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DVD Review: Love American Style – Season One, Volume Two

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Paramount has recently released a three-DVD set containing the remaining twelve episodes of the first season of Love American Style. The anthology series, which usually consisted of three vignettes per episode, really broke the mold as far as what had been seen on television up to that point. Couples, married or unmarried, were shown kissing in (or on a) bed, unmistakable double-entendres were used freely in the dialogue, and some of the clothing worn by the young female guest stars didn't leave much to the imagination.

While the storylines presented in Love American Style – Season One, Volume Two aren't exactly cutting edge stuff today, a young wife trying to revive her stagnant sex life was fairly revolutionary back in 1970. It is probably fair to assume that a show like Love American Style helped to usher in sitcoms like All In The Family, Maude, and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. While all of these later series took a comedic but much more serious look at social issues such as love, marriage, and sex, it is often a lighter show with less dramatic overtones that can change the rules for others to follow.

I know that probably sounds like a bold statement but I think there is truth in it. The Brady Bunch, which premiered on September 26, 1969, is widely credited as the first post-kinescope television series to show a couple sharing a double bed. The Munsters shared a bed back in 1966, but they weren't exactly human. When Love American Style premiered just three days later, producers made it clear from the start that the series revolved around a big, brass bed.

Legendary producer/director Garry Marshall would probably disagree with my theory. He has often said that Love American Style was simply a place where most sitcoms went to die. Apparently, if a producer couldn't sell a pilot to a network, he would give the show to Aaron Spelling, who would rework it for an episode of Love American Style. If that is the case, Aaron Spelling was a bloody genius.

As with the first volume, Volume 2 is brimming with famous faces including: Vivian Vance, George Gobel, Sue Lyon, Edd Byrnes, Dorothy Lamour, Penny Marshall, Joan Van Ark, Imogene Coca, Dick Sargent, Ray Walston, Pat Harrington, Wally Cox, Jerry Van Dyke, Tony Randall, Paul Lynde, Paul Denver, Adam West, Burt Reynolds, Jackie Coogan, Steve Allen, and Tom Bosley.

Though I'm not a huge fan of Paramount's tendency to divide some of its older series seasons into two DVD sets, fans of Love American Style will definitely want to add Volume 2 to their collections to complete the season. Love American Style remains a hilarious look at love and romance almost forty years after it premiered.

The episodes are shown in their original 1.33:1 full frame aspect ratio. While the colors are not as bright as some might like, the transfer is acceptable for a forty-year-old show. The audio is your standard English Dolby Digital Mono track. There is little hiss at higher volumes in the episodes. The dialogue is easy to understand. The audio won't blow out your home theater speakers, but since this is standard sitcom stuff, I wouldn't expect it to. Closed captioning is available on all of the episodes. There are no special features available. One note: per most Paramount television series releases on the back of the packaging it says, "Some episode may be edited from their original network versions." I didn't notice any significant changes.

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About Rebecca Wright

  • http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/39420/joanne_huspek.html Joanne Huspek

    I loved, loved, LOVED Love American Style! I’m glad it’s available on DVD now.

  • Dave

    Rebecca Wright wrote, “Some episode may be edited from their original network versions.” I didn’t notice any significant changes.

    I grew up with Love American Style. It was a badge show about the Sexual Revolution, which has been buried with the exception of feminism and gay rights. These videos are heavily edited. I do not understand why the originals can’t be released as they were. This was an adult program and quite risque, very much like Benny Hill.

    Hollywood should not be carving up original television shows. Programs should be preserved for history and collectors. Everything except the music of the era has been heavily censored, and these dvd’s are an absolute disgrace. I’m sorry I bought them and believe the marketing is completely dishonest.