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Featured TV on DVD Review: My Three Sons: Season Two, Volume Two

June 13th, 2010

My Three Sons: Season Two, Volume Two - Buy from Amazon

My Three Sons is the second longest running American sitcom of all time, just behind Ozzie and Harriet. The shows have a lot in common and both are considered quintessential slices of American life. At least they are idealized versions of American life that people at the time liked to believe was reality. I reviewed the Second Volume of the First Season and thought it was excellent with a surprising diversity of stories. So how well does the show hold up during Season Two, Volume Two?

Unfortunately, not as well. The first season was written and produced by Peter Tewksbury (who also wrote a handful of episodes). His exacting nature meant the show was frequently over-budget and off-schedule, and this put him at odds with the network. He left the show at the end of the first season, and you can notice the difference as the show became a lot more of a standard family sitcom. Gone are the episodes with a Film Noir sense of mystery to them, or ones where there's a genuine sense of mortal danger. No, they are replaced with episodes about birthday parties, bad jobs, and girlfriend troubles.

Granted, the execution is still good and there are a number of strong episodes. For instance, Bub Gets a Job has Uncle Bub reading a magazine article aimed at frustrated housewives and realizes he's become one, so he takes the article's advice and tries to get a job. In A Holiday for Tramp, the family dog, Tramp, wanders off while they are at the train station only to hitch a ride with a demanding actress, Marissa Montaigne, who despite her normally terse demeanor, starts to like the dog. Casanova Trouble has Steve helping his secretary, whose 13-year daughter is love with an older man. The problem gets more complicated when the evidence points to his son, Mike, who is college. Coincidence is another highlight of this three-disc set. When his day off is ruined by the commotion in his house, Steve leaves and contemplates what it would be like to raise three girls instead of three boys. The episode is a little more unusual than the simple setup suggests. In Air Derby, Robbie is competing in a model airplane competition with a $500 scholarship as a grand prize. However, when his father learns one of the boys needs that win to go to college, he's torn on who to cheer for.

There are no real misses here and even the average episode is worth checking out. For instance, even though The Pencil Pusher is only average, it starts with a great scene with Mike and Robbie tricking Bub to steal slices of his freshly baked cake.

On the other hand, this is a split-season release, and since it is only 3-discs, there's really no need for that. And to top things off, there are no extras either.

The Verdict

Season Two of My Three Sons is not as good as Season One. It's not bad, just closer to average. Pleasantly average. Strangely, it was also the show's highest rated season, finishing the year in 11th place. Perhaps people enjoyed its pleasantly average nature. Season Two, Volume Two is not bad value for the money, but it almost seems like the studio is trying to annoy fans of the show by releasing the show on featureless, split-season sets.

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