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

Posts tagged ‘jump the shark’

I’m asking because I’m supposed to care about stuff

Sky Police

Director: Rob Oliver

Guest Voice:
Nathan Fielder as himself

Synopsis: The congregation turn to counting cards in a casino to fix the church when Chief Wiggum crashes a jetpack into it.

Discussion: What. The. Hell.

We start straight into the “action”, watching Wiggum take possession of a jetpack, sing a cute little song and 60 seconds later, crash it into the church, never to be mentioned again (well, not until the final minute or so). Apart from that, the episode centres on the congregation of the Springfield church counting cards to raise money to rebuild. Yawn.

Not only is the episode lacking in plot, it’s completely lacking in originality. The church has been rebuilt and changed hands and needed money countless times before and all with much better episodes. Quite frankly, counting cards is a stupidly boring waste of my time to rebuild a church. There’s some discussion about the relevance of God and religion but instead of exploring that (which, by the way, they’ve also done before with better results), they’ve gone for brushing over it and leaving the episode completely heartless and a total snore fest. It does not make any sense whatsoever, including the sex fantasies of Rev and Mrs Lovejoy, Ewww.

Also this week, we lost one of the creators and developers of the show: Sam Simon. Despite leaving the show in the early 90s, he continued to collect royalties, which he donated to a bunch of charities even before he discovered he had terminal cancer. A genuinely nice bloke (according to all sources) and a real shame to lose such a talented person.

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When I was a young car, I didn’t sit around smiling

My Fare Lady

Pixel Art is not real art (entire opening sequence is pixellated in the style of an old video game)

Couch gag: A selection of classic Simpsons moments in the style of popular old video games.

Director: Michael Polcino

Guest Voices:
Christopher Lloyd as Jim

Synopsis: Marge becomes a chauffeur and Moe takes a job at the power plant.

Discussion: What’s with the retro feel? Not only does the opening sequence resemble old school video games, we open the episode with Homer dreaming the opening sequence to The Jetsons and then Marge is printing using a 9 dot printer. What’s going on?? I’m wondering if this is an example of a fan’s theory that Homer is dreaming the entire series, having not woken from his coma…?

Another mish mash of ideas which, in fully fleshed out form, could be a half decent story. Unfortunately this is another ep where it looks like the writers have rescued torn ideas from the bottom of the dumpster and tried to resurrect half-baked stories into something that resembles entertainment.

Moe’s storyline would benefit from Joan Rivers as Laney Fontaine, although I think even Joan had higher standards than voicing a character in a dead series (besides, she might have already been dead when this ep was being produced).

Meanwhile, Marge becomes a glorified taxi driver. She’s selling herself as a chauffeur, but one wonders how Nelson and Shauna can afford such a service, and why all the characters tell their secrets a la Taxicab Confessions.

I’m not sure what Homer is doing in this episode, nor Bart, who does not utter a single word. Eventually both Moe and Marge agree to go back to their old jobs and everything goes back to normal. Yawn. This ep, like every ep from the past 5 seasons, completely lacks imagination. It’s tired, retreading old ground, uninspiring and boring as all hell. It’s a wonder the voice actors bother turning up to work every day, considering the rubbish they’re expected to say.

Smallpox free for 7 years

Walking Big & Tall

Couch gag: The Simpsons are on a sushi plate; everyone except Homer is picked off. Homer falls backwards and is eaten by a fish.

Director: Chris Clements

Guest Voices:
Pharrell Williams as himself
Kevin Michael Richardson as Albert

Synopsis: Homer joins a club celebrating obesity.

Discussion: Remember the days when The Simpsons started with a storyline which segued into another? Or when the show had two actual plots? I don’t know which one this episode tried to be, but it turned out to be neither.

Having noticed that Springfield’s anthem is stolen, Lisa and Bart write another one (which is utter rubbish) and then Homer joins a club which celebrates the members’ obesity. I don’t get it. I remember other, better episodes where Homer was proud of his weight (like reaching 300lb to qualify for disability), but this one… well, it doesn’t go anywhere. Homer explains everything, which is fine if you’re blind and can’t see the “jokes”, or are partially deaf and missed the “joke” the first time around. But for the rest of us, it’s a complete waste of time and effort. And what was that thing with Bart as Robocop with Milhouse in his stomach??

Can’t really say much about this episode. It’s just another terrible waste of a once-good show.

Smell the Musk, Feel the Burns

The Musk Who Fell to Earth

Director: Matthew Nastuk

Guest Voice:
Elon Musk as himself

Synopsis: Seeking intellectual stimulation and new ideas, Elon Musk lands in Springfield and helps turn the power plant into an environmentally conscious entity.

Discussion: This is how I imagine this episode was created…
Producer: We need a guest star, someone famous but not necessarily popular.
Producer 2: Hmm, I know! Elon Musk!
Producer: Brilliant! I’ll call him now! Hi… Elon? Wanna be on The Simpsons? Yeah? Woo hoo!
Producer 2: This will be great!
**Six Months Later**
Producer: OK, Elon is in the studio ready to record his lines. Oh shit, we still need a script!
Producer 2: I found some ideas in the mess hall. They’re leftover ideas from that Lady Gaga ep we did, they’ve had coffee spilled on them and a dog shit on them, but they’re still good to go.

This episode makes no sense. There’s plenty of “jokes” (and I use the term loosely) about Musk’s egotism and intellect, but if you try to think about the “plot”, you’ll get wrinkles (again, “plot” is a very loose term).

There’s nothing remotely good about this ep. I’d give it a negative score if I could. Oh hell, it’s my blog, I can do what I like. This episode gets a MINUS FIVE, and that’s plus one point for effort. It feels a lot like the Lady Gaga episode: a random famous person rocks up in Springfield, tries to fit in and then leaves without making any sort of difference whatsoever. Instead of having a genuinely fantastic idea, Musk elongates Homer’s weird ramblings into technobabble nonsense that never goes anywhere, and Mr Burns hates him for it.

The ep is more disjointed than usual, with the first 10 minutes being boring as hell. Seriously guys, kill the show now. In fact, go back in time ten years and kill it then.

Start this thing, I’m not impressed

The Man Who Came to be Dinner

Couch gag: The Simpsons are in an art gallery viewing portraits of themselves. Homer picks up a remote control, changing all the pictures to TV screens.

Director: David Silverman

Synopsis: During a trip to an amusement park, the Simpsons are transported to the home planet of Kang and Kodos.

Discussion: …I really don’t know how to start with this one. In the canon of The Simpsons, it just gets more and more weird, while being less and less entertaining.

This episode doesn’t know what it’s doing. It’s trying to be half a dozen things at once: another Futurama, Star Trek and at one point I even thought it was turning into Hamlet. Apparently this episode was supposed to be two seasons ago, but was held off. The delay was confirmed by writers Al Jean and David Mirkin as being considered as a plot of a possible Simpsons movie sequel. Oh dear God, no!!!

This ep has all the classic people involved: Al Jean, David Mirkin, David Silverman, Alf Clausen. Did they lose a bet where the loser has to pen the worst episode ever and make 10 million people suffer for it? I just don’t understand the motivation to write, animate or screen this utter pile of steaming excrement.

Let’s start at the beginning. We start with another look at Dizneeland, which was first seen in an episode called Old Money, waaaay back in season 2. Bart talks the family into trying out a new ride, and the family end up in Rigel Seven, the home planet of perennial Halloween favourites Kang and Kodos, who decide one of the Simpsons needs to be a sacrifice.

Basically, we’ve seen this all before in different guises. Amusement parks, check. Eating potato chips in space with the Blue Danube playing, check. Kang and Kodos wanting to eat humans, check. Complete and utter snorefest: check.

Don’t waste time watching this shit. Go outside and get some fresh air instead.

You call that a testicle kick?

Covercraft

couch gag: The family wander in, all looking at their cell phones and walk into each other.

Director: Steven Dean Moore

Guest Voices:
Sammy Hagar as himself
Will Forte as King Toot

Synopsis: Homer, Apu, Dr Hibbert, Kirk and Rev Lovejoy form a cover band but Apu is offered the chance to tour with a famous rock group.

Discussion: I’m glad there was one reference to the Be Sharps, but if you blink, you’ll miss it. Otherwise, it seems like everyone has forgotten about Homer’s previous two bands: The Be Sharps and Sadgasm.

So why does this episode suck?

Firstly, it contributes nothing to the continuity of The Simpsons, mainly because everyone has forgotten that Homer is a singer. Secondly, there is no point whatsoever to the episode: Homer and some dads form a band and then ruin Apu’s chance at worldwide fame and fortune. Except, it’s done as an afterthought because someone clearly thought another band ep was a good idea, but had nowhere to go with it. There’s a minute where Homer refers to everyone as Yoko, but that’s about the extent of the conflict. I’m pretty sure my unborn child can think of a better narrative to this ep.

What if Homer became the famous lead singer? Sure, it’d be a flashback to his good old days travelling with Lollapalooza, but at least there’s some point to it. The characters here are mindlessly wandering around explaining things to the (bored) audience while putting very little effort into anything they do (much like last week’s pathetic ‘Blazed and Confused’).

There is nothing remotely memorable about this episode. I take notes, and write down possible quotes to use as blog titles. My page is blank except for the title of the blog (i.e. the only interesting quote in the entire ep) and what happened in the couch gag (equally unmemorable).

It’s totally pointless episodes like this one that make me mourn the good old days. I would even prefer to hear some more Sadgasm than be subjected to this shit again. It’s beyond shit. It’s the bacteria that feed off shit.

Seriously people, I beg you. Kill The Simpsons. It’s so far beyond embarrassing now.

It doesn’t make me pee my pants

Blazed and Confused

Couch gag: The couch is a chair lift. The family return, everyone’s injured except Maggie.

Director: Rob Oliver

Guest Voices:
Willem Dafoe as Jack Lassen
Kelsey Grammer as Sideshow Bob

Synopsis: Bart has a new teacher and vows to make his life hell.

Discussion: Welcome to another steaming pile of excrement from The Simpsons. I don’t know how low they can possibly go with this show, but this comes pretty close. My major problem with this episode is the high levels of exposition, where every character explains to the audience exactly what is going on, just in case you’re blazed and confused yourself.

Apart from that, the other problems contained within the episode are the terrible writing, awful execution and complete lack of coherence. Are the writers having some sort of competition to see just how bad they can get each episode?

Let’s start at the beginning. Bart’s class gets a new teacher. It’s a brilliant idea since the late, great Marcia Wallace left us over a year ago. Cue someone with an instantly recognisable voice and matching personality: Willem Dafoe. His voice work can be incredible e.g. Finding Nemo. Here, he’s given stupid lines and practically no screen time during the entire second half of the show bar a few moments at the end where he inexplicably meets up with Sideshow Bob. OK, so bringing in a fantastic actor as a new teacher is a great idea. The execution sucks hairy monkey balls. This is a brilliant opportunity for Bart to pull out the big guns and play every prank on this newbie, yet all he can come up with is a literal skeleton in the closet. Bart then goes on to explain all the minute details of his upcoming plans to the viewer, because apparently we’re brain dead children who can’t read Flame Retardant on the side of a canister.

Then there’s some shit about Homer forgetting to make a camping reservation, Marge drinking some weird tea (I can only speculate the writers were drinking the same tea when writing this episode) and Lisa hanging out with desert weirdos (including a cameo by David Silverman- did they bribe him to come back to this shadow of a show?). Bart’s grand plan, predictable from the start, works a charm and no one cares. Boo frigging hoo.

It’s poorly done episodes like this that I want to see fan fiction made. You’ve got a good, solid premise with nothing to back it up. I bet fans of the show (if there are any left) can come up with some wickedly funny scripts that bust this shit out of the water. How about allowing fans to write for the show? You know it makes sense.

My ass is about to project something

Simpsorama

Couch gag: The Simpsons sit on the couch, which turns out to be Hedonismbot.

Director: Bob Anderson

Gust Voices:
John DiMaggio as Bender
David Herman as Scruffy the janitor
Maurice LaMarche as Hedonismbot, Lrr, Mobo
Phil LaMarr as Hermes Conrad
Katey Sagal as Leela
Lauren Tom as Amy
Frank Welker as Nibbler
Billy West as Fry, Professor Farnsworth, Dr Zoidberg

Synopsis: Milhouse’s lucky rabbit foot plus Bart’s germs mutate into killer rabbits 1000 years into the future. Bender is sent back to kill Homer, as the killer rabbits share his DNA.

Discussion: Yes folks, you read that right: Bender is sent back to kill Homer because his DNA was found in killer rabbits terrorising New New York a thousand years in the future.

And so begins a pointless plot to smoosh together two shows which should have died years ago. Oh wait, Futurama is dead. Unfortunately it’s been brought back to life one more time. It’s not as bad as the Family Guy crossover but it’s still pretty bad.

Last night I watched a new episode of The Big Bang Theory, the one where the girls get drunk in Vegas and the boys get distracted by everything. There we have a perfect example of a show being funny despite having no plot whatsoever. This crossover episode, in fact every Simpsons ep since 2003, has lacked this simple task. Nothing’s funny as well as having no discernible plot. There are a few jokes in this ep but they are stretched so far that they may as well be on the event horizon of a black hole. Killer rabbits? Really?

It just seems like an excuse to shove every Futurama character in Springfield and some lame excuse to get them there. The last bit with Kang and Kodos going to Lrr’s place for dinner might have raised a smile but the whole segment feels like filler (if one can fill a black hole) and dies in the execution (no pun intended).

In all, it’s just another piece of crap in the excrement of The Simpsons which adds nothing to either canon. Killer rabbits? Seriously?

They call me Daddy Round-Round

Image

Chief of Hearts

Billboard: Mr Burns: Death and Taxes, two things I avoid

This counts as gym and art class

Couch gag: Comic Book Guy eats a four course meal where all the meals resemble a member of the Simpson family.

Director: Chris Clements

Guest Voices:
Jane Kaczmarek as Judge Constance Harm
Joe Mantegna as Fat Tony

Synopsis: Homer and Chief Wiggum become best friends. Meanwhile, Bart becomes addicted to a game called Battle Ball, but Marge and Skinner believe he’s dealing drugs.

Discussion: Who knew that making Wiggum and Homer best friends would be so boring? Back when Bart and Ralph were friends, they got up to awesome adventures. But Homer and Clancy? Most of their friendship is while Wiggum is unconscious or they’re tied in the back of Fat Tony’s car. Either way, it doesn’t make for interesting viewing.

Speaking of uninteresting viewing, let’s just forget Bart had a subplot. It’s just stupid and instantly forgettable.

I think the episode starts well, but quickly dissolves into comfortable territory without pushing any boundaries. I’m surprised the Wiggum-Homer friendship hasn’t been explored previously. It starts off promisingly enough, showing a depth of character in Wiggum that we don’t normally see; he’s actually very lonely. His wife Sara has her own thing and he admits to Homer that he doesn’t have any friends. This is about as deep as it gets. He guilts Homer into staying, which immediately ruins the friendship, leading down a path which is predictable. It’s almost like Fat Tony has a cameo here; he’s kidnapped the pair and sits in the back seat muttering nonsense while Wiggum MacGuyvers a plan to get out of the trunk. There’s no soul to the ep, and viewers can see right through it.

Unfortunately, because the episode never lives up to its promise, it’s only just mediocre. There’s no great laughs, there’s a few good lines (I’m not talking cocaine here), and the first few minutes are the best. Such a shame.

Blow her a song of love

Image

Apocalypse Cow

A person’s a person no matter how Ralph

Couch gag: A medieval tapestry showing the Simpsons versus Flanders over a couch

Director: Nancy Kruse

Guest voice:
Zooey Deschanel as Mary

Synopsis: Bart is forced to marry Mary Spuckler in exchange for keeping his cow alive.

Discussion: Did I watch the same episode as everyone else? This ep won a writing award, Matt Groening says it’s his favourite episode and some other critic gave it 7.5/10. Did I miss something??

I’d never heard of 4-H, but apparently you raise cows only for them to be slaughtered, and drive combine harvesters. Bart is given a cow to look after, it wins first prize and is now first in line to be slaughtered. In order to save the cow, he gives it to Cletus’ daughter, which in hillbilly land, means he wants to marry her. In case no one else noticed, this is the most ridiculous “plot” since Bart and Homer trained Duncan, the racehorse. I counted myself audibly groaning three times in this episode. Three!

There was nothing endearing about this episode at all. Lisa’s atop her moral high ground, pushing vegetarianism. Bart finally utters the phrase, “I’m glad I had a cow, man” to close the episode (we all knew it was coming) and Homer, dressed as a cow, is a whisker away from being slaughtered. Do cows have whiskers…?

This is easily one of the stupidest episodes ever. Even the minute or so of Zooey Deschanel (who is annoying at the best of times) can’t save this train wreck of stupidity.

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