Written by Caballero Oscuro
With so many seasons in the can, it’s become somewhat challenging to recall the highs and lows of any particular season of The Simpsons prior to rewatching the individual episodes. I’ve found that one good way to jog the memory is to check out the guest stars involved, so here’s the lineup featured in Season 12: Drew Barrymore, Edward Norton, Justin Timberlake, Stephen King, Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, and Roger Daltry. OK, so maybe that approach doesn’t always work when the guest stars don’t contribute any truly memorable moments, as is the case here, but at least it’s a starting point.
Season 12 was…well, pretty weak. But hey, it’s still The Simpsons, so even on cruise control it’s still more entertaining than the majority of prime time network TV. The best episode is probably “HOMR” where Homer discovers that he has a crayon lodged in his brain and when it’s removed he becomes a super genius. The worst is too hard to choose, but a particularly uneventful episode is the tennis-themed “Tennis the Menace” with Agassi, Sampras, and the Williams sisters. The annual “Treehouse of Horror” episode features Homer as a ghost, the Simpson kids meeting the three bears and a wicked witch, and a tale of when dolphins attack.
It’s great to see Comic Book Guy get some star treatment love as the featured cover character, a trend started with last year’s spotlight on Krusty the Clown for Season 11. Unfortunately, the series packaging also continues another much less desirable trend started with Season 11: the use of cheap and tight cardboard sleeves in an accordion configuration to hold the discs instead of the use of preferred plastic spindles. It may be more ecologically and economically friendly, but the design also makes it nearly impossible to remove or return the discs without scratching them on the cardboard. FOX: stop this inane design choice now!
The DVD set is spread across four discs and contains a robust assortment of bonus features as usual for the series. Each episode has a commentary track with creator Matt Groening along with various producers, directors, writers, and cast. There are also deleted scenes, original sketches, animation featurettes and showcases, and an introduction from Groening welcoming viewers to Season 12. The crew really does a fantastic and thorough job preparing the extra content for these DVD box sets, with only Fox’s poor internal packaging giving it a black eye. The Simpsons: The Complete Twelfth Season is now available on DVD.