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MGM Studios DVD presents

Green Acres: The Complete Second Season (1966-1967)

Lisa: How could you sell my friends?
Oliver: Lisa, this is a farm. We don't have any friends. I mean, we're in business to make money.
Lisa: Spoken like a true Arnold Benedict.- Eva Gabor, Eddie Albert

Stars: Eddie Albert, Eva Gabor, Pat Buttram, Tom Lester
Other Stars: Frank Cady, Alvy Moore, Kay E. Kuter, Barbara Pepper, Hank Patterson, Mary Grace Canfield, Sid Melton, Eleanor Audley, Jesse White
Director: Richard L. Bare

Manufacturer: Laser Pacific
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (mild ethnic slurs)
Run Time: 12h:44m:05s
Release Date: 2005-03-08
Genre: television

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A+ A+BB- D


DVD Review

The first season of Green Acres immediately established the program as one of the funniest ever aired on American television. The second season, having the luxury of established characters and situations, was allowed to take the absurdities of life in Hooterville to even wilder heights in the second season, while still not placing undue emphasis on Arnold the pig (despite his ubiquity on the menus and covers of this DVD set). This two-disc set of DVD-18s provides the full second season of thirty half-hour episodes of bizarre goings-on in the Hooterville valley.

Oliver Wendell Douglas (Eddie Albert) was a successful New York lawyer who always had a hankering for country life and farming. Moving to Hooterville, he and his pampered Hungarian wife Lisa (Eva Gabor) get into plenty of scrapes and peculiar situations with the many denizens of the area, including their hired hand Eb (Tom Lester), snake oil salesman Mr. Haney (Pat Buttram) and Fred and Doris Ziffel (Hank Patterson and Barbara Pepper) and their son Arnold, the pig. Much of the humor comes from Oliver's hapless attempts at farming by the book, and Hooterville's combination of rustic weirdness and cynical modernism.

This season is heavy on the always-amusing flashbacks told by Lisa, starting off with the first episode, Wings Over Hooterville where she recounts his World War II flying experience as a prelude to getting him stuck flying a crop duster. Arnold starts to get emphasis in I Didn't Raise My Pig to Be a Soldier, as the pig comes to stay with the Douglases and ends up getting a summons to the local draft board. One of the most notable episodes of the entire run is the memorable A Square Is Not Round, in which one of the Douglases' hens starts laying perfectly cubic eggs. The seed of greed produces all kinds of opportunities for humor, and they're not wasted.

The second half is rich with inspired social commentary, such as the episode The Computer Age, in which carpenter Ralph Monroe (Mary Grace Canfield) tries out the new field of computer dating, and the Douglases decide to test the system to see whether it thinks they're compatible. The UFO craze of the 1960s is lampooned in The Saucer Season, as Eb sees little green men but has difficulty explaining himself to the Air Force. Getting Even with Haney is an engaging episode that shows the futility of trying to take on a master scam artist. Another flashback story, The Vulgar Ring Story, tells the history of Lisa's massive diamond ring, smuggled away from the Nazis in a jar of chicken fat. The final episode is the memorable Music to Milk By, in which Eb gets a transistor radio for his birthday and immediately gets sucked into a 48-hour song-identifying contest. But his chances are cut short when Eleanor the cow accidentally eats the radio. Most entertaining about this episode is the fact that all 12 of the songs that are to be identified are exactly the same.

That last point demonstrates the best part about this series: the constant flow of surreal events and oddities that seem natural to everyone except Oliver, who is stuck doing a slow burn most of the time. There's also a mean streak of postmodernism, as the characters (except Oliver) all demonstrate an awareness of the opening credits throughout the season, commenting on them and making fun of them. Some of the other gags are a little weak, such as the constant jokes about Lisa's inability to cook, and some surprising ethnic slurs directed at Mexicans. But the performances all the way around more than make up for it, with an endearing earnestness combined with cluelessness (especially the inspired work of Alvy Moore as the easily-distracted county agent, Hank Kimball and Tom Lester's enthusiastic turn as Eb). On the whole this is utterly hilarious television that holds up exceedingly well today. The thirty episodes are the long original versions running over 25 minutes (though two episodes mysteriously run about 30 seconds shorter and may be slightly cut).

Rating for Style: A+
Rating for Substance: A+


Image Transfer

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

Image Transfer Review: Once again, the film transfer is quite attractive, with vibrant color, deep blacks and accurate skin tones. There's a bit of flckering and occasional speckling, but on the whole it looks quite nice. The beat-up opening credits that marred the Season One release are nowhere to be seen and they all look fine. The exceptions are episode 13, An Old-Fashioned Christmas and episode 17, It's So Peaceful in the Country. The first of these is badly damaged, with visible problems on the left half of the screen for much of the episode. The second has similar problems but to a much lesser degree and looks as if it has sustained water or mildew damage of some kind. However, it's intermittent and not as distracting as on the Christmas episode. It's too bad a better print of these two couldn't be tracked down.

Image Transfer Grade: B

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access

Audio Transfer Review: The 2.0 mono sounds fine, with no significant hiss or noise. Some of the early episodes have brief audio dropouts for some reason. There are a few episodes that are poorly looped, including the Christmas episode, and the cleanness of the transfer just makes these stick out all the more. But that's a source material issue. The dock on the grade is mostly for the dropout issue.

Audio Transfer Grade: B- 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 30 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English (closed captioning only)
Packaging: Digipak
2 Discs
2-Sided disc(s)
Layers: DVD-18

Extras Review: Once again, there are no extras. However, we lambasted MGM for omitting a "Play All" button on Season One, and I was very, very pleased to see that omission has been corrected here.

Extras Grade: D

Final Comments

One of the best comedies on television hits a high point, with many memorable episodes and no duds at all in this second series. The transfer's quite nice other than two damaged episodes, and at least there's a Play All button this time.

Mark Zimmer 2005-03-07