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Last Updated: Friday, 15 April, 2005, 07:45 GMT 08:45 UK
Ozzy calls time on reality show
By Neil Smith
BBC News entertainment reporter

The final episode of hit reality show The Osbournes was aired on MTV in the UK on Sunday, bringing three years of foul-mouthed televised dysfunction to an end.

The Osbournes: Ozzy, adopted son Rob, Sharon, Jack and Kelly
Eight million people watched The Osbournes at its peak
Back in 2002, the anarchic home life of ageing heavy metal icon Ozzy Osbourne and his squabbling brood seemed a strange subject for a TV show.

But The Osbournes proved an instant hit with viewers, reaching a peak audience of eight million and turning Ozzy's wife Sharon and their unruly children, Kelly and Jack, into cult celebrities.

Described as "a cross between The Simpsons and This Is Spinal Tap" by America's TV Guide magazine, the show derived much of its humour from Ozzy's drug-addled befuddlement at everyday complexities.

The tattooed, former wild man of rock showed an all-too-human side in his inability to deal with modern technology and his annoyance at his family's menagerie of defecating pets.

And viewers warmed to the deep affection he showed to his formidable spouse, rebellious daughter and petulant son.

Early episodes showed Ozzy feuding with his neighbours, struggling to install a DVD player and incongruously warning his children off drink and drugs.

Influential

But subsequent seasons tackled darker material - Sharon's battle with colon cancer, Ozzy's recovery from his 2003 quad bike accident and their children's substance addictions.

There were also plenty of eye-catching guest appearances from Christina Aguilera, Courtney Love and Sir Elton John, amongst others.

Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne
Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne became pop culture celebrities
Osbourne himself was at a loss to explain its popularity, saying: "I suppose Americans get a kick out of watching a crazy Brit family like us make complete fools of ourselves every week."

Indeed, America could not get enough of them. Kelly began a pop career, Sharon landed her own talk show, and Jack made cameo appearances in movies and TV shows.

Ozzy, meanwhile, found himself feted by both President Bush and the Queen, who invited him to perform at her 2002 Jubilee pop concert.

But the true influence of the show was felt in the number of imitations that followed in its wake.

I doubt there'll ever be anything as amazing as The Osbournes
Boyd Hilton, Heat magazine
Liza Minnelli, model Anna Nicole Smith and British boxer Chris Eubank were just some of the celebrities bitten by the fly-on-the-wall bug.

None enjoyed the same success, perhaps because their lives seemed mundane and rather dull in comparison.

However, another factor may have been their attempts to control and moderate how they were portrayed on screen.

Not that the Osbournes were blameless in this regard. Their so-called reality programme was often accused of staging events for the camera.

Self-referential

Despite the show's continued ratings success, there were signs it was nearing the end of its lifespan.

The fourth season opened with a television show about Ozzy appearing on Sharon's television show - jarring even by The Osbournes' self-referential standards.

And with Jack and Kelly planning to move out of their parents' Beverly Hills mansion, the producers are probably wise to call it a day.

"I think it's the right time to go - the show has reached its natural conclusion," says Boyd Hilton, TV editor of Heat magazine.

"Basically, they're all sick of having cameras following them wherever they go."

But Mr Hilton believes the show's legacy is secure. "I doubt there'll ever be anything as amazing as The Osbournes.

"It's been an insight into one of the most bizarre and unusual families you could possibly imagine, who also happen to be very famous.

"It's the Rolls Royce of the genre, and it's set the benchmark for TV shows about famous people."


Your comments

Fantastic, I love it! Sharon Osbourne is amazing!
Anon, UK

I really liked the Osbournes and I am sad to see it go it is one of the funniest shows I have ever seen! I also have a lot of respect for Ozzie and Sharon for putting up with having cameras follow them wherever they went. I am just happy that the producers are ending it now rather than later.
Tanner Edwards, Keenesburg, USA

With so many touched by the family warmth of the Osbournes, I wonder if family life will improve for those who were moved while viewing - or will it really just be seen as entertainment?
Pete, West Mids

It was nice to see the true Ozzy. People have always believed he was this devil worship person and now everyone sees he not like that at all. I'm glad Sharon is FINALLY getting the recognition she deserves for all these years of her hard work, between Ozzy's solo concerts and Ozzfest. Coming from a family very similar to the Osbournes, it was nice to see that others do wacky crap too. I will miss my weekly Osbourne fix.
Denise, Piscataway, NJ - USA

I will admit I have never heard Ozzy's music but what I will say is that the show should go on as I admire the family for allowing the cameras to follow them everywhere. I think it was a very good show and I loved to watch it every chance I got. Good luck with the future and come back soon please.
Pam Allwood, Liverpool

Its also good to see a happily married "celeb" couple - far too often TV programs highlight the failings of marriage - nice to see a sometimes rocky but healthy marriage. It is possible!
Rachel, Southampton, UK

Ozzy is a pretty cool fella but really I don't understand why anyone is interested in his family. What is the nation's fascination with sitting in the living room watching people sit in their living room. Get off the couch and do something with your life.
Sean, Hartlepool

This series was a one-off. A fabulously bonkers family, incredibly dysfunctional, but deeply loving. In many ways, the Osbournes are lovable because of their wealth - people living this way in a council house would soon be branded "neighbours from hell", so it's interesting to note that wealth changes people's attitudes to behaviour. Still, a weird, bizarre, and hysterically funny look at a truly eccentric and often witty family where compassion trumps dysfunction (almost) every time. And I'm so with Ozzy about the pets.
Kaz, Briton in NJ, USA

We've enjoyed the show, but now it's time to say no more. It's been a laugh, it's been weird, it's been very different. Good luck Ozzy and the crew, we shall miss you all, and if you are ever in NZ, call in and say hi. Now that would be a blast :-)
Tony Weston, Auckland, New Zealand

Well, I'm gutted. I really enjoyed this show. It made my day to see Pipi the dog and the rest. I only wish half the families in the UK are as honest as these guys. We would be in a better place.
Sharon Parkin, Durham, England

Absolute rubbish! So pleased that the show has come to an end. What a vulgar dysfunctional family.
Elizabeth, Sarnia, Ontario

Going to miss those crazy Brits. Love the show and the whole family. California loves Ozzy!
Jeanne, Santa Barbara, California, USA

I think that the reason the Osbournes were so popular is because we could all see bits of our own family. My dad swears and doesn't "get" electronics, he also shows the same affection like Ozzy and Sharon. I think that we're a relatively normal family. I think the same about the Osbournes, though their "issues" were on a grander scale. I'll miss the show only because it showed Ozzy in a different light.
Jen, Niagara, Ontario, Canada

Ozzie and Sharon have shown folks how to be good parents. Not by trying to make themselves out to be flawless but by always being there for their kids and helping them. I'll miss you. br />Slurm MacKenzie, Scotland

The Osbournes are fantastic, the show was great and I enjoyed every minute of it. Nothing will come close to matching what they brought to MTV and the world.
Uisdean, Scotland, UK

The loveliest thing about this show was seeing how loving Ozzy and Sharon were with their kids - watching Ozzy's tenderness almost bought a tear to my eye on a few occasions - that despite all his confusion and drug damage he still absolutely loved his family and was never ashamed to show it - a good role model for any father. I also loved the way he 'became' Ozzy Osbourne once he hit the stage - totally in control for that 90 minute performance just to go back to being befuddled and somewhat dazed once it was over.
Mark Tidmarsh, Brighton, England

Thank god for that, the show died after the first series.
Duffman Beers, USA

Sunday will be the worst day of my life, The Osbournes has been the best TV for the last few years, Ozzy & Sharon are great parents and no one can blame them for Kelly & Jack for the time they spent in rehab, these things happen but the love in the family is unreal. Here's hoping the DVDs are released soon, that should keep all the fans going for a while! Osbournes I love you and will miss you! Long live The Osbournes!
Anj, Edinburgh, Scotland

I thought it was fantastic that so many viewers looked past the swearing and 'unconventional' appearances of the family members and judged them instead on the true love, warmth and affection they regularly showed each other. If I had a father who was involved in my life as half as much as Ozzy was involved in Kelly and Jack's, I'd be chuffed to pieces.
Jenny, London, UK

All the greatest examples of entertainment seem to follow the old saying: 'Quit whilst you're ahead'. Thankfully, the Osbournes are doing this also. If only more once-great entertainment ideas followed that code. (I'm thinking Big Brother and Talent Spotting shows here, in particular - BBC, you are not entirely without blame!
Simon Gibson, Bradford, England

Ozzy is my hero and I see him every day on my living room wall! I will miss the show because it was every real fan's dream to see how their idol lives. I admire the whole family especially O&S as they are great music and business role models. Perhaps now he has more time on his hands he will be able to do his own headline gigs.
Catherine Parr, Glasgow, Scotland

People have a tendency to see situations in terms of them and us. My sixth-formers often talk about the "revelation" that teachers are normal people with ordinary lives. So too with The Osbournes, its value is that it shows stars as normal human beings even if elements of their lifestyle are extraordinary. It's not bad for demonstrating the perils of major substance abuse either.
Nick Hersey, Hitchin UK

The Osbournes was great TV and I will miss it, but I think the time was right to finish and go out on a high note. A lot of it made me laugh out aloud but the more emotional moments made me remember about the connection that we all have to our loved ones and that we should look out for each other. It wasn't vulgar or distasteful, just very true to life and very good. Much respect to Ozzy, Sharon, Kelly and Jack
Chris Hampton, Horsham, West Sussex, UK

I do wonder how many American think all British families are like the Osbournes - that is assuming they haven't claimed Ozzy et al for themselves yet.
Thomas Steuart-Feilding, Bristol, UK

In a world where we have the 'Chavs'... it doesn't surprise me one bit when we have a dysfunctional family like the Osbournes as a role model family?
Alyson, London

As I read somewhere: people now will see Ozzy's records on the stores and say "Look the bloke on TV released a CD". Respect to Oz and family. I will miss you.
Stelios, London, UK

Despite what people who probably haven't even seen the show think, Ozzy is a good role model for fathers. My father doesn't put his arm round me while he sits with me watching TV and I'm sure that very few do, such is male bravado but Ozzy has no qualms about putting his arm around his 19 year old son Jack. If only people hugged each other more often I'm sure the world would be a much better place.
Billy Holmes, Paisley, Scotland

I thought the show was vulgar and distasteful.
Delroy McFairlaine, Auckland, New Zealand

You can't blame them for knocking it on the head, but I for one will miss them. I think the success of the Osbournes comes from the warmth that underpins the families lives, dysfunctions and all. It's there to see in every episode, and it's what turns something rather silly into totally compelling television. It's also very British and very American at the same time, a blend only The Osbournes have got right. Kelly's new single is astonishingly good too.
Marc Burrows, Loughborough, Leicester

The Prince of Darkness turns off the lights.
Anon, UK




SEE ALSO:
Curtain falls on Osbourne TV saga
16 Apr 05 |  Entertainment
Sharon Osbourne quits stage show
02 Apr 05 |  Entertainment
Osbournes flee blaze at mansion
31 Mar 05 |  Beds/Bucks/Herts
Osbourne struggled with burglar
23 Nov 04 |  Entertainment
Show over for MTV's The Osbournes
19 Nov 04 |  Entertainment


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