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Absence makes a sitcom fan dumbfounded

The Baltimore Sun

In the year-end issue of Entertainment Weekly, critic Ken Tucker griped about DVD collections of sitcoms well past their prime - or, as he put it, "Surely there weren't that many completists clamoring for" the fifth season of Wings on DVD. Granted, the man has a point; here's betting my 10th season of even Frasier, as great a show as that was, will never get opened.

But what about classic sitcoms not yet available in all their glory? I, for one (and I can't believe I'm the only one), have been waiting for the fifth season of The Mary Tyler Moore Show ever since Season 4 was released in June 2006. MTM is classic television, and no one should be satisfied until all seven seasons are available. Season 5, however, includes the classic "Ted Baxter's Famous Broadcasters' School" episode, in which the world's most proudly inept anchorman is made a molder of young minds. (Let's not even talk about the MIA status of Season 6, which includes "Chuckles Bites the Dust," only the funniest sitcom episode ever, according to TV Guide).

MTM's incomplete status is a sin that's compounded every time another season of Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. lands on my desk.

chris.kaltenbach@baltsun.com

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