THE SIMPSONS: THE COMPLETE THIRTEENTH SEASON
MOVIE: ***** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
Dan Castellaneta as HOMER SIMPSON
Julie Kavner as MARGE SIMPSON
Nancy Cartwright as BART SIMPSON
Yeardley Smith as LISA SIMPSON
Hank Azaria as VARIOUS
Harry Shearer as VARIOUS
Created by: Matt Goerning
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Continuing its periodic releases of the seminal Sunday night animated series, Fox has released the 13th season of “The Simpsons.” In this season, see Bart fall in love, Homer take medical marijuana, Marge ban sugar from Springfield and the country of Brazil find a reason to sue the series. With the series in full stride, we open with the twelfth episode of “The Treehouse of Horror” and enjoy a bevy of guest stars from Phish to Carmen Electra.
WHAT I LIKED
Like the previous box sets of “The Simpsons” DVDs, this 13th season comes packaged with all 22 episodes of the season, but it’s also available in Blu-ray hi-def format as well as the standard DVD. Before cracking open the case and putting the discs in, there are some distinct advantages to the Blu-ray, which follows the same packaging standards as the recent 20th season. It may not have widescreen presentations from a HD broadcast, but the box is more secure even if it doesn’t feature the accordion sleeves that the DVD does.
Animation tends to look better from Blu-ray player’s upconverter, and such is the case with this set, so whether you go with Blu-ray or DVD, both are good choices.
Another word on the packaging is that you’ll notice the featured character on teh cover is Ralphie, and while he’s not prominently featured in the season itself, he does get some special features in the bonus spins.
Overall, the episodes in this season are more smoothly plotted than some previous episodes. Only a few of them meander from topic-to-topic as we saw several seasons ago (with the show starting off with a story about Lisa joining the gymnastics team and ending with Bart in a plastic bubble). The seasons isn’t as topical as something like “South Park,” but that bodes well for the longevity of the series (and being able to enjoy a DVD or Blu-ray eight years after it aired).
Some of the best episodes take the characters on a grand journey, including Bart creating an “Angry Dad” comic strip in Homer’s image, a retelling of “The Odyssey” and the series taking some pot-shots at Brazil. (To this note, I did meet someone from Brazil about three or four years ago, and he was still sore at his country’s treatment on this show.)
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
Like previous releases, being the 13th season, there’s not a lot to complain about with this show that you shouldn’t already know. The animation is still a little rough at times, but most aspects of the production were in full swing for years by this point. The only problem you might have is if you have an issue with the number 13.
One of the most impressive parts of a release of “The Simpsons” DVD or Blu-ray set is the fact that more than a dozen years down the road, there are still bonus features. Not only is the a commentary track on every episode (which is almost unheard of in this business), there’s the standard intro by Matt Groening, storyboard comparisons, sketch galleries, deleted scenes, a language featurette and commercials.
Season-specific featurettes include “Ralphisms,” a spotlight on the effect of “The People Ball,” a look at the Bart Simpson sailboat in “The 13th Crewman,” a spot about the rage from Brazil in “Blame it on the Monkeys,” a retrospective on all the “Simpsons” video games and “The Sweet Life of Ralph.”
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Fans of “The Simpsons” and PG-13 television animation.