Ozzy as `the anti-TV dad'

April 10, 2002|By David Zurawik

Excerpted from Sun TV critic David Zurawik's March 5 review of The Osbournes.

The Osbournes, a new MTV reality series on the family life of rock star Ozzy Osbourne, is the most refreshing, funny and subversive 30 minutes of television I have seen this season.

I can't remember the last time I laughed this hard at a new series, and part of the fun is the wicked way it explodes one of the most fundamental genres of American television: the family sitcom.

Sharon, the first Osbourne we meet, could almost pass for an upper-middle-class soccer mom, although she does use a certain [four-letter] word a lot with her children. She is definitely as close as it gets to sane in this household.

[Ozzy is] hilarious as this heavily tattooed, somnambulant, anti-TV dad. Wait until you hear him lecturing on the evils of cigarette smoking: "You don't even cop a buzz off it."

And, yet, there's love here, and the family functions. More than functions, in fact. The series not only subverts the family sitcom, it questions the very notions of American patriarchal success. Sure, Ozzy's almost in a coma, but his family loves him, and he owns a mansion in Beverly Hills.

Can more traditional dads, in their business suits and corporate straitjackets, say the same? Maybe they should have tried eating bats instead of chasing that MBA.

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