The Simpsons - The Complete Second Season
DVD | Box Set
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Fans can continue to build a complete Simpsons DVD collection with the specially packaged, four-disc The Simpsons Season Two DVD Collection, where the evolution of The Simpsons is marked by the introduction of new characters (Ralph Wiggum; Groundskeeper Willie; Professor Frink; Dr. Julius Hibbert; Kang & Kodos; Blinky, the three-eyed fish; Comic Book Guy; Lionel Hutz; Kent Brockman), more celebrity guest stars (Jon Lovitz; Danny DeVito; Tony Bennett; Ringo Starr; Larry King and others), the debut of the Treehouse Of Horror Halloween specials, and the Billboard-topping song "Do The Bartman."
"A Simpson on a T-shirt. I never thought I'd see the day." So remarks Marge Simpson in "Dancin' Homer," just one of 22 mostly classic episodes that comprise this series' brilliant second season. The Simpsons by that time was already a pop culture phenomenon, but instead of suffering a sophomore slump, this iconoclastic animated series was just hitting its stride. Series milestones include: first Oscar®-winning guest voice (an unbilled Dustin Hoffman in "Lisa's Substitute"), first Beatle guest voice (Ringo in "Brush with Greatness"), first "Treehouse of Horror" Halloween episode, first flashback episode ("The Way We Was," in which Homer meets Marge), and the first episode to make me cry (Bart's last frolic with obedience school washout Santa's Little Helper in "Bart's Dog Gets an F"). It's in this season the The Simpsons really finds its voice. The writing is sharper, and the upending of sitcom convention more subversive. "Perhaps there is no moral to this story," observes Lisa at the end of "Blood Feud." "Exactly," agrees Homer. "Just a bunch of stuff that happens."
In the first season, Bart was the series' breakout star, but in the second, The Simpsons established itself as a true ensemble series. Each character came into their own with career-best episodes. Marge, the family's long-suffering voice of reason, crusades against cartoon violence in "Itchy & Scratchy & Marge." Lisa, the heart and tortured soul of the series, develops an ill-fated crush on her new teacher in "Lisa's Substitute." Bart desperately tries to raise the money to buy Radioactive Man No. 1 in "Three Men and a Comic Book." Homer's stock rises when he grows hair in "Simpson and Delilah." Joining the Simpsons roster of scene-stealing supporting characters are Dr. Hibbert ("Bart the Daredevil"), shyster lawyer Lionel Hutz (voiced by the late, great Phil Hartman in "Bart Gets Hit by a Car"), the Ahnold-esque action hero McBain ("The Way We Was"), slobbering aliens Kang and Kodos ("Treehouse of Horror"), and "nutty professor" Frink ("Old Money"). This essential, extras-laden DVD set is illustrative of why The Simpsons is, in the parlance of Comic Book Guy, funniest show ever. --Donald Liebenson
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Many of the episodes from this season remain among my all time favs. I'm particularly fond of Bart's pride in getting a grade of D-minus at the end of "Bart Gets an F"; the debut of the ever-slobbering Kang and Kodos in the first annual Treehouse of Horror episode; Homer almost making it across Springfield Gorge on Bart's skateboard; Mr.Burns taking a reluctant bite of Blinky, the three-eyed fish; Maggie bonking Homer with a mallet after watching an Itchy & Scratchy cartoon; Bart going to Hell in "Bart Gets Hit by a Car"; and the flashback scene in "The Way We Was", when Homer catches his first glimpse of Marge in high school (she was hot).
So put on a ratty old Simpsons t-shirt, grab a bowlful of heavily-salted snacks, and sink into the couch for a marathon of Simpsons classics. Enjoy!
"Bart Gets an F" 7F03
"Simpson and Delilah" 7F02
"Treehouse of Horror" 7F04
"Two Cars In Every Garage And Three Eyes On Every Fish" 7F01
"Dancin' Homer" 7F05
"Dead Putting Society" 7F08
"Bart vs. Thanksgiving" 7F07
"Bart the Daredevil" 7F06
"Itchy & Scratchy & Marge" 7F09
"Bart Gets Hit By a Car" 7F10
"One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish" 7F11
"The Way We Was" 7F12
"Homer vs. Lisa and the 8th Commandment" 7F13
"Principal Charming" 7F15
"Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?" 7F16
"Bart's Dog Gets an F" 7F14
"Old Money" 7F17
"Brush With Greatness" 7F18
"Lisa's Substitute" 7F19
"The War of The Simpsons" 7F20
"Three Men and a Comic Book" 7F21
"Blood Feud" 7F22
Guest stars include Harry Fierstein, James Earl Jones, Tony Bennett, Tom Poston, Alex Rocco, Phil Hartman, Larry King, George Takei, Sab Shimono, Jon Lovitz, Danny DeVito, Tracey Ullman, Audrey Meadows, Ringo Starr, Dustin Hoffman(Sam Etic), Cloris Leachman, and Daniel Stern.
Regarding this particular episode, I think this is one of the greatest "Simpsons" ever, containing some really hilarious lines (e.g., Dr. Hibberts saying "You have 24 hours to live--well, 22. I'm sorry I kept you waiting so long." then Homer launching into a riff on Elizabeth Kubler-Ross's five stages of grief) and also a surprisingly profound exploration of what matters in life. Well, in Homer's life, anyway. If it's good enough to show upper division college students, it's good enough for you, no matter who you are.
In fact, the so-called extras consist of a few Butterfinger commercials, some embarrassingly bad footage of the Bartman video, and a hodge-podge of old promotional materials. There are also "director commentaries, but a significant portion of those tracks are taken up by Matt Groening et al either a. laughing, or b. quietly enjoying their work.
Ultimately, what this set comes down to is the episodes. They look and sound fantastic, and they contain a lot of material that hasn't shown up in syndication for years. The series really hit its stride in the second season: the characters are more clearly defined and start to sound "normal", the animation improves drastically, and the humor becomes much more sophisticated. For these reasons alone, the set is more than worth owning, especially to a die-hard fan. But the fact of the matter is that Fox has been incredibly lazy about assembling these compendiums; considering the overwhelming lack of additional features, there's no reason why they shouldn't have twice as many seasons out by now. I think most fans would be more than happy to buy each season without any extra features, and pay a little less, especially considering the extras are pretty lame to begin with.
To conlude: buy this because you love The Simpons, not because you are a DVD aficionado who loves special features.
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