The first six months after 9/11 were a confusing time, and America wasn’t sure when it would be okay to laugh again. Then on March 5, 2002, some well-funded foreigners snuck into our country — and into our hearts! That’s when MTV’s megapopular reality show The Osbournes debuted, and after a couple months of round-the-clock media saturation even I was demanding stricter anti-immigration laws. But it turned out British rocker Ozzy Osbourne and his wacky family had already been living in the United States for several years by that point. How could we have let this happen?!
I never watched a full episode of The Osbournes, one of the first reality programs to focus on famous people and their everyday lives, but it was hard to escape its net: Ozzy’s daughter Kelly recorded an album for Epic despite limited musical skills; his son, Jack, appeared in a few episodes of Dawson’s Creek despite nonexistent acting skills; his wife, Sharon, got her own daytime talk show despite having trouble completing a sentence without the F word; and Ozzy himself, a heavy-metal icon who once fronted the legendary Black Sabbath, found a new career as a mumbling, shuffling punchline who was (mostly) in on the joke. The entire family even had a cameo in the third Austin Powers movie. It was too much too soon, so when The Osbournes finally stopped production in 2005, it felt like it’d been on the air much longer.
But the war on terror didn’t end when G.W. left office two months ago, and the Osbourne family’s reign of terror isn’t over either — on Tuesday, March 31, they return to TV, this time on Fox, as the stars of the new variety special Osbournes: Reloaded. It airs after American Idol, the second point on the axis of pop-culture evil that we came to know after 9/11. We’ve temporarily won the war against the third point on the axis, Paris Hilton, but we must remain vigilant.
This week’s bootleg is “Beast in the Darkness,” recorded on June 29, 1984, at Tokyo’s Budokan during Ozzy’s Bark at the Moon tour. “So Tired,” a track that appears on Bark at the Moon, shows up at the end of the bootleg, but I’m not sure why — it’s not part of the Budokan set, and it runs 45 seconds shorter than the version on the album. All I know is that I can’t wait for Kelly and Paris to cover it on American Idol before the end of this season.
I Don’t Know
Rock ‘n’ Roll Rebel
Bark at the Moon
Revelation (Mother Earth)
Steal Away (The Night)
Centre of Eternity
Flying High Again
unexplained bonus track: