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Fox Home Entertainment presents
The Bernie Mac Show: The Complete First Season (2001)

"Jordan's gonna have a case of 'assus beatus redus.' That's Latin for I'm gonna beat his ass until it glows."
- Bernie Mac

Review By: Kevin Clemons  
Published: June 02, 2004

Stars: Bernie Mac
Other Stars: Kellita Smith, Camille Winbush, Jeremy Suarez, Dee Dee Davis
Director: various

Manufacturer: DVDL
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing offensive)
Run Time: 10h:41m:52s
Release Date: May 04, 2004
UPC: 024543105992
Genre: television

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

There is a line in the film Swingers in which the central character Mike, played by Jon Favreau, tells a girl, "When he moved to L.A., people made it sound like they were giving sitcoms to stand-ups at the airport." It seems true; over the past decade, numerous stand-up comedians have been given their own television sitcoms. Some succeed (Jerry Seinfeld), some fail (Margaret Cho), and some become moderately successful as is the case with The Bernie Mac Show, which has made its way to DVD for the first time.

Based, like so many other sitcoms, on the stand up routine of its star, the series revolves around Bernie Mac and his sudden life changing moment when his sister is arrested for drug possession. Bernie and his wife Wanda (Smith) take in his two nieces and his nephew and are soon raising them in Los Angeles. This, in a nutshell, is the plot of the series and while it is rather basic, Mac and the writers offer clever dialogue and such a unique view of parenting that they keep things interesting week after week.

The most impressive thing about the series is how Mac brings an abrasive style of parenting to a family television series and still comes out beaming with not only terrific parenting skills but also a sense of warmth and familial values. The relationship between Mac and the children is something that has never been seen before on network television, as some of the dialogue between the foursome is often harsh, including Bernie's often repeated line "I'm gonna kill me one of them kids" yet we understand his enormous fondness for the children.

It is in this area that the show earns its deserved accolades. This is realistic parenting the way in which it is in nearly every American household. The writers pull no punches in their handling of the situations the Mac household find themselves in week after week. Within the first three episodes of the first season, the show dealt with Bernie desperately wanting to get away for a weekend but is hampered by his new responsibilities, as well as Bernie teaching nephew Jordan how to defend himself against bullies at school with disastrous results.

The series also takes television comedy in a new direction by dealing with matters including race, religion, and sexuality in serious tones instead of merely lampooning these important subjects. The series also thankfully omits the use of a laugh track, lending the show a more mature attitude.

Since the series is eponymous, it is understandable that it revolves around Mac. His delivery directly to the camera in his frequent priceless monologues is superb as he describes his problems to "America." Mac has always been an energetic performer and in this weekly showcase he truly excels.

This show is funny, America.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: A-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The Bernie Mac Show is offered on DVD in the same full-frame aspect ratio as its original television broadcast and, for the most part, the results are rather average. The transfer suffers from compression flaws with some pixelation and edge enhancement. Colors are done nicely with no bleeding evident.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes

Audio Transfer Review: A Dolby Surround presentation of offered and for the most part the mix is largely anchored in the center speaker. Dialogue is crisp and clear with no distortion or noticeable dropouts while the left and right speakers offer nice support.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 6 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Documentaries
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Bernie Mac, Ken Kwapis, Larry Willmore
Packaging: custom cardboard cover with sl
Picture Disc
4 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL

Extras Review: Bernie Mac, Larry Wilmore, and Ken Kwapis offer commentary for the pilot episode and the trio largely discuss the casting as well as the setup of the series. I enjoyed the track but I was hoping for more.

The best extra feature is the TVography episode featuring Bernie Mac that originally aired on the Biography channel. The 45-minute documentary focuses largely on Mac's rise to stardom and devoting time to his childhood in Chicago. The documentary offers viewers a chance to see his struggles and it makes one appreciate Mac's hard road to success all the more.

Extras Grade: B


Final Comments

The Bernie Mac Show offers a rare accomplishment in the field of television sitcoms, portraying real people dealing with real situations with hilarious results. Highly recommended.


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