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The Osbournes 2 1/2

review by Zach B.

 

 

TV Rating: TV-PG L

Running Time: 209 minutes

Starring: Ozzy Osbourne, Sharon Osbourne, Jack Osbourne, Kelly Osbourne

 

Studio: Disney

Retail Price: $29.99

Features:
Disc 1: Audio Commentaries with Sharon Osbourne and Jack Osbourne
Disc 2: Audio Commentaries with Sharon Osbourne and Jack Osbourne, Unaired Bonus Footage, Choose Your Ozz Adventure game, MTV Promo Spots With Tenacious D, Photo Gallery: An Osbourne Wedding

Specs: 1.33:1 Full Screen, English Dolby Surround, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scene Selection (4 Scenes per Episode), Two-Disc Set

Released: May 4th, 2004

 

 

For the one person who's lived under a rock for the past two years (you know who you are) and are unfamiliar with what I'm talking about, "The Osbournes" is a reality show on MTV about rocker Ozzy Osbourne and his family that started out with just a little bit of buzz a few weeks before its premiere. Soon the show debuted and it captured a good number of viewers and rave reviews. Word of mouth spread and the show kept growing and growing in popularity and viewers, and as a result, it soon became the highest rated program on MTV (though it isn't anymore, not by a longshot!).

All good things must come to an end though, right? Given the astounding once-in-a-lifetime success "The Osbournes" became during the first season, a second season was inevitable. By the end of that first season, the show was a pop culture staple. MTV loved those ratings since it meant publicity, money and all that good stuff they're after. This meant the family would be coming back for two more seasons (for a much higher price). Still, one thing loomed in the heads of many: could the second season top the first while retaining its popularity?

Of course not - you can't repeat the same kind of success twice. Ratings dropped in the second season (that was a given) as the show was perhaps a vicitim of its own success. So what does "Season 2 1/2" mean? Because cable seasons are so crazy and so random (they're not like network television at all), typically production will be spread out and episode seasons will become divided during the year, just so these cable networks have things to relaunch with brand new shows, and that they don't waste all their new material at one shot. With that said, what happens in these ten episodes? Kelly gets a nose ring, the pets get sick, Ozzy goes to the dentist, we learn about Kelly and Christina Aguilera's feud, Jack throws a party against his parents' wishes, Courtney Love appears, more problems with the neighbors, Kelly's relationship problems, a fishing trip and a lot more. It all sounds like a sitcom, doesn't it? (Well, maybe not the whole Courtney Love thing).

But perhaps there is only so much you can do with the show. Perhaps there is only so much advice Ozzy can give and only so many situations the Osbourne kids can partake in it - kind of like normal teens. Perhaps there are only so many times wacky things can happen, only so many times that the whole family cursing is "hilarious" and only so many times Ozzy struggles with this modern age. It's not that the show gets old in the second season, it just never matches the level of excitment and interest the first one held on to so dearly. Everyone's pretty much aware of what the show is, and it's more or less the family trying to continue it's normal life and deal with all the new fame, success and opportunities it has. Like the first season and first part of the second season, we know the entire family schtick. How they act, what they do, their family dynamics... its all old hat at this point. "The Osbournes" is now just another reality series that doesn't break ground, and it seems to be losing fans.

When I reviewed the first part of the second season in the fall of 2003, I mentioned what the Osbournes were up to. So now it's the summer of 2004, what is the crazy clan doing these days? Still a bit, actually: Ozzy made quite a bit of news when he was in a motorbike crash on his estate that nearly killed him, and despite heavy injuries, he made a full recovery thankfully. The family published a somewhat candid book about their lives, Sharon's syndicated talk show was a ratings bomb and was cancelled and with Jack out of rehab, it was now Kelly's turn in (rumored for prescription drugs). None of that is really happy or exciting news - hell, it seems kind of depressing (I don't think their book sold so well).

With that said, "The Osbournes" will probably still be best remembered for its first season and the more depressing on-goings to the family in general after that season due to their mega publicity. There are still fun times to be had in the second half of the sophonmore season, and but given that the buzz and publicity of the show has died down tremendously, as well as the very concept of it, it's obvious that the show will never be what it once was when it first debuted nor regain its quirky footing.

 

The episodes are 1.33:1 full screen again (as shown on television), and they're pretty good. Fleshtones are fine, detail is rather strong and color saturation is bold with minimal bleeding. Still, these transfers suffer heavily from noise, shimmering and edge halos - they are all over the place and quite annoying, and the way these episodes were filtered, it seems there is more of these flaws than from the original two "The Osbournes" DVD releases. The noise becomes incredibly distracting very fast, but other than that, these are still pretty decent and sharp transfers for a television show.

 

Also back are English Dolby Surround tracks in each episode - ones with cursing and ones with bleeps. These tracks haven't changed in comparison to the other two DVD releases, which is a good thing. These are still very good tracks even if they aren't fully fleshed out. The dialogue is easy to hear and is often very clear, the fun instrumental musical cues or other songs come through very nicely and pretty powerful, and the limited surround effects do work and again, are pretty discrete. Standouts this time include the fishing trip, Jack's party, the dentist's office and quite a few more scenes during this second half of the season. Pretty quality stuff, actually.

And once again, the following captions/subtitles options: You can have English captions that are uncensored, English captions that are censored, true English closed captions through a television, French subtitles that are uncensored and subtitles for when Ozzy says something so you can "understand" (this is the Ozzy Translator).

 

This time, there are Audio Commentaries with Sharon Osbourne and Jack Osbourne (last time it was Sharon and Kelly). No, I couldn't get through all ten commentaries but I must give the two of them credit for having the patience and giving the time to comment on their own lives as presented in the episodes. There isn't much to say about the two chatting, because I guess there is only so much they can comment on given it is what has happened to them and all. The two's chats do meander, and aren't particuarly as engaging or revealing - Jack and Sharon try to justify why they don't think the family is dysfunctional on one commentary, but it goes nowhere (let's face it: they are, and every family on the planet is to some degree). There are also some long pauses, and some really pointless comments and ludicrous debates. On the fifth episode, they don't even know which season they are watching the show from (they think it's the third... but I guess they are half right as this was the third batch of episodes to air). I guess it can be hard to do commentaries on reality shows like this, but at least they tried, right? Unless you're really curious, only the most hardcore fans of the show will sit through all these. I personally got a bit impatient during the ones I listened to.

The second disc houses all the main extras. Like the past two releases, there is Unaired Bonus Footage. You can play it all at once or use the chapter stops. The footage is culminated from this half of the season, and some bits are longer than others. I guess some of it is pretty fun, but I'm assuming the producers thought the stuff that made it into the actual show was better. Still, you can hear thoughts on food, footage of the dogs, more footage from the New York episode and even hear Ozzy talks on circumcision. The footage runs a bit over thirty-six minutes in total, and the quality is fantastic.

Choose Your Ozz Adventure is the new set-top game, and it is pretty lame. Basically, it's like a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book. You can choose one of three adventures involving yourself and the family, and you make the choices in how the story goes. There is text with optional voice-over to read for these stories, and they put clips from the season half totally out of context. You can mix and match story bits which adds to replay value, but it's pretty dumb overall and a poor excuse to see footage from the show. Pass.

Rounding things out are two amusing MTV TV Spots With Tenacious D that run under a minute each, and a Photo Gallery of the Osbourne Wedding (that episode was from the first half of season two). There are plenty of photos, and some are a bit weird and crazy. And what's that? Yes, Jon Lovitz was at the wedding vow renewal! Good old Lovitz. Oh, and I still don't think we can consider the Ozzy Translator a bonus feature.

On another note, the packaging is a standard DVD keep case - and doesn't match up with the first DVD volumes of the show released. This doesn't look so appealing on shelves, so if you're a big fan, you'll probably be annoyed by this oversight. Or maybe Buena Vista just didn't think it was worth it to continue the similar packaging.

 

"The Osbournes" are now yesterday's news, and this DVD certainly reflects that - but there is some enjoyment with the other half of the show's second season. The image quality and sound tracks for the episodes are fine for what they are, but the extras are certainly the slimmest and dull yet. Nearly 30 bones for this set seems quite steep, so die-hard fans of the show are the only ones who need to purchase this one.