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Featured TV on DVD Review: According to Jim: Season Four

July 4th, 2011

According to Jim: Season Four - Buy from Amazon

According to Jim lasted eight seasons on TV, but it was never a major hit. Only once in its eight seasons on the air did it crack the top 50 for the full season. The Fourth Season was the one season it was able to manage this feat, but is the show an improvement from Season Three?

The Show

In a word, no. ... I should probably give more details than that before moving onto the next review.

I know, I cut and pasted that from the review for the previous season, but I did so to make a point. Last time I complained about how nearly every episode followed the same formula, and that's still the case here. There's a problem, Jim makes it worse, Cheryl reacts in frustration, and the episode ends. Except for a few details, the last review I wrote for this show applies just as well to this season. Sometimes the formula is changed up a little bit, like when Cheryl and Dana don't listen to Jim's instructions on how to open the garage door, so they had to break out. But that's one of the rare episodes that deviates from the norm in any significant way.

For the most part, it's Jim screwing up, whether it's trying to cheat on a fertility test by getting Andy, his brother-in-law, to take it for him. Or whether it's getting a burial plot next to a famous athlete, instead of in his wife's family plot. Or whether it's covering up destroying his wife's wedding dress. Or whether it's inviting over their annoying neighbors, because he thinks they are good luck. The only storyline that lasts more than an episode is Dana's wedding preparations, which are brought up several times over the course of the last half of the season. If you liked that storyline, that's great news. If you didn't find her wedding compelling, then you lose a good chunk of episodes.

I think if you were to watch the show when it first aired, then seeing the episodes once a week wouldn't be too bad. But watching them in a marathon session on DVD, it's just too much to take. Seeing the similar storylines, and hearing similar jokes, so many times in such a short time is too much to take.

The Extras

There are two featurettes on this four-disc set, the first an 11-minute retrospective on the fouth season. There is also a 13-minute interview featurette with the three actors who played the kids during the show's eight-year run: Taylor Atelian, Billi Bruno, and Conner Rayburn.

The Verdict

According to Jim is a very formulaic sitcom with some lazy writing in the jokes, but on the positive side, the cast does have strong chemistry together. That's not enough for me to recommend Season Four, but if you liked Season Three enough to buy it, there's no reason to stop now.

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