The Simpsons Season Six Review
I don’t really know what I can tell you about this. You know the drill. You know the characters. Hell, even Saddam Hussein is probably familiar with Comic Book Guy or shoddy lawyer Lionel Hutz. In fact, I think he’s hired him for his defence when he’s tried for war crimes. Anyhoo, I digress. The Simpsons is one of the greatest TV series the western world has made. Ever. By this season the writers and performers had nailed the formula and the ratio of classic comedy gems to clunkers is still very, very high.
The great thing about The Simpsons is that we’ve all probably seen these episodes several times yet this box set is still a must buy. Here’s just a brief recap to remind you of some of the gems in this DVD collection that will no doubt put a smile on your faces. There’s the classic Lisa On Ice where Lisa and Bart are ice hockey rivals (Homer: “Boo! They’re both losers”), the legendary Homer Bad Man, when lust for a gummy Venus de Milo, peeled from the behind of an unwitting babysitter, makes Homer the object of feminist protest; Homer The Great, when our hero joins the secret order of The Stonecutters (“Who holds back the electric car? Who made Steve Guttenberg a star? We do!”); Bart Vs Australia (“I see you’ve played knifey-spooney before”); my personal favourite is on here too – Homie The Clown. I’m always fighting back the tears when Homer murders another actor while opening a Krusty Burger store and a hysterically upset child pleads “Stop, Stop, Stop! He’s already dead!” This season even ends with a cliffhanger with the first part of Who Shot Mr Burns?
Not only that, but the season contains its usual array of pop culture references: Hitchcock’s Rear Window in Bart of Darkness; Michael Crichton’s Westworld and Jurassic Park in Itchy and Scratchy Land and Stephen King in Treehouse of Horror V. The other element that has become central to the Simpsons legacy is a wealth of guest stars lending their vocal talents and this is certainly the case here: Winona Ryder stars as Lisa’s Rival, while Meryl Streep plays Rev. Lovejoy’s bad-seed daughter. The great Anne Bancroft guests in Fear of Flying, silky-voiced Patrick Stewart is the head Stonecutter in Homer the Great and Mel Brooks and Susan Sarandon both pop up in Homer vs. Patty and Selma.
Some say that The Simpsons has jumped the shark. Or, to put it in layman’s terms, it is just not as funny as it used to be. I disagree. Even the latest episodes contain priceless visual and verbal gags to rival the best that has gone before. However, I would concede that the high quality of writing is not as constantly good in the more recent seasons as it has been in the past. That said, Season Six is The Simpsons in its prime and simply put, this is a must buy.
The only major criticism here is the restyled packaging. Moulded to look like Homer’s head, the plastic is cheap, and it cannot stand on its own because of an unsightly hinge at the bottom. Why on earth they didn’t keep with the smart box packages that have houses the past five seasons is beyond me but there you go. If like me, you’re anal about the display of your DVD’s on the shelves then expect to be annoyed.
I fully acknowledge that this is me picking some very small nits, but I thought it worth mentioning. That said you can’t really complain about this box set, as it is packed with all the great extras we’ve all come to expect with Simpsons season releases. The transfer is crystal clean and has three audio tracks: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround) and Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround); there are also two available subtitle options: English and Spanish. You can also expect to find the usual array of animatics with illustrated commentary, storyboards, deleted scenes, featurettes and adverts.
The highlight though is that there is audio commentary on every episode by Matt Groening, David Mirkin and Mike Scully, not to mention regular and guest stars. Most TV DVDs only have commentary tracks on the odd episode so it is very satisfying to find one on every single episode. Right, there you are. Go out and buy it!
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