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The Osbournes, Season 2, Episode 2: . . . Must Come Downby Dale Sherman -- 12/06/2002
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Before we begin our weekly review of The Osbournes, a quick personal note for readers who have ordered my book, The Urban Legends of Rock and Roll. As sometimes happens in the publication business, my book has been pushed back a few weeks and, unfortunately, it will not be out in stores until the end of December or (in some cases) early January. I wish I could give you a great reason for it, but it’s just the way it goes sometimes in the business. I appreciate everyone’s patience in the matter, and I hope that the book will make up for the delay when you see it. I like to think that it will, as I’m pretty happy with the finished product. [Editor’s Note: And in case you didn’t order it yet, click here to take a look.]
Getting on with the show –
The ratings are in for the first episode of the new season and they are certainly nothing to get upset over, although some of the press reports would make it sound otherwise. MTV grabbed 6.6 million viewers for the November 26 episode, which made it the top-rated show on basic cable. Some doomsayers are reporting as if it was a terrible sign considering that the final episode of the first season drew close to 8 million viewers, but there could be numerous reasons for such a minor drop in the ratings. After all, it was the week of Thanksgiving, while some critics also conceded that the episode was up against original network programming that no doubt cut into the ratings. My personal belief is that, since MTV repeats each episode about 800 times during the week, most viewers figured they could watch a repeat showing and not have to bother staying up late on a Tuesday just to see the first airing.
Then again, at my age, I’m starting to look at 10:30 at night as being “late.” So what do I know?
Meanwhile, with Sharon and the family standing firm on foregoing a fourth series of ten episodes, MTV is looking to see what they can do with the Osbournes after the series has ended in 2003. With that, it was reported on December 3 that MTV has negotiated a $15 million deal with the Osbournes to put together an animated series based on the family. There were reports that MTV is looking at the animated show as being their version of The Simpsons, which is all fine and good for them, but from this reviewer’s point of view it sounds like a horrible idea. The reason people watch The Osbournes is to see the family reacting as real people to real events that occur around them. Doing an animated version of the show would be like an animated version of 60 Minutes or Survivor. Sure, you can make it funny, but the element of reality – which draws people to the show – would not be there anymore.
I say good luck to them on that front, but I just don’t see it working, even if the family is providing stories and possibly their own voices.
Speaking of story ideas, a big brouhaha occurred as the first episode of the new season aired, when Kelly and Jack stated in an interview on ABC that there were moments in the first season that were staged specifically for the cameras. When the statements were made, to paraphrase The Rutles, the press immediately grabbed the wrong end of the stick and started beating about the bush with it. Several articles appeared online and in newspapers stating that Kelly and Jack said The Osbournes was fully scripted and rehearsed – which is not at all what Kelly and Jack had said in the interview. Instead, they were commenting on two situations during the first season where MTV asked the family to participate in certain actions while the cameras rolled. The first was the appearance of the dog psychologist in an early episode (which does explain why we never saw the woman again in the series), and the second was the “family meeting” in a later episode. In both cases, the family was not rehearsed to say anything in particular, merely dropped into the situations to see what would occur. In particular, Kelly and Jack felt that the “family meeting” was the worst of the two, as they knew they were being set up for it and felt it did not go very well. For those of you who remember these two events, you may recall that Ozzy also looked a bit putout and anxious during these particular segments (Ozzy trying to run out of the family meeting numerous times immediately springs to mind as an example of this). Then again, he tends to look that way for everything usually.
The publicists for MTV and for the Osbournes quickly came back with statements detailing how the show was not scripted in any way. So quick, in fact, that it came off as an automatic reaction that put more fuel on the fire than extinguish the flames of suspicion that some viewers had about the program all along. Still, if one looks at the original comments made by Jack and Kelly on ABC, it’s much ado about nothing. The two kids were just not happy saying that everything on the program was unplanned; and what was planned was hardly more than agreeing to a visit and a meeting, nothing more.
The only other news for the moment is that of Sharon Osbourne agreeing to give an alternate “Christmas message” on Channel 4 in the U.K. this Christmas. This will appear opposite the Queen’s annual Christmas message to the nation at 3:00 p.m., December 25. No details yet if MTV or some other American channel will broadcast Sharon’s address to the nation.
With that, let’s get into this week’s episode of The Osbournes. This week’s episode is a continuation from last week, which had the title of “What Goes Up . . .” As we left the Osbournes last week, Ozzy was touring with Ozzfest, Kelly was in New York to record her album, Jack was . . . basically goofing off . . . and Sharon was happy to see that everyone was happy. We return this week for an opening teaser that shows Ozzy in his tour bus trying to call Sharon on his cellphone. He cannot seem to get the phone to work properly, repeating “Hello, hello, hello” again and again. Ozzy gives the phone to his assistant, Tony, to see what he can do with it. Tony immediately puts the phone up to his ear and hears Sharon on the other end. He talks briefly to Sharon and then hands the phone back to Ozzy, who can’t make heads or tails out of the voice on the other end. Tony laughs as he walks away, leaving Ozzy to fuss with the cellphone some more.1 2 3 Next-->
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