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Posts tagged ‘Simpsons guest stars’

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.

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Look in the mirror, unplanned miracle

Moonshine River

Moonshine River

Billboard: McBain Capital: Consider this a hostile takeover

I will not wear white after Labor Day (Bart is wearing a white suit)

Couch gag: The Simpsons hatch into butterflies and are chased around the daycare by Gerald, the unibrow baby and Maggie’s arch enemy. This closely resembles the plot from Maggie’s short film The Longest Daycare.

Director: Bob Anderson

Guest Voices:
Zooey Deschanel as Mary Spuckler
Ken Burns as the narrator
Sarah Michelle Gellar as Gina
Anne Hathaway as Jenny
Don Pardo as the announcer
Natalie Portman as Darcy
Sarah Silverman as Nikki
Al Roker as himself
Kevin Michael Richardson as the drummer

Synopsis: Bart travels to New York in search for Mary Spuckler, the only girl who still likes him.

Discussion: What the hell did I just watch? And why are there a bunch of guest voices who only had one line in the entire episode? And how did Mary Spuckler get a job on Saturday Night Live? So many questions, so little time.

Bart hasn’t had a lot of luck in love, but hopes to rekindle something with Mary Spuckler, a daughter of Cletus, the slack-jawed yokel. Bart travels to New York on a tipoff and stuff happens, but I’m not really sure what. Marge and Lisa look for high culture, Homer gets an air conditioner dropped on his head and Bart loses Mary again. It seems like a bunch of ideas thrown together without any coherence or adding to the story… if there was a story to begin with. Did the writers take summer vacation and forget to write a plot? How did they convince the celebrity voices of Bart’s ex girlfriends to come back to record just one line? And why do we care if Bart can’t find love? He’s ten years old and sure, there may be “a storm brewing down there” but come on, if he hasn’t reached puberty yet, he never will.

This episode is a terrible opener to a season. I am not excited to get this season underway if this is the “quality” I can expect. It’s not like Mary is an interesting character, all she has going for her is a twangy accent and interesting parents. Normally I take notes while watching the episodes, funny lines I can use as the blog title and such. Today’s offering gave me exactly two potential lines- the other being Lisa’s quip, “Departo de Barto” which was uttered in the first few minutes of the show. That’s how poor the writing was here. For comparison, I normally gather at least 5 potential lines, and in a good episode I can have 10 or more. Sadly, that’s becoming more and more rare 😦

Remember us for our exaggerations, not our reality

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Elementary School Musical

Billboard: Professor Frink’s Sex/Kill-Bot: Make sure switch is in correct position

When I was asleep, I was not helping Leo Dicaprio

Couch gag: A banner behind the couch proclaims “22 Seasons, Congratulations from Fox!” A studio executive walks in, Marge blows out the candle on the cupcake, and the exec eats it.

Director:Mark Kirkland

Guest Voices:
Lea Michele as art camp kid
Cory Monteith as art camp kid
Amber Riley as art camp kid
Ira Glass as himself
Jemaine Clement as Ethan
Bret McKenzie as Kurt
Stephen Hawking as himself

Synopsis: Krusty thinks he’s won the Nobel Peace Prize but is actually being extradited to the Netherlands to face charges of public indecency. Meanwhile, Lisa is shipped to arts camp for a week to spread her creative wings.

Discussion: I believe my exact words were, “Oh Christ, shoot me now!” I have seen this episode before as I was channel surfing the TV one cold, lonely night. I didn’t love it then and I don’t love it now. But, as I’ve made a commitment to watch every episode, I sat through it, rusty spoon at the ready.

The improbability of Krusty winning the Nobel Prize for Peace is self-evident, leaving the viewer to wonder why they’re being led astray. There’s absolutely no reason for Bart and Homer to accompany Krusty to “Oslo” (really, The Hague) but they wouldn’t be part of the episode otherwise. Maybe it’s a good thing because they really don’t add anything to the story anyway.

Always complaining about being the forgotten middle child, Lisa is surprised to discover she’s spending a week at creative arts camp, where she’s greeted by the kids from Glee welcoming her to camp. I’m not sure if they’re supposed to be themselves or their Glee characters, which is why I’ve listed them as “camp kids” above. Either way, their 3 minutes of fame is lame but does set the scene for more crap to come… Enter Flight of the Conchords duo Jemaine and Bret, playing camp counselors who seem lost in their own fantasies rather than helping kids to become losers like themselves. Their songs lack creativity and imagination, leading one of them to sing to a cow, for crying out loud. Have the writers of The Simpsons forgotten that their audience are not mentally retarded five year olds watching the show for the swirling colours?

The Krusty storyline sucked more than Lisa’s story, but neither made for great viewing. If you’re stoned and brain dead, it’s probably worth watching. What was Professor Hawking thinking when he agreed to this? I wouldn’t say it’s an example of “stunt casting” (that honour surely goes to yesterday’s episode) but there’s an awful lot of famous people standing around doing nothing. BORING! Oh by the way… welcome to season 22. Looks like we’re in for a bumpy ride.

Animators have AA on Mondays

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The Day the Violence Died

Couch gag: The family are painted while sitting on the couch.

Director: Wes Archer

Guest voices:
Kirk Douglas as Chester J. Lampwick
Suzanne Somers as herself
Phil Hartman as Lionel Hutz
Jack Sneddon as the Amendment
Alex Rocco as Roger Meyers Jr

Synopsis: Bart discovers a homeless man created Itchy and cartoon violence, and sues Roger Meyers for back royalties, bankrupting the studio and killing off his favourite show.

Discussion: Another classic episode where Bart and Lisa… don’t solve the problem *gasp*! Bart has successfully won compensation for Chester but bankrupted the studio. Bart and Lisa stay up all night to find a solution but are beaten to it by a couple of kids who look suspiciously like themselves… Hmm… Add in a cheesy 70s educational video to the Krusty show and you have yourselves a great episode.

The premise is simple and executed well, with a twist of two other kids solving the studio’s financial problems at the very end. The ep parodies all sorts of ye olde cartoon culture (much the same way as Meyers’ previous episode parodied Disney’s creation of Mickey Mouse) and helps out a bum as well.

Overall, it’s a great episode.

P.S. Forgive the lateness of my reply

Brush With Greatness

I will not hide behind the fifth amendment

Couch gag: The couch tips over and Maggie lands on a cushion

Director: Jim Reardon

Guest Voices:
Jon Lovitz as Professor Lombardo
Ringo Starr as himself

Synopsis: When Homer becomes stuck in a waterslide at Mt Splashmore, he decides it’s time for a diet. While looking for athletic equipment in the attic, Bart and Homer find Marge’s paintings of Ringo Starr, painted during her high school days. Marge is encouraged by Lisa to enter an art class and she wins first prize for her portrait of Homer. Meanwhile, the Mr Burns Wing is due to be dedicated and Mr Burns hates all his official portraits, so commissions Marge to paint his portrait.

Discussion: This is an all-round great episode. The plot starts in one direction, then leads into another and takes another twist to end up somewhere completely different to where it started out! This style of writing is a hallmark of the show and does get overused in some episodes, but is completely appropriate for this particular episode. It’s one thing that leads to another in order to tell the story, and having Marge as the central character is well-deserved. So often, she’s the background character, the wet blanket in the family. No, you can’t do this, no, I don’t approve of that… but here we discover her hidden talent and passion for art (something which is carried throughout the series) and her own chance at greatness when she’s selected for the Mr Burns portrait. Mr Burns’ reaction to the portrait surprises me, he normally dislikes his vulnerabilities shown in public. Maybe he does understand that he is a mere mortal after all?

In October 2008, Ringo Starr announced he was too busy to answer mail or sign any memorabilia. I think it’s really rude to tell your fans that anything they send you will be “tossed out”. Fair enough, you’re busy, you’ve got a lot of projects happening (even if they won’t get you to the dizzying heights you once knew) and you don’t have time to personally answer mail… but this is sending a clear message that you have no time for your fans (who got you there in the first place. Without fans, you’re nothing.) End rant.

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