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All-American Girl: The Complete Series
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Based around the stand-up routines of comedienne Margaret Cho this series looked at the culture clashes that occured between a traditional Korean mother and her fully Americanized daughter. Mom just wants Margaret to marry 'respectable' men: doctors lawyers scientists (and always Korean) while her daughter is more interested in Caucasian bikers musicians and any other type that her mother is bound to hate. Through all of this Dad knows better than to interfere and just keeps out of the fray.All-American Girl: The Complete Series Disc 1 - 155:50All-American Girl: The Complete Series Disc 2 - 155:50All-American Girl: The Complete Series Disc 3 - 155:50All-American Girl: The Complete Series Disc 4 - 155:50System Requirements:Running Time: 450 MinFormat: DVD MOVIE Genre: TELEVISION/SERIES & SEQUELS Rating: NR UPC: 826663976694 Manufacturer No: D4D97669
A dimly remembered 1994 series that lasted a scant 19 episodes may not seem like a good candidate for DVD release, but All-American Girl deserves a second look. For Margaret Cho fans, this was the series that helped the diva of the disenfranchised find her comedic voice. For sitcom buffs, this series' tumultuous history is a textbook cautionary tale. And for actual fans of the show, it will be fun to be reunited with the wisecracking, TV-addicted Grandma (Amy Hill), the series' breakout character. All-American Girl was created as a showcase for stand-up comedian Cho, and was the first primetime series to feature a Korean family. But network interference took its toll on Cho's health (she recalls in one of the episode commentaries that she was compelled to crash-diet after being informed by execs that "I was too fat to play myself") and the show's creative direction, dulling Cho's cutting edge.
Set in San Francisco, All-American Girl is a culture clash/generation gap comedy. Cho's free-spirited Valley Girlish Margaret works at a department store and lives with her tradition-bound bookseller parents (Clyde Kusatsu, Jodi Long); her Grandma; brother Stuart (B.D. Wong), a successful doctor; and her younger, assimilated brother, Eric (J.B. Quon). Margaret's relationship with her imperious mother is particularly adversarial. The show seemed to be finding its footing when it was canceled, and some episodes offer a tantalizing glimpse of what might have been had the show's creators been left alone. "Pulp Sitcom" is a clever homage to Pulp Fiction, complete with a guest-star appearance by Quentin Tarantino as a purveyor of bootleg videos. "The Apartment" spoofs MTV's The Real World as Margaret shares an apartment with her two co-workers, one of whom (comedian Judy Gold) has a penchant for walking around nude. The show took a fleeting Seinfeld-ian turn with "Take My Family, Please," in which Margaret performs a stand-up routine about her family, who are in the audience and are not amused. In solo episode commentaries and in an on-camera conversation with Amy Hill, Cho thoughtfully reflects on where All-American Girl succeeded and why it ultimately failed. But her through-the-Hollywood-looking-glass experience inspired her breakout performance piece, the highly recommended I'm the One That I Want, in which she chronicles the series' demise much more candidly and graphically. This is the unexpurgated Margaret we know and love. --Donald Liebenson
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The funniest episode is the Pulp Sitcom with Quentin Tarentino. Especially if you are a fan of Pulp Fiction you will see so many takes on it. From the clean up scene, the story of the watch, the diner and the car. It's quite cool and was probably really hip back then.
This dvd set is a must for all Margaret Cho fans and fans of the show. It was and still is quite funny.
But with all its flaws, "All-American Girl" is still fun to watch for several reasons. One, Amy Hill's portrayal of "Grandma Kim" is endearing and very funny. In fact, it will remind many of Margaret Cho's impersonations of her real-life mother in her more recent stand-up shows. Second, there is a quirky vibe to the show that results from its odd array of characters. They range from the talented Judy Gold playing an oddball co-worker of Margaret's at the mall department store, to an 11-year-old Ashley Johnson playing an offbeat nextdoor neighbor to the Kim's (the name of Margaret's family on the sitcom), to Jodi Long portraying Margaret's strict and traditional mother, and B.D. Wong acting as her successful, superior older brother. This variety makes for "a little something for everyone" that ultimately gives the show the ability to appeal to different ages, races, and people from different socio-economic backgrounds.
Lastly, "All-American Girl" is intriguing to watch simply because it is sooo different than the Margaret Cho many of us have come to love. Given that a good chunk of her autobiography and first stand-up flick (both titled "I'm the One That I Want") focused on the trials and tribulations that doing the sitcom brought her, AAG has taken on a second life in recent years. Now, fans can see what all the fuss was all about, see how much she's changed, and enjoy a bit of nostalgia (yes, the show did, in fact, have a notable teenage following when it originally aired!).
Was Excited: Someone like myself and like my family were on the small screen. There were house decorations that I had in my house or have seen at the Korean store! Margaret Cho is an icon, my idol, my favorite, and someone I want to call noonah. I loved seeing the other actors too. They seem like long lost family that returned to my life since I was in junior high when I tuned in every night to try and find out when All American Girl was going to air the next month.
Was Sad: Margaret Cho was suffering from diets and horribly negative opinions from various directions but she kept up her beautiful smile. There's one scene where she's holding a fudge bar but she probably was advised not to even lick it! How sad!
Was Disappointed (not at Cho nor other actors): Not even one guest star or extra was Korean. So while viewers griped about that, producers were trying to present this whole facade. However, the actors who played the family especially Amy Hill were really great in performing as Koreans.
Was Angry: The last episode or lost episode ticked me off. They made Margaret Cho go through hell for the show and then transform it into Korean girl version of Drew Carrey show. Maybe that's where they got idea for his show...
Was Happy: This show existed! This show was put on DVD! I own it!
Unfortunately, Margaret Cho was not funny at all in this show. But then again it is difficult to imagine Margaret Cho's brand of comedy in a G rated television show. But Richard Pryor managed to do it with his show.
I gave this DVD set a four star rating because of Grandma. Grandma does indeed steal the show. I found myself looking forward to each episode to see what Grandma would do next. Grandma made me laugh a LOT. They should have made a series called: "All American Grandma." That would have been a great, long running series. I would have bought every season on DVD.
Except for Grandma, the show was not funny. It is easy to see why the show failed. If Grandma were not on the show, the show would have been cancelled much sooner.
There are three notable episodes in the series. One episode consists of Grandma, Mom and Margaret going to the Oprah Winfrey show. Yes, Oprah is in the episode. Very good episode. Another episode, "Pulp Sitcom" features Quentin Tarantino in which he pokes a bit of fun at "Pulp Fiction." Good episode. Another episode, the last episode of the series, is also the worst episode of the series. It was so bad and inane that it made Three's Company look like Shakespeare. Margaret finally has her own place with three male roommates. Those three roommates could not make an intelligent decision if their lives depended on it. Was painful to watch.
Bottom line, buy this to watch Grandma. You will not be disappointed.
All-American Girl was a really funny show. The grandmother stole every scene she was in. The character of the mother was a bit over the top with her strong believes and seemingly bad attitude, but that is the way her character was written. It was a really great ensemble cast and was just as enjoyable as an Everyone Loves Raymond or a Family Matters.
To understand All-American Girl you must check out the special feature All-American Girl: A Look Back With Margaret Cho. Margaret went through so much with the network when it came to the production of the show. She is joined in this feature with Amy Hill who starred as the grandmother in the series. This was the first time that Asian-American's were seen on prime television as a family just living their lives and there were conflicts with the casting and the show was not without controversy as some Asian-Americans complained that all of the actors in the show were not Korean. On top of that in the feature Margaret discloses many strife's that occurred with the production and even details how once world politics came into conversation when it came to the series. This feature shines so much light on the series and Amy Hill even gets back into her grandma get up at the end!
If you missed All-American Girl during it's original run, do pick it up on DVD. The complete series is available in a four disc box set. It's a really funny show and it's a shame it didn't last longer.