selections, with artwork similar to the artwork on the slim cases. I do not know what else to say about the set, because once you select one of these options, you either Play All Episodes or go to an Episode Selections menu that has four episode choices per screen. I guess the important thing is that the menus are simple and to the point--but honestly pretty boring.


Video and Audio Quality:

The series has held up fairly well considering that it has had a history of, well, not being shown hardly at all in syndication (the only time I ever saw the show BEFORE the DVDs was when TV Land was airing it, I can't recall ever seeing it elsewhere). It suffers the usual problems that you get with dated video, but for the most part, it looks fine. The audio is presented in mono, and sounds just like you would expect it to sound and closed-captioning is available for those that require it. Moreover, as a nice "bonus" (it should not be a bonus but things like this seem to have become a bonus on some DVD sets lately), every episode appears to be unedited, some running over 26 minutes long! The runtimes are as follows:

Disc 1:
1. "Maude's Problem" (25:52)
2. "Doctor, Doctor" (25:50)
3. "Maude Meets Florida" (26:14)
4. "Like Mother, Like Daughter" (26:08)
5. "Maude & the Radical" (26:12)
6. "The Ticket" (26:06)
7. "Love and Marriage" (26:36)
8. "Flashback" (26:07)

Disc 2:
9. "Maude's Dilemma, Part 1" (26:01)
10. "Maude's Dilemma, Part 2" (25:20)
11. "Maude's Reunion" (26:09)
12. "Grass Story" (25:48)
13. "The Slumlord" (26:03)
14. "The Convention" (25:38)
15. "Walter's 50th Birthday" (26:13)

Disc 3:
16. "Maude and the Medical Profession" (26:11)
17. "Arthur Moves In" (26:09)
18. "Florida's Problem" (26:09)
19. "Walter's Secret" (25:24)
20. "Maude's Good Deed" (26:50)
21. "The Perfect Marriage" (26:07)
22. "Maude's Night Out" (26:03)


Special Features:

Nothing, it would be nice if the cast members could participate in something. Aside from Esther Rolle, all of them are still living! Commentaries, interviews, or anything else would be nice.


Final Comments:

This is a great set that MANY people would enjoy! If you are a fan of the Norman Lear shows, you will definitely love this series. If you are a fan of The Golden Girls and want to see Bea and Rue before they were "golden," you will definitely love this series. Heck, if you are a fan of classic television, you will definitely love this series. Really, I do not know who wouldn't want to own this show on DVD. The special features are definitely lacking, but the presentation of the show on DVD is fine, and this is one of those rare shows that really did have some great episodes from the very beginning of the series, and there are many more great and pivotal episodes in the upcoming seasons (assuming they get released). In addition, if you do not pick up the set, remember: God will get you for that.


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: 4.5/5
Overall: 4/5

-- Reviewed by skees53 on 03/06/07

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

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000MGTQ6G/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20

Questions or comments about this set? Post on our message board:

http://www.sitcomsonline.com/boards/showthread.php?t=195720


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