Golden Girls (The): Complete Season 6 (TV)
R1 - America - Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Noor Razzak and Jon Batt (26th November 2006).
The Show

I would like to take you on a quick walk down memory lane. Think of a time when shoulder pads were all the rage. Where 'getting chemical' referred not to a shady gentlemen giving you a small plastic bag full of white powder, but to having both a blue rinse and a perm in the same week. Ladies and gentlemen I present to you: "The Golden Girls: The Complete Sixth Season".
In a post modern feminist world, we are given the story of four women, straddling a time of societal change. Older women were living alone, proud of their independence, but still getting their hair done once a week. A time where female friendship was important. A time where it was finally ok to refer to all your friends as sluts.
Personally, I like "The Golden Girls". Most of that spawns from it being the only show on during the day while I was at home from school sick that wasn't a talk show. It was with this nostalgic viewpoint that I started watching Season 6, and was pleasantly surprised. Never before have I seen woman of this age so frequently call each other sluts. Frankly, it's incredible.
For those of you who aren't familiar, "The Golden Girls" is a sitcom about a group of 50+ women who live together. There are four main characters:
Dorothy Zbornak (Beatrice Arthur) - the grey haired substitute teacher. A bit of a prude. Points of mockery: i) being too tall, ii) having large feet, iii) never being able to get a date.
Blanche Devereaux (Rue McClanahan) - the southern belle. Beautifully obscures her real age from everyone, and remains 43. Sleeps with everyone. Point of mockery: her 'active' sexual encounters.
Rose Nylund (Betty White) - an airhead from the small Scandinavian town of St Olaf. Often tries to tell stories to help with problems the others are having based on her time in St Olaf, but rarely is able to actually make a point. Point of mockery: being an airhead, having story telling skills befitting a pensioner.
Sophia Petrillo (Estelle Getty) - Dorothy's mother, and approximately one million years old. Sophia is of Sicilian descent, and is in my humble opinion, where the buck stops with the show. She is the source of great amusement and puts Getty's amazing comic timing to good use. Point of mockery: being short and very, very old (it transpires that in this season, she is actually 84).
The show hinges very heavily on character development, which works well because all the lead roles are fantastic actors. It's clear that each of them made their character their own, and has added their own experiences to the script. The beauty of this is that it gives the show a substance which isn't really found in sitcoms that get churned out these days.
Sadly, the show is plagued by many of the ills of the era (this season was aired in the early 90's), too much laugh track and an over-reliance on stock jokes. There are times where you see a joke being set up, you hear it being delivered, and you are ultimately let down by its painfully predictable punch line. There is also a goodly number of fantastic one-liners which are slotted into the show.
The season itself is an action packed roller coaster of thrills, spills and greying hair. This season has something for everyone: a man who hasn't left his apartment in 20 years (the décor is something to behold by the way), wheelchairs, old husbands and new husbands, men who aren't husbands, weddings to turn said men into husbands, sexual harassment, nuns, sluts, celibacy, artificial insemination, skydiving, lost parents being reunited with their children, modelling contracts. I could go on forever. But I won't. I really enjoyed these DVDs. It's well written, most of the humour ages well, and most of all it's a pretty good time. It gets two thumbs up from me.

Video

Presented in the show's original broadcast ratio of 1.33:1 this full screen transfer is soft and just about on par with broadcast quality, despite the this season was filmed in the early 90's the quality of the image looks like a series that came from the 80's, numerous problems include limited detail as a result depth is limited, colors aren't as vibrant as they should be, blacks are murky. The episodes displayed some moire patterns at times and compression artefacts popped up more than once. Despite these flaws the series is still watchable.

Audio

A single English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo is included for these episodes, the series audio is basically made up of dialogue, some musical cues and a laugh track and for these three things you don't need a 5.1 track, this is most likely the original broadcast audio and it's clear and distortion free without any problems other than the fact that it lacks depth.
Optional subtitles are also included in English for the hearing impaired.

Extras

DISC ONE:
The only extras on this disc are some bonus trailers for:
- "The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause" which runs for 2 minutes 30 seconds.
- "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" which runs for 2 minutes 5 seconds.
- "Alias: Season 5" which runs for 1 minute 15 seconds.
- "Home Improvement: Season 5" which runs for 1 minute 28 seconds.
- "Scrubs: Season 4" which runs for 1 minute 26 seconds.
- "Lost: Season 2" which runs for 1 minute 26 seconds.
- "Grey's Anatomy" which runs for 1 minute 45 seconds.
- "Desperate Housewives: Season 2" which runs for 56 seconds.
- "Desperate Housewives" abc promo spot which runs for 32 seconds.

DISC THREE:
The only substantial extra in this set is "The Golden Girls At The William S. Paley Television Festival" a featurette that runs for 20 minutes 13 seconds and includes a panel with Betty White, Rue McClanahan as well as other crew that includes writers, producers, directors none of which are credited onscreen so I have no idea what their names are, the only writer I recognize is Marc Cherry who went to on create and write "Desperate Housewives" the panel discuss many aspects of the show as they are fielded questions by an onstage moderator, they cover aspects concerning the pilot such as the scripting and casting, the two ladies White and McClanahan discuss the audition process and playing their characters a certain way, also covered is the development of the show among other things.

For a season set it's disappointing that there aren't more substantial extras such as episode commentaries, but if you've alreadu collected the five previous seasons then there's no reason why you shouldn't pick this one up.

Packaging

This 3-disc includes all 26 episodes from the sixth season of this TV series and is packaged in a digi-pack case with a cardboard slip-cover.

Overall

The Show: A Video: C Audio: B- Extras: C- Overall: C-

 


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