22 for 30
Couch gag: While a lullaby version of the theme plays, it is revealed Maggie is drawing the characters onto the couch. Lisa is drawing Maggie, Bart is drawing Lisa, Marge is drawing Bart and Homer is drawing Marge whilst eating a doughnut.
Director: Chris Clements
Synopsis: Bart shoots baskets while in detention and ends up in the school’s basketball team.
Stephen Curry as himself
Earl Mann as Narrator (Eddie Muntz)
Joe Mantegna as Fat Tony
Discussion: Whilst I applaud the change in style to a documentary-style chronicling the rise and fall of Bart’s career as an elementary school basketball hero, there is still no actual plot to this episode.
When I heard Stephen Curry was a guest voice in this ep, I was pretty excited. I watched the whole episode in anticipation of how an Aussie comedian got to be in the show before I finally Googled and saw Stephen Curry is a US basketball player.
Having said that, I watched this whole episode waiting for something to happen and it never did. Normally I’m quite fond of Fat Tony but there was nothing here to be fond about. So, moving on to the next episode…
Billboard: This St Patrick’s Day, kiss the Barney Stoned
We’re the only house where the Christmas tree is still up
Couch gag: A pachinko machine puts balls in everyone’s place except Homer.
Synopsis: A sequel to season 4’s Kamp Krusty episode. Bart and Lisa return after overthrowing the camp, interrupting Homer and Marge’s snuggle time. Bart fakes PTSD.
Lizzy Caplan as Virginia Johnson
Michael Sheen as William Masters
Kevin Michael Richardson as Barry White-like Singer
Discussion: The writer of the classic Kamp Krusty episode returns 18 years later to pen this disaster of an episode. Did he wander in with a brilliant idea only to be told the show had changed direction and awesomeness was no longer required?
In any case, this episode is forgettable. Homer is sexually frustrated, leading to nothing of note. Bart fakes PTSD from his time at Kamp Krusty, also leading to nothing of note. Whoda thunk it?
Boy, I’m getting repetitive. Tell me again why I’m doing this…?
The Cad and the Hat
Couch gag: The Simpsons wonder where the painting of the yacht went. Homer wanders into other animations to track it down.
Director: Steven Dean Moore
Magnus Carlsen as himself
Seth Green as the Robot Chicken Nerd
Patton Oswalt as Bart Simpson’s Guilt
Synopsis: Bart throws away Lisa’s favourite hat.
Discussion: it’s pretty sad when we start with a montage of Lisa buying a new hat. Seriously.
We’ve just seen an episode with pointless flashbacks and it’s continued in this piece of rubbish where Homer has somehow learned to play chess.
Bart is feeling guilty about proclaiming he’s bad to the bone. Lisa looks for her hat. This is what passes for a Simpsons episode these days? Wow. Someone, please, let this show die.
Billboard: Apu holding a mug declaring I heart VD. Kwik-E-Mart’s special is Your 2 days to Valentine’s Headquarters
If we’re so good at predicting, how come my dad bet on Atlanta?
Couch gag: Marge opens a safe behind the yacht painting to remove Maggie.
Director: Mike Kirkland
Synopsis: Springfield’s fast food outlets have turned to healthy food so Homer turns to a hot dog stand outside city limits.
Glenn Close as Mona Simpson
Kevin Michael Richardson as Deuce
Discussion: I honestly have no idea what this episode is about. Homer eats hot dogs and Lisa is sad when the school radio station is shut down.
As far as plots go, I’ve seen commercials for dog food with more plot than this. This is even lower than monkeys shitting out random Scrabble letters to form a script. There is nothing redeeming about this mess. Next!
The Great Phatsby
Director: Chris Clements and Timothy Bailey
Charles Barkley as himself
Common as himself
Taraji P. Henson as Praline
Keegan-Michael Key as Jazzy James
RZA as himself
Kevin Michael Richardson as Jay G
Snoop Dogg as himself
Synopsis: Mr Burns throws a 1920s style shindig, but is bored with his life and how cheap he has become. He meets a wealthy hip hop manager who encourages him to spend all his cash.
Discussion: As an hour long episode, the first in the show’s long history, one would expect an actual plot to carry it through. This ep reads like a mini-movie; all three acts are present over two parts. This isn’t a classic Simpsons episode, in fact it feels like a movie squished into an hour (or rather, 43 minutes).
There’s probably some sort of social message here but meh, who cares? There’s some great cultural references, particularly if you’re an Empire fan or have read The Great Gatsby. There’s some pretty decent music but nothing like the classic Simpsons tunes of 20 years ago.
It’s a decent ep and worth the hour. Full of guest stars who actually add to the story, it’s well worth the viewing. And I don’t say that very often!
Pork and Burns
Couch gag: The couch is actually part of a playset in which Bart wants it but Marge won’t let him.
Director: Rob Lazebnik
Joyce Carol Oates as herself
Michael York as Dr Budgie
Synopsis: Marge becomes obsessed with Japanese cleaning techniques. Homer claims anxiety in order to bring Plopper to work with him as an assistance animal.
Discussion: Some of the visual jokes in this episode are slightly amusing, such as Barney finding Homer’s Mr Plow jacket and proclaiming, “Finally, I’m Mr Plow!” and of course, Spider Pig is always a welcome addition even though Homer is trying to sell him.
The plot to this ep is actually pretty good. Homer doesn’t want to sell Plopper so he claims he’s an assistance animal. It’s silly, crazy and a glimpse into what the show used to be. There’s nothing truly clever, however it’s not as dead as I would have expected.
Overall, a solid effort which I hope continues.
(This episode makes me think of this meme https://goo.gl/images/HCp3hH ; I won’t repost due to copyright so here’s the link)
The Nightmare After Krustmas
Couch gag: The Simpsons, portraying various Christmas characters, are scared off their couch by Mr Burns/Scrooge ordering Smithers to release the Christmas hounds.
Director: Rob Oliver
Natasha Lyonne as Sophie
Jackie Mason as Rabbi Krustofsky
Wayne Gretsky as himself
Theo Jansen as himself
Synopsis: An injured Krusty and his daughter Sophie are invited to the Simpsons’ house for the holidays. Reverend Lovejoy tries to convert Springfielders into Christians.
Discussion: Firstly, apologies for not posting for such a long time. I’ve been busy with work and uni assignments.
This episode ties in with The Simpsons Tapped Out‘s Winter/Christmas event which drew criticism from many fans for featuring a pagan festival instead of a Christmas or holiday message. Several elements from the game appear in the episode, such as Maggie’s nemesis, The Gnome in Your Home and buildings that were available during the game event such as Phone-Henge and Ba’al Pit.
Sophie is voiced by Orange is the New Black actress Natasha Lyonne, replacing Drew Barrymore who voiced Sophie way back when.
As usual, there is very little plot, however this episode smacks of political correctness and spending Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Holidays with loved ones even though you may have differences. Snore. There is so much potential for Krusty-as-a-Christian but it falls flatter than the cracker one has at Mass.
The Last Traction Hero
Couch gag: The Simpsons find their couch gone, and face a firing squad. The scene then turns into… well, I’m not really sure. It’s a pop culture reference I don’t get.
Director: Bob Anderson
Synopsis: After an accident at work, Homer is confined to an upper body class. Meanwhile, Lisa solves the school’s fighting-on-the-bus problem.
Discussion: It’s not the first time Homer has been incapacitated, and this one really doesn’t add anything. There’s no plot to speak of and no point to anything.
…And that’s about it, really.
Billboard: Costington’s: Open Thanksgiving. Celebrate your holiday by ruining others’
I will watch all 600 episodes without sleep (There was a marathon of Simpsons episodes over Thanksgiving)
Couch gag: During the opening titles, the family end up dead in various accidents related to their usual segment. Bart sees the family gone, takes their pictures off the walls, places them on the couch and realises he finally gets the remote to himself.
Matt Leinart as himself
Director: Steven Dean Moore
Synopsis: Homer discovers a new app which outsources all his responsibilities.
Discussion: OK, so this episode isn’t too bad. It’s from newly credited writer Ryan Koh who has taken some elements from classic episodes and reworked them into a modern narrative.
Here we see Homer outsourcing his parenting duties via an app called ChoreMonkey, something similar to AirTasker. It’s a classic Bart/Homer bonding episode mixed with technology, with passable results.
There are weird subplots involving Abe becoming a father again, Milhouse & Homer bonding, Bart and Kirk bonding, Marge and… well, everyone.
There are also some weird “jokes” that don’t really gel, but altogether it’s definitely not the worst episode ever, or even of this season.
Havana Wild Weekend
Billboard: Cletus’ Thanksgiving turkey eggs! Get to love it before you eat it
Being right sucks (This was the first ep to air after Trump won the election)
Couch gag: The family are sitting atop Mt Olympus, but Lisa is missing. She emerges from Homer’s head and Homer uses Maggie’s dummy to close the hole in his head.
Stacy Keach as HK Duff
Deb Lacusta as Isabella
Director: Bob Anderson
Synopsis: Grampa feels young again during a trip to Cuba.
Discussion: Hindsight is everything… I watched this episode the week Fidel Castro died. It puts an interesting angle on US/Cuba relations in the aftermath.
We start with a parody of Shark Tank called Vulture’s Nest. It was mildly amusing however it descended quickly when Grampa peed on the rug.
Oh dear God! This is another Grampa-feels-old-then-young episode, but set in Cuba where they can be free to make as many cultural jokes and stereotypes as they like. There’s no actual plot, just a set of random “jokes” set into 20 minutes.
Give this ep a complete miss.