Dilbert, Dogbert, Ratbert and Catbert by Gord Lacey (All reviews)
Do you ever know about something without really knowing about it? That's how I feel about Dilbert. I knew he was a geeky engineer that starred in a comic strip about office work, but that was about it. I've read the little strips plastered around co-workers desks (usually the IT people), but I can't say I've ever sought it out. So when I sat down to watch the first episode I really had no idea what to expect.
Dilbert is just your average worker trapped in a job that gives him a meager paycheck and no job security, but every day he shows up to work and tries to make the best of it. Like all our offices, his is populated with a wide range of characters. There's Wally, the guy who decided he won't work, and there isn't much anyone else can do about it. Alice, the woman who is more of a guy than most of the guys around her. Loud Howard... he's loud, and he's not very bright. Toss in Asok the intern, the boss, and the evil HR director, Catbert, and you have yourself a fully-functional office...well...okay, you have yourself an office. Wait a second...Catbert? Yup, that's right, their HR person is an evil cat, and to make it more interesting Dilbert's best friend is Dogbert (as you can guess, he's a dog) and they share a house with Ratbert!
I found Dilbert to be incredibly entertaining, maybe because I can relate to many of the situations. In fact, since I started watching the set I've lived through 3 episodes; a scary thought, but it's true.
Columbia TriStar is known for jamming as much onto their discs as possible, but rest easy because this is one set that has some breathing room. The 30 episodes are spread over 4 discs resulting in 7, 6, 8 and 9 episodes on the discs, and they look fine. The earlier episodes contained some noise in the image, but that went away part-way into the series. The picture is a little soft, but since this is animation it could have been caused by the animation process and not the transfer. Every once and awhile you'll see a bit of dust, but the image is relatively clean of debris. Each disc has a "play all" feature, and chapters are placed immediately after the opening to allow easy skipping.
Dilbert contains an English Dolby Surround language track as the only option. Animated shows are interesting because all the sounds we hear are created by sound designers. Dilbert sounds as good as most other animated shows; the dialog is clear (especially Loud Howard) and the sound effects are great. There were a number of panning sounds used in the series, something that quite a number of animated shows. There aren't any subtitles for the DVD, but it's closed captioned.
Making Dilbert Work (19:25)
In an interview with Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, he explains how the character went from being an idea, to a comic strip, to the screen. Chris Elliot (Dogbert), Larry Charles (executive producer), Gordon Hunt (Wally), Kathy Griffin (Alice) and Larry Miller (the boss) are also interviewed.
Clip Compilations (16:15)
Scott Adams introduces themed clips from the show: "Dogbert Speaks" (5:22), "You're Not The Boss of Me" (4:24), "Marketing or Felonious Activity?" (2:45) and "Cabert: Feline or Pure Evil?" (3:44).
There are trailers for Adam Sandler's 8 Crazy Nights (1:21), TV Action Favorites (1:50) and TV Comedy Favorites (2:05).
As I watched the 30 episodes on the set, I had to ask myself a number of questions. Why is Dilbert's tie bent upwards? What on earth does Dogbert do? Where is Asok from? How dumb is the Boss? When will Dilbert's dad be full?
Not knowing much about the comic strip I wasn't sure if I would enjoy the show, but I did! I really, really did. Hopefully someone else that doesn't know much about the comic will read this and give it a shot. If ONE person does this, then my job here is done.
As Dilbert put it in one of the episodes, "Frankly I was hoping for more." I wish this show had lasted longer than it did; it was great!