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Friday, January 1, 2016

'Offspring' S2 DVD: Second Child Syndrome Victim


[EDITOR'S NOTE: This Region Four DVD set from Australia will not play in a standard U.S. player. Watching it requires a (well-worth buying) international player.]

The second season of the modern Australian dramedy "Offspring" being less delightful than the previously reviewed first season of this program being disproportionately distressing speaks volumes regarding the overall quality of this show (and creates hope for a third season rally). On a more general note, these reviews are part of a series of reviews of the DVD sets of the five seasons of the show in the Madman Entertainment box set of these episodes. One good sign is that Madman can do no wrong.

The second season shifting much more from "edy" to (borderline "melo") "dram" provides a nice metaphor for real-life family dynamics. The second offspring often is less accomplished than the first one. This, in turn, reflects that parents and more general support systems alike are less motivated to fill their roles once the excitement related to the new experience of raising a child ebbs.

The first season of "Offspring" is full of quirky events in the life of skilled obstetrician Nina Proudman and her (largely functional) dysfunctional family that unduly relies on her for emotional and material support. Things overall take a subtly darker turn in the second season. This commences with the season premiere in which the family rallies around in response to a health crisis of family patriarch real estate firm owner Darcy Proudman.

The next several episodes involve a more dramatic estrangement in the family than the one in the first season in response to misconduct by Nina, Nina treating a battered woman who is nine months into her pregnancy, a newbie doctor freezing at a critical moment, and an especially tragic stillbirth. The seventh episode of the second season earns special scorn for using the uber-lazy screenwriting tactic of having TWO extended monologues with sappy music. Predictively shouting "montage" and "sappy music" while watching episodes that follow is great fun; this also can provide the basis for a drinking game.

On a happier note, a reference to a non-sexual effort of Nina earning a "six at best" is a hilarious nod to a highlight from the uber-awesome S1 season finale.

Even a plot regarding coerced manscaping that would have provided quirky entertainment in the first season triggers a moderate existential crisis in the second one. Nice shades of the first season come through when another character who is witnessing the procedure comments that the individual going under the wax commentsdefinitely is a man and the "victim" later comments that the hair that grows back is very fluffy. The same goes for the planning of a dinner party going awry and ending in literal tears and recriminations.

S2 rallies at the end with a large family gathering that is reminiscent of a party around which the S1 finale centers. This episode further has the most hilarious moment of the season in the form of an image of one of the worst possible wardrobe malfunctions that a bride can experience.

The most important message from the S2 episodes and their relationship with the superior S1 offerings is that family loves you regardless of your flaws and your not measuring up to your siblings. The scruffy 20-something slacker horn dog who prioritizes buying a street parrot a suit over paying rent is just as loved as his professionally well-regarded doctor sister.

The special feature consists of 13 episodes of the web series "The Nurses," which centers around co-workers of Nina.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Offspring" is encouraged to either email or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.