"To all passive Simpsons fans, you will instinctively have knee-jerk, post-season 8 attitude towards the show. Many find the work that Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein on seasons seven an eight to be a peak for the series. Truly, their voices did help to restructure the possibilities within the series. Their focus on creating 'non-traditional' episodes (like 'Who Shot Mr. Burns' '22 Short Films About Springfield' and 'Simpsons Spin-off Showcase') actually reinvigorated a show that had begun to become an institution in television.
We must remeber that there was much discussion as the series turned ten as to when the series should end. Fans and critics were worried that the show would become rather repetative and stale if it continued. Many of the original writers who nursed the show to perfection left to prusue other projects. Season 10/11 was the same year that Futurama premiered, taking David X. Cohen, Matt Groening, Josh Weinstein and Bill Oakley away from the Simpsons. So, the wonderful Mike Scully took over as show runner for seasons 9-12. These three years were definitely transitional in nature, as the series had transcened its efforts in creating a rich cannon of consistency into toying with both its content and perception by these fans who questioned the quality of the show. This is greatly illustrated in two episodes in season 11: Saddlesore Gallactica and Behind the Laughter. The first was a deliberate foible to shatter all expectations towards the show, it used the continuous gag of Jeff Albertson (aka Comic Book Guy) to be the self aware voice of reason: "The Simsons already had a horse, which forced Homer to work extremely long night shifts at Apu's store, with hilarious consequences." What we get is a direct aim at critics who questioned the use of similar story arcs as the series aged. It was as if the creators were saying 'Yes, we know we did play with this idea before, but the show was not the same then, and we're in charge, and we think this stuff is hillarious.' Not exactly what die-hard fans want to hear, and there was considerable backlash upon this episode's airing by the fan community (Ian Maxtone-Graham is noted as directly attacking this blossoming backlash by the fans: "That's why they're on the Internet and we're writing the show"). But this kind of sparring actually helps this episode seem much more relevant today, with ten years time gone by. We know now that this episode and this season were no where near the low of the series and it actually stands out as a great absurdist template, one that the show would play with at greater detail as the years progressed.
Now Mike Scully did have quite a task on his hands in these years, and there were a few stumbles. However these pale in comparison to the number of complete misses during the following era, the Al Jean years, which we still currently reside in. Season 11 actually is one of the last consitently good seasons the series offered. To those who believe that Ten is a magic number in gauging quality in seasons, as though that was the tipping point, you are sorely mistaken. The tipping point was season 13, when Jean took over, and the series seemed to unfortunaltey suffer as it appeared irrelevant in the Bush 43 era. It is seasons 13-18 that are the hits and misses years, with 18 serving as the absolute worst season ever put out. Yet, season 19 seems to be turning another corner for the show, following its great departure to the big screen last summer. Perhaps, the voices behind the show have rediscovered the passion and interest in the characters yet again. But my opinion, is that the writers of the series these days grew up with the show as children, and have a definitive passion to these characters and this universe. The show has been on for 20 years, and yes it has stumbled at times, but there is always a rediscovery, and new approach to the series that seems to recharge the show. But these characters have penetrated so many wonderful comedic minds of our time that there is a definite love and passion towards this world shared by a huge community of talented aspiring writers. And that is enough, because that means there will always be great voices to fuel the series beyond its occasional dip into mediocrity for ever. And this is one show that could quite possibly last another decade. Seems unlikely, but no one sees an end in sight, which means there is still a passion to use the show as a forum for wit and social commentary that is much appreciated. Do yourself a favor and buy season 11, any hessitation will be put out of your mind upon the first episode, 'Beyond Blunderdome.' A notably strange entry, because it proves there is no way better to end a story than by cutting to the dog with the shifty eyes."
Fire whoever is designing these boxes
Jim M. Hastings-trew | Saskatoon, SK Canada | 10/09/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I thought the Homer Head box was the pinnacle of stupid in this series, but this one takes the grand prize as the absolute worst DVD packaging I have ever seen. The discs are imprisoned in incredibly tight cardboard sleeves. It is impossible to get the discs out without either bending the cardboard artwork, getting your finger prints on the bottom of the disc, or scraping the disc across the cardboard in a desperate bid to remove and watch them. The whole travesty is then folded up tight, accordion-style. Unfolding the packaging simply makes the discs impossible to remove. You have to jam your fingers into the folded version and hope you don't ruin the disc just trying to get it out.
Whoever designed this mess should be fired."
The Simpsons: Now With Annoying Cardboard Packaging!
W. Barlett | Sunderland, Mass | 10/09/2008
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Ok. This is the Simpsons season 11. You already know if you like the series. Regardless about how you feel in regards to the eleventh season of this series, DO NOT BUY THIS.
Fox has changed the packaging and managed to create one of the worst and least protective boxes for a DVD ever! Seriously, it's a damn cardboard folder that you slip the discs into a sleeve. I've seen $5 computer software come in better cases than this. Between this and the horrible Futurama movie cases, Fox is trying hard to make the chintziest cases around. It must end!"
Retarded BOX ! Worst packaging in the history of DVD !
A. E. | NY United States | 10/07/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This is the worst packaging EVER.
The heads were bad but at lest the DVD's were protected inside. This is the worst thing ever. The box cannot be put on the shelf with the other seasons due to the irregular shape. Inside the box, the DVD's are in cardboard sleeves. My whole package is scratched out of the box. They should fire the guy(s) who had these ideas.
Back to Amazon it goes..."
About the boxes...
A Regular Joe | A Regular City, MI | 10/08/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The limited edition box has a 3D krusty head glued to the front of the box the way the episode guide is glued to the back, otherwise they are the exact same box - crappy cardboard boxes that are sure to give your dvds plenty of scratches. The limited edition box also has a coupon to get to the front of the line on the Simpsons ride at Universal."