Tuesday, February 23, 2016
'Offspring' S3: Back to Quirky Fun
[EDITOR'S NOTE: Watching this Australian Region-Four DVD outside that DVD region require a (well-worth buying) international DVD player.]
Readers who have been following this series of reviews of the Madman Entertainment S1-5 DVD set of the (overall awesome) modern Australian dramedy "Offspring" know that S2 falls short of the expectations that the first season creates. The expressed hope in the review of the sophomore (but not sophomoric) episodes that S3 is better are nicely realized. The unduly intense drama, almost universal end-of-episode tragedy, and painfully long montages are all left behind.
The S1 review provides an extended primer on this series about professionally superb but regularly daydreaming Dr. Nina Proudman, whose personal life and extensive entanglement with the messes that are the lives of slacker 20-something brother Jimmy, neurotic 30-something sister Billie, nutty mother Geraldine, and horndog father Darcy make her neurotic. In other words, this show reflects universal truths about many families.
The S2 cliffhnager regarding a decades-old family secret sets the stage for much of the S3 action and leads to a hilarious reveal regarding a topic that is very near and dear to Jimmy. In true Proudman style, each member of the family gets very angry at one of more members of the clan for one or more episodes only to reconcile.
Introducing a very likable gay character leads to well-intentioned (but amusingly misguided) matchmaking efforts. One such attempt resulting in a prospect walking out within seconds of meeting said nice guy is sadly accurate. A related subsequent hilarious situation involving competing obligations is a season highlight.
Meanwhile, Nina being obsessed with something going wrong with one of the most appropriate and stable romantic relationships threatens that relationship in a manner that is another nod to true life. A funny development that impacts that relationship involves speculating that the psychotic demolitions expert who is the ex-husband of Nina is the cause of damage to her home.
Jimmy contributes humor primarily in his efforts to prove his ability to be a good father, Fans of the show can predict said deeds having the opposite effects. One of the best schemes has Jimmy participating solo in a Lamaze class. The overall story regarding the unplanned parenthood leads to some of the melodrama that detracts from the quirky appeal of the show. Having labor commence under circumstances in which Jimmy woefully fails to man up would have been much truer to the loved (and still largely present) spirit of "Offspring."
This season is also the one in which the death of one of the actors results in a story involving the sudden death of the beloved character of that actor. The writers and actors demonstrate perfect sympathy regarding this,
The S3 finale puts an awesome twist on the "Offspring" tradition of ending each season with a frantic Proudman family gathering full of amusing trauma and drama. The event this time is a fancy dress party that hilariously has the cast dress in costumes in a manner reminiscent of the awesomely quirky opening credits. It is equally nice that the season ends on a much more upbeat note that the first two season-ending cliffhangers.
Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Offspring" is encouraged to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.