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Posts tagged ‘Jon Lovitz’

Weeeeeeeeee I’m sorta rich



Global warming did not eat my homework

Couch gag: Homer goes through the process of evolution, beginning from a unicellular organism to his present-day self. After the 1 min 30 seconds sequence, Homer plops himself on the couch and Marge asks him why he took so long.

Director: Matthew Nastuk

Guest voices:
Betty White as herself
Jon Lovitz as Enrico Irritazio
JK Simmons as the tabloid editor

Synopsis: Whilst recreating family photos, Homer snaps a celebrity in a compromising situation, leading to a new career being a paparazzo.

Discussion: Homer has yet another career, this time as a paparazzo. Homer has had contact with a lot of celebrities yet he’s kinda turned on them, prodding them into situations which can earn him a small fortune from a tabloid.

This ep has the foundation of a good episode, but never quite pulls it off. From the title, I already guessed the ep was about paparazzi but from the first few minutes, I was hoping it would be another ep about Homer’s health (my fave ep of all time is ‘Homer’s Triple Bypass‘ from season 4). Maybe the two concepts could have been meshed together with Homer is hospital and reporting the plastic surgery of Springfield’s rich and famous?

There are still plenty of celebs to be seen, only a few of which have speaking parts. That’s still OK, the visual humour is the main thing although it’s only outside a dry cleaning store. Jon Lovitz makes his ninth appearance on the show, this time as a fellow paparazzi promising to take compromising photos of Homer. I just don’t get that part- it’s completely nonsensical without the usual social commentary otherwise seen in the ep (By that I mean the constant fight between the paps and celebs). Enrico Irritazio doesn’t add anything to the episode although he’s a lot less annoying than other Jon Lovitz characters. It may work in the small town of Springfield where everyone knows Homer, but translated into a real-world scenario doesn’t work and doesn’t have that associated humour either.

I must mention fellow Australian Kylie Minogue, whose song ‘Can’t Get You Out of My Head‘ features in the episode. Always great to see Aussies doing well on the international stage and to have a song played prominently within a Simpsons episode is a fantastic showcase of Kylie’s talent.

Overall, it’s a good commentary on the culture of celebrity and how the public eat up whatever gossip they can get. The execution of the episode leaves room to improve but I’m happy to give it a slighty-above-average rating.

I’m the fat one


The Ziff Who Came to Dinner

I will not speculate on how hot teacher used to be

Couch gag: The view zooms out to show the house, neighbourhood, country, Earth, solar system, galaxy, galaxies, molecules, DNA structures and finally reveals a spot on Homer’s head.

Director: Nancy Kruse

Guest Voice:
Jon Lovitz as Artie Ziff (and others)

Synopsis: Homer takes the kids to see a scary movie and when they can’t sleep that night, they find Artie Ziff living in the attic. Artie’s company has folded and not only is he broke, he’s also in deep trouble with the government.

Discussion: Finally, an episode with a real plot! A really weird one, but a plot nonetheless. Somehow, Marge’s old boyfriend Artie Ziff has been living in the Simpsons’ attic and has escaped detection… until the Simpsons kids can’t sleep and stake out the attic to find those scary noises. My only question about this premise is: if the scary movie affected the Simpsons kids so much, what happened to the Flanders kids? I wanna see them freaking out. Maybe they should have heard the scary noises and staked out their attic to find Artie Ziff trying to get closer to Marge…

Anyhoo, Artie Ziff is in the attic. His company has gone bust and he’s sucking the moisture out of the support beams. Blah blah blah, he’s in trouble with the law, Homer takes majority ownership of the company in a game of poker, and is sent to jail. Ziff gets a bit too friendly with Selma (eww), and ultimately takes his rightful place in jail, setting Homer free. Ta da!

I liked this episode, despite the silliness of it all. I liked that the action was fast paced, it didn’t slow down and Lisa’s Blair Witch moment in the attic was priceless. The ep is rounded off nicely with a strange love affair between Selma and Ziff- who saw that coming? Maybe that could be explored more in a future episode (we’re beyond the looking glass here, people. I haven’t seen many eps from here on in). But when the ep was over, I kept asking myself, what happened to the Flanders kids after they went to bed?

This is so like our lives


Half-Decent Proposal

I will not bite the hand that feeds me Butterfingers

Couch gag: Removalists take the couch and Homer cries.

Director: Lauren MacMullan

Guest Voice:
Jon Lovitz as Artie Ziff

Synopsis: Marge reconnects with high school boyfriend, Artie Ziff, who promises a million dollars to spend a weekend with her.

Discussion: Hands up if you have a partner who snores. Hmm, lots of you eh. Well, here’s the solution: stay at your sister’s house and drunkenly email your old boyfriend, who is now richer than a weather girl and still in love with you. What can go wrong?

Homer is a chronic snorer, but the operation is very expensive. Why else would Marge agree to the million dollar weekend? I’m not sure I totally buy that premise but since I can’t think of a better one, let’s just go with it. You may remember Artie Ziff from season 2, where we learned the back story of Homer and Marge and their disastrous prom night. He’s back in this episode, voiced again by the delightful Jon Lovitz (Artie appeared in season 4, but Lovitz was unavailable so Dan Castellaneta filled in).

This is a great ep. It was criticised for rehashing old themes, but do these critics realise that half the eps from season 10 onwards are rehashed old stuff? Come on! Besides, this is actually funny and sweet and poignant and full of unexpected moments… such as Lenny’s admission of carving Mt Carlson for his “friend” Carl (nudge nudge wink wink). Marge sticks to her guns and refuses Artie’s advances, even with the promise of a million dollars and a solution to Homie’s snoring problem.

There are several highlights here: Patty and Selma’s fave show Nookie in New York, every scene with Artie, Lenny’s obsession with Carl and Artie’s snoring machine where he sings “I am watching you through this camera!” Hilarious!

It’s not hard being a film cricket

A Star is Burns

couch gag: Family are reversed sizes, with Maggie being the biggest and Homer the smallest

Director: Susie Dietter

Guest voices:
Jon Lovitz as Jay Sherman
Phil Hartman as Charlton Heston

Synopsis: When Springfield is voted worst for pretty much everything, Marge announces her idea for a film festival, where the residents can submit their own short films. 

Discussion: Australia was a bit behind the times in the mid 90s. Pay TV was only just starting to gain momentum (federal law actually prevented pay TV from being developed, under pressure from the media moguls who ran the country… but that’s another story) so all references to a crossover episode featuring Jay Sherman’s The Critic were completely lost on most Aussie audiences, including me. The Critic was shown on pay TV in the early 2000s but by then, any controversy surrounding this episode was long forgotten. 

You see, apparently there was a lot of controversy surrounding this episode. Reportedly, Matt Groening himself hated the idea and insisted his name be removed from the opening credits. You know it’s bad when the creator of the show doesn’t want to be associated with it. 

Anyhoo, this is a standalone episode and it’s not bad. Jon Lovitz plays yet another arrogant, self-absorbed character (which probably spelled the end for the very short-lived spinoff, The Critic) who comes to Springfield to judge short films for the town’s festival. 

There are some great moments. The films are, predictably, very Springfieldian. Apu shows a film about being held up in the Kwik-E-Mart, Moe’s singing & dancing ad for his tavern, Hans Moleman almost takes the festival’s prize with his short film about a man getting hit in the groin with a football, Bart’s home movie about Homer pulling on a pair of pants, Barney shows his struggles as an alcoholic and Mr Burns tries to increase his popularity by showing a self-indulgent flick about how wonderful he is. This is the cue for the episode’s title… but it doesn’t really fit other than an obvious play on A Star is Born

Overall, without even knowing there was a spinoff show and only reading about it later, this is a very good episode. It definitely stands alone and holds similar themes as the monorail episode. Unfortunately, I think the controversy has shifted focus from the merits of this ep. 

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