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Posts tagged ‘paparazzi’

Two rules of TV: Don’t swear and don’t whip it out

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You Kent Always Say What You Want

Couch gag: Flashback to 20 years prior when the Simpsons incarnated as they looked on The Tracy Ullman Show. The opening sequence is replaced with the short: ‘Family Portrait’.

Director: Matthew Nastuk

Guest voices:
Ludacris as himself
Maurice LaMarche as Birch Barlow

Synopsis: Kent Brockman says a Very Bad Swear on live television and is fired, causing him to use Lisa’s webcam to speak out about liberal media.

Discussion: As the “official” 400th episode (the previous ep, ’24 Minutes’ was slated to be the 400th, but aired prior to this one in a special one hour slot), I have to say that it doesn’t tick all the boxes. The opening sequence is fantastic; a throwback to the Tracy Ullman days when the family looked and sounded very different to today. However, the main plot of Kent getting fired falls quite flat.

The episode is a satire of liberal media, taking quite a few digs at Fox in the process. But hey, when you make as much money for your network as The Simpsons does, you pretty much have a free rein to say what you like!

There is a lot of truth in the criticisms of the media, and if we think we have a free media, we’re delusional. Often on social media comes a meme where thousands are killed in Syria yet the media is currently focused on a royal baby. I’ve mentioned before that I am a university student; I’m not majoring in journalism but a lot of my units are journalism units. There’s a lot of theory about what journalism is and should be, but in reality, we have no free media and no journalistic ethics. Media prints what people want to see: for example, in the 1980s and 90s, Australian magazines printed anything they could on the antics of Diana, Princess of Wales. Every time Diana was on the cover, the magazine was guaranteed to sell over a million copies (which is massive sales; remember that Australia has 1/10th the population of the US). When Diana died, the media corporations were bombarded with vitriolic remarks such as “You killed her!”, in reference to the paparazzi’s alleged involvement in her death. But… people bought the magazines, leading to the paparazzi’s big payday every time they sold a picture… Wake up!

Anyhoo, I digress. Kent Brockman is fired and joins the many people who have spent a night sleeping on the Simpsons’ couch. Truthfully, I found the storyline a bit dragging. I was hoping for a bit more substance; what would happen if Homer became anchor for Channel 6 news? He could have Bart and Lisa doing the work for him… it would be hilarious. But no. Someone, somewhere, decided a dig at liberal media would be much better. For that effort, I have to give it an average mark. Bart’s antics with a drugged up Skinner and Marge recognising Maggie’s drawings were much funnier than the main plot. Good luck with season 19!

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Homerazzi

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.

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