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MOVIE INFO

Director:
Various
Cast:
Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria, Harry Shearer, Tress MacNeille, Pamela Hayden, Marcia Wallace, Russi Taylor
Writing Credits:
Various

Synopsis:
A ratings behemoth for the Fox network and an enduring cultural icon, The Simpsons continued into an eighth season, on its way to its becoming history's longest-running animated show. Springfield's most recognizable dysfunctional family is comprised of layabout dad Homer, troublesome son Bart, politically correct genius Lisa, baby Maggie, and the eminently reasonable, blue-haired Marge. In season eight, audiences are treated to a return of the "Treehouse of Horror" and a "Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase," and Sideshow Bob goes straight.

MPAA:
Rated NR

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Fullscreen 1.33:1
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby 2.0
French Dolby 2.0
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned

Runtime: 570 min.
Price: $49.98
Release Date: 8/15/2006

Bonus:
Disc One
• Audio Commentary for All Six Episodes
• Introduction from Matt Groening
• Deleted Scenes for Four Episodes
• “The Simpsons House” Featurette
• Animation Showcase for “Treehouse of Horror VII”
• “A Bit from the Animators” Featurette
Disc Two
• Audio Commentary for All Seven Episodes
• Deleted Scenes for Six Episodes
• “A Bit from the Animators” Featurette
Disc Three
• Audio Commentary for All Seven Episodes
• Deleted Scenes for All Seven Episodes
• “A Bit from the Animators” Featurette
Disc Four
• Audio Commentary for All Five Episodes
• Deleted Scenes for Four Episodes
• Special Language Feature
• Animation Showcase for “In Marge We Trust”
• “A Bit from the Animators” Featurette
• Original Sketches
• “A Few Promos”


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EQUIPMENT
Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


The Simpsons: The Complete Eighth Season (1996)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 10, 2006)

Hey, hey – it’s time for Season Eight of The Simpsons! We’ll look at the shows in their original broadcast order, which is how they show up here. I’ll examine them each on their own to document the specifics. The plot capsules come straight from the DVD’s booklet.

DVD ONE:

Treehouse of Horror VII (aired 10/27/96): “In this annual terror-themed trilogy, Bart (voiced by Nancy Cartwright) and Lisa (Yeardley Smith) discover an evil creature living in the attic, Lisa inadvertently creates a miniature civilization, and aliens Kang and Kodos run for President of the United States,”

As the series progressed, season premieres came later and later in the year. For the first time, a Halloween show launches a season. And “Horror VII” does so in grand style. Each of the three stories works well, though the one about the presidential election dates the episode more than I’d like. Still, it’s funny, and even if it’d flopped, the other two are more than enough to compensate.

You Only Move Twice (aired 11/3/96): “Homer (Dan Castellaneta) gets a new job and the family moves – only to find out his new employer (A. Brooks) is an evil millionaire intent on ruling the world.”

Given the obvious ease with which James Bond can be spoofed, it comes as something of a surprise that The Simpsons waited so long for an extended parody. (Earlier shows occasionally tossed in a Bond moment but none got quite this involved.) Guest actor Albert Brooks acts as the real star of this one. Scorpio starts out as a great take on the casual, hyper-friendly boss of the era and mutates into something unusual with the Bond elements. It ends up as a strong show with one of my favorite lines when Bart’s teacher tells him “sounds like someone’s got a case of the ‘supposed-tas’”.

The Homer They Fall (aired 11/10/96): “Homer displays an amazing ability to take a punch, which spurs Moe (Hank Azaria) to urge Homer to become a professional boxer. But when Homer is about to be killed by Drederick Tatum (Azaria), Moe decides they’ve had enough.”

With a clever concept behind it, “Fall” seems like a candidate to become a strong episode. Unfortunately, it never quite lives up to its potential. I like the emphasis on the Homer/Moe relationship, and the program features some good moments. It just doesn’t become anything more than average for The Simpsons.

Burns, Baby, Burns (aired 11/17/96): “The Simpsons are amazed to discover that Mr. Burns (Harry Shearer) has a long-lost son Larry (Rodney Dangerfield). Burns is slow to embrace his offspring, and Homer’s best attempts, they don’t reconcile.”

“Baby” requires a serious leap of faith: we have to accept the concept that someone had sex with Mr. Burns. If you get beyond that grotesque notion, the episode succeeds. I love the start at the apple mill, and it continues to soar when Larry becomes part of the show. Of course, the character doesn’t require Dangerfield to do much more than his usual shtick, but that’s fine. All in all, this is a solid program.

Bart After Dark (aired 11/24/96): “Bart gets a job at the Maison Derriere, an after-hours club of ill-repute, much to Marge’s (Julie Kavner) chagrin. Featuring the Emmy-winning song ‘The Spring in Springfield’.”

While the concept of “Dark” stretches credulity, it’s too funny for me to worry about those issues. I love the opening parts with Homer and Bart alone, and Bart’s lame comedic routine also delights. Marge’s crusade is awfully similar to her attack on Itchy and Scratchy in Season Two, but I don’t care – “Dark” is a winner.

A Milhouse Divided (aired 12/1/96): “Milhouse’s (Pamela Hayden) parents reveal they are divorcing. Homer becomes concerned that his own marriage is in trouble, but breathes easier when Marge agrees to renew their vows.”

Most Simpsons episodes don’t affect the series’ continuity; if something extreme happens, the show just ignores it and puts everything back to normal the next week. “Divided” stands as an exception, as it splits Milhouse’s parents for good. (Or at least for a long time – I admit I’ve not watched broadcast episodes of the series for a few years, so I don’t know if they ever reunited.)

This is an episode in which all the small moments make up a great big picture. Lots of little tidbits create humor and turn the show into a winner. I like the overall theme as well, for the take on divorce makes it unusual.

DVD TWO:

Lisa’s Date with Density (aired 12/15/96): “Against all her best instincts, Lisa has a puppy-love romance with bully Nelson Muntz (Cartwright). Meanwhile, Homer’s use of a telephone auto-dialer runs him afoul of the law.”

“Density” boasts two quality stories, as both “A” and “B” prosper. I love Homer’s phone scam, and Lisa’s plot puts both her and Nelson in new circumstances. It’s especially good to get the added development to Nelson, as he needs the extra screentime more than she does. His torturing of Willie creates the funniest moments, but plenty of laughs emerge. Add to the the copious use of the word “crumb-bum” and this is a very enjoyable show.

Hurricane Neddy (aired 12/29/96): “A hurricane blows through Springfield, destroying Ned Flanders’ (Shearer) home, but leaving the Simpsons unscathed. The pious Ned is so outraged by the unfairness of this that he ends up in an asylum.”

Another secondary character spreads his wings in this clever program. It’s a hoot to see the ever-chipper Ned reveal his dark side, The first act works well as we see beats related to the hurricane, and then the Job-like problems suffered by Ned create many opportunities for mirth. Ned’s rant against the townspeople is excellent, and we even find the hilarious return of his beatnik parents. “Neddy” enters classic territory.

El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer (aired 1/5/97): “Homer eats some ultra-hot chili, which immerses him in an out-of-body experience reminiscent of Carlos Castaneda. In Homer’s vision, a talking coyote (Johnny Cash) urges Homer to find his soul mate, which, after several false starts, he finally does.”

I have to give “Jomer” credit for ambition, as it definitely stretches the series’ boundaries with its acid-inspired moments. Unfortunately, that’s all the credit I can throw at this unsatisfying show. It seems too concerned with its attempts to be unusual and doesn’t bother with an interesting story or a lot entertaining moments. Despite a few funny bits, I didn’t like this episode when it first aired, and it hasn’t improved with age.

The Springfield Files (aired 1/12/97): “Homer sees an extraterrestrial but no one in town believes him. He camps out with Bart and they discover the surprising truth.”

“Files” could have turned into little more than an opportunity to promote another Fox series. The show manages to become something more interesting than that, but not by a ton. It churns out a few laughs but fails to rise to the series’ normal standards.

The Twisted World of Marge Simpson (aired 1/19/97): “Marge starts a pretzel franchise but her best attempts are thwarted by a group of women known as the Springfield Investorettes. To help his wife, Homer recruits the assistance of mob boss Fat Tony (Joe Mantegna).”

“Twisted” would be a treat if just because it boasts a guest turn from Jack Lemmon; that makes it special right there. Even better, he does a version of his sad-sack character from Glengarry Glen Ross. Add that fun thread along with all the delightful franchise spoofs, a glimpse of Cletus’s ridiculously extended clan of offspring, and “Twisted” works.

Mountain of Madness (aired 2/2/97): “Mr. Burns orders his employees to attend a survivalist mountain retreat. An avalanche traps Burns and Homer together in a small mountainside cabin.”

We’ve some episodes in which Burns and Homer bond in the past, but “Madness” manages to add a fresh spin on that theme. The snowy setting places them in some fun predicaments and allows the other characters to expand as well. “Madness” never approaches the level of classic, but it’s a good show.

Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(d’oh)cious (aired 2/7/97): “Marge’s hair starts to fall out from the stress of raising her children. A singing nanny, Shary Bobbins (Maggie Roswell), mysteriously arrives to help,”

Like the chili show, this one never quite lives up to its premise. A spoof of Mary Poppins seems like a good target but the episode itself just doesn’t produce the desired number of laughs. It takes some predictable paths and leaves me disappointed.

DVD THREE:

The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show (aired 2/9/97): “Attempting to update the appeal of the Itchy & Scratchy cartoons, their writers add a new character. Their creation – a hip, surfboarding dog – is voiced by none other than Homer Simpson.”

Season Eight heartily rebounds with the excellent “Poochie”. It manages to spoof TV’s conventions in a clever way and also pokes fun at The Simpsons itself. The fans take a jab as well, so everyone gets a little mockery in this fine program.

Homer’s Phobia (aired 2/16/97): “Homer begins to suspect that Bart is gay. When a visit to a steel mill to boost Bart’s manliness backfires, Homer takes his son on a camping trip to ‘straighten him out’.”

Homosexuality wasn’t as big a subject on TV 10 years ago, so “Phobia” was more daring than it might seem now. It brings a good spin to the topic, though it occasionally feels a little heavy-handed. Still, the episode has enough cleverness to work,

The Brother From Another Series (aired 2/23/97): “Bart’s nemesis Sideshow Bob (Kelsey Grammer) returns, this time with his evil brother Cecil (David Hyde Pierce). Though Bob has reformed, Cecil attempts to blow up the Springfield Dam, only to be foiled as his brother has so many times.”

The series usually produces good work when Bob appears, and “Brother” lives up to expectations. Actually, it exceeds expectations with its great choice to bring Pierce into the affair. This could’ve been a little too clever-clever but it works exceedingly well and brings out another terrific show. It helps that Pierce and Grammer are such good voice-over artists, and their long-time connection allows their episode to prosper.

My Sister, My Sitter (aired 3/2/97): “Homer and Marge go out, and because Lisa is more responsible, they put her in charge of Bart. Under her care, the disgruntled Bart almost kills himself.”

“Sitter” mixes wacky moments with reality as it places Lisa in a logical position. Her conflict with Bart creates realism and also brings out the comedy. The segments in which Lisa babysits the various kids in town are a delight – it’s always great to see more of Rod and Todd – and Bart’s antics make the show a solid one. Heck, even Maggie actually gets something to do!

Homer Vs. the Eighteenth Amendment (aired 3/16/97): “A St. Patrick’s Day riot leads Springfield to reinstate Prohibition. Homer becomes a notorious bootlegger known as the Beer Baron.”

“Amendment” pokes fun at the reactionary, irrational way society often responds to problems. It also manages to make Prohibition amusing. Throw in a nice guest spot from SCTV’s Dave Thomas and I find a lot to like about “Amendment”.

Grade School Confidential (aired 4/6/97): “Bart’s principal (Shearer) and his teacher (Marcia Wallace) begin a secret romance. When Bart reveals it to the world, they nearly lose their jobs.”

As with the divorce of Milhouse’s parents, “Confidential” launches a plot thread that would endure into future seasons. The romance would percolate slowly, but it continued through the years. I like that fact, and the developments here launch things in a manner both realistic and amusing. It reminds me a bit of the episode in which Skinner fell for Patty, especially via the way it uses Bart as the intermediary. Nonetheless, it becomes its own piece.

The Canine Mutiny (aired 4/13/97): “Bart’s new dog Laddie is so impressive that Bart gives away Santa’s Little Helper. When Bart decides to get his old dog back, he discovers that Santa’s Little Helper is living with a blind man who doesn’t want to give him up.”

As a sucker for dogs, episodes focused on Santa’s Little Helper work for me. It follows a rather predictable path but I can’t hold that against it. The episode creates real sympathy for poor, forgotten SLH and packs a nice little punch along with the comedy.

DVD FOUR:

The Old Man and the Lisa (aired 4/20/97): “Burns loses all his money and must move into the decrepit Springfield Retirement Castle. Vowing to make back his fortune, Burns does it – with Lisa’s help – through recycling.”

As the years progress, the series has to work harder and harder to create interesting combinations. That leads to the odd pairing of Lisa and Burns. Happily, the episode doesn’t come across as forced or stiff. It makes sure its leads stay true to themselves while they create an interesting story. Actually, Burns’ financial collapse doesn’t make much sense, but once you get beyond that, it’s a good show.

In Marge We Trust (aired 4/27/97): “Marge attempts to assist Reverend Lovejoy (Shearer) and becomes more popular with his congregation than the Reverend is. Meanwhile, Homer is befuddled by his apparent likeness on a box of Japanese dish soap.”

Here we get a program in which the “B”-story outshines the main plot. Homer’s obsession with Mr. Sparkle is a terrific theme that creates many fun moments. As for the Marge side of things, I’m not as wild about the show simply because I don’t care for the Lovejoy character. I suppose it’s nice to get some additional exposition for him, but I simply never found the role to be very interesting, so a program that focuses so strongly on him falters. I do enjoy the glimpse into how Flanders extinguished Lovejoy’s passion, though.

Homer’s Enemy (aired 5/4/97): “A new employee at the nuclear plant, Frank Grimes (Azaria), is disgusted by Homer’s laziness and popularity. Grimes’ spite eventually gets the better of him, but Homer is never aware of just how much he was hated.”

During this episode’s commentary, the participants discuss how it didn’t go over very well at the time. I’d not watched it in a while, so I didn’t recall how I felt about it. Now that I’ve seen it again, I recall that I agreed with the moderately negative sentiments. However, I continue to maintain these. Homer comes across as too obnoxious even for him, and Grimes is unlikable and unsympathetic. The show’s an interesting departure for the series but not an especially successful one.

The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase (aired 5/11/97): “In this trilogy of Simpsons spin-offs that never made it, Chief Wiggum (Azaria) gets his own cop show, Grampa’s (Castellaneta) spirit inhabits the love tester at Moe’s, and the family gets a smarmy variety show – complete with a new Lisa.”

“Spin-Off” gets a little high concept, as it goes rather far away from the series’ reality. Nonetheless, it creates more than a few laughs. The variety show is the best of the bunch, but all three succeed. They’re appropriately cheesy as they mock the lame conventions that infect so many TV series. I especially love the variety show; it’ll strike a real chord with anyone who remembers its horrifying predecessors from the Seventies.

The Secret War of Lisa Simpson (aired 5/18/97): “A destructive prank gets Bart sent to a military school. Lisa joins as well but is intimidated by a difficult physical test.”

Season Eight ends on a positive note. “War” does nothing revolutionary as it adds some definition to Bart and Lisa, but it has heart. The show becomes a rich and enjoyable one.


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

The Simpsons: The Complete Eighth 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. If you’ve seen prior sets, you’ll know what to expect from the visuals of Season Eight.

For the most part, sharpness seemed pretty good. Unfortunately, wide shots still came across as a bit iffy. They tended to appear loose, though not to a terrible degree. Some signs of jagged edges and moiré effects cropped up, but edge enhancement was minor.

One improvement we’ve seen over the years related to source defects. Earlier seasons showed various marks and distractions, but this one lacked many of these. I saw the occasional blemish, but very few of them showed up, so the shows came across as clean.

Some variation related to colors occurred, but most of the hues were pretty solid. The tones usually appeared pretty lively and concise despite periodic blandness. Blacks were fairly deep and firm, and shadows followed suit with acceptable definition. Although some low-light shots were a bit thick, these didn’t dominate. Across the board, the episodes looked fine but not exceptional.

Similar consistency came from the Dolby Digital 5.1 audio of The Simpsons. As in the past, the audio focused on the forward spectrum. The shows demonstrated good stereo music and a reasonable sense of ambience. Effects panned cleanly and smoothly, and the shows allowed the settings to broaden in a satisfying way.

Don’t expect a lot of life from the surrounds. They added a minor sense of ambience but didn’t go much beyond that. I felt the back speakers helped reinforce the forward domain and that was about it. I didn’t notice anything dynamic from the surrounds.

One minor improvement stemmed from the quality of the audio. The tracks have always sounded pretty good, but Season Eight was a smidgen stronger. Dialogue was concise and crisp, and I noticed no signs of edginess; that was a positive, as earlier seasons showed a bit of roughness at times. Music was distinctive and vibrant, and the effects sounded clean and rich. Bass response also showed growth, as the effects presented very nice low-end response. I didn’t think the tracks improved enough to merit anything about the usual “B”, but I still liked them.

Fans of Seasons One through Seven will find the expected allotment of supplements with Season Eight. As always, all 25 episodes provide audio commentaries. These tracks present an ever-changing roster of participants, though a few constants occur. Writer and creator Matt Groening appears on most of the tracks; he misses only “Hurricane Neddy” and “The Canine Mutiny”.

As for the other personnel, the tracks feature executive producers/show runners Bill Oakley (6, 15, 19) and Josh Weinstein (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25), writers Dan Greaney (1, 24), David X. Cohen (1, 3, 4, 14, 21, 22, 24), Ken Keeler (1, 2, 5, 16, 24), Ian Maxtone-Graham (4), George Meyer (3, 4, 8, 9, 17, 20, 21), Richard Appel (5), Steve Tompkins (6, 15), Mike Scully (7), Steve Young (8), Al Jean (10, 13), Mike Reiss (10, 13), Reid Harrison (10), Ron Hauge (15), Rachel Pulido (17), and Donick Cary (22). actors Dan Castellaneta (1, 2, 3, 12, 18, 21), Yeardley Smith (3, 7, 14, 17, 21, 22, 24, 25), Nancy Cartwright (7), actor Alex Rocco (7, 14, 22), Dave Thomas (12, 18), Hank Azaria (23), Kelsey Grammer (16), and John Waters (15), and directors Mark Kirkland (3, 4, 12, 21), Jim Reardon (4, 9, 23), Dominic Polcino (5, 20), Mike B. Anderson (1, 2, 25), Steven Dean Moore (6, 10, 22), Susie Dietter (7, 19), Chuck Sheetz (11, 13), Bob Anderson (8, 18), and Pete Michels (16), and David Silverman (5, 10, 12, 13, 18). Weinstein’s kids Molly and Simon also pop up for “Jomer” and “Sitter”.

These tracks follow the same patterns observed in past years. Much of the time we hear about inspirations for the stories and references that manifest themselves. Other production notes come out as well and give us decent facts about the episodes. We also hear about scenes cut from the shows.

Among important topics, Weinstein tells us about how he wanted to emphasize secondary parts in Season Eight. He talks about how the year’s episodes focus more on folks outside of the Simpson family. Guest actors also get some nice play here, especially when Grammer pops up to discuss his recurring role as Sideshow Bob. Dave Thomas adds some spark to “Madness” when he pretends to be a “Contest Winner”.

If I picked a favorite commentary for this year, it’d likely be the one for “Homer’s Enemy”. Not only does it offer good insight into this unusual program’s creation, we hear about fan backlash. Azaria offers a lot of fun moments as well. He provides info about how he developed some of his best-known voices and helps make this one a real winner.

As in the past, the biggest problem stems from the tremendous amount of happy talk that occurs. We often hear about how funny parts of the shows are and other elements of praise. A bit too much dead air occurs as well. These aspects of the tracks make them drag somewhat.

The series’ commentaries tend to depend a lot on the efforts of the season’s show runner. Weinstein is friendly and perky, but he doesn’t make things work as well as predecessor David Mirkin. That factor means these commentaries are good but not the best of the series’ sets. Still, fans will get a lot of fine information out of them, and they remain enjoyable.

A mix of other supplements spread across all four DVDs. 21 of this release’s episodes include Deleted Scenes. Only these four programs lack these cut bits: “Treehouse of Horror VII”, “Bart After Dark”, “El Viaje Misterioso De Nuestro Jomer”, and “Homer’s Enemy”. You can check these out via two methods. You can watch them as parts of the appropriate shows or in a separate compilation on DVD Four.

I’ve enjoyed the deleted scenes included with past sets and I like these as well. Inevitably, they’re inconsistent; some stand out as memorable, while a few duds appear. Nonetheless, the clips are often quite good and they continue to be a ton of fun to see. The most significant one comes from Patty and Selma’s cut musical number from the Shary Bobbins episode. I also like the glimpse of how a baby produced by Lisa and Nelson would look.

Fun quirks: we find a clip in which Yeardley Smith fills in for Julie Kavner as Marge. Another snippet displays messed up animation in which Milhouse’s voice comes out of Nelson. Obviously these would’ve been fixed if they’d been included in the broadcast episodes, but it’s amusing to see them in their uncorrected state.

The DVD Four compilation puts all 36 scenes - which last a total of 17 minutes and 56 seconds - in one place. In a nice touch, we get the portion of the show that precedes the cut scene right before it to remind us where the snippet would have appeared. Those bits are black and white while the new material appears in color; that helps us tell which parts were deleted.

If you check out the deleted scenes via the big package on DVD Four, you also can listen to optional commentary from Weinstein for most of the deleted scenes; Reiss and Jean pop up for those from the two shows they ran, and Moore chats along with them. We get some nice insights into the reasons for the deletions and other issues related to the clips. The commentary’s worth a listen.

For two episodes, we get an Animation Showcase. This allows us to use the “angle” feature to check out some scenes at different levels of completion. We can flip between storyboards and animatics for “Treehouse of Horror VII” and “In Marge We Trust”. The other option appears in a small box down in the lower right corner; that’s a negative change from past iterations that allowed us to compare these elements to the final product. Nonetheless, this remains a fun way to inspect the different stages of animation.

Like every other set, this one opens with an introduction. Called An Memento from Matt Groening, this three-minute clip offers a simple lead-in to the package. Basically Groening tells us how terrific the year was and a little about what we’ll find on the discs. All the other intros felt like sales pitches, and that occurs again here. It’s painless but pointless.

Also on Disc One, we find a three-minute and 28-second featurette called The Simpsons House. This includes comments from Fox national promotions Sr. VP Mark Stroman, production designer Rick Floyd and architect Mike Woodley. The program looks at the replica of the family home built in Las Vegas as a contest prize. We learn that this started as a promotion for the Virtual Springfield CD-ROM and watch its creation. I thought this would be a bland little piece of fluff, but it’s actually a pretty interesting glimpse of the challenges presented in this escapade.

Four episodes boast featurettes called A Bit from the Animators. We get clips for “Treehouse of Horror VII” (9:16), “Lisa’s Date with Density” (8:33), “Homer Vs. the Eighteenth Amendment” (13:14) and “In Marge We Trust” (7:56). We hear from Groening, Dietter, Mike B. Anderson, Bob Anderson as they trot out the telestrator to illustrate some elements for a few scenes. We watch parts of the episodes as they chat about visual design, animation, and various cartoon-related subjects. We get lots of fun notes and even receive some useful tips on how to draw the characters. I really enjoyed these little chats, as they’re lively and interesting. “Amendment” provides the most delightful examination since the participants go nuts with freeze-frame to point out goofiness and trivia.

Within the Special Language Feature on DVD Four, we get the same kind of multi-language clip we’ve found on prior sets. We can watch all of “Homer’s Enemy” in Czech, Japanese, Parisian French or German. 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.)

A Few Promos offers a mere two ads. One shows Groening as he demonstrates how to draw Bart, while he sketches Homer in the other. Neither seems particularly interesting.

Original Sketches presents 12 drawings created for a mix of shows. We see things like sets from the Maison Derriere and conceptual shots of Laddie. None of them are especially compelling.

As with all the prior sets, this one comes with a booklet. It features an intro from Groening along with details about all 25 episodes. These present credits as well as info about each show’s special features. A few cartoon images fill out the booklet and make it a nice addition.

I wouldn’t refer to Season Eight of The Simpsons as the series’ best, but it sure offers plenty of fine programs. Only a couple minor duds pop up in this generally strong year. Look for plenty of great material inside this box. The DVD boasts picture, audio and extras very similar to what we’ve seen in the past. That’s fine with me – Season Eight of The Simpsons earns yet another recommendation from me.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.1764 Stars Number of Votes: 17
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