Mother & Son (Volume 4)
I had never seen this show when it was on TV, mainly
because I was too young and it seemed to Ďstuffyí. I also always had the
idea that it was far too old fashioned and not good if youíre a
claustrophobe: almost all the shots are in a studio. I have since
watched the fourth volume of the DVD collection and found these juvenile
preconceptions to be true. Furthermore, the show, which ran from 1984 to
1994, lacks the dynamism of ubiquitous American sitcoms we all know. It
is much more static, with the characters almost always to be found in
the lounge-room or kitchen.
Having said all that, I am so glad I did watch this
show. The appeal has to be in Geoffrey Atherdenís amazing writing and
the addictive bittersweet love between mother Maggie Beare (Ruth
Cracknell) and son Arthur Beare (Garry McDonald). I had never realised
that she was suffering from dementia which is the whole reason for him
living with her. The comedic tension this state of being creates is
hilarious. Add to this the successful yet manipulative dentist brother
Robert (Henri Szeps) who is always scheming to make more money
and you have yourself a classic sitcom.
Ironically, this show has hardly aged! All the humour
still works perfectly. Everything is kept to a Beare (hehe) minimum,
which I donít mind at all.
As far as the DVD transfer goes, itís curious that on
the two-disc fourth volume, the first disc has six episodes and the
second has only three. I was also confused by the episodes included,
because they do not follow the original broadcast order as it appears on
www.tv.com. There is no bonus material and there arenít even any
subtitles, not even in English: I sometimes like to keep them on to
clarify slurred words.
The sounds is two-channel and the quality of the
video seemed fine to me, but Iím not that picky about these things. I
would recommend this show either for collectors or huge fans (who
probably will get all the volumes) or those people who can afford to
fulfil their curiosity about a great Aussie sitcom.