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The Simpons: Season Six (1994) artwork

The Simpons: Season Six (1994)

11th October 2005

The sixth season of Americas longest running primetime sitcom family from Springfield hits DVD with yet more madness and mayhem.
Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria, Harry Shearer
Comedy, Animation, Television
2
9 Hours 10 Minutes

The man of the house, Homer, works at the local nuclear power plant doing the same dead end job he has done for years. In fact, it was the only employer in Springfield that didn't need a college education to join. As a safety supervisor it is proven fact that safety improves whenever he is away on holiday or sickness. His faithful housewife Marge is the youngest of three sisters, Patty and Selma Bouvier, and puts up with Homer and his many personal hygiene deficiencies. Her many moral crusades in Springfield not only trouble Homer but make her the towns worst nightmare. When not looking after Homer she has her work cut out looking after their three children Bart, Lisa and Maggie.

Bart is the hell cat of the house and Marge's "special little guy". He's a constant worry for Homer and his wallet. Forever the practical joker and trouble maker, mayhem and madness follow him wherever he goes. Lisa is the black sheep of the family with a high IQ and first-rate school grades. Hopes are high at Springfield elementary that they'll finally get a graduate with good grades. Maggie is the youngest member of the Simpson family and although she has been greatly encouraged by Marge she is still yet to utter her first word, preferring to suck on her pacifier.

In Season 6 the Simpsons children take centre stage. Bart accuses Flanders of murder in Bart of Darkness; Lisa takes on her arch rival Allison in Lisa's Rival; Lisa and Bart take each other on in the sports arena in Lisa on Ice; Bart makes an astrological discovery, and embarrasses Principle Skinner in the process with a giant butt sized balloon, in Bart's Comet; Lisa foresees her marriage, and strange transportation methods, in Lisa's Wedding; Bart falls in love with Reverend Lovejoy's hellcat daughter in Bart's Girlfriend and we hear the story of Maggie's arrival into the Simpson family in the rather touching And Maggie Makes Three.

But in true Simpson style, Homer is not to be outshone for long. As Homer is accused of sexual harassment in Homer Badman, he has to fight to prove his innocence and that he's not a disgusting groper. He goes into business with Grandpa selling a rather dubious sex tonic in Grampa Vs. Sexual Inadequacy; he becomes a Krustie look-a-like in the classic Homie the Clown; takes on Marge's sisters in Homer Vs. Patty and Selma and becomes The Grandmaster of the Stonemasons in Homer the Great. Oh, and lets not forget his time travelling escapades in the classic Time and Punishment section of Tree House of Horrors V. It's a true collection of classics to keep you laughing.

Season Six Episodes

  • Bart Of Darkness
  • Lisa's Rival
  • Another Simpsons Clip Show
  • Itchy and Scratchy Land
  • Sideshow Bob Roberts
  • Treehouse Of Horrors V
  • Bart's Girlfriend
  • Lisa On Ice
  • Homer Badman
  • Grampa Vs. Sexual Inadequacy
  • Fear Of Flying
  • Homer The Great
  • And Maggie Makes Three
  • Bart's Comet
  • Homie The Clown
  • Bart Vs. Australia
  • Homer Vs. Patty & Selma
  • A Star Is Burns
  • Lisa's Wedding
  • Two Dozen And One Greyhounds
  • The PTA Disbands
  • 'Round Springfield
  • The Springfield Connection
  • Lemon Of Troy
  • Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part One)

With this being television broadcast material, plus it's fairly simplistic animation, you won't be really expecting anything special from these discs. However, for a season which is now ten years old, it is pleasantly surprising to find a clean and bright picture with an above average bit-rate throughout. And with the many intense colours on show the transfer manages to hold up well without any signs of colour bleeding or over saturation. Still, there is the occasional bit of print damage, but it simply appears to be the quality of the DVD highlighting some of the flaws in the actual animation cell rather than the transfer.

As the soundtrack is limited by bandwidth of the original television broadcast medium there's never going to be much scope for a dramatic or dynamic soundtrack. However, as with the previous season box sets, season six has also been remastered and provided with a 448 Kbps Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. Never the less, as it's still using material which was recorded before the show switched to the simple version of Dolby Surround it's hardly anything dynamic and there's very little use of the either the surround or LFE channels.

Still, the Simpsons soundtrack doesn't really need tinkering with and it all seems to be a bit of an overkill and waste of time and money. Sure, the clarity of the dialogue is much improved, but it wasn't that bad in the first place. Whilst the remastered soundtrack is hardly adventurous in the surround department, with only the musical score finding its way to the rear channels, it's hardly the sort of material which is going to give your system a work out.

In a rather annoying development, and looking nothing like the original packaging, this season appears in a plastic box with the head of Homer on it. Fortunately, this appears to be limited edition packaging and, depending on whether you view this as a crime against Simpsons fans, you should be able to find a box set with a similar design to the other releases to add to your collection. However, I'm still not sure whether this box set does actually contain the originally designed packaging too. Either way, I do wish people would stop tinkering with the design, after all, fans and collectors don't want an oddball collection of DVDs sat on their shelves.

Once you get past the now ever present, and extremely annoying, anti-piracy spiel, you are presented with an animated menu containing some of our favourite Simpsons characters. On the initial display there's some character interaction, but once this has displayed it resorts to a simplified version. This usually involves Homer looking worried or some other character scratching themselves. I did keep watching for a while in case something different happened, but it would have been nice if the menu animation did a complete loop back to the initial introduction. However, return back from the extras menu and you can watch it all again. The menus are similarly designed across the four discs, but the characters change depending on the episodes on the disc.

As usual, the Simpsons DVDs are packed to the rafters with extras. The main extra would have to be the Audio Commentary on each of the twenty-five episodes. Each episode contains a commentary from one member of the production team or cast member. Yeardley Smith, Dan Castellaneta and Julie Kavner pop up in quite a few of the episodes whilst Matt Groening also makes a few appearances. However, rather oddly, star of the commentary is executive producer David Mirkin who provides a near continuous stream of interesting information about the show and its effects on the American culture. However, this commentary is also rather annoying by the fact that Mirkin's commentary drowns out all of the other contributors who always sound like they are sat at the back of the sound booth. Plus, he just won't shut up! Come on David, give the other folks the chance to say something!

Spread across the four discs are a whopping fifty-eight Deleted Scenes, but rather than being able to select and view the scenes individually they are merged into the various episodes. Unfortunately, they are not cleanly spliced into the episode and there's a slight pause as the clip is shown before returning to the original cut. Fortunately, these deleted scenes can be viewed in one go in the twenty six minutes worth of Deleted Scenes on the fourth disc with optional commentary from Dave Mirkin (does this guy ever go home or stop talking?!)

Other than the deleted scenes, the main extras can be found on the fourth disc. In the twenty one minute made for television Springfield's Most Wanted featurette, and with the aide of numerous clips from the series, presenter John Walsh looks at all the evidence regarding the shooting of Montgomery Burns. I remember seeing this featurette on television during its original broadcast in the UK and it was pretty cheesy then. Needless to say, things haven't improved.

In the rather pointless two minute Simpsons Plane featurette, Matt Groening and Davem Markin provide a commentary to a publicity tape for Western Pacific Airlines who painted one of their planes with the Simpsons. It's only interesting for the fact that both men refused to board the plane just in case it didn't return safely. Next up are three commercials for Church's Chicken and 1-800 Collect. There's also a rather pointless Special Language Feature where you can watch the full Who Shot Mr. Burns episode in either Parisian French, Czech, Castilian Spanish and Russian. The same episode also has an optional one minute Introduction by James L. Brooks.

The final Art and Animation section contains a seven minute multi-angle Animation Showcase with the ability to swap between the Storyboards and the Animatic as well as seeing the complete episode in a small portion of the screen. It's all interesting stuff and you can see just how an episode is put together. The same Animatic is then available to watch as a separate, and rather pointless, feature too.

However, far more interesting is the, yet again, same Animatic with Illustrated Commentary from David Silverman, Jeffrey Lynch, Jim Reardon and Matt Groening. The gang provide a bit of information on the production and episode process, but the commentary is mainly friendly banter with Groening using a light pen on the screen to randomly draw some of the characters. Next up are a collection of about forty Original Sketches, some of which are far too small to see. Finally, things are rounded off with a rather nice Suspect Profile which allows you to use your remote to scroll through about thirty of Springfield's citizens and read all about them. It's a lengthy process, but worth the effort.

Season Six sees the Simpsons reach the dizzy heights of brilliance with some wonderful episodes that can be watched over and over again and you still fall about laughing. Season six also contains two of my all time favourite episodes - Homer the Clown and Tree House of Horrors V. However, this rather unhealthy obsession can lead to the unwelcome ability of being able to recite nearly all of the lines from the show. Surely this cannot be the healthiest thing to admit to, but who cares as the Simpsons is quite possibly the greatest television show the planet has ever seen. Just remember, if you ever travel back in time, don't step on anything... Doh!!

  • Introduction with James L. Brooks
  • Audio commentary for Each Episode
  • Featurette : A confession from Matt Groening
  • Featurette : Simpsons Plane
  • Animatic Footage for Selected Episodes
  • Illustrated Animatic Footage for Selected Episodes
  • Multi-angle animation showcase for Selected Episodes
  • 58 Deleted Scenes with Introduction
  • David Mirkin Talks about Anne Bancroft
  • Who Shot Mr Burns Suspect Profiles
  • Sketch Gallery
  • TV commercials
  • TV Special : Springfield's Most Wanted
  • Season 6 Deleted Scenes Reel With Optional Commentary
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