“ Genre: Television - Men Behaving Badly / Theatrical Release: 2000 / Director: Martin Dennis / Actors: Martin Clunes, Neil Morrissey ... / DVD released 03 July, 2000 at Fremantle Home Entertainment / Features of the DVD: Full Screen, PAL „
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I’m a bit of a fan of Men Behaving Badly – it’ll always give me a laugh whenever I watch it (which is quite often, as the show tends to get repeated on UK Gold quite frequently nowadays) I’ve already wrote an opinion on the DVD for series six of this show, in summing up that DVD my main complaint was that there were some episodes which were lacking that spark. This DVD on the other hand contains seven episodes – all of which are amongst my favourites – so it’s already better than the later DVD in my opinion! I’ll look at the episodes themselves in a bit more detail later, but first onto the technical side of the disc. Well, if you’ve seen the other DVD’s in this series then you’ll know what to expect – filmed in a 4:3 aspect ration (or full-screen) the material has been transferred over in the same way, with colours bright and vivid and no real poor digital-artefacts visible. It’s of a slightly better quality than a VHS version – I’d compare it to what you’d see if you watched the show on digital television, certainly nothing to complain about, put it that way. On the sound front we get the plain stereo mix again. This is hardly surprising however as the original broadcast was in stereo – you’d have to ask yourself, does this shown need a 5.1 mix? No, I didn’t think so either! The main menu’s are just the same as they were in the other DVD’s – animated with clips playing in the background and a short sample of the main theme tune to the show. Nice and easy to navigate, they serve their job well. It’s also nice to see an index per episode option too – allowing you to jump straight to your favourite part of a particular episode quickly and easily. The only real extra is another quiz-based section, where upon completion you get to see various out-takes. As is the norm with these thin
gs, some outtakes are better than others, but they are still fun to watch nevertheless. Onto the actual episodes themselves then. As I had already mentioned, on this DVD we get seven episodes, unlike the six we had on the later DVD I reviewed earlier last year, the episodes are as follows: EP 1 - Babies EP 2 - Infidelity EP 3 - Pornography EP 4 - Three Girlfriends EP 5 - Drunk EP 6 - In Bed with Dorothy EP 7 - Playing Away Here’s a brief synopsis of each episode: Episode 1 – Babies Gary and Dorothy decide to ‘make a baby’. The problem is that they are both having doubts about it all. For Gary the obvious benefit is that, during her pregnancy Dorothy will develop ‘breasts the size of footballs’. Apart from that, he’s getting more and more drawn away from the idea of parenthood. Episode 2 – Infidelity Having completed a questionnaire with Tony entitled ‘six tell tale signs to tell if you're chick is a cheater ‘, Gary becomes convinced that Dorothy is seeing someone else behind his back. Luckily being such an expert in the security business he starts to follow Dorothy to collect his evidence. Sadly the idea of waiting outside her house in a bright red car, wearing a sombrero doesn’t exactly help in blend in to the area unnoticed. Tony meanwhile uses some surveillance gear to find out what Debra really thinks of him – perhaps he shouldn’t have bothered. A pretty good episode with plenty of laughs. Episode 3 – Pornography Things are really looking up for Tony – he’s got a cracking new girlfriend, but he just can’t bear to part with his substantial porn collection. Some real laughs in this one, featuring more of Tony than the other episodes seem to. Episode 4 – Three Girlfriends. Gary somehow ends up having his annoying Dad
staying with him in his flat for the week. He really cramps his lifestyle, but not for Tony. He’s too busy trying to keep three girlfriends happy at the same time! Episode 5 – Drunk In an attempt to win back Dorothy’s affection, Gary promises to lay of the booze a bit. Sadly he becomes involved in a drinks promotion at the local pub – who could turn down drinks with such names as ‘binky’, ‘plop’ and ‘sod’? On the way home, Tony becomes convinced that tonight is the night to declare his undying love for Debra – but as usual, things don’t work out as well as he might have hoped for! Dorothy is left at home with a home-made video charting her relationship with Gary, no wonder she looks so depressed! Episode 6 – In bed with Dorothy. Having had her appendix removed, Dorothy ends up recuperating at Gary’s flat. Sadly he gets a bit fed up looking after her. Perhaps the poorest of the lot – but still watch able. Episode 7 – Playing Away Tony decides that self-extraction of a sore tooth would be the best answer to his toothache. Gary meanwhile goes away on a creative writing course for the weekend. With Debra away too, Tony and Dorothy are left in the flat by themselves, but surely nothing could happen between them, could it? So there you go – seven episodes, all of a high quality with no real stinkers amongst them. The DVD retails at around £20, which works out at under £3 per episode – which is great value for money in my opinion. If you are a fan of the show then I’d say this is probably the best series out of the lot, and so probably the one DVD to make sure you buy. Great fun and all highly rewatchable, it makes for a sound investment!
The ultimate small-screen representation of Loaded-era lad culture--albeit a culture constantly being undermined by its usually sharper female counterpart--there seems little argument that Men Behaving Badly was one of 1990s' definitive sitcoms. Certainly the booze-oriented, birds-obsessed antics of Martin Clunes' Gary and Neil Morrissey's Tony have become every bit as connected to Britain's collective funny bone as Basil Fawlty's inept hostelry or Ernie Wise's short, hairy legs. Yet, the series could easily have been cancelled when ITV viewers failed to respond to the original version, which featured Clunes sharing his flat with someone named Dermot, played by Harry Enfield. Indeed, it was only when the third series moved to the BBC and was then broadcast in a post-watershed slot--allowing writer Simon Nye greater freedom to explore his characters' saucier ruminations--that the show began to gain a significant audience. By then, of course, Morrissey had become firmly ensconced on the collective pizza-stained sofa, while more screen time was allocated to the boys' respective foils, Caroline Quentin and Leslie Ash. Often glibly dismissed as a lame-brained succession of gags about sex and flatulence, the later series not only featured great performances and sharp-as-nails writing but also sported a contemporary attitude that dared to go where angels, and certainly most other sitcoms, feared to tread. Or, as Gary was once moved to comment about soft-porn lesbian epic Love in a Women's Prison: "It's a serious study of repressed sexuality in a pressure-cooker environment." Series 4 includes: "Babies" in which Dorothy gets broody. ("I suppose the big question is do I really want children with a man who still has a Fungus the Bogeyman pillowcase."; "Infidelity" in which Gary thinks Dorothy may be having an affair; "Pornography" in which Deborah invites Dorothy and her new boyfriend to a dinner party, much to Gary's chagrin; "3 Girlfriends" in which Dorothy has some unpleasant news for Gary; "Drunk" in which Gary's fresh start with Dorothy is put at risk by his local's extensive range of guest lagers; "In Bed with Dorothy" in which Dorothy's recuperative powers are tested following an appendectomy when Gary "shoulders the burden of caring for her". Meanwhile Tony discovers he needs glasses ("No one in our family wears glasses. We just go from brilliant eyesight to ... dead."); "Playing Away" in which Gary harbours hopes that a creative-writing course he is attending with Deborah will turn into a dirty one. --Clark Collis