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Case Number 02803

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The Osbournes: The First Season Uncensored

Miramax // 2003 // 230 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Eric Profancik (Retired) // April 18th, 2003

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All Rise...

Editor's Note

Our reviews of The Osbournes: Season 2.5 (published September 29th, 2004) and The Osbournes: The Second Season (published October 14th, 2003) are also available.

The Charge

"I love you all. I love you more than life itself, but you're all f**king mad."

Opening Statement

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!

The Evidence

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"
Quite the unusual title, and I really have no idea of what it means—maybe I need to watch this one again. I prefer to think of this premiere episode as "Meet the Osbournes." Get introduced to the clan as they move into their new home in Beverly Hills. In due course, we'll quickly learn that they adore crosses but don't go to church, and that they'll sorely miss their sweet old neighbor, Pat Boone. Grade: B

"Bark at the Moon"
This family loves animals, especially dogs, and this one could be called "Meet the Pets." The little monsters begin to destroy the Osbournes' new home by crapping, urinating, and vomiting in every place imaginable. And, cover the furniture, for the scruffy little hoodlums enjoy eating fine upholstery too! Grade: B

"Like Father Like Daughter"
Running the full gamut, this episode is almost everywhere as we follow Ozzy as he goes on Conan and TRL, as Kelly gets a tattoo, as Jack goes to camp, and as Kelly celebrates her birthday. Witness the last vestiges of the "nice Kelly" before she gets caught up in her own press. Grade: B+

"Won't You Be My Neighbor"
The series begins to hit its stride in sheer zaniness when Sharon and Jack fight against the evil minions who have moved in next door! As the Osbournes are less than delighted with the all-night campfire songs, they launch an attack of food and logs to quell the insurgents! Special appearance by the Beverly Hills Police Department. Grade: A

"Tour of Duty"
With his next tour just around the corner, Ozzy decides he needs to get himself in better shape to withstand the rigors of a series of demanding concerts. As the poor old guy prepares to give it his all to support his family, said family is out spending all of his money like there's no tomorrow. And, to make it all utterly painful and humiliating, Ozzy is coerced into dressing in drag for a photo shoot. Yikes! Grade: A

"Break a Leg"
Obviously someone breaks a leg, and it would just happen to be Ozzy. Of course, that's just the tip of the iceberg as the kids get out of control: Jack refuses to obey the nanny, Jack and Kelly have too many houseguests around too late, and the kids are into drugs and a family council is convened. Grade: B

"Get Stuffed"
Ozzy gets stoned when he mixes pain medication (for his broken foot/leg) and booze, leading him to get completely disgusted at his family. His tour resumes and Ozzy's off to Chicago, where he's told the family to stay away. Being the grateful family, they follow him nonetheless. Grade: B

"No Vagrancy"
Lovable (i.e. gross) houseguest Dill shows up and causes major health issues at the Osbourne estate. Due to his lack of brain cells, Dill has a tendency to forget to bathe, encouraging countless microscopic parasites to feed on his body—most notably his head, which he scratches often. While visiting, Dill finds time to ruin the Osbournes' stove and almost gets his bottle of Jack Daniels "spiked" by Sharon. In addition, watch as Ozzy goes mad trying to watch a DVD. Grade: A

"A Very Ozzy Christmas"
A charming and sweet, for this family, episode that centers on their holiday celebrations in New York. Being who they are, there is still plenty of yelling and debate in the air as Ozzy hates all holidays and the kids end up bickering. Great gravy! Grade: B+

"Dinner with Ozzy"
An extremely low-key episode that is simply an "interview" with Ozzy during a sumptuously prepared meal. Ozzy waxes nostalgic about his life, his family, and what has happened to them over the past few months. It's not a normal life, but he wouldn't have it any other way. Incorporating some flashbacks and some great new material, it's an excellent end to the first year. Grade: A

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.
• Ozzy Translator: When Ozzy gets excited, he has a tendency to stutter and hence become a tad unintelligible. This option allows you to finally understand what Ozzy has to say during some of his worst moments—and does not come on every time he talks. Beyond simple subtitles, there are related graphics that pop up on the screen to enhance the translator. But, they aren't perfect: Sometimes they come on early, sometimes they come up late, and sometimes they don't translate Ozzy correctly. In the end, while cute, I actually had the Oz-man pegged pretty well without them.
• Bonus Footage: My least favorite section of the disc is this monstrous accumulation of extra footage. Clocking in at nearly an hour, I was exhausted by the time I finished it. The footage is subdivided into so many menus for each episode, it just takes too much time and effort to watch them all—a "play all" button is sorely needed here. And, in the end, I think most of these cuts were wise; for, out of context, I found myself tiring of the clan's tribulations.
• Conversations with The Osbournes: Unlike the previous material, this section wisely comes with a "play all" button, yet it really isn't necessary. There are four interesting conversations for you to enjoy: Life on the Road (9.5 minutes), Family Values (10 minutes), First Season Stories (18 minutes), and The Untold Story of Michael the Security Guard (1 minute).
• "Too Oz for TV" Blooper Reel (5.5 minutes): I definitely believe that they have terribly misnamed this section, as none of the material is really "too Oz for TV." While a touch more randy than the rest, it's not all that funny or memorable.
• Season Highlights (17.5 minutes): A fancy way of saying "here's another chance to watch edited highlights of what you just finished watching." You can watch these moments in their entirety with the "play all" feature, or you can pick Ozzy's, Sharon's, Kelly's, Jack's, or Lola's greatest hits.
• Ozzy's Ten Commandments: Actually, I think there are only five.
• Photo Gallery: Filled with lots of silly promotional stills of the leading family.
• Set Top Games: Good for one run-through, there are three different "games" for you to play. The first is "Name the Dookie," where you're challenged to match the animal poop with its creator. The second is "Edit a Scene," which simply allows you to take a large selection of scenes and play them in any order you desire. Unfortunately, it's hard to tell exactly which scenes you have to control until after you've played them. And third is "Osbournes Bingo." After you print out the bingo cards, you watch selected episodes to match up words and activities to your card! All in all, a cute idea, but it lacks any replay value.
• DVD-ROM Features: I unfortunately cannot comment on these materials, as the InterActual players refuse to install properly on my machine.

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.

Closing Statement

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.

The Verdict

All charges are hereby dismissed, and all parties are free to go their own f**king way!

Case adjourned.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 85
Audio: 85
Extras: 100
Acting: 90
Story: 90
Judgment: 90

Perp Profile

Studio: Miramax
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Subtitles:
• English
• French
Running Time: 230 Minutes
Release Year: 2003
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Genres:
• Comedy
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• Audio Commentary
• Ozzy Translator
• Bonus Footage
• Conversations with The Osbournes
• "Too Oz for TV" Blooper Real
• Season Highlights
• Ozzy's Ten Commandments
• Photo Gallery
• Set Top Games: Name that Dookie; Edit A Scene; Osbournes Bingo
• DVD-ROM: Food Nuisance Arcade Game; Guide to the Osbournes

Accomplices

• IMDb
• MTV
• Ozzy Osbourne Official Site








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