Top critical review
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Three stars for DVD quality
on 4 August 2007
Season 10 of The Simpsons continues the decline in the show's quality that started with season 9, and which continued for several seasons to come. Part of this was to do with the writing, which was no longer as consistently funny as it had been. Another reason is that, after 200 episodes, there are few storylines left that hadn't been done before. Therefore, this season includes stories in which Marge is disappointed in Bart and Homer; Homer behaves selfishly; Lisa's intelligence is questioned; Homer gets a string of inapproporiate jobs; Bart misbehaves; and the family cause chaos on a foreign holiday. Been there, watched that. Admittedly, there are few (if any) shows that last for ten years and don't repeat popular storylines, but most of the 'repeat' offenders (Cheers, Friends etc) bowed out before they became stale.
There is also a palpable move in focus towards the supporting characters, and we see spotlight episodes for characters including Apu, Mr. Burns, Chief Wiggum and Ned Flanders. For the most part, these episodes are so-so, but they tend to rely on characters behaving 'out of character'. This means that we get a drunken Ned Flanders marrying a cocktail waitress in 'Viva Ned Flanders', and Mr. Burns trying to be loved in 'Monty Can't Buy Me Love' (surely an episode title conceived before the story was itself). Another mainstay of The Simpsons, guest stars, is over-used this season. In one episode, 'When You Dish Upon A Star', the stars of the episode are Alec Baldwin, Kim Basinger and Ron Howard, and the Simpson family seem like hurried additions to the plot. Episodes featuring guest stars work when the 'star' has a supporting role, or cameo, not when they dominate the entire story!
Sadly, there is not one truly outstanding episode in this season of The Simpsons, and the only reason I've given this DVD set 3 stars is because of the quality of the DVD contents. There are the usual entertaining commentaries, deleted scenes and behind the scenes featurettes, as well as adverts featuring the characters, and a look at The Simpsons Movie DVD (although this feature is 'a rather shameless promotion'!) We also see the last appearance of the late, great Phil Hartman, voicing Troy McClure in 'Bart the Mother'. This is not enough, however, to convince me to buy this DVD, and I would advise you to pick up some of the earlier seasons on DVD, if you don't already own them.