The Simpsons: The Twelfth Season (2000)

Genre(s): Animation / Comedy
Fox || NR - 473 minutes - $49.98 || August 18, 2009
Reviewer: Tyler Thomas || Posted On: 2009-08-16


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: NA
Writer(s): Matt Groening (created by); Matt Groening, James L. Brooks, Sam Simon (developed by)
Cast: Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria, Harry Shearer


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Episode Commentaries
  • 6 Featurettes
  • Comic Book Guy. Best. Moments. Ever
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Commercials


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 4
  • Full Frame (1.33)
  • English (Dolby Surround 5.1), Spanish (Stereo 2.0), French (Stereo 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Animated series have always held a special place in my heart. I’ve always found them to be funny, mainly due to the fact that the characters never age properly and always find themselves in weird and odd situations. It also always helps that no matter what happened in the episode previously, the shows could act like nothing ever happened. “The Simpsons,” one of the longest running animated series of all-time and approaching more than 20 seasons on-air, is arguably one of the best shows on television to date. Season 12 isn’t any different from the rest, as the laughs are there (more plentiful than the previous newer seasons) and the guest characters are hilarious, but a few slow episodes plague this from being a perfect one.

The show stars Homer (Dan Castellaneta), Marge (Julie Kavner), Bart (Nancy Cartwright), Lisa (Yeardley Smith) and also baby Maggie who doesn’t speak although she has in the movie and at least one other episode. Homer is the bumbling father, who manages to get into trouble nearly episode. Marge is the kind, caring, compassionate mother who always holds her head high no matter what her husband or son did. Bart is the troublemaker of the family (well, next to Homer anyways) and can manage to stir up trouble no matter where he goes, whether he’s at school or the store. Finally, Lisa is the good daughter, who plays the saxophone and like her mom always tries to keep her head held high despite the fact she hates the family life she has at times.

Opening the season is the always entertaining Treehouse of Horror XI episode. Three different stories are told, with the opener being the best one. Homer is warned that he will die today, and after numerous accidents (a snake biting him, which leads him to call snake’s “natures quitters”) Marge has him eat his broccoli at the dinner table, and that finally does the trick and kills him. Homer is then sent to heaven where he is told by St. Peter to do one good deed to get in. Homer tries to, and when he finally does Peter isn’t watching and he is, in fact, damned. The second story is also somewhat entertaining, as Bart and Lisa take center stage and are sent in a fairy world where Lisa’s fable book helps them along. Finally, the third story deals with a killer dolphin that is let loose by Lisa and dolphins try to take over Springfield.

In Homer vs. Dignity, Homer is strapped for cash and inadvertently becomes Mr. Burns (Harry Shearer) prank monkey. Homer is forced to do some heinous things, such as dress up like a panda named Ping-Ping and mate with another female panda. This was easily one of my favorite episodes due to the fact that the interaction between Burns and Homer has always been one that I find hilarious. Even though they are boss and employee, Homer still manages to talk trash about him and act like he doesn’t know that Burns is his superior. The ending sort of falls apart and felt tacked on, but regardless it’s still a fairly entertaining and strong episode.

By far the best episode of the season comes from Hom’R, in which we finally learn that Homer is in fact a genius after all. It turns out that when he was younger, he stuck up a bunch of crayons in his brain and one of them didn’t come out. His doctor never noticed it due to his finger always being over the X-Ray, and once the crayon is removed Homer is a true genius with an IQ barely over 100. He begins to bond with Lisa, and the two become even closer than before. The ending was a bit heart-wrenching, as Homer has been alienated from his friends since he thinks he’s too smart and decides to go see a doctor (I won’t reveal who, but it’s hilarious) to get the operation redone and get the crayon back up his nose. After that, Homer has some great lines to let you know he’s back to the funny character you’ve come to enjoy in every episode.

Everyone’s favorite Sideshow Bob (Kelsey Grammer) returns in Day of the Jackanapes to plot, yet again, and get foiled, yet again, to kill Krusty the Clown. This was however my least favorite Bob episode, as the plot isn’t that good and the setup to the big punch line isn’t either. Bart ends up acting like a walking time-bomb, and when Krusty says a specific line he’s going to blow him up with dynamite attached to him. This one just didn’t have the same feel that the other episodes that involve Bob did, as Bob is best as the psychopathic and planned killer, and this one just didn’t do it for me.

While the previous episode wasn’t that good, a few others lacked as well. New Kids on the Blecch gave the ridiculous idea that Bart and a few of his friends could be boy members weren’t funny either. Maybe it was back in 2001 when it debuted, but it just didn’t have that funny appeal the other episodes did. Simpsons Safari was equally amusing, as the idea of Homer finding a golden animal cracker and them going to Africa to wreck havoc didn’t have any good one-liners that got me off guard laughing.

You may be wondering why Comic Book Guy is featured in this series, and I don’t have an answer for that. He’s in a few episodes here and there, and in his own entitled Worst Episode Ever, in which he suffers a heart attack and Bart and Milhouse offer to run his comic book store for him. They inadvertently find a stash of secret videos and host their own illegal viewing nights inside the shop. It’s not a particularly funny episode, but the idea of CBC dating a much older lady did have me chuckling a bit, but it never went anywhere nor is it brought up again in any of the future episodes.

This is a great season, don’t get me wrong, but some of the episodes (like the ones above) I just didn’t find as funny or promising as others. There are still the great “Doh’s!” and Moe’s patented “WAHHHHHHH?” but this season just falls a bit short compared to others.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Various Commentaries: Every episode has multiple people on the commentary for that episode. This is an incredibly awesome feature (the last FOX TV DVD I revived did as well, and I commend them greatly for it) that gives fans and reviewers alike the chance to hear their thoughts on it. I’ve listened to every single one of them over the past day, and I must say, all of them are worth a listen. None of them stray from the topic at hand, although a few do drift from time to time but always in a good direction that still had me laughing.

Commentators on all discs include: Matt Groening, Mike Scully, John Frink, Matt Selman and many more.

DISC 1

Treehouse of Horror XI (8 minutes): You can choose between the storyboard and the animatic for the episode. It’s not that interesting, so I’d recommend passing.

Arts and Animation (13 minutes): Lisa the Tree Hugger episode is shown through the eyes of the creators of it. They draw, doodle, and comment on most of the episode, skipping a few scenes though. It’s funny like the others, so if you want a little background info on the episode then by all means take a gander.

DISC 2

Comic Book Guy: Best. Moments. Ever. (10 minutes): Exactly how it sounds. This ten-minute extra showcases some of the funniest moments (up until season 12) involving everyone’s favorite Comic Book Guy… Comic Book Guy. I’ve seen all of these, but anyone who doesn’t remember or wants to relive his funny remarks will enjoy this.

Art and Animation (12 minutes): Similar to the other on the final disc, the director and other writers join forces to draw some squigglies and talk about the episode. It doesn’t last the entire duration, but it’s still funny.

DISC 3

Day of the Jackanapes (4 minutes): Some of the grayscale animation is shown. Not really that interesting, so you can pass on this.

DISC 4

Deleted Scenes (24 minutes): These are fairly hit-and-miss, as some of them are nearly as funny as the episodes while others make you go “huh?” The downside is that there’s no surround sound, I mean nothing, besides the characters voices. Hardcore fans will watch these regardless, but in all honesty these can be passed up.

The Global Fanfest (8 minutes): This takes a look at the world-wide phenomenon that is the show, including some of the musical pieces and interviews with the cast. There’s also a trivia contest that I knew the answers too, but then again I’m a huge fan of the show.

Commercials (2 minutes): You get to see all the television spots for things such as Butterfinger candy bars and other items. I’ve seen these numerous times, but if you haven’t then watch them as they are a bit comical.

Arts and Animation (12 minutes): Finally, there are some sketches to skim through and also a neat little bit that involves the writers talking about the background characters involved in the episodes. It’s interesting, so I’d recommend watching this if you enjoy animation or drawing in the slightest.

**Also of note, the season like every other season comes in a collectible “limited edition” head of Comic Book Guy or in the regular box set for those who don’t like the heads. The extras and episodes are the same. **



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

In my opinion, the show does look better on the Fox HD channel than it does on DVD, but that being said the show still manages to give me that “wow” factor I was looking for. Colors are a little dull though, but on a positive note there really isn’t that much grain in the episodes, which is a huge plus for me. Colors aren’t as bright as on the HD channel, which left me disappointed although I expected that. Black levels were fine, as was the contrast between the episodes. They all looked identical, and even though the show is from 2001, it appears as though it’s still from a recent season.

The Dolby Surround 5.1 track that accompanies the show sounds great for one that doesn’t really have any surround usage. In all honesty it’s more of a 2.0 track, although at some points I did hear my surrounds go off. The voices of the characters are loud and engaging, but once again primarily come from the center or front channels throughout the episode. The starting couch gag scene does sound phenomenal though, but I just can’t help but feel a little underwhelmed. The show doesn’t have any sort of “action” moments to rely on, but in comparison to other Fox DVD TV shows I’ve reviewed, this one is right on par with the rest.



.::OVERALL::.

“The Simpsons: Season 12” isn’t necessarily the best of the soon-to-be longest running animated series on television, but it’s most certainly not the worst. It starts off strong with the ‘Treehouse of Horror’ episode, but finishes weakly with another fable set of stories. The technical package is great, as usual, for FOX TV, as both the audio and video sound and look great. The special features are also out of this world, containing audio commentaries that are not only funny but insightful for every episode along with some other neat extras. Simpson fans rejoice and run out and buy this one right now, all newcomers feel free to join in here as well. As Comic Book Guy would say “Almost best season, EVER.”