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Simpsons’ DVD set delivers the goods

Molly Griffin | Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Fans of The Simpsons don’t border on fanatical, but instead embrace their love of the show with a fervor bordering on fanaticism. Fortunately, the show more than earns such frenzied devotion with offerings like the DVD of the show’s third season. Season Three marks the show’s evolution both in style and content. The drawings look cleaner and resemble the current shows, and the show’s trademark humor reaches new heights with some now-classic episodes. The Simpsons, which began its long television run as a series of shorts on the Tracy Ullman show in 1986, quickly branched off to become its own show in 1989. It survived the highs and lows of becoming a national fad in the early ’90’s, and in doing so not only garnered critical and popular success but had a massive influence on the whole of pop culture. It was named, “Best Television Show of the 20th Century” by Time magazine, and Homer Simpson’s trademark exclamation, “D’oh!”, made its way into the “Oxford English Dictionary” last year. After 13 years on the air, the show only gains more respect and influence with each successive season. The show doesn’t shy away from topics like religion or family that are normally anathema for television, but it approaches difficult topics and situations with a deft balance of humor and emotion. A major complaint of Simpsons fans is the slow rate at which the collections are released, but the extras and the overall presentation of the DVD show both the love of those involved in the series as well as their respect for their obsessive fans. It is ultimately better to wait for a superior product than to have a simple one come out early and incomplete. The level of detail in things as basic as the language option (each of the languages is illustrated by a specific character; Sharri Bobbins represents English, Bumblebee Man represents Spanish, and Bart’s exchange host, Cesar, represents French), reveals an appreciation for the intricacies of the series and the fans who know all of them.The color of the shows seems brighter than the reruns seen on TV, and the sound is clear and has no major bugs. As a result of having so many extras, commentaries and other information, there are a good number of menus to go through in order to watch the show. However, there is a “Play All” function, which is worth the sacrifice of a few extra seconds for all of the extra commentaries and other additions. Simpsons fans will appreciate the Season Three DVD both for its content and the extras. It is a season with many guest voices, notably Danny DeVito as Homer’s long-lost brother Herb and Beverly D’Angelo (the mom from the National Lampoon’s Vacation series) as Lurleen Lumpkin, the country music starlet infatuated with Homer. The commentary track for each episode is an extra that most fans will appreciate, and episodes like, “I Married Marge” and “Lisa’s Pony” make the show into the cultural force it is today.It would be difficult to make a bad Simpsons DVD because of the content, but it would be very easy to make a mediocre one. Fortunately, the brains of the Simpsons operation have not let the fans down and have come out with a DVD definitely worth the wait.