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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Till Death Do Us Part
Till Death Do Us Part
Navarre Corporation Company // Unrated // July 1, 2008
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Jeffrey Kauffman | posted June 29, 2008 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:
The problem with having a narrow, if cute and often entertaining, format for a series is that everything quickly becomes old hat, however many variations on a theme are ultimately presented. That very drawback hampers 'Til Death Do Us Part (originally broadcast in the UK as Love You To Death, a title it retains on the actual episodes included in this first season set if not the box in which they are housed). This first season, which aired stateside on CourTV (AKA Tru), has the immense plus of being hosted by the always enjoyable John Waters, playing an on-screen narrator wittily named "The Groom Reaper," who brings his skewed sense of humor and decidedly anarchistic sensibilities to the project. The eventual minus is, after the first couple of episodes, you know what you're in for, and by the second commercial, when the "reveal" is announced, there's not much more to look forward to, other than Waters' catty closing comments.

No married person worth their salt would deny that occasional murderous impulses rage through the daily grind of living in close quarters with another human for years and years (and years, but I digress). 'Til Death Do Us Part focuses on spouses who actually realize those impulses and kill their once-doting husband or wife. The show follows a pat format--we see the couple at the beginning of their life journey together, Waters enters to let us know the bliss is going to be relatively short-lived, and we then see the devolution of the relationship, at times quick, at others, spanning over a decade or more. The only real question in each episode is which spouse is going to end up dead, and while there are frequent misdirects, the fact is you know going in it's certainly going to be one of them, so while there may be some latent suspense for a brief moment, it never really adds up to much. While each episode is purportedly based on "actual events," even the disclaimer at the beginning of every story admits quite a bit aside from names may have been changed to protect the innocent, as it were, and creator Ken Hanes, in an extra interview, goes a step further, seeming to imply that at least some of the stories are pretty much made up from scratch.

The real fun in the series, once its modus operandi has been established, is in its often dark humor, exemplified in the very first episode with the scene of a mortician husband making up his wife on an embalming table. There is usually at least one moment like this in every subsequent episode, scenes like a nubile young housewife wending her way through elderly men with her "oral" skills, or a new husband who develops a debilitating gambling habit after he hits a jackpot purely by chance right after marrying. It's all done with a sly wink at the audience, only augmented by Waters' on-screen appearances, which have him making comically snarky comments about the various goings-on. Because the episodes ran in a 30 minute time slot, transitions can be abrupt, usually bridged by Waters' narration. In fact, the whole enterprise seems a little rushed, but given the lightweight tenor of the series, a longer running time probably couldn't be successfully sustained in any case.

The DVD

Video:
'Til Death Do Us Part sports a very crisp enhanced 1.78:1 transfer. Colors and saturation are both excellent, with good contrast.

Sound:
The standard stereo soundtrack is typical television fare, with excellent fidelity and minimal separation. No subtitles are available.

Extras:
The bulk of the extras are found on disc 3 of this three disc set. Interviews with Hanes, Waters, and two executive producers offer quite a bit of repeated information, with each and every interview starting out with, "'Til Death Do Us Part is a show about...." and then branching off into various facts about the production. Hanes' is the most informative, though one has to slightly roll one's eyes when he insists he insisted to his writers to ground the episodes in some sort of reality. How many people do you know who would murder their spouse so that they could continue dancing polkas with the spouse's parents? The box also advertises "new introductions" by Waters for each episode. Not having seen the broadcast version, I can't say for certain that these are not the bookend segments, but I doubt that they are, since Waters is usually seen on set with the actors of that episode. I believe this refers to the after-commercial inserts, which on these versions do contain discrete segments separated by a flash of light; my assumption is one segment was the original broadcast version and another is the new, expanded material. There's also a nice tri-fold case holding the DVDs which includes a 16 page glossy booklet featuring summaries of all 13 episodes as well as information about Hanes and Waters.

Final Thoughts:
'Til Death Do Us Part probably plays much better in incremental doses spread out over several weeks. Watching all 13 episodes back to back was just a bit too much of "been there, done that" to sustain a high level of enjoyment. It might make an occasional, return engagement rental so that you can check out Waters in small doses.

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"G-d made stars galore" & "Hey, what kind of a crappy fortune is this?" ZMK, modern prophet

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