Here comes the next hilarious season of marital bliss and fantasies of the perfect mate! Whether it's Jeff
(Patrick Warburton) snoring that pushes him into the guest bedroom, the "unsexy" sex tape that Adam
(Oliver Hudson) and Jennifer (Bianca Kajlich) try to record, Audrey (Megyn Price) protecting her sister
from "the perv" Russell (David Spade), or the time-share vacation they all take together,
the second season of Rules of Engagement looks at love from all sides of the bed with humor
and honesty that'll keep you laughing no matter what shape you or your relationship is in!
Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:
Rules of Engagement, which returns for a third season this mid-season on CBS, made its second
season premiere on September 24, 2007. The hit CBS comedy stars Emmy and Golden Globe nominee
David Spade (TV's "Just Shoot Me"), Patrick Warburton (TV's "Seinfeld"), Oliver Hudson ("Black Christmas"),
Bianca Kajlich (TV's "Vanished"), and Megyn Price (TV's "Grounded for Life").
The series is directed by Emmy Award nominee Gary Halvorson (TV's "Everybody Loves Raymond", "Two and a Half Men"),
Ted Wass (TV's "Spin City", Mark Cendrowski (TV's "According to Jim"), Gail Mancuso (TV's "30 Rock",
"Scrubs"), and Emmy Award winner Andy Ackerman (TV's "Cheers", "Seinfeld", "The New Adventures of Old
Christine"). Rules of Engagement is produced by Adam Sandler's Happy Madison Productions and is distributed by
Sony Pictures Television.
The writers' strike shortened the season to 15 episodes. Memorable episodes included "Mr. Fix It," in
which when Jeff tries to fix Audrey's problem with a neighbor, he gets into more trouble.
In "Old School Jeff," Jeff and Adam get a free night out while the ladies
attend a wedding. "Matchmakers" Audrey and Jennifer fix up a friend, and it affects Adam and Jeff
in "Fix Up & Downs." Jennifer learns a little too much about her soon-to-be mother-in-law
when she visits in "A Visit from Fay." Jennifer gets a freelance gig designing an ad campaign
for Adam in "Jen At Work." To qualify for a better life insurance rate, Jeff needs to lose
ten pounds in "Optimal Male."
Notable guest stars included Rachel Boston as Amy in "Flirting with Disaster." Carol Leifer was the Other
shopper in "Bag Ladies." Heather Locklear appeared as Audrey's sister, Barbara, in "Audrey's Sister" and "Engagement
Party." Peggy Lipton played Fay in "A Visit from Fay." Josie Davis guest starred as Clarissa in "Optimal Male."
The two-disc DVD set includes all 15 episodes from the second season (2007-08).
The packaging has changed a bit from the first season release, which came in Amaray movie-style
case. This time it comes in cardboard box that holds
two slimcases. The cover art features a photo of Patrick Warburton and Megyn Price in bed at the top,
David Spade and the show logo in the center, and Oliver Hudson and Bianca Kajlich looking
at each other in bed at the bottom. The overall color scheme of this set is purple and white. On the back of the box,
there is a photo of the 5 cast members sitting at a table
at the diner. A synopsis of the show, a listing of the special features and the DVD specs are
noted. Once again, David Spade is on the spine of the box. The two slimcases slide out from the
right of the outer cardboard box. Slimcase #1 holds Disc 1 and has 3 photos: 1) Oliver Hudson and Bianca Kajlich,
2) David Spade, 3) Patrick Warburton and Megyn Price kissing. Slimcase #2 holds Disc 2 has 3 photos:
1) David Spade, 2) Oliver Hudson and Bianca Kajlich, 3) Megyn Price and Patrick Warburton at the diner.
On the back of the slimcases, the episode titles, short 2-3 sentence summaries and the writing/directing/producing
credits are listed. It would have been nice if they included the original airdates and notable guest stars.
There are two smaller photos of Oliver Hudson and Bianca Kajlich and another of Patrick Warburton, David Spade
and Oliver Hudson at the diner on the bottom of slimcase #2. Inside the slimcases, there are many more photos of
the cast from the episodes. It's nice they used this area instead of just having blank space.
Disc 1 holds episodes 1-10 and has a photo of Patrick Warburton and Megyn Price in bed and a headshot
of David Spade in the center. Disc 2 holds episodes 11-15 and has a photo of Oliver Hudson and Bianca Kajlich
looking at each other in bed and another headshot of David Spade in the center.
An 8-page booklet is included that promotes some of Sony's TV DVD releases.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menus are stylish and easy to navigate. The main menu has the catchy theme song, "How Many Ways"
by Señor Happy, playing in the background (full 2 minute version is available on iTunes).
It loops after 20 seconds. There are a series of freeze
frame photos of the cast on the left side of the screen that rotate with moving blue bars in the background
and foreground. There is a blue satin background on the right and the show logo is at the bottom of the screen. There
are options for "Play All Episodes" and "Episode Selection". Disc 2 has a "Special Features" option.
There is a white bar next to the option you choose that turns purple upon your selection.
When you choose episode selection, it takes you to a sub-menu where there is a white satin background
at the top and a blue satin background on the bottom. There is a still image from each episode.
The episode you highlight is tinted in white on the bottom half of it and that turns purple upon your selection.
The special features menu has a still image of David Spade and Megyn Price.
There are chapter stops within the episodes but no separate scene selection menus.
Video and Audio Quality:
Since these episodes were just shot within the last year, they look virtually flawless. They have
digitially remastered audio and video. According to the back of the box, they have been mastered
in high definition. The video is in anamorphic widescreen 1.78:1. I can't imagine these episodes
looking any better. The picture is incredibly sharp and the colors are vivid. All of the episodes
appear to be unedited, running around 20:50 to 22:10 in length. There is nothing on the packaging
to indicate that any of the original music was replaced. A minor issue is that they put 10 episodes
on 1 disc and 5 on the other. I don't understand why they just didn't put 8 on disc 1 and 7 on disc 2
for a more even distribution. For the closing logo enthusiasts, there are logos for Game Six Productions,
Happy Madison Productions, and Sony Pictures Television.
The audio is presented in English 5.1 Dolby Digital Stereo. Once again, there are no major problems with it.
The volume is at a good level and the dialogue is easy to understand. It is filmed before
a studio audience, so the laugh track is real. They have a
nice little theme song, "How Many Ways" by Señor Happy. The music cues are by David Schwartz. You may have
heard his music on "Northern Exposure" or "Arrested Development." Closed captioning is available on all of the episodes.
The special features are not rated and may not be subtitled or closed captioned.
Here is the episode list, including the running times:
1. Flirting with Disaster (21:18)
2. Audrey's Sister (21:52)
3. Mr. Fix It (22:02)
4. Guy Code (22:09)
5. Bad Ladies (22:10)
6. Old School Jeff (20:50)
7. Engagement Party (21:39)
8. Fix Ups & Downs (21:01)
9. A Visit from Fay (21:39)
10. Time Share (21:08)
11. Jen At Work (21:52)
12. Optimal Male (21:56)
13. Russell's Father's Son (21:14)
14. Buyer's Remorse (21:35)
15. Pimp My Ride (22:09)
After a decent amount of special features on the first season release, it is a bit disappointing
that the only real bonus here is a blooper reel. It's not unusual to see the most special features on an initial
release and less on additional seasons, but I thought they would have included some more here since
this was a strike-shortened season.
Bloopers (Disc 2 - 4:16) - Some funny bloopers from the second season. You'll notice immediately
that the video quality is pretty terrible on these with a lot of pixellation. They also aren't in
widescreen. They appear to be from a tape source. It will make you appreciate how good the finished episodes look
after they complete the film process. I don't know why the quality on these is so poor when the bloopers on the
first season set looked great.
Minisodes (Disc 2) - NewsRadio "Look Who's Talking" (4:59); Diff'rent Strokes "Short But Sweet" (5:40).
There's no relevance of these to the show. Why not a minisode of "Just Shoot Me" with David Spade or
"Seinfeld" with Patrick Warburton?
Previews (Disc 2) - Trailers for "You Don't Mess with the Zohan" (2:11), "Made of Honor" (2:33), "This
Christmas" (2:33) and "The Perfect Holiday" (1:24)
Although the show has been on for 2 seasons, they've produced only 22 episodes total. It began as a mid-season
replacement and had a strike-shortened season in 2007-08. I don't think they made many changes between
seasons 1-2. The show reminds me a lot of "How I Met Your Mother", although it appears to be geared
towards a slightly older audience. Patrick Warburton and David Spade are the funniest and the writing
is sharp. I love Patrick Warburton's deadpan style of delivery.
The cast appears to have some good chemistry (especially Warburton and Price), despite the limited number of episodes.
I was a bit surprised when it didn't make CBS' fall schedule. It seems to be a good match with "Two and a Half Men"
and retains a good portion of their audience. CBS has announced the third season for mid-season, although it could be coming
back sooner than that if the single-camera comedy Worst Week continues to struggle in the ratings. Third season episodes
have already been in production for weeks.
This is another pretty good set, although it is lacking in the special features department. Since there were only
15 episodes, I thought they would add some extra value with audio commentaries, cast interviews and deleted
scenes, but we only get a short blooper reel on this set. I don't know why the bloopers are in such poor video quality
compared to the first season set. The third season should be interesting when it makes
it on the CBS schedule. Orlando Jones and Adhir Kalyan ("Aliens in America") will be appearing in recurring roles.
Brian Dennehy will guest star as the father of Patrick Warburton's Jeff.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 5/5
Audio Quality: 5/5
Special Features: 1/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4.5/5
-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 10/12/08
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