TITLE: TWO AND A HALF MEN - THE COMPLETE NINTH SEASON
DVD Release Date: August 28, 2012 (Warner Home Video)
Packaging: Amaray case in cardboard box
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 24
Running Time: approx. 502 minutes
Running Time of Features: approx. 35 minutes
Audio: Dolby Digital English, Franšais and Espa˝ol
Subtitles: English for the Hearing Impaired, Franšais, Chinese, Espa˝ol, Portuguese
* Two and a Half Men Version 2.0
* The Billionaire Upgrade: Walden Schmidt's Malibu House Redesign
* Gag Reel
Season Nine comes with big changes - and even bigger laughs from the Men of TV's favorite comedy! When hopeless nebbish Alan Harper (Jon Cryer) and his fast-maturing son Jake (Angus T. Jones) suddenly find themselves without a place to call home, their solution walks in off the beach in the form of internet gazillionaire Walden Schmidt (Ashton Kutcher), who buys the Malibu beach pad and offers to let Alan and Jake stay. Soon, the three guys bond, forming a substitute family, and find themselves involved in all sorts of comedic exploits that you've come to expect from Two and a Half Men. As the season unfolds, Walden turns to Alan (of all people) for advice on his forlorn love life, Jake considers his future as a high school graduate, and Walden considers the upside of Berta's "special" brownies. Meanwhile, Alan has a brush with death and - even worse - life without a view of the ocean. 24 fresh episodes - serious manly fun!
The ninth season premiered on September 19, 2011, with "Nice to Meet You, Walden Schmidt." What to do when suicidal billionaire Walden Schmidt crawls out of the ocean into your house? Simple, if you're Alan: console the poor guy...then let him buy the house. Desperate to re-unite with his ex-wife Bridget, lovelorn Walden cajoles new best friend Alan into helping him sneak into her mansion, with shocking (as in electric fence) results in "People Who Love Peepholes." Alan preps Walden for a date with his ex, while Jake decides that if Walden can drop out of school and make a billion dollars, he can too in "Big Girls Don't Throw Food." Walden faces a tough choice: the woman he loves or the one who's great in the sack in "Nine Magic Fingers." Alan's glum after arguing with Lyndsey over her soft-core porn past, so Walden cheers him up with a whipped-cream-and-bimbos party at the beach house in "A Giant Cat Holding a Churro." After fixating on a lesbian who looks eerily like his ex-wife, Walden sets out to impress her by pretending he and Alan are gay lovers in "The Squat and Hover." Jake has the hots for his tutor, who has a crush on Walden, who finds himself squarely in the targeting mechanism of mama cougar Evelyn in "Those Fancy Japanese Toilets." When Alan's personality undergoes a startling change, Walden checks him into an institution - but only by convincing the deluded guy he's actually having a fun-and-hooker-filled fling in Vegas in "Thank You for the Intercourse."
Released from the mental hospital, Alan pludges into a series of increasingly bizarre events, and ends up living in a storage bin at the airport in "Frodo's Headshots." Walden discovers he's not quite ready for dating again, and Alan discovers the convenience of his neighborhood pawn shop in "A Fishbowl Full of Glass Eyes." After whisking Zoey off to Mexico in his private jet, Walden appears ready for love again, only to find ex-wife Bridget reappearing in his life - and his bed in "A Lovely Landing Strip." Walden's primatologist mother, Robin, arrives in town and reveals a startling secret about Walden's upbringing - but not startling enough to keep Alan from falling deeply in lust with her in "One False Move, Zimbabwe!" When Walden's mother and ex-wife try to take over his company, Walden puts Alan on his board of directors, prompting Bridget and Robin to put Alan in their sights in "Slowly and in a Circular Fashion." Lyndsey admits she just might be willing to settle for Alan, while Zoey admits she'd really like Walden to get a shave and a ahircut in "A Possum on Chemo." Determined to loosen up his sex life with Zoey, Walden feeds her some of Berta's "special" brownies, while Alan reveals his reluctance to re-experience the joys of marriage in "The Duchess of Dull-in-Sack." A Valentine's Day storm traps the guys and their women at the beach house, resulting in a girl-fight of epic proportions and a massive mudslide that threatens to end their squabbling - permanently in "Sips, Sonnets and Sodomy."
Walden's near-death declaration of love for Zoey falls flat; Alan worries Lyndsey may have a drinking problem, while Jake has no problem whatsoever with Walden's rebound fling in "Not in My Mouth!" Walden's ex-business partner proposes a lucrative new enterprise, while a depressed Alan turns to Berta for emotional support...and ends up dodging gunfire from her irate drug dealer in "The War Against Gingivitis." With Zoey in London, Walden plays wingman to the hapless Jake and Eldridge in "Palmdale, ech." After admitting to Zoey that ex-wife Bridget is his new business partner, Walden tries to patch things up with a disastrous three-way...dinner in "Grandma's Pie." Walden gives living with Zoey and Ava a trial run - and realizes being a dad is, like, hard in "Mr. Hose Says 'Yes'." When Walden boots Alan out of the house for real, the resulting heart attack sends him to the hospital in "Why We Gave Up Women." In the show's 200th episode, Alan comes home from the hospital, but gets so much sympathy from everyone he pretends he's still sick in "The Straw in My Donut Hole." After graduating, Jake and Eldridge go to work for Walden, producing an epic fail - and 40,000 hours of downloaded porn in "Oh Look! Al-Qaeda!"
All of the episodes appear to be unedited, with running times of 19-21 minutes.. yes, 19 minutes. They are presented in their original CBS broadcast order. Here are the runtimes:
Nice to Meet You, Walden Schmidt (21:33)
People Who Love Peepholes (21:36)
Big Girls Don't Throw Food (20:25)
Nine Magic Finders (21:14)
A Giant Cat Holding a Churro (20:31)
The Squat and Hover (21:24)
Those Fancy Japanese Toilets (19:25)
Thank You for the Intercourse (21:31)
Frodo's Headshots (21:31)
A Fishbowl Full of Glass Eyes (21:32)
A Lovely Landing Strip (20:06)
One False Move, Zimbabwe! (21:17)
Slowly and in a Circular Fashion (19:57)
A Possum on Chemo (20:30)
The Duchess of Dull-in-Sack (21:35)
Sips, Sonnets and Sodomy (19:58)
Not in My Mouth! (19:21)
The War Against Gingivitis (21:32)
Palmdale, ech (21:17)
Grandma's Pie (21:08)
Mr. Hose Says "Yes" (20:57)
Why We Gave Up Women (21:33)
The Straw in My Donut Hole (20:58)
Oh Look! Al-Qaeda! (21:31)
The set includes all 24 episodes from the ninth (2011-12) season. The packaging is similar to the eighth season, with a slightly different case. It comes in a standard sized Amaray case. The case slides out from the right of an outer cardboard sleeve. The case and sleeve have the same design. A photo of Angus T. Jones, Ashton Kutcher and Jon Cryer in suits and bowties in back of a microphone is used as the cover art. The show logo is above them. Four episode snaphots are on the back of the case and box. A synopsis of the season, a listing of the special features and the DVD specs are provided. There's a flip holder in the center of the case that holds Discs 1 and 2. Disc 3 is in an embedded holder in the back of these case. There are no photos of the cast members on the discs this time. They just have a maroon background with the show logo in silver. It's surprising they made that change. A six panel booklet is included that gives the episode title, writing/directing credits, original airdate and short summaries. The booklet has the same photo as the cover art, but there are four diferent episode snapshots used inside.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menus are simple and easy to navigate. They look similar to previous seasons. It has the same photo as the cover art, which gets plenty of use in this set. The show's theme song plays in the background before looping after about 22 seconds. There are options for Play, Episodes, the special feature on each disc, and Languages. A gold icon is next to the option you highlight that turns light blue upon your selection. When you select Episodes, it takes you to a sub-menu. There are three screenshots with the episodes on the left side of the screen. The episode titles are to the right in white and yellow alternating text. The languages option has two episode snapshots. You can choose the spoken languages and subtitles from this menu. Chapters are placed at the appropriate places.
Video and Audio Quality:
The video and audio quality is excellent, as we've come to expect from the previous seasons. The episodes are presented in a "matted" widescreen format preserving the original aspect ratio. They've been enhanced for widescreen televisions. The picture is very sharp and clean. There aren't many sitcoms that are still shot on real film, but this is one of them. The softness and realness that comes along with film shines through. For the closing logo enthusiasts, there are the usual closing logos for Chuck Lorre Productions, The Tannenbaum Company and Warner Bros. Television.
The audio is a Dolbity Digital English 5.1 surround track. There are no problems with it. Language tracks are also available in Franšais and Espa˝ol. The alternate language tracks are always a nice touch and a unique and fun way to watch the show. Subtitles in English for the deaf and hard of hearing are available, as well as Franšais, Chinese, Espa˝ol and Portuguese.
There were no special features included on the eighth season, but we do get a few here this time. There are two featurettes and the usual gag reel. Each disc has a special feature.
Two and a Half Men Version 2.0 (18:12) - Experience the excitement of Ashton Kutcher's first night on the stage, through backstage footage, crew and talent interviews. Interviews include Executive Producer Chuck Lorre, Ashton Kutcher, Jon Cryer, Conchata Ferrell, Executive Producer Lee Aronsohn, Holland Taylor, Director James Widdoes, various fans, Angus T. Jones and Joel Murray. This featurette provides some interesting behind-the-scenes footage of the season premiere and introduction of Ashton Kutcher to the show. There are also some kind words about Charlie Sheen.
The Billionaire Upgrade: Walden Schmidt's Malibu House Redesign (10:09) - The Harper House is due for a makeover when Walden Schmidt snaps it up, and it's up to the crack production team at Two and a Half Men to express Walden's personality in a big overhaul of the show's signature set. Interviews include Production Designer John Shaffner, Set Decorator Ann Shea, Creator/Executive Producer Chuck Lorre, Creator/Executive Producer Lee Aronsohn, Ashton Kutcher and Angus T. Jones. One of the highlights of the tour is the tech museum with the old cellphone and 8-track player.
Gag Reel (7:04) - Various outtakes from the season. They are in good quality, but there's a timestamp at the bottom of the screen.
The show is still called Two and a Half Men, but it's really a much different show from the first eight seasons. I'm only an occasional viewer of the show, so the big cast change didn't really affect me. Charlie Sheen was obviously a huge part of the show and really unreplaceable. They didn't try to replace him, so they just brought in a completely new character. There seemed to be many people who watched the show only because of Charlie Sheen, but I've always though the rest of the ensemble cast was strong and didn't receive enough credit for the show's success. Many comments I've read said that the last few Charlie Sheen seasons had slipped a bit, so this season seemed to have re-energized the cast and crew.
Charlie Sheen's departure certainly didn't affect the ratings. In fact, total viewers rose 13% to 15 million, and the 5.2 rating in the 18ľ49 demographic rose by 27%. Kutcher definitely helped bring in a younger audience. It will be interesting to see how the tenth season does now on a new night. The newness factor will wear off, but I think the chemistry between Kutcher and the rest of the cast will improve with a full year under their belts. The show will be moving to Thursdays this fall after The Big Bang Theory, so they should remain a strong hit. Overall, this set is a big improvement and better value over the eighth season. There are eight additional episodes this season. After having no special features last season, there are two entertaining featurettes and the return of the hilarious gag reel.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 5/5
Audio Quality: 5/5
Special Features: 2/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4/5
-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 08/25/12
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