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Family Bonds (Sous-titres français)
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Family Bonds is an endearingly raw peek into the lives of the Evangelistas, a large Long Island family who happen to work together as bail bondsmen. The 10 episodes compiled here follow family patriarch Tom Evangelista, his wife Flo, and their children, friends, and co-workers as they track down unsavory characters in New York City while dealing with a host of issues at home, from their youngest son's attempt to master riding a bike to the birth of their first grandchild. And it's the balance between these two worlds, which invariably overlap in intriguing ways (Flo is called in to handle a female fugitive; Tom must deal with his eldest son Sal's desire for a gun when he joins the business) that makes Family Bonds such a watchable program--the Evangelistas, for all their rough edges, manage to remain a caring and even sweet family in the face of their unpleasant line of work. Their commitment to one another offers a refreshing alternative to the more cartoonish approach to bail bondsmen offered by the series Dog the Bounty Hunter. The DVD includes commentary by director Steve Cantor, producer Matthew Galkin, and editor Pax Wasserman, as well as a "sit down" with the Evangelistas at a family barbecue. --Paul Gaita
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The episodes center around the Evangelista family, with the apprehending of bail jumpers taking up a minimal amount of actual screen-time. Instead you see the interaction of the Evangelista family: blowhard (softie) patriarch Tom, his stylized but voluptuous, down-to-earth wife Flo and their children. Nephew Chris, a Jersey bear of a guy, lives on their couch in light of his divorce while Flo's two sisters work in the bail bond offices. Of the two sisters, Dawn is the one who stands out with her frosted hair and Jersey tawk, along with a husband who is not doing such a hot job running their branch of the business.
Episodes generally cross-cut between the pursuit of bail cases in the company van, Tom and family at the office and various family circumstances outside of work. While this doesn't sound riveting (and it isn't) its watchability is raised by the non-intrusive, documentary style of HBOs reality programming/specials where the cameras capture nuance and real-life communication that is refreshing and easy to relate to. Watch this after your primetime line-up and admire the family's unvarnished honesty and real-life comedy. The Evangelista kids aren't sitcom brats and are admirably mature, compared to socialites with their own shows who can't even spell. This isn't classic TV but it is an interesting 300 minutes with a family you don't see often on television and is definitely worth a rent--- unless you're a true fan and want the set for keeps. I wish this family well, big-mouths and all.
In the case of the Evangelistas, my friends and I adore these people. First and formost, they are a family who love each other. I wish I was their neighbor!
HBO once again has veered off the paved path of typical TV with Family Bonds. I'm a HUGE fan of HBO original programming, and this show ranks right up there with all of the greats - Sopranos, S&TC, Oz, America Undercover, etc. I watched Family Bonds when it originally aired, and after the season ended I was ***dying*** for more. I hope HBO will somehow revisit the Evangelista's in the near future.
(I found the 1st episode to be the less entertaining, but most likely due to the introduction of the family and business. The episodes that follow are priceless!)