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In Living Color - Season Five



DVD Release Date: April 11, 2006 (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment)
MSRP: $39.98
Number of Discs: 3 (double-sided)
Number of Episodes: 26
Running Time: approx. 598 minutes
Running Time of Special Features: N/A
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English; English and Spanish Subtitles; Closed Captioned
Special Features: None


Yo mama so dumb you told her you wanted In Living Color and she bought you a box of crayons! Okay, okay, I promise not to make anymore mama jokes ever again, especially none that are that lame. I'd lose on Dirty Dozens for sure with a joke THAT lame. But, for those of you that have a mama that isn't so dumb, you can get the fifth (and final) season of In Living Color--the sketch comedy show that changed the face of sketch comedy. It was also one of the shows that helped develop the Fox Broadcasting Network in its infancy, along with Married... With Children and The Simpsons.

Obviously, with In Living Color being a sketch comedy show, there really isn't much "plot-development" over the seasons to speak of, but the fifth season did bring about some cast changes, most notably the fact that the fifth season was lacking any of the Wayans--all of them had left the series by then. With the Wayans gone, this left Tommy Davidson, Jamie Foxx, Jim Carrey, and David Alan Grier as the only remaining original cast members. They are joined in the fifth season by Anne-Marie Johnson ("In the Heat of the Night," "What's Happening Now!!"), Alexandra Wentworth, and several others that were not then (and still aren't) well-known actors, such as Carol Rosenthal, Jay Leggett, and Marc Wilmore. In addition, Chris Rock appeared in several of the fifth season episodes as a "special guest star."

Season Highlights:

With sketch comedies, there really aren't any good episodes or bad episodes... but there are good and bad sketches. Fortunately, this set has many good ones. Episode 1 contains "Jerry Seinfeld in the Ghetto," where we find out what life would be like for Jerry and his friends if they visit the ghetto just for one day. Joe Jackson (not actually him, of course) is having a yard sale at the Never Neverland Ranch in "Joe Jackson's Never Neverland Sale." In "Sister Act 3: This Ain't Kosher," Sister Mary Clarence becomes Rabbi Clarence. In a parody of the movie "Philadelphia," a man gets fired from his job at a San Francisco firm because he isn't gay in "San Francisco." A fake Tonya Harding finds her calling in selling "The Club." Dr. Kevorkian offers home remedies in "Dr. Kevorkian's Home Remedies."

Of course, there are many other great skits that were recurring or some that even had serial plots in the fifth season. You can't get enough mama jokes in this season, because this is the season that had all of the Dirty Dozens episodes, beginning with "The Dirty Dozens" and including follow ups such as "The Dirty Dozens II," "Wheel of Dozens," "The Dirty Dozens Home Game," and "The Dirty Dozens Tournament of Champions" (and by the way, the champion to beat is none other than special guest star Ed O'Neill!), and "Family Dozens." While we are on game shows, there are several "East Hollywood Squares" skits, with Peter Marshall playing the host! You'll be saying "Good LORD that's a lot of appearances!" when you see Chris Rock playing Cheap Pete as he goes to a carnival, a bar, a gas station, gets married... and much more. Jim Carrey plays Fire Marshall Bill in several episodes, the only Fire Marshall that will kill you while he is telling you how to be safe. Wanda--the ugly woman--has a baby and is on a quest to find the father in several skits throughout the season. Rush Limbaugh and Al Sharpton (obviously, not really them) find success in becoming partners in various infomercials throughout the season. Ever wonder what Andy Rooney would be like if he was black? Find out in "Black Andy Rooney" and "Black Andy Rooney II."

For all of those that love classic sitcoms, there is a "Mary Tyler Mo" skit, and two skits in this season that are parodies of The Honeymooners, and there are three other skits that are parodies of All in the Family, conveniently titled "All Up In the Family." There is something seriously missing though here! The "All Up In the Family" skits originally had a segment with the fake Archie and Edith playing the piano, just like they do on the real show--that is missing on this DVD set, along with LOTS of other stuff (I'll say more about THAT later).

The guest stars in this season include Marsha Warfield, Gary Coleman, Barry Bonds (he looks NOTHING like he does today...), Ed O'Neill, Shaquille O'Neal (and many other NBA players), Tupac, Sherman Hemsley, and others.


This is very nice and simple... the outer box is in a purple color scheme and on both the front and back, it contains various pictures of characters from the fifth season. On the inside are three slim cases. The front of each slim case has pictures of additional characters (similar to the outer box), and on the back, there is a listing of each episode, with a listing of the skits in that episode. The discs inside are all double-sided. Disc 1/Side A contains episodes 1-5, Disc 1/Side B contains episodes 6-10, Disc 2/Side A contains episodes 11-15, Disc 2/Side B contains episodes 16-20, Disc 3/Side A contains episodes 21-23, and Disc 3/Side B contains episodes 24-26.

Menu Design and Navigation:

The menu design looks nice, but it is VERY confusing! The background is nice, with the theme song playing in the background and video clips from the show in the background... but the navigation is so confusing. The options are Play All, Episode Selection, and Language Selection. Sounds easy, right? Wrong! There isn't an Episode Selection menu. Instead, you have to move through the main menu to find the episode you want. One problem though: the episodes are not LISTED on the main menu! You have to move around until the title of the episode you want appears on the bottom of the screen! And I could never figure out how to even get to the Language Selection Menu using the remote (although I could do it on the computer), because the navigation is so awkward. If you can find it, your options there include just subtitles...English, Spanish, or none. There are chapters placed in the show at every commercial break, but not at each SKIT.

Video and Audio Quality:

This is where it REALLY goes bad. It isn't that the video and audio themselves are bad. They aren't. The stereo audio is fine, and the video looks fine. And the closed-captions are fine, and so are the English and Spanish subtitles. The problem is that the episodes are SERIOUSLY edited.

Do you enjoy the music video parodies? They are GONE. Do you enjoy the music that the Fly Girls dance to? It has been replaced by the type of music you'd hear while shopping at a drugstore. Do you enjoy watching episodes uncensored? Well, you are out of luck there too, because there are things that are bleeped out on this set that I have seen un-bleeped before! And just to give you an idea of how serious the problem is, there are episodes on the set as short as 16 minutes. Granted, there are a few that are close to 23 minutes, but the average is around 19-20 minutes per episode.

Special Features:

Not this time, but some of the previous seasons had good ones. They should have included some interviews, that is always a good generic special feature that most people seem to enjoy.

Final Comments:

If you like In Living Color, watch it on BET. Seriously, the episodes that BET airs have fewer edits than these episodes do (such as how the "All Up In the Family" skits contain the theme song...) and they look about as good as this set does. I thought I had seen the bottom of the barrel when I saw season four of Married... With Children, but this set may very well be even worse (although it should be noted that at least most of the important content, the sketches, are included). I'm normally not a fan of "best of" releases, but if Fox was going to just release these cut up episodes, they should have just released compilations of the individual sketches, as was recently done with Warner Brothers and Mad TV. That way, they couldn't really be accused of editing the episodes, and it would make the compilations seem a little better. Maybe if you are interested in having an "official set" to include in your collection, you'll want this, but if you are just the average fan, you may very well be just as happy watching or recording episodes that air on BET. The show is a great show, but this particular DVD set is not so great.

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

Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 3.5/5
Overall: 2.5/5

-- Reviewed by skees53 on 04/22/06

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