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Grounded for Life - The Complete Series



Release Date: September 4, 2012 (Mill Creek Entertainment)
MSRP: $44.98
Packaging: Oversized keepcase with black paper sleeves
Number of Discs: 13
Number of Episodes: 91
Running Time: 2036 minutes
Running Time of Features: 24 minutes
Audio: English Stereo
Subtitles and Captioning: Closed-Captioned
Special Features: Interviews (Donal Logue, Megyn Price, Lynsey Bartilson, Mike Schiff, Bill Martin, Ashton Kutcher, Kevin Corrigan, Jake Burbage, and Griffin Frazen); Bloopers; Highlights; Commentaries


It's time to get grounded for five straight years as Mill Creek brings us Grounded for Life - The Complete Series! Anchor Bay previously released each season of the series individually and Mill Creek gave us the first two seasons again last year. But now, for the first time ever, you can enjoy every single episode--all 91 of them--in one value priced collection from Mill Creek! The 13 disc set follows Sean and Claudia Finnerty, a Staten Island couple who got married and pregnant by age 18, as they make it through their 30s and come to the conclusion that they are, in fact, grounded for life!


With 91 episodes, it is a challenge to go through and discuss each and every episode on the set as we often do on our reviews. So, we're only going to point out a few highlights from these episodes.

Season 1 begins with "Lily B. Goode," where Lily makes out with the nerdish next-door neighbor in his car... and Sean catches them. Sean discovers a fake ID in Lily's room in "In My Room." In "You Can't Always Get What You Want," Sean tells Lily they can't afford to send her on a ski trip... but that isn't exactly true. Sean catches a fly ball that is still in play in "Catch Us If You Can." Jimmy gets a BB gun for his birthday in "Jimmy's Got a Gun," but an accident leaves somebody else shot in the rear end. Lily discovers that she was born before her parents were married in "Love Child."

Season 2 highlights include "Don't Let Me Download," where Claudia discovers porn on Jimmy's computer. Sean spots Brad buying condoms at a drug store in "Rubber Sold." Lily engages in some blackmail in "Smoke on the Daughter." Sean and Claudia chaperone a school dance in "Safety Dance," but Lily is caught by Sister Helen with a bottle of liquor nearby! Sean accidentally outs a gay coworker in "Relax!" A home pregnancy test in the trash can causes chaos in "Oops! I Did It Again."

Season 3 begins with "We Didn't Start the Fire," where we find out the results of the pregnancy test. Henry is sure that his family is on drugs in "Henry's Been Working for the Drug Squad." In "Who Are You?," Jimmy has been shoplifting, and Sean and Claudia want to know why. Lily's 16th birthday may go a little further than her parents would like for it to go in "Tonight's the Night."

Season 4 begins with the two-part episode "Your Father Should Know," where rumors being spread by Brad's father alarm both Sean and Claudia. Claudia's college enrollment check bounces after Sean gives Eddie a loan for an electric car to impress a girl in "Pay You Back with Interest." Jimmy is dealing with some serious body odor issues in "Smells Like Teen Spirit." Claudia and Sean watch an adult film at a hotel in "All Apologies," but they realize that they know where it was shot very well: their own home! Claudia decides to copy Lily's school paper in "The Cheat is On," but apparently, Claudia wasn't the only one to plagiarize. Brad may be on the verge of leaving Lily... for space camp... in "Space Camp Oddity."

The final season begins with "The Policy of Truth," where Sean discovers that Claudia is pregnant! Eddie moves into the Finnerty basement in "Day Tripper." Sean takes a little gamble (on the baby's crib) in "You Better You Bet." Eddie's ex is displaying naked photos of him in an art gallery in "Crazy." The series ends with "Hello, Goodbye," where it is time for Lily's graduation... except her parents can't be there, because Claudia is in labor!

We've reviewed most of these sets from when Anchor Bay released the set. However, they used somewhat nonstandard arrangements of episodes for the season sets and had episodes of slightly different runtimes. So, we're going to run through all of the runtimes and disc breakdown... a disc breakdown which is very different... for this new set. They are as follows:


Disc 1:
1. "Lily B. Goode" (22:25)
2. "In My Room" (22:25)
3. "I Wanna Be Suspended" (22:16)
4. "Devil With a Plaid Skirt" (21:55)
5. "Action Mountain High" (22:25)
6. "You Can’t Always Get What You Want" (22:26)
7. "Like a Virgin" (22:25)
8. "Devil’s Haircut" (22:26)
9. "Eddie’s Dead" (22:25)
10. "Catch Us If You Can" (22:25)

Disc 2:
11. "Jimmy’s Got a Gun" (22:25)
12. "Jimmy was Kung Fu Fighting" (22:25)
13. "Loser" (22:25)
14. "Mrs. Finnerty, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter" (22:25)
15. "Love Child" (22:25)


Disc 1:
1. "Baby, You Can't Drive My Car" (22:27)
2. "Dream On" (22:27)
3. "Don't Let Me Download" (22:07)
4. "Rubber Sold" (22:27)
5. "Bang on the Drum" (22:08)
6. "Smoke on the Daughter" (22:07)
7. "I Saw Daddy Hitting Santa Claus" (22:09)
8. "Let's Talk About Sex, Henry" (22:28)
9. "Is She Really Going Out with Walt" (22:28)
10. "We Are Family" (22:08)

Disc 2:
11. "Mr. Roboto" (22:06)
12. "Don't Fear the Reefer" (22:07)
13. "Take it to the Limit" (22:07)
14. "Eddie Said Knock You Out" (22:08)
15. "Safety Dance" (22:06)
16. "Relax" (22:05)
17. "The Kids are All Right" (22:06)
18. "Swearin' to God" (22:08)
19. "Eddie and this Guy with Diamonds" (22:08)
20. "I Fought the In-Laws" (22:08)

Disc 3:
21. "Dust in the Wind" (22:05)
22. "Oops... I Did it Again" (22:05)


Disc 1
1. "We Didn't Start The Fire" (21:50)
2. "Mustang Lily" (21:49)
3. "Cat Scratch Fever" (21:50)
4. "Drive Me Crazy" (21:52)
5. "Just Like A Woman" (21:52)
6. "Henry's Been Working For A Drug Squad" (21:51)
7. "Cuts Like A Knife" (21:51)

Disc 2:
8. "Who Are You?" (21:53)
9. "Welcome To The Working Week" (21:52)
10. "Claudia In Disguise (With Glasses)" (21:51)
11. "Tonight's The Night" (21:50)
12. "Oh, What A Knight" (21:54)
13. "Part Time Lover" (21:52)


Disc 1:
1. "Your Father Should Know (Part 1)" (21:52)
2. "Your Father Should Know (Part 2)" (21:54)
3. "All the Young Nudes" (21:48)
4. "I Right the Wrongs" (21:54)
5. "I Just Paid to Say I Love You" (21:53)
6. "Sat and Sympathy" (21:54)
7. "Pay You Back with Interest" (21:54)

Disc 2:
8. "Ticket to Ride" (21:54)
9. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" (21:54)
10. "Baby Come Back" (21:53)
11. "Been Caught Stealing" (21:53)
12. "(She's Got) Kegs" (21:53)
13. "My Ex-Boyfriend's Back" (21:53)
14. "Communication Breakdown" (21:53)

Disc 3:
15. "All Apologies" (21:55)
16. "I Think We're Alone Now" (21:53)
17. "Can't Get Next to You" (21:55)
18. "Racketman" (21:58)
19. "Me and Mrs. O" (21:56)
20. "Tombstone Blues" (21:57)
21. "Pictures of Willy" (21:55)

Disc 4:
22. "It's Hard to be a Saint in the City" (21:53)
23. "Beat on the Brat" (21:54)
24. "The Cheat is On" (21:56)
25. "You're So Vain" (21:57)
26. "Pressure Drop" (21:54)
27. "Get a Job" (21:56)
28. "Space Camp Oddity" (21:53)


Disc 1:
1. "The Policy of Truth" (21:22)
2. "Man! I Feel Like a Woman" (21:22)
3. "One is the Loneliest Number" (21:22)
4. "Day Tripper" (21:21)
5. "You Better You Bet" (21:22)
6. "Psycho Therapy" (21:25)
7. "I'm Looking For You" (21:22)

Disc 2:
8. "Mystery Dance" (21:24)
9. "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?" (21:25)
10. "Tom Sawyer" (21:25)
11. "The Letters" (21:26)
12. "Crazy" (21:24)
13. "Hello, Goodbye" (21:24)


Oh yes, the black paper sleeves are back with a vengeance! The set comes packaged in a very large case, with a cast photo and a few episode snapshots on the cover, and a very brief series description (along with a snippet from a DVD Verdict review... Mill Creek likes to quote DVD reviews on packaging). Inside, you'll find all 13 discs, stacked one on top of the other. I don't like the black paper sleeves to begin with, but this just adds insult to injury. But I do understand that this is a value priced collection, and this really is as good as it gets.

Menu Design and Navigation:

The menus on this set are more or less the same as they were on the first two seasons as released by Mill Creek. The main menu has a cast photo (a different one for each season), and the theme song plays in the background. Options include Play All and Episodes, and Bonus on the two discs which actually contain special features aside from commentaries. Selecting Episodes will take you to a menu where all of the episodes are listed on one screen. Chapters are placed throughout each episode, but there aren't quite enough.

Video and Audio Quality:

The video quality of these episodes can be described as "meh." There is nothing fascinating about it, and the Anchor Bay sets weren't that great either. It really is surprising considering that some of these episodes aired not even a decade ago. The audio quality isn't that great either, with a rather dull and low sounding track. But none of this really takes away from the set. Each episode is closed-captioned.

Special Features:

Originally on the Anchor Bay releases, commentaries were included for all of the first four seasons. For some reason, though, Mill Creek skipped those when they re-released the first two seasons and have done so again... but seasons three and four have them restored on this set (yes, this all confuses me too!). Honestly, it isn't very easy to identify who appears in each commentary, as they are not listed on the menus or packaging, and they tend to not always introduce themselves at the beginning of the commentary (as is customary), but we have commentary from creators, production staff, and cast, including Bill Martin, Mike Schiff, Aron Abrams, Ned Goldreyer, Chris Kelly, Gregory Thompson, Lynsey Bartilson, Miriam Flynn and Chris Hogan. You'll find these on the following episodes:

Season 3:
"We Didn't Start the Fire"
"Cat Scratch Fever"
"Drive Me Crazy"
"Henry's Been Working for the Drug Squad"
"Claudia in Disguise (With Glasses)"
"Tonight's The Night"

Season 4:
"Your Father Should Know (Part 1)"
"Pay You Back with Interest"
"Communication Breakdown"
"I Think We're Alone Now"
"Space Camp Oddity"

Seasons 1 and 2, as mentioned, do not have the commentaries that they included from the Anchor Bay releases... but they do have the original special features which those sets included.

On season 1, we begin with “Meet the Finnertys,” (8:10), where Donal Logue discusses the series. Next up is “Not the Sitcom Mom,” (7:04) where Megyn Price discusses Claudia Finnerty. “Life with Lily” (7:15) is an interview with Lynsey Bartilson, where she reflects on the character of Lily. “A Collaboration is Born” (10:02) gives us a view of the creation of the series, with an interview with Mike Schiff and Bill Martin. Finally, there is a blooper reel (1:29) and season highlights (7:39).

On season 2, we have three interviews. We get one from Ashton Kutcher in "Grounded for Life: From Ashes to Ashton" (4:16), one from Kevin Corrigan in "Kevin Corrigan: He Ain't Eddie, He's My Brother" (9:40), and "Grounded for Life: Sibling Revelry" (4:55), which features the kids. Season 2 also has bloopers (2:36) and season highlights (11:39).

Final Comments:

Here's the bottom line: this set has a MSRP of under $50, and can be purchased for just a little over $20. That means that you're getting an entire series, with five seasons and 91 episodes, for less than what an entire season of most series will cost you. Mill Creek has put together a great set here that just about anybody can afford, even those who aren't even sure if they'll like the series. Sure, the video quality is lackluster, and the packaging is incredibly crappy, but for $20, you can't complain too much. I think that fans of dysfunctional family sitcoms from the '90s will enjoy this series, even though this series didn't even begin until after the '90s were over. Still, it contains a lot of those qualities and really isn't that bad of a show, even if I would be very hesitant to say that this is a "favorite" of mine. It is definitely a fun series to watch, and seeing this series on DVD really is my first experience with the show... and I'm more impressed than I expected to be.

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

Video Quality: 3/5
Audio Quality: 3.5/5
Special Features: 2/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

-- Reviewed by skees53 on 10/07/12

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