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The Simpsons

The Last Temptation of Homer, pounds 12.99

BART WAS the undisputed star of when it first came out - he had the novelty hit single and the line of licensed goods to prove it.

Even from its early series, though, it was very clear that its creator Matt Groening was "of Homer's party" - whether he knew it or not is open to question. Bart's layabout, venal excuse for a father was a writer's gift, the couch potato spirit of Springfield made flesh (yellow flesh, naturally, and a lot of it).

Their catchphrases alone show to what extent Homer has elbowed his first- born out of the way (a typically Homer thing to do, as it happens): Homer's exclamation - "Doh!" - is everywhere, while no one's been told to eat their shorts for years.

Which brings us on to The Last Temptation of Homer. Four episodes selected for their insight into the man about the Simpson house: Homer gets hair and promotion (Simpson & Delilah); Homer thinks he's been poisoned by a deadly blowfish in a Japanese restaurant, and has 24 hours to come to terms with his life (One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Bluefish); Homer gets landed with the kids and the house (Homer Alone), and Homer gets a new career as a manager of a country music starlet (Colonel Homer).

All good, as usual, but check out One Fish for the fun that follows Homer's first encounter with sushi.


Box Set, pounds 29.99

Channel 4 schedulers know what they're about. After a Friday evening dollop of the sublime - but saccharine - Friends, there's nothing better than a dash of Frasier as a nice, tart antidote.

Come to think of it, both sitcoms show the incestuous consequences of over-crowded apartments. Unlike the storm-in-a-tea-cup-kiss-and-make-up tiffs of the late twentysomethings, however, Frasier, Niles, their dad and their housekeeper, Daphne, just about manage to rub along together - which is just as it should be.

What's more, it's rare that a great sitcom spawns an equally good successor. But Frasier, son of Cheers, showed it was possible, and these 12 episodes, comprising a "best of" selection, are as good a proof as any. I suppose it was inevitable that the show's star, Kelsey Grammer (pictured), would attempt a film career (see your local videostore's bargain bin). It's so needless, though. What comic actor wouldn't give his right leg to be immortalised as that peerless complex of neurotic pretensions - Frasier Crane?