Mike: [My marriage] is a lot like Vietnam: we both know we can't win, we both know innocent people may get hurt in the course of action, but until some authority figure like the president or a priest tells us to get out, nobody's leaving.
Dennis Leary first gained notoriety as a fast talking, chain smoking, angry young comic in a series of 30 second shorts that MTV would play between videos. (This was way back when MTV actually played music videos of course.) Over the years he honed his skills as a comic, produced two stand-up specials, (a review of them can be found here) and also appeared in several movies, usually in supporting roles. He moved to TV in 2001 with the critically acclaimed show The Job. Though the program received a lot of praise, ABC didn't really support it. In the second season the show would often skip a week, and then at one time they ran two shows back-to-back. The Job started as a mid season replacement, with 6 episodes airing in the first season, in March and April of 2001, but the second season (13 shows) didn't start until 8 months later. It's hard to keep viewer interest over 8 months with no new shows.
Jan: Men suck. You're not from Mars, you're from Hell and you're going back there in bare feet!
I was a big fan of this show when it aired, and when I heard that it was cancelled, I assumed that I'd never see it again; too few shows for syndication, and not a big enough fan base for a DVD set. Thanks to the success of Denis Leary's new show, Rescue Me, and the good folk at Shout Factory, this excellent show is now available on DVD.
Tommy: Don't you wish you had a female stalker?
Stalker sex is the best. They're so into you.
The Job is a sitcom unlike all others. It is crude at times, revels in black humor, and doesn't have a laugh track. The show doesn't rely on the typical set up-punch line type of comedy that sitcom usually revel in. The humor is more character based, and works very well.
Jan's cross-dressing boyfriend: I'm straight!
It's just that I occasionally like to dress up as a women and get hit on
by strange men.
It's about a group of detectives in New York's 21st precinct. Mike McNeil (Denis Leary) is a mean, jealous, egotistical, petty man who is more messed up than a lot of the people he arrests. He pops pain relievers, drinks too much and is having an affair on his wife Karen (Wendy Makkena). His partner, Pip (Bill Nunn), is the exact opposite. He's a straight-laced man who often finds himself covering for his partner against his better judgement.
Mike: What's going on?
Frank (Lenny Clarke) is the veteran detective who is just trying to reach retirement. He's overweight, he cuts corners, and he really doesn't give a damn. His partner is Tommy (Adam Ferrara), the young wise guy of the group. Jan (Diane Farr) is a single mother and the only one of the group who is grounded in reality. The cast is rounded out by the a pair of Hispanic detectives, Ruben and the silent Al (whom the Lt. refers to as "Rice and Beans" because, as he says, he's "been a cop for 20 years and can't remember any more names." (It's ironic that the first time Al talks in the show is the last episode. And then he had his jaw wired shut.)
The shows are built around what happens in the station, but they don't necessarily solve a crime every episode. One of the best episodes is Telescope, where Tommy has stolen a telescope from a dead man's apartment, and the cops have hours of fun looking at a girl doing topless yoga. When her armoire starts blocking the good bits though, the officers dress up as maintenance men so they can gain access to her apartment and move the offending piece of furniture. Meanwhile Frank finds that a cop from another precinct, Garrity, is moving a dead bodies into their jurisdiction so that he won't have to fill out the paperwork. Frank's not going to have any of that, and so he and Garity start playing a game of hide-the-stiff.
Female Perp: I could beat the piss out of you
with both hands behind my back.
The entire cast was excellent. Each one of them really made their character their own. Denis Leary is a very funny guy, but he didn't get all of the laughs. Everyone was able to hold their own with him, which is saying something. Lenny Clarke as Frank was probably the most humorous character in the show. His bravado coupled with the fact that he didn't give a damn about anything made for some great comedy.
Mike: If I can't trust the woman I'm cheating with, who can I trust?
The first season is starts off very funny and the show keeps on going strong. The cast really start to click together in the second season, however, which had a lot more continuity. Since it is a character based comedy show, the more you know the characters the funnier it is and the show continued to improve as it went on. The last several episodes in the series were not only hilarious and good entertainment, but they had a lot of interesting plot developments. That makes it all the sadder that those plot lines will never get resolved.
While the first six episodes are in stereo, the second season offers the option of a 5.1 DD soundtrack or the original stereo. Both sounded very good. There wasn't any hiss or distortion, and the dialog was clean and clear.
The first season episodes are presented in full frame as they were shown on TV. Surprisingly, the shows from the second season are in anamorphic widescreen and look a lot better than the first six shows. The first season had a good deal of digital noise in the background that was a little distracting at times. The second series shows look very good. There was less digital noise, and the image was a little sharper. Aside from the mosquito noise in the background, there were no digital defects worth noting.
This set features several commentaries, all by co-creators Denis Leary and Peter Tolan. The episodes with commentaries are: The Pilot, Bathroom, Gina, Gay, and Barbecue. These were not as entertaining as I was expecting, and actually not all that great. There were many long pauses in most of the commentaries, and they really don't have a lot to say about the show. A lot of the time they explain the plot, laugh at the show, or describe who the various characters are in case you haven't bothered to watch the earlier episodes. I was really hoping that there would be a commentary to the last episode so that they could relate any plans they might have had for next season, but alas there wasn't.
In addition to those, the fourth disc has several good bonus features, one of the nicest being that there is a "Play All" feature.
It starts out with a nearly half hour interview with the co-creators of The Job, Denis Learly and Peter Tolan. This was interesting with the pair of them talking about the genesis of the show and the various actors who were in the program.
Other extras include a 5½-minute reel of out-takes which were funny, several promo spots that ran before the series aired, and 4 ½-minutes of behind-the-scenes footage. I enjoyed the on-the-set cast interview reel which ran 10-minutes, as well as the location interview with Peter Tolan. There is also a commercial for the Leary Firfighters' Foundation.
The Job is one of the funniest shows to ever grace network TV. The characters were interesting, the writing was excellent, and every episode had several laugh out loud moments. It is a shame that it was cancelled, as the show was getting better and better as it went on. The good selection of special features and the high quality of the show make this set a DVD Talk Collector Series.