TITLE: RULES OF ENGAGEMENT - THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON
DVD Release Date: February 7, 2012 (Sony Pictures On Demand)
Packaging: Amaray Case
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 26 (2 that aired in Season 6)
Running Time: approx. 559 minutes
Runtime of Special Features: n/a
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English Stereo; none
Special Features: None
TV's funniest cast is back and better than ever in the hilarious fifth season of Rules of Engagement. Married couple Audrey (Megyn Price) and Jeff (Patrick Warburton) run into surprising hurdles while attempting to have a baby via a surrogate. Meanwhile, Adam (Oliver Hudson) and Jennifer (Bianca Kajlich) are still planning their wedding - with a little help from Timmy (Adhir Kalyan). Eternal bad boy Russell (David Spade) continues his shenanigans as a single guy on the prowl, but may have finally met his match. Guest stars include Sara Rue, Jaime Pressly, Joan Collins, and Criss Angel.
The fifth season premiered on CBS on September 20, 2010. There were 26 episodes produced this season, but only 24 were broadcast. All 26 are included in this release. The show began airing on Mondays at 8:30PM this season before it was moved to Thursdays at 8:30PM in February 2011.
When Jeff and Audrey decide to purchase a new rug, they give their old and "broken in" one to Jennifer and Adam in "Rug-of-War." Jeff reveals that he keeps track of Audrey's faults, which upsets her. Adam tries using the same technique with Jennifer, and it backfires in "The Bank." Jeff and Audrey's idea of the perfect candidate (Jaime Pressly) to serve as their surrogate is ruined by Russell's fling with her in "Surro-gate." When his love life doesn't move at the desired pace, Jeff takes matters into his own hands, which makes Audrey want to spice things up in "Handy Man." Audrey is too busy with work and Jeff convinces her to play softball in "Play Ball." Trying to find her calling in life, Audrey decides to start a cookie business in "Baked." Audrey and Jeff become tired of finding a surrogate, but Jeff's lesbian friend agrees to help them out in "Les-bro." Jeff and Adam use Audrey's rented retail space for a game of mannequin head ball in "Mannequin Head Ball." Audrey, upset by her appearance in a photograph belonging to Jeff's boss, decides to replace the picture in "The Big Picture."
Jeff, tired of co-workers asking for donations, informs his employees that he will no longer take part in their charities in "Fun Run." Timmy tries to teach Russell to budget his money, now that his mother has cut him off in "Refusing to Budget." Audrey attempts to prove she is the funny one in her relationship with Jeff, at Jeff's office Christmas party in "Little Drummer Boy." Adam reveals his cheerleading past to Jennifer, which embarrasses her a lot in "The Home Stretch." Russell makes Timmy babysit his new girlriend's son, while he and the girl go to the Criss Angel show in "Uh-Oh It's Magic." Russell expresses his wish to join Timmy's singing group, but later backs off in "Singing and Dancing." After Jeff stuns Audrey by remembering their wedding date, the surprise is on Jeff in "Anniversary Chicken." Jeff's day off is interrupted by the presence of his maid in "Jeff's Day." Jeff and Audrey find a zygote when visiting the fertility specialist with their surrogate in "Zygote."
In an attempt to ditch Liz, their annoying neighbor, Jeff and Audrey set her up with a guy from Jeff's office in "The Set Up." Jeff gets a rude awakening when he assumes that the surrogate pregnancy will give him the best of both worlds in "Beating the System." Jeff tries to regain his youthful appearance after discovering an old photograph of himself, which encourages Adam to take a current photo of himself in "The Jeff Photo." Jeff has a hard time accepting Audrey's raise in "The Power Couple." Jeff and Audrey fear the possibility of having twins in "Double Down." Audrey tries to persuade Jeff to eat healthier when he is diagnosed with high cholesterol, but he can't help sneaking unhealthy food with Brenda (Sara Rue), who is eating for two in "Cheating." To apologize for walking out on Liz's game night, Jeff sends Audrey on a romantic scavenger hunt in "Scavenger Hunt." Russell goes on a cruise to meet what he thinks are potential "hot young" lovers in "The Last of the Red Hat Lovers." Episode summaries courtesy of Wikipedia.
All of the episodes appear to be unedited, with runtimes of 20-21 minutes. They are presented in their original production order (the order in which they were made), which differs quite a bit for some of the season from the order CBS broadcast them. This release contains two episodes ("Cheating" and "Scavenger Hunt") that were produced for the fifth season, but didn't air until the sixth season.
"The Bank" (21:34)
"Handy Man" (21:37)
"Play Ball" (21:03)
"Mannequin Head Ball" (21:35)
"The Big Picture" (21:34)
"Fun Run" (21:38)
"Refusing to Budget" (21:29)
"Little Bummer Boy" (20:57)
"The Home Stretch" (21:32)
"Uh-Oh It's Magic" (21:36)
"Singing and Dancing" (21:35)
"Anniversary Chicken" (21:34)
"Jeff's Day" (21:21)
"The Set Up" (21:36)
"Beating the System" (21:39)
"The Jeff Photo" (21:37)
"The Power Couple" (21:36)
"Double Down" (21:12)
"Savenger Hunt" (21:37)
"The Last of the Red Hat Lovers" (21:36)
The 3-disc set contains all 26 episodes that were produced for the fifth season (2010-2011). It comes in a standard Amaray movie-style case. The cover art features the six main cast members eating a meal at the diner. The show logo is at the top in blue. There is a large screenshot of Megyn Price and Patrick Warburton and two smaller screenshots of the other cast members on the back of the case. A short synopsis of the season and the DVD specs are provided. David Spade is featured on the spine of the case. Opening up the case, there is just blank space. It would have been great to have an episode guide booklet included or even some more photos here. The DVD-Rs are plain with a white background and the show logo in black. Discs 1 and 2 contain 9 episodes. Disc 3 contains 8 episodes.
Menu Design and Navigation:
This is a manufactured-on-demand release from Sony Pictures, so it just uses their generic menu. It has a bunch of retro television sets in the background and has a blue tint. There is a light blue box on the left side of the screen where the episode titles are listed vertically in black text. A blue film cannister icon is next to the option you highlight that turns yellow upon your selection. A Play All option is available at the top of the screen. There are no chapter stops within the episodes.
Video and Audio Quality:
The episodes are in excellent video and audio quality. They just aired in 2010-2011. They are presented in anamporphic widescreen 1.78:1. These episodes look as nice as possible for being in a non blu-ray format. The picture quality is very shap and the colors are vivid. There haven't been any blu-ray releases yet, but all seasons are available in HD on iTunes. For the closing logo enthusiasts, there are logos for Game Six Productions, Happy Madison Productions, CBS Television Studios and Sony Pictures Television.
The audio is an English Stereo track, which differs from the previous 5.1 Dolby Digital releases. The volume is at a good level and the dialogue is easy to understand. One of the downsides of these manufactured on demand releases is that they lack any subtitles or closed captioning.
Unfortunately, there are no special features included for this release. Only the first two seasons contained a few extras. It's typical of these on demand releases to not include any, so this is no big surprise. I did notice there was one extra for season five and several for season six for free on iTunes, so that is worth investigating if you are a big fan of the series.
Season five surprisingly marked the first time they received a full-season order of 22 or more episodes. Despite strong ratings the first 4 seasons, they had never done more than 15 episodes. They actually had two more episodes ordered in the season after Charlie Sheen left Two and a Half Men, but two of the episodes were delayed until the following season.
This was the first season to be released as a manufactured on demand release. It seems odd that a popular show that is still being broadcast receives only this type of release that is only sold online. Season five is the best value when it comes to the Rules of Engagment DVD releases. There are 26 episodes included in this set, which is double every other season except one. It's generally a decent set, but it's lacking quality menus, an episode guide booklet, closed captioning and any special features. The episodes are also in the production order, so that may confuse some people who were expecting to see them in the same order that CBS originally broadcast them. Overall, this was one of their stronger seasons because the full episode order gave them lots of room for the storylines. The delightful Sara Rue was a welcome addition this season as Brenda, Jeff and Audrey's new surrogate.
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: 3/5
-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller
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