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Friday, 8 March, 2002, 18:23 GMT
Ozzy bites back in reality TV show
Ozzy with wife Sharon, who is also put in the spotlight
Ozzy has mellowed in his old age
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By the BBC's Kevin Anderson in Washington

TV show The Osbournes marries two of the most successful formulas in American television - the dysfunctional family and reality television.

Dysfunctional families make up some of the most successful shows in American television. Think the Simpsons or the Bundys of Married with Children Fame.

Now, add to the mix an aging bat-biting, satanic heavy metal icon with a couple of typically rebellious and unruly teenagers, and you get the basic gist of The Osbournes.

Doting dad

It makes sense that MTV, which spawned reality television 10 years ago with Real World, would take the genre to a new level. MTV bills The Osbournes as the first reality-based family sitcom.

Ozzy Osbourne
Ozzy is frank and open with his teenage children
Ozzy Osbourne, former frontman for Black Sabbath, has just moved the family to Hollywood, and they are settling into their new mansion.

In addition to Ozzy, we have Sharon, his wife, plus two darling children, Kelly and Jack.

The Osbournes appear to be a pretty typical family and just like most parents, they are completely flummoxed by technology and must rely on their children.

Ozzy is stumped by the home automation system and accidentally turns on the shower when he wants to watch television. Young Jack comes to the rescue.

Jack and Kelly fight like cats and dogs, and before a night out on the town, Ozzy lectures them about drugs, drink and sex, telling them to use condoms if they want to indulge.

There are 59 bleeps in the first half hour episode

Probably one of the best aspects of the show is the incongruent scenes of touching familial love.

Ozzy seems truly to adore his children.

It is just hard to get one's head around this profane, tattooed, crazy man - who once bit the head off a bat in Des Moines - expressing his undying paternal love.

When he is interrogating Jack about why he left Kelly on her own on their night out, Ozzy says, "You have to understand. I love you both. I love you more than life itself, but you're all mad."

It is precious seeing Ozzy lecturing Kelly and Jack about cigarettes. "These will kill you faster than crack," he says.

And when Kelly complains that old dad does not listen to her, he says he simply cannot hear her, and asks her to try to stand in front of 30 billion decibels for 35 years.

Bleeping bleep bleep

But one has to wonder how long the jokes will stay fresh.

Yes, it is funny to see the moving boxes with one marked pots and pans, another linens and yet a third marked devil heads and yet another marked dead things.

But it remains to be seen how much mileage they can get out of the aging satanic rocker turned loving father.

The show definitely needs a new soundman. Much of the dialogue is lost in echoes.

And the MTV censor must have been working overtime on this show.

Every third word is bleeped. There are 59 bleeps in the first half hour episode.

It makes for gripping dialogue. This is definitely a family with a fully developed sense of the profane.

They even fuzz Ozzy's hand as he gives a sign to the camera. It seems a little puritanical.

But the show is worth at least a second watch. The mix of aging headbanger with doting dad is an interesting update of an old formula.

The Osbournes is on Tuesday nights on the US version of MTV

See also:

26 May 02 | Reviews
The Osbournes: Your views
18 Feb 02 | TV and Radio
MTV goes home with Ozzy Osbourne
12 Oct 01 | Reviews
Ozzy Osbourne bats back
21 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Ozzy launches gig lawsuit
11 Nov 01 | Music
Ozzy postpones tour
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