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Too Close for Comfort - The Complete Second Season


TITLE: TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT - THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON


Info:

DVD Release Date: June 7, 2005 (Rhino Home Video)
Color/1981-82
MSRP: $39.95
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 22
Running Time: 545 Minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: 7 minutes (approximately 100 including commentary)
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English; no subtitles or closed-captioning
Special Features: Commentary by Lydia Cornell and Deborah Van Valkenburgh on "Who's Sara Now" and "A Policeman's Wife is Not a Happy One;" commentary by Jm J. Bullock and Nancy Dussault on "The Remaking of Monroe" and "My Favorite Martin;" cast interview with Lydia Cornell, Jm J. Bullock, and Deborah Van Valkenburgh.


Introduction:

Too Close for Comfort makes a return appearance to DVD with The Complete Second Season--a set that is a great improvement over the debut set that was introduced in November 2004. The 1980s ABC (and later first-run syndicated) sitcom follows cartoonist Henry Rush (Ted Knight) and Muriel Rush (Nancy Dussault) through their everyday lives, where they are surrounded by their grown daughters Sara and Jackie (Lydia Cornell and Deborah Van Valkenburgh) that aren't quite ready to be completely out on their own, but are definitely ready to have their own apartment. While Henry and Muriel may think that they are already "too close for comfort," they become even closer in the second season as Henry's niece April (Deena Freeman) moves in with Henry and Muriel, Muriel's mother Iris (Audrey Meadows) becomes a semi regular cast member that loves to torment Henry, and Monroe (Jm J. Bullock) become a more frequent visitor to the Rush apartment. But just when it seems as if it is really getting "too close for comfort," Muriel discovers she is pregnant, just when she is having a midlife crisis at age 42.


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

The second season opens with "Guess Who's Coming to Burp?," in which Muriel discovers that she is pregnant and struggles with whether or not she should go through with the pregnancy. Deena Freeman makes her debut as Henry's song-writing niece April in "Your Guest Is As Good As Mine." Bill Dana makes his first (of two) appearances in the second season as Wendell, a wealthy man that pretends to be a hobo for companionship, in "Rafkin's Bum." Monroe learns to become more assertive--and even more annoying than the usual nonassertive Monroe--in "The Remaking of Monroe." April falls in love with a man much older than her in "April and September." Robert Mandan makes an appearance as Henry's brother and April's father in "Brotherly Hate." Audrey Meadows makes her first appearance in "My Unfavorite Martin," where she tells Henry a big family secret that she has kept from Muriel for several years. Henry believes that a European couple that temporarily moves in to Jackie and Sara's apartment may be terrorists in "Foreign Exchange." Finally, the second season ends with April getting a piano, and Monroe helping her get it stuck in the stairwell--at the same time that Muriel believes that she is going into labor.


Packaging:

The packaging is very similar to the packaging that was used for The Complete First Season--three slim cases in the box. The main difference is that this set uses a yellow color scheme. Each of the slim cases has a list of the episodes contained on the disc on the back, complete with vivid descriptions of the episodes. Disc One has a picture of Ted Knight on it, Disc Two has a picture of Jm J. Bullock, and Disc Three has a picture of Nancy Dussault. Disc One contains episodes 1-8, Disc Two contains episodes 9-16, and Disc Thee contains episodes 17-22 in addition to the cast reunion interview.


Menu Design and Navigation:

The menus are basically the same as the menus that were included in The Complete First Season. When you first insert the disc, the Main Menu comes up, with the theme song playing in the background. The options there include Play All, Episode Selection, and Extra Features. The Play All feature plays every episode on the disc. Episode Selection takes you to a menu where you can select the episode that you want to play. Once the episode is selected, a scene selection menu comes up for that episode. Extra Features simply takes you to a menu where you can choose from the Extra Features available on that disc. The interview is available on Disc Three, and the commentaries are available on the disc that its respective episode is contained on. Chapters are properly placed through each episode in positions where commercial breaks would be if this show were airing on television.


Video and Audio Quality:

First and foremost, Rhino has provided UNEDITED episodes for this release of the show. Fans were very frustrated with the syndicated copies that were provided in The Complete First Season. Every single episode in this set runs approximately 24 minutes and 30 seconds. It would be nice to see Rhino follow up with a re-release of The Complete First Season with unedited episodes. In general, the audio and video quality on the set is adequate. The video quality is slightly fuzzy, but it is nothing of serious concern. The audio is in mono, but of course, that is the natural mode for the audio. The audio volume is a bit low, but not extremely low as some DVD sets can be. Like many other releases from Rhino, this set is not closed-captioned, and it does not contain English subtitles either, so the hearing impaired will likely have trouble with this set.


Special Features:

When The Complete First Season was released, Rhino released a set that had absolutely no special features at all. The Complete Second Season, on the other hand, has a few special features, all in the form of interviews and commentaries. Commentaries are provided on "Who's Sara Now" and "A Policeman's Wife Is Not a Happy One" by Lydia Cornell and Deborah Van Valkenburgh, who played Sara and Jackie. There are also commentaries on "The Remaking of Monroe" and "My Unfavorite Martin" by Nancy Dussault and Jm J. Bullock, who played Muriel and Monroe. In addition to these commentaries, there is a 7 minute unscripted interview with Lydia Cornell, Deborah Van Valkenburgh, and Jm J. Bullock that was taped during the reunion that was held for the release of The Complete First Season. The commentaries are somewhat interesting, although they really talk more about the show in general rather than the specific episodes. All of the cast members share interesting stories and memories about the show as well as the late Ted Knight in the commentaries, and also talk about what they are doing today (Lydia Cornell and Deborah Van Valkenburgh are still working with each other on various projects). The interview carries the same type of material. There are a lot of jokes about Jm J. Bullock's homosexuality in here too, but he doesn't seem to mind. It would have been better to see more of the interview (many parts were obviously cut out) and commentaries on more episodes, but it was at least nice to see all of the remaining stars participate in the special features.


Final Comments:

Many fans were upset and disappointed at the set that Rhino put out for The Complete First Season, but this set is definitely worth looking in to. The main problem that most people had with The Complete First Season was the fact that Rhino produced a set with syndicated episodes, which were missing approximately two and a half minutes per episode, but this set offers the full unedited episodes, as they appeared originally in 1981 and 1982 on ABC. The special features on the set, while the set is lacking primarily in the quantity of special features available, is still a great improvement from the complete lack of special features on The Complete First Season. Hopefully, future releases will be similar to The Complete Second Season (with more special features, of course), and it would also be nice if Rhino could re-release The Complete First Season in a set that is more like The Complete Second Season.


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

Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 3.5/5
Special Features: 2/5
Menu Navigation/Design: 5/5
Overall: 4/5

-- Reviewed by skees53 on 06/1/2005.

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

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00092ZMH0/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20


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