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The Osbournes - THE COMMENTARY

By Joseph Planta

VANCOUVER -- The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, and Sex and the City amongst others, are remarkable television programs that push the envelope and challenge the audience more than a mainstream program like ER or Frasier. Their airing on cable allows them greater freedom such as, if necessary, nudity or swearing.

Drama’s in recent years, haven’t necessarily been much of a draw. We’ve seen a plethora of reality shows like Survivor, Big Brother or The Bachelor. In actuality, MTV originated reality television with its The Real World. Now, they’ve brought The Osbournes which is a reality show, but rather a show that’s not about ordinary people. It’s a show of extraordinary people in a sort of extraordinary reality.

Ozzy Osbourne and his brood are extraordinary because they have a different lifestyle than most. Ozzy -- late of the band Black Sabbath -- lives in the lap of luxury with wife Sharon and kids Jack and Kelly, in Beverly Hills. (Another daughter, Aimee, refused to take part.) MTV’s cameras follow the Osbournes for a day or so capturing the insanity that is their lifestyle.

Obscenities flow, and not just from Ozzy and Sharon, but also from their teenage Jack and Kelly. Both kids by the way, dress as disaffected youth, who look punk ‘rockish’ and pissed off. In one episode, Jack laments growing up with such anger, spewing a “fucking” and “shit” a couple of times at his Mum. Another situation sees Kelly proclaim that her thong is way “up her fucking...” never mind. Mum Sharon warns her of yeast infections, with a “fuck” or two no less. The swearing isn’t really a matter that would raise concerns of abuse or anything. It’s a give or take situation, that I would argue makes them more communicative than most.

Another typical moment is where one episode examines the burgeoning menagerie that resides at the Osbourne house. They must have dozens of animals, from fancy cats and dogs, to pit bulls and your average attention seeker. One dog is provoked by Kelly and attempts to attack the girl. The funny thing is, Kelly is willing to scratch and claw as well, barking, calling the dog “a bitch” constantly. The situation gets unbearable with dogs crapping (or “shitting”) all over the place. Mr. Osbourne is livid, everytime a dog or two decides to relieve himself on an expensive antique carpet. Says Mr. Ozzy: “I’m not picking up another turd, I’m a rock star!” Mrs. Osbourne dispatches a dog psychiatrist, to which Mr. Osbourne mumbles: “I thought I saw it all. Now I have a fucking dog therapist.”

The swearing is bleeped out, but hearing the bleeps so often, from so many characters, you get to decipher what four-letter word is spoken. It’s real and raw, and rather funny. One ought to give it a watch, because it’s that unbelievable. Sean Combs, or P. Diddy, or Puff Daddy, whatever the hell he’s calling himself today, is said to be in negotiations to star in his own reality show. He promises that it’ll be as explicit and raw. God help us if Kid Rock or Mariah Carey attempt their own programs.

13 episodes have been filmed, and Sharon, the business brains of the operation is demanding more money to return next season, and rightfully so. The Osbournes airs in Canada on MTV Canada, and is -- to borrow from Ozzy himself -- fucking good.

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