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The Norm Show: The Complete Series

40 customer reviews

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(Sep 07, 2010)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

All 54 Original Episodes

From Norm Macdonald and executive producer Bruce Helford (creator of The Drew Carey Show) comes this warped look at a pro hockey player turned criminal turned social worker.

Meet Norm Henderson. Once a fairly well-known, but not particularly skilled, professional hockey player, Norm had a penchant for gambling and an aversion to paying taxes that resulted in his expulsion from hockey for life. Facing a possible jail term, Norm was instead sentenced to community service as a caseworker in social services, where his mischievous and sarcastic personality has him breaking all the rules, leaving his friends, by-the-book coworker Laurie (Laurie Metcalf, Roseanne) and neurotic colleague Danny (Ian Gomez, Cougar Town), to constantly help him out of trouble. Also starring Max Wright (ALF) as his Boss Mr. Denby, Nikki Cox (Las Vegas) as Taylor the ex-prostitute social worker and Artie Lange (The Howard Stern Show, Dirty Work) as his crooked if not crazy half-brother: smart, edgy, dry comedy was the norm.

In the booklet that accompanies this welcome boxed set, The Norm Show cocreator Bruce Helford calls this late lamented series "the one that got away." A show that was just getting better as it went along, it fell prey to the vagaries of network scheduling, moved from Wednesday nights where it did very well to the programming sinkhole that is Friday night, where it did not, and was cancelled after three seasons. Helford also cocreated The Drew Carey Show, and Norm is cut from the same cloth. It shares the same off-center rhythms, delight in meta-musings and tweaking sitcom conventions, and cold openings, such as Norm's parsing of TV's ratings system (with rebuttal in one episode by the Devil) and the episode that begins apropos of nothing with costumed cast members engaged in a Pokémon battle. The show also engaged in Carey-esque stunts, such as the punch line and movie reference contests. Norm MacDonald is a pricklier personality than Carey. His Norm is not as likeable as Carey's Everyman. He is a former professional hockey player who avoids jail for tax evasion by performing community service as a social worker. He is a slacker in an office of dedicated professionals, including compassionate and overworked Laurie (the remarkable Laurie Metcalf) and the luckless and sensitive Danny (Ian Gomez). To the show's credit, little effort is made to dull Norm's sarcastic and acerbic edge that made him one of SNL's best Weekend Update anchors and Conan O'Brien's most dependably funny talk show guests. In one episode, when Danny says, "But you don't want to hear my problems," Norm replies, "Thanks, buddy. I was gonna say that but I thought it'd sound bad." The ensemble also includes sitcom veterans who raised MacDonald's game, including Murphy Brown's Faith Ford as Norm's social worker and romantic interest, Alf's Max Wright as Norm's tormented boss, MacDonald's Dirty Work costar Artie Lange as Norm's irresponsible brother, and Nikki Cox as Taylor, a former hooker, whom Norm helps rehabilitate. There are no Very Special Episodes, but several involving story arcs (Norm lapses into gambling, Danny and Taylor's budding relationship). And just for fun, there are memorable cameos (Richard Pryor in his last screen appearance as an abusive and uncooperative case, Lou Rawls as a hansom cab driver) and guest star turns, including Jack Warden as Danny's macho father who may be gay and Tommy Smothers as Norm's less than paternalistic father. As the show got better, so did its opening credit sequences. Season 2's never gets old, a comically choreographed street scene that perfectly encapsulates the characters. Extras are limited to several entertaining audio commentaries by MacDonald and Helford, who share writing and comedy insights and secrets from the set (during the episode "Norm Dates Danny's Dad," Helford reveals Norm's failed catchphrase that, alas, can't be repeated here). --Donald Liebenson

Special Features

Commentaries by Norm Macdonald and Bruce Helford

Product Details

  • Actors: Norm MacDonald, Ian Gomez, Laurie Metcalf, Faith Ford, Artie Lange
  • Directors: Steve Zuckerman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 8
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Shout! Factory
  • DVD Release Date: September 7, 2010
  • Run Time: 1185 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003NHMYI8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,968 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By I. Stanley on October 18, 2010
Our memories can sometimes play tricks on us when we think back to our old favorite TV shows from decades past. We remember how great these shows were, how funny and original they were, and moan about how much we wish that one series or another would be released on DVD. And sooner or later these old shows usually do make it onto DVD, and we buy them with great anticipation of reliving something wonderful from years ago. And unfortunately, we sometimes find that our faded memories of a certain show are much better than the show actually was. Perhaps because the humor was of a certain time and has become dated. Or perhaps as we grow older our tastes change, and what we once considered to be hilarious we now find to be rather sophomoric.

I am very happy to say that this is not the case with The Norm Show. I purchased this DVD set expecting it to be as funny as I'd remembered, and it is! I looked forward to favorite gags or punchlines that I remembered from the series, and they still made me smile or chuckle when I heard them again. Jokes I'd forgotten made me laugh out loud.

It is testimony to how smartly the show was written that the jokes work as well now as they did when the show originally aired a decade ago. With the exception of one Pokemon sequence, they smartly chose to avoid using cultural references of the time that would lose their relevance in later years. Even a hilarious scene where Norm's straight laced boss Mr. Denby dresses as Gene Simmons of KISS for Halloween is as relevant now as it was then, thanks to KISS' continued popularity, and Gene Simmons' own exposure on his Family Jewels reality show.

As for the actors, they all play their characters perfectly and contribute greatly in every scene they appear.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Neo on September 29, 2010
If you are a fan of Norm MacDonald I don't see how someone could not find something humorous or enjoyable in this series. It's essentially him playing his awesome comedic-sensibility throughout an entire sitcom setting: one filled with great supporting characters. It is truly a whole load of fun, and getting the complete series in one set represents an excellent value.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Alan Talbott on August 4, 2014
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It's too bad that you're.. not as smart as you thought you were, in the first place. So sad that you .. had to get caught, that's not like you to lose face. Norm was a gem of a TV series, it's a real shame that the network screwed it around and finally cancelled it. I think that had it been given a fair chance it would have lasted for years. One of the all time great supporting comedy casts and if you like Norm MacDonald you'll love him as Norm, the anti - social social worker. WIENER DOG .. hurry up with that popcorn, the Norm Show is on !
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lawrence Loftin on January 20, 2011
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I remember the series when it originally aired but didn't remember it being as funny as it is. The Norm Show has a unique type of humor different from today's situation comedies. That being cleaver and most of all funny. The cast is likable as are there the characters they ply. Really enjoying rediscovering this comedy gem. Fast pass and witty. Just sorry there was not more episodes.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By KaseyG on January 15, 2011
IMO, the TV sitcom landscape in the late '90s was a wasteland. My old favorites "Roseanne" and "Murphy Brown" were getting long in the tooth, and I found the vastly overrated "Friends" unwatchable.

It was by chance I discovered "The Norm Show" at a friend's house shortly before it was cancelled. I was surprised to see Laurie Metcalf, so wonderful in "Roseanne" among the cast. Since the show was never syndicated, I was only able to catch full episodes on two Emmy screener VHS tapes I acquired from eBay about 10 years back.

Needless to say, I was thrilled when I learned Shout! Factory was partnering with WB to bring the complete series to DVD in a comprehensive set which consists of all 54 episodes from the three seasons of "The Norm Show" (later shortened to simply "Norm") which ran on ABC from 1999 to 2001. There are commentaries on select episodes but I wish there was a featurette reuniting the entire cast to discuss the show together.

I guess you could say "The Norm Show" is my "Seinfeld" since I never was a big fan of Jerry's show. The characters in "Norm" are similar though, in that they are often self-serving and deceitful to get what they want. Much of the humour is mean-spirited (especially that directed towards Mr. Denby) but never comes off as too bitter.

Dare I say Ms. Metcalfe is even more hilarious here than she was on "Roseanne". However, it's not all about Laurie. This is truly an ensemble comedy--albeit a quirky one that many people may not "get"--but let 'em watch "Friends" or "Everybody Loves Raymond" instead. I have never been a fan of anything than panders to the lowest common denominator.

Henderson's delivery takes some time to get used to, but it works well within the show and the chemistry among the actors is terrific.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By willhowcoop on October 7, 2013
This is one of the funniest sitcoms of the past twenty years. Norm's smart-alecky humor, both the character and the actor, is brilliantly on display on The Norm Show. What adds to the hilarity is the ensemble cast. The brilliant Laurie Metcalf, the hysterically exasperated Max Wright, the understated Ian Gomez.....all these great actors and Nikki Cox and Faith Ford and Artie Lang, all in the same series! ABC was stupid to cancel this. As co-creator Bruce Helford mentions in the accompanying booklet, the show was moved to a "Friday night death slot" its last season surrounded by truly godawful shows. Instead of moving it to another night the network canceled it. Funnier than any comedy currently on the air, the Norm Show is worthy of you attention. Buy it!
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