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

Archive for April, 2016

…if you get my diddly

Fland Canyon

Billboard: Mayor Quimby surrounded by female silhouettes. “Assistants wanted. Must be pretty and soft slapper. No dudes.”

Dad swears he’ll get his taxes in soon

Couch gag: A Disney inspired couch gag by Eric Goldberg… until Bart ruins it all.

Director: Michael Polcino

Synopsis: Ned wins a trip to the Grand Canyon and takes the Simpson family as well.

Discussion: This ep wins my heart with a Disney themed couch gag. After that, there’s actually a couple of funny jokes. I can see influences from early episodes, especially Bart and Homer’s fight with rattlesnakes and scorpions. OK, so the timeline is all wrong but hey, any excuse to bring back Maude.

What the episode lacks in plot it makes up for in visual jokes. It’s actually a refreshing change to see the story speak for itself instead of letting the characters explaining everything. The animation is also really well done; the beauty and expanse of both the Canyon and the Milky Way is nicely captured.

It’s another Ned-Homer bonding scenario which belongs up there with the best of them. It doesn’t do anything for the canon, it’s rather pointless and doesn’t continue any sort of story, but at least I don’t wanna stab my eyes with a rusty fork.

No one cares what the shuttle driver thinks

How Lisa Got Her Marge Back

Billboard: Kirk Van Houten holding up his jumper; “Punch me in the stomach for $5, cash only”

Never lose a bet to Bart Simpson (Skinner is writing)

Couch gag: The Simpsons wake up in space from their pods and Homer is only a skeleton.

Director: Bob Anderson

Guest Voice:
Andrew Rannells as himself

Synopsis: Marge admits she doesn’t like Lisa’s jazz playing. Meanwhile, Bart feels he has lost part of his identity when no one falls for his pranks.

Discussion: Firstly, what the hell are Archie characters doing there?!?

Secondly, yawn! How many episodes have we seen where someone finally admits they don’t like something another family member does and that family member tries to make things right? (Don’t answer that, it’s rhetorical.)

Annnd cue the flashback. Sigh.

This is just lazy writing and lazier execution. It’s like the writers have gathered all the thrown-out “jokes” and ideas deemed not good enough, sticky-taped them to a script and sent it to the voice actors. At one point, Lisa lets out a long sigh (when viewing the Broadway-style shows in Capital City); that’s exactly my sentiments when viewing this rubbish.

In the loooooooooooooooong history of the show, there are stellar episodes, terrible episodes and episodes like this: the absolute bottom of the barrel.

Never mind the terrible Marge-Lisa plot and the worse Bart-Maggie plotline, the Bad News Bears scene is possibly the most painful scene ever in any single episode of the show. Yikes! I just… ergh, just make it stop.

My personal recommendation is: instead of watching this episode, a more enjoyable experience would be to walk barefoot over red-hot coals then over a floor full of strewn Lego pieces.

Stop your Smithering

The Burns Cage

Billboard gag: Apu advertising Easter eggs. “They never go bad because they were never that good”.

If Villanova doesn’t win, we lose everything.

Couch gag: Homer types family emojis plus a couch on his smartphone, earning a reply “Meh. I don’t get it.”

Guest voice:
George Takei as himself

Director: Rob Oliver

Synopsis: When Smithers realises Mr Burns doesn’t return his affections, Homer finds Smithers a boyfriend. Springfield Elementary’s new production is Casablanca, starring Lisa as Ilsa.

Discussion: What, Smithers is gay?!? Colour me shocked!

Let me begin with a rant. Much of the humour with the Smithers/Burns relationship comes from a not-so-secret understanding of Smithers’ sexuality, such as his fantasy sequence of Mr Burns floating through the window or his copy of ‘It’s Raining Men’. Having Smithers officially come out is a “well duh!” moment plus it adds nothing to his character or the continuing narrative. The audience is well aware of Smithers’ affections towards Mr Burns even if Burns himself is completely in the dark. The producers have previously joked that Smithers is not gay, he’s Burns-sexual.

Having said that, the episode begins with Smithers singing a melancholy ditty about his unrequited love. It’s actually a really sad song which sums up everything perfectly. After this, there’s a few jokes which are actually amusing (whoda thunk it?) Annnd then the episode descends into Moe explaining a long-standing narrative point (“Yeah but Burns doesn’t dig Smithers!”) and Homer using the internet (or rather, a gay dating app) to find Smithers a boyfriend. This whole scene feels like the writers needed to explain what was about to happen because the audience is clearly stupid.

Comic Book Guy dressed as Hello Kitty, lol.

Sadly, there’s no actual motivation for this episode other than the writer wanted a gay-themed episode for his son’s benefit.

The B plot in this travesty is Lisa’s school production of Casablanca. Compared to the series’ other productions such as Planet of the Apes or A Streetcar Named Desire, this pales in comparison and the Bogart homages are just… weird.

The ep ends with Smithers and Milhouse in Moe’s Bar talking about the thrill of the chase, with Moe setting off to find gold a la The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.
Yep, more homage.

All in all, yet another disappointing entry into the Simpsons canon. Am I surprised? No. There’s a lot of good material here, wasted on substandard writing and retconning Smithers. Sure, it’s happened before, most notably with Principal Skinners being ousted as Armin Tamzarian… and look how that turned out: that ep is widely thought to be the point where the show jumped the shark.

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