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Grounded for Life - Season 5



DVD Release Date: September 25, 2007 (Starz Home Entertainment)
MSRP: $19.98
Number of Discs: 2
Number of Episodes: 13
Running Time: Approx. 286 minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English, closed-captioned
Special Features: None


It's the final season for the show that survived two networks and countless critics to become one of TV's most unstoppable fan favorites. In these last 13 episodes, will Claudia's pregnancy make her any less hot? Why is Sean dressed as J.J. Bodybuddy? Who is displaying nude photos of Uncle Eddie? What is the dirty secret of Jimmy's Sciencenauts club? How far will Lily go to make Brad jealous? Why does the entire neighborhood think the Finnertys are trashy? And what is Sisten Helen doing in a lingerie store? Relive it all -- including the unforgettable series finale -- featuring guest stars as Mila Kunis, Ryan Devlin, Dave Herman, Elizabeth Berridge, Brian McFayden, Arielle Kebbel and more!

Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

Grounded for Life premiered on FOX on January 10, 2001. After 2 seasons and 3 episodes of Season 3 on FOX, the show moved to The WB. The WB moved to the show to Fridays, and it began airing on February 28, 2003. Grounded for Life was created by Bill Martin and Mike Schiff, who also created 3rd Rock From the Sun. It starred Donal Logue as Sean Finnerty, Megyn Price as Claudia Finnerty, Richard Riehle as Walt Finnerty, Kevin Corrigan as Eddie Finnerty, Lynsey Bartilson as Lily Finnerty, Griffin Frazen as Jimmy Finnerty, Jake Burbage as Henry Finnerty, Bret Harrison as Brad O'Keefe, Mike Vogel as Dean and Miriam Flynn as Sister Helen. A total of 91 episodes were produced over the show's five season run. An interesting trivia note: the titles of all 91 episodes were named after or are references to pop songs.

The fifth season premiered on The WB on September 17, 2004. The series finale aired on January 28, 2005. Memorable episodes this season included "The Policy of Truth," in which Sean finds out Claudia is pregnant before she does and Lily and Brad break-up after discovering they cheated on each other during summer break. While on his way to buy a crib for the new baby, Sean bets the money at the horse races and hits big enough to also buy a brand new large screen TV in "You Better You Bet." Claudia's not feeling sexy during her pregnancy; so Sean pays her study partner to hit on her in "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?" The neighbors are getting letters from a mysterious homeowner's association in "The Letters." In the series finale, "Hello, Goodbye," Claudia and Sean miss Lily's graduation (thus spoiling Lily's senior-prank plan) when Claudia goes into labor.

Notable guest stars included Mila Kunis as Lana and Ryan Devlin as Mocha Joey in "The Policy of Truth." Ryan also appeared in "One is the Loneliest Number." Arielle Kebbel appeared in the recurring part of Taya in "Man, I Feel Like a Woman," "One is the Loneliest Member," "Day Tripper" and "Mystery Dance." Miranda Cosgrove guest starred as Jessica and Brian McFayden was Greg in "You Better You Bet." David Herman played Dave a.k.a. "J.J. Bodybuddy" in "I'm Looking Through You." Miriam Flynn returned as Sister Helen in "The Letters" and "Hello, Goodbye." Elizabeth Berridge appeared as Amy in "Crazy."


After the first four seasons were released in an outer cardboard box and slim cases, this set used an Amaray movie-style snapcase. The cover art features a cast photo of the seven cast members (including Henry, who wasn't even in this season). At the top of the case, the Grounded for Life logo is featured. Henry is featured on the spine of the case. Although he was mentioned several times during this season, he didn't appear in any episodes. On the back of snapcase, there are six photos from the episodes. These photos look much darker than the scenes on the DVD, which are bright and colorful. A synopsis of the set and the DVD specs are listed. Inside the case, there is a double holder that holds the discs. A letter from Mike Schiff and Bill Martin, the creators of the show, is included inside the case. They seem very proud of the show and thankful that the complete series is now on DVD. On the other side of the letter, the episode titles are listed. There are some pretty detailed summaries, but no original airdates are included. The discs have the show logo and a green and yellow background. Disc 1 features Donal Logue, Lynsey Bartilson and Griffin Frazen and includes episodes 1-7. Disc 2 features Megyn Price (hot!), Kevin Corrigan and Bret Harrison.

Menu Design and Navigation:

The main menus feature the theme song in the background that lops after awhile. The Grounded for Life logo is at the top of the screen. A blue sky and grass background is used like in past seasons. A photo of the 6 cast members is featured. These menus are static and have no video clips on them. At the bottom of the screen, there are white boxes with green text for "Episodes" and "Play All." Your selection is highlighted in yellow. When you select "Episodes," it takes you to another sub-menu. The sub-menus feature a vertical list of the episodes in white text. The sky/grass background is used again. There are some previews on the first disc for some other DVD releases for Starz Home Entertainment. An option to play them from the second disc is also available. A single chapter stop is available within the episodes, but there are no separate scene selection menus.

Video and Audio Quality:

After filming seasons 1-2 in 35mm, they made the switch to high-definition for the third season. The episodes look outstanding, much improved over the first two seasons. The colors are bright and the picture is sharp. They look like little films and don't have any grain or dullness. Audio is a Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0 track. Itís nice, loud, and clear, and the music and dialogue balance nicely. The band "Ween" did some nice music cues and theme for this show. Closed-captioning is available on all of the episodes. For the closing logo enthusiasts, there is the Casey - Werner - Mandabach logo.

Starting with season five, Grounded for Life was filmed without a studio audience. They either played the recorded episodes for an audience reaction or just included a canned laugh track. According to the back of the case, this set contains all 13 uncut episodes. They all have nearly the same running times at 21:26 and 21:27.

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

Disc 1
1. The Policy of Truth (21:27)
2. Man! I Feel Like a Woman (21:27)
3. One is the Loneliest Number (21:27)
4. Day Tripper (21:26)
5. You Better You Bet (21:27)
6. Psycho Therapy (21:27)
7. I'm Looking For You (21:27)

Disc 2
8. Mystery Dance (21:26)
9. Do Ya Think I'm Sexy? (21:27)
10. Tom Sawyer (21:27)
11. The Letters (21:26)
12. Crazy (21:27)
13. Hello, Goodbye (21:27)

Special Features:

After a nice amount of special features and audio commentaries on seasons 1-4, this set doesn't contain any extras. This set was originally scheduled for a March 2 release with audio commentary, but it was delayed until September. If they did the commentaries at the same time as they did them for season 4, I'm not sure why they couldn't be included here. It would have been great to have a commentary on the series finale.

There are a couple of promos for some other Starz Home Entertainment (formerly Anchor Bay Entertainment) for some of the other DVD releases. They are for the first seasons of Roseanne and 3rd Rock From the Sun. Talk about ancient! 3rd Rock is already complete on DVD. All 9 seasons of Roseanne will be complete next week.

Final Comments:

The Finnerty Family's final season: Raging Hormones, insane ex-girlfriends, the ultimate high school graduation prank, and one very special delivery. 5 Seasons. 91 Episodes. 2 Networks. It was a good run. Although it was never that popular with viewers or the critics, you have to give them a lot of credit for surviving that long. This is a show that seems to be more popular on DVD and in syndication on ABC Family than it was ever when originally broadcast. It would be a good one to catch up with on DVD if you like family comedies such as Titus, Growing Pains or Roseanne.

There was some uncertainty as to if/when this season would ever be released. Best Buy had it available exclusively on August 28. It wasn't available in stores until September 25. It's disappointing that this release lacks the special features that were included on seasons 1-4, but at least fans of the show now have all of the episodes on DVD. A commentary on the series finale would have been nice to have, since they reportedly did one awhile back. To give some updates on the cast, Donal Logue has been cast in the Fox comedy pilot "Hackett." Hopefully if that gets picked up, it will have more success than "The Knights of Prosperity. Donal is very funny, so I'm hoping it works out for him. Megyn Price can be seen on the CBS sitcom "Rules of Engagement" as the wife of Patrick Warburton. Bret Harrison is one of the stars of The CW's "Reaper."

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

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

-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 10/09/07

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