The Simpsons, Season 12, On DVD
by Laura Tucker
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I feel it’s safe to say there isn’t anyone out there that was around in the late 80s that would have thought when The Simpsons first started, that it would have lasted upwards of 20 years. It was nothing but a really clever short from a clever variety show (Tracey Ullman) on a very fledgling network. While watching the recently released season 12 on DVD, I saw exactly why it’s lasted.
I first have to give series creator Matt Groening credit for continuing to come up with engaging shows and always keeping it fresh. You would never guess watching season 12, or 20 for that matter, that the show has been on that long. And all that is while being limited to the children’s ages. Sure, they’ll do an occasional episode here and there with the kids much younger or as adults, but for the most part, Maggie is always crawling, sucking on a pacifier, Lisa is always the pretentious goodie-goodie, and Bart the rambunctious troublemaker. Similarly, Marge will always have that identifiable blue beehive, and Homer the same two hairs on the top of his head.
Despite those limitations, it’s still as good as it was when it was just quick shorts. We still have the annual Halloween episodes, and honestly, they’re rivaled only by the ones Roseanne used to do. In fact, season 12 starts out with the Halloween episode, with a bit that has Lisa freeing a dolphin, only to have it regroup with its friends and go on a killer dolphin attack.
One of the things that keeps it fresh is the continual use of pop culture references. They’ve changed along with the seasons. Since this was 2000-2001, when Chief Wiggam is discussing his favorite TV show to a convict, he mentions Oz on HBO, following it up with Sex and the City, instead of the current Entourage and True Blood. The episode that deals with the family playing tennis has them being replaced by the Williams sisters, Pete Sampras, and Andre Agassi. And of course the sentences Bart writes on the chalkboard at the beginning, such as, “Temptation Island is not a sleazy piece of crap,” is another great pop culture reference from the time period.
Truth be told, I rarely catch The Simpsons on Sunday nights anymore, mostly because I can’t stand the other animated shows it’s paired with. They just don’t seem to compare. Watching The Simpsons on DVD seems like the perfect solution to that and reminds me of how much I like the show. In addition to the episodes, the 4-disc set also includes great extras such as the original drawings set in real time behind the finished animation, bringing to light the entire creative process.
Laura Tucker Laura Tucker is the webmaster of Reality Shack, and its accompanying Reality Shack Blog, and is a freelance writer providing reviews of movies and television, among other things, at Viewpoints. She is also an Associate Instructor and 2nd dan black belt in tae kwon do with South Elgin Martial Arts. Laura can be reached at LauraBelle@realityshack.com
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