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The Simpsons - The Complete Eighth Season


TITLE: THE SIMPSONS - THE COMPLETE EIGHTH SEASON


Info:

DVD Release Date: August 15, 2006 (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment)
1996 ­ 1997 / Color
MSRP: $49.98
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 25
Running Time: 575 minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: 40 minutes (plus commentaries)
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English, Spanish, and French languages; English and Spanish subtitles; Closed-Captioned
Special Features: Commentary tracks on every episode; A Memento from Matt Groening; Illustrated Commentaries; Animatic/Storyboard Comparisons; Deleted Scenes; Simpsons house feature; FOX promos; Language Feature on “Homer’s Enemy”


Introduction:

It is time for yet another DVD set of one of America’s favorite animated families! The Complete Eighth Season of The Simpsons is the latest release in the long (and it still has a long way to go to completion) journey of getting this show on DVD. Get inside of Maggie’s head (or inside the green box if you choose the standard packaging!) and enjoy 25 episodes of America’s favorite family from their 1996-1997 season.


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

Isn’t it amazing that, with as many episodes there are of the show, that there are many fans that have seen and remember all 378 episodes that have aired so far? Needless to say, the term memorable episodes can in some way to apply to all of the episodes of the series, ESPECIALLY those in the first 10 seasons. And with this being season 8, it is obvious that there are many “golden gems” here too.

The eighth season started later than the previous seasons did, on October 27, 1996—with the annual Treehouse of Horror episode (“Treehouse of Horror VII”). In this particular episode, we discover that Bart has an evil twin (or IS the twin the evil one?), we see Lisa becoming the queen of a civilization that is started by one of her teeth, and we see what happens when Kang and Kodos take over the United States! In “You Only Move Twice,” Homer has a new job, and it seems like everything is finally perfect for a change. But is it? Michael Buffer and Paul Winfield guest voice in “The Homer They Fall,” where Homer becomes a professional boxer. Mr. Burns discovers that he has a long-lost son… who just happens to be played by Rodney Dangerfield… in “Burns, Baby Burns.” In “Bart After Dark,” Bart begins working at a burlesque house after he causes damage there, but the people of Springfield are more surprised to find out that the house even exists! Will they embrace it or want to destroy it? Milhouse’s parents are getting a divorce in “A Milhouse Divided,” which causes Homer to wonder if his own marriage will be the next to end.

In “Lisa’s Date With Destiny,” Lisa has a new boyfriend… Nelson Muntz! Flanders loses his home in a hurricane (which I suppose makes Springfield a coastal city?) in “Hurricane Neddy,” and goes crazy afterwards. Johnny Cash has a guest voice role in “El Viaje Misterioso De Nuestro Jomer,” where Homer has an out-of-body experience and has to find his soul mate. The X-Files crosses over with The Simpsons, kind of, when Gilian Anderson and David Duchovny come to Springfield after Homer swears that he saw an alien in “The Springfield Files.” Leonard Nimoy also guest stars. Marge gets into the pretzel business in “The Twisted World of Marge Simpson,” and Homer is determined to help her, even if it means making a deal with the Fat Tony. Mr. Burns decides to invite—well, make that REQUIRE—all of his employees to attend a survivalist retreat in “Mountain of Madness,” which isn’t horrible until Homer and Mr. Burns get trapped in a cabin together. Marge is losing her hair due to stress, and since she doesn’t particularly want a comb-over like Homer has, the family has no choice but to hire a maid, and that they get with Shary Bobbins, the singing nanny that appears in “Simpsoncalifragilisticexpala(ANNOYED GRUNT)cious.”

They fight, they bite (and bark) when Homer become Poochie, the new hip canine character on Itchy and Scratchy, in “The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show.” Alex Rocco guest stars. Homer is afraid that Bart may be gay when he starts to see a new family friend (played by John Waters) as a role model in “Homer’s Phobia.” Sideshow Bob makes it back, and this time time, so is his brother Cecil (played by David Hyde Pierce) in “The Brother From Another Series,” but will something happen to cause Bob to go back to prison again? Lisa becomes a babysitter, and is babysitting Bart in “My Sister, My Sitter,” but will Bart end up dying in her care? Bart gets drunk on St. Patrick’s Day and causes the town to ban alcohol in “Homer vs. the 18th Amendment;” meanwhile, Homer finds the perfect way to take advantage of this prohibition and make some easy money, by becoming a bootlegger. Skinner and Mrs. Krabappel end up falling in love with each other at Martin Prince’s birthday party in “Grade School Confidential.” Will they EVER get married? Bart gets a credit card, gets a new dog, and loses Santa’s Little Helper in “The Canine Mutiny.” How will he get the old dog back?

Burns loses the power plant and gets put into the retirement home in “The Old Man and the Lisa,” but how will Lisa help him rise to the top again? And will she be happy with herself for doing it? Bret Hart guest stars. Marge becomes the “listen lady” at the church, and the congregation begins to turn to her instead of Reverend Lovejoy in “In Marge We Trust.” How will Reverend Lovejoy handle this? The power plant has a new employee named Frank Grimes, who Homer seems to like, except Frank Grimes doesn’t like him so much in return in “Homer’s Enemy.” Will Homer ever get Frank Grimes to be his friend? We get to see what some spinoffs of the series would look like (if they ever had any) in “The Simpsons Spin-off Showcase.” Finally, the season ends with “The Secret War of Lisa Simpson,” where Bart gets sent to military school and Lisa wants to go too—which would make her the first girl to ever attend the school. Can she handle it, and can the other cadets handle her?


Packaging:

Once again, there are two options for packaging on this set: the standard packaging or the special edition packaging that is inside of the head of one of the characters (which is Maggie for this season). Only the standard packaging was provided for this review, so it is hard to say exactly what the packaging will be like for the special edition packaging. However, it is assumed that it will be similar to the special edition packaging that was used for the sixth season, which was extensively covered in the review for that season.

As far as the standard packaging is concerned, the outer box is a metallic green color and has Homer taking a picture of the Family, with a larger picture of Maggie holding a crayon and drawing inside the family photo album. There is also a picture in the photo album of Maggie’s tooth, which actually is a result of a “window” being on the cover (the tooth is from another picture inside the box). The side of the box looks the same as it has for all of the other seasons, with the two cast pictures this time being a little weird—Mr. Sparkles (the fish/light bulb that looks like Homer, from the “In Marge We Trust” episode) being on top and Frank Grimes being on the bottom. These seem like strange choices for the box art since they are far from being major cast members. The back of the box has Maggie taping Santa’s Little Helper into the photo album.

Inside the box, we have the same kind of “booklet” format that was used for the season 7 set, this time with a photography theme going on (season 6 had a movie theme to it). It is somewhat like a digibook, but it has an extra third panel which seems to serve no real purpose. On that third panel is the picture that you can see part of from the outer box, a picture of Maggie without her pacifier in her mouth. When you open up the two panels, you find all four discs in the digibook, with a background of black and white photos from the season. There is one somewhat serious problem about this digibook though—it seems to be very poorly put together. The “pages” are held together by a piece of cardboard that has glue on it! And you can literally hear the glue peeling off every time you flip through it! Seasons 6 and 7 used a type of clear plastic tape for this, which seemed to work much better. I have a feeling these sets may fall apart very quickly due to this poor design.

On the right hand panel, you’ll find the episode booklet, and needless to say, the booklet is PERFECT as usual. The booklet is designed as a photo album, and you’ll find a page for each episode in the booklet. Each episode page includes information such as an episode description, writers, directors, guest stars, episode related special features (including commentators), episode runtimes, titles for each scene within the episode, pictures from the episode, and even “mementos” from the episodes. This is truly the only set that handles this episode booklet idea PERFECTLY!

The disc art is interesting too, with every disc having a character (or characters) from the show inside of a camera lens. Disc 1 has Maggie on it, Disc 2 has Bart and Lisa on it, Disc 3 has Marge on it, and Disc 4 has Homer on it. But don’t expect the discs to have the actual disc number on it! Instead, you have to see how many fingers the characters on the disc are holding up. For example, Disc 1 has Maggie holding up just one finger. I think actually writing out the number on the disc would have been helpful, but this way does help them keep up the “theme” of the set too. Disc 1 contains episodes 1-6, Disc 2 contains episodes 7-13, Disc 3 contains episodes 14-20, and Disc 4 contains episodes 21-25.


Menu Design and Navigation:

I always hated the menus that were used for the earlier seasons of the series (particularly those in seasons 1-4), but ever since season 5, they have done the menus RIGHT. They have been pretty much the same since season 5, but that is good since they are much better than they were in the past.

The main menu on each disc has people from the episodes on that disc standing around doing things with each other (like hitting each other or talking to each other or something like that) on the top half of the screen, with the episodes listed on the bottom half of the screen. You can either play the episode directly from the main menu or choose to go to a secondary episode menu. There is also an option to play all episodes on the main menu (with or without commentaries) and an option that you can choose for special features.

Each secondary episode menu has a brief clip from the episode playing on the top half of the screen, and on the bottom there is an option to just play the episode, an option go to related special features for the episode (for certain episodes), an option to turn the commentary off or on, an option to go to the language selection menu, and a scene selection menu option. What is (once again) missing is an option to turn on subtitles, and once again, the people that put these DVDs together have prevented you from using the Subtitles button on your remote to turn on the subtitles on every episode that has deleted scenes! This is very frustrating, because they obviously went through the work to put the subtitles on the DVD, yet there is no easy way of turning the subtitles on.

As mentioned above, there is a scene selection menu for each episode, with 6 chapters placed within each episode.


Video and Audio Quality:

As always, the video and audio quality is great. Could it be better? Probably so, but there is nothing that I can really nitpick about with this set. There have been minor video problems that I have picked on in past sets, but I can find nothing to pick on this time. The audio is once again in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound (which, unless you are an audiophile, you’ll probably be saying the same thing Matt Groening says in the introduction to the set, “whatever that means”) with additional audio tracks in Spanish and French. There are English and Spanish subtitles but all I can do is wish you good luck in trying to figure out how to turn them on if you want them (this has been a problem for a couple of seasons now). Closed-captioning is available too, and that is easy to turn on.

The episodes are most likely unedited with each episode running at approximately 22 minutes and 50 seconds. Exact runtimes and a disc breakdown are as follows:

Disc 1:
• “Treehouse of Horror IV” (22:47)
• “You Move Only Twice” (22:51)
• “The Homer They Fall” (22:47)
• “Burns, Baby Burns” (22:47)
• “Bart After Dark” (22:47)
• “A Milhouse Divided” (22:47)

Disc 2:
• “Lisa’s Date With Destiny” (22:47)
• “Hurricane Neddy” (22:47)
• “El Viaje Misterioso De Nuestro Jomer” (22:47)
• “The Springfield Files” (22:47)
• “The Twisted World of Marge Simpson” (22:47)
• “Mountain of Madness” (22:49)
• “Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(ANNOYED GRUNT)cious” (22:47)

Disc 3:
• “The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show” (22:48)
• “Homer’s Phobia” (22:48)
• “The Brother From Another Series” (22:48)
• “My Sister, My Sitter” (22:46)
• “Homer vs. The Eighteenth Amendment” (22:47)
• “Grade School Confidential” (22:47)
• “The Canine Mutiny” (22:47)

Disc 4:
• “The Old Man And The Lisa” (22:47)
• “In Marge We Trust” (22:47)
• “Homer’s Enemy” (22:47)
• “The Simpsons Spin-off Showcase” (23:18)
• “The Secret War of Lisa Simpson” (22:47)


Special Features:

As always, the set is loaded with special features! There is always a special feature on Disc 1 with Matt Groening talking about the particular season, and this set is no exception, with the featurette “A Memento from Matt Groening,” (3:00) where he (well) talks about the season and the highlights of the season.

Let’s go to the big special features, the commentaries! As always, there is a commentary track for every single episode on the set. The commentaries on this set are as follows:

Disc 1:
• “Treehouse of Horror IV” commentary by Matt Groening, Josh Weinstein, David X. Cohen, Dan Greaney, Ken Keeler, Dan Castellaneta, and Mike B. Anderson
• “You Move Only Twice” commentary by Matt Groening, Josh Weinstein, Ken Keeler, Dan Castellaneta, and Mike B. Anderson
• “The Homer They Fall” commentary by Matt Groening, Josh Weinstein, Yeardley Smith, Mark Kirkland, David X. Cohen, and George Meyer
• “Burns, Baby Burns” commentary by Matt Groening, Josh Weinstein, George Meyer, Ian Maxstone-Graham, Mark Kirkland, and David X. Cohen
• “Bart After Dark” commentary by Matt Groening, Josh Weinstein, Richard Appel, Dominic Polcino, David Silverman, and Ken Keeler
• “A Milhouse Divided” commentary by Matt Groening, Bill Oakley, Josh Weinstein, Steve Tompkins, and Steven Dean Moore

Disc 2:
• “Lisa’s Date With Destiny” commentary by Matt Groening, Josh Weinstein, Mike Scully, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Susie Dietter, and Alex Rocco
• “Hurricane Neddy” commentary by Matt Groening, Josh Weinstein, George Meyer, Steve Young, and Bob Anderson
• “El Viaje Misterioso De Nuestro Jomer” commentary by Matt Groening, Josh Weinstein (with his kids, Molly and Simon), George Meyer, and Jim Reardon
• “The Springfield Files” commentary by Matt Groening, Al Jean, Mike Reiss, Reid Harrison, Steven Dean Moore, and David Silverman
• “The Twisted World of Marge Simpson” commentary by Matt Groening, Josh Weinstein, and Chuck Sheetz
• “Mountain of Madness” commentary by Matt Groening, Josh Weinstein, Dan Castellaneta, Dave Thomas, Mark Kirkland, and David Silverman
• “Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(ANNOYED GRUNT)cious” commentary by Matt Groening, Al Jean, Mike Reiss, Chuck Sheetz, and David Silverman

Disc 3:
• “The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show” commentary by Matt Groening, Josh Weinstein, David X. Cohen, Yeardley Smith, Steven Dean Moore, and Alex Rocco
• “Homer’s Phobia” commentary by Matt Groening, Bill Oakley, Josh Weinstein, Ron Hauge, Steve Tomkins, Mike B. Anderson, and John Waters
• “The Brother From Another Series” commentary by Matt Groening, Josh Weinstein, Ken Keeler, Pete Michaels, and Kelsey Grammer
• “My Sister, My Sitter” commentary by Matt Groening, Josh Weinstein (with his kids, Molly and Simon), Yeardley Smith, Jim Reardon, and George Meyer
• “Homer vs. The Eighteenth Amendment” commentary by Matt Groening, Josh Weinstein, Dan Castellaneta, Dave Thomas, Bob Anderson, and David Silverman
• “Grade School Confidential” commentary by Matt Groening, Bill Oakley, Josh Weinstein, Rachel Pulido, and Susie Dietter
• “The Canine Mutiny” commentary by Josh Weinstein, Ron Hauge, Dominc Polcino, and George Meyer

Disc 4:
• “The Old Man And The Lisa” commentary by Matt Groening, Josh Weinstein, George Meyer, David X. Cohen, Dan Castellaneta, Yeardley Smith, and Mark Kirkland
• “In Marge We Trust” commentary by Matt Groening, Josh Weinstein, Donick Cary, Yeardley Smith, Steven Dean moore, David X. Cohen, and Alex Rocco
• “Homer’s Enemy” commentary by Matt Groening, Josh Weinstein, Hank Azaria, and Jim Reardon
• “The Simpsons Spin-off Showcase” commentary by Matt Groening, Josh Weinstein, David X. Cohen, Dan Greaney, Ken Keeler, and Yeardley Smith
• “The Secret War of Lisa Simpson” commentary by Matt Groening, Josh Weinstein, Yeardley Smith, and Mike B. Anderson

If you like the behind-the-scenes stuff, this set has plenty of that, as usual. On Disc 1, the episode “Treehouse of Horror VIII” has an animatic/storyboard comparison (8:34) and the animatic (with or without illustrated commentary) by itself (9:16). On Disc 2, there is an illustrated commentary for an animatic scene from “Lisa’s Date With Destiny” (8:32). On Disc 3, there is an illustrated commentary for an animatic scene from “Homer vs. the 18th Amendment” (13:14). Finally, Disc 4 has an animatic/storyboard comparison for “In Marge We Trust” (4:29), a sketch gallery (1:04), and an illustrated commentary for a scene (not an animatic, but from the actual broadcast episode) in “The Secret War of Lisa Simpson.” All of the illustrated commentaries are from Matt Groening, Susie Dietter, Bob Anderson, and Mike Anderson.

Deleted scenes are abundant once again, with deleted scenes from practically every episode. The only episodes without deleted scenes are “Treehouse of Horror VII,” “Bart After Dark,” “El Viaje de Nuestro Jomer,” and “Homer’s Enemy.” You can watch these at approximately the time they should air during the episode by turning on the deleted scenes option on the episode menu. Additionally, on Disc 4, you can watch all of the deleted scenes together, with (or without) commentary by Josh Weinstein, Al Jean, and Mike Reiss.

On Disc 1, we have a featurette called “The Simpsons House (3:28), where we take a look inside of a house in Nevada that was designed to be exactly like the home that the Simpsons live in. It is an interesting special feature, although I wish they would have shown more of the home inside!

On Disc 4, there are some promotional spots with Matt Groening from Fox for the show (1:08) where he shows you how to draw Homer and Bart. And if you like those language special features, you can watch Homer’s Enemy in Czech, Japanese, German, or Parisian French!


Final Comments:

It is a great set. What else am I supposed to say? My biggest complaint is the fact that they abandoned the digipak cases a few seasons ago, it would have been nice if they would have stayed consistent and used those for all of the seasons, but it is too late to rewrite history now. This show is definitely one to collect, and you shouldn’t be put off by the fact that there are so many seasons and that the sets are so expensive. If somebody were to ask me what would be the one show everybody should have in their DVD collection if they could only collect one show on DVD, this show would be it—it is THE show to own on DVD.

But all of that praise about the set shouldn’t cause the producers of these DVD sets to think they are doing EVERYTHING perfectly (although they are close enough). First of all, they need to put these episodes in a set that doesn’t look like it’ll easily fall apart. That is a problem with some of these sets but particularly this season. Secondly, how hard is it for them to figure out a way to turn on the subtitles??? Finally, special features… yes, they are great, but how about something fresh and new for some of the upcoming sets?

So get out and buy this set, or borrow it from your stupid neighbor (if he is anything like Flanders) and don’t give it back.


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)

Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 5/5
Special Features: 4.5/5
Menu Navigation/Design: 4.5/5
Overall: 5/5

-- Reviewed by skees53 on 08/09/06

To purchase the DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000FO0AME/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20

Questions or comments about this set? Post on our message board:

http://www.sitcomsonline.com/boards/showthread.php?t=179978


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