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Posts tagged ‘Simpsons season 15’

Thinkin’ ain’t drinkin’

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Fraudcast News

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…

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Hell this and bitch that

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The Bart-Mangled Banner

Couch gag: The Simpsons are on a tray in the microwave

Director: Steven Dean Moore

Synopsis: Bart gets the family into trouble when he accidentally moons the US flag

Discussion: I get it- this episode is a biting satire of patriotism and media over-hype, but it goes on for about 10 minutes too long and the “joke” is spoiled.

Bart is temporarily deafened by a side effect of vaccination, and doesn’t hear the pledge of allegiance; he’s too busy sticking a carrot in his shorts to tempt a donkey, who, in the process of taking the carrot, pulls Bart’s shorts and Bart ends up mooning the flag. This is taken to mean Bart hates America and the family attempt to tell their story but wind up in jail… and then France.

This ep is full of stuff we’ve seen before: Apu’s store is bedecked with American flags (just like the ep where he was studying to become a citizen) and Homer et al telling their story on a talk show is reminiscent of Homer’s “attack” on a college student babysitter. Elmo in jail is a new one though…

It’s not a bad episode, it’s just overly long and uninteresting. It’s one joke stretched to 20 minutes with a lot of guff in between. The Simpsons in jail? Really? And let’s not even mention France again…

You never had a chance to become my urine

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The Way We Weren’t

couch gag: The Simpsons are on the couch and knives are thrown at them, but embed in the wall instead

Director: Mike B. Anderson

Synopsis: Homer and Marge recount the special person they each met at summer camp, only to find out it was each other

Discussion: We’ve seen flashbacks to Marge and Homer’s courtship before, plus a few flashbacks of their childhood as well (especially Homer’s). Today we find out that they actually met one fateful summer when they were ten.

It’s a really sweet episode- Homer and Marge share a special kiss, their first kiss with someone special, only Marge has her heart broken when Homer doesn’t turn up to their second date; he’s been falsely detained at fat camp. It’s a pain that Marge has carried for thirty years, a hurt so deep that Homer isn’t easily forgiven.

Everything about this episode is lovely. From the treehouse game of Spin the Bottle (the shot of Milhouse kissing Homer almost made it in this post) to the two rock pieces becoming one again… it’s really a very simple love story which harks back to the romantic episodes of Simpsons gone by. It’s a shame that this ep rated the lowest thus far in the series: had people tuned in they may have been converted to thinking that The Simpsons wasn’t quite dead yet.

Since when do I listen to cake?

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Simple Simpson

Couch gag: The Simpsons slide down firepoles and land on the couch dressed as characters from Batman

Director: Jim Reardon

Guest Voice:
Nichelle Nichols as herself

Synopsis: Homer creates a persona named Pie Man, who rids Springfield of all injustices.

Discussion: It’s superheroes, Springfield style! Seeing little Lisa’s masterpiece place setting laughed at by a judge makes Homer’s blood boil and he dresses as Pie Man, launching fresh pies into people’s faces for committing injustice. It’s about as good as a superhero can get in Springfield (I bet Comic Book Guy is peeved he didn’t think of it first).

This episode drags a bit in the middle, but generally is pretty good. Homer’s fight against injustice is nothing new, however he’s not really known for dressing up in order to fight them; unless you count sticking a paper bag on his head in order to publish stories on his Mr X website. It’s not particularly clever, and Mr Burns blackmailing Homer into fighting for Burns’ own brand of justice is a bit weird, but overall it’s a slightly-better-than-average ep. Mr Burns’ exploits feel a bit like the writers were fighting to stretch one joke into 20 minutes, however I’m willing to overlook that just for the pure amusement on Mr Burns’ face, particularly when Smithers is parading him around the park before Mr Burns’ nap.

Your neck skin dances when you speak

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Catch ‘Em If You Can

Couch gag: The Simpsons are piped onto a cake like frosting.

Director: Matthew Nastuk

Synopsis: Marge and Homer attempt to take a second honeymoon away from the kids, but Bart and Lisa are hot on their tails.

Discussion: I get it. Cutesy parodied movie name complete with animation montage: it’s swell, it really is. But this is a 20 minute play on one joke and it gets real old, real fast.

Homer and Marge ditch Uncle Tyrone’s birthday party for the sun, surf and madness of Miami (along with a plane full of newlyweds). Bart and Lisa catch onto the gag when a tornado rips through the hotel their parents are supposedly staying at, and Marge calls to say everything is hunky dory. Blah blah blah fifteen more minutes of stuff. I’ve seen Adam Sandler movies that play one joke for less time than this ep! 

Apart from the montage, there’s absolutely nothing of interest. Not even Grampa’s attempts at hooking up with da ladeez saves this monstrosity. There’s just nothing very clever to hold one’s interest like the movie did.

And… where the hell is Maggie throughout this whole adventure?

 

Now that’s sexual

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My Big Fat Geek Wedding

Couch gag: The Simpsons are poured onto a couch from a Play-Doh dispenser

Director: Mark Kirkland

Guest Voice:
Matt Groening as himself

Synopsis: It’s the big day for Skinner and Mrs Krabappel, but who has cold feet and a rebound romance?

Discussion: I dunno, there’s something missing from this ep. It should be full of laughs or sweet moments but instead, just feels like the writers thought they should do a wedding episode but couldn’t really decide how it should go. To analyse, we need to start at the beginning…

Skinner and Mrs K are getting married. It was referenced in yesterday’s episode when they were seen planning their gift registry. However, Skinner has cold feet, Mrs K freaks out and the wedding is cancelled. Sure, I can buy that. They were an odd couple anyway, and marriage doesn’t really suit either of them (which room of the marital home would Agnes Skinner occupy?)

The bachelor/bachelorette parties are awesome. They could not have been done better. Chief Wiggum as a stripper cop? Does anyone remember Danny DeVito as a stripper cop in Friends? Bingo.

Anyhoo, Edna hooking up with Comic Book Guy. I’m sorry you had to see that. Let’s quickly move on.

Homer and Marge as Cyrano to Skinner and Edna… well OK, that was kinda cute, as was Bart et al serenading Edna while she was tucked under a Spiderman shirt. Again, apologies for having to see Comic Book Guy’s Superman tatt on his butt.

This leads us to a Kilngon wedding and Skinner not in a Cat-man suit as promised. It’s all so horribly wrong, I don’t know where to begin. Thankfully, it’s over and I don’t have to watch it again. Phew.

Whatever this episode was trying to achieve, I don’t think it quite got there. It’s confused, convoluted and short on the gags. It’s almost redeemed by Agnes’ line to Seymour, “You look like a Malaysian transsexual.” She’s right, he does.

 

The Institute of Shut Your Fat Face

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The Wandering Juvie

Couch gag: A Polaroid of the family lands on the couch

Director: Lauren Macmullen

Guest Voices:
Jane Kaczmarek as Judge Constance Harm
Charles Napier as the Warden
Sarah Michelle Gellar as Gina

Synopsis: Bart is sent to juvie after he’s caught performing an elaborate prank. Inside, he meets Gina, who forces Bart to escape.

Discussion: Kudos on having an episode with a plot! Sure, it’s nothing elaborate, but I’ll take it.

Bart meets Gina in juvie when they are forced to dance together. Gina, shackled to Bart, escapes and they begin life on the run. There are some really great moments in this ep, mostly involving Gina (brilliantly voiced by Sarah Michelle Gellar). Bart’s prank is a bit lame and probably on the very bottom of things that would land him in juvie, but the point is- Bart’s there. There are also some really good one liners in the ep; today’s blog title was a toss up between Bart’s “I think girls are icky pants” and the eventual winner, uttered by the Warden at the dance.

After discovering Bart is being beat up, Homer becomes a guard. There’s only one scene dealing with this and that’s all it needs, although perhaps Homer in his guard’s uniform at the end during the Mexican feast would be a nice touch (what did they do, bribe the Warden?) Gina is a nasty girl which begs the question of nature vs nurture. She seems vulnerable even when she’s not turning on the tears for show. A girl in tears is Bart’s weakness and he doesn’t play on it. Of course, she ‘fesses up at the end and Bart is free to go. All’s well that ends well.

My demons and I are closer than ever

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Co-Dependent’s Day

couch gag: The Simpsons desiccate into ash.

Director: Bob Anderson

Synopsis: Marge and Homer enjoy some quality drinking time together, but it goes awry when Homer frames Marge for drink-driving.

Discussion: Cripes. Homer frames Marge for drink driving. Why? Possibly because he’s already notched up a drink-driving offense way back in season 4, but probably only because Homer is a complete douche in this episode for no apparent reason.

The subplot involves a parody of Star Wars and the negative criticism the prequels received. Bart and Lisa travel to Cosmic Wars creator Randall Curtis’ ranch to complain in person, and are rewarded with Jim Jam cereal boxes. Abruptly, this adventure ends and never revisited. Pity, it was superior to the main plot of Marge dealing with alcoholism and a cheap shot at rehab.

Marge’s main vice is gambling. Suddenly she enjoys wine a bit too much and believes that she was the one driving the car when it crashed. I suppose that’s fairly reasonable; after all, she is quite attached to Homer but why the heck would she believe everything he says? Especially when it’s so way out of character? Homer’s a douche, plain and simple. Bart and Lisa don’t think there’s anything particularly weird about Marge’s supposed behaviour, so it must be true, right?

This ep feels like a one-joke pony that was stretched into 20 minutes of yawn. There’s no substance to it whatsoever… perhaps it would have been more enjoyable had I been drinking through it.

I’m the fat one

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The Ziff Who Came to Dinner

I will not speculate on how hot teacher used to be

Couch gag: The view zooms out to show the house, neighbourhood, country, Earth, solar system, galaxy, galaxies, molecules, DNA structures and finally reveals a spot on Homer’s head.

Director: Nancy Kruse

Guest Voice:
Jon Lovitz as Artie Ziff (and others)

Synopsis: Homer takes the kids to see a scary movie and when they can’t sleep that night, they find Artie Ziff living in the attic. Artie’s company has folded and not only is he broke, he’s also in deep trouble with the government.

Discussion: Finally, an episode with a real plot! A really weird one, but a plot nonetheless. Somehow, Marge’s old boyfriend Artie Ziff has been living in the Simpsons’ attic and has escaped detection… until the Simpsons kids can’t sleep and stake out the attic to find those scary noises. My only question about this premise is: if the scary movie affected the Simpsons kids so much, what happened to the Flanders kids? I wanna see them freaking out. Maybe they should have heard the scary noises and staked out their attic to find Artie Ziff trying to get closer to Marge…

Anyhoo, Artie Ziff is in the attic. His company has gone bust and he’s sucking the moisture out of the support beams. Blah blah blah, he’s in trouble with the law, Homer takes majority ownership of the company in a game of poker, and is sent to jail. Ziff gets a bit too friendly with Selma (eww), and ultimately takes his rightful place in jail, setting Homer free. Ta da!

I liked this episode, despite the silliness of it all. I liked that the action was fast paced, it didn’t slow down and Lisa’s Blair Witch moment in the attic was priceless. The ep is rounded off nicely with a strange love affair between Selma and Ziff- who saw that coming? Maybe that could be explored more in a future episode (we’re beyond the looking glass here, people. I haven’t seen many eps from here on in). But when the ep was over, I kept asking myself, what happened to the Flanders kids after they went to bed?

Let’s watch the tape, Monkey Man

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Smart and Smarter

Couch gag: The family are delivered to the couch via dry cleaning bags

Director: Steve Dean Moore

Guest Voice:
Simon Cowell as Henry

Synopsis: When Maggie is found to be more intelligent than Lisa, Lisa struggles with her identity and role in the family.

Discussion: Another case of deja vu. Lisa struggles with identity and is jealous that someone is smarter than her. We’ve seen it before (click on the links for more info). The difference this time is that she’s competing against her own sister, which is surely much worse than anything she’s encountered before. Oh, to be eight again! So little to worry about…

Anyhoo, Lisa’s struggle with identity sees her trying to be different people in order to gain acceptance. I don’t know what the point is during this sequence, it’s quite obvious that she’s still Lisa and how her peers view her isn’t going to change if she’s wearing a cheerleader outfit. Realising that changing her outfits wasn’t going to cut it, Lisa decides to run away and live at the museum. An excellent choice, until she decided to sleep on a tongue of a giant, working model of the digestive system. Eww.

In the end (of the ep, not the digestive system), Henry and snobbish cohort inform the family that Maggie is not actually smart, she’s been coached by Lisa. I feel cheated by this ending. What’s wrong with having a smart baby and Lisa perpetually in her shadow? In true sitcom style, this doesn’t even have to be referenced ever again- Maggie could go on dancing to Sex Bomb and sucking her pacifier like always and maybe there’s a problem and the family turn to Maggie but she doesn’t speak so it’s a pointless exercise… And I’m rambling again. Instead, we’re left with Maggie as a regular baby with average intelligence and Lisa feeling like Queen Bee again. Cheated, I tell you. Cheated!

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