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Archive for March, 2016

A word before you finish parenting

The Marge-ian Chronicles

Director: Chris Clements

Guest Voices:
Jon Wurster as Barry
Tom Scharpling as Paul

Synopsis:

Discussion: This week’s ep starts with Flanders having chickens while Homer and Bart steal their eggs. It’s not actually a bad start. I had high hopes, based purely on this start. But before too long, it descends into what we’ve come to expect from latter-season Simpsons: lame jokes and characters explaining what they’re doing.

Somehow this leads to Lisa volunteering to be on a mission to Mars. Now, I’m a big space nerd and I looooooove everything about Mars. I was hoping Matt Damon would be a guest voice… but that’s not to be. Oh well.

Anyhoo, Lisa’s going to Mars. Marge follows Homer’s parenting/relationship advice, which inevitably leads to adventures only a dysfunctional family could endure.

It’s not actually too bad. I really like the idea. I like the mind-fuck each family member lures each other into. It’s not fully explored, and there’s a lot of times when they all explain exactly the joke or situation, but it’s still not a bad romp. It’s not very often we see the family being together anymore, and what better place than a Martian training camp to bring out some cabin fever?

This ep feels like it’s had a lot of thought about it. The dialogue could be tighter, however the angry exchange between Lisa and Marge contains a few crackers which made me smile (close enough to laugh-out-loud). Although far from a quality episode, it’s a lot closer than I care to remember. At the heart is the mother-daughter relationship, which Lisa and Marge haven’t really explored in a really long time. It’s also a near-satirical look at the interplay between stubborn family members and how even a small problem can turn into a situation no one is prepared for.

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Lisa the Veterinarian

Couch gag: The couch fantasises about the TV… wink wink nudge nudge.

Director: Dan Vebber

Guest voices:
Michael York as Dr Budgie

Synopsis: After saving a raccoon at the pool, Lisa decides to become a vet.

Discussion: While it was interesting to see Springfield’s men rolling naked in the snow, it added nothing to the story. And Nelson lamenting that Lisa’s “first”  kiss was with a raccoon? Excuse me, I do believe Lisa and Nelson have kissed. Just sayin’.

Cue random scene where Wiggum offers Marge a job as a crime scene cleaner. Huh?

Interested in taking care of animals, Lisa becomes an intern at a vet’s office where her first duty is re-stinking Barney’s pet ferret. Pay attention, this is cutting edge stuff. Sure, Lisa being a vet is a natural progression, and I’m surprised this hasn’t been explored earlier, but Lisa walking around lamenting that her job isn’t that exciting is boring for the rest of us as well.

Her mentor, Dr Budgie, seems like he should have a secret. #spoileralert, he’s just as boring as he appears.

In fact, this whole episode is just as stupid as it first appears. Marge has a job, Lisa likes animals… Yawn.

I also feel like Nelson’s part was originally much bigger and better, but cut for whatever reason. Right now it appears Nelson’s just wandering through each scene with a seemed-witty-to-the-writers remark and disappears again, ready too wander through the next scene in his rented underwear.

Finally, there’s an epiphany from Marge and Lisa, a big hug, and a montage of Nibbles the hamster. Aww.

 

 

I can’t die now, I actually did my homework

Gal of Constant Sorrow

Couch gag: The Simpsons are recreating a football game.

Director:
Matthew Nastuk

Guest voices:
Kelsey Grammar as Sideshow Bob
Bob Boilen as himself
Kate McKinnon as Hettie
Natalie Maines as Hettie’s singing voice

Synopsis: Bart takes in a homeless woman while Homer attempts to rescue Snowball II from inside the walls.

Discussion: We start with Homer and Marge, then Homer and Lisa, thoroughly explaining what’s going on before a bunch of scenes that don’t make sense. One minute Homer is fixing a loose tile, the next minute, the cat is locked inside a wall. Similarly, one minute Bart is housing Hettie, the next, it’s three weeks later and she owes Bart money.

Forgetting the basics of story-telling narrative, I feel the character of Hettie is underused. The story is supposed to be about helping the world see more than a bedraggled singer, but gets stuck in drudgery. For example, Lisa is trying to convince Mr Largo to help put on a concert, but Mr Largo winds up admitting his love for music has died. What? Predictably, Lisa and the town are let down by Hettie’s admission of being a drug addict and not showing up to the concert.

…And Homer is still chasing the animals inside the wall.

Providing Hettie’s singing voice is the lead singer from the Dixie Chicks. Her voice is indeed really lovely, but doesn’t suit the character or the songs she’s singing. Maybe it’s a satire of Susan Boyle? In any case, there’s probably a very sweet moral to the story, but I didn’t see it. This episode is another disjointed effort from a lacklustre team.

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