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DVD Review: Everybody Hates Chris – The Final Season

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Everybody Hates Chris was a series that was inspired by comedian Chris Rock’s childhood experiences. The show ran for four seasons starting on the UPN network and then moving over to the CW when the UPN and WB networks merged. The show follows Rock as a teenager growing up in the 1980’s in Brooklyn, New York as the oldest of three children.

Season four has Chris (Tyler James Williams) entering high school where he’s finally not the only black student in the entire school. Once again Chris is struggling to find his place, avoid bullies and keep his siblings Drew (Tequan Richmond) Tanya (Imani Hakim) in line at home or deal with the consequences from his parents played by Terry Crews and Tichina Arnold.

Rock narrates each show and is the best thing about the series, especially when he can poke fun of today’s politicians, fashion or “embarrassments” like Flavor Flav and various members of the Jackson family. Rock has never shied away from speaking his mind and while he has to keep his speech clean for network TV, he gets his thoughts across.

There are plenty of cameos throughout this season including Tisha Campbell Martin as Peaches (which reunites her with her Martin co-star Tichina Arnold), Robin Givens, Nina Mansker, and Vanessa Williams.

The show has had its ups and down in terms of funniness, while the first season was great the next two seasons seemed to lose a step or two. It finally got back on track this season, however after 21 good episodes the finale derails all that. The show ends with a Sopranos homage or spoof which doesn’t really work because it doesn’t come off as funny. The CW decided not to renew the show, but Rock beat them to the punch and announced weeks before their announcement of cancellation that he decided to end the series with this season, which was smart as the show was running out of steam.

Everybody Hates Chris: The Final Season has a good amount of extras, the season premiere has commentary with co-creator/executive producer Ali LeRoi who talks about the episode and the series in general. All 22 episodes comes with a "Director's Webisode" each of these short (two minutes or less) featurettes has the episodes director discussing how the episode was shot, for any inspiring filmmakers this is quite interesting. There are also deleted scenes on several of the episodes, but considering the deleted scenes run 30 seconds or less, nothing of major consequence was cut.

Moving over to the set’s fourth disc we find a number of featurettes, there’s a funny gag reel, "Death in the Dining Room" discusses why the dining room scenes that are part of each episode were so difficult to shoot – many plots coming together and the child labor laws are just two of those reasons.

"Give 'Em Props" talks about what the show did to use props from the mid to late 1980’s and how you couldn’t just substitute a prop from today for one from yesterday.

"The Key to VFX" shows how Chris used green-screen for various scenes in the show.

Finally we have the best and worst of the featurettes, the worst is "Juste Pour Rire = Just for Laughs" here a scene is taken from the show and dubbed over using ridiculous French accents, it might have been funny for a minute or two, but this is dragged out for over seven minutes and just gets annoying. On the other end of the spectrum is "Candid with the Cast" where director Jerry Levine (Styles from Teen Wolf!) where he interviews the main cast members of the series and asks them various questions about the past four seasons.

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