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I canít ever seem to get enough MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN. Iíve seen every episode countless times; know every joke in advance and still laugh hysterically at the punch lines. The cast of MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN were magical and the show remains absolutely brilliant lowbrow sitcom with chops and staying power. Every crude, tasteless moment of MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN fills my heart with utter joy, because I really canít stand comedy that has bee sanitized for political correctness. What I especially loved about MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN was the fact that it was chock full of social commentary on the way things really are, as opposed to the way people think they out to be. In fact, the more absurd and outrageous the situations became during the course of the series, the more they seemed to mirror real life. Of course, again I must tip my hat to Ed O'Neill, who vividly brought to life that constant loser and everyman Al Bundy. O'Neill was not a comic and did not play the character like a comic would. Always playing it straight, O'Neill never tried for the laugh, which is probably why he was so successful at getting the really big laughs. O'Neill brought a level of sincerity to his performance, which made the absurdity of Al Bundyís predicaments 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 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 SEVENTH SEASON ($40) comes in a three-disc set that features the following twenty-six episodes: Magnificent Seven, T-R-A-Something-Something Spells Tramp, Every Bundy Has A Birthday, Al On The Rocks, What I Did For Love, Frat Chance, The Chicago Wine Party, Kelly Doesn't Live Here Anymore, Rock Of Ages, Death Of A Shoe Salesman, Old College Try, Christmas, The Wedding Show, It Doesn't Get Any Better Than This, Heels On Wheels, Mr. Empty Pants, You Can't Miss, Peggy And The Pirates, Go For The Old, Un-Alful Entry, Movie Show, 'Til Death Do Us Part, Tis Time To Smell The Roses, Old Insurance Dodge, Wedding Repercussions and The Proposition. Highlights of season seven include Al taking a job as a topless bartender; Kelly taking a job as a waitress; Al buying a burial plot next to his favorite western star; Bud sleeping with the bride before his cousinís wedding; Al protesting a proposed beer tax; Peggy creating a cartoon character called Mr. Empty Pants; finally, an unwelcome new character is unceremoniously dumped from the show.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has made all the episodes that comprise MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN: THE COMPLETE SEVENTH SEASON available on DVD in the proper full screen aspect ratios of their original television broadcasts. Shot on NTSC video during the 1990s, the image quality of this collection is serviceable at best. Sure, the presentations do look slightly better than syndicated reruns, but the original production methodology remains the limiting factor. Sharpness and detail are decent, with things occasionally coming across as slightly fuzzy. Colors are reasonably solid, but overly saturated warm hues can be a little unstable. Both the blacks and whites are satisfactory. Contrast has the limitations of the NTSC broadcast video format. Digital compression artifacts remain in check, even with twenty-six episodes crammed into three dual layered discs.

MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN: THE COMPLETE SEVENTH SEASON comes with Dolby Digital 2.0 channel surround stereo soundtracks. Like the video, the audio proves to be just serviceable. Sonically, nothing goes beyond the level of a sitcom sound mix. Fidelity is adequate for the generic music that has been utilized to replace the series popular theme song Love And Marriage. It the soundís favor is the fact that the 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.

While not to every taste, I love MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN and never grow tired of watching it. Until someone writes a computer algorithm that takes an NTSC video source and can extrapolate it to hi-def resolution- this is as good as MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN will look. If you are a fan like me, youíll be adding MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN: THE COMPLETE SEVENTH SEASON to your collection. Recommended.



Married with Children - The Complete Seventh Season



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2007 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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