The War At Home The Complete First Season
Michael Rapaport, Anita Barone, Kaylee DeFer
Originally broadcast FOX Network 2005-06
22 Episodes 3 DVDs
Warner Home Video 2007

There has not been a must watch sitcom in the past few years but then again I did not come across The War At Home until I got The Complete First Season. As it is, I have to be content with the 22 episode 3 DVD set of the first season of this situation comedy and content I am. If you are looking for a fresh family-based comedy that is beyond the usual bland major network prime time sanitized for the networks’ own let’s not make the advertisers unhappy fodder, The War At Home The Complete First Season is fun. The fact this is an original sitcom may explain why it was cancelled after two seasons.

One of the reasons I enjoyed The War At Home The Complete First Season is the show is about a very normal, not TV normal, real life normal, family though the stories themselves tend to be over the top. For example the first two episodes have as a secondary storyline the Gold’s oldest son, Larry, cross-dressing so he can go for a ride in his mother’s car. This is problematic for the Golds (Michael Rapaport, Anita Barone) as they believed Larry was only gay. I am not a big fan of Kyle Sullivan, the actor who plays Larry, because I keep getting the impression he is playing his character as if he or Larry was a little old Jewish man, but this is a good example of how weird and fresh this situation comedy is. His friend Kenny is also a bit grating.

Part of the originality of The War At Home is the concept of the characters having their Big Brother room moment where they can share some asides and personal thoughts with the viewers. These work in part because they are funny and in part because the concept is not often abused. What does get a little tiring is the is Larry gay?  storyline which overstays its welcome in the first few episodes. There is also the fact Michael Rapaport (Boston Public) sometimes looks like he is holding back a fart when he delivers some of his lines.

The writing in The War At Home is pretty good. For example the scene where the mother and daughter are discussing breast implants: “You want boys to like you for what’s on the inside.” “The implants would be on the inside!”  or, about a Monopoly game, “You’re half Jewish and half Italian. That means you charge him as much as you can and if he doesn’t pay you break his legs.”

The story lines are also pretty good, not ground breaking mind you, but pretty good. What adds to the interest and comedy is the private space asides that punch up the dialogue and the situations. Still, I think The War At Home would have been a better situation comedy if the writers had focused on Larry a lot less and on Mike and, to a lesser degree, Hillary, a lot more

Episodes I enjoyed include The Bigger The Come, about Hillary wanting breast implants, High Crimes, where the parents’ pot smoking past catches up to them, and The Empire Spanks Back. The spelling bee story in How Do You Spell Relief and its punchline is also pretty good, especially the punch line. Looney Tunes was also fun to watch

Lesser shows include Like A Virgin, an episode about the daughter thinking of taking the big decision. It is one of those topics sitcoms always go for and always fumble. The season closer is a bit of a mess story wise.

The War At Home will not go down in TV history as a classic situation comedy but the 3 DVD set of The Complete First Season is enjoyable. Special features include a gag reel and a special confessions segment. Fans of the show might want to grab this sitcom box set; the show’s demise might not be good for second printings of this set.


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