“ Genre: Television - The Simpsons / Theatrical Release: 2000 / Suitable for 12 years and over / Actors: Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Harry Shearer ... / DVD released 2009-09-28 at 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment / Features of the DVD: Full Screen, PAL „
Firstly, let me apologise for my recent lack of reviews and activity on the site in general over the past couple of months. I am coming to the end of my final year of university and so review writing and rating have taken a backseat to getting work done as well as trying to make the most of my last few months as a student before I have to enter the real world. My reviews will therefore be fairly sporadic until June or thereabouts when my exams are over.
Despite being pretty busy, I have however been watching far too much TV. Recently I've got back into The Simpsons and decided to give the twelfth series a watch. I used to love the earlier series as a child but found that the later ones were generally of a much lower quality, with only a handful of episodes per series being worth a watch. I didn't really know where this cut off point between consistent comic gold and sporadic adequacy stood, though, and so a while ago watched through a few series in a row to see where the quality dropped. I found that while all those up to the tenth series were great, the eleventh was mainly poor with only a couple of episodes approaching the brilliance of those that had come before. I therefore assumed that Series Eleven onwards wouldn't include much watching and so decided to quit while I was ahead. Recently, however, I wanted to watch some Simpsons episodes that I wasn't as familiar with and so gave the twelfth series a go. I didn't have massively high hopes based on the previous season, but thought it was worth a shot.
I have to say that, despite my low expectations, I was pretty impressed with the twelfth series of The Simpsons. While not as good as the fifth or sixth series, for example, it was certainly miles better than the eleventh, and the majority of the episodes were enjoyable and none were unwatchable. I read some criticism of this series that stated that while none of the episodes are terrible, some end up being quite boring. This is certainly a point that I agree with with regard to this series: you won't hate any of the episodes, but there are a few that feel like somewhat of a waste of time to watch.
I have to say that there were some great episodes involving our favourite yellow family here, though. 'Homer vs. Dignity', in which Homer ends up doing pranks to amuse Mr Burns for money, has more of a feel of the earlier series about it and is an all round enjoyable episode. The 'Worst Episode Ever' is also ironically an enjoyable one, in which the Comic Book Guy has a heart attack and has to take a break from his job, leaving Bart and Milhouse in charge of his shop. I also would have good things to say about 'I'm Going to Praiseland', 'Children of a Lesser Clod' and 'Bye Bye Nerdie' amongst a few others. My favourite from the series, though, would have to be 'Trilogy of Errors', in which we see the same day three times from the point of view of Homer, Lisa and Bart and their relative escapades. While the storylines are a bit ridiculous, I found that easy to overlook as the three plots wove together nicely and made a great episode.
As I said earlier, there are no awful episodes in this series, but there are some that are quite dull or just aren't particularly good. The last episode of the series, 'Simpson Tall Tales', certainly falls into this category and in its retelling of a few existing stories, feels like it was added just to make up the series length. 'Simpson Safari' was also one of these non-brilliant episodes and I found that it's depiction of Africa was a bit too Western centric for my liking. 'New Kids on the Blecch', in which Bart, Nelson, Milhouse and Ralph form a boy band (yes, really) was also a bit dull and ridiculous an episode, although not completely awful.
While Series Twelve is much better than the one that preceded it and of higher quality than I expected, it still has a few slow episodes and so does not merit a five star rating. After watching it I stand by my assertion that the earlier series of The Simpsons are far superior to the later ones, but am quite happy that there's still quite a lot of episodes that are enjoyable later on as well. I imagine that, unlike the earlier series that has almost more for adults to enjoy than the target child audience, this twelfth series will appeal much more to children than to their parents, which is somewhat of a shame. While I would happily recommend this series to parents for their children to enjoy, I would say that you'd almost definitely enjoy one of the first ten series as a family a lot more, and would buy them in preference to this one. At £14.99 from Amazon it's averagely priced for The Simpsons series sets, but if you want to buy it I would try to shop around to see if you can get it for a few pounds cheaper.
In short: better than I expected, but not as great as the earlier days of The Simpsons.
The Simpsons Season 12 first aired between November 1st 2000 and May 20th 2001, it consisted of 21 episodes and featured such guest stars as:
Venus and Serena Williams
As you can see there is no shortage of guest stars, but nowadays its really more a sign that you've made it in your profession when you get asked to be a guest star in the Simpsons, vs it actually meaning something to the story.
It pains me to say such things about the Simpsons, however as I've mentioned before in previous Simpsons reviews I really think the show took a downturn from around season 7, and while it still can produce some tremendous episodes and great writing, it also seems to be more about slapstick humour and appealing to a less intelligent audience than it used to.
I always like to pick my top episode of each season, and while its sad that my decision making seems easier with every new season I see ( due to less quality episodes per season than before ) it still can produce some classics
My favourite episode of the season is the episode "HOMR", in the episode it is discovered that the reason for Homers subnormal intelligence is a crayon that was lodged up his nose and into his brain when he was younger, once removed Homer becomes normal and is considered almost a Genius, however he soon discovers that people prefer the buffoon Homer and he is shunned and soon finds that life is better when you're dumb, much to the dismay of Lisa who is so happy to finally have a father she can enjoy the finer things of life with, the ending to the episode is especially sweet and the whole story is an homage to the novel "Flowers for Algemon" and very well done.
Overall season 12 is still worth watching, both for the casual simpsons fan and the hardcore fan alike, there are flashes of genius still ( just fewer and farther between ) interspersed with subpar episodes and writing, but it will still pass the time very well indeed