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MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN remains one of my favorite sitcoms of all time. Crass, tasteless, yet occasionally offering a brilliant social commentary on the way things really are, as opposed to the way people think they should be, MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN is a show that can be watched over an over, without it losing its comic edge. Much of the credit for the show's brilliance must go to Ed O'Neill as that constant loser and everyman Al Bundy, whose reactions to the steaming dog pile of a hand that life has dealt him, never fail to have me doubling over with laughter. Prior to MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN O'Neill wasn't known as a comedian, he was a serious actor, and as such, he doesn't play the role of Al Bundy as a comedian would. O'Neill doesn't try for a laugh, which is probably why he is so successful and getting the laughs. There is a level of sincerity in O'Neill performance that makes the absurdity of the situations in which Al Bundy finds himself even more hilarious.

The basic premise of MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN follows the hapless exploits of Al Bundy, whose dead-end job as a ladies shoes salesman is the neon sign in his life that flashes the message that Al's glory days of scoring four touchdowns in a single game of high school football are long behind him. Al's home life isn't too much better than his job, with his horny, couch potato of a wife Peggy (Katey Sagal) being the biggest millstone around Alís neck. Smaller millstones come in the form of Al's offspring. Al's daughter Kelly (Christina Applegate) is a blond airhead/bimbo, whose skirts seemed to get higher in direct correlation to her IQ getting lower. As for Al's romantically deprived son Bud (David Faustino), he seems to be the only member of the Bundy clan with enough brains to make something of himself, that is, if he doesn't allow his raging hormones and sexual frustration get the better of him. Adding insult to injury is Al's next-door neighbor Marcy D'Arcy (Amanda Bearse), who tries to be a burr in Al's side at every opportunity- the verbal exchanges between Al and Marcie are always good for a few laughs, if not outright hilarity. Finally, we come to Marcy's husband Jefferson D'Arcy (Ted McGinley), whose only jobs seem to be looking good and servicing Marcy.

MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN: THE COMPLETE SIXTH SEASON ($40) comes in a three-disc set that features the following twenty-six episodes: She's Having My Baby Part 1, She's Having My Baby Part 2, If Al Had A Hammer, Cheese, Cues And Blood, Looking For A Desk In All The Wrong Places, Buck Has A Belly Ache, If I Could See Me Now, God's Shoes, Kelly Does Hollywood Part 1, Kelly Does Hollywood Part 2, Al Bundy, Shoe Dick, So This Is How Sinatra Felt, I Who Have Nothing, The Mystery Of Skull Island, Just Shoe It, Rites Of Passage, The Egg And I, My Dinner With Anthrax, Psychic Avengers, High I.Q., Teacher Pets, The Goodbye Girl, The Gas Station Show, England Show Part 1, England Show Part 2 and England Show Part 3. Highlights of season six include an extended "dream sequence" that finds Peggy and Marcy pregnant, Al getting a janitorial job and being mistaken for a private detective, Kelly getting her own television show, Al taking Bud to the Nudie Bar for his 18th birthday, the return of Steve Rhoades (David Garrison) and the Bundy's winning a potentially lethal trip to England.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has made all the episodes that comprise MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN: THE COMPLETE SIXTH SEASON available on DVD in the proper full screen aspect ratios of their original television broadcasts. As MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN was shot on video, and not produced on film; the image quality never comes anywhere near to the level where it could be considered impressive. The presentations are solid enough for this type of production and the episodes do manage to look better somewhat better than syndicate reruns. There are decent levels of sharpness and detail, which is about all one is likely to get out of the mid 1990ís videotape source material. Colors are reasonably solid; although the more intense hues can come across as a little fuzzy, but at least, there are no noticeable signs of smearing. Both the blacks and whites are reasonably accurate. Contrast has the limitations of the NTSC broadcast video format. Digital compression artifacts are not a problem, even with twenty-six episodes crammed into three dual layered discs.

MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN: THE COMPLETE SIXTH SEASON comes with Dolby Digital 2.0 channel surround stereo soundtracks. This is basic sitcom sound all the way; it gets the job done without any bells or whistles. Sound quality is perfectly fine and none of the tracks exhibit any serious defects. Fidelity is adequate for the generic music that has been utilized to replace the series popular theme song Love And Marriage. Dialogue is always completely understandable. No other language tracks are present, although English captions have been included. The basic interactive menus provide access to the standard episode selection and set up features. No supplemental materials have been included.

MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN remains a personal favorite amongst sitcoms; the show still proves to be hilarious, no matter how many times I've seen the individual episodes. Sony's DVD collection is satisfying, but unremarkable. If you love the show like I do, MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN: THE COMPLETE SIXTH SEASON is recommended.



Married With Children - The Complete Sixth Season



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2006 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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