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GROUNDED FOR LIFE
Season Two

Review by Mark Wiechman

Stars:  Donal Logue, Megyn Price,  Griffin Frazen, Jake Burbage, Richard
Riehle, Lynsey Bartilson, Griffin Frazen, Bret Harrison, Kevin Corrigan
Directors:  Various
Video:  Full Screen Color
Audio:  Dolby 2.0
Features:  See Review
Studio:  Anchor Bay
Length:  374 Minutes, three discs in two cases
Release date: May 16, 2006

"I was born at a Phil Collins concert, wasn't I?"
 "No, no there were a lot of other acts there...The Thompson Twins..."
"Who?"
"The Power Station..."
"WHO??"
"REO Speedwagon..."
"Okay, now you're just making names up!"


Show ***1/2

The above exchange between Sean and Claudia Finnerty and their teenage daughter Lily manages to magically define the generation gap between those of us who are members of Generation X who remember Live Aid as an incredible day and the younger generation who downloads music, have no recollection of John Belushi, and are still young enough to think that a few bad apples represent every member of the opposite sex. 

Grounded For Life in its second season seems to me like the personification of a Billy Joel song as drawn in a Dilbert cartoon.  Brenda and Eddie (well, here Sean and Claudia) do get married and stay that way, though, and have several typical kids who get into typical trouble, with a typical goofy uncle, grandfather, and the generational conflicts which inevitably arise.  But of course anything that can go wrong will go wrong in a goofy but usually harmless and hilarious way.  The second season hit many high notes as we see Sean and Eddie as teens with long hair, playing guitar and ignoring their father, Sean finding a pregnancy test in the garbage and wrongly assuming it is Lily's, and when Sean chaperones a school dance and gets a little drunk, he overhears a nun use profanity and blackmails her every chance he can from then on.  Somewhat improbable, but close enough to reality to make us feel like we are there.  It's also nice to know as the sixth season of The Sopranos marches on that not everyone in the greater Tri-state area is married to or in bed with a mobster, in TV Land or in our real country. 

"I just had the most embarrassing night of my entire life."
"Again?"
"I'm glad you think my pain is funny.  I'm gonna think it's funny when you're in adult diapers."
"That's good, because you're gonna be CHANGING THEM!"
 

It's too long to quote here, but Sean's loud rant while talking to several different people and repeating his account information ad nauseum got huge audience response, and Lily's first big kiss with Brad, followed by slapping him and throwing him out is priceless.  Claudia sneaking in and out of the house to avoid being caught smoking is all too familiar to any suburban family.  Sean even boxes for charity and actually wins! 

"Wow, I've never had so much sugar.  I'm starting to see new colors."

Video ****

An excellent full frame transfer with no artifacts or other problems.

Audio ***

Very crisp and clean, though not in 5.1 as we might have hoped (such as in the Friends sets). 

Features ***

More light but good features which will entertain any fan of the show.  For better or worse we have an interview with Ashton Kutcher, who guest stars this season playing the same character he always plays, but this time he is actually dead at the beginning of the episode and the whole story revolves around attempts to disperse his ashes in the manner he wished.  I have to give Ashton credit for doing one thing extremely well and making a good living at it.  The featurette is called "From Ashton to Ashton" and is mentioned in a sticker on the outside packaging.  I was able to view it without drooling, but wow, it took all of my years of experience and professionalism. 

Far more entertaining are the Bloopers, the special on Kevin Corrigan, "He Ain't Eddie, He's my Brother", Season Two Highlights, and "Sibling Rivalry" interviews with "Henry" Jake Burbage and "Jimmy" Griffin Frazen.

Summary:

I sure miss my evenings with the fun, lovable, and goofy Finnertys of Long Island but thanks to DVD I not only get to see them again but I also learn about the workings of this underrated show and its talented cast. 

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