A finely made box set that is packed with extras but also economical in it’s packaging.
Grounded for Life: Season One is one of those shows that I remember when it was on TV, and I just didn’t watch it for whatever reason. And once again, I ended up being the person who missed out. This sit-com, which is one of the first to show a household in the new millennium, is as important as it is funny. Showing us parents who aren’t much older than their kids, and seeing the rest of the family that revolves around them, Grounded for Life: Season One plays at almost a chaotic pace.
Yet, it is within this chaos that we are treated to the family unit at their best and worst. In short, it shows us a real family. Whether daughter Lily is dressing like a vixen, Sean and Claudia have sex in their son Jimmy’s bed because he won’t sleep in it, young Henry gets a bad haircut, Uncle Eddie is hitting on Lily’s friends or Grandpa Walt is insulting everyone, this show presents an important depiction of the modern day nuclear family.
As this is an Anchor Bay release, there are a boatload of commentary tracks spread throughout this Season One set. These commentaries feature tracks with the shows creators as well as some cast members. I decided to listen to one with the creators Mike Schiff and Bill Martin simply because I wanted to hear what they had to say. As this show moves very quickly, these guys talk fast so it was easy to see where this show gets it’s frenetic energy. They talked about the actors (how they didn’t want to see any other actresses after meeting Megyn Price for Claudia), explain certain shots and generally give the listeners an insightful background for why the show is how it is.
These are interviews with Donal Logue (Sean Finnerty), Megyn Price and Lynsey Bartilson (Lily Finnerty). These interviews are essentially the same where the actors talk about their characters, the other actors and the show in general. While this got kind of repetitive after awhile, I really think these actors didn’t have to act too hard to be these characters.
Interviews with Creators Mike Schiff and Bill Martin
Mike Schiff and Bill Martin give a detailed history about how this show came to be and what it was like to work on it. They talk about the family dynamic they were going for (how they wanted Sean and Claudia to be a team), and they also discuss how even though they were making a comedy, they wanted to use laughs to examine the bigger family issues that this show does.
This is a very short blooper reel that looks like it was taken from a VHS tape in the 1970s. We see the usual antics of the actors messing up lines, knocking things over when they shouldn’t and just generally reveling in the fun of blowing a scene and thousands of dollars.
Season One Highlights
I was hesitant to list this as a “bonus feature” simple because I didn’t see the point of this highlight reel. Essentially, it is just a string of clips from the show that would entice consumers to watch/and or buy it. However, if you are watching this highlight reel chances are you have already bought it.
Full Screen. This show has an energy to it that I have never seen on TV before. It could be because there are a lot of elaborate blocking shots and very few cuts in the scenes. Or, it could be the acting styles employed by the characters. Something tells me that it is a nice mixture of both, but this simply lit show moves in a way that few sit-coms or programs on TV ever have in my opinion.
Dolby Digital Stereo. Close Captioned. Nothing too special about the sound on this show, except for the fact that like the motion employed by the camera, the actors speak in very quick sentences. In fact, I don’t recall too many moments in the episodes that I screened where the actors simply sat and did nothing. While I love and appreciate the quiet feel that The Andy Griffith Show employs, it’s nice to see that Grounded for Life turns things up a notch.
The Finnerty Family stands in front of a dirty fence smiling. This is a picture that really does speak a thousand words, simply because it shows us a family yet we know by looking at them that they aren’t perfect. The back cover gives us some shots from the show, a nice description of what Grounded for Life is about, a “Bonus Features” listing and some technical specs. All 4 discs are economically housed in two, slim cases with some more pictures of the Finnerty’s on the front cover and episode indexes on the back. Another top notch job of packaging and DVD contents from our friends at Anchor Bay!
I have always thought that Donal Logue was a very good actor, but I really grew to appreciate just how good he was as Sean Finnerty on this show. Best of all, it was great to see him aided by Kevin Corrigan as Uncle Eddie. These two seem to always come into a bad situation and make it worse, yet we never see it coming. We know that when they put their heads together things are going to get worse, but we never quite know how until it happens. I just had a great time watching the events of this family unfold (and unravel) before my eyes.
If you are looking for a TV on DVD selection and the older shows scare you a bit, then Grounded for Life: Season One is the perfect offering for you.
Grounded for Life was released .