DVD Verdict
Home About Deals Blu-ray DVD Reviews Upcoming DVD Releases Contest Podcasts Judges Jury Room Contact  

Case Number 09570

Buy Step By Step: Television Favorites Compilation at Amazon

Step By Step: Television Favorites Compilation

Warner Bros. // 1997 // 138 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // June 27th, 2006

• View Judge Johnson's Dossier
• E-mail Judge Johnson
• Printer Friendly Review

Every purchase you make through these Amazon links supports DVD Verdict's reviewing efforts. Thank you!


All Rise...

Judge David Johnson thought this was that edgy HBO miniseries about alcoholics. (Ironically enough, this show is best viewed while intoxicated.)

The Charge

Full House version 2.0.

Opening Statement

One of ABC's old-school TGIF staples, Step by Step tells the story of the Lambert family, a "blended" unit of six kids and Patrick Duffy and Suzanne Somers as the parental heads. Textbook sitcom cheese ensues.

Facts of the Case

Frank and Carol Lambert (Duffy and Somers) were two single parents with three kids each who met, fell in love, and engaged in an impromptu marriage. They love each other and can't keep their grimy paws off their respective genitalia, but how are the kids going to take it? Not well. Immediately, the by-law siblings clash, the insults fly (and in the case of the pilot, so does the picnic lunch) and it's uphill from there.

This installment of Warner's "Television Favorites" packages six random episodes from the seven seasons the show aired, tied together with no apparent theme or semblance of continuity. Anyway, here's the family:

• Frank and Carol Lambert: The exasperated heads of the household. Carol MILFs it like crazy and Frank is white trash.

• Dana (Stacy Keanan): The eldest sibling, pretty, wry, and The She-Bitch from the Netherworld.

• JT (Brandon Call): White trash in training and suffers from a bad case of LMS (Little Man Syndrome).

• Karen (Angela Watson): The stereotypical ditz.

• Alicia "Al" (Christine Lakin): The only girl from Frank's side, Al started off as a tomboy, then Lakin turned into a total hottie (kind of a reverse Stephanie Tanner).

• Mark (Christopher Castile): Creepy, socially awkward nerd-boy on whose bedroom door you might want to knock before entering.

• Brendan (Josh Byrne): The precocious youngster who joins that other girl from Family Matters on the Island of Written-Out Child Stars From Sitcoms That Nobody Cares About.

• Cody (Sasha Mitchell): Airhead cousin who lives in a van and steals scenes from all the regulars.

The Evidence

Step By Step is a saccharine, harmless by-the-numbers family comedy, tuned especially for the morals-friendly ABC Friday lineup of yesteryear. I've got no real beef with the show and will readily admit to watching it from time to time. It had that weird kind of cheeseball-show-allure that other cheeseball shows—cough Charles in Charge hack—seem to have. The jokes are bombastic and obvious and the characters are cookie-cutter creations culled from thousands of years of sitcoms that preceded them. The gimmick of a giant mixed family is like a post-modern take on The Brady Bunch, where the kids call the stepparent by his or her first name and constantly berate each other. Yet lurking under this façade of disrespect and petty insults lies a surprisingly solid moral fiber. Heck, in "Christmas Story," one of the included episodes, they actually make note of the Nativity as the meaning of Christmas. Perish the thought!

Anyway, the six episodes:

• "Pilot" (Season 1)
How it all begins. Frank and Carol, secretly married, spring the news on their kids, and the infighting commences. This early on, the players cling desperately to their stereotypes.
Cheese Factor: 9 out of 10 Gladstones, thanks to a prolonged special moment between Carol and Al in the hospital.

• "Rules of the House" (Season 1)
To bring order to a house gone crazy, Carol establishes strict rules of conduct. The kids hate it. Big shocker.
Cheese Factor: 7 out of 10 Gladstones. Some charming compromises where Carol learns a lesson and looses up enough to clear her colon.

• "JT's World" (Season 2)
JT and Cody put on a cable access show and have a great time. But when one of Karen's friends (Elizabeth Berkley—yeah!) takes a liking to Cody over JT, a rift forms between the two friends.
Cheese Factor: 8 out of 10 Gladstones. The "Wayne's World" copycat formula is excruciating.

• "Christmas Story" (Season 3)
Frank and Carol end up in jail on Christmas morning and the kids learn an important lesson about thankfulness.
Cheese Factor: 10 out of 10 Gladstones. See "the kids learn an important lesson about thankfulness."

• "I'll Be Home for Christmas" (Season 4)
JT takes off skiing during the Holidays and everyone is miserable, especially Frank. Will father and son reconcile in time to save Christmas?
Cheese Factor: 8.5 out of 10 Gladstones. Yes. They do reconcile. And lo does the Casio play its dirge.

• "Your Cheatin' Heart" (Season 7)
All of a sudden there's a short guy engaged to Dana and the blonde girl from the grape juice commercials is here. What happened?
Cheese Factor: 6 out of 10 Gladstones. Dana thinks her boy toy is cheating on her. He's not. She learns an important lesson about jealousy. We all share a tear.

That does it. Six random episodes of a forgettable sitcom. I don't know if Warner Brothers plans to release this series in season sets. Maybe this is a test release to see what the response is. Well, I won't be interested, but I wish the Lamberts luck.

Closing Statement

Bare release, this. No extras, blah technical treatment (middling full frame video quality), and that's about it. Merely adequate. Kind of like this show actually.

The Verdict

The accused is put on 30-day probation. Except for Sasha Mitchell. Wasn't he the guy from those Kickboxer movies? (He might still be able to kick us in the neck.)

Give us your feedback!

Did we give Step By Step: Television Favorites Compilation a fair trial? yes / no

Share This Review

Follow DVD Verdict

DVD Reviews Quick Index

• DVD Releases
• Recent DVD Reviews
• Search for a DVD review...

Scales of Justice

Video: 75
Audio: 80
Extras: 0
Acting: 80
Story: 75
Judgment: 78

Perp Profile

Studio: Warner Bros.
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• English
Running Time: 138 Minutes
Release Year: 1997
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• All Ages
• Comedy
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• None


• IMDb

DVD | Blu-ray | Upcoming DVD Releases | About | Staff | Jobs | Contact | Subscribe | Find us on Google+ | Privacy Policy

Review content copyright © 2006 David Johnson; Site design and review layout copyright © 2016 Verdict Partners LLC. All rights reserved.