DVD Review: The Simspons - The Complete Eighth Season
By April MacIntyre Aug 16, 2006, 16:43 GMT
Currently the longest-running sitcom on television, “The Simpsons” aired their historic 350th episode on May 1, 2005. The critically acclaimed series features Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie Simpson who take traditional family life and turn it upside down. Exploding into a cultural phenomenon in 1990, “The Simpsons” has remained one of the most visible and marketable properties both domestically and internationally. Having received a Star on The Hollywood Walk ...more
How better to begin a DVD review with some current news about the subject. The great country of China has banished Homer Simpson and his blue beehive haired wife Marge, delinquent son Bart, still un-housebroken baby Maggie and genius Lisa from prime time television, because the State knows what is best for its citizens. Everything old is new again.
Beginning Sept. 1st, regulators have barred foreign cartoons from TV from 5 to 8 p.m. in an effort to protect China's struggling animation studios, news reports said Sunday. The move allows the lame Monkey King and his Chinese pals to get the top TV viewing hours.
But ask the Chinese kids and they will tell you; Cantonese cartoons (and food) suck big-time. "The reason for the regulation is clear. It is to protect domestic cartoon production," the Chinese paper Southern Metropolis said, citing a recent study that found that 80 percent of Chinese children surveyed liked foreign cartoons and disliked domestic animation.
Communist leaders are said to be frustrated that so many cartoons are foreign-made, especially after efforts to build up Chinese animation studios.
You can hear Homer saying "boo hoo" and Nelson going "HA ha" because everyone knows the genie has been let out of the bottle, and with technology today, trying to control billions of digitally connected people is like sticking a finger in a burgeoning New Orleans levee-it isn't going to work.
If you have to read a review to buy a DVD of the Simpsons, you aren't a real fan and you won't get it. The memory of the season is blazed into my skull as a permanent record, a marker of time.
If you actually missed any or all, get cracking and watch these DVD's, guaranteed to make you laugh, appreciate animation and the not very subtle digs on this American life.
The DVD box art is stellar and worth mentioning. The box is blue-grey metallic and fetching, catching light from every angle. There is also a variant “Maggie Head Pack” collectible cover that features the youngest of the Simpson family and her trademark red pacifier (pictured above).
Treehouse of Horror VII
In "The Thing and I," Bart discovers his evil twin living in the attic. In "The Genesis Tub," Lisa's science experiment develops more than she anticipated when she becomes a god to little folk. In "Citizen Kang," aliens Kang and Kodos invade Clinton and Dole's replicas just before the 1996 Presidential election. The late Phil Hartman voices Bill Clinton.
BEST VISUAL THROWBACKS: The Simpsons' attic – toms of props from many previous episodes.
You Only Move Twice
Homer moves the family to a new town after he receives a job at a better nuclear power plant. But the nuclear plant Homer is now working for hides a deadly secret - its boss is none other than East Coast super villain Hank Scorpio, not that Homer notices.
JERRY LEWIS SIGHT GAG AWARD: Lisa's fantasy skipping through the forest, saying hello to Mr. Chipmunk and Mrs. Owl, only to have the owl kill the chipmunk as soon as her back is turned.
The Homer They Fall
Dr Hibbert discovers that Homer has an abnormally thick skull, so Moe decides that Homer should become a boxer. Dreaderick Tatum gets out of jail and Homer becomes his World Heavyweight opponent - much to Marge's alarm, worried Homer won't survive the upcoming match.
BEST MOE REVEAL: Moe was a boxing manager before he became a bartender.
Burns, Baby Burns
Burns discovers his long lost 60-year-old illegitimate son, Larry, is lazy, and wants nothing to do with him. In an attempt to get sympathy, Larry joins forces with Homer and fakes his own kidnapping. Rodney Dangerfield guest stars
BEST REACTION TO FLANDERS: Homer's brain going off on its own to escape Ned's religious nattering.
Bart After Dark
As punishment for destroying private property, Bart is forced to work for the homeowner. Homer sends Bart to work in a burlesque house, Maison Derriere, run by the seductive Belle. Marge returns and vows to close the joint down.
BEST BART SEXUAL AWAKENING: Bart's exploration of Maison Derriere: " I have been grossly misinformed about witches."
A Milhouse Divided
A disastrous dinner party at the Simpsons, resulting in the van Houtens decision to divorce. Homer questions his own marital bliss.
BEST OTTO MOMENT: Otto leaving The Pot Palace – "This is flagrant false advertising."
Lisa's Date with Density
Lisa begins a doomed romance with Nelson Muntz, the school bully. Meanwhile, Homer's causing problems with his new automatic telephone-dialing system.
BEST HISTORY LESSON: Lisa's description of Nelson "a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma" was a tip of the hat to comments made by Winston Churchill about Russia at the outbreak of World War II.
Ned Flanders checks himself into a admits himself into the Calmwood Mental Hospital after suffering a nervous breakdown when his house is destroyed in a hurricane, and from some remodeling done by neighbors.
BEST REFERENCE BOOK TITLE: Lisa reads "The How, Why and Huh? Book of the Weather."
El Viaje Misterioso del Nuestro Homer (The Mysterious Voyage of Homer)
Homer eats a hot pepper at the Springfield Chili Cook-Out and begins a bizarre psychic journey under the guidance of his coyote spirit guide who advises Homer to discover his true soul mate and bond. Johnny Cash voices the coyote.
BEST CHILI COOKOFF NAMES: Various chili cook-off entries: Muntz Family Chili, "it takes weeks to make Muntz" "Old Eliku's Yale-Style Saltpeter Chili," "Professor Frink's Virtual Chili," "Moe's Chili Bar" and "Firehouse Ned's Five-Alarm Chili." Yum.
The Springfield Files
Homer witnesses something out of this world in Springfield woods, but no one believes him, not even FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully.
BEST MOE MOMENT: Moe the bartender has a breathalyzer which starts with Tipsy, then Soused, Stinkin' and finally Boris Yeltsin. Classic!
The Twisted World of Marge Simpson
Marge joins the Investorettes. Marge's new pretzel franchise is failing until Homer strikes a deal with Fat Tony, Springfield's local mobster.
BEST MARGE MOMENT: Classic stuff: The Investorettes, against Marge's wishes, invested in a Mexican wrestler called El Bombastico.
Mountain of Madness
Promoting teamwork amongst the power plant's employees Burns forces them to attend a corporate retreat in the mountains, where they must locate a hidden cabin.
BEST HOMER MOMENT: Homer's advice on how to bring a bowl of dip towards yourself without standing up.
The Simpson family hires a nanny after Marge starts loosing her hair to stress.
BEST KRUSTY MOMENT: Krusty is trying out the Krusty Komedy Klassics - and then realizes that KKK is not a very sensible abbreviation.
The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show
Homer provides the voice for Poochie, a new character added to the "The Itchy and Scratchy Show" in a desperate attempt to boost sagging ratings.
NOTABLE: the late Phil Hartman as Troy McClure and Lionel Hutz, and Alex Rocco as Roger Myers are featured.
When Homer realizes that Bart's new friend, antiques dealer John (voiced by John Waters), is gay, he begins to fear for Bart's sexual orientation and sets out to make sure his son is a 'real' man.
BEST CAMP: John works at Cockamamie's, kitsch and camp chotchkes. Among the political campaign badges Skinner looks at are "I Fell For Dole," "Click With Dick," "I Like Ike," "I Still Like Ike" and "Quayle Can't Fail."
The Brother From Another Series
Bart suspects a sinister motive when my favorite character Sideshow Bob reunites with his estranged brother Cecil, who hires Bob to supervise the building of Springfield's Hydroelectric Dam.
FRASIER HOMAGE: To get the full benefit of this one you need to know Sideshow Bob's entire background and the series Frasier where David Hyde Pierce played Kelsey Grammer's younger brother.
My Sister, My Sitter
Lisa's babysitting skills are put to the test when she has to look after a vengeful Bart when Marge and Homer visit the new, late-night shopping mall built at the old harbor.
MALL SPRAWL ALERT: the Toney Squidport Mall has Turban Outfitters, Just Rainsticks, It's A Wonderful Knife, My 1st Tattoo, Much Ado About Muffins (to eat or not to eat), Crypto Barn, Itchy and Scratchy Store (Poochie Close-Out), Malaria Zone, Bloaters and Planet Hype, a restaurant owned by Rainier Wolfcastle.
Homer vs. the Eighteenth Amendment
After a St Patrick's Day parade in which Bart gets drunk, the town discovers that prohibition was never repealed in Springfield. Rex Banner is brought in to replace Chief Wiggum, creating a new wave of speakeasies, masterminded by Homer and Moe.
ST PATRICK'S MADNESS: Lisa's actions mimic temperate Marge's when they discover Homer's beer factory in the cellar. The No Entry sign on the cellar door is written in English, Spanish, French, German and Japanese. Everything is green for the Irish Festival including Marge's hair and Lisa's dress.
Grade School Confidential
Stumbling across Principal Skinner and Mrs. Krabappel kissing, Bart strikes a deal with them to keep their clandestine romance a secret.
BEST EDNA MOMENT: Edna is used to dining alone: soup for one, salad for one, wine for three...
The Canine Mutiny
Purchasing an expensive, purebred dog, Laddie the Collie, on a fraudulent credit card puts Bart in the doghouse when creditors want the pooch back. Meanwhile, Santa's Little Helper is given away, until Bart's conscience rights the situation.
BEST BART DELINQUENCY: Using Santa's Little Helper's name, the credit card Bart misappropriates comes addressed to Santos L. Halper.
The Old Man and the Lisa
Mr Burns loses everything due to bad financial management, he goes to live in the Springfield Retirement Castle and enlists Lisa's help in turning him into an ecology-friendly businessman, but Lisa forgets that people never really change.
UNREQUITED LOVE MOMENT: Poor Smithers, almost realizes his heart's desire as Burns moves into his apartment.
In Marge We Trust
Marge becomes the "Listen Lady" when the people of Springfield turn to her after Reverend Lovejoy loses interest in helping people. Homer sets out to discover why his face is being used to advertise a Japanese cleaning powder ('a magnet for food stuffs who will banish dirt to the land of wind and ghosts'), as a result of Marge's success, Lovejoy, has a crisis of career.
BEST REV. LOVEJOY MOMENT: He has a number of noises to awaken his congregation, including a bird, an ambulance siren, and a disco whistle, and his next sermon will be entitled The Miracle of Shame.
Frank Grimes, the new employee at the power plant, isn't impressed with Homer's bad habits and lack of professional work ethic. Frank goes mad as he tries to convince everyone else that Homer is a menace to society. Bart, meanwhile, buys a run-down factory for a dollar and decides he and Milhouse will run it.
BEST LISA REVEAL: Lisa has an IQ of 156.
The Simpsons Spin-off Showcase
Troy McClure (voiced again by the late Phil Hartman) show The Simpsons in three spin-off spoofs. Chief Wiggum becomes a detective and moves to New Orleans with Principal Skinner as his assistant. Grampa Simpson's soul is trapped inside Moe's Love Tester machine. The Simpson family hosts a cheesy variety show.
BEST VOCALS: On the variety show, the Simpsons sing a variety of confectionery themed songs: I Want Candy, and Peppermint Twist.
The Secret War of Lisa Simpson
Lisa is determined to stick it out as the only girl at boot camp when she and Bart attend military school. However, the other, all-male, students accept Bart but hates Lisa and they find themselves on opposite sides of the popularity fence once more.
BEST MILITARY SCHOOL NAME: Rommelwood, the military school, has never had a female student in all 185 years of its existence. Marge ends the audio-cassette letters to Lisa singing "You Are My Sunshine."