"I love you all. I love you more than life itself, but you're all f**king mad."
Are we to be amazed or saddened by the recent trend of reality TV? Nearly every network has been motivated to produce an unscripted show that entices us gullible viewers to view yet another small slice of "reality." As someone who has watched more than his fair share of this inexpensive programming, I have to say that I think I'm reaching the end of my long rope. It was fun when it was just Survivor and a small handful of others, but now there are so many god-awful shows like American Idol, The Bachelor, and Are You Hot? that I'm about ready to give up on the genre.
Fortunately, as in all things, networks do sometimes trip over an idea that transcends the moment and gives us a few seconds of utter fun and, dare I say?, greatness. MTV, the station that has steadily forgotten that it's actually supposed to show music videos, brings to the stage its latest reality show, The Osbournes. Who knew a peek at the life of an aging rocker and his decidedly dysfunctional family would be an utterly refreshing and entertaining slice of programming? (Well, if you listen to Howard Stern, then you might be so inclined to mention the name of said famous shock jock. But that is most certainly another story.)
I had heard about this show coming on the air, but I missed the first three episodes the first time around, which I'll blame on its decidedly odd airtime on MTV. My initial experience with The Osbournes came about in the episode where we meet their neighbors. The saying goes that all people are the same and that no matter how much money we have, we all end up with the same problems. Money cannot and will not solve your problems but will instead open up a new batch for your continued dismay. I never believed such nonsense until this fourth episode of the series. It really made me happy to know that Ozzy and his millions of dollars couldn't protect him from annoying and stupid people who just happen to end up being your neighbors. There are idiots everywhere: in Cincinnati, Ohio, and even in Beverly Hills, California.
Reality TV is a very good thing. Why? Simple: It's a character study. From the shenanigans on Joe Millionaire to the absurdity on The Osbournes, it affords the viewer an opportunity to witness other slices of life. And if that isn't good enough, then it can bring a smile to your face when you see someone using a ham as a projectile weapon.
Facts of the Case
Bubbles! Oh come on, Sharon! I'm f**king Ozzy Osbourne, the prince of f**king darkness. Evil! Evil! What's f**king evil about a boatload of f**king bubbles?
Filmed over several months, The Osbournes presents a "fused overview" of a few days in the life of the family of a rock star. By "fused" I mean that the material is not always chronological and pieces are sometimes combined to present a certain theme, most notably in episode eight. Watch and laugh along as Ozzy tries to cope with a demanding wife, demanding kids, and a demanding concert schedule. See what it's really like to move into a new posh home in Beverly Hills, meet the neighbors, and cause mayhem. Learn what it takes to promote a new CD release and plan out a major American tour. See who's really the boss in the household and discover another method of parenting.
And let's not forget the dogs!
What a motley crew they are, so let's introduce the Osbourne family:
At the head of the table is Sharon, wife and manager of Ozzy. It turns out that she's the driving force and brains of the family. You could call her a loving mother and a loving wife, but manipulative minx would also fit the bill. Sharon has the power to control the family, yet she has no idea of how to cook. Without shame, she will protect her family from others while joyfully rubbing her children's stuffed animals on her private parts.
Next up is Kelly, lovely daughter of Sharon and Ozzy and currently portrayed as the spoiled brat. Look now and she's a loving daughter who adores her father; look now and she's a whiny girl who doesn't appreciate the fact that she can use daddy's gold VISA card. With as many moods as hair colors, Kelly is the definitive rotten child.
And then there's Jack, incorrigible son of Sharon and Ozzy, who is truly mad. This young lad is without remorse, without shame, without guilt, and without bounds. He's happiest when causing mayhem, but is positively pissy when his parents try to enforce simple rules. He loves to rebel and party all night long with some thoroughly questionable friends.
And last, but most certainly not least, is the big man himself, Ozzy Osbourne: father, singer, madman, and stutterer extraordinaire! He's the man who sacrifices his body for his music and has the ability to sleep through most disasters. There's so much more to this rocker than you would have ever imagined.
Presented on this two-disc set are the ten episodes of the first season of this surprisingly funny and entertaining show. Each episode is a huge hodgepodge, an amazing amalgamation, a classic cornucopia of entertainment. You'll certainly be amazed how many different things happen in each of these episodes:
"A House Divided"
"Bark at the Moon"
"Like Father Like Daughter"
"Won't You Be My Neighbor"
"Tour of Duty"
"Break a Leg"
"A Very Ozzy Christmas"
"Dinner with Ozzy"
Fortunately, that's far from the end of what's available on this set. Truly, this mere two-disc set is super-stuffed with a variety of bonus materials that puts many other DVDs to shame:
• Audio Commentary with The Osbournes: Actually, it's not all of
the Osbournes but just Sharon and Jack, and it's only on the first nine
episodes. Still, while probably not the most insightful commentary, Sharon and
Jack are two hyper and crazy people whose everyday chatter is far more
interesting than most. Though riddled with a lot of dead air, you'll still find
it quite droll.
Wow! That's a lot of bonus material crammed onto two discs, considering the "small nature" of this show. A lot of effort went to bringing the fans as satisfying an experience as possible. And I truly believe they succeeded. That simple, innocent charm that surprised us is once again obvious in the discs. You'll laugh again as you watch Ozzy trying to find a trash bag; you'll cringe again when Kelly talks about her vagina; you'll roll your eyes again when Jack orders another cheese pizza at 1:00AM, and you'll be grossed out yet again when Sharon talks about her scrotum and Martha Stewart.
All of this is presented to us in fine form—perhaps not the quality of a recent major motion picture, yet certainly better than you might expect for a reality TV show on MTV. Each episode is shown in its original 1.33:1 full frame ratio with a 2.0 Dolby Digital track. The video transfers are very solid with minimal problems. Colors are accurate if not especially rich, blacks are nicely defused, and detail is nice. There is some light grain throughout with occasional edge enhancement and artifacting, but there is nothing of significance to detract from your viewing. On the audio side, the Dolby track of this dialogue intensive show is adequate to the task. Dialogue is clear and crisp from the speakers without any hiss or distortion. All in all, it's a very pleasant port to disc.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
You would think that we would have better taste and refrain from stooping to watch an aging rocker and his insipid family! The wife, the kids, the friends, the staff are mad—and not just mad, but bloody mad! They have no self-control, no discipline, no tact, no taste, and no shame. You give people some fame and popularity, with the accompanying money, and it turns them into eccentric freaks who are thoroughly spoiled and have no sense of reality and what it's like to have to live an everyday, ordinary life like most common folk.
The world swirls around them, and the Osbournes seem to have not even an inkling of an idea of how well off they are. Money, fame, and health are theirs, yet all they can do is complain about every insignificant problem they stumble across. Many people have talked about how great Ozzy and Sharon are as parents, but did you watch how they handled the "drug conversation" with their children? It was utterly laughable. A rambling conversation in which the kids didn't pay attention, talked back, and basically left of their own accord. A complete waste of time and effort…which is also an accurate assessment of this packaged drivel.
Save your money for programming that has been created with thought, skill, and talent. The ramblings of this family are not entertainment, and the show's success is continued sad commentary on today's society.
That's the way we are. We're the Osbournes. I f**king love it!
During this first season, The Osbournes was a simple, somewhat innocent, and truly amusing show. How many times did you laugh out loud at the craziness in the household? How often did you think, I can't believe how screwed up Ozzy's life is? How surprising was it to find yourself being entertained by the tomfoolery of such a dysfunctional family? Before their popularity grew, this season was a wonderful trifle of a show that you enjoyed watching because of the mix of fame and commonness. Unfortunately, that simple charm quickly evaporated during the second season of the show; yet we still have these original ten episodes to remind of us how fun it was in "the good old days."
Packed with many laughs, some ungodly images, lots of bleeps, and inane entertainment, this DVD set is wholeheartedly recommended. Not only is this season of the show funny, fresh, and uninhibited, but care also went into the making of the set to ensure that fans would be satisfied with the transfers and the large assortment of bonus materials. And, considering the excellent price, you simply cannot go wrong with adding this to your collection. You won't be stepping in any dookie if you pick this one up.
All charges are hereby dismissed, and all parties are free to go their own f**king way!
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Scales of Justice
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