Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 27, 2004)
I guess 2003’s compilation DVD Christmas With the Simpsons sold well, for Fox decided to roll out a second package along the same lines. Simply called The Simpsons Christmas 2, it packages four shows from the series’ more recent seasons. I’ll present story synopses straight from the DVD’s package and also offer my own thoughts on each program.
Homer Vs. Dignity (aired November 26, 2000): “To make money, Homer lets Mr. Burns hire him to perform increasingly degrading acts. Finally, Homer is forced to choose between wealth and self-respect when Burns orders him to spoil a holiday parade.”
Bad sign number one: when a series plagiarizes itself. That occurs here when Mr. Burns states “There’s a new Mexico?”, a line that was a lot funnier back in Season Five. Bad sign number two: a scene in which Homer gets raped by a panda. A couple of the pranks provide minor amusement, but overall, this is a weak episode. Its only minor connection to the holidays doesn’t help.
Skinner’s Sense of Snow (aired December 17, 2000): “A freak blizzard traps the students of Springfield Elementary inside their school. Their lives at stake, they are at the mercy of the rescue efforts of a woozy Homer and his neighbor Ned Flanders.”
“Snow” improves upon “Dignity” but remains a mediocre show. As with its predecessor on this DVD, it enjoys a cool premise that it only modestly exploits. Some of the bits inside the school when the kids turn on Skinner manage to produce mirth. Otherwise, this comes across as a fairly average program.
Dude, Where’s My Ranch? (aired April 27. 2003): “Homer’s attempt to write a Christmas carol turns into an anti-Flanders ballad that goes to the top of the charts. To escape it, the family heads to a dude ranch, where Homer battles beavers and Lisa falls in love.”
“Dude” stands as the best episode on this disc, though that remains faint praise. It manages a generally good tone, at least, and lacks the puerile humor that marred the prior two shows. Homer’s song manages fun moments, and a few bits at the ranch also stand out as reasonably positive. “Dude” doesn’t live up to the series’ best shows, but it’s pretty decent.
’Tis the Fifteenth Season (aired December 14, 2003): “Homer spends his entire Christmas bonus on an extravagant gift for himself. But when he watches Mr. McGrew’s Christmas Carol on TV, he sees the error of his ways. He becomes the nicest guy in town, leading to a battle of good vs. goody-good with Ned Flanders.”
Chalk up “Season” as another passable but unexceptional program. Like the others on this disc, it enjoys a clever premise, but it doesn’t do a ton to exploit the possibilities. It also relies too much on parodies of TV Christmas specials and doesn’t spoof them in a particularly clever way. “Season” is moderately entertaining.
At the top of its game, The Simpsons is arguably the best TV series of all-time. The Simpsons Christmas 2 doesn’t represent the show at its peak. Occasionally the episodes muster some minor amusement, but don’t expect much from them.