The Second Season
review by Zach B.
Rated: TV-PG L
Running Time: 200 Minutes
Starring: Ozzy Osbourne, Sharon Osbourne, Jack Osbourne, Kelly Osbourne
Retail Price: $29.99
Specs: 1.33:1 Full Screen, English Dolby Surround, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scene Selections (4-6 Scenes per episode)
Released: September 30th, 2003
For the one person who's lived under a rock for the past few 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.
But what goes up must come down (ironically, the first two episodes give you that phrase), and given the astounding once-in-a-lifetime success "The Osbournes" became, a second season was inevitable. By the end of the first season, the show was a pop culture staple. MTV loved those ratings since it meant publicity, money and all that good stuff. 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 certainly coming) as the show was perhaps a vicitim of its own success. The second season deals a bit with the whole new fanbase for the entire family (watch Jack torture some unwanted visitors with water play), but it's also cruicial in that Sharon is diagnosed with cancer (which, thankfully, she would fully recover from) - something which isn't always the main focus but it does have its moments to tug at the heart strings. The only other main on-goings in this season are Ozzy and Sharon renewing their wedding vows, Kelly having a birthday trip in Las Vegas, Ozzy going to Washington D.C. at the height of the show's popularity for a correspondents dinner and my favorite, Jack getting excited about the return of McDonald's McRib.
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. I mentioned in my first season review that I thought the key to the show's success was the dynamic of the Osbourne family and how they are "normal" in a lot of ways, but are also different and how they get along. I guess by the end of the first season we really feel like we know them, so it's pretty much like watching the familiar in the second season.
As I write this, "The Osbournes" is not over yet - and neither is the family. Kelly Osbourne and her father switched record labels while Sharon now has her own syndicated daytime talk show. Jack also made news when he went through a stint in rehab to battle his own addictions in alcohol, marijuana and oxycontin. The show itself will be back for fourth and fifth seasons, even if the popularity of the family (and over-merchandising) has waned quite a bit. The show still does decently, but the impact is gone. It also makes you question what Sharon Osbourne has constantly said in the media. After the success of the first season, she said she was sorry the family agreed to do the show since it split them apart in some ways and after her bout with cancer, she said the third season would be the last (I guess MTV's checks are just too hard to resist).
With that said, "The Osbournes" will probably be best remembered for its first season and the on-goings to the family in general after that season due to their mega publicity. There are plenty of entertaining and memorable moments in the second season, and it's still a fun show, but given that the buzz and publicity of the show died down, as well as the very concept of it, it's obvious that it simply can't match the inventive and fresh first season.
All ten episodes are given the 1.33:1 full screen treatment here, and they look just fine. Despite the shimmering, noise and edge halos here and there, the transfers do look nice. They're nicely detailed, look pretty sharp and have strong color saturation. Black levels are decent and fleshtones are pretty dead-on. The image itself can also be a bit soft and fuzzy at times, but this is reality television I'm talking about here and not some cinematic masterpiece - it's okay if it's not perfect since you can't always get the right camera angles and it's supposed to be pretty straightforward. The transfers are fine for what they are.
The episodes also have strong English Dolby Surround tracks that have its limits but do produce some strong dynamics nonetheless. There are some sound effects when there's ruckuses going on (awards shows, Jack spraying people) that bring some life to the mix and help punch things up a bit. The music though, be it the songs or instrumental tracks help breathe more life into the tracks and capturing some nice surrounds. Dialogue is crisp and clear and easy to hear. In all, the tracks are discrete and are much better than you'd probably expect since there's a good amount acitivity in them.
And like last time, there are a number of caption options. You can have English captions that are uncensored, English captions that are censored, true English closed captions, French subtitles that are uncensored and subtitles for when Ozzy says something.
The first DVD set of the show wasn't tremendously packed, and neither is the second season. In fact, the format and much of the features are pretty similar - you even get the Ozzy Translator again to translate what Ozzy is saying. AND IT'S IN RED!
All the episodes have Audio Commentary with The Osbournes. Actually, it''s really with just Sharon and Kelly (and one of the dogs who's with them). Sad to say, the commentaries are nothing special since there's a lot of dead space and it can be a chore to listen to them (and I still think it must be weird doing a commentary on your own filmed life). Nonetheless, there are some interesting comments here and there - particularly by Sharon who can get pretty personal as far as her own cancer ordeal and feelings. Kelly doesn't contribute to much and the dog? Forget it!
On the second disc, you'll find 32 minutes of Bonus Footage that can either be viewed all together or in segments. There are some fun moments here, but due to time constraints with TV episodes, I suppose most of it really isn't that relevant to include. Nonetheless, it's the best extra on the disc and worth watching if you like the show. There are also two DVD Games: "Dookie's Revenge" and "What the *@&%$ Did He Say?" The latter has you translating what Ozzy is saying and the former is where you "lay a dookie" in that perfect spot. Nothing great - and yes, you'll play these once. Maybe not even.
The only DVD-ROM feature besides weblinks is a game called "Crazy Training." It's a little hard to describe, but I'll do my best. It's a game you play that's synchroized with the episodes wherre you train to be a mamber of the Osbourne family. It's actually an interesting idea and encourages you to revisit the episodes yet again, but I don't see people playing this more than once.
On two different notes, I was disappointed to find the packaing for this DVD release is in a standard case and not like the foldout deal as with the first season (I prefer for my DVD sets to look coherent). Also, the menus here are very nice visually and are fun to watch.
"The Osbournes" is still a fun reality show to watch, but the second season lacks the freshness of the first season and isn't too memorable other than Sharon's cancer scare. Fans of the show will want this DVD (and wisely enough, Disney made one version of this season so if you can't stand the naughty language, you can just turn it off) for the sake of it - but while the extras aren't too much, the transfers and sound mixes are just fine. So if you missed most of the second season or want to revisit it... here's your chance. But then again, I'm sure MTV will randomly replay these episodes a billion times during the next few years.