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Fox Home Entertainment presents
Son of the Beach: Volume 1 (2000)

"I love the sea. Ever since I can remember, I've had water on the brain."
- Notch Johnson (Timothy Stack)

Review By: Rich Rosell  
Published: May 06, 2003

Stars: Timothy Stack, Jaime Bergman, Roland Kickinger, Leila Arcieri, Kim Oja, Lisa Banes
Other Stars: Mark Hamill, Vincent Pastore, Pat Morita, Erik Estrada, Alan Thicke, Jason C. Hopkins, Maureen McCormick, Corbin Bernsen, Gary Coleman, Cory Feldman, Victoria Silvstedt, Jack Riley, Walter Koenig, Jerry Springer, Dweezil Zappa, Gilbert Gottfried, Joan Van Ark, Jackie Martling, Mark Harris, David Arquette, Lukas Haas, Neil Patrick Harris, Larry Flynt, John Salley
Director: Scott McAboy, George Verschoor, Gloria Muzio, William Warren, Tim Andrew, John Putch

Manufacturer: DVCC
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (strong sexual humor)
Run Time: 462m
Release Date: April 29, 2003
UPC: 024543069638
Genre: television


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B- BBB B-

DVD Review

The now cancelled comedy, Son of the Beach, was broadcast on the FX channel, and was an overtly jiggly Baywatch parody, combined with a cornball nod to the Quinn Martin Productions cop shows from the late 1960s. The show's claim-to-fame was its incessant and liberal use of sexual double entendres, both visual and otherwise, and it seemed as if there was a constant "bad boy" competition to see what would be allowed past the censors.

The show centers around the Shore Patrol Force 30 (or SPF 30, for short), a team of lifeguards in the beach community of Malibu Adjacent, led by the pale, out-of-shape, rather dense Notch Johnson (Timothy Stack). Notch's unit consists of ditzy blonde B.J. Cummings (Jaime Bergman), street tough Jamaica St. Croix (Leila Arcieri), muscle-bound Arnold Schwarzenegger clone Chip Rommel (Roland Kickinger), and smart Kimberlee Clark (Kim Oja), who one character refers to as "the sensible, flat-chested one." The SPF squad is constantly at odds with horny Mayor Anita Massengil who, over the course of the series, is always trying to shut down the lifeguard team one way or another.

The jokes are juvenile and sexist, but the delivery is both so corny and serious that even the most eye-rolling punchline seems comical. This is beer and pretzels kind of entertainment, and show creators and headwriters Timothy Stack, James R. Stein and David Morgasen load each episode with bad puns, funny names, double entendres and plenty of shots of Bergman and Arcieri in tiny, tiny bikinis.

This isn't highbrow intellectual comedy, and admitting to liking something like Son of the Beach might not earn you any points with the local chapter of the Moral Majority.

Here's a look at Volume 1:

DISC 1

With Sex, You Get Eggroll
Director: George Verschoor
Original Air Date: 03/14/00

"Well,Kimberlee, it's time to show you my unit. It may not be the biggest, but it's the best." -Notch Johnson

The premiere episode serves to introduce the cast and setup up their idiosyncrasies, including the addition of Kimberlee Clark to the SPF 30 team. Like a Brazilian-waxed Dana Scully on The X-Files, it's revealed here that Kimberlee was originally sent to infiltrate the squad by evil Mayor Anita Massengil, but over time eventually came to be a loyal supporter of good ol' Notch Johnson. This episode also features a nutty plot about Notch and his crew busting up an Asian whorehouse, where a huge vat of Sex-O-Lube saves the day.

This episode rates four and one-half suns:



Silence of the Clams
Director: Scott McAboy
Original Air Date: 03/21/00

"I've been catching crabs all week." -B.J. Cummings

It's Spring Break in Malibu Adjacent, and a mysterious criminal known as the UniDumper is pouring radioactive waste into the water. As usual, it's up to Notch and the SPF team to make things right. Meanwhile, a callous womanizer from State University College of Malibu Adjacent (S.U.C.M.A.), whose mascot is the cock (a rooster, that is), puts the moves on B.J. Silence Of The Clams introduces the recurring character of Ellen, the lesbian proprietor of the Fish Taco stand. Other highlights include projectile vomiting and an Elvis-like song to wrap things up, performed by Notch Johnson and The Johnsonaires.

This episode rates five suns:



In the G-hetto
Director: William Warren
Original Air Date: 03/28/00

"I'd enter the contest, but I pulled my groin watching television last night." -Notch Johnson

Jamaica runs into the villainous The Bird, who was her former posse leader back in "the hood." The Bird threatens to kill Jamaica's sister Montego Bay unless she rejoins her old crew and become a drug mule. Can Notch save the day? Well, he does threaten to "lick her posse", so I guess that's a good sign. A secondary subplot has the buffed out Chip entering the Mr. Pec Pageant. There are some great snakebite/oral sex sight gags in this one, and it even includes the classic "Mike Hunt" prank phone call bit.

This episode rates five suns:



Love, Native-American Style
Director: George Verschoor
Original Air Date: 04/04/00

Kimberlee: "I see the fuzz!"
B.J. Cummings: "But I just got a bikini wax!"

When Chief Pokemon, the leader of the Kahonee Indian tribe (who we learn is Notch's adopted father), dies, a nefarious developer conspires with equally evil Dark Horse to build a casino on tribal land. It's up to Notch and his fringe bikini-wearing Native American stepsister Firebush to unravel the plan, and maybe, just maybe, regain the dignity of the Kahonees. This episode also includes a striptease montage, featuring B.J., Jamaica and Kimberlee, as they end up on stage to help Chip raise money for his family's "business" in South America.

This episode rates five suns:



Two Thongs Don't Make a Right
Director: Scott McAboy
Original Air Date: 04/11/00

"B.J., as usual, you've said a mouthful." -Notch Johnson

After a ten-year-old Peter Goesinya falls into a pit while searching for a nude beach, Mayor Massengil gets pressure from a religious leader to put a ban on thongs in Malibu Adjacent. The ban is met with predictable outrage, and prompts Notch to don a tiny thong as a show of support. The Notch-in-a-thong gag is damn funny, as are the crowd reactions. There is a not-so-sublte montage of Jamaica and B.J. modeling thongs that ends with them eating messy ice cream cones. For added fun in this installment, we also learn of B.J.'s deep, dark secret!

For the thong gag alone, this episode rates five suns:



Fanny and the Professor
Director: William Warren
Original Air Date: 04/18/00

"Wow, you three look so much alike you could be twins." - Notch Johnson

Evil Mayor Massengil fires the SPF 30 team, and replaces them with a trio of gorgeous blonde robots named Julia, Louis, and Dreyfuss. This episode marks the first appearance of Notch's arch enemy Professor Milosevic, an evil wheelchair bound baddie who communicates through a robotic voice box. Plenty of non-politically correct handicap jokes here, as well as some wonderfully gratuitous footage of women in bikinis exercising and B.J. eating a banana.

This episode rates four and one-half suns:



Eat My Muffin
Director: George Verschoor
Original Air Date: 08/01/00

"That's far enough, cult leader!" -Notch Johnson

Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill, pops up in Malibu Adjacent as horny cult leader Divine Rod, who also happens to run an online porn business. When B.J. loses her self-confidence after botching a rescue, she quits her lifeguard gig and joins the Kingdom Come cult, after falling under the spell of a drug-laced muffin. Renamed Milky Way, B.J. is slated to be de-flowered on the Internet unless Notch and Kimberlee can infiltrate the cult.

A classic. This episode rates five suns:



DISC 2

Miso Honei
Director: Gloria Muzio
Original Air Date: 08/08/00

"Remember gang, the best weather reports come by bulk mail." -Notch Johnson

Trouble is brewing when the dreaded monster wave Miso Honei, a combination "earthquake, cyclone, rap concert," heads straight for Malibu Adjacent. It just happens to be the same wave that claimed the life of Notch's father, Big Red Johnson (Corbin Bernsen), and Mayor Massengil orders Notch to face his fears and ride it in a competition against the evil Adolph Manson. In Miso Honei, we learn that Notch's real name is Notchabald, and that lucky shorts should really be checked for embarrassing stains. Plus, B.J. has a secret admirer, who just might be a certain Teutonic lifeguard.

This episode rates five suns:



South of Her Border
Director: Scott McAboy
Original Air Date: 08/15/00

"I had just gotten out of the old navy, and there was a gap in my life, so I filled it by fighting for a banana republic." -Notch Johnson

Erik Estrada shows up as Senor Winces, the leader of the small country of Humidor, and he calls once again on the help of his old friend Notch Johnson to put an end to an uprising. As expected, El Notcho, as he is called, nearly causes more trouble than he prevents, and B.J., Jamaica and Kimberlee end up in a sweaty prison. For comedic action, the explosive combination of beans and an open flame provide some cheesy climactic pyrotechnics.

Not the strongest episode, so this one merits just three suns:



Day of the Jackass
Director: George Verschoor
Original Air Date: 08/22/00

Kim: So, Viet Nam was tough, eh guys?
Notch: Tough? Remember that pickle we had on Hamburger Hill?

A political summit in Malibu Adjacent, between China and Africa, draws the attention of the deranged assassin Captain Entenille (Alan Thicke), who just happens to be an old army buddy of Notch's. After Notch accidently reveals a security gaffe to Entenille, Kimberlee, Chip and B.J. have to convince their boss that his old friend is not what he seems to be. Meanwhile, Jamaica woos an African prince, son of King Vidor, and gets the valuable bauble The Ruby of Begonia for her troubles. The episode wraps with a hilarious story from Notch about the military adventures of one Richard "Dick" Head.

This episode rates big five suns:



A Star Is Boned
Director: Scott McAboy
Original Air Date: 08/29/00

"I love 'Beaches In Da Hood' because it makes much more sense bringing the beach to the ghetto than schlepping all those folks up here." -Mayor Massengil

Notch saves the life of actress Regina Streep during the filming of a movie on the beaches of Malibu Adjacent, and the two quickly become a romantic item. Things get really fishy when Kimberlee begins to suspect that Regina may not be the innocent victim she claims to be. There are plenty of Mission:Impossible-styled rubber masks, and a couple of driftwood-in-Notch's-shorts sight gags. As if that weren't enough, Jamaica's charity (Beaches In Da Hood) serves as a well-deserved setup for a bikini-clad carwash montage.

This episode rates four and one-half suns:



Attack of the Cocktopuss
Director: Scott McAboy
Original Air Date: 09/05/00

"Cocktopuss, I come in peace. But if necessary, I carry pepper spray and a rape whistle." -Notch Johnson

It's 1950s horror in Malibu Adjacent as a mythical creature known as The Cocktopuss (who has eight tentacles and the head of a...rooster) terrorizes the beach. Mayor Massengil offers up a $100,000 reward for the capture of the beast, but it's B.J. who earns the trust of the misunderstood monster. Chip joins a hardcore punk band, and attracts the attention of a sleazy record exec, played by Cory Feldman. Gary Coleman has a cameo as a barker at the mayor's Seaquarium.

Another classic. This episode rates a big five suns:



Mario Putzo's The Last Dong
Director: George Verschoor
Original Air Date: 09/12/00

Notch: Hey gang, I've just been analyzing these crime scene blood samples. They're Type A.
Kimberlee: Positive?
Notch: Well, I'm not going to bet money on it, but I think so.

The Sopranos take to the sand as Vincent Pastore guest stars as tough guy mobster Vinnie Fellachio, who muscles his "protection" racket onto the boardwalk. Notch and the SPF'ers take the law into their own hands, and do battle in a spaghetti-western shootout on the beach. For prurient goodness, Chip's sexy relative Eva (Victoria Silvstedt) comes to town and puts the moves on B.J., who then has to consult with Ellen (from The Fish Taco stand) to seek advice on how to know whether she is gay or not. Ellen's solution is a magical take-out meal that can decide your sexuality, dependent on which item you eat. I'm sure you can visualize the sight gag on this one, but if not then you should try really hard. This one avoids the usual silly public service announcement, and instead ends with a Dragnet parody.

This episode rates a titilating four and one-half suns:



DISC 3

B.J. Blue Hawaii
Director: Tim Andrew
Original Air Date: 03/13/01

Notch: Hey, isn't this Hawaiian Punch? I haven't had this stuff since my last visit to the islands.
Kimberlee: But you can get Hawaiian Punch anywhere.
Notch: But it's not fresh, like it is here.

The SPF 30 team heads to Hawaii a Miss Hawaiian Tropic Contest, and end up helping Notch's old friend King Kumonya (Pat Morita) overcome drug dealers who have taken over his macadamia nut ranch. A subplot has Jamaica and B.J. oil wrestling after becoming bitter rivals in the suntan contest, and Chip has feign being gay to fend off the Mayor's advances, yet again. There is a funny bit concerning Notch's fond memories of eating King Kumonya's nuts, and this episode also marks a change in the opening credits, where Steve The Dog has been promoted to Lt. Steve Andrews. The opening segment features a campy musical number that is actually pretty well done, considering the general low-brow nature of the show.

This episode rates another five suns:



From Russia With Johnson
Director: Scott McAboy
Original Air Date: 03/13/01

"If there's one thing that Commies can't resist, it's whores. Dirty, filthy whores." -Notch Johnson

Star Trek's Walter Koenig is Russian General Sukitov, and when a spy submarine is stranded on the ocean floor off Malibu Adjacent, he is sent to destroy it. B.J. has to seduce the general to learn the whereabouts of the sub, and there is plenty of shots of her in a tiny leather dominatrix outfit, complete with riding crop. Meanwhile, Chip blows into a magic conch shell, and conjures up the beautiful Areola the mermaid, who quickly falls in love with the bulked up German. Tragedy strikes when Notch tries to rescue the sunken seamen. Who can possibly save them?

This episode rates four suns:



Remember Her Titans
Director: Scott McAboy
Original Air Date: 03/27/01

"What's he betting on? Is it horses, football, or has he dirtied his hands with floating craps?"
-Notch Johnson

In this largely unfunny episode, Jamaica falls for a basketball player with a gambling problem, and it's up to Notch to set things straight at Club Whitey. This one marks the return of the S.U.C.M.A. Cocks, who have to do battle on the courts against, you guessed it, The Beavers. A subplot has the Mayor's gay ex-husband returning to Malibu Adjacent, with plans to whisk young Cody off to England. The humor in this episode is very, very strained, and is probably the least funny one of the set. Basketball star John Salley guest stars.

This episode rates just one sun:



Rod Strikes Back
Director: Scott McAboy
Original Air Date: 04/03/01

"See, all Italians aren't in the Mafia. Some are janitors." -Notch Johnson

Evil villain Divine Rod (Mark Hamill) busts out of jail and returns to Malibu Adjacent to get revenge on Notch and follow through on his attempt to deflower B.J. It also happens to be Founder's Day, which includes B.J. in a dunk tank (think really wet T-shirt), while Divine Rod stages some random bombings to throw the place into turmoil and demand a million dollar ransom from the Mayor. Chip's faithful German Shepherd Schitzi (who does a great Frenchman imitation) swims all the way from Germany to Malibu Adjacent, and ends up competing against Steve The Dog. Rod Strikes Back also features the return of wheelchair-bound Professor Milosevic.

This episode rates four and one-half suns:



Queefer Madness
Director: Scott McAboy
Original Air Date: 04/10/01

"This is more fun than a barrel of gypsies." -Chip Rommel

David Arquette is Johnny Queefer, and leads a pack of bicycle riding thugs (The Hell's Orphans) who head into town and cause havoc and destruction. B.J. falls for tough guy Loverboy (Neil Patrick Harris), and it seems that only Notch Johnson knows how to reach these poor, misguided souls. But can he do it before they destroy Malibu Adjacent? What do you think?

This episode is a little uneven, and earns just three suns:



Light My Firebush
Director: Tim Andrew
Original Air Date: 04/17/01

"I love these double-wide handicap stalls. Boy, those cripple folks sure know how to live" -Ima Cummings

B.J.'s white trash momma Ima (Joan Van Ark) makes a visit from Arkansas to let her daughter know that her vengeful white trash stepfather is out of prison and coming for her. B.J. has to fend off not only his lustful urges, but his violent ones, as well. Notch's Native American sister Firebush returns seeking a job, and she becomes part of the SPF 30 team, but her old world ways don't mesh well with civilization. This episode introduces Notch-A-Robics, which is a thirty second, once-a-month program that Notch developed so others can get a body like his.Larry Flynt guest stars, saying that guaranteeing free speech for this show may be going a little too far. Funny stuff.

This episode rates a full five suns:



Chip's a Goy
Director: Scott McAboy
Original Air Date: 04/24/01

"Unhand me, and get me out of this sexy outfit." -Notch Johnson

The SPF 30 teams heads to Israel to visit Tel Aviv Adjacent, their sister city (which looks suspiciously like Malibu Adjacent). Terrorists threaten to launch a gas bomb, and when Notch is taken prisoner, B.J., Jamaica and Kimberlee have to go undercover as prostitutes to help save the day. As if that weren't enough, Germanic Chip falls for a Jewish girl. Gilbert Gottfried guest stars.

This episode rates three and one-half suns:



A Tale 0f Two Johnsons
Director: John Putch
Original Air Date: 05/29/01

"Remember, Hernandez family, if you're going to swim, don't do it with your clothes on." -Notch Johnson

When Notch inadvertently thwarts a spy from releasing the deadly Ebonic virus (a cross between Ebola and Bubonic plague), an evil genius (Jerry Springer) sends in an identical double for the world's greatest lifeguard to finish the job. Some inspired Matrix-like bullet dodging takes place, as well as a climactic, comic battle between dueling Notch Johnsons. Jerry Springer and Dweezil Zappa guest star.

A fine way to end the set, and this episode earns four suns:


Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: B

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Rationo
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: All episodes are presented in the original broadcast format of 1.33:1 full-frame. As with most "television on DVD" sets, I found the episodes looked far better than they did on my flaky cable system. Colors are consistently bright and evenly rendered, and the image transfer is clean enough to really accentuate the obviousness of the numerous blue screen shots used.

More than adequate for the low-brow libido-centric humor.

Image Transfer Grade: B

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English, Spanishyes


Audio Transfer Review: A straight-forward 2.0 English surround track is provided, and though the rears don't get any noticeable use, the overall mix is very clear and understandable. Like the image transfer, not flashy but serviceable.

A Spanish 2.0 surround track is also included.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 189 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
2 TV Spots/Teasers
6 Featurette(s)
11 Feature/Episode commentaries by Timothy Stack, James R. Stein, David Morgasen, Jaime Bergman, Roland Kickinger, George Verschoor, Vincent Pastore
Packaging: Nexpak
Picture Disc
3 Discs
3-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: There are 11 lightweight commentary tracks spread across the 21 episodes here, all of which feature creators/writers Timothy Stack, James R. Stein and David Morgasen. These aren't necessarily insightful tracks, but rather are fall more under the goofy MST3K variety. A lot of the talk centers on jokes that had to be cleaned up, and the various censorship battles they encountered. They seem just as amazed at what was approved as they are confused by what was ordered cut. My only beef with the commentaries is that the background episode audio is very low during these tracks, and when the commentators wait for a punchline, it's often hard to hear. Jaime Bergman, Roland Kickinger join them on a few of the tracks, and The Sopranos Vincent Pastore chimes in during the Mario Putzo's The Last Dong episode.

Disc One also contains an FX channel promotional trailer entitled Heroes (02m:55s) that introduces the cast and explains the premise of the show, as well as Behind the Scenes of Son of the Beach (02m:58s), which is essentially the same thing slightly repackaged. An Outtakes reel (05m:32s) will tickle your funny bone if you like to watch actors flub lines; personally it didn't do much for me.

Disc Two houses a Son of the Beach Featurette (06m:27s) that is yet another cast and clips segments that was apparently designed to be shown FX to promo the show. The remaining four extras are a series of short alluring collections, showcasing a group of women in bikinis. The four shorts are The Crew of Son of the Beach (01m:10s), Psychedelic Montage (01m:07s), Baby Oil Montage (02m:22s), and a Montage Featurette (03m:47s)

Disc Three has yet another montage, the Too Hot For TV Makeup Artists (02m:35s), which is introduced by Jaime Bergman and Leila Arcieri, and is the only extra segment to feature some brief nudity. The premise is that the makeup artists (just more bikini models) cavort slo-mo in thongs, and appear topless.

Each episode is cut into 9 chapters, and features subtitles in English and Spanish.

Extras Grade: B-

 

Final Comments

Immature. Sexist. Corny. Stupid.

And most importantly: very, very funny.

Recommended.

 


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