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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Bernie Mac Show: Season 1
Bernie Mac Show: Season 1
Fox // Unrated // May 4, 2004
List Price: $49.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted May 17, 2004 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

Bernie Mac is a funny guy; the comedian, who recently rose to fame with performances in "The Original Kings of Comedy" and "Ocean's Eleven", decided to go to television a couple of years ago with the straightforward "Bernie Mac Show". Not a particularly high concept: Bernie Mac plays Bernie Mac, a popular stand-up comedian who is married to a beautiful, intelligent woman (Kellita Smith). One day, his sister finds herself in trouble and instead of having her three kids (Jeremy Suarez, Camille Winbush, Dee Dee Davis) to a foster home, he decides that a better choice would be trying to raise them himself, which results in a lot more stress than he bargained for.

The series has managed to do more with what it has then I'd expected. While it's nice to see that the series is simple and grounded without some ridiculous "high concept", there's also the side of wondering how long the show can go finding the kids getting into new forms of trouble and situations and how many times Bernie Mac can get exasperated with them. However, Bernie Mac still provides an excellent performance that holds the show together, complete with his usual, exceptional delivery of some of the show's best - and he does get some truly great ones in nearly each episode - lines. While not every episode contains big laughs, the way the show approaches and builds both the dramatic and comedic moments naturally is easy to appreciate.

Filmed with one camera and presented without a laugh track, I still don't know how long "The Bernie Mac Show" can carry on the idea of Bernie Mac getting irritated with the children, but the jokes hit more often than not during this first season and the plots are often surprisingly inspired. Aside from that, the show gives Bernie Mac a much deserved weekly showcase for his comedic talents.

Pilot (Originally Aired 11/14/2001)
Now You Got It (Originally Aired 11/14/2001)
The Main Event (Originally Aired 11/21/2001)
Bernie Mac, Ladies Man (Originally Aired 11/28/2001)
Saving Bernie Mac (Originally Aired 12/5/2001)
Here To Stay (Originally Aired 12/12/2001)
A Christmas Story (Originally Aired 12/19/2001)
Starting School (Originally Aired 1/2/2002)
Hot Hot Hot (Originally Aired 1/16/2002)
Wanda's Week Off (Originally Aired 1/23/2002)
The King And I (Originally Aired 1/30/2002)
Hall Of Fame (Originally Aired 2/6/2002)
Handle Your Business (Originally Aired 2/13/2002)
Back In The Day (Originally Aired 2/20/2002)
Lockdown (Originally Aired 3/6/2002)
Mac 101 (Originally Aired 3/27/2002)
If I Were N-Riched, Man (Originally Aired 4/3/2002)
Stop Having Sex (Originally Aired 4/17/2002)
Secrets And Lies (Originally Aired 5/1/2002)
Kelly's Heroes (Originally Aired 5/8/2002)
Sweet Home Chicago, Part 1 (Originally Aired 5/15/2002)
Sweet Home Chicago, Part 2 (Originally Aired 5/15/2002)


The DVD

VIDEO: "Bernie Mac Show" is presented in 1.33:1 full-frame, despite the fact that the show, I believe, is filmed in widescreen. That unfortunate part aside, the picture quality of these full-frame presentations is still mostly good. Sharpness and detail are solid, if somewhat inconsistent; some of the low-light scenes can appear a bit soft at times.

The biggest issue throughout the episodes was the presence of some noticable compression artifacts. While not always visible and not visible that frequently, these issues were somewhat distracting when they appeared. Some shimmering and slight noise was also apparent at times. Colors remained nicely saturated and bold.

SOUND: "Bernie Mac" is presented here in Dolby Surround, and the soundtracks are simply satisfactory. Dialogue remains clean and clear, while occasional instances of music remain clean and somewhat dynamic.

EXTRAS: There are only a couple of supplements included in this set. The first is a commentary for the pilot episode from Bernie Mac, writer Larry Whitmore and director Ken Kwapis. The three have been recorded together and provide a moderately informative discussion of how the show went through development and became a reality. A couple of jokes are offered up, but the commentary is mainly straightforward.

On the last disc, viewers get "Bernie Mac: TV's Family Man", a 43-minute documentary that originally aired on the Biography channel. The documentary is very enjoyable, taking a look at Bernie Mac's current successes and taking the viewer through the comedian's struggles in his early years growing up in Chicago. Also included on the last DVD is a trailer for the first season of "In Living Color".

Final Thoughts: "The Bernie Mac Show"'s first season showcases the great timing and delivery that Mac is able to give the show's dialogue. While not entirely consistent, there are definitely some highlights during this first season. Fox's DVD edition offers a couple of good supplements and fine audio/video quality. Recommended.

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