Rich people have money. Aside from that, they’re basically just like you and me, and nothing quite compares to watching them perform painfully ordinary tasks. Perhaps that’s why The Osbournes, MTV’s reality-based dramedy featuring Ozzy and his lovely wife Sharon and their two even lovelier children, has become one of the “music” channel’s most popular shows—its first season drew more viewers than The Real World and became the highest rated cable show of its year. Mum washes the dishes. Kelly has an appointment with the gynecologist. Jack goes away to camp. Ozzy struggles to, well, to do just about everything: change the channel on the television, turn on the vacuum cleaner, walk, talk. Amid the pointed obscenities and heated arguments, their love for one another is palatable, especially when challenged by those outside their gothic Beverly Hills mansion (see episode four where Sharon’s protective maternal instincts kick in: “They don’t own this fucking street. I’ll get a fucking pig’s head from the butcher’s and throw it over the fence!”). The Osbournes are modern-day Munsters, with Melinda the nanny as Marilyn.
MTV has enough money to shoot every episode of The Osbournes on film yet the first 10 episodes from this first season of the network's runaway reality show don't look much better than the episodes from the first season of the Real World. Blacks are solid and colors are often vibrant but the overall presentation is on the dull side. Still, the blame here seems to lie less with the actual transfer than it does with the hectic nature of the show's production. For what it is, this is a serviceable transfer and the same goes for the Dolby Digital 2.0 surround mix. Ozzy's nonsensical ramblings aside, dialogue is perfectly discernable though there are instances where everything seems to blend into each other.
Fans of The Osbournes are in for a treat because this two-disc set honoring the show's first season is jam-packed with features, cute interactive menus and one particularly hysterical interactive game. Sharon and Jack Osbourne provide surreal commentary over nine of the 10 episodes (Kelly and Ozzy certainly don't have the patience for this kind of work) and the result is not unlike sitting in a room with a mother and son forcing their friends to watch their home movies. Luckily for us, Sharon is a deeply insightful woman and her life is a joyous and spectacular one. Those who've watched the The Osbournes on MTV may be taken aback by just how differently the show plays out when watched uncensored. (Though our uncensored DVD edition claims that we have the option to censor our episodes, the function didn't seem to be working.) And for those who find it difficult to make out what Mr. Osbourne is saying half the time, an optional Ozzy Translator will make things a bit easier. If the highlights and blooper reels are ultimately forgettable, a collection of unaired footage (including a lengthy piece featuring Ozzy and Sharon on Loveline) shows that a lot of funny stuff remained on the cutting room floor simply because it was too random or potentially offensive (see Jack's anthrax bit). Also included here is a series of profound interviews conducted with the family and a collection of interactive games. "Edit a Scene" and "Osbournes Bingo" are tedious at best but "Name That Dookie" could be the funniest game to make its way onto a DVD: you are a contestant on a fictional game show where you have to match the feces with the Ozzy family pet. The menus are a little screwy but who cares when Lola is licking the special features submenu?
"They don't own this fucking street. I'll get a fucking pig's head from the butcher's and throw it over the fence!"