Judge Eric Profancik has recently been busted for downloading Black Sabbath and Ozzy MP3s.
"I don't have to say the F-word anymore?"
Delighted by the first season and disappointed by the second, I wasn't sure what would happen when I got my hands on this set. In turns out that, in a display of perfect symmetry, I was both delighted and disappointed with this batch of stories from the first family of dysfunction. Not exactly the best reaction, but a much better choice than complete disenchantment. At least the Osbournes realized they were boring me and perked up their lives. Good thing too!
I must admit I'm highly confused with the releases. In April 2003, I reviewed The Osbournes: The Fist Season; in November 2003, I reviewed The Osbournes: The Second Season; and now, in September 2004, I'm reviewing The Osbournes: The 2½ Season. The "2½" Season? Why not the third? MTV just finished showing the "third" season, but why isn't that one the fourth? What prompted this numbering quagmire? The episodes don't seem to be particularly connected in any fashion.
Facts of the Case
Once again we've been invited into the Osbourne home to watch the misadventures of the clan. The episodes are:
• "What a Boy Wants"
• "Flea's a Crowd"
• "Run Ozzy Run"
• "Fists of Fury"
• "Momma I'm Staying Home"
• "Tennis Racket"
• "A Little Ditty 'bout Jack and Brienann"
• "Angler Management"
• "Bye Bye Babies"
• "Ozz Well That Ends Well"
After a rather mediocre "second" season, it appeared there was little life left in The Osbournes for a "second and a half" season. Last season, the show focused far too much time on Kelly and her budding singing career—which isn't much of a career since she's pretty lousy and just riding on daddy's name…in my humble opinion. This season, most of the drama of Kelly and her career has been shelved, allowing us to return to the family as a whole. Additionally, the drama surrounding Sharon's cancer has fallen to the wayside. As a result, we get to focus on a happier family, and when we spend time with the Osbournes, we realize just how messed up and weird they are.
This show works when the camera follows Ozzy. We don't need that much focus on the kids, and Sharon is best when teamed with her husband. We like to see Ozzy shuffling, mumbling, and acting lost and disheveled. The show gave us much more of that this season, and it was interesting once again. "Run Ozzy Run" is classic Ozzy, especially as we see him trying to talk to his car. "Angler Management" is hilarious as Ozzy finally goes on a fishing trip. This season returned to its roots—a mere ten episodes ago—and gave us Ozzy. And when we got Ozzy, we had a good time.
But those pesky kids are still in the background, causing trouble. Kelly is still as bitchy as ever, and that insipid feud between her and Christina Aguilera is given too much airtime. Yet this isn't Kelly's season to "shine"; it's almost Jack's. This season, we get to watch Jack fall. We get to see Jack's head swell, giving him that air of invincible coolness, yet he's still a dorky, pudgy kid with a rock star father. Jack thinks much too highly of himself, thinks far too little about others, and steps onto the path of substance abuse that will soon lead him to rehab (not part of this season). The low point of the season—and subsequently of Jack—is in "Fists of Fury" when Jack loses all control, and so does Kelly. It's not enjoyable to see this; it just made me sad to see what can happen when fame blankets a person in delusions of grandeur.
As viewers, we are fortunate that "Fists of Fury" is the fourth episode of the season. It's early enough for us to forget about it. But is that really when it took place in the Osbournes' lives? I am somewhat vexed by the continuity of The Osbournes. I've always felt the show was played out of order from real life, which is reinforced by Jack's behavior. In "Fists of Fury," Jack is an evil little toady, but in the next two episodes, "Momma I'm Staying Home" and "Tennis Racket," there's no sign of that behavior. It just completely vanished. It's subtle instances like these that just make me scratch my head.
And, speaking of "Tennis Racket," it was quite fun to see the evil neighbors return. After tormenting Ozzy and the clan in the first season, having them return brought a fun symmetry to the show. It was like a nice setup to the ending…
The final episode, "Ozz Well That Ends Well," is a well-crafted though imperfectly executed episode. I really enjoyed what they did, and I thought that this was the final episode of the whole series. In fact, I was certain there weren't any additional episodes until I stopped by the official site for this review and learned of the third season. That's a bit of a shame because this episode would have been the perfect ending for the show. They'll never be able to top this.
If you've seen even one episode of TV on DVD, you'll know exactly what to expect from the transfers on this set. Your full-frame transfer comes to you clean as a whistle, with no significant errors. The colors are decent with acceptable saturation and details and average contrast. It's your run-of-the-mill TV transfer. That also holds true for the 2.0 Dolby Digital mix. Though you may be inclined to blame the discs for your inability to understand Ozzy, that would not be the case. All dialogue, sounds, and music are sharp and clear with no distortion of any kind.
There are some bonus items on the disc, following the declining trend in quality with each new season. For all episodes you can listen to a commentary track with Sharon, Jack, and Minnie. I have absolutely no idea why they continue to make commentaries for the episodes as you rarely learn anything, and, quite frankly, they suck at it. They are a complete bore. Moving on, you get unaired bonus footage (36 minutes), which is a bit spicier than what was left in the episodes. While interesting, I don't think the audience really wants to hear Kelly and Sarah talk even more frankly about sex and ramen noodles. Next are two MTV Spots "featuring Tenacious D," who I believe is Jack Black in some bad makeup. Trying to be clever but missing the mark, your next option is "Choose Your Ozz Adventure." Just like a choose-your-own-adventure book, you get a quick text setup and then you can choose what to do next. Each choice puts a twist on a snippet of an episode, propelling the story forward. It almost works and is almost cute, but it quickly lost my interest. There are three adventures to choose from. Lastly is a photo album of Ozzy and Sharon's wedding.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
Here we go with yet another serving of mindless, lifeless, stupid reality television. A few years ago, it was amusing to get that quick glimpse into the lives of a celebrity family. It was even more amusing to see how messed up their lives were—not even money and fame can buy reprieve from life's little adventures and problems. But that was a few years ago when it was a fresh novelty. Thirty episodes later, we just don't care about Ozzy and his family. How many more breakdowns, hissy fits, and tantrums do we need to watch? How many more bleeped vulgarities need we listen to? I say zero to both questions. It's time to let it go and move on. It's time to let the Osbournes go back to their untelevised lives and leave us alone.
There's enough humor and fumbling and bumbling in this latest set to outweigh all the fights and screaming and silliness. If you liked the first season but were put off by the second, you'll be happy with what happens to the family in these episodes. It's a return to what caught the nation's attention, and it will once again put a smile on your face. Though you do have to wade through some bad episodes (or not, thanks to the episode select feature) and middling bonus materials, you'll find plenty to entertain you for a few hours. I don't think I can come out with a full recommendation for the set, so I say catch the reruns on MTV or give the set a rental. See if you agree with me, then go out and make your own final purchase decision.
The Osbournes are found guilty of outliving their welcome. Or are they? Was it all just a bad dream?
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Scales of Justice
• Commentary on All Episodes by Sharon, Jack, and Minnie
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