Theres always a triple emotion when the final season of a favorite TV series gets released on DVD: overwhelming joy, immense relief and a little dab of sadness. The joy comes from being able to finally see how the show wrapped up in the proper order. The relief happens from knowing that the series wasnt abandoned by the company. The sadness strikes with the realization that there will be no more anticipation of when the next season will be released. Theres no more checking on various sites and boards to get the inside dope. Although theres always the consolatory thought that at some point the series might get re-issued on Blu-ray. Such were the conflicted emotions that arrived with the opening of That Girl: Season Five. The common perception is that this is a womens show about Ann Marie (Marlo Thomas), a single girl struggling to be an actress in Manhattan. The show really is about Donald Hollinger (Ted Bessell) struggling to date an insane actress in Manhattan. This is a boyfriend’s survival guide.
“Counter Proposal” launches the new season with a stunning revelation: Anns forehead! Her trademark bangs are gone as she parts her long black hair in the middle. Even Donald gets to go a little wild to embrace Manhattan in 1970. However the legacy of Impeccable Hair of Ted Bessell remains since he doesnt get a case of groovy hippie locks. He works the sideburns like a TV cop. Theres finally singing on the opening credits. Why did it take so long for them to come up with the iconic lyrics? The episode opens with Donald finally putting a deposit down on the perfect engagement ring. After four years of dating Ann, hes ready to make it legit. Ronnie Schell (Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C.s Cpl. Duke) is a co-worker with a ring from a failed engagement. He sells it to Donald at a bargain price. The big thing is Donald doesnt want Ann to know its a slightly used ring. Things go weird when Schells old fiance wants him back along with the ring. Can Donald switch rings without having Ann go bonkers?
“Donald, Sandi, and Harry and Snoopy” finally introduces us to Donalds sister. Its Cloris Leachman (Young Frankenstein). She wants Ann to meet her actor boyfriend. Things go weird when Ann swears the guy is making a pass at her. Why couldnt they have had Cloris on more shows? “I Aint Got Nobody” is proof that Ann wasnt putting out to Donald. Donald shocked to find Ann Marie as the centerfold in the latest issue of “Playpen” magazine. But it turns out the photographer merely put Anns head on another womans naked body. The photog doesnt see anything wrong with this switcheroo. Ann has finally landed a major gig as the hostess on a kiddie puppet show. Is her career ruined by her association with a skinmag? Do have to feel bad for Donald since he obviously has no idea what Anns breasts look like.
â€¨The focus on the engagement hits the road with “There Sure Are a Bunch of Cards in St. Louis.” After making Donald suffer under the watchful eye of her father, she goes out West to meet Donalds dad. If the pressure isnt enough, shes also in a play. “That Girls Daddy” has her suspect dad is messing around with one of her friends. Is Mr. Marie ready for a trophy wife? “That Senorita” has Ann in hot water for being part of a sketch that upsets Mexican viewers. “Those Friars” has Ann inherit her uncles vaudeville trunk. Danny Thomas (Marlos dad) and Milton Berle want to buy it from her.
“A Limited Engagement” gives us a rocky moment between Ann and Donald. Is he really willing to call it off? “Stag Party” is a dead giveaway that the wedding plans are on. Donald gets his big bachelor party thrown by Bernie Kopell. Who wouldnt want to get their farewell to the single life planned by Doc from The Love Boat? However Anns dad (Lew Parker) shows up and becomes a pain to his future son-in-law sloshed. Can the good times survive the judgmental Mr. Marie? The drunk Donald keeps having visions of how his marriage to Ann will alter his life. Its not a pretty picture.
“The Elevated Woman” wraps up the series on an unconventional note. While the season started with them getting engaged, we dont get a wedding special at the end. Instead of an alter, Ann drags Donald to a Womens Lib meeting. They get stuck in an elevator. Donald and Ann flashback to previous episodes. This gives us a final chance to enjoy the truly Impeccable Hair of Ted Bessell. They revisit the moment Ann sticks her toe in a bowling ball. For those who want a wedding scene, you can always refer to the fantasy sequence in “Stag Party.” Ann did get to wear a bridal gown. That Girl is a series about the fears and frustrations of the dating life. Getting married would kill Donald from the relief of being hitched. Avoiding the ceremony is the fitting end for That Girl: Season Five.
“Counter Proposal,” “Donald, Sandi, and Harry and Snoopy,” “I Ain’t Got Nobody,” “No Man is Manhattan Island,” “Rattle of a Single Girl,” “There Sure Are a Bunch of Cards in St. Louis” (two-parter), “That Cake,” “That Girl’s Daddy,” “Stop the Presses, I Want to Get Off,” “Super Reporter,” “That Senorita,” “An Uncle Herbert for All Seasons,” “That Script,” “Those Friars,” “A Limited Engagement,” “The Russians are Staying,” “That Shoplifter,” “Chef’s Night Out,” “That King,” “Stag Party,” “Two For the Money,” “Soot Yourself” and “The Elevated Woman.”
The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The transfers give more than enough detail to notice Anns radical hairdo change. Theres a richness to the color. The audio is Dolby Digital mono. The levels might have you reaching for the volume when Ann unloads a really loud “Oh, Donald.”
Audio Commentaries from Marlo Thomas and Bill Persky are on “I Aint Got Nobody,” “The Cake,” Those Friars” and “The Elevated Woman.” Their chats are very strange since they hadnt seen these episodes in a long time. They dont even remember how the flashbacks end. She does ponder why after five years Donald didnt have a key to Anns apartment.
That Girl: Season Five wraps up the frustrating tale of Donald Hollinger (Ted Bessell), the man who went through so much torture because he loved Ann Marie (Marlo Thomas). A young man can learn a lot about relationships from witnessing what Donald endured for a few kisses. When faced with an insane moment with your date, you can always ask, How did Donald handle this? With all five seasons out on TV, the legacy of Ted Bessell and his Impeccable Hair can now be displayed on your DVD shelf.
Shout! Factory presents That Girl: Season Five. Marlo Thomas, Ted Bessell, Lew Parker and Bernie Kopell. Boxset Contents: 24 episodes on 4 DVDs. Released on DVD: May 5, 2009. Available at Amazon.com
Tags: Cloris Leachman, Gomer Pyle, Love Boat, Shout! Factory