Judge David Johnson thought this was that edgy HBO miniseries about alcoholics. (Ironically enough, this show is best viewed while intoxicated.)
Full House version 2.0.
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.
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)
• "Rules of the House" (Season 1)
• "JT's World" (Season 2)
• "Christmas Story" (Season 3)
• "I'll Be Home for Christmas" (Season 4)
• "Your Cheatin' Heart" (Season 7)
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.
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 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.)
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