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Sunday, January 3, 2016

'Grace Under Fire' S2: The Butler Did It Again

Product Details
Visual Entertainment releasing all five seasons of the Brett Butler '90s sitcom "Grace Under Fire" in a complete series DVD set provides a good chance to see the evolution of this series about the titular Southern divorced mom of three young children trying to make ends meet. The Grace of the second season is a kinder and gentler version of this character than the one in the recently reviewed first season of this early Chuck Lorre series.

The dual big events in the S2 season premiere are the unexpected (and unwelcome) arrival of oft-maligned deadbeat dad ex-husband Jimmy and a torrential rainstorm. The respective impacts of these potential disasters are rekindling the highly toxic romance of our leading lady and comically severe difficulties regarding Grace's sister Faith moving out of Grace's home. A particularly hilarious bit has mild-mannered pharmacist pal Russell (played by "SCTV" veteran Dave Thomas) discount the challenge of being out in flooding rains compared to trying to maintain a small business in an era of big box stores.

Another notable S2 episode is a Thanksgiving show in which Grace hilariously tries to celebrate in a very non-traditional manner only to wind up with a crowd of uninvited (and unwelcome) guests. Various strained relationships further complicate matters. The line regarding which hilarity ensues in this one is Grace discussing having a 22-pound Butterball Spam.

Large multi-episode story lines include the past of Grace returning to haunt her, best friend/neighbor Nadine having multiple related marital problems, and changes stemming from a new boss at the oil refinery where Grace works.

These episodes highlight numerous elements of prior glory days of sitcoms. "Grace" has a distinctive voice that (unlike modern Lorre series) does not rely on catchphrases and barely concealed innuendo for laughs. Not every "Grace" joke is a knee slapper but at least most of them are not especially predictable and are less mean-spirited than most of the humor in the television fare of today.

It is equally awesome that the same things that make "Grace" entertaining are true about the '70s sitcom "Angie," which Visual Entertainment is releasing on DVD in earlyish 2016.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Grace" is encouraged to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.