The Good

A witty, charming and satirical look at shows that make celebrities out of kids.

The Bad

The fact that this show was canceled after only one season. Packaging doesn't list out where the special features are.

Beverly Hills 90210 creator Darren Star courted a bit of controversy in 2000 with this Hollywood satire show, Grosse Pointe. Based on a 90210-like cast, Star has gone for what we call a backstage drama. The cast is populated by characters with names like Courtney, Quentin, Brad, and Kim and each one of them is a type meant to skewer the entertainment industry a little bit. Grosse Pointe is a fictional series within this show and we are treated to the behind the scenes antics of the cast.

Whether we are seeing a diva be two faced, a heartthrob be hearthrobby or producers scared that every move could be the wrong one, Grosse Pointe: The Complete Series laughs at itself as much as it does the people it is laughing at. Interestingly, I wondered what the set was like behind the scenes of the actual show as it was shooting, because it often seems that the people doing the skewering don't realize how much truth to it there actually is.

Features

Commentary Track

Darren Star does the commentary duties on a bunch of these episodes however he is also joined by some of the actors from the show. I chose to listen to the "Pilot" episode in which Star talked solo. He discussed how this show came together, what he was trying to do (the whole show within a show style), and how Beverly Hills 90210 was a big inspiration. Star also discusses the devices he used to make the fake show and the real show play off of one another. If any wannabe showrunners or other creative sorts are interested in writing for TV, I would suggest they help themselves and watch this two disc set.

Interview with Darren Star

If you have already listened to at least one of the commentary tracks you can probably get away without watching this. I say that because Star covers much of the same ground, whereas in the commentary he has the show right in front of him so he can get more in-depth about the material. He talks about the show, it's inspiration, how the story lines were put together, etc.. All of this is interesting, it's just doubled up here.

Video

Full Screen - 1.33:1. I don't know what it is but I think this might be the third Sony DVD that I reviewed that didn't look that good. I am starting to wonder if all my exposure to better quality TVs is starting to hurt my viewing experiences. I just found that a lot of the images here were pixilated and dark. This show is from 2000 so there is no reason why the assets used to create the DVDs should be anything less than pristine.

Audio

Dolby Digital. English - Stereo. Remastered High Definition. Close Captioned. Okay, the picture might not be so hot but the audio is well above average. As Sony is one of the leaders in that department, I don't think that I am very surprised at all that this is the case. What made this show so interesting is the fact that it is examining the way a lot of people talk on these types of comedies. So many of the lines are delivered in ways that people don't talk. Yet, people watch these shows then they end up emulating them.

Package

The headshots of the Grosse Pointe cast are laid out here as if they are on a casting board. The back continues this layout motif so that the headshots are replaced by notes about this show, a sticky note with a Special Features listing, and below that are some technical specs. Both discs are housed in two slim cases inside this vinyl slipcase. They have different covers, all of which showcase the cast, and the back portions list out the shows in a brief sentence or two. Sadly, the extras that are contained on these discs are not listed out in the packaging.

Final Word

All in all, I was very impressed with this show that I had never heard of until I was given it to review. Grosse Pointe seemed to be a somewhat scathing look at an industry that says one thing and then does another. Sadly, this show only went one season, but I am wondering how far it really could have gone before it actually became the kind of show it was lampooning?

Whatever the case, Darren Star had created the sort of show that is perfect for home video. First of all, it's contained so viewers aren't going to feel the need to go bankrupt owning all the seasons. On top of that, it is based on the very popular show Beverly Hills 90210, so I am sure that fans who remember the behind the scenes goings on of that show are really going to revel in what is being put across in all 17 episodes of Grosse Pointe: The Complete Series.

Grosse Pointe was released .