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The Simpsons - The Complete Fourth Season



DVD Release Date: June 15, 2004 (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment)
color/506 mins
MSRP: $49.98
Episodes per disc: 4 (Disc 1), 6 (Discs 2-4)
Number of episodes: 22
Languages and subtitles: English, Spanish, and French languages, English and Spanish subtitles, and closed captioned
Special features: Commentary on EVERY episode, A Word With Matt Groening, The Cajun Controversy, Special Language Feature (Kamp Krusty episode), Bush vs. Simpson, Commercials, Anamatics, Animation Showcase, Deleted Scenes, Illustrated Commentary, and hidden "Easter eggs"

Review (out of 5 stars):

Video quality: 4.5/5
Audio quality: 5/5
Special Features 4.8/5
Menu Navigation 4/5
Overall: 4.5/5


The Simpsons is one of my favorite programs, and the fourth season has some of the best episodes of the series. Well, actually, as Matt Groening himself puts it in his introduction, the fourth season is the best season of the show until the fifth season is released on DVD. But with that aside, the fourth season was a great season. It included episodes such as "Kamp Krusty," "Mr. Plow," "Lisa's First Word," "Homer's Triple Bypass," "I Love Lisa," and of course, like every other season (except for the first), a "Treehouse of Horror" episode. The list of guest voices for this season is very impressive and includes Bob Hope, Elizabeth Taylor, Barry White, Johnny Carson, Hugh Hefner, Luke Perry, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and many other well-known names.

This Complete Fourth Season is packaged almost exactly like the Complete Third Season. It comes as a four DVD set in a digipak and includes a very nice 12-page booklet with thorough descriptions of every episode including writers, directors, guest stars, and even indicates which special features are available on each episode. The information about the special features is a step up from the third season. I am very easily tempted to say that the third season has perhaps the best episode guide insert out of any show that I have ever seen on DVD.

The menus on this DVD set are very good, and they also include some very interesting random actions by characters every time you select what you wat, such as Homer pulling a toilet plunger off of his head and finding a doughnut and eating it. These are very interesting to watch, but the main problem with this is that this really slows you down if you are trying to just get to something and watch it right away. Sure, the delay to watch these scenes is always less than a few seconds, but it seems like forever if you are trying to get to something faster than that. The menus are fairly well organized, but a problem that I have with them is that when I select the episode, it would be nice to have a menu to pop up with all of the options for that episode. Instead, you have to go to another menu to get some of the extras for that episode.

The audio and video are very good for every episode. The audio quality is excellent and perhaps better than I would come to expect for episodes that are almost ten years old. The packaging says 5.1 Dolby Surround, but there is no need to pay attention to that, just take it from me, the audio is good. The video quality is great too, but it did seem a little fuzzy at times. However, it is probably something that you will not even notice unless you are trying to very carefully observe the episodes as I am.

Now for the good stuff--the special features! The first three seasons were great for special features, and the fourth season lives up to the same standard in regards to special features. To start off, there is commentary on every single episode from Matt Groening and Al Jean, as well as other people involved with the show. These commentaries are pretty good since they give you an idea of what was going through the heads of the behind-the-scenes people as they worked on the episode. It would be nice to hear some of the voice actors on here as well, but there weren't too many of these. One exception, however: "A Streetcar Named Marge" has commentaries by Hank Azaria and Jon Lovitz (who guest-voiced in that episode).

The Animatics/Animation Showcase is basically just a showcase of what it is like to draw Simpsons from scratch. It shows the rough sketches (in black and white outlines) and even puts these sketches into motion. Animatics are available on "A Streetcar Named Marge," "Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie," "Homer's Triple Bypass," and "So it's Come to This: A Simpsons Clip Show." All of the above episodes also have the Animation Showcase with the exception of "Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie." "A Streetcar Named Marge" and "Homer's Triple Bypass" even have commentaries on the Animatics.

Deleted scenes (meaning scenes that never aired even during the original broadcasts on Fox) can be seen on "Homer's Triple Bypass" and "The Front." These can be viewed by hitting Enter on the DVD remote whenever you see a pair of scissors pop up on the screen. Most of these scenes are only a few seconds long, but it is interesting to see what could have been there.

Disc 1 has several special features. "Bush vs. Simpson" includes a letter written by "Marge" to Barbara Bush after the former First Lady called The Simpsons the dumbest thing she has ever seen. The letter is read on the DVD, as well as the response from Mrs. Bush. "The Cajun Controversy" discusses the reaction from the people of New Orleans after they felt as if New Orleans was disparaged in the "Streetcar Named Marge" episode. The "Kamp Krusty" episode has a bonus feature of allowing you to watch the entire episode in not just English, Spanish, or French, but also in Brazilian Portugese, Italian, Japanese, or Castilian Spanish (which is the type of Spanish that is spoken in Spain). Finally, Disc 1 contains a 13 minute promotional video (I am not quite sure what the purpose this was to serve) from 1993 that gave a behind the scenes look at The Simpsons.

Disc 2 contains four great Simpsons related commercials. Two of these were promotional commercials that were used for the show in syndication, but the other two were product endorsements. One was a typical Butterfinger commercial (there are many more in The Complete Third Season if you are interested), but the other was a KFC commercial that seems to have been used only in Canada. The KFC commercial is definitely worth watching.

As far as Easter eggs, all that I can really say is that like every other season of The Simpsons that has been released, you will more than likely find some Easter eggs. I don't want to spoil all of the Easter egg fun for you completely (well actually that is just a subtle way of saying that I can never find them either), but I will tell you right away that one episode has two SEPARATE commentaries. It is up to you to figure out how to get to this bonus commentary (it isn't too hard), but it is on the "Marge vs. the Monorail" episode.

I would definitely recommend this set to any fan of The Simpsons. Although I currently only own the third and fourth seasons, after viewing this set, I intend to purchase the first two seasons myself and begin collecting this show on DVD.

-- Reviewed by skees53 on 06/04/04

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