13 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Wow. I didn't expect the reviews of Season 1 to be so overwhelmingly negative.
I've discovered something interesting. "The Simpsons" is like politics. Two people look at the very same thing, but come to incredibly different conclusions that seem to directly contradict each other. I'm beginning to understand why Washington is so bitterly partisan. But I digress!
I'll come out and say it: I love these thirteen quirky little films. I know many people have been denouncing them as unfunny, poorly animated, awkward-looking, and slowly-paced. You can make a case for all these arguments---humor is always subjective---but it's important to view things in context. The causually negative reviews seem like an odd case of amnesia. As awful as you might think these are, just 15 short years ago they had critics and audiences alike rolling on the floor. They were, to put it bluntly, groundbreakers. Things have caught up, as they always do, and have made the innovators look old-fashioned.
People begin a television series knowing full well that if they get to make more seasons, the show will inevitably change. Things develop, characters are fleshed out, awkward ideas are dropped, the internal logic works itself out.
What if "The Simpsons" had been a ratings failure, loved by critics and audiences but cancelled after just one or two seasons? This first season would be a cult classic today, and there would have been mounds of unfulfilled potential, something that pervades any first season of any show. Homer can't go into space yet--we've got to get to know him first!
What one thinks of this first season (and what what thinks of the current seasons) depends on what they like about the show to begin with. It seems that those who just love the comedy element, the razor-sharp timing, breakneck jokes and topical jabs, and goofy characters doing crazy things, are in love with the modern show and scratch their heads over this disk. Others love the comedy too, but they also love the show as the story of these characters, this goofy family that wormed its way into our hearts, corny as that sounds. They feel that comedy is even better with a little dramatic backdrop to give it some urgency. They don't just laugh at the characters, they feel for them a little, too. The slower pace of these early stories and the more character-oriented dialogue fit right in with that sensibility.
I agree with the reviewer who said that these shows seem to be less out-and-out comedies than funny family sitcoms with a dramatic tinge. From what the commentaries suggest, it seems it was largely the influence of James L. Brooks that gave it that element. I miss it a lot. As the show got funnier and funnier, it gradually lost the warmth. (These days, as someone else pointed out, it's also lost a lot of maturity.) The best balance between humor and warmth was achieved, I think, in seasons 2 through 4. After that the show was incredibly funny, but it rarely ever had the sincerity that seems to color this first, half-season. Don't forget, they were in uncharted waters. It was very unlikely in anyone's mind that the show would take off the way it did. Matt Groening was right when he referred to season one as "a series of wild experiments that succeeded beyond our dreams". They were appealing to anyone out there who would tune in and give the show a chance. Kids were a bonus, but it was the adults who mattered.
What I regret is how "The Simpsons" seems to have been taken over by a "Comic-Book Guy" mentality, only speaking to people who have seen every episode, memorize lines, and know a lot of trivia. What about outsiders? This DVD represents the sweat and blood of people who believed enough in this premise to put it out there before the prime-time audiences of America and see what would happen.
Do yourself a favor. Forget everything. Forget "Simpsons-mania". Forget Emmy awards. Forget "fans". Forget "DVD extras". Forget phrases like "worst episode ever!" This is just a show on television. You're flipping the channels and you come across this weird cartoon family misbehaving in an opera balcony. What the hell is this? Is this about a yellow bug family or something?
You're curious, and you put down the remote. You view all of this with fresh eyes. See it for the first time. ("What's the name of the mom, again? That weird old guy the father works for is funny. Hey, that principal kinda reminds me of my uncle. Omigod, Bart is just like my cousin! Say, what state do they live in?")
If you simply don't like these episodes, even in that context, then that's that. Again, everything's subjective. But if you can view these films on their own terms, blotting out what would come later, you may find it's like being reintroduced to some old friends.
The animation is crude and quirky, but if you know a little about how television animation is produced, you'll know that it's a system where you don't always know who in Asia will be working on what, whether you've got an A crew or a B crew, or how closely the final thing will reflect your carefully made plans. The overseas system, thankfully, has gotten much better in the last fifteen years, thus so has quality-control.
Besides, I think it's fun to see the familiar characters moving in fluid, rubbery ways and occasionally distorting into weird shapes. As for the voices, while some of them have changed drastically over time, the performances themselves are mostly as good as they ever were. At times I do find some of Harry Shearer's (Skinner, Smithers, Flanders) performances a little flat, but he settled in very quickly.
(side note: I don't buy the "Bart-centric" myth at all. If you actually look at these (and season 2)one by one, there are less Bart-centered stories versus ones built around Homer and others. Bart was certainly the one who was merchandised to death early on and was the talk of parents and teachers, but it was totally overblown. Remove all that and he's just one main character out of four. Okay, five.)
To conclude, this DVD contains a very different animal than the one that's on today, and even the classic seasons that followed it. But it's a show that was raw, honest, and for the time, edgy. Watching it, you'll see that it could have developed in several different directions than the one it did. This makes it historically interesting to fans, but forget about us. Casual buyers who never really got into the show should pick this up to see what all the shouting was about fifteen years ago. I dare 'em not to at least grin.