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Rules of Engagement - The Complete Third Season


TITLE: RULES OF ENGAGEMENT - THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON


Info:

DVD Release Date: September 14, 2010 (Sony Pictures)
Color/2009
MSRP: $29.95
Number of Discs: 2
Number of Episodes: 13
Running Time: approx. 277 minutes
Runtime of Special Features: n/a
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English; Closed-captioned
Special Features: None


Introduction:

The comedy and laughs continue in the latest season of Rules of Engagement as these five friends make their own rules when it comes to relationships. Married, engaged and undecided - the gang find themselves in more outrageously compromising positions. Russell's (David Spade) unscrupulous sex-capades backfire - even with the help of his new assistant Timmy (Adhir Kalyan). Jeff (Patrick Warburton) gets a double whammy when he finds out that his new friend Brad bats for the other team, and that his better-half Audrey (Megyn Price) might own an "adult toy"! And as their wedding day approaches, Jennifer (Bianca Kajlich) and Adam (Oliver Hudson) learn it takes two to tango...literally.


Episodes:

While enjoying her favorite musical, Audrey spots Russell in the audience in "Russell's Secret." Russell's new assistant (guest star Adhir Kalyan) makes Russell's job (and love life) a breeze in "Voluntary Commitment." Jeff makes a new friend, Brad (Orlando Jones), at the gym and is quickly convinced by Audrey and Adam that Brad's gay in "Jeff's New Friend." A visit from Jeff's father (guest star Brian Dennehy) turns into a nigthmare after he sprains his ankle and decides to sue them for his injury in "Dad's Visit." Complications arise when Audrey and Jeff ditch dinner with Jennifer and Adam to attend Brad and Jackie's (guest star Sam Harris) exclusive, celebrity-packed party in "Lyin' King." In need of a new assistant, Audrey considers stealing Timmy (guest star Adhir Kalyan) away from Russell in "Poaching Timmy." Jeff endurs endless ridicule, especially from Brad, when he throws his back out after sneezing in "Old Timer's Day."

Audrey inadvertently misleads her colleagues into thinking she's pregnatn in "Twice." Jeff, Russell and Adam make a "gentlemen's bet" to see who can score first in "The Challenge." On a dinner date with Jackie (guest star Sam Harris) and Brad, Jeff feels violated when Jackie eats off his plate in "Family Style." When audrey and Jeff invite their recently divorced friend Steve (guest star Tony Hale) to stay with them, Audrey unwittingly becomes Steve's rebound in "May Divorce Be With You." Jennifer and Russell decide to teach Adam a lesson in responsibility, but Adam gets the last laugh in "House Money." Jennifer and Audrey throw a "girls only" adult toy party in "Sex Toy Story."

Adhir Kalyan appears in the recurring role of Timmy. He would become a series regular in season four. Orlando Jones appears in the recurring role of Brad. Notable guest stars include Bob Odenkirk, Brian Dennehy, Sam Harris, Jerry Rice, Melanie Paxson, Beth Littleford, Tony Hale, Alexis Krause, Sunny Mabrey and John Farley.

All of the episodes appear to be unedited, with running times of 20-21 minutes. There's nothing on the packaging to indicate that any of the music was changed for this DVD release. The show seldom uses any songs. Here is the breakdown by disc, including the exact runtimes:

Disc One
Russell's Secret (21:18)
Voluntary Commitment (21:40)
Jeff's New Friend (21:25)
Dad's Visit (21:41)
Lyin' King (21:41)
Poaching Timmy (20:09)
Old Timer's Day (21:40)

Disc Two
Twice (21:39)
The Challenge (21:08)
Family Style (21:09)
May Divorce Be With You (21:36)
House Money (21:15)
Sex Toy Story (21:38)


Packaging:

The 2-disc set contains all 13 episodes from the third season (2009). It comes in a cardboard box that holds two slim cases, just like the second season. The cover art features the five main cast members plus Adhir Kalyan with their heads on a bed. Adhir was a late addition to the packaging. They have the show logo near the top. The overall color scheme of this set is dark red and white. On the back of the box, there are small photos of Kalyan and Spade and a promotional cast photo of Hudson, Kajlich, Spade, Price and Warburton sitting on a couch. A synopsis of the set and the DVD specs are provided. David Spade, once again, 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 a photo of Warburton standing on and Price sitting on a couch and a smaller photo of Spade with the lovely Michelle Pierce in red lingerie. Slimcase #2 holds Disc 2 and has a photo of Kajlich talking to Hudson and a smaller photo of Spade in the top right. On the back of the slimcases, they list the episode titles with short summaries and select guest stars. It would have been nice if they listed the original airdates and writing/directing/producing credits. There are photos of Kalyan and Warburton on the back of slimcase #1. Hudson, Price and Warburton are featured on the back of slimcase #2. Inside the slimcases, there are many more photos of the cast from episodes with a red and white background. Nice to see them use this space instead of just having it blank. Disc 1 holds episodes 1-7 and has headshots of Price, Warburton and Spade. Disc 2 holds episodes 8-13 and features Hudson, Kajlich and Kalyan.


Menu Design and Navigation:

The menus are very simple and easy to navigate. Unfortunately, they no longer have the catchy theme song, "How Many Ways" by Señor Happy, playing in the background like they did for the first two season sets. The main menus feature the same photos of the six cast members with their heads on the bed. A white, pink and red background is used. Play All Episodes and Episode Selections options are available. There are teal boxes around the option you highlight that turn pink upon your selection. When you choose episode selection, it takes you to another menu where there are still shots from each episode. A Play All button is also availble on this menu. Disc 2 includes a "Previews" option for some other Sony TV DVD and film releases, including Community - Season 1, Drop Dead Diva, Grown Ups, The Karate Kid, Stomp the Yard: Homecoming, The Pillars of the Earth, The Back-?Up Plan and Rust. There are chapter stops within the episodes, but there are no separate scene selection menus.


Video and Audio Quality:

Since these episodes were just shot in in late 2008/early 2009, they look flawless. There's nothing on the back of the box to indicate that they were mastered in high definition like the season two release. 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. For the closing logo enthusiasts, there are logos for Game Six Productions, Happy Madison Productions, CBS Paramount Television 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. Closed captioning is available on all of the episodes.


Special Features:

Unfortunately, there are no special features included on this third season release. Season one had a featurette, bloopers and a set tour with Oliver Hudson. Season two had only bloopers. It would have been great to have bloopers for every season. Some audio commentaries by the cast and crew would have been interesting to hear.


Final Comments:

It was another short season with only 13 episodes. For the third consecutive season, they were a midseason replacement. It's hard to believe that a show could be on for four seasons and have only 48 total episodes produced. This is a show that always does well in the ratings no matter where CBS airs it. It's like a solid middle reliever in baseball that is called out of the bullpen and gets the job done. I'm glad CBS finally rewarded it with a spot on their fall schedule for their fifth season. People have always been able to find it on the schedule in the past, but having it air on a regular basis should help it greatly.

It's a little disappointing that they are only now releasing the third season. I'm sure the fact that it has been a midseason replacement and there have been questions if it will be renewed have been factors. With the short 13-episode third and fourth seasons, I think they could have easily released them together as one set or as separate releases within a few months of each other. Season three wasn't quite as strong as the first two seasons, but I did like the addition of Adhir Kalyan as Timmy in a recurring role in the third season and as a series regular in the fourth. He brings a new dimension to David Spade's Russell character. Hopefully it won't be too long of a wait for the fourth season on DVD. Some special features on future releases would be welcomed. Season five will be a key one. They should get a nice syndication deal with a couple of full seasons. If they get get up to around 88 episodes, they should be in great shape. Watch the show this fall on CBS on Mondays at 8:30/7:30c!


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

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

-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 09/17/10

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

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B001UHN88I/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20

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

http://www.sitcomsonline.com/boards/showthread.php?t=273124


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