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The Peak of The Show - 1994 to 1995,
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This review is from: The Simpsons - Season 6 [DVD] (DVD)
The Simpsons was, quite simply, at its best between 1994 and 1995 after half a decade of character development. As such, Season 6 ran through both of these years with 25 fantastic episodes - not a single one you would want to skip. I feel that Seasons 5 to 7 are the best simply because after trial and error, the series had found its best mix of humour and emotions, being neither too "wacky" nor too dark. The result is a Season that can be related to by all the family with perfect story telling and patient scenes - two elements that have clearly been lost from the latest episodes.
This was also a time when The Simpsons had no-one else to compete against; as such, the series was at its most original. Looking again at the series now, the show has lost all character because it feels the need to rival other shows like 'Family Guy', which are far, far more fast paced and focussed on current affairs.
Season 6's highlights for me personally, and probably the best ever Simpsons episodes are the following:
"Bart of Darkness" (No. 1)
One of the great 'summer' episodes featuring an issue that would have us all miserable... Bart breaks his leg and as such, cannot use the pool Homer has constructed in the back yard (after building a Barn House initially by mistake!) Aside from the countless brilliant gags, this episode features one very memorable scene in which Ned reveals how he never murdered his family, followed with "that" scream and Homers laughable detective speech! The first of a bunch of great summer episodes with the typical competition element as Martin builds a bigger, better pool.
"Treehouse of Horror 5" (No. 6)
The original Treehouse of Horrors were very, very original and actually retained the Halloween/fear elements. I think T.O.H 5 is the best because it not only parodies some of the best thrillers in movie history, but it has continuing gags such as Groundskeeper Willie attempting to save Bart, only to fail every time and eventually say "Acchh, I'm noot very good at this!". Classic episode that never tires.
"Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy" (No. 10)
As mentioned earlier, this season really entertains all the family, and "Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy" is certainly one of the best Simpsons episodes because the plot is seen from both the children's and adults mind. The story see's Grampa reveal to Homer an old family tonic recipe that was used to enhance... An adults 'mojo'! For the citizens, its a miracle drink, but the kids just don't understand whats going on. Their interpretation? Aliens have took over their minds! Much to the rolling eyeballs of Lisa...
"Barts Comet" (No. 14)
What happens when Springfield is about to be hit by a gigantic meteor? Everyone rushes over to Flanders back yard bunker! But it was Bart who discovers a comet in the sky whilst serving a punishment with Principal Skinner for releasing a weather balloon with his face on it! This is followed by one of the best 3-step gags in the series - Skinner crying out when he hears it was Bart who discovered the comet, when a paper boy delivers a newspaper with Barts Comet as the headline, and realising he's just let go of the weather balloon! Very fun episode.
"Round Springfield" (No. 22)
I always love episodes that surround primarily around Bart and Lisa, and this is probably the best of the duo - each having their own story, and ending up helping each other. Bart eats a jagged and sharp 'Krusty-o" in his serial, which wins him 500 dollars compensation and the brilliant deliberation of whether to purchase "The Ultimate Pog" or a rare Bleeding Gums Murphy album for Lisa. Why? In a brilliant sequence, Murphy sadly passes away much to the distraught Lisa who wants an album to be played on the radio to commemorate his passing. Bart, being the good brother with a heart (between Season 5 and 7, anyway) eventually buys the album and the episode finishes wonderfully. Classic hearty Simpsons!
"Lemon of Troy" (No. 24)
My favourite Simpsons episode ever, period. Set in the summer again, Bart and his friends hike up to "the ol' lemon tree" to hear a tale of its history with Granpa. But when a Shelbyville gang of boys discover how ripe and perfect the Lemons on the tree are, they dig it up and take it back to their town! Laughably separated by just a change in grass colour, Bart and his unlikely troops carefully sneak into Shelbyville to rescue the Lemon tree, only for Homer and the other kids parents to eventually get involved. The satire of how parents would act to defend their own pride and that of their town is absolutely brilliant, and the "goofy" comparisons of how Shelbyville is supposedly backwards is just inspired. They just don't make them like this anymore.
If I could only buy one 'Simpsons' boxset, then make no mistake - it would be this one. There are of course a handful of other episodes I would love to snatch from Season 5 and 7; in particular, "Bart Sells His Soul" which would be my second favourite Simpsons episode. But this Season is certainly the most consistent, and now that the packaging is back to something you can actually 'use', every Simpsons fan needs this collection.