‘Maude: The Complete Fifth Season’ Is Yet Anoher Example Of Comedy Done Right

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Television today is a pale shadow of what it once was so many decades ago.  It used to be that even with only a few channels audiences had so many options.  That is because writers in television’s bygone eras were allowed to get away with so much more without fear of repercussions.  They weren’t afraid to take on touchy subjects.  And that is because people weren’t so driven by political correctness.  It’s too bad there are so few TV shows like that out there today.  Thankfully Shout! Factory has been offering audiences options in the past year or so with the release of the classic dramedy Maude both in a full series set and in its own separate standalone season sets.  This past June, Shout! Factory released the series’ penultimate season.  It goes without saying that the series is just as entertaining in its fifth season as in its first seasons if not perhaps more so.  That is due in large part to the work of the series’ writers.  That will be discussed shortly.  The work of the series’ cast is just as important to note in the series’ fifth season as that of the show’s writers.  This will be discussed later.  Last and hardly least of note in the fifth season of Maude is the series’ general presentation (its audio and video).  It plays its own important role in the overall presentation of Maude: The Complete Fifth Season.  Together with the work of the show’s writers and its cast, all three elements come together to show why Maude was, and still is today, one of the greatest series of one of television’s greatest eras.

Late this past June, Shout! Factory released the fifth complete season of the classic dramedy Maude.  The series’ penultimate season, it is more proof of why the series was, and still is today, one of the greatest series from one of television’s greatest eras.  This is thanks in no small part to the continued work of the show’s writers.  Audiences will note in watching Season Five’s twenty-four episodes that it boasts just as much heart and humor as it did throughout all four of its previous seasons.  What’s more many of the topics that are covered in each story—gender roles, homosexuality, fidelity (and infidelity) and even bromances (of all things)—are just as relevant today as they were in Season Five’s original run on CBS.  From Walter and Arthur learning to be comfortable in with simply hugging each other to Maude trying to be there for Walter when he faces one of his darkest moments to Maude having to face the very real issue of immigration and beyond, the writers expertly balance the series’ heart and humor from one episode to the next right up to its season finale in which Maude has to find a new housekeeper.  What is truly amazing to think about in considering the series’ writing in its fifth season is the fact that the writers managed once again to craft a whole season’s worth of new, original episodes all while taking on many of the issues that had been tackled time and again in the series’ first four seasons.  If for no reason other than that, the writing deserves its share of credit.  That and the ability of the writers to balance the series’ heart and humor throughout solidifies the importance of the series’ writing in its fifth season.  The work of the series’ writers is just one of the most notable of Season Five’s elements of course.  The work of the show’s cast in interpreting each episode’s script is just as important to note here as the work of the shows writers.

The work put in by Maude’s writers in the series’ fifth season is undeniably important to the series’ presentation.  That is because of the expert way in which they balanced the show’s heart and humor once again all while crafting twenty-four new episodes with topics that had already been tackled more than once in the series’ first four seasons.  While their work is clearly important in its own right to the presentation of the series’ fifth season, it is only one of the most important of the season’s elements.  The work of the show’s cast is just as important to note as that of its writers beginning with lead star Bea Arthur.  Arthur is spot on once again throughout Season Five.  Her comic timing both by herself and with her cast mates.  There are moments here and there in which she breaks down that fourth wall, and does so with such subtlety.  That subtlety makes for its own share of laughs because of how subtle she is in doing so.  In other moments such as when Maude finds Walter fighting for life in the three-part story arc “Walter’s Crisis” she is just as incredible to watch because of her ability to emote without becoming hammy.  In the case of Walter’s dream about Arthur she is just as entertaining thanks to her comic timing with co-star Bill Macy (The Jerk, The Holiday, Analyze This).  Macy is just as entertaining in his own right, too.  There is no denying that.  His reaction when Maude’s friends turn out to be swingers is classic in its own right.  When he and co-star Conrad Bain take on the topic of men being comfortable with something as simple as hugging one another (even when they’re straight) that comic timing is just as evident.  Macy’s portrayal of Walter’s emotional pain in “Walter’s Crisis” is just as incredible to take in.  Just as with [Bea] Arthur, it would have been so easy for him to chew the scenery so to speak in that story arc.  But he didn’t.  He hit the nail right on the head with his portrayal.  It is just one more example of the importance of the cast’s work in Maude’s fifth season and hardly the last.  One could note the work of both Rue McClanahan and Conrad Bain just as much here, too.  But that would take far more time and space than is available here.  Keeping that in mind, it should be clear why the work of the cast in Maude’s fifth season is just as important to its presentation as the work put in by the show’s writers.  It still is not the last notable element to examine in the presentation of Season Five.

The work put in both by Maude’s writers and the show’s cast is important to the presentation of its fifth season.  It works hand in hand to make quite clear why this season is just as enjoyable as the series’ first four seasons.  The work of said parties is collectively only part of what makes Maude’s fifth season so enjoyable.  The work put in by those charged with restoring the footage for Season Five’s home release is just as important to note as that of the show’s writers and cast.  Audiences that were not lucky enough to get their hands on the series’ full six-season box set will be glad to know that the production values presented in Season Five are just as impressive as those presented in the series’ first four seasons, too.  It is clear in watching Season Five that just as much time and effort went in to restoring the show’s footage (including its audio) as was put in to restore Seasons 1 – 4.  The footage is grainy, as it should be.  But it is also clear that it has been cleaned up to look just as it did in its original run.  This is important to note because sadly there are some companies out there who don’t even make that effort.  Rather, they just let the footage look terribly grainy and almost unwatchable.  That isn’t the case here.  In the same vein, the audio is perfectly in sync and sounds just as good.  The combination of both factors shows clearly why the production values presented in Maude’s fifth season is just as important to its presentation on DVD as is the season’s writing and the work of the show’s cast.  All things considered, audiences will agree that regardless of their familiarity with this classic standout series this season is yet another wonderful installment of a show that is one of the greatest sitcoms of the 20th century.

Maude is one of the greatest sitcoms of the 20th century, hands down.  Shout! Factory has proven that time and again thanks to the release of the series’ full six-season set some time ago and with the release of its first four seasons.  Now with the release of the show’s fifth season late this past June Shout! Factory has done just the same once again.  The series’ writing is once again a breath of fresh air in comparison to the writing presented in so many of today’s sitcoms.  Its stories are just as relevant today as they were in their original broadcasts.  The same can be said of the topics that each episode takes on.  Throughout it all, the writers once again balanced the heart and humor that made the series so enjoyable in its first four seasons, too.  The work of the cast in interpreting the scripts for Season Five does just as much to exhibit how entertaining Maude remained in its fifth season.  The work put in to restoring the show’s footage for Season Five’s home release is the final touch on this set.  Each element is important to note in its own right in examining the overall presentation of Maude: The Complete Fifth Season.  All things considered, this penultimate season of Maude is yet another clear example of why Maude was and still is today one of the greatest sitcoms of the 20th century.  Maude: The Complete Fifth Season is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online direct via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/tv/comedy/maude-season-five.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

 

 

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Shout! Factory Announces Release Date For Maude: The Complete Fifth Season

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Bea Arthur is returning to TVs again this summer.  No, she’s not a zombie.  She is returning thanks to the people at Shout! Factory.

Shout! Factory will release the fifth season of the late, great actresses’ series Maude this summer.  Maude: The Complete Fifth Season will be released Tuesday, June 14th in stores and online.  Season Five is loaded with just as much heart and sharp humor as the series’ previous four seasons.  This time out, there are some interesting discussions on gender roles in “Feminine Fulfillment,” “The Election,” and “Mrs. Naugatuck’s Wedding.”  Rue McClanahan is forced to face her issues with funerals (and death in the bigger picture) in the season premiere “Vivian’s First Funeral.”  The issue of race is tackled in the season finale when Maude gets anew housekeeper in the aptly titled “The New Maid.”  These are just some of the storylines that will keep audiences entertained and engaged throughout Season Five’s twenty-four total episodes.  There are plenty more laughs to be had throughout that span including Walter battling with his own sexuality in “Arthur’s Worry,” Maude getting on a TV game show in “The Game Show” and some extended family troubles for Maude in “Maude’s Aunt.”

The laughs that are offered this season are just part of the season’s enjoyment.  There are guest appearances by Michael Keaton (Birdman, Batman, Batman Returns), Nanette Fabray (One Day at a Time, The Hollywood Squares, The Bandwagon), Charles Lane (It’s A Wonderful Life, Arsenic and Old Lace, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington), Eugene Roche (Webster, Slaughterhouse-Five, When A Man Loves a Woman) and others.

Maude: The Complete Fifth Season will be available in stores and online Tuesday, June 14th.  It will retail for MSRP of $26.99 but can be pre-ordered online now at a discounted price of $22.99 via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/tv/comedy/maude-season-five.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Shout! Factory Scores Another Hit With Maude: The Complete Fourth Season

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Shout! Factory has, for a long time, been known as the leading name in home entertainment.  That is thanks in large part to the series and movies that it has released and re-issued over the past decade.  From Nickelodeon’s classic Nicktoons Hey Arnold! andThe Wild Thornberrys to more recent series such as The Soul Man to much older fare such as The Jeffersons and All in the Family, and so many others, Shout! Factory has presented great TV series and movies for audiences of all ages for years.  Early last year the company added another notch to its proverbial belt when it released the classic dramedy Maude to its catalogue.  It released the series in its entirety on March 15th, 2015.  It was followed up with standalone season sets of Season Two and Season Three respectively later in the year.  Now the landmark series’ fourth season has finally been released for classic TV buffs and the show’s fans.  The three-disc set is available today in stores and online.  Just as with the series’ previous two standalone season sets this season boasts its own share of heart and humor, proving once again what made (and continues to make) it such an important part of television history.  It all begins with the season’s writing.  This includes not just the season’s episodes but also the smaller details of the episodes.  The work of the series’ cast is just as important in its interpretation of the episodes’ scripts.  Last but hardly least of note in this season is its production values.  Season Four looks and sounds great in its transfer from its original masters to DVD. That will be discussed later.  Whether for that element or the other noted elements, it can be said with certainty that this season is another great addition to any Maude fan’s home DVD library.  It is also shows once more why Shout! Factory remains today the leading name in home entertainment.

Over the course of its first three seasons on the air, Maude entertained thousands of audiences across America if not hundreds of thousands.  That is thanks to the work of the show’s writers.  The show’s writers kept audiences laughing and even moved thanks to their ability to balance the show’s comic elements and its deeper, more serious elements.  Season Four is no different.  From the season premiere to its finale this season is loaded with laughs and more moving moments for any classic TV buff and for any fan of this classic landmark series.  One of the most notable points at which that balance is displayed comes in “Maude’s Big Decision.”  This episode is the first of an ongoing story arc that runs throughout Season Four that sees Maude pursuing a political career.  The story sees Maude beginning to decide if she wants to actually take that first step into the world of politics.  The problem is that Walter’s alcoholism becomes a stumbling block in her decision.  It also ends up playing a very direct role in his and Maude’s marriage.  The manner in which the writers tackled Walter’s addiction is impressive in its own right.  They didn’t go over the top and preach about the dangers of alcoholism.  Rather they just had Arthur address Walter’s addiction straight on with Maude. And in reality that is typically the most effective way to address a person’s addiction whether it be to alcohol, drugs, or anything else.  To this day there are so many people who would much rather tip toe around the subject instead of taking the proverbial bull by the horns.  Considering this, it makes this episode’s story just as relevant in society today as it was in its original broadcast.  It also serves to show in its own way the heart that still remained in the series in its fourth season.  It’s just one way in which the series continued to exhibit that balance of heart and humor in its fourth season.  Later in this season the needle aims more towards the comical angle in “Arthur’s Medical Convention.”

“Maude’s Big Decision” is a prime example of how the writing behind Maude maintained its balance of heart and humor in its fourth season.  For all of its seriousness, there is some humor that plays into its bigger story.  That will be discussed later in the discussion on the more minute details of the season’s writing.  Getting back on topic, “Maude’s Big Decision’ is just one example of how Maude’s writing maintained its mix of heart and humor this time out.  “Arthur’s Medical Convention” is another example of the writers’ continued ability to balance Maude’s more comical and more serious elements from one episode to the next.  In the case of this episode, Walter joins Arthur at a medical conference.  Walter, trying to sound important tells Arthur’s fellow doctors that he is a doctor, too.  In an effort to teach Walter a lesson about lying Arthur’s friends play a joke on Walter that results in plenty of laughs not just for Arthur’s friends but for audiences, too.  This episode is such an important one to cite from Season Four because it showed that while Bea Arthur was the show’s lead star, her cast mates could hold their own just as easily by themselves as when set against Arthur’s own sharp comic timing and wit.  Not only that but it also showed the writers’ ability to craft episodes that entertained with both comedy and drama and with each element by itself.  It is just a fun, turn-off-your-brain episode that is loaded with laughs and is sure to be a fan favorite regardless of audiences’ familiarity with Maude.  It’s just one more example of what makes the writing behind Maude: The Complete Fourth Season so important to its presentation. “Mrs, Naugatuck’s Citizenship,” which comes later in the season’s run, also exhibits the importance of the series’ writing this season.

“Maude’s Big Decision” and “Arthur’s Medical Convention” are both clear examples of what makes the writing behind Maude just as important in its fourth season as its first three seasons. They are only two examples of what makes the writing this season so important.  “Mrs. Naugutuck’s Citizenship” is yet another example of what makes this season’s writing so pivotal to its presentation.  It is another example of the writers’ ability to seamlessly weave together the series’ comical and more serious elements.  This episode sees Mrs. Naugutuck studying for her big citizenship test.  But as she studies, it is becoming increasingly evident that something isn’t right with her as she is acting very oddly.  The reveal as to what is wrong is a key moment.  That is because it would have been so easy for the writers to go over the top with the moment’s drama.  Yet they didn’t go that route.  Instead they provided the drama but kept it limited so as to not get campy with the episode’s twist.  The episode’s final moments do just as much of an impressive job lifting the weight of the story as {Bea] Arthur and Hermione Baddeley (who played Mrs. Naugutuck) share their own light-hearted moment.  In examining the episode’s story in whole, its dramatic and comedic elements prove to be expertly balanced from beginning to end.  Again, in seeing this it becomes crystal clear why this episode is another prime example of the importance of the series’ writing in its fourth season.  Of course “Mrs. Naugutuck’s Citizenship” is just one more episode that proves the importance of the series’ writing in its fourth season.  There are plenty of other episodes from which audiences could choose to exemplify the importance of the series’ writing in this season.  All things considered the stories that were crafted for the fourth season of Maude prove in whole that the writers not lost their ability to tell entertaining stories up to this point.  Keeping this in mind, the stories that are presented in Season Four are just part of the writing that should be noted.  The more minute details of the episodes are just as important to note as the stories themselves.

The stories that were crafted for the fourth season of Maude are important in their own right to the season’s presentation.  They are not the only aspect of the writing that should be noted, however.  There are smaller details within each episode that makes the episodes just as enjoyable if not more so.  In “The Christmas Party” the episode opens with Maude and Carol singing ‘Deck The Halls’ as they decorate their Christmas tree.  At the end of the song, Maude jokingly asks Carol, “What the fa la la are we doing,” to which Carol can only laugh.  It’s a small moment.  But is still entertaining in its own right.  And Maude’s attempt to endear herself to a famous poet in “Maude’s Rejection” is just as entertaining.  That is because of just how relentless Maude is in her efforts.  She tried so hard that viewers will find it just as annoying as the poet in question.  The writers’ ability to make the behavior so annoying (and annoyingly fun) is yet another example of how the episodes’ finer details prove to be just as important as the episodes’ stories.  If that isn’t enough the dialogue between the cast in “The Case of the Broken Punch Bowl” proves entertaining in its own right, too.  Mrs. Naugutuck agreeing with both Arthur and Vivian about what really happened to Maude’s punch bowl is so funny in its simplicity.  It’s just one more way in which the finer details of Maude’s writing proves just as important as the stories themselves this time out.  Just as with the stories themselves, there is so much more that could be cited in explaining what makes the smaller details of the scripts just as important as the stories themselves.  It would take far too much time and space to discuss every example, though.  Keeping that in mind the writing is just one part of what makes Maude’s fourth season so enjoyable.  The work of the cast is once again just as important to note as that of the writers.

The work of Maude’s writers proves hugely important to its presentation throughout the series’ fourth season.  The writers expertly balance the series’ comic and dramatic elements from beginning to end and even add in some extra laughs along the way thanks to the episodes’ finer details.  Of course as important as all of this is to Season Four’s writing it is only part of what makes this season so enjoyable.  The work of the series’ cast is just as important as that of the series’ writers.  Being that the cast had already spent the previous three seasons working together on the show the chemistry between the actors was obvious throughout this season.  It is quite obvious in “Maude’s Big Decision” as Maude confronts Walter about his alcoholism.  Both actors made suspension of disbelief so simple.  It showed the seriousness with which both actors took the moment.  In turn it made the moment all the more powerful.  This episode also boasts a great comic moment early on as Vivian confronts Walter, thinking that he had slept with another woman and the impact on Maude.  Walter’s (Bill Macy) reaction to the allegation makes for one of the season’s funniest moments.  To say that his timing was impeccable is putting it lightly.  It won’t be revealed here for the sake of those that haven’t yet seen this season.  But it goes without saying that it will leave audiences in stitches, especially with the added element of Mrs. Naugutuck walking in just as Walter tells Vivian what really happened.  Later in the season’s run Maude is forced to confront her own uber-liberal feminist views when her old friend Stephanie comes to Walter’s company Christmas party.  Mrs. Arthur is just as entertaining when Maude is forced to weigh her own beliefs with Stephanie’s.  On a side note, audiences will be surprised to find out just who plays the part of Stephanie in this episode.  Getting back on track, Arthur’s timing as she is told by her favorite poet that she annoys him and that he really doesn’t like her is just as priceless as any other moment in this season.  She does a total 180 in only a matter of a few seconds, stopping dead in her tracks as she realizes what she has just been told.  It is a perfect take that shows once again Arthur’s talent in front of the lens and just one more of so many moments that could be cited in showing what makes the cast’s work just as important as that of the series’ writers.  Together with that work, both elements come together to show with even more clarity why this latest installment of Maude is just as enjoyable as the series’ previous seasons.  Even with this in mind audiences will find that the writing and acting incorporated into Season Four are not the season’s only important elements.  The season’s production values round out the season’s most notable elements.

The work of both the writers and actors in Maude’s fourth season are both hugely important in their own right to the season’s overall presentation.  That is because both elements work hand in hand with one another.  Even as important as they are to the season’s overall viewing experience they are not the season’s only important, notable elements.  The season’s production values are just as important as its writing and acting.  It should be noted again that Shout! Factory already released Maude in its entirety in a limited edition full-series DVD early in 2015.  So it wouldn’t take much effort to transfer the material from that set to complete standalone season sets.  Even considering that, the efforts that were taken to originally transfer the season’s footage from its masters to DVD for the full-series set paid off in spades.  And it shows here in the series’ fourth season standalone set.  Season Four is presented here exactly as it was in its original broadcast on CBS so many decades ago right down to the grainy look of the footage and the sound balance.  That original presentation has been cleaned up just enough so as to not lose its original look or the welcome feeling of nostalgia generated through the episodes’ grainy look and standout audio balance.  All things considered here the production values presented in the fourth season of Maude prove just as important to its presentation as the season’s writing and acting.  When all three elements are set against one another, all three work together to make Maude: The Complete Fourth Season one more welcome addition to any classic TV buff’s personal DVD library and that of any of the series’ original fans.

The fourth season of CBS’ classic dramedy Maude is another wonderful installment of episodes from what is one of the true landmark series from TV’s golden era.  Now that it is available in a three-disc DVD presentation it is a collection that will be just as welcomed by classic TV buffs as by the series’ original fans.  That is thanks in large part to the work of the series’ writers.  Once again the writers have crafted a full complement of episodes that expertly balances the series’ comedic and dramatic elements from the season’s premiere to its finale.  Sometimes the tow elements are woven together and at other times are presented by themselves.  Regardless of the situation, the writing stands out in every episode both in regards to the episodes’ stories and their finer details.  The work of the cast in interpreting each episode’s script (both on the macro and micro level) is just as important as the work put in by the show’s writers.  Whether together or by themselves, the show’s cast generates plenty of entertainment in every episode.  The outstanding production values presented in each episode (their look and sound) ads even more enjoyment to the season.  That is because it generates a welcome sense of nostalgia for the series’ original fans.  Each element proves to be important in its on right to Season Four’s overall presentation.  Altogether they make this latest season of Maude yet another welcome addition to any fan’s home DVD library and to that of any classic TV buff.  It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered direct via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/tv/comedy/maude-season-four.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

 

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To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Shout! Factory Sets Release Date For Maude: Season Four

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Classic TV fans, get ready for more Maude.

Shout! Factory will release the fourth season of the classic dramedy next month. The three-disc DVD set will be released on Tuesday, March 22nd. Season Four is an interesting one for the series. That is because over the course of its twenty-four total episodes, the writers gave the show a little bit of a serial element with Maude deciding whether or not to run for political office. This story arc runs through the course of the season’s first five episodes. Though there is another political story arc in the two-part “Maude’s Mood” later in the season. The writers also take on the media industry late in the season’s run in “Walter’s Stigma.” If that isn’t enough for audiences, Maude’s friends get their own time in the spotlight in “The Fling” and “Arthur’s Medical Convention” just to name a couple of episodes featuring Bea Arthur’s cast mates. There is much more for the classic series’ fans to appreciate in this first-ever DVD release of the show’s fourth season. And audiences will get to enjoy the season in whole when it arrives in stores and online next month.

Maude: The Complete Fourth Season will be available in stores and online on Tuesday, March 22nd. It will retail for MSRP of $26.99. It can be pre-ordered online now at a discounted price of $21.99 via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/tv/comedy/maude-season-four. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Solid Writing, Acting Form A Solid Foundation For Maude: Season Three

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Maude is back again!  Fresh on the heels of Season Two’s release late this summer Shout! Factory released the hit dramedy’s third season in its own standalone season set this week.  And in going through Season Three, it is just as entertaining as the series’ second season in every way.  The central reason for that is the work of the series’ writers once again.  Throughout the course of Season Three’s twenty-three total episodes, the writers fill each episode with a solid balance of heart and humor once again.  The work of the show’s cast is just as impressive throughout each episode, too.  Last but hardly least of all worth noting in regards to this collection’s overall presentation is its bonus episode guide.  Each element in its own right plays an important part in the overall presentation of Maude: Season Three.  Combined, they make Maude: Season Three one more welcome addition to the personal DVD library of any of the series’ fans.

Maude: Season Three is the second of the classic series’ standalone series sets to be released so far this year.  It can be said in watching this latest collection of episodes that it is yet another welcome addition to the personal DVD library of any of the series’ fans.  The central reason for this is the work of the series’ writers.  Yet again, Maude’s writers succeeded in entertaining audiences in a big way.  That is thanks to their work in crafting episode after episode that expertly balances both heart and humor throughout.  This applies both to the stories and their minutia (I.E. the jokes presented within the episodes, etc.).  “Maude Meets The Duke” is one example of how this season’s writing makes it so entertaining.  The episode sees The Duke himself make an appearance.  Wayne comes to Maude’s house to promote his new movie as part of the episode’s plot.  As Maude and everyone try to convince Arthur that Wayne is only there promote his movie, Arthur’s blind idol worship of Wayne brings its own share of laughs.  Maude constantly spouting her feminist views in comparison to Wayne’s more conservative values makes for even more laughs, especially when the pair comes face to face.  The ultimate outcome is the sort of classic punchline that audiences will remember long after the episode ends and will in turn leave audiences wanting to watch and laugh along time and again.  It’s just one example of the strength in this season’s writing.  “Nostalgia Party” is another clear example of the strength of the show’s writing in this season.

“Maude Meets The Duke” is a prime example of the importance and strength of the writing behind Maude’s third season.  It is just one example of that strength and importance, too.  “Nostalgia Party” is another episode that can be cited in the explanation of the writing’s strength and importance.  This episode sees Maude planning a special New Year’s Eve party with Walter, Vivian, Arthur, and Carol.  She even asks Phillip to get involved.  That will be discussed shortly.  Maude’s idea is for everyone to dress up as his or her favorite year.  While everybody agrees that this is a great idea, the end result of the group’s reminiscing is arguments among the group.  Of course even with those arguments, everyone is reminded that they should just be happy that they have “now” by one of the guests, leading everyone to make up and disagree to disagree.  The story itself is great in its own right.  But the smaller elements that make up the episode are just as worth noting such as Maude asking Phillip to dress up in a diaper as the New Year.  Phillip’s reaction won’t be given away here.  But it is timeless to say the very least.  Vivian revealing the truth of Maude’s college days is just as much of a laugh riot, as Vivian reveals that Maude wasn’t that popular.  Rather, she was called the “Zit Queen” and that the only man that actually chased after her at any point was a young man that had been dubbed the “Zit King.”  This leads to a great back and forth between Maude and Carol in which Maude cautions Carol that she could have been the “Zit Princess.”  It is just a great moment.  Walter reminiscing about his favorite year is just as funny as he recalls having no responsibilities and having plenty of women to pursue.  Maude’s reaction to this memory is just as funny.  It’s yet another example of how the writing in all of its aspects remains so strong here in Maude’s third season.  And it is hardly the last example of that strength, too.  “Walter Gets Religion” is one more example of the strength of this season’s writing.

“Maude Meets The Duke” and “Nostalgia Party” are both clear examples of the strength and importance of the writing in Maude’s third season.  While both episodes clearly show the talent of the show’s writers thus far into the series’ run, they are hardly the only episodes that could be cited as examples of the writers’ talents.  “Walter Gets Religion” is one more wonderful example of that talent.  This time out Walter is the star of the show.  As Walter and Maude attend church Walter begins to discover that maybe he could make some money of his own from his fellow congregants.  That in itself is actually a bit of commentary on people’s real motives for attending church.  And it is just as relevant today as it was in the episode’s initial run so many decades ago.  On another level, Bea Arthur’s physical comedy early in the episode’s run is just as hilarious.  The satirical jab at people’s reactions to certain aspects of church (such as yawning and fighting to stay awake) is spot on.  And Arthur’s delivery of those moments is the main reason why.  It leads into another reason that the third season of Maude is such a hit—the acting.

The writing behind Maude’s third season is in itself more than enough reason for audiences to check out this collection of episodes.  Of course what would the writing be without a cast to interpret said work.  The work of the show’s cast is just as solid as ever in Season Three.  Bea Arthur is perfect with her jabs, jokes, and one-liners throughout the season’s run.  From spouting off Maude’s uber liberal views to shooting off said jabs at her cast mates, her timing is perfect in every episode.  What’s more the way in which she delivers her lines adds even more enjoyment to each episode.  Bill Macy is just as much of a laugh riot when he gets to share time on camera with Arthur.  The chemistry between the pair is just as obvious in these episodes as in those in the series’ first two seasons.  That is, just as with Arthur, because of his expert comic timing.  And while they remain mainly supporting cast, Rue McClanahan and Conrad Bain generate their own laughs as Vivian and Arthur respectively.  That is exemplified clearly in “Nostalgia Party” as Vivian reveals the truth of Maude’s college years and as Arthur presents his favorite year.  The pair’s reaction to the other kissing their neighbors—Vivian kisses Walter and then Maude ends up kissing Arthur—is equally entertaining.  The examples cited here are just a collective handful of examples of why the work of the show’s cast this season is as strong as the series’ first two seasons.  They are hardly the only examples that could be cited.  There are plenty of other examples that could be cited among the season’s twenty-three total episodes.  All in all, that multitude of examples makes clear once again why the work of the show’s cast is just as important as its writing to its overall presentation.

The writing and acting that went into Season Three’s twenty-three episodes collectively paints a picture of a series that was in its prime at the time of its original airing.  While both elements are equally important to Season Three’s overall presentation, they are only a portion of its presentation in its new standalone DVD box set.  The bonus episode guide included in the three-disc box is just as important to its presentation as the writing and acting that went into each episode.  Once again Shout! Factory has included a complete episode guide with one of Maude’s standalone season sets.  The episode guide features a complete episode guide noting the episodes in relation to their respective discs.  Also included once again is a short but concise summary of each episode. Shout! Factory took the same approach in the series’ second season DVD set. So it is nice to see this inclusion yet again. It makes choosing and following the season’s episodes that much easier and enjoyable. Together with the series’ continued expert writing and acting, all three elements make Maude: Season Three a fully welcome addition to the home DVD library of any of the series’ fans.

The third season of CBS’ classic dramedy Maude is a fully welcome addition to the home DVD library of any of the series’ fans regardless of said audiences’ ages. The series’ writing and acting combine to give audiences plenty of entertainment throughout the season’s twenty-three total episodes. The bonus episode guide included with the three-disc set makes the set’s presentation even more impressive. That is thanks to its concise episode summaries and direct connection between the episodes and their respective discs. Each noted element proves important in its own right to the set’s overall presentation. Collectively, they make the presentation in whole a collection that any of the series’ fans will want to add to their own DVD libraries. Maude: Season Three is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online direct via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/tv/comedy/maude-season-three. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

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Maude: The Complete Second Season Shines In Its First Standalone Release

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Bea Arthur is one of the great names in television’s modern history.  The famed actress starred in a number of TV shows over the course of her life.  One of the most well-known of those roles (if not the most well-known) was as divorcee Dorothy Zbornak in NBC’s classic sitcom Golden Girls.  While most of her fame came from playing that role, it was not her only really well-known role.  Her role as the title character in CBS’ classic dramedy Maude can be argued to be the role that really made Ms. Arthur famous.  That is because as her character, Maude Findlay, was such anything but the typical female lead at the time.  She was a headstrong, self-assured figure who was also quite educated and witty (much like Dorothy Zbornak).  She was the very antithesis of every female lead on television up to that point.  It can even be argued that Maude remains today the inspiration for so many of the female leads on television today.  As popular as Maude remains, it mostly faded into the annals of television history after it ended its six-season run in 1978.  Though, earlier this year it was finally resurrected (and in grand fashion) with the release of Maude: The Complete Series on DVD.  The box set, released by Shout! Factory was the series’ first ever full-series presentation on any platform.  And this summer its release was followed up by the release of the series’ complete second season on DVD late this summer.  That box set, released August 11th, is a must have for any of the series’ original audiences.  It is just as important for anyone that wants to start learning about yet another of television’s most important series.  The main reason for this is the series’ writing.  The writing behind this series was, much like All In The Family, the series that spawned Maude, was just as hard-hitting as it was entertaining.  That is very much the case here.  In the same vein, the cast’s work in interpreting the episodes’ scripts is just as important to the season’s overall presentation.  Last but hardly least of note in regards to this set is its companion episode guide.  Once again, Shout! Factory has included a complete episode guide for viewers.  The company has done so in a familiar fashion, too.  It rounds out the elements that make this three-disc set worth the watch by audiences new and old alike.  Each element in its own right plays its own important role in the presentation of Maude: The Complete Second Season.  Altogether, they make this collection a fitting first installment of the series from Shout! Factory.

Shout! Factory’s recent release of Maude: The Complete Second Season this past August marks the first time ever that the series’ second season has ever seen the light of day on any home platform.  The series’ first season has been released twice over already, first by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and then most recently by Mill Creek Entertainment.  But save for that season, none of the series’ other five seasons had been released in any format until now.  There is plenty for fans of the classic dramedy to enjoy and appreciate here beginning with the work of the show’s writers.  While Maude was not necessarily groundbreaking in regards to its overall writing approach it was still an important series because of the fact that it was one of few shows on the air at the time that was brave enough to take on some tough issues  all while providing its own share of laughs at the same time.  “Florida’s Affair” is one prime example of this.  This episode is especially interesting in that it was penned by a male writer—Alan J. Levitt.  In this episode, Florida, Maude’s housekeeper at the time, is being pursued by a man other than her husband.  While Florida keeps telling the man no, he keeps coming after her.  Just as interesting here, is that Maude and Carol feel that it is okay for a woman to be attracted to a man other than her husband.  What makes all of this so important (at least in the eyes of this critic) is that it could be argued that it exhibits just how progressive mindsets were at the time in regards to gender roles and stereotypes in America.  It is a discussion that is just as relevant among men and women today as it was when this episode originally aired.

“Florida’s Affair” is an important example in its own right of how Maude’s writing is so important to its episodes in its second season.  It is also not the only example of the importance of that element.  “Maude’s Guest” is another key example of the importance of the series’ writing in the series’ second season.  That is because in its own way, it directly takes on the racial tensions that were still quite alive at the time of the episode’s airing.  When Maude decides to take in an African-American teen in this episode, it is obvious that it is for all of the wrong reasons.  While she thinks that her heart is perhaps in the right place, her reasoning isn’t.  Her own efforts reveal what could be argued to be a subconscious racist mindset within herself.  It is yet another issue that is just as relevant today as it was in the 1970s.  There are those people that do things such as what Maude did with the result that it maintains those very tensions that said people think they are trying to break down.  Of course in the case of this episode, everything ends on a relatively happy note. And as with “Florida’s Affair” it still is not the last example of the strength of the show’s writing this season. “Phillip’s Problem,” which comes later in the season’s run, is one more example of what makes this season’s writing so important to its overall presentation.

“Phillip’s Problem” is one more example of what makes the writing in Maude’s second season so important to its presentation here. This episode centers on not one but two very serious issues that are just as important in today’s culture as they were in American society in the seventies—divorce and its effect on families, and child discipline. In both cases, the subjects are tackled with both heart and humor. It is interesting to watch as Maude and Carol debate how best to discipline Phillip, who has been acting out quite a bit lately in this episode. It turns out in the long run that his behavioral issues stem from Carol dating another man. This is a very real portrayal as many young people caught in the middle of a broken family do tend to have behavioral issues. The issues stem from not having that family bond that is common among families not split by divorce. The discipline issue is even more wide-reaching. That is because it is a much broader topic. To this day, there is still intense discussion among Americans about disciplining children and whether or not something as simple as spanking a child should be considered abuse.   The manner in which both topics were presented here by itself will most assuredly keep viewers engaged. The balance of both topics throughout the course of the episode is just as impressive. The combination of both factors shows clearly why this episode is such a clear example of what makes it a key example of the show’s strong writing in its second season. Even considering this, it still cannot be said that it is the only other example of the strength and importance of the show’s writing. Any of the season’s twenty-four total episodes could be used as examples of the writers’ impressive work. That in mind, the season’s writing overall can easily be said to be among the most important elements to note in the set’s presentation.   The writing is just one part of the equation, though. The work of the series’ cast in interpreting the episodes’ scripts is just as important as the scripts themselves.

The writing behind the second season of Maude is a key element in the presentation of the season’s new standalone season box set. That is thanks in large part to the topics tackled in each episode and the manner in which they were handled. It is very reminiscent of the approach taken in All in the Family, which was the very show that led to Maude’s creation. As important as the writing is to the overall presentation of Season Two, the cast’s interpretation of Season Two’s scripts proves to be just as important as the scripts themselves. From beginning to end, Bea Arthur was wonderful to watch. Her comic timing and her ability to handle the show’s more serious moments makes suspension of disbelief simple. This is just as much the case when she is set against Walter (Bill Macy). The pair’s back and forth feels so natural in every exchange. Macy is a laugh riot in his own right with his take on Walter. He is the polar opposite of Maude. He is more grounded in his personality. That set against Maude’s overly self-righteous and self-confident personality (and at times thoughtless) makes for a great dynamic. Adreienne Barbeau (Escape From New York, The Fog, Creepshow) is just as entertaining as Carol whenever she is included in an episode’s script. Again, that is thanks to the dynamic created between herself and Arthur. It shows the very real chemistry that the cast had in whole throughout the season’s run. And because they had such fun, it makes every episode just as enjoyable for audiences. It is yet one more way in which Maude: The Complete Second Season well worth the watch by audiences old and new alike. It still is not the last way in which the box set shows to be so well worth the watch. There is still one last element to note in the overall presentation of this season. That element is the set’s featured episode guide.

Both the scripts and the acting within each of Season Two’s episodes are of the utmost importance to its overall presentation in its new standalone season set. While both elements are equally important in their own right to the presentation, the episode guide included in the box set is just as important as the set’s content. The episode guide lists all twenty-four Season Two episodes. They are split between the front and back inside cover of the box. Each episode is noted in relation to its disc throughout the guide. There is also a short yet concise summary of each episode outlining each episode’s central plot. This is, by and large, nothing new for Shout! Factory. That is given. However, there are other studios that put out TV series’ box sets but refuse to include an episode guide of any sort. Those studios will remain nameless here. Getting back to the point, the fact that there are those studios that refuse to include such guides are only shooting themselves in the foot. It is a minor aspect of any box set’s presentation. But it is still an important element nonetheless. It is part of that viewing experience. Having that guide saves time for audiences as it prevents them from having to go through one disc or another, trying to remember which episode(s) is/are on which disc(s). It’s incredible to think that there are some studios out there that will omit this minor yet important element in their box set presentations. Luckily Shout! Factory has once again made a point of including it in Season Two’s box set. Because the company did, it completes the viewing experience here and shows once and for all why this box set is well worth the watch by any audience regardless of familiarity with the series.

Shout! Factory’s release of Maude: The Complete Second Season marks the first time ever that it has received its own standalone DVD season set. Yes, it was originally released as part of the show’s full series set released earlier this year. But its release this past August by itself is the first time that it has ever been released by itself. Considering this, its first release proves to be quite the success. That is thanks in large part to the work of the series’ writers. The writers mixed heart and humor in every episode to make twenty-four episodes that are well worth the watch just for that reason alone. The cast’s interpretation of the scripts adds even more reason for audiences to purchase it. The companion episode guide that is printed inside the case’s box art rounds out the set’s positives. It gives a clear listing of the set’s episodes in regards to their respective discs and includes a short but concise summary of each episode. The full, clear listing dramatically reduces the amount of time that viewers have to spend searching for episodes. And the episode summaries make choosing which episode(s) to watch all the easier. All three noted elements combined together make the viewing experience in Maude’s second season fully immersive and enjoyable for fans new and old alike. They show collectively exactly why this box set is a solid first solo release from Shout! Factory and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and once again why Shout! Factory remains today the leading name in home entertainment. Maude: The Complete Second Season is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered direct via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/tv/comedy/maude-season-two. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

 

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Shout! Factory Announces Release Date For Maude: Season Three

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Next month Shout! Factory will release the third season of the classic hit sitcom Maude.

Shout! Factory will release Maude: The Complete Third Season on Tuesday, November 10th. In the third season of the landmark series, the show’s writers bring Maude a new housekeeper in the aptly titled episode “The New Housekeeper.” This episode comes early on in the season’s run. The housekeeper is played by Hermione Baddeley (Mary Poppins, The Aristocats, A Christmas Carol). Also in Season Three Maude heads up a telethon in the also aptly titled “The Telethon.” And in the season premiere the late, great John Wayne makes a special appearance. That is just a small sampling of what audiences have to look forward to in Season Three. The writers tackle the issue of homosexuality in “Maude’s New Friend.” Maude gets really *ahem” psyched out when a number of predictions from a psychic start coming true. And in the season finale, Maude’s mother makes an appearance. She is played by Audrey Christie (Carousel, Splendor in the Grass, The Unsinkable Molly Brown). The complete episode listing for Maude: The Complete Third Season is noted below.

Episodes

EPISODE EPISODE TITLE
1 Maude: Maude Meets The Duke
2 Maude: The Kiss
3 Maude: Walter’s Heart Attack
4 Maude: The New Housekeeper
5 Maude: Speed Trap
6 Maude: Lovers In Common
7 Maude: Walter’s Dream
8 Maude: A Night To Remember
9 Maude: Last Tango In Tuckahoe
10 Maude: Vivian’s Party
11 Maude: Maude The Boss
12 Maude: Maude’s New Friend
13 Maude: Walter’s Ex
14 Maude: Nostalgia Party
15 Maude: All Psyched Out
16 Maude: The Telethon
17 Maude: And Then There Were None
18 Maude: The Emergence Of Vivian
19 Maude: Mrs. Naugatuck In Love
20 Maude: Walter’s Pride
21 Maude: Walter Gets Religion
22 Maude: The Cabin
23 Maude: Maude’s Mother

Maude: The Complete Third Season will be available in stores and online on Tuesday, November 10th. It will retail for MSRP of $26.99. But it can be pre-ordered online now at a discounted price of $21.99 via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/tv/comedy/maude-season-three. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

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To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.