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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Parking Wars - Best of Season 1
Parking Wars - Best of Season 1
A&E Video // Unrated // July 29, 2008
List Price: $12.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted September 20, 2008 | E-mail the Author
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While there's already a "Dirty Jobs", "Parking Wars" may well have been titled "Hated Jobs". The series, which runs on A & E, follows a series of workers at the Philadelphia Parking Authority. The series bounces between a series of workers, some of whom the folks that are responsible for booting cars, while others are stuck with being behind-the-window at the customer service area of the impound lot.

Despite all the issues (namely, people errupting at them), the workers all seem surprisingly upbeat, and some of them even seem to take a certain thrill in their job. One meter maid, nicknamed "Swoop", almost seems to sense violations before she sees them. In one of the most amusing scenes included in these episodes, she finds herself a comfortable seat on a park bench and makes herself comfortable, starring at a local "hot spot", where she manages to catch a few violations - including a couple of very expensive ones at $300 each - all while relaxing on a park bench. As for expired meter tickets, the city rings the register to the tune of approximately 2,400 of those per day.

The boot crew drive throughout the various neighborhoods, typing in plate numbers into a laptop until they get a "ding", which alerts them to a potential "heavy hitter" - in other words, someone owing more than $700. According to the series, there are more than 55,000 "heavy-hitters" on the list all waiting to get a fresh boot on their car or even get towed. A car must have 3 outstanding tickets to get booted (although some cities have now taken that down to 2) and 550 cars get booted in Philly each week, according to the show.

While the meter maids and boot officers and tow truck drivers have a difficult and potentially very dangerous job, they do have times where they don't run into the people they're ticketing (although the series does seem to show mainly confrontations.) The people behind the glass at the customer service stations at the impound lot do have to face everyone who's towed and they probably could write a book of all the excuses they've heard. While a couple of the people are nice when they come to the window, you get the sense that that those people make up a very small percentage.

While there are people who admit they were wrong, others aren't so nice - some even go as far to claim that the city parking department has a major conspiracy going against them. Many people who are encountered throughout the show, unfortunately, simply flat-out state they don't care about the rules. The series sometimes makes a little fun of some of the people the authority officers meet, with melodramatic music occasionally playing during a few of the excuses.

The series is an interesting look behind-the-scenes at the Parking Authority in a major city and what the workers have to go through while they enforce the rules. While everyone seems to hate the meter maids and the boot patrol, the series shows that these are, of course, regular people who are just doing their job like anyone else.

Unfortunately, A & E has elected to not release a full season of the series. Instead, we get a "best of", which offers 7 episodes from season 1.


The DVD

VIDEO: A & E presents these episodes in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. The presentation quality is just fine, as most scenes look crisp and detailed. Given the digital video filming, the show looked surprisingly consistent in terms of definition. A couple of minor instances of artifacting were spotted, but the presentation otherwise looked clean and clear. Colors looked natural and accurate, with no smearing or other faults.

SOUND: The stereo soundtrack offers crisp, clear dialogue. There's also some minor sound effects put into use at times to poke fun at the situations and the occasional instance of bassy music.

EXTRAS: About 33 minutes or so of deleted scenes - while some scenes are worthwhile, others consist of small talk or basic interviews.

Final Thoughts: I didn't know what to expect from "Parking Wars", but found that the series offers an involving and sometimes entertainining look at a difficult job where one of the aspects of each day at work is dealing with people who don't know you, but will likely hate you. The only issue with the series is that, given the focus of the show, there's not a great deal of repeat viewing value. The DVD presentation offers fine audio/video quality, as well as one main extra. Rent it.
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