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Will & Grace - Best of Friends & Foes


TITLE: WILL & GRACE - BEST OF FRIENDS & FOES


Info:

Release Date: May 5, 2009 (Lionsgate)
Color/1999-2006
MSRP: $19.98
Number of Discs: 2
Number of Episodes: 16
Running Time: 364 minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: 10 minutes
English, Closed Captioned
Special Features: Themed Featurettes


Introduction:

Winning 16 Emmy awards and nominated for 27 Golden Globes, Will & Grace captivated TV audiences for eight hilarious seasons with laugh out loud antics. This set, Best of Friends & Foes, takes comedy to heart, featuring 16 episodes of the cast going toe-to-toe with unforgettable Hollywood guest stars, including Alec Baldwin, Patrick Dempsey, Matt Damon, Jennifer Lopez, Michael Douglas, Ellen DeGeneres, Kevin Bacon, and more!


Episodes Included / Notable Guest Stars:

Two discs, sixteen episodes:
Disc 1:
Grace, Replaced (04/08/99): When Grace’s demanding career forces her to work overtime, Will seeks solace in the company of a new neighbor (Molly Shannon), a recent divorcee, who matches Grace quirk for quirk.

Gypsies, Tramps and Weed (11/16/00): Jack meets his icon, Cher, who has a cameo. Meanwhile, for Will’s birthday, Grace sends him to a psychic (Camryn Manheim) whose prediction is more a curse than a gift. And Karen frowns on Grace’s new employee at the design firm.

Swimmin’ Polls...Movie Stars (01/11/01): Will & Grace befriend Sandra Bernhard by posing as prospective buyers for her posh townhouse; Karen attends stepson Mason’s swim meet, and Jack covets Britney Spears memorabilia.

Crazy in Love (02/01/01): Will feigns interest in sports to score with Matt (Patrick Dempsey), the sportscaster he met while shopping; Jack and Karen ask Grace to redecorate Jack’s apartment.

My Uncle the Car (02/15/01): A quirky nun (Ellen DeGeneres) buys Grace’s lemon of a car; Jack thinks he’s half --black, and Karen hustles to keep Rosario as her maid.

A Chorus Lie (02/07/02): A desperate Jack seeks to “in” his rival (Matt Damon) for the last spot in a popular gay men’s chorus that will tour Europe by dangling a motivated Grace as date bait before him to prove he’s actually straight.

Fagel Attraction (04/25/02): After his laptop is stolen, Will meets a sociable police officer (Michael Douglas) who takes a special interest in his case as they go undercover -- but Will doesn’t know that the gumshoe is secretly participating in Jack’s support group for gays.

Bacon and Eggs (10/03/02): After stalking actor Kevin Bacon, Jack lands his dream job when the unsuspecting celebrity hires him as his personal assistant and immediately assigns him to find out who the stalker is. Meanwhile, while Will & Grace wait on the results of a home pregnancy test, Grace is visited by a doctor (Harry Connick, Jr.) who makes her a tempting offer.

Homojo (02/06/03): Jack suffers Karen’s wrath when he is seduced into friendship with her manipulative British romantic rival (Minnie Driver), who has set up house with Karen’s ex-husband. Meanwhile, Will and Grace try to reconnect their lagging friendship with a competitive night of board games with their friends.

Women and Children First (02/13/03): Jack reconnects with his childhood babysitter (Demi Moore), and falls back into childhood patterns. Grace has a girls' night out in Brooklyn with Karen, Rosario, a friend named Ellen, and new neighbor Julie (Rosanna Arquette), and offends Karen when she doesn’t take her advice regarding Leo.

Dolls and Dolls (4/24/03): In search of a roommate, Karen finds instant karma with a peculiar yet high-maintenance office worker (Madonna), who happily shares many of Karen’s eccentricities, including her taste in men. Meanwhile, when Will falls off his clogs and twists an ankle, he develops a bit of an addiction to painkillers, forcing Grace and Jack to intervene.

Fanilow (12/11/03): Opting out of the annual Christmas party with Grace’s design house, ultimate Barry Manilow fan Will spends the night waiting in line for tickets to a special concert, only to have his weak bladder force him to make a quick pit stop and enlist Grace to hold his place. However, Will’s snubbing of an overweight man in the bathroom line leaves his chances of meeting his idol in doubt.

I Do, Oh, No, You Di-in’t (Parts 1 and 2): 04/29/04): Opting to forego a picturesque fall wedding and elope in Las Vegas, Karen hops a plane to Sin City with fiancé Lyle (John Cleese), and faithful friends Will & Jack, in the process bumping into Jennifer Lopez who is vacationing -- and agrees -- on behalf of Rosario -- to sing at the ceremony. Leo returns from Cambodia to meet up with Grace at the wedding, but the reunion is delayed by a freak design accident. Tim Curry also guest stars.

Will & Grace & Vince & Nadine (11/04/04): When Vince brings Nadine (Kristin Davis) to dinner at Will & Grace’s, Nadine admits that she hates Will. Grace saves Vince and Will’s friendship by convincing Nadine that she will never get Vince. After Karen becomes Jack’s assistant and lets Jack do all the work, he bribes her with her own money to go back to Grace.

Alive and Schticking (09/29/05): The first of the two “live” episodes. Grace contemplates having an affair with a married man. Jack begins a new career as host of his own show, Jack Talk, while Will gets some advice from Malcolm (Alec Baldwin) and tries to hide from Karen the fact that Stan is alive.

Buy Buy Baby (03/30/06): A large corporation takes over OutTV, and the new conservative owners hire Amber Louise (Britney Spears) as Jack Talk’s new co-host on the day of an interview with George Takei. Meanwhile, after seeing Grace so happy about her pregnancy, Karen decides she wants a baby of her own and offers to pay a makeup lady, Cricket (Wanda Sykes, to carry one for her.


Packaging:

The packaging is your typical black plastic case -- the kind normally associated with most standard-issue movie DVD releases. I’m sure it has a proper name, I just don’t know what that happens to be. Artwork, for the JPEG-impaired, consists of the four principal cast members seated on two aligned hearts, one given an “angelic” design scheme, with the other a more evil tone. Grace and Jack are in the angelic heart, while Will and Karen are in the other. Disc art features an individualization of the aforementioned artwork, with the good heart on disc 1, and the bad one on disc 2.


Menu Design and Navigation:

The menu is very nice. Theme plays in background. The same hearts as before make up the primary focus of the menu art. Clips from the set play in the center of the now three interlocking hearts. The menu is a vivid red, with small champagne bubbles flying by in the background. Episode selection consists of a heart towards the left side, with the episode titles in a white font (in the typical W&G logo font face) against the same red color background. The reason why the menus for this set work better than the last one is due to the high readability of white on vivid red vs. white on a light grayish blue. As the focus of this set is guest stars, the main menus even list the special guest stars, something I’ve never seen before on this format of menus. Play All functionality is available.


Video and Audio Quality:

You know when dealing with a modern show that the video quality is going to be nicer. There is some *slight* noise on a couple of the oldest episodes, while the colors, if anything, are slightly red-shifted. This has been a recurring theme throughout EVERY W&G DVD release, and there’s nothing new under the sun. Still, they’re better than most programs’ VQs... Audio is a two channel Dolby Surround track. Chapter stops are placed at the end of each act, in the same places you’d often find ad breaks on a television broadcast.

Here are the runtimes:
Grace, Replaced: 21:32
Gypsies, Tramps and Weed: 21:45
Swimmin’ Pools, Movie Stars: 21:39
Crazy in Love: 21:46
My Uncle the Car: 21:27
A Chorus Lie: 25:55
Fagel Attraction: 26:23
Bacon and Eggs: 22:18

Homojo: 21:26
Women and Children First: 21:25
Dolls and Dolls: 21:18
Fanilow: 20:53
I Do, Oh, No, You Di-in’t: 20:30*********
Will & Grace & Vince & Nadine: 21:18
Alive and Schticking: 21:49
Buy Buy Baby: 21:20

**The booklet that came with the set stated that both parts 1 and 2 of this episode were included. On the DVD, only part 1 is included. This may well tie into the fact that on the original season 6 DVD the episode was split into two parts.

You should know now that these episodes appear to be identical to their DVD counterparts, which means that on regular half hour episodes, we appear to be presented with syndication episodes. The super-sized episodes are *longer*, though still seemingly a bit short...there seems to be quite a bit absent here.


Special Features:

On the second disc we get the oh-so-wonderful (...) themed featurettes special feature. Just what ARE themed featurettes, you’re hopefully not asking?

They’re assorted clip packages and montages, each set to a different theme. Each season set usually featured a bunch of these, and included here are five of those: “Let’s Get Physical”, “My Breast Friend”, “The Little Voice in My Head”, “With a Song in Our Hearts”, and “The Sounds of Comedy”. The total runtime for the five combined clocks in in the neighborhood of 10 minutes.


Final Comments:

If you already own the individual season sets or the complete series set, you have no business buying this DVD -- you already own all the episodes, and the one novelty isn’t even remotely sufficient enough to justify the purchase. This product is solely designed for those who don’t own the DVD set and just want a nice cheap purchase with a decent assortment of episodes. For hardcore fans of the series, you don’t need this.

Furthermore, I can’t stand it when a television show becomes overly reliant on celebrity star power in terms of guest spots in order to drive the series’ plot further along (or just serve as filler). Its one thing when the appearance is organic and makes sense (see: Alec Baldwin’s recurring role). But other guest spots just make less sense, and always seem to come off as cheesy stunt casting. The episodes in this set showcase one of my core dislikes about some sitcoms in full force, and for my own personal tastes I can’t get behind this.

That said, others disagree. I’ve had at least two roommates, both fans of this show, who love the stunt casting. And if you fall into the group that loves it, or one of the specific celebrities, or who just wants a nice assortment of episodes to own, then it’s really a good deal for the money.


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

Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 0.5/5
Menu Navigation/Design: 5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 05/10/09

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

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B001U7NW1Q/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20

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

http://www.sitcomsonline.com/boards/showthread.php?t=246142


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