'The Best of the Carol Burnett Show: 50th Anniversary Edition' DVD: Timeless Tribute to True American Idol
The Time Life August 6, 2019 release of its best ever DVD tribute to "The Carol Burnett Show" awesomely provides a good reason to stay inside during the hazy, hot, and humid summer of our discontent. The gift-worthy. "The Best of the Carol Burnett Show: 50th Anniversary Edition" shows that Time Life is not a three-trick pony as to similar deluxe massive sets to Burnett pals (and guest stars) Lucille Ball, Bob Hope, and Jackie Gleason. This is not to mention giving "Burnett" admirer Robin Williams similar (reviewed) royal treatment.
"Burnett" show by the numbers is 11 seasons, 279 episodes, 8 Golden Globes, 25 Emmys, and numerous other awards and nominations. A very incomplete list of the pop-culture contributions of "Burnett" begins with the "Family" sketches, which get their due in the "Burnett" set, that beget the sitcom "Mama's Family" that has its own deluxe (reviewed) Time Life CS set. A cool tie-in with the "Burnett" set is an included modern interview in which Burnett discusses how a combination of her perfect comedic instincts and her childhood tweak the concept of "Family" in a manner that shows that Mama Burnett knows best.
Other "Burnett" memories that remain fresh in the minds of fans several decades include the "Gone With the Wind" and "Sunset Boulevard" sketches, which this set includes, that show that parody IS the sincerest form of flattery. Other highlights include Burnett playing a dim-witted bimbo secretary in the "Mrs. Wiggins" sketches and improv. master Tim Conway claiming to have gotten PEER Harvey Korman to laugh so hard that he pees his pants in the "Dentist" sketch.
The "Burnett" set by the numbers is 60 hand-picked episodes (including the two-hour series finale) that span all 11 years and 21 discs. The three sets that comprise these discs in a literal box set include the (reviewed) "The Best of the Carol Burnett Show."
We also get a truly collectible booklet (avec photos) that includes a timeline of the series and a paragraph by Burnett as to each season. The icing this time is a partial listing of the notable guests each season.
The series-finale aptly gets its own set; Time Life further gives this Golden Age classic its dues by presenting it in its original broadcast version avec bumpers but sans commercials. Stating too much would spoil sharing in the glee of Burnett on discovering the surprises that Conway et al have planned for her.
Things start out strong with Burnett introducing audience member First Lady of American Cinema Lillian Gish during the final of so many truly iconic show openings that are notable for (often hilarious) Q&A sessions. Commenting that Gish looks as if she is a resident of Grey Gardens is fully in the spirit of Burnett good-naturedly spoofing the greats.
Watching numerous clips that remind audiences of the '70s and of 2019 of the loss as to the series ending is a highlight. We also get an apt good-bye as to Wiggins and a (temporary) equally good send-off for Mama and her family.
Burnett letting Conway steal the show as they and co-star Vicki Lawrence demonstrates the class and the wisdom as to Burnett allowing herself to be upstaged for the good of the show, Conway returns this love by blindsiding Burnett with a very special guest star who leaves her speechless. This expression of fandom for this Hollywood royalty who NEVER becomes box-office poison expresses the love of the greats that allows Burnett to honor them so well.
The next big surprise comes at the end as the (yes again) iconic charwoman character of Burnett cleans up backstage one last time. This again is too special to spoil and REQUIRES paying attention.
This leads to Burnett providing the best-ever final scene in any television series. Still dressed as the charwoman, she explains her decision to head up before the lights go up for last call., Her subsequent exit is far from a walk-of-shame, and she leaves all of us wanting far much more.
The most apt final word regarding all this is that Burnett points out in the aforementioned interview that funny always is funny and that making people laugh does not require going "blue." Sadly, very few realize and achieve this.