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Shout Factory presents

America's Funniest Home Videos: Volume 1 with Tom Bergeron (2001)

"I'm proud to say, we are back for our 75th season here."- Tom Bergeron

Stars: Tom Bergeron
Director: various

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 13h:00m:00s
Release Date: 2005-07-26
Genre: television

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B+ A-BC D-


DVD Review

America's Funniest Home Videos is one of those TV shows that just seems as if it will always be on the air. Similar, time-defying shows like Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, and 60 Minutes are always there when you need them for their respective entertainment value, and there is seemingly no end in sight to their runs. Unlike those other shows, AFHV has been through its share of hosts. Beginning in 1990 with the one and only Bob Saget (Full House) as the ringmaster, this collection of hilarious amateur videos made Sunday night a great time to sit down with the family and have a few laughs at other families' expense. Not that these other families minded being laughed at, since there was a cash prize given to the "funniest" of these videos.

Saget became a household name hosting the show, but he left in 1997, leaving the duties to a pair of hosts, Daisy Fuentes and John Fugelsang. Unfortunately, they weren't very good, and, despite the appearance of the lovely Fuentes, were almost unwatchable due to their horrible jokes, which were even worse than Saget's, if you can believe that. Amazingly, Fuentes and Fugelsang lasted through the 2000 season, but in 2001, Tom Bergeron (host of Hollywood Squares) assumed the position of clip introducer.

I'm sure the die-hard AFHV fans long for the days of Saget's morbidly dry humor and groan-inducing one-liners, but Bergeron is much better, and tolerable than Fuentes and Fugelsang. Their reign represents the dark ages of the show, with Bergeron giving it new life and generating a renewed interest over the years. Even though his delivery and mannerisms suggest a very similar sense of humor to Saget's, his hosting experience allows Bergeron to come across as a much more professional, comfortable emcee.

America's Funniest Home Videos: Volume 1 with Tom Bergeron compiles 12 episodes from Bergeron's first season, the show's 11th overall. Even though the host changed between seasons 10 and 11, the show's formula definitely didn't. Each installment has the host introducing various clips, usually in themed bunches (pets, nasty falls, funny babies, etc.), and sometimes showcasing the people behind the filming of these clips, who are usually in the studio audience. As each show nears its conclusion, the audience votes on the three, pre-determined finalists, with the winner receiving $10,000 in cash and becoming eligible for the $100,000 prize that is handed out during the season finale. Unfortunately, this set doesn't include this season's finale, but there is a "bonus disc" that has two episodes celebrating the series' 300th episode.

It's difficult to pick favorite episodes out of the myriad of footage here, especially since there isn't a single episode that isn't hit-and-miss as far as laughs go. Still, I've always been partial to the wacky antics of pets (more so the cats), and there's plenty of wacky footage of this variety to go around. The best canine-oriented clip has a tiny, hairy dog being dragged around with its teeth clamped on a mop. This puppy seems to have no qualms about sliding across the floor, coasting along, nearly airborne at times. The best kitty clip involves a giant cushion/bed that a cat scoots around the perimeter of thanks to the help of his claws. This feline is almost breaking the sound barrier with its speed, and is sure to bust a lot of guts as well.

Even though it does appear that many of these videos' stars are at least slightly injured, AFHV still maintains a fun, family-oriented feel at all times. The show's producers aren't out to show horrible footage for pure shock value like similar shows have through the years, despite the temptation for the higher ratings that such footage could draw. This is a show that, regardless of your age and patience for Tom Bergeron's terrible puns, everyone is sure to enjoy. It might not be a bad idea to film yourself or your loved ones rolling on the floor in laughter, as reaction to these episodes, itself could be funny enough to send in to compete for the $10,000 prize.

It's shocking that this is the show's first appearance on DVD, but it is. While it's great to finally have a solid four DVD's worth of the show at our fingertips, there doesn't seem to be any good reason why these couldn't come out on a season-by-season basis. Granted, this isn't exactly the kind of show where you'll be lost of you don't watch them in chronological order, but, given the constant rise in popularity of TV shows on DVD, why mess around with these volume sets anymore.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: A-


Image Transfer

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

Image Transfer Review: It comes as no surprise that the home video footage in these full frame presentations varies greatly from clip-to-clip. As a whole, everything looks good, with the studio footage showcasing sharp, detailed images and bright colors. There is some of the video footage that is way too grainy and obviously shot on the cheapest of cameras, but it's rare that you have to struggle to make out the key parts of a given clip.

Image Transfer Grade: B

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes

Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 2.0 audio is adequate, but unspectacular. The surrounds are rarely used, but the music and dialogue come across crystal clear through the front speakers. Fortunately, regardless of the quality of the home videos, the participants' speech and any sound effects are easy to hear.

Audio Transfer Grade:

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 14 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English
1 Other Trailer(s) featuring Punky Brewster
Packaging: Box Set
Picture Disc
4 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: There aren't any extra features (aside from a pre-menu preview for Punky Brewster), as the "bonus disc" features a pair of actual episodes of the show.

Extras Grade: D-

Final Comments

Take a seat and get ready for the laugh-a-minute fun of America's Funniest Home Videos, now that it's finally available on DVD. Shout Factory brings the show to the small screen in a nice 4-disc set, that is sadly without any extra features. The 4th disc is being advertised as a "bonus disc," but the two episodes on it are only different from the other shows in that they celebrate the 300th installments of the show. The audio and video are slightly better than broadcast quality, which is just fine for this show.

Chuck Aliaga 2005-09-29