The Simpsons: The Fourteenth Season Review

The release of The Simpsons’ fourteenth season on DVD and Blu-ray means you can choose to watch the series’ continued slide into mediocrity as often as you want. For longtime fans, it’s a painful descent to watch, but it’s one where the progress is clear as day. Whereas three seasons back the majority of episodes still had that comedy magic that made the series a fan-favorite, seasons 11, 12, and 13 saw the ratio shift dramatically, with unfunny episodes gradually increasing and eventually making up the majority of each season. By the fourteenth, fans should consider themselves lucky to have even five episodes that elicit a belly laugh, but even then the whole episodes don’t match up to the franchise highs. There might be just enough in this fourteenth season set for truly forgiving fans to overlook the fact that laughs are separated by minutes and not seconds, but for everyone else, episodes like “How I Spent My Strummer Vacation”, “Large Marge”, “Dude, Where’s My Ranch”, “’Scuse Me While I Miss the Sky” make it clear the show had made its third jump over the shark.

The episodes of the fourteenth season are:

“Treehouse of Horror XIII” – Clones of Homer, attacks by zombies, and human-animal hybrids torment the people of Springfield.

“How I Spent My Strummer Vacation” – Homer goes to rock band camp.

“Bart vs. Lisa vs. The Third Grade” – Bart gets moved back a grade, and Lisa gets moved up, putting them both in 3rd Grade. Conflict ensues.

“Large Marge” – Large does under the knife and mistakenly wakes up with breast implants.

“Helter Shelter” – The Simpsons participate in a reality TV Show so they have somewhere to live.

“The Great Louse Detective” – Sideshow Bob is recruited to solve a plot to murder Homer.

“Special Edna” – The relationship between Principal Skinner and Mrs. Krabopple is in peril when she’s recognized for a special award

“The Dad Who Knew Too Little” – Homer hires a detective to research Lisa, but balks at the price and has a new problem on his hands.

“The Strong Arms of the Ma” – After being mugged, Marge becomes a professional body builder.

“Pray Anything” – Homer prays for his heart’s desired, only to find them answered. Chaos ensues.

“Barting Over” – Bart discovers Homer squandered money he earned by starring in a baby commercial.

“I’m Spelling as Fast As I Can” – Lisa discovers corruption in the world of competitive spelling.

“A Star is Born-Again” – Flanders falls in love with a left-handed actress, and might have to compromise his beliefs about sex before marriage.

“Mr. Spritz Goes to Washington” – The Simpson family tries to fight an airport’s shift in flight patterns that disrupts the peace of their neighborhood.

“C.E.D’oh” – Homer becomes the head of the nuclear power plant.

“’Scuse Me While I Miss the Sky” – Lisa battles light pollution as a documentary is made about her school.

“Three Gays of the Condo” – Homer discovers a truth about his marriage and decides to move out and live with two gay guys in their condo. Marge tries to win him back.

“Dude, Where’s My Ranch?” – The Simpsons move to a ranch to escape a pop song written by Homer.

“Old Yeller-Belly” – Santa’s Little Helper becomes a spokes-animal for Duff Beer and attracts the attention of his former owner.

“Brake My Wife, Please” – The long-dormant conflict of Homer and Marge’s marriage comes out when she “accidentally” hits him with her car.

“The Bart of War” – Bart and Milhouse join different youth troops only to find themselves at war.

“Moe Baby Blues” – Moe and Maggie become friends, but perhaps too good of friends.

Blu-ray Bonus Features

Like many Simpsons releases (save for the 20th Season which was rushed without consideration for extras), the fourteenth season set has quite a bit to keep fans happy when the 22-episodes are done. For one, audio commentaries on all episodes make for interesting re-watch value, and a featurette dedicated to the series’ 300th episode. The standard extras include deleted scenes, episode sketches, and animation showcases. The featurettes have nostalgic looks at the series’ many Halloween episodes and the early days of The Simpsons, as well as a sizzle reel of Kang and Kodos, and a behind-the-scenes piece for the filming of the Rock Band Camp episode. The best extra on the disc is a small collection of Treehouse of Horror episodes, a few of which are certifiable classics.

"The Simpsons: The Fourteenth Season" is on sale December 6, 2011 and is not rated. Animation, Comedy. Directed by David Silverman, Jim Reardon, Mark Kirkland, Steven Dean Moore. Written by Matt Groening & James L. Brooks & Sam Simon. Starring Dan Castellaneta, Hank Azaria, Harry Shearer, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Pamela Hayden, Yeardley Smith.

Lex Walker • Editor

He's a TV junkie with a penchant for watching the same movie six times in one sitting. If you really want to understand him you need to have grown up on Sgt. Bilko, Alien, Jurassic Park and Five Easy Pieces playing in an infinite loop. Recommend something to him - he'll watch it.


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