Webster: Season Three (DVD)

From a time when saying “I’ll be your best friend” actually got you what you wanted.

When watching Webster: Season Three as a young kid I wanted to live in a house with secret passages like his. That ladder behind the grandfather clock! The door under the stairs! Now as an adult I still want secret passages in my house, but more than that I’d love all my problems to present and resolve themselves within 25 minutes.

Webster: Season Three premiered on ABC September 20, 1985. The twenty-nine episodes of this season took Webster and his foster family the Papadapolises all over the country, from Chicago to New York to Hollywood to Arizona and back, tackling all sorts of ’80s-era problems along the way. The episodes are listed below:

Disc One
* “How the West Was Once”
* “And Baby Makes Breakfast”
* “Big Problems”
* “Alien”
* “Parent Trap”
* “Good Grief”

Disc Two
* “One More Shot”
* “Great Expectations: Part 1”
* “Great Expectations: Part 2”
* “Who’s to Blame?”
* “Chained”
* “The Triangle”
* “The Truth Hurts”

Disc Three
* “Hello, I Must Be Going”
* “That’s Rich”
* “TV or Not TV”
* “Borrowed Time”
* “A Friend in Need”
* “Love, Papadapolis Style”
* “Almost Home”

Disc Four
* “Farewell to Arms”
* “There Goes the Bride”
* “Gotcha”
* “My Family’s Honor”
* “Special Delivery”
* “Cuckoo’s Nest”
* “Rear View Mirror (Part One)”
* “Rear View Mirror (Part Two)”

Webster: Season Three once again brings together our favorite trio of Chicago urbanites. First up is Emmanuel Lewis, who became well known for being Michael Jackson’s favorite award show accessory. Next is Susan Clark (Porky’s) and her real-life husband Alex Karras, known to audiences as a color commentator for NFL Monday Night Football, and I always thought he’d have made a wonderful voice for Frosty the Snowman.

This season finds a settling in for the actors, most notably Lewis. Given this was his first series and he was a kid it’s not surprising he had less than compelling moments. But this season finds him delivering more emotional range than he had before and doing it convincingly as well. Karras became the real rock of the trio, maintaining a level within his acting that allowed for Lewis’ youthful exuberance plus Clark’s more dynamic range to shine.

Webster: Season Three turned outward, both in terms of location shooting and the problems handled. It became more about how Webster helped the people in his life solve their problems instead of having every episode focus on one of the trials and tribulations of being a kid. Helping that along were notable guest stars like Patrick Ewing, Ben Vereen (Pippin), Jack Krushen (Dragnet), and Gwen Verdon (Cocoon).

You’re not going to buy this set unless you’ve already watched the episodes, either when they first aired or through reruns. But if you do, you can count on a wholesome slice of ’80s pie. Webster: Season Three reminds us of a time when kids were well-behaved, race relations were always amicable, and no problem was too big to solve.

It’s clear there was no re-mastering going on here. This looks like it’s straight off the broadcast reel. The palette is muted, leaning toward an overall orange hue, and it’s kind of hazy. But it’s a product of its time, and not something you’re going to be bothered by. More likely it will add to the nostalgia factor. The audio will not give your system a workout but the levels are balanced and you can hear every corny joke there is, which is all you really want.

No extras on this set.

There’s no getting around the fact it’s creepy Webster calls Mrs. Papadapolis “Ma’am” even though he’s introduced as their son. It was a weird disconnect from the central premise of the show: that Webster was part of their family.

Like Webster himself would say, “Good one, Webster Long.”

THE VERDICT

Not guilty.

89
Here are the top ten things we know: 1) She lives in Ohio 2) She is MWOC unless you count her two dogs 3) Believes Avatar was NOT the greatest movie ever made 4) Operates on a primarily nocturnal basis 5) Wants to write the screenplay for the movie adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle 6) Watches a variety of shows on television including, but not limited to: Castle, @midnight, Face Off, Sherlock and Whose Line is it Anyway? 7) Does not believe anyone will actually read this besides the editor (hello, Editor!) 8) Has attended more than one N*SYNC concert in her lifetime but only one NKOTB concert 9) Was in a car crash that would have killed her had she not been wearing her seat belt 10) Is in the process of catching up on Supernatural (incidentally would possibly leave her husband for either of the Winchester Brothers depending on the episode in question) and the bonus! 11) Enjoys reading, writing, laying on the beach (long walks tire her out) and assorted snack foods like frozen M&M's.
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