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Archive for October, 2014

Even I forget what this is a reference to

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.

I was about to become a million dollar crotch model

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.

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