Simpsons: Season 20/ [DVD] [Import]

Simpsons: Season 20/ [DVD] [Import]

In <i>South Park</i>'s 86th episode, Butters, a.k.a. Professor Chaos, concocts various schemes to wreak havoc but abandons each when he learns that ""<i>The Simpsons</i> already did it."" By the end of its historic 20th season, <i>The Simpsons</i> comprised more than 440 episodes, so imagine the challenge for the writers to come up with something they haven't already done or resist the temptation to make every episode a clip show. So it's heartening to see that after two decades, <i>The Simpsons</i> still draws inspiration from such highbrow sources as Stanley Donen's 1967 sophisticated romantic comedy <i>Two for the Road</i> (the episode ""Dangerous Curves""), Peter Jackson's <i>Heavenly Creatures</i> (""Lisa the Drama Queen""), and Ayn Rand and Shakespeare (""Four Great Women and a Manicure""). The flashback episode ""Take My Life, Please,"" marks the show's switch to high definition and the debut of a spectacular new opening with some of the best couch gags ever (except for one that Comic Book Guy inevitably declares to be the worst). Episodes such as ""Sex, Pies and Idiot Scrapes"" (Homer and Ned become bounty hunters), ""Lost Verizon"" (the family chases Bart to Machu Picchu), and ""Waverly Hills 9-0-2-1-D'Oh"" (Alaska Nebraska???) are good; they're just not <i>Simpsons</i> good. But those who claim that the show has lost its heart are directed to the touching ""Dangerous Curves"" and ""Eeny Teeny Maya, Moe,"" in which Moe falls in love with a little person. The voice work by the core ensemble is as inspired as ever. Dan Castellaneta won an Emmy for ""Father Knows Worst."" Notable guest stars this season include Denis Leary as himself, Emily Blunt as Lisa's partner in fantasy in ""Lisa the Drama Queen,"" Anne Hathaway as a goodhearted older girl who captures Bart's affections, and Jodie Foster as the rebellious voice of Maggie in ""Four Great Women and a Manicure."" Two separate episodes feature rousing renditions of the show's theme performed by Fall Out Boy and by a cappella group Canvas, respectively. <p>