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Paramount Studios presents

The Carol Burnett Show: Show Stoppers (2001)

"Seems we just get started and before you know it comes the time you have to say, 'so long.'"- Carol Burnett

Stars: Carol Burnett, Harvey Korman, Tim Conway, Vicki Lawrence
Director: Paul Miller

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (off-color humor)
Run Time: 00h:42m:25s
Release Date: 2002-10-08
Genre: television

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Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B+ C+B-B D-


DVD Review

Few things are more annoying and unfunny than someone who keeps cracking up at his own jokes. Given that, you'd think that a television program devoted primarily to comedians cracking themselves up would be obnoxious to the extreme. But when the participants are members of the cast from The Carol Burnett Show, the results are hilarious instead.

This 2001 television reunion program features Carol Burnett and her usual costars, telling some stories and singing a few songs (including a musical tribute to Bob Mackie, who did her dresses as well as Cher's). But most of the program features the skits from the classic program of the 1970s with a variety of hilarious screwups, ad-libs and general goofiness, most of which is billed as never having been seen before. Some of my favorites are from the recurring Mama's Family skits where Vicki Lawrence just gets way too into her crotchety old lady role.

The best gems, though come from Tim Conway. Whether he's using a bizarre funny accent, or playing an outlandish character, he never fails to send the rest of the cast (and the audience) into spasms. He even manages to crack himself up during a Jaws parody as he tells the woeful tale of how his wife was attacked by a great white shark.

There's not a great deal of substance here, though, with only a 42-minute program as shown on television, and zero for extras. Surely over 11 years there must have been some bonus skits or something that they could have thrown into the mix. The substance grade is thus lower than it might be, solely due to the brevity of the program. But what's here is pretty entertaining in its own right. And yes, she does her Tarzan yell.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: C+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The 2001 segments look great, with bright, vivid color and excellent, sharp detail. There is a tendency for ringing, though. The vintage videotape is of variable quality, with some segments looking just as good as the new shots and others rather dim and blurry. Other segments, notably those run in a slow motion montage at the end, exhibit severe combing. But for the most part those appear to be problems of the source material rather than the DVD transfer.

Image Transfer Grade: B-

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: The 2.0 sound is pretty good, with little in the way of noise or hiss. The dialogue is quite clear. The audience noises are presented in surround, coming from all speakers, giving the viewer the feeling of being in the studio audience.

Audio Transfer Grade:

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 5 cues and remote access
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Nothing at all for extras. There's not even a chapter menu, although there are five chapter stops, one at each commercial break.

Extras Grade: D-

Final Comments

An all-too-brief look back at some of the crackups among the comic cast of Carol Burnett's beloved variety series. The transfer's OK, but nothing at all for extras.

Mark Zimmer 2003-01-30