The Drew Carey Show originally aired its pilot episode in 1995, focusing on a simple group of friends living their simplistic lives. Known for its everyman characters and situations, the show enjoyed a 9-year run on ABC, getting yanked from the schedule in 2004. Drew Carey and Bruce Helford, who both continued to write for the show in the following seasons, created the show with the premise of Drew Carey’s life if he hadn’t become a comedian and pursued a different career. I wasn’t even aware that this show wa… going to be released on DVD anytime soon, so I was happy to see that it was.
The show focuses around a close group of friends and their relationships, romantic lives, and their jobs. The main characters, Drew (Drew Carey), Kate (Christa Miller), Oswald (Diedrich Bader), and Lewis (Ryan Stiles) are life long friends’ living there everyday lives in Cleveland, Ohio. Drew works at a department store as a mid-level manager, Kate bounces from job to job and lands one working under Drew, Lewis is a janitor at a drug company, and Oswald is a delivery driver. None of them are too adamant about their jobs, but enjoy each other’s company and drinking beer. Some of the shows greatest moments occur while Drew is sitting in his cubicle, where behind him sits Mimi. She’s quite the heavyset make up ridden, trash talking assistant for Drew’s boss. The two share witty insults towards each other and often prank each other as well. Outside of the work world the group all have romantic lives, but only Drew’s and Kate’s get top billing. As the season goes on their relationships face problems and at other times look strongly optimistic, making for pretty entertaining side stories.
I’m glad I had the opportunity to re-watch the first season of the show because it really seems like a different show in comparison to the other seasons. Of course the classic “Moon Over Parma” intro that brought this show into popularity was a nice walk down memory lane, but that’s the smallest of differences between the first season of the show and its following eight seasons. The first season does not include the famous Mr.Wick played by Craig Ferguson, instead Drew’s boss is Mr.Bell (voiced by Kevin Pollack), whom we don’t see until the final episode of the season but often hear via the speakerphone. After the first season, the reoccurring characters of Drew’s hick neighbors were completely cut, which provided some pretty good laughs. The first season was really unique, you get to really know the characters and they stay steady throughout, whereas in the future seasons their personalities seem to constantly change.
As the years went by this show sort of deteriorated with eccentric and over the top storylines including Drew’s marriages to multiple partners (including Mr. Wick). But there was a time when I genuinely enjoyed this show for its witty writing, specifically the back and forth insults between Drew and Mimi. It’s still hard for me to believe that this show is twelve years old, but since I haven’t seen most of these episodes since I was in the single digits, I can appreciate some of the jokes more than I used to. The main thing I like about this show is the variety of humor, sometimes the laughs are simple and slapstick, at other times they really make you think. The characters all mesh together well, fueling each other’s one-liners and ongoing jokes making for a very enjoyable viewing experience. The fact that all the characters have mundane jobs, and are everyday looking the show comes off as simple and everyday appealing to a wide variety of people who probably find themselves staring at the walls of a cubicle all day long.
Presented in its original 4×3 form, The Drew Carey Show on DVD doesn’t look any better than it would have twelve years ago on ABC. There is really nothing special about this transfer the picture is extremely grainy, the colors are extremely washed out and the images are always soft. I don’t really have anything good to say about this transfer, but it is what it was twelve years ago, lets look at that positively it’s no worse than it once was.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 audio was almost as bad as the video. Seeing as this is a comedy the show relies heavily on the dialogue to deliver the laughs, but these discs all contain balancing issues, meaning I had to rewind a few times and find out exactly what the audience was laughing about. This set really features no improvements over the originally aired episodes; so don’t expect much except the same laughs it contained twelve years ago.
I expected more out of this special features on this 4-disc set, instead we get a very weak attempt at being funny, and an actual pretty decent look at how this show became what it is.
- 1-900-MIMI– A one-minute short parodying a 1-900 ad which boasts Mimi as the perfect woman, not very funny at all I’m glad it only wasted a minute of my time.
- Life Inside A Cubicle– A twenty-minute look at all things Drew Carey, how the show came together and interviews with the cast. Overall a really interesting look behind how the show got created and how the actor’s all got along together so well.
Season One of The Drew Carey Show is by far the best season of the shows duration, and is a worthy purchase for fan’s of the show – despite it’s disappointing features and standard A/V transfers. The episodes are classic and pretty funny, something this show failed to accomplish as the years went on. If I were to buy any season of this show it would be this one; a solid set of laughs.
Special Features List
- Life Inside A Cubicle