The Sitch is Back
Guess what? Kim Possible season sets exist. Legitimately. From Disney. Not on-demand DVD-Rs, actual pressed discs. They’ve been out for months, in fact.
Their mere existence almost contradicts all public knowledge about Disney’s legendary ineptitude with the TV-on-DVD market. With the exception of X-Men, they can’t fully release a cartoon to save their lives. Gargoyles, DuckTales, TaleSpin and Darkwing Duck were all only partially completed because their first volumes didn’t sell ten million copies. The problem doesn’t end there; it goes for any children’s program they own. Their largest cultural hit of the last decade, Hannah Montana, only had its first and fourth seasons released on DVD. If even that isn’t up to their sales standards, what could be?
For Disney’s more recent animated shows, forget it. Despite the mountains of Phineas and Ferb merchandise in today’s market, a season set is the one thing Disney will never do, at least for the next twenty years. But here, suddenly, is Kim Possible and I never expected to see that. She can do anything!
Notice I said “almost” in the first sentence of the second paragraph. These sets are obtainable, but you can’t….actually….buy them. They are only offered as exclusive items in something called the “Disney Movie Club.” The Movie Club is sort of like those CD music clubs of the past, where if you join you can buy some things at a discount but you also agree to buy some other things at full price. It’s a long way to go just for Kim Possible.
Fortunately, there is a workaround. Third-party DVD e-Bay hockers are fully aware of the demand for a Kim Possible set on the retail market and are making major bread by obtaining every copy from Disney Movie Club they can get and selling them for inflated prices. I’d bet Disney is moving more Kim Possible DVDs than any other product in that Club, solely because of scalpers.
The prices they sell them for are usually ridiculous, but if you’re willing to play the waiting game (and look on Amazon instead of eBay, where they don’t rip you off quite as frequently), you’ll eventually see an unopened, factory sealed Season 1 or 2 in the $30 to $35 range. Thus, including shipping, you should be able to bring five-eighths of the entire series home to your collection for a total of $75. Satisfying the demands of the Disney Movie Club costs considerably more.
They arrived and I cut open the envelope. And my first thought was, “You gotta be kidding me.”
It wasn’t because the packaging was terrible. It was because it was perfect.
Given that it’s not a retail product, and didn’t need to look good enough to sell, I was fully expecting the cheap ubiquitous snapper case with the hinge-holders inside. But no! It is the exact same style of package they used with DuckTales and all the others. Each disc has its own Thinpak with individual cover art!
This is so cruel! Only a handful of people in the world will ever be able to hold this! Why did they spend so much effort on it? You’re tormenting everyone, Mickey! And you know you’re doing it! You’re doing it on purpose!
If you’ve read this far, I don’t think you’re the kind of person who needs an explanation as to what Kim Possible is, but we’ve been so conditioned to expect such explanations in our reviews that it’ll feel empty and wrong without one. So away we go: Kim Possible is regarded as the best animated offering Disney could provide in the 2000′s (although personally, I’d say Dave the Barbarian deserves that award). There weren’t nearly as many cartoons on the Disney Channel last decade as there were in the 90′s, partially because what little did exist was completely overshadowed by the massive breakout success of their live-action properties. Yet somehow, in the dark shadow of High School Musicals and Miley Cyrus and teenybopping dumb-fests that were so Raven, a bouncy redhead managed to make enough noise to get a rare fourth season renewal on pure fan-driven fuel.
Kim is one of those teenage superheroines that has to balance The Masquerade with real life, but the angst is kept to a refreshing low. Her identity isn’t secret, either, relieving us of the tired “I wish I could tell them” misunderstandings that plague shows like this. The emphasis in Kim Possible is on fun. And fun is what you have as Kim saves the world every 22 minutes with the help of computer-geek liaison Wade and bumbling sidekick Ron Stoppable, who usually steals every scene he’s in. As screen-hogging as Kim is, the show would be nothing without Ron, and he and Kim have great chemistry even before they start dating in season 4. The plots are creative, the character designs by Stephen Silver are adorable and the animation is very fluid. The only real downside is that Kim, being a high school cheerleader, uses a lot of Valley-speak that can like SO grate on the nerves.
This show was put together better than most kiddie shows of the era and earned its reputation, its rabid fanbase and its mountains of creepy Deviantarts. Unless you have a heart of stone, you should like Kim Possible — you’re only human.
The first KP set has all 21 episodes of Season 1, spread evenly at 7 episodes per disc. The second set smashes thirty episodes into the same amount of space, approaching Mill Creek levels of compression, but I didn’t notice any discernible difference. Unlike the unremastered Disney Afternoon sets, these came from digital sources and look razor-sharp. “A Sitch in Time” is in the second set, in its original television episode pieces. There are no bonus features, but you knew that.
The sitch is that Disney has created a fully-furnished retail product that they could sell exactly as-is at Target, minus the “Movie Club” logo on the back. I’m not sure exactly who they’re trying to sell it to — the fact that it’s walled behind the Movie Club suggests collectors, but the pamphlet inside the box hyping “COOL STUFF 4 U!” like Waverly Place lunchboxes suggests the opposite. Point is, it exists and they not only got the first season out of the way, but completed the second as well, which is a miracle in itself.
This is Disney we’re dealing with, though, so a complete DVD release would require some kind of divine intervention. I’d love to be proven wrong.