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THE OSBOURNES
Season One - Uncensored

Review by Michael Jacobson

Stars:  Ozzy, Sharon, Kelly and Jack Osbourne
Directors:  Various
Audio:  Dolby Surround
Video:  Full Frame 1.33:1
Studio:  Miramax
Features:  See Review
Length:  210 Minutes
Release Date:  March 4, 2003

“I’m sorry, but I’m not picking up another turd.  I’m a rock star…”

Shows ***1/2

Who’d have thought?  Ozzie and Harriet is one thing, but Ozzy and Sharon?  And family?

By simply bringing their cameras into the Osbourne’s new home and filming anything and everything as it happened, with no scripts or set-ups, MTV had a surprise monster hit on its hands.  The Osbournes became unintentional send-ups of the traditional American family sitcom, with the aging rock star himself becoming a part of that great tradition of lovable but inept husbands and/or father figures, like Fred Flintstone, Ralph Kramden, Kingfish or Al Bundy.

The tattooed Ozzy, like a king of a chaotic household, frequently strolls around in his bathrobe, has trouble with the modern remote controls that operate his home’s gadgets, and complains about the barrage of animals that have taken over his world (and that constantly relieve themselves anywhere and everywhere).  His wife and manager, the dutiful Sharon, is sweet and funny but hardly a June Cleaver, particularly with her misadventures with some rude and noisy neighbors (did you ever think the Osbournes would be the ones to complain about loud music?).

And of course, there’s the kids…the daughter Kelly with her neon hair and the son Jack, who’s working on starting a record label of his own.  I’m sure they love each other…they just have a royally screwed up way of showing it.

The whole family’s a trip, whether they’re being loving or arguing, whether they’re discussing shopping or sex, drugs and rock and roll.  Dysfunctional has been a word thrown around a lot, but it’s probably a lot easier than some of us would like to admit to see our own families at play in the day to day lives of the Osbournes.  “I love you,” Ozzy tells his clan at one point.  “I love you more than life itself.  But you’re ALL F—KING MAD!!”

The two disc set contains all ten episodes from season one in your choice of censored or uncensored versions (though if you pick up the uncensored ones, you can turn the ‘bleeping’ on if you prefer).

It’s really hard to describe the appeal of this show…you really have to see it for yourself.  Whether it’s the Christmas dinner that collapses into argument, Kelly’s new tattoo, the defecating animals, Jack’s late night club hopping, or the finale, “Dinner With Ozzy” that kind of sums it all up rather beautifully and humorously, this is just a family that has to be seen to be believed.

Video ***

For coming from a videotape source, these episodes look pretty good…the lighting and level of detail in the Osbourne home are extremely well rendered, with good coloring and images probably sharper than should be expected for video.  Well done!

Audio ***

The surround tracks are a treat, with plenty of music to accentuate the happenings (the swing band version of “Crazy Train” is a hoot).  Dialogue is always clean and clear…well, as clear as can be for Ozzy-speak.  Dynamic range is fair and serviceable.

Features ****

What a fun filled package!  For starters, the Osbournes are all over the DVD menus, like they’re sitting down to watch the discs for the first time with you…it’s funny stuff.  The commentary tracks with “the Osbourne family” might seem a bit misleading; you only get Sharon and Jack.  But it’s still a good way to have a few extra laughs per episode.  Though some may question the tastefulness of Sharon commenting on how much weight she’s lost and Jack reminding her “that’s because you have cancer, Mum…”

There is some unaired footage for each of the 10 episodes, a “Too Oz for TV” blooper reel that’s absolutely hysterical, cast interviews, season highlights for each family member (and Lola the dog), a “Name That Dookie” game (where you have to match the feces to the maker) and an “edit a scene” project, Osbournes bingo (you get to mark your card for certain characters’ actions), and the very funny “Ozzy’s Ten Commandments”.

Also, as mentioned, if you buy the uncensored version, you can activate the ‘bleeps’ if you want.  You can also pick the Ozzy Translator, if you have a little trouble from time to time understanding the Prince of Darkness’ dialect.  Finally, some DVD ROM extras and Easter eggs round out the whole package!

Summary:

The Osbournes:  Season One is one of the best times you’ll have with your DVD player all year.  This is one clever and tear-inducingly funny show made even more enjoyable by a well packaged DVD.  You’ll want to catch this Crazy Train and ride it to the end of the line.  Long live the Osbournes!