This review was going to be
all about how much the 12th season of The Simpsons sucked
When I got the boxed set of The Simpsons: The Complete Twelfth Season
DVD boxed set home I excitedly opened it, popped the first of four disks in my player and watched three of the episodes that sounded like they’d be the funniest : “Treehouse of Horror XI”, “A Tale of Two Springfields”
and “Homer vs. Dignity”
…All three of them stunk!
Not just unfunny but completely predictable. All I had to do was think of what was the cheapest gag or most cynical response the character on screen could have, and I was correct every time. It’s hard to remember the evolution of when The Simpsons went from the show I stopped my life to watch to the show I defend to all the fair-weather fans who said “It’s lost it”
… to the show I DVR and watch as a warm up to American Dad.
I do know that as often as the series is quoted all of the material referenced by EVERYONE for jokes comes from the 2nd- 6th seasons. Still, with a 20+ year run, I’d hoped it hadn’t jumped the shark as early as the 12th season.
It didn’t help that right before I received this one I was watching bits from the brilliant 5th season. *sigh*
But as I am always one to give second chances, I later decided to give “Insane Clown Poppy”
and “Lisa the Tree Hugger”
a go and they both had all the trappings of the best of the classic episodes! The next batch of episodes I watched seemed to be a mixture of the two- full of big hits and huge misses, usually both in the same show.
For instance: “The Computer Wore Menace Shoes”
starts off strong with hilarious bits with Homer unsuccessfully learning to operate a computer. Once he finally manages to get a his webpage running to get more hits he becomes Springfield’s answer to Perez Hilton
, which leads him uncovering genuinely important, well-kept secrets and conspiracies. The second half of the episode takes a sharp left (south) turn into being a parody of the 60s TV show, The Prisoner.
A nod to the old show would’ve been fine, but speaking as a big fan of The Prisoner even I recognize that 40 years later it’s no longer relevant enough to devote half the show to. Even past any kind of obscure, hipster-based irony. It doesn’t help that the ending is really weak.
I’d pretty much sum up the whole12th season as an overall mixed bag.
One of the best
things about the Simpson’s 12th Season DVD boxed set
is the packaging
. And I’m not saying that as some backhanded compliment, there really is a lot of beautiful work put into. Besides just having Comic Book Guy emblazoned on the box cover, the entire die-cut, fold out disk holder is an elaborate scene from a Springfield Sci-Fi convention. The DVD booklet is in the form of a comic book, packed with information about each episode on every page. And the DVD menus are all clever animation loops of Matt Groening, Krusty the Clown, Rainier Wolfcastle and Sideshow Bob signing autographs in the Android Dungeon’s booth at the Springfield Sci-Fi Convention.
The first disk opens with ‘A Comic Moment with Matt Groening’
where the creator himself enthusiastically greets you with a pitchman’s summary and a rundown of the celebrity guest stars: Stephen King, John Updike, Amy Tan, The Who, Jay Mohr, Robert Schimmel, Bruce Vilanch, Tom Savini, Venus and Serena Williams, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Gary Coleman, ‘N Sync, Stacy Keach, Kathy Griffin, Frankie Muniz, Shawn Colvin, Leeza Gibbons, Patrick McGoohan, Joshua Jackson, Edward Norton and Michael Keaton. Plus the return of Kelsey Grammer as ‘Sideshow Bob’ and Joe Mantegna as ‘Fat Tony’.
All 21 episodes come with commentary from various producers, show runners and some of the actors (no Matt Groening, though). What I found much more interesting were handful of ‘Illustrated Commentaries’ where the animators get a shortened shot at giving the commentary and drawing on the screen as they do it. There’s also a few ‘Animated Showcases’ which gives you option of watching the animatic or progressing through the storyboard while the episodes play in a PIP window.
Other extras include ‘Deleted Scenes’, various commercials with the Simpsons characters and scenes from the Simpson Global Fanfest Backlot Bash live event
, none of which are all that impressive. In fact, the Global Fanfest is almost embarrassing.
Probably the best is ‘Comic Book Guy: Best. Moments. Ever.’
, which is a montage of all that characters best one-liners.
The Simpsons: The Complete Twelfth Season
is a clear marker of the show not being what it once was at its height, and yet it’d be wrong to not give its due as still containing plenty of the sharp humor we loved from the previous 11 years and still better than 90% (well, 80%) of everything else on television.
You can purchase it here