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Ellen: The Complete Season Two is a little less populous than season 1 (there's a net loss of one cast member). But in every important respect the 1990s ABC sitcom starring Ellen DeGeneres as bookstore owner and adorable neurotic Ellen Morgan carries on the show's familiar charm and intelligence. Fans will surely notice the unmentioned departure of Ellen's buddies Holly (Holly Fulger) and Anita (Maggie Wheeler), as well as the out-of-nowhere appearance of new best gal pal Paige (Joely Fisher). But Arye Gross provides strong continuity as returning second banana and platonic friend Adam, the underachieving photographer who moves out of Ellen's apartment in season 2's eighth episode ("Adam's Birthday"), yet never seems to be gone afterward. For the most part, season 2's scripts, like season 1's, are both urbane (in the Friends mold) and classic-TV silly (in the I Love Lucy tradition). The season premiere, "The Dentist," has some great moments for the series' highlight reel when Ellen's attraction to a dentist gets out of hand after inhaling laughing gas. "So Funny" finds Ellen jealous over Adam's friend Theresa's quick wit, while "Mrs. Koger" has a timeless plot in which our heroine chews out a crusty and unpleasant old neighbor, only to discover the latter died moments afterward. (Ellen's penchant for babbling is particularly funny during a post-mortem conversation with a cop.) The Lucy influence is especially strong in "Ballet Class" (Ellen gets a little too ambitious) and "The Spa" (a massage turns brutally slapstick). Despite these strong storylines, at least half of every episode is concerned with light subplots, such as Adam's near-flirtatious efforts to reach out to Ellen's employee Joe (David Anthony Higgins) when he realizes he has no guy friends. No matter what's going on, DeGeneres finds a way to endear herself every scene.

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Special Features * 24 episodes on three discs * Commentary by Joely Fisher and David Anthony Higgins on "The Trainer" and "Mrs. Kroger"

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AAE71712 Ellen Season 2 DVD (1995/Ellen DeGeneres) $19.95 $17.99