Jesus loves the Osmonds. Alan, Wayne, Merrill, Jay and Jimmy composed one of the most successful groups of the 1970s, amassing a total of over 80 million albums sold worldwide. Did I forget anyone? Ah yes, who can forget those darling younger siblings Donny and Marie? The Utah natives followed in the footsteps of other great family groups of the time such as the Partridge family. The seven rowdy siblings could best be compared to the Jackson 5, only white, with two extra members and no LaToya.

“Inside the Osmonds,” the ABC television event, follows the renowned family from their humble beginnings on the Andy Williams show in 1962 to the cancellation of the Donny & Marie show in 1979. The events in between, penned exquisitely by Matt Dorff, create a story of mythic proportions. Under the skillful direction of the TV movie connoisseur Neill Fearnley, “Inside the Osmonds” takes the audience directly into the lives of music”s most important and electrifying family.

Bruce McGill, best known for his brilliant work as D-Day in “Animal House,” stars as the commanding father of the Osmond posse. Veteran actress Veronica Cartwright reprises her role as Lambert in “Alien,” only instead of frantically running around the Nostromo avoiding an 8-foot monster resembling an H.R. Giger creation, she tours the world with her fun loving Mormon children to spread the gospel through bubble-gum pop. The real highlight of the talented ensemble cast is the performance of Joel Berti as Alan Osmond. The gifted young actor who once starred as Red Team Guy #2 in “Saved By the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas” has come into his own commercially and artistically.

The story begins well into the family”s musical career. Not content with playing second fiddle to Andy Williams, the boys seek out producer Rick Hall to begin production on what would be their first of many successful albums. Immediately concerns emerge from the father regarding the content of the lyrics to the pop songs his boys sing. The producers and the Osmonds soon reconcile their differences and scheme to take control of the world by touring exotic locations from Cleveland to Philadelphia.

Despite having 34 gold records, all is not well with the family. Tensions build as heartthrobs Donny & Marie move to the forefront and steal the limelight from their equally endowed siblings. Not since the team-up of Gilgamesh and Enkidu has there been a force so commanding. The duo becomes the country”s favorite television program and thrills it”s viewers with special guests and musical numbers. Then the shit hits the fan.

I won”t spoil the dramatic conclusion to the television event of 2001 but you have to see it to believe it. Let me just tell you this the ending includes dynamite, helicopters, pole vaulting and a surprise appearance by the Osmonds themselves. I guess I ruined the ending, oh well.

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