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Bosom Buddies - The First Season



DVD Release Date: March 13, 2007 (CBS DVD/Paramount Home Video)
Color / 1980-81
MSRP: $31.99
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 19
Running time: Approx. 7 Hours, 58 Minutes
Audio Tracks: Dolby Digital Mono
Video: Full Frame 1.33:1
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English; No Subtitles; Closed Captioned
Special Features: None


Meet two guys who are really in touch with their feminine sides. It's the show that launched one of the most successful film careers ever! In Bosom Buddies, best friends Kip (Tom Hanks) and Henry (Peter Scolari of TV's "Newhart") work at an advertising agency with their friend Amy (Wendie Jo Sperber of "Back to the Future"). After their apartment is condemned, they stay at Amy's place, a hotel for women, and discover how cheap the rent is. So they disguise themselves as "Buffy" and "Hildegarde" in order to live there, and life at the hotel is never a drag! Co-starring Donna Dixon ("Doctor Detroit"), Telma Hopkins (TV's "Gimme a Break!"), and Holland Taylor (TV's "Two and a Half Men"), this set includes all 19 episodes from the show's premiere season, on DVD for the first time!

Show History / Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

Bosom Buddies premiered on ABC on November 27, 1980. During the first season, it aired following Mork & Mindy on Thursdays at 8:30-9:00PM. The series starred Tom Hanks as Kip Wilson/Buffy, Peter Scolari as Henry Desmond/Hildegarde, Wendie Jo Sperber as Amy Cassidy, Donna Dixon as Sonny Lumet, Telma Hopkins as Isabelle, Lucille Benson as Lilly Sinclair (only the first season) and Holland Taylor as Ruth Dunbar. The show's original theme song was a covered version of Billy Joel's "My Life". The show finished in 73rd place in the ratings for the second season. Despite 35,000 letters of protest, it was canceled. A total of 37 episodes were produced over the two seasons. Following the success of the Tom Hanks' movies "Bachelor Party" and "Splash," NBC aired 8 episodes as reruns in the summer of 1984.

Memorable episodes included the "Pilot," in which junior ad men Kip Wilson and Henry Desmond spend the night at a women's hotel, but they'll have to disguise themselves as "Buffy" and Hildegarde" if they want to live there. Because Henry is labeled gentle and sensitive by all the women in his life, he feels he needs to prove that he is a real man...but goes way overboard in "Macho Man." In order to land an account with a doctor who advertises on TV, the guys decide they'll need to be sleazy and phony, just like him "What Price Glory?". Kip hires Sonny to star in the commercial he and Henry are producing, but when she's replaced with the client's girlfriend, Kip's afraid to break the news in "Gotta Dance." When Buffy and Hildegarde fight off two muggers and the event is covered on the national news, Henry's mother shows up with a shrink, worried about her son in "Sonny Boy." Kip and Henry, as Buffy and Hildegarde, volunteer at the hospital and meet a blind patient who has a crush on Sonny in "The Hospital."

Notable guest appearances included some faces that would later become more recognizable, as well as some veteran actors. Edie Adams appeared as Darlene in the "Pilot." James Callahan played Doctor Leonard Bob, Joanna Gleason was Faith, and Susan Ruttan was Ester in "What Price Glory?". Philip Charles MacKenzie guest starred as Walter Hardy in "Revenge." Russell Johnson appeared as Mr. Shaw in "Amy's Career." Anne Haney played Mrs. De Laux in "How Great Thou Art." Bruce Vilanch was Customer #2 in "Kip Quits." Bob Saget guest starred as Bob the Comic in "The Show Must Go On." Tom Hanks' "Bachelor Party" co-star Adrian Zmed appeared as Joey in "Best Friends."


This 3-disc set contains all 19 episodes from the first (1980-81) season. The packaging is the same as what CBS DVD/Paramount has used on recent sets like Family Ties, Girlfriends and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. It comes in an Amaray movie-style case with clear outer edges. The cover art has headshots of Peter Scolari and Tom Hanks and smaller photos of them as Buffy and Hildegarde. The Bosom Buddies logo is below that with "The First Season" printed on some lipstick. On the back of the case, there is another photo of Scolari and Hanks as Hildegarde and Buffy and four small screenshots of the cast at the bottom. There is a synopsis and DVD specs listed. Scolari and Hanks are on the spine of the case. There is a plastic holder in the middle of the case that holds the first and second discs. The third disc is held on a holder on the right side of the inside case. Episode titles, original airdates and short summaries are listed by disc in the backgrounds. With the plastic holders and a black sticker bar thing in the way, it is hard to read the information. Slim cases for each individual disc would have been much nicer and easier to read the episode information. The discs have a silver background. The Bosom Buddies logo on them gives a hologram type effect when you turn them into the light. Photos of the cast on the discs would have been much nicer. Disc 1 has episodes 1-7, Disc 2 has episodes 8-13 and Disc rounds out the set with episodes 14-19.

Menu Design and Navigation:

The menus are very basic, but they look nice and are easy to navigate. It would have been great to have one of the theme song versions looped in the background on them. Each menu features a different set of photos of the cast. Scolari and Hanks are on Disc 1. The lovely Donna Dixon and Wendie Jo Sperber (R.I.P.) are on Disc 2. Telma Hopkins and Holland Taylor are featured on Disc 3. The Bosom Buddies logo is at the top of the screen. They have "The First Season" and the disc number listed on some lipstick. Episode titles are listed vertically in black text. The episode you highlight is in teal, and it turns green upon your selection. A "Play All" button is available. When you first insert disc 1, there is a 1:26 promo for some other CBS DVD/Paramount TV DVD releases. Chapter stops are available within the episodes, but no separate scene selection menus are offered.

Video and Audio Quality:

I've had the opportunity to watch Bosom Buddies many times over the years in syndication. Paramount also released 8 episodes on VHS in SLP mode in the 1990's. The episodes on this DVD set look the best I've seen them. The pilot episode was shot on film, so there is some dust and debris on it. There are also a few jittery moments where the picture shakes, but it isn't that bad. All of the remaining episodes were shot on video tape. These episodes are from 1980-81, so they look similar to other sitcoms of the era like Three's Company and Barney Miller. The picture is a little grainy in some episodes, but the overall color is fine and these look as good as can be expected. The episodes are spread out well over 3 discs with no more than 7 episodes per disc. They are presented in their original broadcast order. For the closing logo enthusiasts, there are at least 2 variations of the Miller/Milkis/Boyett Production logo. It is followed by an updated CBS Paramount Television logo.

On the back of the case, it says in very small text: "Some music has been changed for this home entertainment version. Some episodes may be edited from their original network versions." The most obvious change is that these episodes use the "Shake Me Loose" theme version that was performed by Stephanie Mills. The Paramount released VHS tapes in the 1990's also used the "Shake Me Loose" opening theme version. "My Life" (written by Billy Joel) was the original theme song on ABC. It was a cover version reportedly sung by the cast of the show (some say Hanks sang the main vocals - can anyone verify that?). When the show first went into syndication and for most of the 1990's, the "Shake Me Loose" version was used. TV Land and TBS, however, have in recent years aired episodes with the original "My Life" intro. According to what I've read on our message board, "Shake Me Loose" was originally intended to be used as the theme song, but ABC detested it and rejected it. The lyrics to "Shake Me Loose" were written by one of the show's creators, Chris Thompson. An instrumental version of "Shake Me Loose" was originally used as the closing theme. You will also notice that starting with episode 12, the theme song was preceded with a short introduction narrated by Hanks and Scolari, explaining the show's premise. All of the episodes, with the exception of two, run over 25 minutes. Episode #2 ("My Brother, My Sister, Myself") runs 24:42 and episode #14 ("Only the Lonely") clocks in at 24:02. Since I don't have any original episodes, I don't know if these episodes are edited or if they just ran shorter originally. Hopefully they didn't have to cut out any scenes entirely because of music licensing issues.

The audio is your standard early 80's English Mono track. I didn't notice any major problems, and the audio is at a good level and the dialogue is easy to understand. It's too bad they couldn't use the "My Life" theme, as that is the one most people identify with the show. Remember the good old days of a minute and half opening themes? That's like half a show these days. Closed captioning is available on all of the episodes.

Here is the episode breakdown by disc, including the running times:

Disc 1
1. Pilot (11/27/80) (25:04)
2. My Brother, My Sister, Myself (12/04/80) (24:42)
3. Loathe Thy Neighbor (12/11/80) (25:08)
4. Macho Man (12/18/80) (25:17)
5. What Price Glory? (01/01/81) (25:13)
6. Kip and Sonny's Date (01/08/81) (25:14)
7. Beauty and the Beasts (01/15/81) (25:01)

Disc 2
8. Revenge (01/22/81) (25:12)
9. Amy's Career (01/29/81) (25:12)
10. Gotta Dance (02/05/81) (25:12)
11. Sonny Boy (02/12/81) (25:11)
12. How Great Thou Art (02/19/81) (25:11)
13. Kip Quits (02/26/81) (25:12)

Disc 3
14. Only the Lonely (03/12/81) (24:02)
15. The Rewrite (03/19/81) (25:13)
16. The Show Must Go On (03/26/81) (25:12)
17. The Hospital (04/02/81) (25:11)
18. Best Friends (04/09/81) (25:12)
19. Cahoots (04/30/81) (25:00)

Special Features:

No special features are included. Paramount has really dropped the ball with the lack of special features on many of their DVD sets. It would have been great to have some audio commentaries, bloopers, show retrospective with new cast interviews and a Wendie Jo Sperber tribute on here. They would have added to my enjoyment of the set.

Final Comments:

One of the funniest and most underrated sitcoms of the 1980's has finally arrived on DVD. This show was rumored to be on Paramount's radar as far back as October 2003. You have to wonder with the popularity of Tom Hanks, what was the hold up? This series has aired many times in syndication over the last 15 years on the USA Network, TV Land and TBS. While some of the jokes may be a bit dated, it is hard to match the chemistry that Hanks and Scolari had. They were always ad-libbing, and it hard to believe that they had never worked before or that they weren't even the first choices for the roles. Wendie Jo Sperber, Telma Hopkins and Holland Taylor also brought great comedic timing to the show. Donna Dixon was one the most stunning actresses of the 80's. There's not much that I didn't like about the series. I have to wonder why it never really caught on with the viewers.

I'm a bit surprised that this series wasn't released together as a complete boxed set. There were 19 episodes for both seasons, so that wouldn't have been that large of a release. Some fans may be disappointed that the "My Life" theme was replaced with "Shake Me Loose", but you can watch that on TBS when they air it. It is still nice to have these episodes otherwise unedited (with 2-3 more minutes of footage than what is shown in syndication). Let's hope that CBS DVD/Paramount will release the second season of this underrated gem sometime later this year!

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

Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 03/05/07

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