Case Number 05759: Small Claims Court

THE SIMPSONS GONE WILD

Fox // 2004 // 110 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Packard (Retired) // December 8th, 2004

The Charge

"It's about women and how they are not mere objects with curves that make us crazy." -- Homer Simpson

The Case

In a further attempt to satisfy the public's apparently-insatiable appetite for all things out of control, Fox brings us The Simpsons Gone Wild, a compilation of four episodes from the insanely popular and still-chugging The Simpsons animated series. The episodes in which the Simpsons have been deemed wild are as follows:

* "Homer's Night Out" (Episode 7G10 from Season One, 1989 -- 1990)
Bart uses his new spy camera to snag a picture of Homer dancing with stripper "Princess Kashmir" during a bachelor party. The photo quickly proliferates among the residents of Springfield until Homer is catching giggles and glances from everyone. Marge boots Homer out of the house until he can prove to Bart that women are not sex objects to be ogled.

This episode is from Season One and sports some of the awkward animation and voice work that is prevalent in episodes from this season. That aspect isn't an issue to me; in fact, I quite enjoy Season One as it shows the early efforts of the series getting its legs in making the transition from its origin on The Tracey Ullman Show. The problem I have with this episode is that it's not particularly funny. That's not to say it doesn't have its moments: during a visit to The Rusty Barnacle restaurant, Bart immediately checks the "poor" boxes on the comment card and rearranges the letters on the specials sign to something less appetizing. Moe advertises "Ladies Night -- Unescorted Ladies Drink Free," and Homer finds Princess Kashmir at the Sapphire Lounge at the Ye Olde Off Ramp Inn. I chuckled a few times, but the episode doesn't have the rollicking gags and sly humor of the two episodes to follow.
Grade: C

* "Sunday, Cruddy Sunday" (Episode AABF08 from Season 10, 1998 -- 1999)
While in the waiting room at High-Pressure Tire Sales (complete with broken television, spilled coffee, and an issue of Trout Fever magazine), Homer meets Wally, a former pyramid schemer who now owns the Springfield Travel Agency. He hooks up a trip to the Super Bowl for Homer, Bart, and a large group of friends. When the tickets prove to be counterfeit (aside from missing the official hologram, they're printed on crackers), Homer is determined to get into the stadium, one way or another.

This episode has always been one of my favorites, and while the following episode is a nice inclusion as well, this episode is the best on the disc. The hilarious gags come at a slam-bang pace, and they're occasionally edgy. In one scene, Principal Skinner remarks how glad he is that he works at an elementary school when Postmaster Bill tells a group of visiting schoolchildren that "The day of the gun-toting, disgruntled postman shooting up the place went out with the Macarena." Another scene features a young man at a gas station surrounded by buxom women, all to the thumping rock of ZZ Top's "Legs." One of the women is wearing a cross, and we learn we're watching a Super Bowl commercial for "The Catholic Church -- we've made a few changes."

If it's guest appearances you enjoy, you get a ton of them in this episode. The Super Bowl theme gives us Dan Marino, Troy Aikman, John Madden, Pat Summerall, and Rosie Grier (Flanders' worries at not yet attending church on a Sunday are no problem thanks to "Rosie Grier's Porta-Chapel.") Throw in Dolly Parton and an apparently-undead Vincent Price, and you've got a classic Simpsons episode full of the originality and humor that have kept this series going for well over a decade.
Grade: A

* "The Mansion Family" (Episode BABF08 from Season 11, 1999 -- 2000)
Having won "Springfield's Oldest Man" award at the Springfield Pride Awards ("Please, no rioting"), Mr. Burns decides to visit the Mayo Clinic (a sign out front asks "got tumor?") for a full rooter-to-the-tooter physical. Homer and family get the job of mansion-sitting in Burns' absence. The family enjoys the quirky aspects of Burns' home, and eventually Homer takes his boss's yacht out to international waters for some drinking, partying, and monkey knife fighting. All's well until some Asian pirates enter the picture.

This is another all-around hilarious episode, with a nice swipe at the Grammy Awards, the Simpsons family running amok in the mansion and enjoying all it has to offer, and Burns' various tests at the Mayo Clinic (my favorite gag is when Burns is slid into an MRI machine, only to hear the thing grind to a halt with an error message reading "Clear body jam in Area 1.") Britney Spears makes a small guest appearance as well.
Grade: A-

* "Homer the Moe" (Episode CABF20 from Season 13, 2001 -- 2002)
Moe has lost his passion for bartending and believes a visit to Swigmore University, his alma mater, will "rekindle his love of getting people loaded." Moe returns and decides to follow the advice of his dying professor: He renovates the "crap-hole" into "M," a postmodern ("weird for the sake of weird") club complete with velvet ropes, bouncers, exotic beers, and an oxygen bar. Soon, Moe is missing his regulars and dealing with competition from Homer's new garage-based "hunting club." R.E.M. is the guest appearance featured here.

After the previous two episodes, this one was disappointing. The strongest gag (and it's not saying much) is seeing Homer, Barney, Lenny, and Carl do a food-splattered "Coyote Ugly" parody dance on Moe's bar. The humor lies more in seeing Moe become "Moe St. Cool" and the renovations he makes to the bar, which isn't particularly funny in and of itself.
Grade: C+

There's one extra, titled "Krusty the Clown: King of Comedy." It's a couple minutes of mostly unfunny Krusty segments, complete with an annoying, flashing "applause" sign after each one. I can see why mention of this extra was omitted from the back of the case.

Speaking of the back of the case, it adds to the feeling that this compilation is nothing more than a rush job trying to make a few extra bucks on The Simpsons name. Aside from the omission of the Krusty extra, the top of the case reads "Simpsons Uncensored!" I'm a casual fan of the series -- I'm not a Simpsons guru by any stretch of the imagination, nor do I claim to be -- so I can't comment on whether or not these episodes are truly "uncensored" as the box suggests. However, I can say I didn't see anything in the four episodes to make me feel as if I was watching something too hot for television (although the Catholic Church ad in "Sunday, Cruddy Sunday" came close). Another nitpick: the description for "Homer's Night Out" mentions a night at a strip club. No, the stripper came to the bachelor party held in the banquet room at The Rusty Barnacle; did the marketing folks at Fox even watch these episodes?

From a technical standpoint, the disc has no issues. The video was crisp, and the Dolby Digital stereo offerings were clear. It's nice to see the transfers were done well, even if the need for the disc itself feels pointless.

With the first four seasons already available on DVD and Season Five due by the end of the year, the purchase of this compilation, even at roughly $12, is questionable. Taking into consideration that "Homer's Night Out" is already available on the Season One DVD set and "Homer the Moe" isn't a great episode, I can only recommend The Simpsons Gone Wild for die-hard fans or completists that must own everything The Simpsons. Everyone else would do well to put their money toward a full season set instead. Verdict: guilty. Court dismissed.

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

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 73

Perp Profile
Studio: Fox
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

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

Subtitles:
* English
* Spanish

Running Time: 110 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* "Krusty the Clown: King of Comedy" featurette

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