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The Simpsons: The Complete Thirteenth Season

Posted by admin | Posted in Movies | Posted on 27-07-2010


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Talk about lucky! Season 13 of The Simpsons arrives on Blu-ray and DVD with 22 hilarious episodes and tons of fun-filled extras, including audio commentaries, animation showcases, and featurettes. So grab a donut and pull up a couch to see Lisa becoming a Buddhist, Bart living in a plastic bubble, Homer doing community service (which lands him in the electric chair), and the Simpsons offending the entire nation of Brazil, plus your favorite couch gags and a slew of … More >>

The Simpsons: The Complete Thirteenth Season

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“When did the Simpsons start to lose its steam?” Such is a timelessly debated question amongst nerds, and the responses couldn’t vary more over the years, from assertions that Mike Scully turned the series into a ‘cartoon,’ that episodes like ‘The Principal and the Pauper’ nailed closed the coffin of the show, that once Dave Mirkin rolled in, the series began moving away from emotionally centered stories, even the infamous quote ‘Worst episode ever,” came from a blogger scribing his hatred for the episode ‘Itchy and Scratchy: The Movie,” from season 4; but these days most fingers start to point to Al Jean’s tenure as showrunner for a clear illustration of the family’s fall from demanding adventures that commanded viewing. In 2004, during the series’ 15th year, Harry Shearer was infamously outspoken at what he saw was a declining quality within the series over the previous three years. With Season 13, you can judge for yourself, as that is year one of Al Jean’s tenure, and would be the first of those declining shows.

Truly the Simpsons has never stopped offering funny adventures for our classic characters, however its tone has surely shifted as time has passed, but as such it has managed to keep itself capable of renewing its palate of comedy and expanding its universe. It has managed to produce great episodes even during this past decade, but in contrast to the consistency within the first ten years, the show has certainly given justification to comparative criticism. Season 13 is filled with humorous offerings and many explore mature and inspired themes like spirituality, medicinal marijuana, reality television executions, and the infamous skewering of Rio. There is a lot to like here. Many episodes are wonderful examples of the series thumping its chest with refined wit and social criticism, and most are creative continuations of various setups that have worked to great effect in the past. Apu gets a nice infidelity tale, Homer takes on the role as the new Moe, Lisa flirts with adulthood, Bart falls in love again, a clip show, and the three act offering ‘Tales from the Public Domain,’ which is a nice alternaverse collection of re-purposed classics, even Homer and Ned’s Vegas wives return.

While the 22 episodes included here are a certain source of mirth and continued adoration for the series, there is certainly more than enough room for reflection on the seasons’ illustration of fans’ indifference towards the show. The series has, since season 12, began to air the Halloween adventure, a long standing tradition of the holiday, on the first Sunday in November due to Fox’s broadcast pre-emption by the World Series. This seemingly inane action has sadly influenced the perception of the show’s urgency. Fortunately, season 21 has rectified this error, but nine years too late. Also, many episodes here feel to be the antithesis of the series’ usual approach to storytelling, with nearly every episode using a broad setup that feels like traditional sitcom territory. While in said territory, the series was once reliable for reflexive comedy and biting satire, here the comedy seems to be relying on physical humor and passing sarcasm more than usual. Many episodes feel light in laughs, and our characters all seem to engage in scenarios where they learn lessons they’ve learned before.

While there are signs that things are becoming much more mechanized in the creation of episodes, and that perhaps the days of the show as the forefront for cutting edge animated humor are now behind them, this season still manage to charm. The many voices behind the past genius of the series continue their contribution to this season. John Schwartzwelder credits five episodes to his writing credit, Jon Vitti offers two, Simpsons ‘brain’ George Meyer even gets in an episode with now former show-runner Mike Scully, and Ian Maxtone-Graham too. But most of the writing is credited to the new staff at the show who have since established themselves as giants in their own right. Dana Gould begins his credit on the show, and has since become perhaps the most visible of Simpsons writers, and one of the greatest comedic contributors to the series. Current regulars Matt Selman, John Frink & Don Payne, Matt Warburton, Carolyne Omine, all contribute episodes that further establish a new tone for the series. What you get here is exactly a reflection of the transitioning writing staff: many episodes have a quality that feels reminiscent to the previous six seasons but are often next to ideas and comedic passages that are distinctly new to the series. That doesn’t mean that this dualist approach hurts the series, it merely creates a new atmosphere within the show, one that some may not like, but that others may find perfectly suited to the series.

There is something about these episodes that makes the series feel as though it has entered a new age of sorts. What that may mean in the long term historical context of the series is uncertain. Many would say it is the beginning of the long winter before the Simpsons Movie, while others may say it is the continued illustration of the already declining urgency of the series. Certainly season 13 is a mixed collection of tales, but it is worth owning for any fan of the Simpsons. There is still a renewed energy from having a new voice in charge, and from a new writing staff excited to make its mark. There are great examples of the continued quality the series has been able to exude despite the occasional recycled plotline or brazen trudging out of a guest star. It may not be legendary, but it’s better than most shows after 291 episodes.

An Episode Listing:

-“Treehouse of Horror XII” : Homer is cursed by a gypsy, Pierce Brosnan is a murderous computer, and the kids riff on Harry Potter. Definitely one of the better ‘later’ treehouse entries.

-“The Parent Rap”: Homer and Bart are tethered together. Marge and Homer are put in the stockades for being bad parents. And Judge Constance Harm makes her first of many appearances. The KBBL Party Penguin!

-“Homer the Moe”: Moe’s swanky repurposed bar ‘M’ turns off his regular customers, so homer opens a bar/hunting club in his garage. R.E.M. guest star. It’s a good Homer/Moe adventure.

-“A Hunka Hunka Burns In Love”: In a strange entry in the pantheon of both Mr. Burns and Snake, Mr. Burns falls in love with a cop named Gloria, who later turns out to be the ex-girlriend of Snake. Enter Homer to his aide, to help Burns win the heart of Gloria, armed with an extremely potent aphrodisiac (which leads to a truly hysterical shot of combined horror later on). Gloria has since made several returns as Snake’s love.

-“The Blunder Years”: After Homer starts freaking out for no reason, an investigation leads to a truly wonderful flashback homage to Stand by Me with the roles recast as Moe, Lenny, Carl, and Homer.

-“She of Little Faith”: A Christmas episode about Buddhism that takes some nice swipes at the commercialization of Xmas. Plus this episode continues the show’s trend of wonderfully sweet Lisa-centric stories.

-“Brawl in the Family”: Homer and Ned’s Vegas wives return, Delroy Lindo guest stars as a moderator attempting to wrangle the dysfunction out of the family. “Another case of Monopoly related violence.”

-“Sweets and Sour Marge”: Homer tries for a world record and the town gets one: World’s fattest town. Sugar is banned, Homer becomes a sugar smuggler. Ben Stiller stars as a corporate junk food executive.

-“Jaws Wired Shut”: Homer’s jaw is, you guessed it, wired shut. He communicates by chalkboard and becomes a much better father and husband because he learns to listen. Popeye parody included.

-“Half Decent Proposal”: The Return of Artie Ziff, and he’s a billionaire (which was aluded to in season 4’s the Front). Artie tries to buy off Marge’s love, to which leads to a recreated prom night love triangle quite cleverly. Then Homer joins an Oil Rig with Lenny, whose heartbroken over Carl for some reason.

-“The Bart Wants What It Wants”: Bart falls for Rainier Wolfcastle’s daughter (voiced by Reese Witherspoon). Bart then find himself in a love triangle with Milhouse. Plus, see Skinner at an open mic night.

-“The Lastest Gun in the West”: Dennis Weaver of Gunsmoke guests as an aging cowboy whom Bart helps to revive his career on the Krusty the Clown Show.

-“The Old Man and the Key”: A Grandpa Simpson episode that revolves around him getting his license to impress a hot new woman at the Old folk’s home. A solid episode.

-“Tales From the Public Domain”: An inspired take on three classics: The Odyssey, Joan of Arc, and Hamlet.

-“Blame it On Lisa”: The Rio episode full with rainbow rats and roaming monkey gangs.

-“Weekend at Burnsies”: The Homer as a pothead episode. A classic.

-“Gump Roast”: An uneven clip show, that doesn’t stand well on its own, like most of the later clip shows.

-“I am Furious Yellow”: Greetings True Believers! Stan Lee guest stars as an insane version of himself. Bart creates a comic book based on Homer’s angry life and becomes a poor successful writer in the process, paid only in worthless stock. One of the best this season.

-“The Sweetest Apu”: Homer catches Apu cheating on Manjula and walks backwards in shock all the way home. Another great one from Schwartzwelder.

-“Little girl in the Big Ten”: Lisa pretends to be in College so she can be challenged and Bart becomes a Bubble Boy.

-“The Frying Game”: Homer is accused of Murder and sent to death row with a ‘shocking’ revelation.

-“Papa’s Got a Brand New Badge”: Homer and his cronies become the law enforcement in town when the police are once again deemed inept to handle crime. A very funny episode with a great ending.

Don’t avoid season 13, there’s too many bright spots of hilarity.
Rating: 3 / 5

Season 13 of the Simpsons airing from 2001 to 2002 had some of the finer episodes (in my opinion) produced later on in the series.

Treehouse of Horror 12

3 mini episodes. Homer recieves Roma curse, Homer gets a talking computer, and a Harry Potter parody

The Parent Rap

Bart’s delinquency catches up with him and a judge sentences him to be tethered to Homer

Homer the Moe

Moe’s re-entry to bartending school prompts him to turn the bar into a nightclub with live music by REM

A Hunka Hunka Burns in Love

Homer writes fortune cookie fortunes for a restaurant and Mr. Burns gets one of them.

The Blunder Years

Homer’s visit to a hypnotist reveals a repressed traumatic memory from his childhood

She of Little Faith

Rev. Lovejoy commercializes the church which outrages Lisa so much that she converts to Buddhism.

Brawl in the Family

The family gets in a fight which leads to a social worker counseling them

Sweets and Sour Marge

Springfield is declared the fattest town in the world. Marge tries to ban sugar from the town

Jaws Wired Shut

Homer’s jaw is wired shut after an injury which gives him a lesson in how to listen to people instead of being a chatterbox

Half-Decent Proposal

Marge stays with an old flame for the weekend to earn money for Homer’s sleep apnea surgery

The Bart Wants What It Wants

Bart meets Rainer Wolfcastle’s daughter and she fancies him.

The Lastest Gun in the West

After an aging western film star guests on Krusty’s show, he makes a comeback

The Old Man and the Key

Grandpa’s driver’s license is restored and his new car makes him popular with a woman.

Tales from the Public Domain

Three classic tales “Odyssey of Homer” “Joan of Arc” and “Hamlet”

Blame It on Lisa

The Simpsons go to Brazil to track down a missing orphan Lisa became a pen pal with

Weekend at Burnsie’s

Homer gets a prescription for cannabis which worries his family

Gump Roast

Clip show

I Am Furious Yellow

Bart writes his own comic which becomes a hit online

The Sweetest Apu

Apu is caught having an affair with an employee. Homer and Marge find out and help Apu prevend his wife from finding out.

Little Girl in the Big Ten

Bart has to live in a plastic bubble after an insect bite damages his immune system.

The Frying Game

Homer and Marge are under suspicion for killing an old woman who dies under their care.

Papa’s Got a Brand New Badge

Homer creates a private police force after the town’s police poorly handle a blackout.

My favorite episodes in this season are “Parent Rap” and “Sweets and Sour Marge” Get this season box set and help complete your collection.
Rating: 4 / 5

I was so turned off by the 20th season’s bare bones release that I never did buy it (which surprises me). I’m so glad to see season 13 is coming and is back on track. I always enjoy the commentaries very much as well as other extras, but more importantly it just feels like a celebration of The Simpsons.

It’s easy for me to rate this package before watching it: the previous 12 season on DVD have all been 5-star in my eyes. Still think you won’t enjoy it? Just ask Ralph Wiggum on the front of the box. He’ll tell you that’s unpossible.
Rating: 5 / 5

I have bought every season of the Simpsons, except 20 that is. I would just like to say ’bout time, my favorite tree house of horror, pierce brosnan 2001 space oddesy spoof is finally getting released. I knew it was in season 13 and then when they decided to release 20 first, I couldn’t stand it. But I will not let my fanboyism of the simpsons cloud my judgment, 13 is still a very good season and I will buy it. The only thing that will stop me is if this doesn’t have audio commentary like season 20.
Rating: 5 / 5

First off, this rating should really be 4.5 out of 5, but the half star isn’t really an option. Anyway, Season 13 is a long awaited release, as we got Season 20 for the 20th anniversary. Al Jean took over as show-runner, who is still in that position today, although he is no longer doing this (at this point) with Mike Reiss. Lots of people say this season (maybe not 13 specifically…say the 12-15 area) is where the quality of the show started to decline. I am diehard Simpsons fan. I have seen every episode, many times. I own every season, and the movie, that is available. Now, Season 13 is certainly a time of change, but while the show is changing, I don’t think that the quality has changed necessarily. We see more episodes that have two (or sometimes even a third) plot or story. An “A” and a “B” story, if you will. One thing you do see happen often in these latter seasons is that the “B” story that is supposed to be the subplot, is more exciting or interesting the main plot. The Simpsons still today, and in Season 13 do things very well. They can still entertain better than anything on television. They are still able to touch your heart in more ways than one.

Below is a list of the episodes with brief tidbits :)

Treehouse of Horror XII–There’s a Gypsy story here, a “smart house” with Pierce Brosnan, and a Harry Potter spoof this year.

The Parent Rap–A solid episode with Homer and Bart being tethered together until Marge frees them. The judge then decides Bart only acts out because of Marge and Homer being poor parents.

Homer the Moe–This is one of the gems of this season in my opinion. Moe returns to bartender school after losing the passion for his work. He completely renovates his bar leaving Homer and the rest of the regulars feeling out of place, prompting Homer to open a bar in his garage…guests R.E.M.

A Hunka Hunka Burns in Love–This episode is both funny, and fairly emotional. I always really tend to enjoy episodes that feature heavily on Mr. Burns. Homer gets a job writing fortune cookie fortunes, one which leads Mr. Burns to love, unfortunately to Snake’s (ex)girlfriend.

The Blunder Years–This episode has a few good laughs, but is mediocre overall. Homer sees a hypnocist and relives a tragedy from his childhood, that for some reason ties into Smithers and Mr. Burns…

She of Little Faith–Bart and Homer destroy the Church with a rocket which prompts Mr. Burns to buy and sponor the rebuilding. Lisa becomes fed up with this and begins exploring other religions, eventually deciding to be Buddhist.

Brawl in the Family–This is not only the worst episode of the season, but one of the worst of the whole show. Homer and Ned’s Vegas Wives return, and the family gets arrested while having a fight break out while playing a board game…

Sweets and Sour Marge–Here’s another magnificent episode. Homer and the town are trying to get themselves into the Guiness Book of World Records, which they do, but for being the worlds fattest town. Marge, doing her humane duty, bans sugar in Springfield, causing Homer to start boot-legging the goods into town.

Jaws Wired Shut–Homer accidentally runs into a statue of Drederick Tatum and break his jaw. Dr. Hibbert puts head and mouth gear on him that completely leaves him unable to talk, or eat essentially. He becomes a great loving, listening, and compassionate father. However, Marge is bored when Homer heals and doesn’t revert to his old self.

Half-Decent Propsal–Another mediocre episode this season, Artie Ziff, for one weekend, gets Marge to stay with him, for $1 million (if I recall correctly) to pay for home repairs. Artie recreates the senior prom and forces himself on Marge, and Homer thinks she doesn’t want him anymore.

The Bart Wants What It Wants–Bart ends up in a relationship with Rainer Wolfcastle’s daughter, Gretta. He blows her off for a date and they break up, leading her to a sympathy relationship with Milhouse, leading the Simspons to Canada. Principal Skinner works on coffeehouse/bar stand-up comedy, a la Seinfeld.

The Latest Gun in the West–Bart and Lisa befriend an old TV actor, who was a cowboy. They arrange for him to have a comeback special on Krusty’s show, but turns out Buck is an alcoholic, who ends up shooting Krusty on live TV.

The Old Man and the Key–Grandpa uses Homer’s car to woo women but they are only using him for his ability to drive, as he is warned by Homer and Marge.

Tales From the Public Domain–Shows like this I usually don’t enjoy, Homer finds a years overdue library book, and reads Simpson style parodies of the Odyssey, Joan of Arc, and Hamlet.

Blame it on Lisa–The pun in the title might be the most humourous part of this episode. I may be wrong, but didn’t Rio de Janerio sue the Simpsons and/or Fox for how the place was portrayed? Anyway, the family visits this place as Lisa looks for an orphan.

Weekend at Burnsie’s–Homer after picking a fight with a murder of crows has his eyes pecked, and Dr. Hibbert prescribes him medical marijuana. This leads Homer to become Burns’ Vice President from always laughing at his jokes while high. Meanwhile, the town votes on whether or not to ban medical marijuana.

Gump Roast–Another clip show, which is just a roast of Homer. Kang and Kodos make an appearance, and Maggie saves the day. The end actually is rather touching.

I am Furious Yellow–After seeing an assembly, Bart creates a comic that stars Homer, which becomes an ultra-popular internet cartoon. Guest Stan Lee as himself, who harasses the Comic Book Guy.

The Sweetest Apu–A reasonably sentimental episode (eventually) as Homer and Marge discover Apu having an affair with the Squishee lady, until Manjula finds out by watching the Kwik-E-Mart security tapes.

Little Girl in the Big Ten–Lisa befriends some college students, and begins leading a double life while still going to Springfield Elementary, and attending Springfield Community College. Meanwhile, Bart gets bitten by a chinese mosquito and must live for a week in a bubble.

The Frying Game–Homer buys Marge a coi pond, which neither of them knows, contains a rare “Screamapillar” which Homer kills, or so he thinks, and obviously is unable to care for. Homer and Marge get sentenced to care for an elderly woman, who is murdered, with them as the prime suspects.

Papa’s Got a Brand New Badge–Season finales are usually hit or miss, here we have a bullseye. During a blackout, Homer, Lenny, and Carl become Spring-Shield, a police force, that Mayor Quimby lets replace the police. All is well, and Homer is even good at this, until Fat Tony steps into play.

In short, I’ll be buying this set, along with every other season, as I figure all true fans will. Take my review for what you will.
Rating: 5 / 5

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