I watch, and blog, and watch and blog and watch. It's the Simpsons every day!

I Won’t Be Home for Christmas

Reindeer meat does not taste like chicken

Couch gag: “Obligatory Frozen reference”. Something about Lisa and an ice castle.

Director: Mark Kirkland

Synopsis: Homer stops by Moe’s for a drink on Christmas Eve and Marge is angry he didn’t come home.

Discussion: Well, that episode wasn’t too terrible. Yes, you read that correctly. Not too terrible. It had no plot and no point but it did contain some very good sign gags (which is what the show has become) and no joke was overly drawn out; the lotto joke was on the brink but stopped just in time. Good executive choice there, Mr Kirkland.

Anyhoo, Homer stops by Moe’s for a drink, Moe is depressed, Homer gets home late, Marge is angry. There’s your entire plot. Homer wandering around aimlessly reminded me of the ep where he wanders around wondering if Marge is his soul mate. But here, there’s no satisfying ending because you already know Marge will find him and they’ll spend Christmas morning “snuggling”.

So, that leaves the pure sight gags. Pineapple Plopper Ham and the gingerbread family featuring 1989 Simpsons were the best ones. I also liked Moe singing karaoke at the “private function”. It shows that someone, somewhere actually put some thought into it. Now if they put the same effort into an actual plot…

Overall, it wasn’t as terrible as I expected. The opening sequence was all Christmassy and worked really well. The end… well, what? Something about January 4 featuring Kang and Kodos and never ending babies. I expect this has something to do with The Simpsons: Tapped Out after their Christmas gig has finished.

One last thing: I don’t understand popcorn threads on Christmas trees. Is that a thing? Do people actually do that? If so, why?? Is there a lack of actual decorations? Do you get mice eating the strands?

Covercraft

couch gag: The family wander in, all looking at their cell phones and walk into each other.

Director: Steven Dean Moore

Guest Voices:
Sammy Hagar as himself
Will Forte as King Toot

Synopsis: Homer, Apu, Dr Hibbert, Kirk and Rev Lovejoy form a cover band but Apu is offered the chance to tour with a famous rock group.

Discussion: I’m glad there was one reference to the Be Sharps, but if you blink, you’ll miss it. Otherwise, it seems like everyone has forgotten about Homer’s previous two bands: The Be Sharps and Sadgasm.

So why does this episode suck?

Firstly, it contributes nothing to the continuity of The Simpsons, mainly because everyone has forgotten that Homer is a singer. Secondly, there is no point whatsoever to the episode: Homer and some dads form a band and then ruin Apu’s chance at worldwide fame and fortune. Except, it’s done as an afterthought because someone clearly thought another band ep was a good idea, but had nowhere to go with it. There’s a minute where Homer refers to everyone as Yoko, but that’s about the extent of the conflict. I’m pretty sure my unborn child can think of a better narrative to this ep.

What if Homer became the famous lead singer? Sure, it’d be a flashback to his good old days travelling with Lollapalooza, but at least there’s some point to it. The characters here are mindlessly wandering around explaining things to the (bored) audience while putting very little effort into anything they do (much like last week’s pathetic ‘Blazed and Confused’).

There is nothing remotely memorable about this episode. I take notes, and write down possible quotes to use as blog titles. My page is blank except for the title of the blog (i.e. the only interesting quote in the entire ep) and what happened in the couch gag (equally unmemorable).

It’s totally pointless episodes like this one that make me mourn the good old days. I would even prefer to hear some more Sadgasm than be subjected to this shit again. It’s beyond shit. It’s the bacteria that feed off shit.

Seriously people, I beg you. Kill The Simpsons. It’s so far beyond embarrassing now.

Blazed and Confused

Couch gag: The couch is a chair lift. The family return, everyone’s injured except Maggie.

Director: Rob Oliver

Guest Voices:
Willem Dafoe as Jack Lassen
Kelsey Grammer as Sideshow Bob

Synopsis: Bart has a new teacher and vows to make his life hell.

Discussion: Welcome to another steaming pile of excrement from The Simpsons. I don’t know how low they can possibly go with this show, but this comes pretty close. My major problem with this episode is the high levels of exposition, where every character explains to the audience exactly what is going on, just in case you’re blazed and confused yourself.

Apart from that, the other problems contained within the episode are the terrible writing, awful execution and complete lack of coherence. Are the writers having some sort of competition to see just how bad they can get each episode?

Let’s start at the beginning. Bart’s class gets a new teacher. It’s a brilliant idea since the late, great Marcia Wallace left us over a year ago. Cue someone with an instantly recognisable voice and matching personality: Willem Dafoe. His voice work can be incredible e.g. Finding Nemo. Here, he’s given stupid lines and practically no screen time during the entire second half of the show bar a few moments at the end where he inexplicably meets up with Sideshow Bob. OK, so bringing in a fantastic actor as a new teacher is a great idea. The execution sucks hairy monkey balls. This is a brilliant opportunity for Bart to pull out the big guns and play every prank on this newbie, yet all he can come up with is a literal skeleton in the closet. Bart then goes on to explain all the minute details of his upcoming plans to the viewer, because apparently we’re brain dead children who can’t read Flame Retardant on the side of a canister.

Then there’s some shit about Homer forgetting to make a camping reservation, Marge drinking some weird tea (I can only speculate the writers were drinking the same tea when writing this episode) and Lisa hanging out with desert weirdos (including a cameo by David Silverman- did they bribe him to come back to this shadow of a show?). Bart’s grand plan, predictable from the start, works a charm and no one cares. Boo frigging hoo.

It’s poorly done episodes like this that I want to see fan fiction made. You’ve got a good, solid premise with nothing to back it up. I bet fans of the show (if there are any left) can come up with some wickedly funny scripts that bust this shit out of the water. How about allowing fans to write for the show? You know it makes sense.

Simpsorama

Couch gag: The Simpsons sit on the couch, which turns out to be Hedonismbot.

Director: Bob Anderson

Gust Voices:
John DiMaggio as Bender
David Herman as Scruffy the janitor
Maurice LaMarche as Hedonismbot, Lrr, Mobo
Phil LaMarr as Hermes Conrad
Katey Sagal as Leela
Lauren Tom as Amy
Frank Welker as Nibbler
Billy West as Fry, Professor Farnsworth, Dr Zoidberg

Synopsis: Milhouse’s lucky rabbit foot plus Bart’s germs mutate into killer rabbits 1000 years into the future. Bender is sent back to kill Homer, as the killer rabbits share his DNA.

Discussion: Yes folks, you read that right: Bender is sent back to kill Homer because his DNA was found in killer rabbits terrorising New New York a thousand years in the future.

And so begins a pointless plot to smoosh together two shows which should have died years ago. Oh wait, Futurama is dead. Unfortunately it’s been brought back to life one more time. It’s not as bad as the Family Guy crossover but it’s still pretty bad.

Last night I watched a new episode of The Big Bang Theory, the one where the girls get drunk in Vegas and the boys get distracted by everything. There we have a perfect example of a show being funny despite having no plot whatsoever. This crossover episode, in fact every Simpsons ep since 2003, has lacked this simple task. Nothing’s funny as well as having no discernible plot. There are a few jokes in this ep but they are stretched so far that they may as well be on the event horizon of a black hole. Killer rabbits? Really?

It just seems like an excuse to shove every Futurama character in Springfield and some lame excuse to get them there. The last bit with Kang and Kodos going to Lrr’s place for dinner might have raised a smile but the whole segment feels like filler (if one can fill a black hole) and dies in the execution (no pun intended).

In all, it’s just another piece of crap in the excrement of The Simpsons which adds nothing to either canon. Killer rabbits? Seriously?

Opposites A-Frack

Director: Matthew Nastuk

Guest Voices:
Jane Fonda as Maxine
Rpbert Siegel as himself

Synopsis: Mr Burns falls in love with a woman who is trying to stop his fracking ambitions.

Discussion: An admission: I giggled twice during this episode. Once at the fiery Slip n Slide and once with the racy texts over some ancient ticker tape machine.

As for the rest of the ep, what the dickens did I just watch? Mr Burns has fallen in love and lust before, with much funnier results. This ep is a mish mash of old plots rehashed and reheated into a pile of steaming excrement and watched by just 4 million US viewers. There’s no couch gag, which immediately lowers expectations: there’s a precedent here that the couch gag is often the most enjoyable part of any given recent episode. Patty and Selma (sans Lily) fill up the first five minutes until the main story starts. And then there’s some confusing garbage about pros and cons of fracking while Mr Burns and whats-her-face carry on a love/hate relationship, ending with the world’s most boring bedroom scene. Here’s an example:

Mr Burns: What kind of dog did your sister have?
Instantly forgettable female star: I don’t know.

Wow. It’s genius. It takes some special talent to write utter bullshit like that.

There are glimmers of goodness in this episode, but ultimately no one cares, and I’m surprised people sat through the whole thing (me included). The glimmers, unfortunately, are only glimmers of a once-great show and lead nowhere. I shake my fists at the television because I know what they’re trying to say… but it falls flat every single time. There was a Fracking Day sign a la Whacking Day… but without the song. We all know the way to sway Springfielders is through song.

Yet another disappointing ep from the show that just won’t die.

Treehouse of Horror XXV

Director: Matthew Faughnan

Guest Voices:
John Ratzenburger as CGI Homer

Synopsis: Bart and Lisa attend school in Hell; Moe runs a gang and the Simpsons meet their former selves

Discussion: What the actual hell?? The past few ‘Treehouse of Horrors’ have been half decent and watchable but this year we’re presented with some half-arsed conceptual crap that may have sounded good in the writers’ heads but did not translate well on screen.

School of Hell sees Bart and Lisa transported to Hell, where they attend school and Bart actually wants to learn things. It sounds like a good idea but is so poorly executed (‘scuse the pun) that the segment is barely worth watching. Actually I only watched it for posterity.

A Clockwork Yellow has Moe as the leader of a gang which disbands once Homer leaves to marry Marge. I think Comic Book Guy says it best when he utters, “Even I forget what this is a reference to”. It was probably the most lamest of all lame parodies I have ever seen. The only thing I half smiled at was a reference to Kubrick wanting to re-shoot the sequence.

The Others has the original Simpson family (from the Tracy Ullman Show) “haunting” the house of the present-day Simpsons. I was hoping for some original content, as in funny stuff the “old” family did or said and a self-reference from the new family about how great the old days were and how funny they were back then… But no. New Homer falls for Old Marge and somehow they all die and become ghosts. What? The Simpsons as characters from other shows/movies was mildly interesting (especially as the minions from Despicable Me) but there’s really nothing to offer in this segment.

If I had to give a rating, I’d rate it half a star out of 5. It sucked more than my Dyson.

Super Franchise Me

Couch gag: A Parody of Cat Stevens’ Tea for the Tillerman album cover

Director: Mark Kirkland

Synopsis: Marge opens a sandwich franchise but loses out when a competing shop opens across the road.

Discussion: Wikipedia says this episode garnered “mostly positive reviews“. Did we watch the same episode? It’s easily one of the worst episodes in the entire series. Here’s why:

  • We’ve seen it before. Remember when Marge had a pretzel franchise? The only difference this time is that Homer doesn’t hire the Mafia to wipe out the competition.
  • While The Simpsons is well known for perpetuating stereotypes, a montage of Marge hiring the town’s most unemployable people is going from the sublime to the ridiculous. Shauna, Gil and Squeaky Voiced Teen do not add anything to the narrative as the family ends up serving all the customers themselves. Total yawn fest.
  • Why is Marge and some random franchise woman at Bart’s school anyway? If you’re going to introduce the main plot, make the meeting plausible. Maybe marge could have been stocking up on sandwich supplies, or making sandwiches at the tuck shop and random franchise lady is another mother. Come on, put some thought into it!
  • Enter competition. OK, so Cletus’ kids’ names are always amusing, and it makes sense for the whole family to be working there. But when we’ve seen Marge stressing over finding the dosh to open the franchise, and see Cletus et al open a store so quickly… where did they get the money? Mafia connections? And why are Springfielders flocking to eat roadkill?
  • Mr Burns wooing the cardboard stand up of Mrs Hubbard, who looks remarkably like a sandwich. It’s pathetic on so many levels.
  • There is no resolution to the plot whoatsoever. Homer gets bashed in his crotch. What? What if the Simpsons tried to sabotage the second store? Now that would be fun! But no, Marge and family go whimpering into the night after losing all their money (except their original investment) and life returns to crappy normal…
  • …With a weird chase scene at the end to eat up some more time because the main plot didn’t take long enough.

There is nothing about this episode that makes sense, is humourous, or deserves any praise whatsoever (disclaimer: I didn’t get the couch gag and had to look it up. Even then it was pointless, although I concede it was somewhat artistic and kinda cute although the Ralph-on-a-swing thing was waaaay more creepy than it should have been).

I’m calling it as one of the worst episodes in the entire series. It’s not only rehashing an old plot, it’s doing it with a whole lot less style.

I know how cereal works

Wreck of the Relationship

Couch gag: Homer saves Scratchy from being murdered by Itchy. Scratchy then spends several months living with the family but Homer grows tired of it and brings back Itchy to kill Scratchy.

Director: Chuck Sheetz

Guest Voice:
Nick Offerman as Captain Bowditch

Synopsis: Homer and Bart have a standoff over broccoli, so Marge enrols them both into a therapy session: a week on a boat.

Discussion: Apart from the obvious flaw that Homer has some sort of authority over his kids (especially Bart), this episode started off pretty well. Could this signal a return to good episodes?

Sadly, no. I would have preferred to watch half an hour of victims in the Shelbyville sinkhole, to be honest. Bart and Homer have tried bonding before and it was done much better. A week on a ship doesn’t have a lot to offer (Homer gets scurvy and spends the week sucking lemons and getting seasick?) so the execution of the story was deeply flawed and quite boring. it’s a shame because it has so much potential.

The subplot was something about Marge taking over Homer’s fantasy football team and something about people messaging her at church. What the hell was that about? My dog barks more sense that this plot.

Sadly, I don’t hold high hopes for this season. Being ever the optimist, I was hoping the creative team could do a little bit of Googling, see that bloggers are crucifying this show, and actively do something about turning it around. Just like the Relation Ship, that boat has long sailed.

I was using that car as pants

The Simpsons Guy

Director: Peter Shin

Synopsis: After getting an offensive comic published, the Griffin family leave town and their car is stolen just outside the Springfield city limits.

Discussion: Despite officially being a Family Guy episode, I thought I’d include this into the Simpsons blog. Because it’s my blog and I can do what I like with it.

Firstly, I’ve seen exactly one full episode of Family Guy and was so underwhelmed I’ve never bothered watching another. Furthermore, the only reason I watched that full episode was because I was reading an essay (related to The Simpsons) about the disconnected reality of Family Guy. Specifically, the episode where Peter Griffin ends up in court and a giant drink barges through the courtroom wall (incidentally, that ep is referenced in this crossover). So, I missed most of the FG references and was filled in by my boyfriend, who says it was perfectly FG.

My thoughts about the episode… wow. What a mess. There are so many WTF moments, I don’t know where to begin. Everything from Homer teaching Peter how to eat doughnuts to Peter and Homer drinking petrol and ending up as a porn film to the random appearance of Fred Flintstone as the Judge at the beer lawsuit. Seriously.

Sure, the Griffins visited Springfield, which apparently means an appearance by anyone who has ever done anything in Springfield. However, I really think Dr Nick greeting Santa’s Little Helper as Dr Dog, his assistant to surgery, is stupidly unnecessary and weird. The sequence where Homer and Peter are “sexy” car washers is just plain disturbing and should come with a warning for those who have just eaten.

Despite being a FG episode and me being mostly unfamiliar with how FG works, I still think the episode was weird and overly long. I understand FG sometimes has epic fight scenes and requires a suspension of reality, but this took it waaaay too far. A full ten minute fight scene between Peter and Homer was far too long and added nothing to an already thin narrative. Homer being squished under a UFO and coming back to life to joke with Peter about being parked behind him (or vice versa, I tuned out by that point) didn’t exactly fit the MO of either show. I don’t think the ep warranted an hour’s screening time, although this was self-referenced when either Peter or Homer (I forget which) said they’ll stay half an hour away from each other with crap in the middle. Sounds like a good idea to me.

Clown in the Dumps

Billboard: Jimbo: Send me your lunch money online

Spoiler Alert: Unfortunately my dad doesn’t die

Couch gag: A time travelling Homer ends up in a future episode, 10,000 years in the future. Directed by Don Hertzfeld

Guest Voices:
Sarah Silverman as herself
Kelsey Grammer as Sideshow Bob
Jackie Mason as Rabbi Krustofsky
David Hyde Pierce as himself
Jeff Ross as himself

Director: Steven Dean Moore

Synopsis: Krusty is devastated when his father dies, and Lisa worries about Homer’s health.

Discussion: Welcome to Season 26, which premiered after almost a year of hype over which character would die. Let me just say that there was no hype whatsoever in Australia and the only mention I saw of a character being killed off was thanks to Dead Homer Society a couple of months ago. The day the ep aired, there was exactly one article over here about the disappointment at which character dies. Did anyone really think it would be a Simpson?

The ep begins with a Roast of Krusty, which I’m sure has been done before and like every other roast in history, is just plain mean and completely unfunny. You can’t hide your truth about someone behind “comedy”. Feeling down, Krusty seeks advice from his father but his father dies unexpectedly after approximately one minute on screen. Worst. Death. Ever. At least Maude Flanders had a tangible death. No sign of Homer “helping” Krusty move on from his loss, so that’s a positive. Then there’s some lame plot about Lisa worrying that Homer is about to die due to his obesity. What?

This is hardly a stellar introduction to yet another season which will likely rely on flab jokes and explaining said jokes. Shoving in a bunch of famous people in the first five minutes will not save the episode nor make one excited to see what the hell happens. Makes me wonder if the writers plan more than four seconds in advance.

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Where my world meets yours.

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