Bridezillas: Season 1
The Weinstein Company // Unrated // $26.95 // July 11, 2006
Review by Francis Rizzo III | posted June 30, 2006
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In 10 Words or Less
And they wonder why guys are afraid of commitment

Reviewer's Bias*
Loves: Documentaries
Likes: Weddings
Dislikes: Crazy women
Hates: Wedding madness

The Show
Originally a production of the regional (and now defunct) MetroTV channel, "Bridezillas" struck enough of a nerve with viewers to be given a new lease on life by WE TV, the Lifetime Channel's spiritual younger sister. The show follows a selection of brides-to-be as they make the hellish journey toward that trip down the aisle. It's hellish mainly because the women at the center of the storm lose their minds as their wedding days approach, becoming evil banshees no man would want to wed. Thankfully, my own wife never came close to that status (at least while around me), but I could see hints of where she could have went off the deep end.

The biggest reason for such insanity is the way these brides approach their wedding. Focused on minute details and aspects that have nothing to do with love or marriage, these women are excessively materialistic and overly concerned about appearance. As a result, when something doesn't go exactly as planned, their stress levels explode, and they take it out on those around them, especially their fiances. It's sad to see these guys marched toward the firing squad, holding no control and having no say over one of the most important days of their lives. But anyone realistic will admit that weddings are all about the bride, and to accept that, is the easiest way to get through them, especially if you're the groom. When you see a guy talk about the money spent on his wedding and what they could have bought instead, like a house, it's a sobering moment.

The shows feature engaged ladies from the metro New York area, ensuring that the subjects would be high-strung, but the selection of brides, who are mostly professional women with serious attitudes, was inspired. To describe them as bitches would be being polite, and as a result, it can be a bit hard to follow these women, who spend money like water, even though it's usually not their wallets being emptied. I can't imagine how this series plays outside of the major metropolitan areas, where people would never drop $100,000 on a wedding. I'm from New York, and my wedding was rather expensive, but even I get sick of watching these women expecting $8,000 wedding gifts. It would make for a much better show if someone would just come to one of these brides and say "You're not pretty, and no dress will hide that. Get over yourself." It's sickening when someone putsthem self into debt for a wedding, setting their marriage up for failure.

Thankfully, there's a good deal of variety among the women on the show, from an actress with rich parents to yuppie business women to a woman from Japan changing her life by coming to New York. That helps keep the stories separate, even when the attitudes and behaviors start to blur together. It also helps the show from becoming stale, which it quickly could. There's a reason why "Desperate Housewives" isn't as popular as it once was, and that's because there's only so much you can put up with from annoying, uppity women. How the people working in the wedding industry, like the dress makers and event planners, keep from killing a bride or two, just to blow off a little stress, is a true mystery.

Though the majority of the series is full of stress and drama, the show has its moments of levity, most of which come at the expense of the brides. It's hard to not enjoy the schadenfreude when a woman who has been making everyone miserable, suffers a bit. As a former groom, I admit that being reminded of some of the rougher moments of the preparation brought a smile to my face, but I enjoyed it more when the bride was having a bad time. It would be interesting to know what women think of the brides on the show, and whether they empathize with them or are disgusted by them. The show certainly portrays them as witches, even if they do it subtlely via the narration.

The DVDs
Genius hasn't impressed with many of it's previous DVDs, and this two-disc set, which is packaged in a standard-width keepcase with a second tray, doesn't help change that reputation. The discs, which hold the eight 40-minute first-season episodes, have static full-frame main menus, with options to play all episodes, select individual shows and check out special features. There are no audio options, and though the box lists English subtitles and closed captioning, the subtitles weren't there to be found.

The Quality
The full-frame video on these DVDs is just what you'd expect from a relatively low-budget basic cable documentary series. That means you get a solid image in scenes shot in bright light, and heavier grain during darker moments and sections filmed indoors. The level of detail and color is certainly acceptable, though some digital artifacts arenoticeable at times.

The audio is a straightforward Dolby Digital 2.0 track that delivers solid dialogue from the center channel of your system. A documentary rarely gets very active in terms of the sound, and this set is no exception.

The Extras
The one substantial extra, if you can call it that, is "Real Brides Cake Dive Event," which is a minute and a half worth of footage of 20 brides scramble through a giant wedding cake in the middle of Times Square in New York. Apparently, this was a WE Network promotion, but the purpose and prize aren't explained. In the end, it's pretty pointless, like the pair of promo spots included, one for the upcoming third season of "Bridezillas," and one for WE TV. A follow-up on the couples would have been the perfect extra, but they've missed that chance.

The Bottom Line
As much as our religious and conservative friends would like to believe that gay couples threaten the sanctity of marriage, it's women like those profiled in this set that are the true danger. Marriage to these women is not about commitment or love, but about a big party, showing off and a lot of unnecessary stress. This show means something different to everyone, as brides can laugh, seeing themselves in the series' chaos; men can view it as a horrific vision of the future (or past); and everyone else can shake their heads at how ridiculous weddings tend to be. The set gives the show a quality presentation, but not much else, as Genius once again lives up to our lowered expectations. Fans of the show might enjoy having the series on disc, but most will be satisfied by giving it a rental.

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