The Simpsons - Season 6


Reviewed by: Sarah Artt

I've always preferred Matt Groening's cartoon Life In Hell over The Simpsons. With the weird bunnies, the mysterious men in fezzes and the occasional Beckett-esque dialogue, it is in fact vastly superior to the now ubiquitous Simpsons.

I grew up reading Life In Hell in the free Toronto weekly papers Now and Eye, so perhaps it's just nostalgia. I also greatly prefer Futurama, but it might be the more developed female characters Leela and Amy that do it for me. Or, maybe it's my flatmate's hilarious impression of Zoidberg.

The Simpsons are now a global phenomenon, appreciated worldwide for its easily translated physical humour, rather than its (less easily translated) satire, or cultural pastiche elements. I enjoy playing "spot the pop culture reference" with each episode, but the character I sympathise with the most is probably the disgruntled Euro Itchy and the Scratchyland employee who cries, "Mah cheeldren need wahn!"

The series begins with The Bart Of Darkness, the Rear Window themed episode (with detours for some Esther Williams/Busby Berkley choreography), where Bart and Lisa persuade their parents to get a pool, instantly rendering them popular. I can attest that this tactic really works, as all the girls with pools at my high school were really popular and had killer tans. However, as with so many things that were cool in adolescence, the delights of pool ownership prove ephemeral.

In Lisa On Ice, Lisa's skill at deflecting Bart's constant barrage of insults and small projectiles makes her a perfect goalie. However, with Bart on the opposing team, their sibling rivalry reaches newly competitive and violent heights, until the touching montage of childhood memories intervenes to reveal all the hidden moments of tenderness we rarely witness on The Simpsons: Bart entertaining Lisa with shadow puppets, Lisa bandaging Bart's skateboarding injury, etc. This results in Bart and Lisa's mutual decision not to continue competing in the game. This is usually about the time I have to fight the urge to call my brother to tell him I miss him.

This episode is followed by fan favourite Homer Badman, as Homer makes the mistake of peeling a piece of candy off the rump of the feminist babysitter, who promptly stages a sit-in, worthy of Germaine Greer in her heyday, outside the Simpson home. The only thing missing is some old school bra burning and new school riot girl cheerleading. Homer is eventually cleared by neighbourhood voyeur Groundskeeper Willy, who spies nightly throughout Springfield to gratify his own mysterious tastes.

Also in Season 6 is Treehouse Of Horror V, with its infamous spoof The Shining, where much use is made of what Groening calls "the Kubrick look," namely the slightly disturbed and lugubrious expression of Stanley Kubrick in virtually every photograph, transposed to Homer who turns psychotic when deprived of his staples: television and beer.

For the most part, this is another successful season of The Simpsons, with a few episodes destined for legendary status in the annals of television. The special edition Homer-shaped box set will be essential for devoted fans, while those whose decor doesn't match large, foamy and yellow will content themselves with the standard box

Reviewed on: 26 Oct 2005
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The Simpsons - Season 6 packshot
Homer and his family's odyssey continues.
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Director: various

Writer: Matt Groening, Bill Canterbury, Donick Cary, David X Cohen, Jonathan Collier et al

Starring: voices of Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria, Harry Shearer

Year: 1995

Runtime: 575 minutes

BBFC: 12 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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