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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Comedy > Children > TV > The Simpsons – The Complete Ninth Season (Fox DVD)

The Simpsons – The Complete Ninth Season


Picture: C+     Sound: B-     Extras: B+     Episodes: B



Every time I hear that Danny Elfman I get a smile.  Not because I like Elfman, but because I know I am about to see some of the wittiest, pop culture, phenomenon to every grace television.  The Simpsons: The Complete Ninth Season is slick, clever, and just another step toward greatness for the series.  Many fans say The Simpsons met their peak at around Season Six or Seven, but they are just being difficult.  The truth of the matter is The Simpsons, now on a stunning 18th Season, though it may have lost a little steam when competing with the outlandish Family Guy (which makes more references to 80’s-90’s pop-culture than literary works like The Simpsons), or off the brand humor found on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, remains as a figure head of the animated world.


The Simpsons uses its own creative writing team spliced with history, poems, music, literary works, art, pop-culture, news, and more to excel into greatness.  At the time these episodes were produced there may have been no smarter show on television.  Where else can you watch a morbidly obese man fall down the stairs, get hit in the groin, lit on fire AND learn of the horrors of pollution?  Season Nine is most likely one of the best, especially with the Emmy Winning 200th episode included, entitled Trash of the Titans where Homer is elected the sanitation commissioner (you know that can’t be good).  Also a personal favorite episode found in this season is Das Bus a very well done Lord of the Flies parody.  Overall, this is a great, great season with much to offer.


Let’s start with, FANS WILL LOVE THIS DVD SET!  Next, since this reviewer has already spoken of the great intelligence and humor of the series, let’s display one more area of importance the series has to offer, Guest Stars.  This Simpsons is like an evolving variety show.  To name a few Martin Sheen, Fyvush Finkel, Mike Judge, Joe Namath, Andrea Martin, Stephen Jay Gould, Phil Hartman (LAST SEASON), Alex Trebek, George Harrison, Jim Varney, James Earl Jones, Bruce Baum, Janeane Garofalo, Bobcat Goldthwait, Jay Leno, Hank Williams Jr., Steven Wright, Helen Hunt, Bob Denver, Rod Steiger, Paul Winfield, Steve Martin, U2, Brendan Fraser, Steven Weber, and many more.  Wow, that is a list, and only one season.  The Simpsons has influenced the world and it shows.  The series has had 3 out of 4 Beatles for God’s sake!


The technical aspects on this DVD set are quite nice, with some issues.  The picture is presented in a 1.33 X 1 Full Screen that is adequate (though every animated series should be widescreen) and the color is looking better with every DVD Season release, being miles above the syndicated versions on television.  The sound is presented in a crisp 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround format that has high/low issues at time, but nothing to worry about.  The extras are always nice on The Simpsons releases, the creators always looking out for the fans.  There are commentaries available for each and every episode, and unlike many other DVD sets the commentaries of insightful, humorous, and interesting.  Other bonuses include promo spots, a featurette entitled A Moment with U2, deleted scenes, Multi-Angle animation showcases, original sketches, and other little niceties we have come to expect from these sets.  Also included is a nice, colorful booklet explaining each episode and collectors cards.  The creators of the show never seem to disappoint.


On a final note this reviewer would like to comment on the packaging style.  Seasons 1-5 of The Simpsons were available in cardboard pull out Digi-packs, then on Season 6 the creators thought they would be CREATIVE and switch it up, changing the packaging to a new style ‘plastic head’ style.  Season 6 was ‘The Homer Head.’  Fans got upset at this packaging inconsistency and made it clear they were not happy.  Once again thinking of the fans the creators sent out a press release allowing for all and any fan to receive a cardboard slip cover for their 6th Season upset.  For Seasons 7-9, all seasons have been available in not one but two packaging styles, ‘cardboard box’ or ‘plastic head.’  The ‘plastic head’ versions are said to be limited edition and get this, THEY ARE!  Once the production run is done on the ‘plastic head’ version no more are made, while the ‘cardboard box’ version is continually produced.  On top of this the ‘plastic head’ versions are becoming harder to find.  To this date the ‘plastic heads’ have been released as follows Season 6 Homer, 7 Marge, 8 Maggie, 9 Lisa, and you can bet 10 will be Bart.  On top of this, for all those fans who complained, Seasons 1-5 have been ‘cardboard boxes’ and 6-10 ‘plastic heads,’ it is all in balance again.  Who knows maybe Season 11 will be something new again, this reviewer hopes so.



-   Michael P Dougherty II


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