‘The Simpsons’ Season 16 Blu-ray Review

The Simpsons Season 16

I have never missed an episode of “The Simpsons” in 25 years, and I will defend the later seasons against any fair weather fans. However, it seems I don’t quite remember the last 10 or so seasons. When I got the Blu-ray for “The Simpsons” Season 16, I literally could not remember any of the episodes. I mean, I intellectually knew that Ray Romano had guest starred and I know I saw it, but that’s it.

On the plus side, I had the unique experience of watching the Season 16 episodes as if for the first time. On the down side, you might say that means this season wasn’t memorable, but I wouldn’t blame the episodes. I think we all remember the first 200 “Simpsons” episodes but after 300 there’s just only so much you can retain. Maybe Season 16 didn’t have any classics like “Bart Sells His Soul” or “El Viaje Mysterio Del Nuestro Homer,” but as I maintain, “The Simpsons” never run out of relevant topics to cover. By season 20 we’d get “Coming to Homerica” and 21 would have “Homer the Whopper,” not to mention Nedna the next year.
 
An episode about Lisa’s body image issues is very poignant and still holds up, as things haven’t changed for young girls in 10 years. They may have only gotten worse. That same episode has a strong emotional arc for Nelson, which would follow up in later seasons. Smuggling prescription drugs from Canada is still a thing so “The Simpsons” were prescient. I can’t believe I didn’t remember “The Simpsons” did a gay marriage episode, and it’s pretty scathing to the opposition. Krusty licensing foreign versions of himself has been the subject of documentaries when it comes to American shows like “Everybody Loves Raymond.” The fact that they could do an episode on webcam porn shows shows that there will always be new technology and social phenomena for “The Simpsons” to lampoon.

 

I love the little pieces of continuity. Despite the fact that no one ever ages and Bart has been in fourth grade for 16 (now 25) years, Homer is referred to as “Former astronaut” once. This is the third or fourth time “The Simpsons” went into the future but I think it’s still a sharp parody of speculative future and really our present.

It turns out I did remember a lot of the non sequitur gags from this season. The brilliant spoof of Dreamworks animated movies was this year, as was Apu ululating after sipping hot coffee. I did remember Comic Book Guy’s real name. That was also season 16. I remember Homer holding up his map long enough for everyone to read all the jokes, which was brilliantly self-reflexive on their own freeze frame gags. I remember Homer being so enamored with the idea of brunch that he invents another megameal called “Lupper.” Disco Stu does have a great moment that I did not remember so that was a joy to re-discover.

The standard definition episodes look good on Blu-ray. The lines are sharp and the colors are a little brighter. The best part of the “Simpsons” Blu-rays though are the high definition menu animations, which are basically silent comedy sketches related to the episodes. Season 16 has a Professor Frink theme, and an Easter Egg on disc three even shows you deleted menu scenes!

Episodic deleted scenes are all impeccable “Simpsons” gags cut only for time. They still do a commentary on every episode, and thanks to Al Jean, every episode has a story of how it was conceived and produced. The commentary with Kim Cattrall basically devolves into Al Jean asking her “Sex and the City” questions. They got the late Don Payne on the commentary for “Thank God It’s Doomsday,” although he seems a bit quiet compared to the episode’s director. They’ve included audio of a live table read of that episode too.

This bodes well for future “Simpsons” Blu-ray releases. I can’t wait to rewatch the next nine seasons for the first time again. 

 
 
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