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The War at Home - The Complete First Season


TITLE: THE WAR AT HOME - THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON


Info:

DVD Release Date: May 15, 2007 (Warner Home Video)
Color/2005-2006
MSRP: $39.98
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 22
Running Time: 474 minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: Closed-Captioned
Special Features: Deleted Scenes, “Living Room Confessions” featurette, Gag Reel


Introduction:

Raising a family can be tough, especially when you are dealing with three teenage kids that are living in their own world! And that is how it is on “The War at Home,” which is coming soon to DVD from Warner Home Video.

“The War at Home” stars Michael Rapaport and Anita Barone as Dave and Vicky Gold, two parent struggling to deal with their teenage children. There is the daughter, Hillary (Kaylee DeFer), who they are struggling to just make sure she doesn’t become sexually active (though it may be too late for that, middle child Larry (Kyle Sullivan), the child that Dave and Vicky fear just might be gay (he isn’t though), and Mike (Dean Collins), the smart one of the three children (and the youngest) that still manages to create trouble of his own. The Complete First Season is a three disc set that contains all 22 episodes of the the first season FOX not-exactly-a-hit sitcom about the family that you are glad isn’t your own (but secretly will admit that it IS like your own) along with a few bonus features.


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

In the pilot episode, Hillary has a new boyfriend--but he is a college student! So what will she do when Dave and Vicky don’t approve of a boyfriend that old? Hillary’s new boyfriend and his father come to visit in “Guess Who’s Coming to the Barbeque,” but Dave might just be the one to make a new friend... or will he? The entire family gets involved in trying to find Dave’s missing marijuana in “High Crimes.” In “The Bigger They Come,” Hillary wants breast implants and Larry has a new girlfriend that just happens to be a little, uhh, chunky.

Larry gets a spanking in “The Empire Spanks Back,” does this make Dave a good father? Grandma has a new golddigging boyfriend in “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do.” Lyle Waggoner guest stars. Jamie Luner plays Jodi, Vicky’s old friend that comes to visit, in “Three’s Company,” but Dave knows Jodi too--in a sexual way. Joel Brooks guest stars in “Looney Tunes,” where Mike pretends to be depressed just to get everything he wants, and is rather successful.

Hillary has a new gynecologist and it happens to be one of Dave’s old friends in “Oh, Grow Up,” but is Dave comfortable with the fact that his old friend that used to be known as the Devirginator is seeing more of his daughter than he would like? In “The Seventeen-Year Itch,” Dave finds an attractive woman that thinks that he is the perfect man... for her mother! Mike is ready for a Bar Mitzvah, but does he really care about being a Jew or does he just want a party? Find out in “13 Going on $30,000.” Dave loses his driver’s license thanks to Hillary in “Drive Me Crazy.”


Packaging:

The set uses basically the kind of packaging that all Warner DVD sets have been using lately--slim cases. The set includes two slim cases, one containing Disc 1 and the other containing Discs 2 and 3. The artwork on the packaging looks very nice and professional looking, with a cast photo on the box and more cast photos on the slim cases. The slim cases also have the episode titles, descriptions, and original air dates for each episode. There are three discs in the set, and Disc 1 is green with a picture of Dave and Vicky, Disc 2 is orange with a picture of Larry and Mike, and Disc 3 is blue with a picture of Hillary.

One thing worth noting is that the episodes are NOT in the order in which they originally aired. In fact, the back of the box says “Presented in the episode running order envisioned by the creators!” as if that is a good thing--and after watching the episode in the order that the creators envisioned, I discovered it actually IS a good thing. The storylines make much more sense in the order that the episodes are presented on DVD than the order that FOX aired the episodes. Disc 1 contains episodes 1-7, Disc 2 contains episodes 8-15, and Disc 3 contains episodes 16-22 as well as the bonus features.


Menu Design and Navigation:

The menus are simple, but functional. The main menu on each disc has the family playing tug of war with options of Play, Episodes, and Special Features (Disc 3 only). The theme song (yes, that little short instrumental piece they play on each episode) loops over and over again on the main menu. When you select an episode, the episode plays right away. There is no scene selection, but chapters are placed at all of the commercial breaks throughout the episode.


Video and Audio Quality:

The episodes are only a year or two old, so of course, the video and audio quality is fine. The episodes are presented in matted widescreen format, which will probably be a little different for the average viewer (but even if it seems unusual, those that find it unusual will come to appreciate it once we all start using widescreen televisions). There were some weird video things going on with the first few episodes on the cutaways (black bars on the left and right side of the screen, not just on the top and bottom), but I don't think it is a problem with the set but rather has something to do with when the episodes were originally produced. I didn’t find any problems at all with the video. The audio is fine too, presented in Dolby Digital stereo sound. It was a bit low at times, but it was nothing that significant.

I assume that the episodes are unedited, but you never really know these days. Each episode runs approximately 21:00-22:00 and as far as I could tell, all original music (there wasn’t much in the first place) seemed to be intact. The disc breakdown and runtimes are as follows:

Disc 1:
1. Pilot (21:57)
2. I.M. What I.M. (21:39)
3. Guess Who’s Coming to the Barbecue (21:39)
4. High Crimes (21:35)
5. Dave Get Your Gun (21:39)
6. The Bigger They Come (21:28)
7. Like a Virgin (21:33)

Disc 2:
8. Cheers (21:39)
9. The Empire Spanks Back (21:38)
10. Breaking Up Is Hard to Do (21:29)
11. It’s a Living (21:39)
12. Three’s Company (21:39)
13. Gimme a Break (21:40)
14. How Do You Speel Relief? (21:39)
15. Looney Tunes (21:19)

Disc 3:
16. Oh, Grow Up (21:19)
17. The Seventeen-Year Itch (21:39)
18. 13 Going on $30,000 (21:23)
19. Snow Job (21:39)
20. Drive Me Crazy (21:09)
21. Runaways (21:38)
22. The West Palm Beach Story (21:38)


Special Features:

There are some decent special features on this set, beginning with deleted scenes. On the episode menus, you’ll find a pair of scissors listed next to some episodes, which you can select to watch the deleted scenes from that particular episode. Each of these runs about 1 or 2 minutes. The video quality on these isn’t particularly great, but who cares? It is a bonus feature. These can be found on the following episodes: “Pilot” (00:30), “The Bigger They Come” (03:28) “Oh, Grow Up” (00:56), “13 Going on $30,000” (01:08) and “Drive Me Crazy” (02:09).

On Disc 3, there is the special feature “Living Room Confessions” (16:31), which is a very nice overview of the series with interview from the entire cast and the creators. Usually, in features like these, especially on shows currently airing on TV, you find a bunch of people talking about how they knew that the show would be perfect and a big hit, and how it is... well, you’ll get some of that here, but at the same time, there is a lot of the cast and creators talking about the reality of the show, and how they KNOW it is by no means a big hit on TV, but really just a fun show to do. They talk about how they understand that nobody knows who they are, Anita Barone talks about playing yet ANOTHER television mom (she seriously must hold the record for the number of sitcom moms played), and basically just keep everything in perspective. It is nice to see a feature like this where the cast and crew isn’t so cocky about how their show is the “greatest.”

Finally, on Disc 3, there is a Gag Reel (7:08), which is pretty much self explanatory. It is just a bunch of bloopers and outtakes from the episode. What I found to be odd about this is that, unlike the deleted scenes, the video quality on these is perfect, but they are NOT presented in the widescreen format that the episodes are in. Oh well, that is only a minor detail that doesn’t really matter either way.


Final Comments:

I really didn’t have a favorable opinion of this show when I first saw it on FOX last season, but it is one of those shows that you can get used to and even start to enjoy after a while. You almost have to appreciate a show like this, as it is one of the few standard family sitcoms remaining on the air in this day, where TV is dominated by these shows that aren’t going to have lasting legacies in reruns 10 years from now (like American Idol or Deal or No Deal). For some reason, this show seems much more enjoyable on DVD than it did when it originally aired on FOX, maybe because of the way the DVD set is presented. In any event, those that enjoy family sitcoms, particularly shows about “dysfunctional” (I hate using this word because most shows about dysfunctional families resemble real families better than shows about “real” families) families, as well as those that are just fans of the series, will definitely want to pick up this set.


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

Video Quality: 5/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 2.5/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 5/5
Overall: 4/5

-- Reviewed by skees53 on 05/06/07

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

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000MTEFVE/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20

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

http://www.sitcomsonline.com/boards/showthread.php?t=200213


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