Soap - The Complete First Season
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As a friendly announcer informs us, "this is the story of two sisters" in suburban Connecticut--wealthy dimwit Jessica Tate (Katherine Helmond) and blue-collar housewife Mary Campbell (Cathryn Damon)--whose class-divided families are bound by enough scandalous secrets to make each of these 25 episodes (all written by creator-producer Susan Harris and directed by sitcom veteran Jay Sandrich) a polished gem of half-hour comedy. The integration of plot and character is flawless, and dirty laundry was rarely this absurd: Jessica's cheating on her cheating husband (Robert Mandan, the show's underrated lynchpin); stepson Jodie (Billy Crystal) is (gasp!) openly gay, and brother Danny (Ted Wass) has Mafia connections; daughter Corrine (Diana Canova) is in love with a priest; Mary's husband Burt (manic genius Richard Mulligan) is a would-be killer who thinks he's invisible; and all of them are suspects in a murder case that fuels the season's cliffhanger finale.
This is ensemble comedy at its finest, and is it any wonder Robert Guillaume--as the Tates' insolent servant Benson--got his own spin-off sitcom in 1979? His line readings (such as "You want me to get that?" when the doorbell rings) are instant classics, and while Helmond tops the cast with her inimitable brand of idiocy, there's not a weak link in the entire cast. All those protesting prudes fought a futile battle: Soap was never naughty without purpose (indeed, the show possesses subtle integrity) and a large and loyal audience propelled it to even crazier heights in subsequent seasons. (Technical note: Given the shortcomings of 25-year-old videotape, with minor glitches and color variations, these episodes look and sound remarkably good.) --Jeff Shannon
- Three-disc set contains complete first season (25 episodes)
Top Customer Reviews
I was wrong. As discussed by others below and on the Yahoo Soap Group, a comparison of the DVD episodes with the complete, unedited episodes on the Columbia House videotapes shows that 4 DVD episodes are edited:
Episode 2 - Edits out Jody singing "There's Nothing Like a Dame" and the tune the Godfather hums after Danny leaves the sauna.
Episodes 16 and 17 are the syndicated versions, each missing 2 and 1/2 minutes from the complete episodes.
Episode 19 deletes the "On the last episode on Soap" intro.
It should be noted that the company issuing Soap on DVD, Columbia TriStar, also puts out Sanford and Son on DVD, and that a second season DVD episode of Sanford and Son, "Blood is thicker than Junk" incredibly edits out 2 and 1/2 minutes which appear on the syndicated version.
All of this, of course, is not important in light of what's happening in the world, but it does show extrememe sloppiness and lack of care by Columbia TriStar.
This is definitely a five star TV show, but the DVD production is severely lacking. Not only are a couple of episodes edited, as previously reported, but there are no extras to speak of (unless you count movie trailers). I can easily recommend this collection to purchase, just due to the excellent episodes of this series that you will get. However, Soap deserved more effort from Columbia House, and one can only hope they release season two with complete, unedited episodes. Knowing their history, however, extras will probably continue to be a pipe dream.
Ruthlessly funny and irreverent, SOAP was like a breath of fresh air when it first made its network appearance 25 years ago. My best friend and I would literally watch each episode together - eithe rin person or on the phone, mostly to share the immediacy of the funniest gags we'd ever scene, but also to ensure one of us would remember all the lines the next day. With a cast of characters that quite honestly DEFINED the word CHARACTERS "Soap" ranks as the funniest comedy series of the past 40 years, perhaps ever. Up there with "I Love Lucy" each episode guarantees a laugh - guffaws and belly grabbing are a given. Few series have ever combined wit and wisdom the way SOAP did. Sure - it introduced prime time's first "out" gay character (Jodie, the incomparable Billy Crystal) but no show has even come close to creating some of the other situations you'll find here!
A demon baby? YEP, why not, when a fallen priest (Father Tim) hooks up with the ... daughter Corinne.
A talking grapefruit? Sure...if you're imitating one crazy sibling's unique attachment to a ventriloquist dummy named Bob.
A mother in lust with her daughter's lover (and tennis coach)? Trust me, Lifetime never had it this good.
How about murder? Alien Abductions?Read more ›
The series focuses on two sisters, Jessica Tate (Katherine Helmond) and Mary Campbell (Cathryn Damon). Jessica and Chester (Robert Mandan) are the rich couple. Jessica can be a little slow-witted at times during the comic moments. Chester is a stockbroker who is always cheating on Jessica. Mary and Burt (Richard Mulligan) aren't rich, but they have their share of troubles too. The Major (Arthur Peterson), Jessica's and Mary's dad, still believes World War II is going on. There is plenty more, but I'm only sticking to what's established at the very beginning. I don't want to spoil anything.
In response to a previous review, the summary of past events at the start of each episode may mention something or use clips that happened a few episodes earlier. It reminds you of what you need to know for the episode about to be shown. I remember the scene the reviewer claims was missing.
Burt Campbell and Jessica Tate are my personal favorites in the series. Other characters improve as the series progresses. Danny Dallas (Ted Wass) becomes more of an idiot in later episodes.
I wish the box for this set was more sturdy like the box Fox uses for The Simpsons.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
There is an awful canned laugh track on this DVD which is very intrusive. I hate being told when to laugh.Published 3 months ago by MysteryAuthor
Funniest sitcom ever put together and just think, a woman wrote it.Published 11 months ago by Ron Brown
We saw this series when it first aired back in the late 70s and remember what an original show it was, as well as being a bit risque for the times. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Sandi
Silliness meets Stellar Writing! This show is one of my favorites.Published 12 months ago by Kimberley Buelow