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

The Princess Guide

Couch Gag: The Simpsons are printed on a 9 dot printer and there’s a paper jam.

Director: Timothy Bailey

Guest Voices:
Richard Branson as himself
Kevin Michael Richardson as Nigerian King
Yaya DeCosta as Princess Kemi
Jon Lovitz as Enrico Irritazio

Synopsis: Moe is prepared to exact revenge on a Nigerian princess for an internet scam but ends up falling in love with her.

Discussion: Maybe it’s the lack of sleep (I have a 10 week old baby). Maybe it’s the high heat and humidity. Or maybe this episode just didn’t suck, but I liked it. I was ready to hate it, ready to dig into the expositions and bad writing and utter nonsense… But I think it’s sweet.

We’ve seen Moe have flings before, but this one was just lovely, like the first day of spring after a long winter or the first crush after having your heart broken. Moe has fallen for the classic Nigerian scam and is ready for revenge, but ends up sharing a montage with the Princess instead. Awww!

Sure, it’s not brilliant or a hark back to classic episodes, but it’s a simple story (at least it has a story!) and it’s a fine ep. I know, I know… I’m as shocked as you are.

My Fare Lady

Pixel Art is not real art (entire opening sequence is pixellated in the style of an old video game)

Couch gag: A selection of classic Simpsons moments in the style of popular old video games.

Director: Michael Polcino

Guest Voices:
Christopher Lloyd as Jim

Synopsis: Marge becomes a chauffeur and Moe takes a job at the power plant.

Discussion: What’s with the retro feel? Not only does the opening sequence resemble old school video games, we open the episode with Homer dreaming the opening sequence to The Jetsons and then Marge is printing using a 9 dot printer. What’s going on?? I’m wondering if this is an example of a fan’s theory that Homer is dreaming the entire series, having not woken from his coma…?

Another mish mash of ideas which, in fully fleshed out form, could be a half decent story. Unfortunately this is another ep where it looks like the writers have rescued torn ideas from the bottom of the dumpster and tried to resurrect half-baked stories into something that resembles entertainment.

Moe’s storyline would benefit from Joan Rivers as Laney Fontaine, although I think even Joan had higher standards than voicing a character in a dead series (besides, she might have already been dead when this ep was being produced).

Meanwhile, Marge becomes a glorified taxi driver. She’s selling herself as a chauffeur, but one wonders how Nelson and Shauna can afford such a service, and why all the characters tell their secrets a la Taxicab Confessions.

I’m not sure what Homer is doing in this episode, nor Bart, who does not utter a single word. Eventually both Moe and Marge agree to go back to their old jobs and everything goes back to normal. Yawn. This ep, like every ep from the past 5 seasons, completely lacks imagination. It’s tired, retreading old ground, uninspiring and boring as all hell. It’s a wonder the voice actors bother turning up to work every day, considering the rubbish they’re expected to say.

Smallpox free for 7 years

Walking Big & Tall

Couch gag: The Simpsons are on a sushi plate; everyone except Homer is picked off. Homer falls backwards and is eaten by a fish.

Director: Chris Clements

Guest Voices:
Pharrell Williams as himself
Kevin Michael Richardson as Albert

Synopsis: Homer joins a club celebrating obesity.

Discussion: Remember the days when The Simpsons started with a storyline which segued into another? Or when the show had two actual plots? I don’t know which one this episode tried to be, but it turned out to be neither.

Having noticed that Springfield’s anthem is stolen, Lisa and Bart write another one (which is utter rubbish) and then Homer joins a club which celebrates the members’ obesity. I don’t get it. I remember other, better episodes where Homer was proud of his weight (like reaching 300lb to qualify for disability), but this one… well, it doesn’t go anywhere. Homer explains everything, which is fine if you’re blind and can’t see the “jokes”, or are partially deaf and missed the “joke” the first time around. But for the rest of us, it’s a complete waste of time and effort. And what was that thing with Bart as Robocop with Milhouse in his stomach??

Can’t really say much about this episode. It’s just another terrible waste of a once-good show.

The Musk Who Fell to Earth

Director: Matthew Nastuk

Guest Voice:
Elon Musk as himself

Synopsis: Seeking intellectual stimulation and new ideas, Elon Musk lands in Springfield and helps turn the power plant into an environmentally conscious entity.

Discussion: This is how I imagine this episode was created…
Producer: We need a guest star, someone famous but not necessarily popular.
Producer 2: Hmm, I know! Elon Musk!
Producer: Brilliant! I’ll call him now! Hi… Elon? Wanna be on The Simpsons? Yeah? Woo hoo!
Producer 2: This will be great!
**Six Months Later**
Producer: OK, Elon is in the studio ready to record his lines. Oh shit, we still need a script!
Producer 2: I found some ideas in the mess hall. They’re leftover ideas from that Lady Gaga ep we did, they’ve had coffee spilled on them and a dog shit on them, but they’re still good to go.

This episode makes no sense. There’s plenty of “jokes” (and I use the term loosely) about Musk’s egotism and intellect, but if you try to think about the “plot”, you’ll get wrinkles (again, “plot” is a very loose term).

There’s nothing remotely good about this ep. I’d give it a negative score if I could. Oh hell, it’s my blog, I can do what I like. This episode gets a MINUS FIVE, and that’s plus one point for effort. It feels a lot like the Lady Gaga episode: a random famous person rocks up in Springfield, tries to fit in and then leaves without making any sort of difference whatsoever. Instead of having a genuinely fantastic idea, Musk elongates Homer’s weird ramblings into technobabble nonsense that never goes anywhere, and Mr Burns hates him for it.

The ep is more disjointed than usual, with the first 10 minutes being boring as hell. Seriously guys, kill the show now. In fact, go back in time ten years and kill it then.

Bart’s New Friend

Billboard: You tried the rest, now try Luigi’s Pizza

Snowmen don’t have carrot penises

Couch gag: Homer, Marge and Bart are the Three Bears and Lisa is Goldilocks. Marge, Bart and Lisa eat Homer and it turns out Homer is reading a story to Maggie.

Director: Bob Anderson

Guest Voice:
Stacy Keach as Don Bookner

Synopsis: Homer is hypnotised to think he’s a ten year old boy.

Discussion: Remember when Milhouse looked like his dad and Bart took advantage of him to do adult stuff? (Yeah, I’ve tried to forget that ep too.) Why didn’t Bart take advantage of adult Homer with a 10 year old’s brain? For an episode entitled ‘Bart’s New Friend’, they didn’t really seem to do much together. Where are the pranks? Where is the humiliation for Skinner? Why are they doing boring things like fishing? Haven’t Bart and Homer bonded before when Homer was an adult?

I had high hopes for this episode. It was written about 20 years ago by a then-unknown Judd Apatow, who has since found fame writing films like The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up and Bridesmaids. This ep had potential, but it seems to have derailed somewhere in the process- did another Simpsons writer come along and edit the script to make it crappier? Apatow said he wrote the script in “the old style”, which would have worked. However, there’s a lot of exposition which is a hallmark of later Simpsons episodes. The premise was good, but something happened and the resulting episode is yet another disappointment; Homer and Bart have spent several episodes bonding yet this one fell flat. There was no bonding, Bart seemed to suddenly remember Homer was a 10 year old and thought he should do something with that. There’s very little actual interaction between them, which doesn’t serve the storyline. Homer in silly mode already gets along well with Bart, why doesn’t 10 year old Homer take advantage of that as well? Go get a sugar high on Squishees at the Kwik-E-Mart, or play pranks on Skinner, or use Homer’s license to drive somewhere really cool (is that how they got to Itchy & Scratchy Land?)

My high hopes have been dashed once more :(

The Man Who Came to be Dinner

Couch gag: The Simpsons are in an art gallery viewing portraits of themselves. Homer picks up a remote control, changing all the pictures to TV screens.

Director: David Silverman

Synopsis: During a trip to an amusement park, the Simpsons are transported to the home planet of Kang and Kodos.

Discussion: …I really don’t know how to start with this one. In the canon of The Simpsons, it just gets more and more weird, while being less and less entertaining.

This episode doesn’t know what it’s doing. It’s trying to be half a dozen things at once: another Futurama, Star Trek and at one point I even thought it was turning into Hamlet. Apparently this episode was supposed to be two seasons ago, but was held off. The delay was confirmed by writers Al Jean and David Mirkin as being considered as a plot of a possible Simpsons movie sequel. Oh dear God, no!!!

This ep has all the classic people involved: Al Jean, David Mirkin, David Silverman, Alf Clausen. Did they lose a bet where the loser has to pen the worst episode ever and make 10 million people suffer for it? I just don’t understand the motivation to write, animate or screen this utter pile of steaming excrement.

Let’s start at the beginning. We start with another look at Dizneeland, which was first seen in an episode called Old Money, waaaay back in season 2. Bart talks the family into trying out a new ride, and the family end up in Rigel Seven, the home planet of perennial Halloween favourites Kang and Kodos, who decide one of the Simpsons needs to be a sacrifice.

Basically, we’ve seen this all before in different guises. Amusement parks, check. Eating potato chips in space with the Blue Danube playing, check. Kang and Kodos wanting to eat humans, check. Complete and utter snorefest: check.

Don’t waste time watching this shit. Go outside and get some fresh air instead.

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The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 14,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

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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.

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