I check out plenty of dvds from the public library. It’s one habit I acquired since I came to live to the US for the first time a couple years back. The racks are full of outstanding material (of course there’s also plenty of crap). One of my favorites dvd sets are The Simpsons seasons. Everyone in the crew seem to have a high-quality grasp of developing a succesful comedy show.
My personal favorites are the Al Jean and Mike Reiss (seasons 3 -4) era and the David Mirkin era (5-6) Mirkin is famous for giving the show a little more surrealism. But Jean and Reiss tell you a lot about the early days. Especially Al Jean, who seems to be the nerdiest of nerds. And Mirkin is probably the funniest, sarcastic of them all. Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein are very funny as well.
Of course Matt Groening, David Silverman, Dan Castellaneta and the rest of the crew are also grest people, and you notice how friendly they are at the same time mocking each other so you get the same laughs you’d get if you were watching without commentary. I highly recommend anybody interested in this show, animation or general filmmaking to listen to these commentaries. They area really great source of information and you will have a great time listening to them listening to many reference explanations and development issues they had when this show was at its peak.
Oh and there’s a commentary wih Homer Simpson speaking along the crew. It’s hilarious. I wont’t say which episode, just get your hands on these sets, watch the whole thing and have a blast.