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Girls Next Door - Season 4, The
Possibly the cornerstone of the current Playboy Empire, The Girls Next Door is back for another season on DVD. Arriving in a standard-sized keepcase with a l'il clear plastic flipper, Season Four delivers 16 24-minute episodes of excess and ennui Playboy style. Bridget, Kendra and Holly doff their tops frequently as they plan party after party. We get a little more insight into Hef's secretary Mary, and watch delightedly as the Girls more frequently (though mildly) struggle against their reins. (Hey, Hef seems nice, but the way these girls fret over anything they do that might upset the man, yeesh!)
However, life in the Mansion is filled with many delights. But these birds are actually in a gilded cage, and while they do enjoy Hef's paternal attention, it's getting clear they want more from life than pink suites. This adds slightly more drama to the show, (if only by subtext) but otherwise expect plenty more frothy frolic sans conscience. Holly continues with her Lead Girl air, Bridget seems more manically eager to please, (and disturbingly OK with everything) than ever before, and last but not least, sometimes all it takes is Kendra's guffaw to make us laugh. If you're already a fan of the series, you'll enjoy each episode like the 100-calorie snack packs that they are. Newcomers should expect the utmost in airy goofing, unrealistic lifestyle choices, silicone toplessness and all-around shamefully gleeful dorkiness. In other words, it's the ultimate in adult Reality TV.
Patriot Dames: Bridget's brother takes a furlough from Iraq to visit the mansion on Fourth of July weekend. Talk about synergy, baby! Everyone rides the new twin, custom-built water slides, and a wet Holly is careful not to touch Hef's silk smoking jacket while giving him a kiss.
Heavy Lifting: When the girls discover a Betamax VCR in the mansion's exercise room, Holly decides a makeover is in order, but will she survive Hef's notorious resistance to change? Meanwhile, Kendra's mom drops in for a facelift.
Half-Baked Alaska: Holly takes the other girls on a trip to her hometown in Craig, Alaska. Hef suffers manfully for three days on his own.
Unveilings: Kendra's mom debuts her new features at an Arabian Nights Lingerie party, even though she's still wearing a big-old bandage on her nose for about three extra weeks.
There's Something About Mary O'Connor: Hef's delightful personal secretary says some words we'd rather not hear at her weekly cards night with the girls.
DVDTalk received a sealed retail version of this product for review, but disc two was mysteriously missing from the package. I can only assume Criss Angel made the disc disappear to retaliate for [Spoiler Alert!] losing Holly Madison. (Yes, for those of you who don't keep up with the Girls; Holly broke up with Hef (or vice versa) and then embarked on a four-month romance with Criss Angel, yet they too have since broken up.) [End Spoiler]
It's My Party and I'll Die if I Want To:Bridget gets to organize a Halloween Party Birthday Bash for herself, and wisely chooses the Haunted Murder Mystery theme. It certainly beats getting blindfolded and sticking your hand in a pot of cold spaghetti noodles or peeled grapes! Plus, Barbi Benton gets stripper lessons.
Surf's Up: Just when you thought Bridget didn't get enough to do around the mansion, she's elected to plan yet another party, this one including surfing lessons and limbo at the beach. There's nothing quite so charming as watching the girls lose their tops and bottoms while practicing their moves on the Flow Rider surfing simulator!
House Bunnies: What happens when a real film crew descends on the mansion to film the Anna Farris comedy The House Bunny? Not much different, considering the girls are followed constantly by camera crews anyway. But we are treated to a look at a fabulous Craft Services spread and more forced enthusiasm than is healthy. It's hard out here for a schmoozer!
Hot Chocolate: Drops the jaw - not an easy thing to do for The Girls Next Door, but when the girls decide to cast their body parts in chocolate to celebrate Hef's 82nd birthday, pretty much everyone's aghast. Put it this way, Holly says 'vagina' - a lot.
She Got Game: It's nice to see Kendra get hers on the gridiron, but when Playboy gets set to celebrate the Superbowl, you know you've seen a few too many parties on The Girls Next Door, other than watching Hef try out some moves on the dance floor, this is a boring, by-the-numbers episode.
Scream Test: Somehow, we're all the way back at Halloween again, but this time Bridget's getting some pin-up art painted by Olivia, and somehow wrangles a job producing a horror movie. Though auditions are entertaining enough to watch, this episode is another lackluster one, and no way to end the season.
The episodes are to be had in their original, fullscreen, 1.33:1 aspect broadcast ratio. They are nicely sharp, with eye-catching colors, relatively faultless detail (how 'bout that chocolate va-jay-jay?) and make for a truly pleasant and enjoyable viewing experience.
Dolby Digital English Stereo Audio is choice enough. Don't expect an amazingly active treatment or booming score, but enjoy clear audio with easy to hear dialog and dorky background music. On the other hand, I've been wandering around the house for days singing "I'm gonna give you figs and dates and-a grapes and-a cakes, hey!" so maybe fidelity isn't always such a good thing.
Each episode comes with a Commentary Track featuring Holly, Bridget and Kendra's insights. Content of these tracks is of similar ilk to stuff from the episodes, minus any editing. Suffice it to say, the tracks are filled with giggling and chitchat (to be polite) but take you to that next level of manufactured inanity for which the show is so well known. Additionally, Deleted Scenes (from one to five per episode) accompany each 24 minute episode. These scenes are a notch below in quality to the bits that made the cut, (obviously) but seamlessly integrate with your Next Door viewing pleasure. You can view each episode with or without a 20 second Promo for the following episode, and you may also choose between Uncensored English Audio and Censored English Audio - which seems odd, since you can't censor the boobs - but I'm damn happy to finally get to hear the girls cuss. Subtitles come in Uncensored English, Censored English or Censored Spanish, and Closed Captioning is available too.
Season Four of The Girls Next Door is entirely more of the same, which isn't a bad thing. Getting this highly edited, guided tour of the Girls' guided lives in the mansion is close to endlessly fascinating. It's such an odd brand of 'Reality,' and since it's so far removed from such, it's imminently entertaining. On the other hand, how many parties can you watch being planned? (And if the show weren't around, would they really be having so many parties anyway?) Girls Next Door is still the Reality TV version of Junior Mints, you can't stop popping them, but it's showing some wear and tear. Nonetheless, if you truly love reality TV, The Girls Next Door: Season Four is Recommended (if only to prolong your wonderment at the possibility of Hef having sex with any of these ladies).