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For my money, MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN remains one of the funniest sitcoms to ever air on television. Sure, the show was crude and tasteless at times, but that was the joy of MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN. Now, Iíve seen every episode of MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN more times than I care to admit, but still laugh hysterically at every brilliantly lowbrow and politically incorrect moment. What made MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN such a special show was its perfect cast that brought to life the most dysfunctional of sitcom families. Once again, credit for so much of this sitcom joy must go to Ed O'Neill, who brought to life that constant loser and everyman Al Bundy. O'Neillís take on the character was to never go for the laugh, and by playing it straight he always succeeding in getting the really big laughs. O'Neill continually brought a level of sincerity to his performance, which made the absurdity of Al Bundyís cartoon predicaments even more hilarious. Another thing that made MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN a standout sitcom was the fact that it was chock full of social commentary. MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN went to extremes to depict 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.

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 skirtís hemlines 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 in the bedroom.

MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN: THE COMPLETE EIGHTH SEASON ($40) comes in a three-disc set that features the following twenty-six episodes: A Tisket, A Tasket, Can Peg Make A Basket?, Hood 'N The Boyz, Proud To Be Your Bud?, Luck Of The Bundys, Banking On Marcy, No Chicken, No Check, Take My Wife, Please, Scared Single, NO MA'AM, Dances With Weezy, Change For A Buck, A Little Off The Top, The Worst Noel, Sofa So Good, Honey, I Blew Up Myself, How Green Was My Apple, Valentine's Day Massacre, Get Outta Dodge, Field Of Screams, The D'Arcy Files, Nooner Or Nothing, Ride Scare, The Legend Of Ironhead Haynes, Assault And Batteries, Al Goes Deep and Kelly Knows Something. Highlights of season eight include Al realizing that disaster is on the horizon after a string of good luck; Kelly and Bud sharing a car that they buy together; the Grim Reaper visiting Al; Al starting an organization called National Organization of Men Against Amazonian Masterhood; a hospital screw up leads to Al being circumcised; a feud erupting between the Bundyís and the D'Arcys over an apple tree; Al carpooling with some plus sized models.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has made all the episodes that comprise MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN: THE COMPLETE EIGHTH 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 on par with what we have seen in previous releases. The presentations look better than syndicated reruns, but the DVD canít overcome the limitations of its videotape origins. The picture produces a decent level of definition, although things are slightly fuzzy in medium shots. Colors are reasonably solid, but highly saturated hues can become a little unstable. Blacks and whites hold their own. The sitcom lighting is flat and the contrast displays the limitations of NTSC broadcast video. Digital compression artifacts remain in check, even with twenty-six episodes crammed into three dual layered discs.

MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN: THE COMPLETE EIGHTH SEASON arrives on DVD with Dolby Digital 2.0 channel surround stereo soundtracks. As one might expect from a nineties era sitcom, the audio gets the job done without bells or whistles. The sound remains pretty much front and center. Fidelity is decent for the generic music that continues to replace the series original theme song. The dialogue is crisply reproduced and easy to understand. 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. Supplements include two abbreviated Minisodes, which may be a new syndication concept, three-minute episodes with twenty-seven minutes of commercials.

I continue to love MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN- this show was, is and always will be hysterically funny. The shows in this collection look as good as they possibly can. If you are a fan, MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN: THE COMPLETE EIGHTH SEASON is another must have. Recommended.



Married With Children - The Complete Eighth Season



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2008 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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