STUDIO: Sony Pictures
MSRP: $59.95
RATED: Not Rated
RUNNING TIME: 2161 min

The Pitch

Two families have great difficulty in the 1970s.

The Humans

Richard Mulligan, Katherine Helmond, Billy Crystal, Ted Wass, Bea Arthur, Cathryn Damon, Roscoe Lee Browne, Jimmy Baio, Robert Urich, Jennifer Salt and Robert Guillaume

Once you’ve seen Judith Light eat a puppy, life doesn’t seem worth living.

The Nutshell

SOAP is the brainchild of Susan Harris. It premiered in 1977 to much protest. ABC met great complaints about the show having a homosexual main character. Sure, they overlooked the bits about race relations and the class struggle. Throw a friend of Dorothy in the mix and a certain group of people were always going to get pissed. For those that tuned in, they get to see the story of two sisters. Their respective families were at odds, but Jessica (Katherine Helmond) and Mary (Cathryn Damon) always managed to see eye-to-eye.

Mulligan loves the bitches.

The Lowdown

Deconstructing the soap opera isn’t all that new. But, Soap was pretty bold when it premiered. The jokes were kind of blue and they had a set timetable. Five years and they’re done. Too bad, they only lasted for four years. That’s still a year more than Arrested Development ever got.

Soap opens on a basic introduction to the Tate and Campbell families. The Tates are well to do and they are served by their scene-stealing butler Benson (Robert Guillaume). The Campbells are lower middle class and they scrape through it all. Mary Campbell’s first husband was a mobster who died and left behind some kids. One’s a gangster, one’s a gay and the other hangs out with a ventriloquist’s dummy. Wackiness ensues and a decent amount of the material holds up.

I’d hit that ass with a can of Tab.

So much of the risque material is now pretty tame. A lot of the jokes about what do you call black people and how to handle the gays seems a little soft now. But, you get to hear the usual awkwardness and miniature holds for laughs. Long gone are the disclaimers that use to preface the original run on ABC. There’s no need, as everything about the show has hit a level of camp that allows for laughs and reappraisal.

The show functions, as a bizarre time capsule. The series keeps you guessing, as it tosses everything against the wall. One of the Campbells get kidnapped by aliens, while a Tate has a demon baby. Hell, even the gay guy has a kid in an unconventional sort of way. While I don’t believe that it’s one of the cornerstone shows of the 70s, it does stand out as having that special cult appeal.

This makes sense. It really does, you’re just going to have to trust me on it.

The Package

Soap: The Complete Series arrives on DVD with a bizarre release. The cardboard packaging with the spindle holder is idiotic. I had a problem with similar packaging for What’s Happening: The Complete Series. There’s the desire to have a bargain priced release for average TV on DVD fans. It’s just that it should come in something more durable.

Quality is standard for an older show. You get a ton of haze, that’s pretty similar to the transfers on the individual season releases. The audio is a rather flat Mono track. But, why do you need something so showy? Katherine Helmond’s not going to take control of a fighter jet and shoot in Optimus Prime in the balls. It’s a standard issue package for a show that’s lucky to be getting this treatment.

In the end, Soap
is a fun show to discover. It’s just that there’s not a lot of reason to own it. Still, if you’re a TV on DVD fan, you’re going to want to make the purchase. Seeing Jody’s arc come to a close is interesting. I’d recommend Netflixing this.

The Andy Griffith Show really went to shit after God told Aunt Bee to drown Opie in the bathtub.

6.2 out of 10