Inside Pulse 12

DVD Review: Maude (The Complete Fourth Season) & The Nanny (The Final Season)

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Marriage is a complicated emotional and spiritual bonding that can be the most amazing joy and the most horrifying misery that two people can share. What one person views as making the other happy can turn out to be an unwanted sacrifice. Your happiness upsets them more than any vicious slur. Why does this happen? I’m not a trained shrink just a guy who watch tv shows. The Nanny: The Final Season – Season Six and Maude: The Complete Fourth Season both feature two couples that are under a bit of stress from their desires. Both shows approach their sitcom marriage from different approaches.

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The Nanny: The Final Season – Season Six wraps up the series with Fran (Fran Drescher) finally hitched to Maxwell Sheffield (Charles Shaughnessy). “The Honeymoon’s Overboard” starts off the couple’s wedded bliss with a travel issue that finds them stranded on a desert island. While this might be good, the show wasn’t quite ready to turn itself into the female version of Gilligan’s Island. C.C. (Lauren Lane) and Sylvia (Renée Taylor) do a finer job than those losers of Lost at finding their loved ones. “Fran Gets Shushed” brings their bedroom life to the front and center. Turns out Maxwell wants Fran to be less Fran voice during the passionate times together. The writers pull this discussion off without turning it into an HBO moment. “Once a Secretary, Always A Secretary” finds more tension in the marriage as Maxwell doesn’t quite grasp that Fran is his wife and no longer a paid employee. “Sara’s Parents” gets a little serious as Maxwell’s former in-laws have an issue with Fran adopting the kids. Fran takes more junk when Maggie shacks up with her boyfriend in “Maggie’s Boyfriend.” Things escalate quickly when “I’m Pregnant” has Maggie sensing she’s knocked up. Fran quickly steals Maggie’s baby fever heat with her own bump in “Mom’s the World.” Turns out Fran might have spoken too soon, but she’s eager to make it happen as seen in “Making Whoopi.” This episodes gets juiced up by Maxwell guesting on Hollywood Squares. Be prepared for Whoopi Goldberg, Howie Mandel and Estelle Getty in their boxes. “The Father-In-Law” puts Maxwell’s biggest fear to reality. Turns out Fran’s parents have been evicted and they need to stay at the mansion for a bit of time. “The Finale” is a two parter that ties together all the storylines brought up during the season. Isn’t that good enough to not spoil the show? Fran Drescher did an amazing job getting her dream series to have a long run. She never compromised her character or accent as her Fran dreamed big in a world outside her old neighborhood. She fought hard to make her marriage work for this season despite all the complications.

Maude: The Complete Fourth Season opens with Maude (Bea Arthur) gets asked to run for the New York State senate after spending too much time in Albany being a lobbyist. Her daughter Carol (Adrienne Barbeau), Dr. Arthur Harmon Conrad Bain) and Vivian (Rue McClanahan) are ready to vote for Maude. Her political aspirations are met by a stone wall in known as her husband Walter (Bill Macy). He’s already furious that she showed up halfway through him receiving an honor as the town’s best businessman. He only sees Maude being a politician as drawing her more away from him. He doesn’t want a weekend wife. This supposed to be a sitcom, but Macy is able to bring an anger and frustration to the small screen that makes the episode brilliantly uncomfortable. How did Macy not get an Emmy nomination let alone hardware for his role? This is the season most noted for “The Analyst” which is basically a one woman show for Bea Arthur. But Macy’s work this season isn’t just there to be a straight man to Bea. He’s in a ’70s version of a Eugene O’Neil play. He’s so convincing in his menacing glare that you sense Maude’s fourth marriage is toast. There’ s plenty of highlights from the season including Maude trying to get Henry Fonda elected president nearly four years before Ronald Reagan would prove an actor can take the White House. Walter also gets busted during a movie for lewd conduct. This was the highest rated of all six seasons Maude ran on CBS.

Both The Nanny and Maude explored the tension found in a marriage. While they are both sitcoms, Bill Macy went deeper than the laugh track on Maude. His is a brilliant performance that needs to be savored.

The video is 1.33:1 full frame. Both sitcom shows do fine in standard definition. Macy’s close ups reveal his seething nature. The audio is Dolby Digital mono. You’ll hear Fran’s laugh and Macy’s huffs cleanly. Both shows are Closed Captioned.

No bonus features.

Shout! Factory presents The Nanny: Season Six – The Final Season. Starring: Fran Drescher, Charles Shaughnessy, Benjamin Salisbury, Madeline Zima and Renée Taylor. Boxset Contents: 22 Episodes on 3 DVDs. Released: March 15, 2016.

Shout! Factory presents Maude: The Complete Fourth Season. Starring: Beatrice Arthur, Bill Macy, Adrienne Barbeau, Conrad Bain, Rue McClanahan. Boxset Contents: 24 Episodes on 3 DVDs. Released: March 22, 2016.

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