In 10 Words or Less
Fun with an acerbic American and a witty British butler
The Story So Far...
"Two's Company" is a British sitcom from the '70s about Dorothy (Elaine Stritch), an sharp-tongued American expatriate author living in England, and Robert (Donald Sinden), her manservant. In the first season, the show established the leads' love-hate relationship, while putting them into several traditional sitcom plots. It didn't break new ground, but starred a pair of excellent actors. Picture one of the "Golden Girls" living with Mr. Belvedere.
Acorn Media released the first season of the show in May of 2004. The DVDTalk review can be read here.
After Dorothy and Robert got to know each other in season one, their friendship reached new levels of sniping in season two. Their give and take is probably the best part of the show, because it's certainly not the cliché sitcom storylines. Almost every plot can be found on several other series. While it's true that this show came along way before those others, that doesn't make it any more original for a viewer who has seen it before.
Without Stritch and Sinden on board, this show might have been forgotten by now. Their comic timing is dead-on, and their chemistry is excellent, which is interesting for two characters that really shouldn't have chemistry. Thankfully, there's no resolution of their relationship during the show, as that would have been simply too easy. Instead, two people who really don't get along, but find their adversarial relationship stimulating, remain adversaries. Only in Britain.
Among the highlights in this season are "The Reluctant Traveller," in which Robert does anything he can to get out of flying to New York, and "The Burglary," which reveals some of Robert's past as Dorothy enters panic mode following a robbery. The plots may be nothing new, but at least they are done well.
The episodes included are as follows:
• Robert's Record Player: Robert's loud chamber music gets Dorothy into legal trouble with a neighbor.
• The Reluctant Traveller: When Dorothy has to travel to New York to promote her new book, she finds out Robert is afraid of flying.
• The Honeymoon: Dorothy attempts to help a pair of unhappy honeymooners save their marriage.
• The Burglary: All fingers point at Robert when Dorothy's house is the scene of a burglary.
• The Rubbish: Dorothy's ego gets her into a conflict with the garbage men that makes her trash pile up.
• The Guests: A group of cult-like hippies sets up shop in Dorothy's home, annoying Robert, who's trying to prepare to show the house to a buyer.
• The Cleaning Ladies: After another resignation letter, Dorothy is looking for yet another cleaning woman.
• A Loving Christmas: The holidays find Dorothy and Robert in compromising positions when their lies are discovered.
This one-disc set includes all eight episodes of the show's second season, each running around 25 minutes long. The disc is packaged in a standard keepcase with an insert that reproduces the cover art and lists the episodes. The menus are static, with the main menu accompanied by the show's theme song. Options include episode selections and a "play all" choice. There are no subtitles and no closed captioning.
Compared to the first DVD release, this disc seems like an improvement, with brighter colors, slightly less grain and a bit more detail. The change is obvious from the beginning of each episode, as the title animation is much whiter and cleaner than it was in the first release. Exterior scenes, like the one in "Robert's Record Player," are a bit washed out. Overall, it looks better than you'd expect for a '70s series.
The audio is a Dolby Digital 2.0 track. There are slight music stingers and audience applause between scenes, along with a laugh track, but neither element overwhelms the dialogue, which is really the only audio of any importance.
The only bonus features are text biographies of Stritch and Sinden, which are repeated from the first DVD, and filmographies for the rest of the actors featured in this season. The biographies are of a decent length, giving a good background on each principal, but if you pick this disc up, you probably have the first one, which makes this extra all the more disappointing.
The Bottom Line
The only people I can see buying this disc already own the first season, so the audience for this disc, the loyal Britcom fans, probably already know whether or not they will be making a purchase. To them, just having this classic series on DVD is a treat. Fans of Stritch may be similarly entertained, but outside of these two narrow groups, the appeal of this series is limited. The audio and video presentation is very good, while the extras are very slim, so if you aren't a big fan of the show, you won't have much reason to pick this DVD up. A one-time rental should cover your needs.
Francis Rizzo III is a native Long Islander, where he works in academia. In his spare time, he enjoys watching hockey, writing and spending time with his wife, daughter and puppy.Check out 1106 - A Moment in Fictional Time or his convention blog called Conning Fellow
*The Reviewer's Bias section is an attempt to help readers use the review to its best effect. By knowing where the reviewer's biases lie on the film's subject matter, one can read the review with the right mindset.