Matt Groening sure has this DVD thing down. “The Simpsons” creator continues to pump out season after season of DVD sets and his obsessive Uter-action-figure-collecting fanbase continues to eat them up.
So with the release of “The Simpsons: The Complete Eighth Season,” Groening didn’t change a thing. The 25-episode set is in the same format as the past few DVD releases, but with Itchy, Scratchy and the late Poochie involved, the fanboys have no reason to complain.
Along with Homer’s foray into after-school comedy shorts, season eight is loaded with other memorable episodes and characters in what’s probably the last great “Simpsons” season. Homer starts bootlegging alcohol in the face of death-by-catapult in “Homer vs. the Eighteenth Amendment.” John Waters guest stars as Bart’s flamboyant role model in “Homer’s Phobia.” And Albert Brooks voices Homer’s 007 villain of a new boss, Hank Scorpio, in “You Only Move Twice.”
As always, every episode has audio commentary from Groening and assorted writers, directors, cast and even the occasional guest star. The show’s commentaries have become the gold standard for TV DVDs, and that doesn’t change here. Loyal fans will appreciate the insight that makes these overlooked commentaries so worthwhile, although people with lives may not be so enthusiastic about the innards of a cartoon. A few illustrated commentaries, deleted scenes, promotional spots and a featurette on a real-life “Simpsons” house round out the extra features.
Maybe the features and layouts haven’t really changed over the past few DVD sets but there’s no reason to tamper with perfection. With the 17th season premiering just weeks ago, it’s nice to be able to relive the days when the show had some heart, Homer wasn’t completely retarded and Bart was more than a collection of snarky one-liners, but that’s what its come to.
The show has certainly changed over the years – thankfully, Poochie has not.
Show: 4 and 1/2 out of 5 stars
Special features: 4 out of 5 stars
The Simpsons: The Complete Eighth Season