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The Simpsons: The Complete First Season

The Simpsons: the Complete First Season is exactly that. Three discs, offering the complete, uncut episodes — 13 in all — in order that they first aired. Each episode is available with optional commentary by Matt Groening and/or James L. Brooks, and/or the director or writer(s). The comments range from the enlightening to the pointless, but are generally quite entertaining, if only for the overall theme of "Oh dear God, look how crappy the first season's animation was!" And, indeed, it was crude compared to later seasons. In addition to changes in the opening credits that were later edited out for time (now gone are Lisa riding her bike, a crowd of people running for a bus), most noticeable is how much the design of the show has been refined over time. It isn't until the third or fourth episodes that the characters were consistent, Dan Castelanetta was still finding Homer's voice, the backgrounds were often dizzyingly sloppy, and many of the secondary characters had yet to be created. And yet ... from the very start, The Simpsons had a singularly unique style and voice, smarter than the sitcoms that it parodied, and daring to take on situations and plots that no live-action show could dare try and get away with. Episodes include "Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire," "Bart the Genius," "Homer's Odyssey," "There's No Disgrace Like Home," "Bart the General," "Moaning Lisa," "The Call of the Simpsons," "The Telltale Head," "Life on the Fast Lane," "Homer's Night Out," "The Crepes of Wrath," "Krusty Gets Busted," and "Some Enchanted Evening." The boxed set also includes some crude outtakes that were excised from the final cartoons, some cool animatics from "Bart the General," a five-minute "making-of" blurb from BBC television called America's First Family and — most entertaining — the opening scene from "Life on the Fast Lane" dubbed in your choice of French, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, and Portuguese. Audio for all episodes is available in Dolby Digital 5.1 (English or French), with English or Spanish subtitles. Three-DVD digipak with paperboard slipcover.
—Dawn Taylor

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