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Soap - The Complete First Season

4.7 out of 5 stars 141 customer reviews

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(Sep 16, 2003)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description


Even before it premiered on September 13, 1977 (Tuesdays at 9:30 pm on ABC), Soap was mired in controversy (including 32,000 letters of protest) and primed to make television history. Conceived as a primetime satire of daytime melodramas, this groundbreaking series toppled many of the TV taboos that remained after All in the Family and M*A*S*H, openly addressing a variety of risky topics (homosexuality, infidelity, impotence, familial murder) with a deft combination of irreverent wit, wacky slapstick, supreme stupidity, and--key to its success--engaging drama from characters you could really care about, regardless of their rampant quirks and foibles.

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

Special Features

  • Three-disc set contains complete first season (25 episodes)

Product Details

  • Actors: Katherine Helmond, Richard Mulligan, Cathryn Damon, Ted Wass, Billy Crystal
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Unknown)
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 16, 2003
  • Run Time: 609 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (141 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00008EY5S
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #108,837 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Soap - The Complete First Season" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
As soon as this set came out, I posted below, enthusiastic about receiving complete, unedited episodes, even to the point of excusing the absence of extras.
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.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
What can I say about this groundbreaking hit TV show from 1977 that other reviewers haven't already said? This is an excellent, hilarious soap opera spoof that focuses on two familes whose only link is the matriachs, Jessica and Mary, two sisters. Well, Jessica is also sleeping with Mary's stepson, so I guess there are more links. Several funny storylines are woven together in this first season, culiminating with a classic murder mystery that stretches for twelve of the 25 episodes.
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.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
At long last, "Soap" comes to DVD. An avid fan of the show since it originally aired in the 70's, I own the series on VHS but am estatic about the DVD release for a few reasons. Not only do I look forward to selecting which episodes to watch over and over again, ANY extras will just be icing on this delicious cake. But beyond that, having Season One on DVD means that there's a commitment to releasing future seasons of this quinti-sensational laugh-riot-of-a-comedy. Now I know what my friends are getting for Christmas this year!
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?
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Format: DVD
Back in 1977, this show was very controversal. It is somewhat tame by today's standards, but the humor still works. It's just less likely to offend people. This show is a soap satire. It is a comedy soap opera. This was the first series to have a cliffhanger at the end of each season. It might have been the first series with a non-stereotypical homosexual male. ...although Jody Dallas (Billy Crystal) is almost a stereotype at first. The plot of each episode can get as insane as the daily soap operas. Soap lasted 4 seasons with a 5th season planned. There was a spin-off, Benson, which had one episode that was used to tie-up the loose ends.
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.
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