HTF REVIEW: "The Simpsons: The Complete Second Season" (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Jun 13, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein

    The Simpsons: The Complete
    Second Season

    Studio: Fox
    Year: 1990-1991
    Rated: NR
    Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 full frame

    Not since decades earlier when The Flintsones
    became the first successful animated prime time
    program, has anything quite matched or surpassed
    what The Simpsons has become.
    Over 10 years later, The Simpsons is
    still growing strong.
    The Simpsons Second Season was a big
    improvement over its previous season in that not
    only did the animation become much better with
    more refined details made to the characters, but
    the story lines improved as well.
    The Season Two set arrives in the same type of
    packaging as the Season One set. Housed in a
    handsome outer case with a TV cut-out screen
    window, the inner case pulls out and opens into
    a 5-pane gatefold that stores a total of 4 DVD
    discs that sit in plastic hub housing. A pocket
    on the end holds a booklet (not available for
    review). The outer panes contain cute animation
    of the Simpson characters exchanging heads. One
    of the outer panes contains a personal introduction
    to Season Two by show creator, Matt Groenig, who
    talks about the Simpsons mania that hit America
    during this season, and, some of his favorite
    Fox seems to have set a theme for this Second
    Season set. That theme is the exchange of character
    heads and bodies. You first take notice of this
    theme when you open up the gatefold and look
    at the DVDs inside. Spinning the DVDs in their
    housing, you can interchange the body artwork
    on the disc with the heads of characters that
    circle the box.
    The menu system of the DVDs also play on this
    theme, but we'll get to that in a moment....
    There are a total of 22 episodes spread across
    the 4 discs, with the average episodes per disc
    at being 6.
    There are some real gems in this season, and I
    took a look at four of them that I consider amongst
    my favorites:
    In Bart Gets an F, we find Bart failing
    history class. His teacher, Mrs. Krabappel is
    losing patience with him, threatening to hold
    him back another year. What is Bart to do? He
    makes a deal with school geek Martin Prince. If
    Martin can tutor him and help him pass the final
    exam, Bart will help Martin become cool. When
    Martin reneges on his side of the bargain, Bart
    must cram for the ultimate test on his own. Will
    he pass?
    In Two Cars in Every Garage, Three Eyes on
    Every Fish, we find Bart and Lisa fishing
    in the polluted stream near Springfield's
    nuclear power plant when they pull up a three-eyed
    fish This draws a slew of negative reaction to
    plant owner Mr. Burns. In order to fight the
    bad press, Burns decides to run for Governor.
    All seems to go well for his campaign until he
    sits down for dinner with the Simpsons family.
    In Bart Gets Hit By A Car, Mr. Burns hits
    Bart with his car, sending him on a trip to heaven
    and hell while he's unconscious. After consulting
    the crooked attorney Lionel Hutz, Homer and Marge
    attempt to sue Mr. Burns for a million dollars.
    It looks as if this could be a cool won million,
    until it gets discovered that the Simpsons have
    exaggerated Bart's injuries.
    My favorite episode, Itchy, Scratchy & Marge
    takes a look at cartoon violence, and what could
    be more violent than The Itchy & Scratchy Show?
    After Maggie hits Homer over the head with a mallet,
    Marge wages a one-woman campaign against the show
    and its creators. The result? You'll be in
    stitches as you watch the new toned-down episodes
    of Itchy & Scratchy where they "Love and Share"
    and enjoy lemonade with each other.
    How is the transfer?
    It's nice to see that transfers have slightly
    improved over Season One. This probably has much
    to do with the fact that the overall production
    of the season had improved.
    Transfer quality is exceptional. Any flaws that
    I found was due to the original source. Realize
    that these are not quality animations that are up
    to the standards of a Disney film. You will
    undoubtedly notice the shift of colors in one
    particular area of a character as that character
    moves from one position to another. I think the
    clarity of this DVD presentation brings out more
    of those tiny flaws that you probably never noticed
    as much during broadcast run.
    With the exceptional clarity of DVD, the brilliant
    colors within the animation just pour out across
    the screen. Colors look extremely vivid, taking
    on an almost neon-florescent quality -- especially
    in the deep blues of Springfield lake or Mr. Burn's
    hair. Watching these episodes gives you the same
    sort of awe factor as watching posters in black light.
    I hate to say it, but perhaps I was just too
    engrossed in being entertained by each of these
    shorts to notice any heavy use of surrounds. For
    that reason, at least on the episodes I watched,
    I don't rate the 5.1 remix as very effective. Most
    of the dialogue and action remained in the front
    sound stage. Overall sound quality was very robust,
    and I even noticed some LFE activity from the
    subwoofer, mostly during the show's opening credits.
    Special Features
    Let's first talk about the MENU feature of
    these individual DVD discs, as they are going
    to become sort of fascinating at first, and then
    a complete annoyance soon after.
    As you pop in the DVD, you come to a very odd
    menu that features 4 Simpson characters in an
    outer circle with a button in the middle.
    As you push the middle button, the heads of
    the characters spin around. When the spin stops,
    the character heads are mismatched to the character
    bodies. This is kind of cute at first, until you
    realize you have to go through this sequence no
    less than 3 times to get to the MAIN MENU.
    Fortunately, I found that by hitting the MENU
    key on your remote, you can bypass this screen
    every time you insert a new disc.
    Once you get to the main menu, the list of
    episodes on that disc are listed. Clicking
    on an episode title brings you to that episode's
    personal MENU that contains approximately 10
    seconds of unique visual or audio sequence.
    Each episode contains commentary by
    show creator Matt Groenig, who is joined by
    Producers, Writers and Directors (depending on
    the episode). You can select the commentary
    track from the LANGUAGE menu.
    Disc Four contains the SUPPLEMENTAL
    MATERIALS section which is loaded with many
    interesting goodies that will ultimately please
    the die-hard SIMPONS fan.
    What could be considered somewhat embarrassing,
    a clip from American Music Awards shows
    voice of Bart, Nancy Cartwright, in an oversized
    Bart costume on stage presenting an award. We
    learn through Matt Groenig's commentary, that
    Cartwright was not able to hear what was going
    on during this performance, and thus, was
    basically prancing around the stage with no cues
    or direction. It is also interesting to note that
    she is pregnant during this clip.
    (length: Approx 2.5 minutes)
    The second music video from the Simpsons sing
    the blues
    album, Deep Deep Trouble, is
    presented in full. In Matt Groenig's accompanying
    commentary, he talks about the ease in animating
    rap video sequences like this, and the use of
    extended character poses in his animation.
    (length: approx. 3.5 minutes)
    The music video, Do the Bartman (Director's
    Cut) is included. It was written in part by
    Michael Jackson. Executive Consultant (and director
    of the video) Brad Bird explains how the animation
    was done in Hungary in a time slot of 2.5 weeks,
    and was the hardest project that Brad had ever
    worked on.
    Remember when Bart started doing commercials
    for Butterfinger? Three of those precious
    Nobody better lay a finger on my Butterfinger
    commercials are included here. Waaaay cool!
    Creation Of An Episode features
    Senior Director David Silverman who takes us
    through the steps of creating an episode from
    script to finished picture. David gives us
    a very quick overview of the process starting
    with a character line from the script. He then
    plays that character speaking the line, which in
    this case, is James Earle Jones who we hear
    courtesy of magnetic tape. From here storyboard
    is drawn out along with character design and
    background design. The animation is sent overseas
    to Korea, where the animation is fleshed out.
    Sound Effects and music are added last. The entire
    process of creating an episode takes from 5-7 months.
    (length: Approx. 6 minutes)
    The Simpsons attending The Emmy Awards?
    The animated family is superimposed into the
    awards ceremony as they announce the nominees
    for Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. Really
    funny stuff here, and a terrific job at combining
    the live action and animated elements.
    (length: approx. 3 minutes)
    An Interview with Matt Groening and James L.
    Brooks is an original piece from the first
    or second season where we learn how the characters
    came to be on the Tracy Ullman show, as well as
    how each character was inspired and created.
    Correct me if I am wrong, but most of this material
    was covered in the SEASON ONE set.
    (length: approx. 10 minutes)
    Art Of The Simpsons is a world of its
    own, dedicated to the storyboards, sketches,
    drawings and magazine covers that have become
    Simpson history. You can view the Storyboards
    from two of the show's episodes using your
    remote control. Unfortunately, you really can't
    get a clear view of the material being shown as
    it is presented in a more overviewed form than
    detailed. You can view early sketches and
    drawings from many of the episodes featured
    in Season Two. Finally, you can see Simpsons mania
    unfold as the TV family adorns magazine covers such
    as Entertainment Weekly, TV Guide, TIME and
    Newsweek (to name a few). The issue dates
    are listed below each magazine representation.
    Want to know how The Simpsons translate to other
    countries? You can watch Foreign Language
    Clips of a selected scene in 5 different
    languages. It's funny not only to hear the
    language, but the interpretation of the character
    voices as well.
    Final Thoughts
    With all the studios are scrambling to release
    television product these days, it's worthy to
    note that Fox is still doing it better
    than anyone else. Just by taking a look at all
    supplemental material added to this Season Two
    set (especially the BUTTERFINGER commercials),
    you can appreciate the fact that the fans
    were always the motivation behind this release.
    If I could offer one complaint, it would be
    the fact that Fox is really dragging the release
    of these sets. To have to wait about a year for
    each new set is quite difficult to accept, when
    a studio like Paramount is releasing 7 seasons
    of Star Trek TNG in the course of a year.
    I think most of us would be happy to see Fox
    put other television product on hold to get more
    seasons out on DVD sooner than they have been released.
    After all, The Simpsons is amongst the
    very best television Fox has to offer.
    The purchase of this set is a must!
    Release Date: August 6, 2002
  2. Jeff Rogers

    Jeff Rogers Second Unit

    Aug 24, 2000
    Likes Received:
    Good review!

    I can't wait. I just wonder why it is taking so long in-between sets.

    Would anyone be willing to sacrifice the audio commentaries to get them quicker?
  3. PhilShen

    PhilShen Extra

    May 14, 1999
    Likes Received:
    Looks like it's worth the wait, though I can hardly wait any longer to get this set. A few of my favorites are in this season. "Fugu me!!!" Thanks Ron for the review and the great screenshots.

    (Fingers crossed for Season 3 early next year... come on Fox!)
  4. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Producer

    Apr 19, 2000
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    "I made it just for you!"

    "You are my best friend!"

    The episode that made me a Simpsons fan...
  5. Adam Tyner

    Adam Tyner Screenwriter

    Sep 29, 2000
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  6. Jeff Rogers

    Jeff Rogers Second Unit

    Aug 24, 2000
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    hmmmmm I wonder. I know that taking time means a better product -- but look at Paramount and the STTNG. [​IMG]
    Did the Season One set sell very well? Are they trying to not saturate?
  7. Martin Fontaine

    Martin Fontaine Supporting Actor

    Aug 15, 2001
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    Is the french track the France Dub or the Quebecian Dub?
  8. DerrickRemmert

    Jun 10, 2002
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    I think it has to do with syndication profits. Fox makes so much off of syndication that they probably have decided to stretch the season sets out to one per year. That way it will take years before the popular syndication episodes are out on DVD. That's my take on the situation.
  9. Jeremy Allin

    Jeremy Allin Supporting Actor

    Oct 6, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Thanks for the review, Ron! [​IMG]
    As for the commentaries...they're great to have, BUT, does anyone else think that they may start to run out of things to say? They may stop recording commentaries for every episode for this reason.
    I hope I'm wrong. [​IMG]
  10. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

    Aug 3, 2001
    Likes Received:
    The extended review at the DVDLaunch site puts to shame some of the detailed reviews I've done! [​IMG] I thought I went deeeeeep...he blew me outa the water! [​IMG]
    Ron, good review and GREAT choice of screenshots, esp. of the supplements AND of demonstrating the situation with the "spinning bodies" theme on both the discs and the menus. [​IMG]
  11. Joel C

    Joel C Screenwriter

    Oct 23, 1999
    Likes Received:
    Yes, but The Simpsons is no longer in "regular" syndacation (where the same episode airs around the country in the same week). They are simply available to each market to show as they please. That is why the show no longer appears in the Top 30 syndacated shows ratings wise.

    Also, the earler seasons have already been shown dozens of times in syndacation. Fox isn't making much money off of season 1-7 episodes anymore, as they are the better part of a decade or more old.


    On the plus side, R2 gets Futurama season 2 in Sept. So THAT'S why I bought that region switching apex.
  12. Dave F

    Dave F Cinematographer

    May 15, 1999
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    A review 2 months before the release? If the set is complete, how come it's taking so long to get to market?

  13. Brian Harnish

    Brian Harnish Screenwriter

    Dec 15, 2000
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    I can't wait to finally have season 2 on DVD. I've been waiting to see the episode "Bart Gets Hit By A Car" for some time (it's never shown as a rerun) and several other Season 2 episodes. FOX has GOT to release season three. I want it now, damnit! [​IMG]
  14. DeathStar1

    DeathStar1 Producer

    Dec 28, 2001
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    >As for the commentaries...they're great to have, BUT, does anyone else think that they may start to run out of things to say? They may stop recording commentaries for every episode for this reason.
    Heck, forget about Season 2, I got that sense during Season 1 [​IMG]. Although, it can't get as bad as the Masters of the Universe Commentary. That guy was quiet during 60% of the film, and repeated what he previously said the rest of the 40%...
    "Most Useless Commentary EVER!" [​IMG]
  15. Eric T

    Eric T Second Unit

    Apr 1, 2001
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    Can't wait, can't wait, can't wait! Some great episodes in Season 2. I guess my videotapes will still be getting some more use as we wait for the following seasons.
  16. Craig_T

    Craig_T Second Unit

    Feb 17, 2001
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    I was hoping for a "play all episodes" option where you could play all six of the episodes straight through without having to go back to the menu every 20 minutes. Oh well. And the opening screen where you have to match all the heads up every time you insert the disc sounds pretty lame. I hate stupid gimmicks like this, but at least you can skip though that fairly easily. Still sounds good overall though. Now please Fox, don't make us wait 11 freakin' months for Season 3!
  17. Derek Miner

    Derek Miner Screenwriter

    Feb 22, 1999
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    I hope Warner takes notice of the extras on The Simpsons when planning South Park season sets. There are a few extra commericals and television appearances that would be nice extras on that series, especially when the kids gave out a Cable Ace award.
  18. Johnny wilson

    Johnny wilson Stunt Coordinator

    Apr 29, 2002
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    Geez that's an early review. Like I been saying, Ronnie gives us the best reviews in my opinion.
  19. Matt Wallace

    Matt Wallace Second Unit

    Feb 20, 1999
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    I think that Paramount is oversaturating with their release schedule. I personally like the idea of having TNG out and available to buy, but even a DVD avid will have a hard time coughing up cash so quickly back to back. From what I've seen at retail level, Season 1 sold very well but Season 2 was too quick and hasn't been as successful. I'm interested to see how Season 3 does. Then you have to factor other releases from the same studio in between and other studios releases.... it's just crazy. I'd like to get the Simpsons more often, but not THAT often. Keep up the good quality, Fox, and good review Ron.

  20. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein

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