Appellate Judge Mac McEntire made a boom-boom.
Our reviews of Christmas With The Simpsons (published October 30th, 2003), The Simpsons: The Complete First Season (published September 19th, 2001), The Simpsons: The Complete Third Season (published December 15th, 2003), The Simpsons: The Complete Fourth Season (published July 12th, 2004), The Simpsons: The Complete Fifth Season (published February 23rd, 2005), The Simpsons: The Complete Sixth Season (published August 29th, 2005), The Simpsons: The Complete Seventh Season (published January 16th, 2006), The Simpsons: The Complete Eighth Season (published August 21st, 2006), The Simpsons: The Complete Ninth Season (published January 22nd, 2007), The Simpsons: The Complete Tenth Season (published August 29th, 2007), The Simpsons: The Complete Thirteenth Season (Blu-Ray) (published September 6th, 2010), The Simpsons: The Complete Fourteenth Season (Blu-ray) (published December 19th, 2011), The Simpsons: The Complete Fifteenth Season (published December 24th, 2012), The Simpsons: The Complete Twentieth Season (Blu-Ray) (published January 21st, 2010), The Simpsons: Bart Wars (published June 30th, 2005), The Simpsons Christmas 2 (published December 24th, 2004), The Simpsons Gone Wild (published December 8th, 2004), The Simpsons: Kiss And Tell (published March 29th, 2006), The Simpsons: The Fourteenth Season (published December 22nd, 2011), and The Simpsons' Treehouse Of Horror (published November 20th, 2003) are also available.
"The Simpsons are going to Delaware!"
Try tracking the public's interest in The Simpsons over the years. It started as the most-talked-about show on TV, went on to cult following status, went through a "this show isn't as funny as it used to be" phase, and now seems to be somewhere in between "established TV institution" and back to "cult following" status. Where does season 12 fit into this? I have no idea anymore.
Facts of the Case
Homer Simpson (Dan Castellanetta, Earthworm Jim), his wife Marge (Julie Kavner, Shadows and Fog), son Bart (Nancy Cartwright), daughter Lisa (Yeardley Smith, City Slickers), and baby Maggie live in Springfield, U.S.A., where they have many adventures. Such as…
• "Treehouse of Horror XI"
• "A Tale of Two Springfields"
• "Insane Clown Poppy"
• "Lisa the Tree Hugger"
• "Homer vs. Dignity"
• "The Computer Wore Menace Shoes"
• "The Great Money Caper"
• "Skinner's Sense of Snow"
• "Pokey Mom"
• "Worst Episode Ever"
• "Tennis the Menace"
• "Day of the Jackanapes"
• "New Kids on the Blecch"
• "Hungry Hungry Homer"
• "Bye Bye Nerdie"
• "Simpson Safari"
• "Trilogy of Error"
• "I'm Goin' to Praiseland"
• "Children of a Lesser Clod"
• "Simpsons Tall Tales"
Is this the best season of The Simpsons? No. Does that mean this season is terrible? Far from it. True, several episodes this season are merely amusing rather than brilliant, but they're sandwiched by other episodes that are real winners.
On the plus side are the more outrageous episodes. Normally, I prefer the more down-to-Earth ones that emphasize the core members of the family. But this season, the ones that are standouts are the less realistic, more over-the-top crazy ones. The family's trip to Africa is one laugh-out-loud bit after another, the "tall tales" are filled with great gags, the Prisoner spoof is hilarious (provided you've seen The Prisoner), and the children trapped in school with the principal during a blizzard provides a lot of solid "cool kids versus dorky adults" comedy. It seems as if getting away from the "same-old, same-old" and taking the family in new directions has brought out the best in the animators this season.
"Trilogy of Error" is one of my all-time favorites. With its time-twisting plot loaded with robots and gangsters, it's amazing that one 22-minute episode can contain so many laughs packed into so much story. As usual, the Sideshow Bob episode and the Halloween episodes are both winners. Some of the best celebrity guests are Michael Keaton as the misunderstood (or is he?) convict, and musical guests the Who and N'Sync, who of course poke fun at themselves and their images with enthusiasm.
Again, I wouldn't call any episode on this set bad, just not the show at its best. Homer starting his own daycare business should be ripe with slice-of-life comedy, but the creators instead go for the "wacky" route, with a courtroom drama spoof followed by a slapstick car chase. The Comic Book Guy starting a romance should be hilarious, but it's ill-balanced by a far-too-improbable subplot about Bart and Milhouse trying to run the comic book store. Lisa versus a girl bully should be a character piece for her, but instead this episode also gets too crazy for its own good by going into a strange mystery/thriller/sci-fi mode halfway through.
As has been the case with The Simpsons on DVD, the real reason to get excited about these sets are their digital presentation. The visuals really pop off the screen, looking brighter and more colorful than they usually look on regular syndicated TV, and the sound is excellent, as well. The other reason to be excited about this set would be the extras, highlighted by the commentaries, one for every episode, with writers, actors, producers, animators, and surprise guest stars. Other extras include an introduction from cartoonist Matt Groening, deleted scenes with commentaries, the always-great animation showcases, commercials starring Simpsons characters, rainy footage from the Simpsons Global Fanfest event, original sketches, and a tribute to the Comic Book Guy.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
As with the other Simpsons DVDs, if you want to watch with the subtitles on, you have to click through about four menu pages before you get to the subtitle options. Audio options, however, can be switched on the fly while watching, just by hitting your remote's "audio" button. It's a small inconvenience, but an inconvenience nonetheless. Hopefully, this kink can be worked out in future DVD sets.
If you're a fan, then buying this set is a no-brainer. If you're one of the ones who has decided that the show had become unfunny by this point, then give Season 12 another try. I bet you'll find a lot of laughs.
Not guilty. Merry Fishmas!
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Scales of Justice
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