Case Number 05871

THE SIMPSONS CHRISTMAS 2

Fox // 2003 // 128 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Elizabeth Skipper (Retired) // December 24th, 2004

The Charge

Let's just say that on this day a million years ago, a dude was born who most of us think was magic. But others don't, and that's cool. But we're probably right. Amen.

Opening Statement

Though The Simpsons is known more for its Halloween episodes than for its Christmas episodes, it has aired a few memorable and enjoyable holiday shows. Too bad none of them are included on The Simpsons Christmas 2.

Facts of the Case

The really good -- or even half-decent -- Christmas episodes of The Simpsons ("Miracle on Evergreen Terrace," "Grift of the Magi," and "She of Little Faith") were included on the first incarnation of this disc, Christmas with the Simpsons. And since not even all of the episodes on that disc were home runs, they really should have stopped there. But apparently someone at Fox decided it wasn't enough and rummaged through the bins for more episodes with at least one reference to Christmas or winter to make a second collection:

* "Homer vs. Dignity" (originally aired 11/19/2000)
Mr. Burns hires Homer to amuse him by becoming his "prank monkey." The family enjoys the extra money until they discover its cost is Homer's dignity.

* "Skinner's Sense of Snow" (originally aired 12/17/2000)
When Principal Skinner refuses to cancel school despite a snowstorm, he and the students are trapped in the school.

* "Dude, Where's My Ranch?" (originally aired 4/27/2003)
Homer writes a hit pop song about his hatred for Flanders. But the incessant remakes become too much for the Simpsons to take, and they escape to vacation at a dude ranch.

* "'Tis the Fifteenth Season" (originally aired 12/13/2003)
When Homer spends the Christmas tree money on a frivolous gift for himself, he begins his own version of "A Christmas Carol." But he soon becomes the Grinch instead.

The Evidence

Ha ha! You're sad at Christmas!

It's not that these are necessarily bad episodes of The Simpsons (although, let's be frank, they're not among the greatest either), but they are bad Christmas episodes. Unlike the show's famous Halloween episodes, these so-called Christmas episodes are often only tangentially related to the holiday. For example, in "Dude, Where's My Ranch?," Christmas is merely the minor plot point from which the actual episode jumps off. How do they get away with including an episode that originally aired at the end of April in a Christmas collection? "Skinner's Sense of Snow" has nothing to do with Christmas; it just takes place in the right season. And "Homer vs. Dignity" could just as easily have been set in the summer. The only episode of the four that's really about Christmas is "'Tis the Fifteenth Season," and it's really not that funny.

And when you look at the first collection, only two of those five episodes (also included on that disc are "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire" and "Mr. Plow") are really about Christmas, so, I ask again: Whose brilliant idea was it to make another Christmas collection when there weren't even enough Christmas episodes to make one? Don't we loyal fans, who have kept The Simpsons on the air for 16 years, deserve something better?

Don't we instead deserve quicker releases of the seasons? Or, if Fox is so set on releasing these more affordable single discs with more widespread appeal, don't we at least deserve the best of the best? One Christmas collection was understandable, but two is just lazy. Instead, I want a fans' choice best-of collection. Take a poll and start releasing the top 20 episodes in single-disc installments of five episodes each. Give me something I want and something I can afford all wrapped up in one disc. I've been good; I've watched The Simpsons religiously since the very first episode. Haven't I earned it?

The audio and video transfers are nothing special, but perfectly adequate for an animated television show. The only extra offered is an animatic with a picture-in-picture storyboard option of the first act from "'Tis the Fifteenth Season." It's mildly interesting but not really worth much...hmm...kinda like this disc.

The Rebuttal Witnesses

Despite their inappropriateness for this collection, these are still episodes of The Simpsons, and it's nearly impossible to go wrong with those. Any episode centering around Principal Skinner is a sure thing, and "Skinner's Sense of Snow" is no exception. And Homer's song about Flanders is just amusing enough to make up for the lackluster rest of "Dude, Where's My Ranch?"

True, but there are redeeming qualities to any Simpsons episode; finding solace in a few funny lines is not good enough for me.

Closing Statement

Unless one of these episodes happens to be your favorite (in which case, maybe you're just not getting the show) and you therefore can't wait for seasons 12, 14, and 15 to be released, I can't see any reason to bother with this disc. If you're in the mood for The Simpsons, pop in one of the DVD sets, or catch the show in syndication. If you're in the mood for holiday-themed hilarity, try Elf instead. It'll give you much more Christmas cheer for your dollar.

The Verdict

The Simpson Christmas 2 is found guilty of exploiting the holiday season for financial gain and is hereby added to the naughty list.

Case adjourned.

Review content copyright © 2004 Elizabeth Skipper; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Video: 90
Audio: 90
Extras: 35
Acting: 88
Story: 70
Judgment: 70

Perp Profile
Studio: Fox
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (French)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (Spanish)

Subtitles:
* English
* French (on "Dude, Where's My Ranch?" and "'Tis the Fifteenth Season")
* Spanish

Running Time: 128 Minutes
Release Year: 2003
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* Animatic and Picture-in-Picture Storyboards of Act One from "'Tis the Fifteenth Season"

Accomplices
* IMDb
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0096697/combined

* Official Site
http://www.thesimpsons.com/