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Posts tagged ‘parody’

Pink frosting fixes everything

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24 Minutes

Director: Raymond Persi

Guest Voices:
Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer
Mary Lynn Rajskub as Chloe O’Brien

Synopsis: The bullies are set to release a stink bomb during the school’s bake sale. It’s up to Lisa and Bart to stop them.

Discussion: In a world where The Simpsons are making some very sucky episodes, I’m not going to complain about some cross-promotion, which is what this is. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of parody when it’s this clever.

Keeping in mind that I’ve never watched an episode of 24 in my life, I probably missed a lot of references, even though I know there’s a lot of split screens and timers ticking down. This ep is full of both, which gets a bit annoying in the space of 20 minutes but at times it serves the tension well. Yes boys and girls, this episode has tension… although it probably shouldn’t.

After making an extremely potent stink bomb, the school bullies are on their way to disrupt the school’s annual bake sale, responsible for 90% of the school’s funding. Meanwhile, Marge realises she only has 25 minutes to bake a cake to participate in the sale. Whatever will she do??

The episode is very well done, with jokes galore while keeping the general tone close to that of the seminal show. The cameo appearances by two 24 characters is a nice touch although it doesn’t really add anything. Jack Bauer rocking up at the school after Bart’s prank call is a bit on the silly side but hey, where else are they going to go with that?

The ep has it’s moments when you wonder why they bother, but overall it’s very well done. A nice change of pace in both style and narrative although the credits run to over 7 minutes into the episode. Cutting back on the opening credits would have been nice as they take up almost the entire first act and are very distracting. Nice work for the 400th episode.

Like a pawn on his evil chess board

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The President Wore Pearls

couch gag: The Simpsons, on a Polaroid film, are placed on the couch

Director: Mike B. Anderson

Guest voice:
Michael Moore as himself

Synopsis: Lisa is elected student body president, but is entwined in corruption and deceit.

Discussion; In this parody of a famous musical about the life of Eva Peron, Lisa is elected school President but her popularity wanes when she’s tricked into signing away the music, art and gym departments as a cost cutting measure for Skinner.

It’s not an amazing episode despite the outstanding musical numbers. Lisa’s makeover seems pointless (yeah, I get the whole Evita thing) and her calling a student strike is ludicrous. You know what I think would have made the episode a whole lot better? Having everything in song, just like Evita. It worked well for an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and I think an-all (new) singing & dancing Simpsons would also be good.

In any case, that’s not what happened. We’re given a Lisa-centric episode (which we’ve not had in a while) and she’s standing up for morals that we’ve seen before and done better (who remembers her protest song from season 4?)

It’s an OK episode purely for novelty value, but offers little else.

That’s how I was raised and I turned out TV

Behind The Laughter

I will not obey the voices in my head

Couch gag: The family sit on a coin-operated couch which vibrates around the room

Director: Mark Kirkland

Guest Voices:
Willie Nelson as himself
Jim Forbes as the narrator

Synopsis: A parody of Behind the Music, this episode delves into the “real life” situation behind the Simpson family and show.

Discussion: Well, isn’t this episode just brilliant? Based on the hit shot Behind the Music, this ep analyses the show; how and why the laughs happened, as well as a non-canonical look at the family behind the show.

There are metaphors galore which adds to the humour and realism of the ep (where realism = techniques used in Behind the Music). Homer was dismayed by the inaccurate portrayals of families on TV and wanted to show a “real” family. This part is true: remember my first post which argued that Matt Groening wanted to show a real family? The original premise of the show has obviously changed, taken a few detours (cha-ching! Personally, I think this is why the show jumped the shark) and ended up a bit of a mess. This mess is analysed within this episode but the reason given is that the family were money-hungry and self-destructive, giving rise to bad episodes. This is self-reflexive… but did the writers do anything to correct it? Season 12 shall reveal all.

This is a fantastic episode. It’s brilliant in every way.

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