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Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria, Harry Shearer
Writing Credits:

Season 18 of the hit long-running Fox animated comedy.

Rated NR


Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
English Dolby 5.1
Spanish Stereo 2.0
French Stereo 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 484 min.
Price: $49.98
Release Date: 12/5/2017

Disc One
• Audio Commentary for All Episodes
• Introduction from Matt Groening
• Animation Showcase
• Special Language Feature
Disc Two
• Audio Commentary for All Episodes
Disc Three
• Audio Commentary for All Episodes
Disc Four
• Audio Commentary for All Four Episodes
• Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary
• Bonus Episode
• “A Conversation with Fat Tony”
• Booklet


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-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


The Simpsons: The Complete Eighteenth Season (2006-07)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 19, 2017)

After Season 17 hit shelves in 2014, it appeared we’d get no more physical product for The Simpsons. 2015 – and 2016 – came and went without any new DVDs or Blu-rays.

Happily, 2017 alters this equation, so we finally get Season 18 on DVD. The lack of a Blu-ray version disappoints, but beggars/choosers and all that.

As always, I’ll look at the shows in their original broadcast order, which is how they show up in the set. I’ll examine them each on their own to document the specifics. The plot capsules come straight from the DVD’s booklet.


The Mook, The Chef, The Wife and Her Homer: “Lisa meets Fat Tony’s son Michael, who wants to be a chef. When Tony is wounded in an attempted hit, Homer takes over as head of the mob.”

Even though the series spoofed Godfather and other mob movies over the years, “Monk” adds new spice to the concept. It finds plenty of clever gags and offers a great start to Season 18.

Jazzy and the Pussycats: “After Bart ruins a funeral, a therapist suggests the drums as a harmless outlet for Bart’s energies. Bart becomes a terrific drummer and Lisa is jealous.”

For its first half, “Jazzy” works well as Bart enjoys his new talent. However, the plot in which Lisa rescues animals seems ham-fisted and detracts from the rest of the show. We still get plenty of laughs, but it’s an inconsistent episode.

Please Homer, Don’t Hammer ‘Em: “Marge does carpentry work with Homer posing as her front because the men in Springfield don’t believe women can do carpentry. Bart learns Principal Skinner is allergic to peanuts while Skinner learns Bart is allergic to shrimp.”

“Hammer” comes across as dated. No, I won’t claim that women in the 21st century get credit for all that they do and there’s no sexism, but the episode explores the topic in a clumsy way. The allergy subplot goes a little silly too, so “Hammer” feels lackluster.

Treehouse of Horror XVII: “The 17th annual terrific trilogy.”

The “Treehouse” shows usually fare well, but “XVII” seems mediocre. The Golem segment works best, and the other two have some fun moments, though the “War of the Worlds” bit comes with an oddly downbeat ending that feels out of place.

GI (Annoyed Grunt): “Bart signs up to be a soldier when he turns 18. Homer gets him out of it but then signs up for duty himself.

Hundreds of episodes into The Simpsons, there’s not much they can do they’ve not already done, and “GI” comes with that mild sense of déjà vu. While it lacks originality, though, the episode comes with more than enough good gags to become a winner.


Moe ‘n’ A Lisa: “Lisa discovers that Moe has Bukowski-like poetic talent. She takes him to WordLoaf, a literary conference in Vermont.”

Didn’t we just watch an episode in which a male character refused to give a female Simpson credit for her accomplishments? That factor makes this one stale – and outside of JK Simmons, the guest actors fizzle.

Ice Cream of Margie (With the Light Blue Hair): “Homer begins driving an ice cream truck, and Marge – feeling a lack of accomplishment in her life – begins making sculptures from popsicle sticks.”

After the forgettable “Moe”, S18 bounces back with “Cream” – sort of. While it comes with a decent array of hits, it also seems dopier than I’d like at times. Still, it’s not a bad episode.

The Haw-Hawed Couple: “Bart is the only kid to show up at Nelson’s birthday party and – uncomfortably for Bart – they become friends. Homer wants to spare Lisa the sad ending of a book they are reading together.”

The notion of Bart and Nelson as friends seems so obvious that it’s a surprise the series didn’t use it prior to Season 18 – or maybe they did and I forgot. Whatever the case, the pairing works, especially when we get a fun GoodFellas riff.

Kill Gil, Volumes I and II: “When Gil loses his job, he moves in with the Simpsons and doesn’t leave. Marge decides she needs to tell him off – which she does, inadvertently ruining his life.”

I suspect that eventually, every third-rate, one-joke Simpsons character will get a “spotlight” episode, and I guess this was Gil’s turn in the box. It’s not a bad show but it doesn’t go far beyond the basics of the Gil role to develop into anything memorable.

The Wife Aquatic: “The Simpsons return to an island Marge loved as a child, which is now run down. Homer joins the crew of a doomed ship that gets caught in the perfect storm.”

Since Perfect Storm hit screens in 2000, it seems like a stale property to spoof in 2007. This leads to a forgettable show, one that feels like a mix of rehashed elements from prior seasons.

Revenge Is a Dish Best Served Three Times: “In this trilogy, Homer is the Count of Monte Cristo, Milhouse helps lead the nerds over the bullies, and we see the iconic origins of Bartman.”

Trilogy episodes tend to be hit or miss, and “Dish” follows that trend. Actually, it’s more miss than hit, as it offers tepid parodies. The show turns into a disappointment.


Little Big Girl: “Bart gets a driver’s license and he falls for an older girl from out of town. Lisa lies about her heritage on a homework assignment.”

Though it comes with less than inspired plot choices, “Girl” actually delivers a pretty good experience. I like the riff on the series’ opening credits, and Bart’s relationship with his new girlfriend works well. All of this adds up to an above-average show.

Springfield Up: “We see the residents of Springfield at key points in their lives.”

The Simpsons always maintained an exceptionally loose chronology, and “Up” contributes to that. It’s a gimmicky show but it comes with reasonable amusement.

Yokel Chords: “Lisa tutors the Spuckler children, while Bart scares the entire school with a phony tale of terror.”

The Spucklers were always a one-joke clan, so it’s nice to see a little expansion from “Chords”. The Bart plot adds mirth as well to make this one of S18’s more consistent and satisfying shows.

Rome-Old and Juli-Eh: “Grampa marries Selma, while Bart and Lisa wage war with a package delivery service.”

Didn’t we just have an episode about an unwelcome houseguest? Granted, the show goes down different paths when it matches Grampa and Selma, but that seems like a nearly random pairing. I do like the Bart/Lisa segment, but the main narrative fizzles.

Homerazzi: “Homer becomes a paparazzo, earning the enmity of Springfield’s celebrities.”

Wait – the series uses JK Simmons to play another J. Jonah Jameson-style character in the same season? As much as I like Simmons, that seems like an odd choice.

Still, “Homerazzi” manages reasonable amusement, mainly via a series of random but solid gags. Even without a lot of real inspiration behind it, the show works fairly well.

Marge Gamer: “Homer becomes a soccer referee, while Marge aggravates Bart by joining his violent online game.”

When the show explores Marge’s belated exploration of the Internet, it goes down clever paths. The parody of the online role-playing game seems gimmicky, though, and that side of things turns this into a mediocre episode.


The Boys of Bummer: “Bart loses a key game for his Little League team and becomes an outcast in the town.”

Expect two plots that don’t really go anywhere. Actually, the bit in which Homer sells mattresses starts well, but it soon fizzles, and the main story with Bart lacks sizzle. These add up to a bland show.

Crook and Ladder: “Homer becomes addicted to sleep medication and then joins with Apu, Moe and Principal Skinner to become volunteer firemen.”

Even with a thin premise, “Ladder” fares well, mainly due to the sleazy path the firefighters follow. That side of the show delivers a nice array of laughs and helps make this a positive program.

Stop, Or My Dog Will Shoot: “Homer gets lost in a cornfield maze, then is saved by Santa’s Little Helper, who becomes a police dog and then is jaded by crime.”

Though the episode’s premise doesn’t seem great, “Shoot” manages to become a good one. SLH’s escapades go down fun paths and we get a generally strong show, though it loses some steam as it progresses.

24 Minutes: “Marge has to rush to make the bake sale, Homer must rid himself of unsavory yogurt and the bullies try to stink-bomb the school.”

A parody of 24, “Minutes” works surprisingly well. I didn’t expect much inspiration from it, but the show uses the framework to offer a clever ride.

You Kent Always Say What You Want: “Kent Brockman loses his job for uttering a profanity on the air.”

Good God – another show in which someone winds up as a guest at the Simpsons’ house? Well, at least the episode demonstrates self-awareness, as it mocks this theme, and a few elements delight – such as Krusty’s performance as Itchy and Scratchy. Despite some déjà vu, the episode largely finishes the season well.

The DVD Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus C

The Simpsons: The Complete Eighteenth Season appears in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 on these single-sided, double-layered DVDs; due to those dimensions, the image has not been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. For SD-DVD, the visuals looked fine.

Sharpness was usually pretty good. Some shots could seem a bit soft or blocky, especially in wider elements. However, those weren’t a notable concern, so the programs were usually reasonably concise.

Occasional instances of jaggies and shimmering appeared, but they remained modest. Edge haloes were absent, and I noticed no source flaws.

While not the most dynamic palette, the simple hues of The Simpsons came through well. The DVD replicated the based colors with reasonable clarity and vivacity.

Blacks were fairly dark and tight, and shadows showed positive delineation. The episodes looked pleasing enough.

I also felt fairly happy with the series’ Dolby Digital 5.1. As in the past, the soundfields lacked a whole lot of breadth, but they came to life well enough when necessary.

Though the shows usually stayed with general ambience at most, they could open up during more action-oriented sequences. Those used the five channels well and delivered engaging material.

As always, audio quality seemed satisfying. Speech was natural and concise, while music appeared peppy and bright.

Effects showed nice clarity and accuracy, with decent low-end when necessary. Nothing dazzled, but the mixes worked for the series.

Season 18’s extras echo those of past sets, though we get fewer supplements than usual. As always, all 22 episodes provide audio commentaries, and these tracks present an ever-changing roster of participants.

Producer/show runner Al Jean pops up for all 22 commentaries, while co-executive producer Matt Selman comes along for all but episodes 4, 10, 16 and 19.

We find writers Joel H. Cohen (1, 11, 17), J. Stewart Burns (4, 9, 16, 17), Carolyn Omine (7, 13), Chuck Sheetz (7, 13), Ian Maxtone-Graham (21), Billy Kimball (21), and Jeff Westbrook (9, 17), producers Tom Gammill (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22), Max Pross (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22), and David Silverman (2, 4, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13, 14, 16, 19, 20, 21), co-executive producers Michael Price (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, 16, 18, 21), Kevin Curran (10, 19), Tim Long (10, 15, 19, 22) and Bill Odenkirk (10, 19), and John Frink (12, 20), supervising producer Matt Warburton (13), directors Raymond S. Persi (2, 12, 20, 21), Mike B. Anderson (3, 15, 18, 22), Steven Dean Moore (2, 21), Mark Kirkland (5, 6), and Lance Kramer (10), co-director Ralph Sosa (3), assistant director Rob Oliver (3), animator Michael Polcino (1, 11), animation director Mike Marcantel (1, 11), 24 co-executive producer Chip Johannessen, and actors Joe Mantegna (1, 11), Yeardley Smith (4, 9, 16, 17), Hank Azaria (15, 22), Dan Castellaneta (10, 19), and Nancy Cartwright (12, 20).

Note that some of the participants serve multiple roles on the series, so they make perform different jobs for specific episodes; it’s just easier to list them in only one manner. Also, some of them chat about episodes on which they didn’t work, which made the job titles tougher. Live with it!

As usual, the commentaries tend to focus on story/character choices along with some production issues and connections to other cultural areas. The Simpsons discussions have never been great, but S18’s seem weaker than usual, as these seem lackluster and spotty overall.

Every season, I pick out one commentary that flies highest, but I can’t do that here. The different tracks seem consistently bland – though I will admit “Little Big Girl” gets a charge because it abounds with profanity.

“Bleeped” profanity, though – an interesting choice given the uncensored “F-bombs” Al Jean occasionally drops during the S17 commentaries. When deleted swear words become the primary draw to commentaries, I know we’ve gotten a mediocre batch of discussions.

Sketch Galleries show up on Discs One and Four. Disc One’s collection runs one minute, 18 seconds, while Disc Four’s goes for two minutes, 23 seconds. Both let us see various character designs, and they’re nice glimpses of the art.

Since every other Simpsons DVD set includes an intro, this one doesn’t dare to be different Welcome Back, Loyal Fans runs one minute, 28 seconds as the series’ creator gives us an overview of what we’ll see. Prior intros have been pretty useless, and this one continues that trend.

DVD One gives us an Animation Showcase for “The Mook, The Chef, The Wife And Her Homer”. This allows us to use the “angle” feature to check out some scenes at different levels of completion, as we can flip between storyboards and animatics.

The other option appears in a small box down in the lower right corner. This remains a fun way to inspect the different stages of animation.

Within the Special Language Feature on DVD One, we get the same kind of multi-language clip we’ve found on prior sets. We can watch all of “The Mook…” in German, Czech, Hungarian or Italian. It’s a cute option but not terribly useful. (You can also access the various languages while you watch the episode proper; just cycle through the audio options.)

Whereas other Simpsons packages included deleted scenes alongside their specific episodes, S18 only presents them as a 12-minute, 11-second compilation. We get 22 snippets across 12 programs, and many of them work pretty well. This turns into a fun batch of sequences.

We can view the scenes with or without commentary from Al Jean. He tends to make fairly banal remarks, so he doesn’t add much of interest. Feel free to skip the commentary – you won’t miss anything.

DVD Four delivers a bonus episode called “22 for 30”. From March 2017, it offers a spoof of ESPN’s 30 for 30 series and it becomes a nice addition, especially since we won’t get S28 on DVD for years – if ever.

Finally, A Conversation With Fat Tony runs seven minutes, 50 seconds and offers a chat between Al Jean and actor Joe Mantegna. He gives us some thoughts about his work on the show and related topics. Some of this repeats from his commentary appearances, but it still turns into a decent look at Mantegna’s experiences.

As with all the prior sets, this one comes with a booklet. It features an intro from Groening along with details about all 22 episodes. It’s a good addition to the package.

The Simpsons Movie siphoned off much of the series’ talent and that seemed to impact Season 18 of The Simpsons. While the year comes with some good shows, it demonstrates a lackluster quality overall and gives us a step down from the more effective Season 17. The DVDs offer generally positive picture and audio with decent supplements. Season 18 will be a must-have for serious Simpsons fans but it’s not a great package of programs.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.6666 Stars Number of Votes: 3
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