Couch gag: The Simpsons are various Japanese anime characters
Director: Bob Anderson
Synopsis: Lisa and Mr Burns are in media competition.
Discussion: Although this episode is full of great one liners, it’s instantly forgettable. Mr Burns is a modern Randolph Hurst, taking over all the local media in order to control “free” speech and silence opponents. Comparisons to Rupert Murdoch abound, including a moment where Smithers and Burns concede that no one can control the world’s media, except for Murdoch. As an aside, in this year’s Australian federal election, Murdoch-owned media tried to oust reigning PM Kevin Rudd in favour of his opponent, Tony Abbott. It was a brash move, one that many people did not agree with and opening debates into journalism ethics. The government would have been voted out anyway… But I digress.
Burns vs Lisa. It’s happened before, but this time it’s personal. Well, it turns personal, with Mr Burns projecting lasers on the Moon depicting Lisa kissing Milhouse (“Way to go, Moon Milhouse!”) In the end, Lisa gives up only to find that pretty much all of Springfield have published their own papers.
And speaking of things that have happened before… Lisa’s Red Dress Press feels very similar to Kidz Newz, even with Nelson helping her out on each project. The lowlight of the episode is the scene where Mr Burns is suckling a mole… Ewww.
So, again, it’s an uninteresting episode with loads of deja vu. Instantly (and thankfully) forgettable, and so long to season 15. I’m beginning to think I’m a glutton for punishment, committing to watch every episode…
Children of a Lesser Clod
Today is not Mothra’s Day
Couch gag: The family are crash test dummies who are thrust into the TV set
Director: Mike Polcino
Synopsis: Homer starts a day care centre after injuring his knee. Bart and Lisa feel Homer is neglecting his own children and plot to sabotage his Good Guy award.
Discussion: Although this episode follows a plot (which is more than I can say for most of seasons 9-12), I’m still thinking, “What the hell?”
During free classes at the local YMCA, Homer tries basketball and injures his knee. The ep takes a while to get to the point and when it does, it still feels like it’s missing something. A point, maybe? It feels like an afterthought that Lisa and Bart are neglected while Homer cares for other kids, although anything they decide to do together usually ends up succeeding, and here is no different.
The two best parts about the ep are: Ned going to a “Christian rock concert” which is actually a Chris Rock concert, and Arnie Pie-in-the-Sky chucking a tantrum because just once, he wants to be the news instead of just reporting the news. Fair enough, I suppose.
Anyhoo, this ep falls flat but unfortunately, this is entirely expected. It’s rare now to find an episode that pushes all the right buttons. One of the aims of this blog was to find out where Simpsons went wrong; I can see (using the power of hindsight) that it was probably season 9’s ‘Principal and the Pauper’- the series never really recovered. Oh well, one more ep of season 12 and we’ll see what delights season 13 brings.
The Computer Wore Menace Shoes
I will only provide a urine sample when asked
Couch gag: Santa’s Little Helper is dancing on his hind legs, but stops when the family see him
Director: Mark Kirkland
Patrick McGoohan as Number Six
Synopsis: Homer receives a journalism award for his work as Mr X, a blogger on the internet. Homer is then transported to a secret island for people who know too much.
Discussion: forget what I said about yesterday’s episode being the worst one… I think this is worse. Everything about the ep is a parody of movies, which I get, but these films are so old that on first airing of this ep, they were completely lost on me. So yes, I do think this biased my future opinion of this ep. However now that I know the originals, this ep is still shit.
Poking fun at the internet, which was still a growing entity back in 2000, Homer makes a webpage and gossips about Springfield’s residents. He’s done it before, only this time he’s rewarded for it. I’m cool with this.
The island- well, come on! The whole premise is just stupid, and what’s with the koala behind the Dame Edna mask? I just don’t buy it and it’s right up there with the most ridiculous plot lines ever.
couch gag: A hand spins the scene, leaving the picture blurred
Director: Mark Kirkland
First appearance of:
Crazy Cat Lady
Synopsis: Lisa anchors a kids’ news show and is jealous when Bart’s human interest stories are popular, so she exacts revenge. Meanwhile, Homer gets a helper monkey.
Discussion: There are many layers to this episode. Superficially, it’s Lisa vs Bart at a news desk where they try to outshine each other. And Homer has a helper monkey because he’s lazy.
There’s also the parody of the Chocobot Hour, where the show has become the advertising. Australia was heading this way before legislation banned it, and indeed, has banned junk food advertising in children’s programming altogether. However, established brands such as Barbie have been making movies for some time, which negates the legislation and is allowed to be shown. After watching the latest Barbie-is-a-princess movie, you can rush out and buy the doll. Not sure she comes with a chocolate bar though…
Then there’s the journalism angle. Regular readers will know that I’m doing a Communications degree and studying many journalism units (although that’s not my major). Lisa’s integrity to bring “real news” to the masses is a noble one. But do kids really care about chalk shortages? (Well, not anymore since schools switched to whiteboards!) Turns out kids identify with human interest stories… well, sort of. The popularity of Bart’s People is measured by the mail he receives from people wanting to be on the segment, rather than fan mail. Anyhoo, Bart is popular and Lisa’s hard news isn’t. As for Milhouse’s “Newz You Can Uze”, which deals with getting rid of the evidence that you’ve wet the bed, well, he’s right. It is news you can use and seems to be a popular real-life form of news. Put a different spin on the news, have it read by a panel of comedians and suddenly people will want to watch. I do have a bit of a rant about the sheer amount of news saturation, but this really isn’t the place for that 🙂
Lastly, this is a good episode. Homer gets a helper monkey. What can be better than that?