THE DREW CAREY SHOW:
Moon over Parma, bring my
love to me tonight.
Despite its fall from grace with the Network during its latter years, THE DREW CAREY SHOW was and is a personal favorite amongst 1990’s sitcoms. Running for a total of nine seasons, THE DREW CAREY SHOW was a comedy aimed at "Average Joes" that featured uncultured humor, occasional slapstick and a few moments of utter brilliance. In the title role, comedian Drew Carey portrayed a fictionalized version of himself, as a Cleveland working stiff, whose biggest career goal seems to be to ascend the few remaining rungs to the plateau of middle management- in other words he’s striving towards the mediocrity that all the "Average Joes" hope to attain.
Like most sitcom "Average Joes" Drew is likeable loser, although our hero tends to be far more upbeat than most. Working in the personnel dept of the Winfred-Louder department stove in Cleveland, Drew turns out to be the most successful member of his core group of childhood friends, who have remained incredibly close across the decades. Lewis Michelangelo Kiniski (Ryan Stiles) is the quirkiest of Drew’s closest friends; working as a janitor at DrugCo, Lewis demonstrates moments of brilliance that are overshadowed by possible overexposure to his company’s lab experiments. Oswald Lee Harvey (Diedrich Bader) is decidedly not the sharpest tool in the shed, but seems to find his niche in the job market, that is, once he takes a job as a delivery driver for Global Parcel. Kate O'Brien (Christa Miller) is the beautiful tomboy of the group, who cleans up very nicely, but has her share of problems with men. Moving from Drew’s circle of friends, we find his nemesis- Mimi Bobeck (Kathy Kinney). Drew’s refusal to hire Mimi to work the cosmetics counter Winfred-Louder (a job he gives to Kate) unleashes her ire into a hilarious feud that lasted through most of the series nine years.
THE DREW CAREY SHOW: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON ($40) comes to DVD in a four-disc set that features the following twenty-two episodes that were aired during its freshman year: Pilot, Miss Right, The Joining Of Two Unlike Elements Is A Mixture, Nature Abhors A Vacuum, No Two Things In Nature Are Exactly Alike, Drew Meets Lawyers, Drew In Court, Lewis' Sister, Drew And Mrs. Louder, Science Names Suck, The Electron Doesn't Fall Far From The Tree, Isomers Have Distinct Characteristics, Drew And The Unstable Element, Drew And Mr. Bell's Nephew, There Is No Scientific Name For A Show About God, Drew's New Assistant, The Front, Playing The Unified Field, Atomic Cat Fight, Drew And Kate And Kate's Mom, Drew Gets Motivated and Buzz Beer.
Warner Home Video has made all twenty-two episodes that comprise THE DREW CAREY SHOW: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON available on DVD in the proper full screen aspect ratios of their original television broadcasts. The episodes look good, but unremarkable on DVD. For some reason, the picture quality gives one the impression that the episode were taken directly from the series broadcast masters, without bothering to pass go or collect $200. Everything appears solid and has a good level of detail, but the only way one knows they are watching a DVD is the lack of commercials. Colors are rendered at a natural level of saturation and the flesh tones are just fine. Black are fairly deep, whites are clean and sitcom lighting renders the contrast somewhat flat. Digital compression artifacts are never a concern.
THE DREW CAREY SHOW: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON comes with Dolby Digital 2.0 channel stereo soundtracks, which decode to standard surround in a reasonably effective manner. This being a 90’s sitcom, the sound is very much front loaded, but some sound does bleed into the rear channels. Dialogue is accurately rendered and remains totally understandable. No other language tracks have been included on the DVD, nor have subtitles been provided.
Music underscores the basic interactive menus, which allow one access to the standard episode selection and set up features, as well as a couple nice extras. Life Inside A Cubicle is a nineteen minute interview type program that gives one a look at how the series was brought to the small screen. 1-900-MIMI is a brief segment, played strictly for laughs.
As I stated above, THE DREW CAREY SHOW is a personal favorite amongst 1990’s sitcoms. The series has been given a solid presentation on DVD and I am certainly looking forward to future releases. Recommended.
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