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

Mathlete’s Feat

Couch gag: Rick and Morty crash into the Simpsons’ living room, killing them. They then attempt to revive the family.

Director: Michael Polcino

Guest Voice:
Justin Rolland as Rick and Morty

Synopsis: Springfield Elementary mathletes are coached by Willie to defeat reigning champions Waverly Heights.

Discussion: First of all, I have no idea who Rick and Morty are. Secondly, I suck at maths.

I had really high hopes for this episode. Maths jokes have long been part of The Simpsons so I was really hoping this ep would be smart, sophisticated and cater to the intelligentsia.

Not so. The ep takes a really long time to get to the point and while they’re distracting us with pointless technology and Homer singing proudly, there’s still no discernible climax when we actually get to the maths competition! It’s rather less clever than everyone was hoping, with a few random maths equations and Bart randomly solving a puzzle using Homer’s hair.

Sigh.

Al Jean promised last year that there would be a future episode featuring all the smartest maths jokes the writers could come up with. This is it? I was expecting maths jokes out the wazoo but all I could find was a sign: Math joke of the day: √-1 2^3 Σ π (I know it has something to do with pi/e…). There’s three potential stories presented here but all the audience is left with is a goddamn jug band to fill up the last 30 seconds. With the extended couch gag (which I also didn’t understand but saw a couple of Futurama references shoved in there) and the jug band finale, plus a disjointed lazy “plot”, I’m really wondering where the hilarity is.

On the bright side, there’s a looooooong wait til The Simpsons graces our screens once again.

Bull-E

Couch gag: Homer is a soccer goalie trying to fend off soccer balls.

Director: Lance Kramer

Guest Voices:
Johnny Mathis as himself
Albert Brooks as Dr Raufbold
Joe Mantegna as Fat Tony

Synopsis: When Bart is bullied at school, Marge outlaws bullying in Springfield. The Flanders boys try to see the good in Homer.

Discussion: Johnny Mathis as a guest star? Who the hell remembers Johnny Mathis?? And what’s with the Puberty Demon?

Anyhoo, Marge is on another crusade, this time to outlaw bullying in Springfield. Cue townspeople in various situations getting arrested under the new law interspersed with Homer annoying the Flandererses.

Yawn.

Albert Brooks returns to The Simpsons, this time as a doctor of some sort who hosts a group for bullies where they talk about their feelings and possible circumstances which led them to being a bully. Nothing is mentioned about the original bullies; Jimbo, Dolph and Kearney.

Yet again we’re rehashing old ground with no satisfying conclusion. Albert Brooks has had some cracker appearances on The Simpsons but here, he sounds tired and bored. Homer’s big epiphany that he hates Flanders because he’s better than Homer is hardly a surprise. It feels like the writers got to the table read, having not had an actual reason for the situation (over the past 28 years…) and someone’s dog farted out Scrabble letters spelling out “he’s better than me”. There are echoes of the opening scene from Wreck-It Ralph where the baddies sit around coming to terms with being the Bad Guy… but far less convincing let alone entertaining. For some filler right at the end, we have Otto’s hallucinations. Oh boy.

It’s a weak plot, weaker script and weaker still performance. The show is tired and way past its use-by date. This episode managed just 2.77 million viewers in the US; I imagine the numbers here in Australia will be abysmal (for comparison, our highest rating show of the year would attract about 2.5 million viewers).

Let’s Go Fly a Coot

Couch Gag: The Simpsons are penguins sitting on an ice couch. Walrus Homer tips the couch and eats the penguins.

Director: Chris Clements

Synopsis: Bart takes up smoking to impress Milhouse’s Dutch cousin while Homer discovers Grampa’s military past.

Discussion: Yet another sterling effort from The Simpsons. And by “sterling”, I mean I want to stab my eyes out with a rusty spoon and get that flashy thing from Men In Black so I forget I watched it.

What starts out as a satirical look at children’s birthday parties gone bonkers quickly descends into too-long scenes with no point and nonsensical dialogue such as “The best way to get to know each other is to share a rugged outdoor activity… We could walk to the theatre!” Yes, seriously.

The main plot about Grampa and Homer takes a while to get going, and even then it doesn’t make any sense. Grampa, who used to have such brilliant lines such as “I was wearing an onion on my belt, as was the fashion at the time…” is now relegated to pointless flashbacks and explaining everything we see on the screen. And I’m still not sure what the point is. Oh wait, the point seems to be doing a grand gesture to bang a chick. Whoa.

Anyway, that episode sucked liquid nicotine and I hear it’s the 4th least watched episode ever. Nice work.

The Kids Are All Fight

Billboard: Montgomery Burns in: The Jinx 2

I will not pay my sister to do my punishment (Lisa is writing on the board)

Couch gag: The Game of Life, chronicling Homer’s life.

Director: Bob Anderson

Synopsis: Homer has an roll of film developed, which has a bunch of photos of Lisa fighting with Bart.

Discussion: A long, long time ago in a Simpsons universe far, far away, lived Bart’s evil clown bed and babysitting at the Flanders’ place. Amongst these beloved memories lies this episode, which attempts to explain why Bart and Lisa fought so much but are now a muted alliance. Or something.

This episode doesn’t make any sense. It’s set “6 years ago” when Lisa was 2 and Bart was 4 and Homer had hair. It’s full of random sequences which don’t mean anything and aren’t part of any greater narrative, such as when Homer wanders in, announces their next kid should be called Maggie because it sounds good when you call it, and he wanders outside again, calling out “Maggie!” As you do.

Anyhoo, the ep feels like it’s trying to make a point, possibly invoking that awesome ep Lisa’s First Word, and failing miserably. By the time the ep finishes, there’s theme music from Seinfeld and Lisa pointing out we’ve had “three natural endings already!” This means a) the episode came up time short and they needed filler and b) the writers know the show is garbage and they, like the audience, have long stopped caring.

This morning, it was announced that The Simpsons has been renewed for another 2 seasons, making this blog at least another 44 posts long… But will someone just kill the show already??? It’s not that I don’t love this blog, because I do, but if the writers aren’t going to make any effort whatsoever to put some life back into this show, then what’s the point. Seriously.

Peeping Mom

Couch gag: Corn kernels pop to become the Simpsons. Homer is burnt.

Director: Mark Kirkland

Synopsis: Accused of stealing a bulldozer and denying it, Bart is followed by Marge. Meanwhile, Flanders adopts a puppy who becomes attached to Homer.

Discussion: You’d think that after ~28 years, Marge would have realised what Bart is capable of. Sadly not, and the audience is “treated” to 20 minutes of pointless wandering because let’s face it, we all know Bart stole the bulldozer. Marge following him does not add anything besides some hardcore helicopter parenting, which I’m pretty sure we’ve explored before.

Whilst Marge is following Bart, Ned Flanders adopts a puppy, teaches it a bunch of cutesy Christian mannerisms and lets Homer play with the puppy. The puppy prefers Homer… and that’s it. It was a pointless subplot but at least there was a cute puppy.

The main issues I have with this ep are:
1. It flits from scene to scene very quickly. There’s no sense of timing because Homer (for example) appears in one puppy scene and then the very next scene focusing on Bart and Marge.
2. The jokes are too long and weird e.g. Marge wanders into the Mapple store, hands her phone to someone in a blue shirt, who fiddles around with the phone and says he’s not an employee before taking off his shirt and waving it around. What?
3. The characters are extra stupid and/or deaf. Marge and Bart have the same conversation about a miilion times:
Marge: Did you steal the bulldozer?
Bart: No!
Marge: No, really, did you?
Bart: NO!

Rinse and repeat.
4. Why the fuck would Nelson think Marge was actually dead?
5. Leper’s Island. Seriously? I can fart out better scenes than this.

However, this fucking awful episode did get me thinking: Homer would really, really enjoy the paleo diet. With the utter garbage being churned out this season, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Powers That Be could fashion a whole episode around the concept (being yet another garbage episode, of course).

Tell me again why I’m bothering with this.

Waiting For Duffman

couch gag: The family are repeatedly sucked into a portal until Bart avoids being sucked up and closes the portal. He then finds Homer’s head detached from his body.

Director: Steven Dean Moore

Guest Voices:
Cat Deeley as herself
Stacy Keach as Howard K. Duff VII
R. Lee Emery as Colonel Leslie Hapablap

synopsis: when Duffman breaks a hip, the search is on to find a replacement.

Discussion: Homer adds yet another job to his resume when he is crowned the new Duffman, but is disappointed when he’s told he’s not allowed to drink Duff.

Yawn. The premise is a good one, but the story is sadly lacking. Homer as Duffman has soooo much potential but it’s as if the writers went on an extended holiday moments after thinking up the premise. Ah, the script will write itself… and then a team of three month old baby monkeys rocked up and started bashing on typewriters and came up with this script.

The “story” doesn’t go anywhere, doesn’t add anything to either the the episode or the series, and by the 10 minute mark, I just wanted it to be over. There’s some weird anti-message about drinking alcohol, but the message is wonky and unclear. It’s a filler episode to draw out the eventual death of a once-great series.

Sky Police

Director: Rob Oliver

Guest Voice:
Nathan Fielder as himself

Synopsis: The congregation turn to counting cards in a casino to fix the church when Chief Wiggum crashes a jetpack into it.

Discussion: What. The. Hell.

We start straight into the “action”, watching Wiggum take possession of a jetpack, sing a cute little song and 60 seconds later, crash it into the church, never to be mentioned again (well, not until the final minute or so). Apart from that, the episode centres on the congregation of the Springfield church counting cards to raise money to rebuild. Yawn.

Not only is the episode lacking in plot, it’s completely lacking in originality. The church has been rebuilt and changed hands and needed money countless times before and all with much better episodes. Quite frankly, counting cards is a stupidly boring waste of my time to rebuild a church. There’s some discussion about the relevance of God and religion but instead of exploring that (which, by the way, they’ve also done before with better results), they’ve gone for brushing over it and leaving the episode completely heartless and a total snore fest. It does not make any sense whatsoever, including the sex fantasies of Rev and Mrs Lovejoy, Ewww.

Also this week, we lost one of the creators and developers of the show: Sam Simon. Despite leaving the show in the early 90s, he continued to collect royalties, which he donated to a bunch of charities even before he discovered he had terminal cancer. A genuinely nice bloke (according to all sources) and a real shame to lose such a talented person.

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.

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