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

The Great Phatsby

Director: Chris Clements and Timothy Bailey

Guest Voices:
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

Guest Voices:
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

Guest Voices:
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.

Damn you, surface tension!

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.

Dad Behavior

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.

Guest Voices:
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.

Guest Voices:
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.

There Will Be Buds

Director:Matthew Vaughan

Synopsis: Milhouse’s dad clings to Homer’s friendship.

Discussion: This ep skips the intro and head straight into the “story”. Homer is forced into a friendship with the town loser, Kirk van Houten. It reeks of the Homer-Ned friendship episode, but way more lame. Homer doesn’t want to be friends with the weirdo. That’s it.

I honestly don’t know what to say about this episode. It wasn’t bad per se, just boring as hell. Or as the cool kids say, shit af. The highlight is Homer and Kirk’s Bro song, which garnered a giggle or two.

On the upside, it was one of the more rounded plots seen in recent years, so I can’t complain about that. Sure, it didn’t contain any depth or layers that are discovered with each viewing, but considering some of the tripe the writers have been dishing up for the past ten years, this is a definite pass mark.

 

Intimate but heterosexual

Trust But Clarify

Billboard: Beware Rigged Voting Machines

The first episode of the second 600

Couch gag: Homer sees his family and world as cubist art.

Guest voices:
Dan Rather as himself

Director: Michael Polcino

Synopsis:
Kent Brockman is fired after admitting he didn’t do any of the things he claimed to do. Homer is jealous that someone else got a promotion. Bart and Lisa investigate the new candy by Krusty.

Discussion: The beauty of South Park is that they have a turnaround of two weeks, so whatever is happening in the world can be made into a brand new episode in a fortnight. With The Simpsons, the turnaround is about six months. Even so, the jokes are so old I rode them to school before dinosaurs were invented. I did notice a small insert where late late late late night talk show host Jimmy Jimmy tousled Brockman’s hair…

Kent Brockman is hard on his luck after admitting he hasn’t done anything he’s said he’s done, like the killing of bin Laden. Lisa and Bart are investigating the latest Krusty candy and trying to enlist Kent to get somewhere. Meanwhile, in a deja vu moment of Marge buying a Chanel suit, Homer buys a new suit to emulate the guy who got the promotion over him to impress Mr Burns.

This episode was written by regular voice actor, Harry Shearer. You’d think someone involved with the show would know what a decent episode entails, and write to their strengths. Instead, this is a mish-mosh piece of garbage that left me scratching my head as to what was actually going on. This episode had no plot whatsoever, instead just throwing characters around with no conclusion. There’s potential for some really interesting stories and scandals involving Krusty and his new candy, but instead it’s waylaid by Kent taking back his old job for no reason other than the episode was finished.

There’s really nothing to like here. The episode was too short, none of the three plots were satisfying in any way and the cultural references were way behind the times.

It’s a particularly weak effort in all aspects.

 

 

 

 

Treehouse of Horror XXVII

Director: Steven Dean Moore

Guest Voices:
Kelsey Grammer as Sideshow Bob
Drew Carey as himself
Sarah Silverman as Rachel
Donald Fagen as himself
Judith Owen as 600 singer

Synopsis: The Simpsons’ annual Halloween episode. Also their 600th episode!

Discussion:
Planet of the VR couches: The past three episodes have featured VR glasses… Just sayin’.

Dry Hard: When a drought hits Springfield, Mr Burns organises a Hunger Games style battle where the winner has a day of aquatic fun. This segment is worth it just to see Mr Burns’ homage to Flashdance. I actually quite enjoyed this segment even though I loathe the source material.

BFF RIP: Lisa’s best friends die and she blames the deaths on her imaginary friend, Rachel. It’s predictable and not terribly good, but Homer’s imaginary friend Sgt Sausage is pretty funny.

Moefinger: Moe turns out to be a spy and needs Bart to avenge Homer’s death. I like that the ol’ Love Tester is seen. However, the rest of the segment is pretty stupid.

At the end of the ep, there’s a Bond-inspired song in tribute to the 600th episode. They say in hell, they make you watch all the episodes back to back.

 

The Town

Director: Rob Oliver

Guest Voices:
 Bill Burr as Townie
Michael Chiklis as Handsome Quarterback
Rachel Dratch as Bostonian Doctor
Doris Kearns Goodwin as herself
Dana Gould as Murphy

Synopsis: Something about a football game and Bart barracking for a Boston team.

Discussion: …Really?

The premise of this episode is hate: Homer takes the family on a hate-cation to show them the worst the city has to offer. It’s brilliant in that this episode also shows the worst the series has to offer. What terrific irony!

This ep is full of insults and offensive phrases, some of which aren’t even intentional. I’m not sure what this episode is about other than to make fun of the Bostonian accent. I’m sure there’s a deeper meaning hidden in here, but I’m having trouble isolating it. Ultimately, it’s just another Simpsons family outing which doesn’t make sense.

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