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Married... With Children - The Complete Fifth Season



DVD Release Date: June 20, 2006 (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
MSRP: $39.98
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 25
Running Time: 575 minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: N/A
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English; Closed-captioned
Special Features: None


Love and marriage, love and marriage, go together like a disc and player... that's right, Married... With Children is back for another season on DVD! Well, actually, the theme song is replaced again, so it probably isn't appropriate to be singing the real theme song, but you get the point.

Married... With Children is THE show that gave FOX its start (NOT American Idol, thankfully), the show that took the concept of the family sitcom and made it into a family that was just so screwed up that it made your family seem normal. The fifth season of the show (much like the fourth season and the hopefully soon-to-come sixth season) was one of the greatest seasons of the series, with some of the greatest episodes. One of the biggest developments in this season, of course, is that it is the true beginning of the "new" Marcy, where she evolves from the optimistic girl next-door that has a great marriage with her husband Steve to a slightly insane, short-haired monster that is married to the freeloader Jefferson (who only likes her for her money). Over in the Bundy family, Kelly has finally graduated from high school, Peggy has become even lazier than ever before, and Al... well, he is still working where he has been working part-time his entire life: the shoe store.

Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

This is such a great season of the show! It begins with "We'll Follow the Sun," where Al decides to take the family on a Labor Day vacation... and they end up in a traffic jam for the entire weekend! In "Sue Casa, His Case," Al decides that the best way to save money is to cancel his insurance, which he quickly regrets after Bud gets into a car accident with a Mercedes just seconds later! Dr. Joyce Brothers plays the role of a judge in this episode. In "The Dance Show," Peggy and Marcy are going out dancing every night, and Peggy finds a man that she enjoys dancing with... but the man has a little secret: he has a husband, and a jealous husband! Dan Castellaneta (The Simpsons) plays the jealous husband. Debbe Dunning (Home Improvement) and Tina Louise (Gilligan's Island) guest star in "Kelly Bounces Back," where Kelly is determined to get a job as the spokesperson for a new car. Leonard Lightfoot (Silver Spoons) guest stars in "Married... With Aliens." Al becomes the hunk of Jeopardy Lane in "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?"

In "And Baby Makes Money," Al wants to have sex with Peg! But there is a catch--he only wants to do it because a relative died and offered $500,000 to the first person to have a baby and name it after him. In "Married... With Who?," Marcy wakes up and realizes she is married! Ted McGinley makes his first appearance on the show as Jefferson (although this is not McGinley's first appearance on the show ever). B.B. King guest stars (and Cheech Marin does the voice of Buck) in "Look Who's Barking." Al has a new bathroom, and Peggy does some decorating--by creating an all pink bathroom--in "A Man's Castle." Matt LeBlanc (Friends) plays Vinnie Verducci in "Oldies But Young'uns," where Al is having a a hard time finding a song that he keeps hearing on the radio. In "Weenie Tot Lovers and Other Strangers," Al has to decide how his money would best be spent, to send Bud to visit the White House or to let Kelly enter a Miss Weenie Tot contest--any guess on what he does with the money?

Matt LeBlanc makes another appearance in "Top of the Heap," which was a (thankfully, you'll understand after you see how bad this episode is, probably the worst episode of the whole series) failed pilot for a spin-off. In "You Better Shop Around," Al decides that instead of wasting money on an air-conditioner, he'll simply move the family into the supermarket, which (through a very long series of events) ends up causing the Bundys and D'Arcy's to enter into a shopping spree competition against each other--and they don't play nice either! Jerry Mathers (Leave it to Beaver) guest stars as himself in part 2. The Bundys are going to a shoe convention in "Route 666" when the car suddenly breaks down in New Mexico, and they decide to become... gold prospectors??? John Byner (Soap) and Pamela Anderson (Baywatch) guest star.


Before I say anything here (and I should add that this goes for season 2 as well), does ANYBODY at Sony have any clue what the Bundy house looks like? This season (like season 2) has the Bundy's standing in front of a house that isn't even their own! It definitely isn't anything on Jeopardy Lane, and instead looks more like something off of Leave it to Beaver! Box art isn't the most important thing about a set (really, it has no significance at all once you are watching the episodes), but Sony seems to be pretty out of touch with the art they put on their DVD sets (you'll notice similar problems with other Sony releases, like The Jeffersons, Who's the Boss?, and 227, just to name a few).

But with that aside, the packaging is really fine, and even kind of creative. Once you get past the box art that has the Bundy family standing outside of the house that belongs to complete strangers, you will find a very creatively designed digipak inside—the Bundy Family Photo Album as it is called. The front of the digipak looks just like a photo album cover, and if you open it up and look through it, you'll find lots of pictures OF the Bundy family members, which (surprisingly) are all correctly from the fifth season. Even the discs are part of the "photo album," with a picture of Al on Disc 1 and 2, and Al with Peggy on Disc 3. There is an episode guide that comes with the set too, that contains a description of each episode and which disc the episode can be found on, and even that has more family photos on it.

As for the disc breakdown, Disc 1 contains episodes 1-9, Disc 2 contains episodes 10-18, and Disc 3 contains episodes 19-25, and the episodes are all in the order in which they originally aired this time (some of the earlier seasons were in production order).

Menu Design and Navigation:

The menu design is nothing special, but it is perfectly functional. The main menu on each disc has the Bundys standing outside of their (fake) home, just like the box art on the set. There are menu options of Play All Episodes and Episode Selections (and additionally, Disc Three has an option for Previews). Episode Selections takes you to a basic menu where you select episodes, with three choices per screen, except for Disc 3 which has 4 episodes listed on the first menu screen. The episodes are on the left 2/3 of the screen, while on the right 1/3, there is a different photo from the show (for each group of three episodes), which I suppose is to go along with the photo album theme. There is no background music or anything, which is probably a GOOD thing (who wants to hear the fake theme song on the menus?). Although there is no scene selection menu, chapters are placed in each episode after the opening credits, at the middle break of each episode, and just before the closing credits.

Video and Audio Quality:

The set looks and sounds fine for the most part. It doesn't exactly have the sharpest picture quality and the audio is nothing to get excited about, but both are very clear. The audio is presented in Dolby Digital Stereo Sound, and there is closed-captioning available if you need that.

Of course, the original theme song is missing again, and it looks unlikely that we will ever see it resurface on any of these DVDs. It is such a shame to see this missing; the generic theme song just isn't as great as the real one! But at least the episodes are all there, and this time, unlike season 4, they seem to be almost all unedited, although I'm not so sure about "You Better Shop Around ­ Part 2." It runs a little shorter than the rest, but it could just be that an opening teaser or something of that nature that talks about the first part is missing. Also, I have checked for the original music within the episodes, and unless I'm missing something, it appears that none of the music WITHIN the episodes has been replaced. With one major exception (replacing all of the Beastie Boys music in one of the first season episode), they seem to have done well on keeping original music in so far.

The disc breakdown and runtimes are as follows:

Disc 1:
1. "We'll Follow the Sun" (23:10)
2. "Al... With Kelly" (23:10)
3. "Sue Casa, His Casa" (23:11)
4. "Unnatural" (23:10)
5. "The Dance Show" (23:10)
6. "Kelly Bounces Back" (23:10)
7. "Married... With Aliens" (23:10)
8. "Wabbit Season" (23:10)
9. "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?" (23:10)

Disc 2:
10. "One Down, Two To Go" (23:10)
11. "And Baby Makes Money" (23:10)
12. "Married... With Who?" (23:10)
13. "Godfather" (23:10)
14. "Look Who's Barking" (23:10)
15. "A Man's Castle" (22:55)
16. "All-Night Security Dude" (22:55)
17. "Oldies But Young'uns" (23:10)
18. "Weenie Tot Lovers And Other Strangers" (22:55)

Disc 3:
19. "Kids! Whadaya Gonna Do?" (22:56)
20. "Top of the Heap" (22:51)
21. "You Better Shop Around ­ Part 1" (22:55)
22. "You Better Shop Around ­ Part 2" (22:04)
23. "Route 666 ­ Part 1" (22:56)
24. "Route 666 ­ Part 2" (22:55)
25. "Buck the Stud" (22:56)

Special Features:

There are no special features once again. It would be nice if they could at least throw in some commentaries or bloopers or something. If you care about the previews, there are previews for The Boondocks, Dynamic Duos (TV), The King of Queens, Newsradio, Seinfeld Seasons 5 & 6, and Great TV Families.

Final Comments:

Thankfully, this set is not a disaster like the fourth season was! I honestly don't know if part 2 of "You Better Shop Around" is edited or not, and it is still frustrating that they are using the replaced theme song, but the editing bug didn't hit this set like it did with season 4. What this set is lacking (once again...) is special features. Despite the replaced music and edited episodes that plagued season 4, the show in general remains a strong seller for Sony (or at least on, and there are clearly many fans out there interested in this show. Considering that we are getting about one new season released per year, you would think that they could use that long waiting period in between seasons to work on special features! So why does Sony keep shortchanging us here??? But the episodes are there, and seem to be unedited, so you'll want to get this set anyway.

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 Navigation/Design: 4.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

-- Reviewed by skees53 on 06/06/06

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