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Posts tagged ‘Simpsons season 21’

You talk like my ass plays harmonica


Judge Me Tender

Billboard: Krusty’s one year sobriety show: cancelled

The end of ‘Lost’ was all the dog’s dream. Watch us.

Couch gag: Homer and Bart are performing a Punch and Judy style puppet show, while they strangle each other under the platform.

Director: Steven Dean Moore

Guest voices:
Simon Cowell as himself
Ryan Seacrest as himself
Randy Jackson as himself
Kara DioGuardi as herself
Ellen DeGeneres as herself
Rupert Murdoch as himself

Synopsis: Moe displays a talent for judging, and is selected to go to LA to judge American Idol. Since Moe’s bar is closed, Homer spends a lot more time with Marge “helping” around the house.

Discussion: What’s worse than having episode after episode of pointless, crappy episodes? Having a really good one that reminds you how good the show can be, and then having a really crappy one straight after it. What the hell was this train wreck about?

I can see why this episode was chosen to close out the season: a shed load of guest stars hoping to compete with the Lost finale and the increasingly popular Breaking Bad (although the BB ep that aired this night was the inanely slow ‘Fly’ episode, which was only shot in order to cut costs during production, according to Vince Gilligan during a recent trip to Sydney).

The ep absolutely falls flat on its arse. There’s nothing memorable about this ep; in fact I want to wash my brain with disinfectant so I can forget I watched it. Despite being awesome as Dory in Finding Nemo, Ellen DeGeneres shows a complete lack of voice talent here, muttering an inane ramble which ends with her dancing. Other lowlights include: Lisa and Santa’s Little Helper scooting across the backyard and Homer releasing a belly full of water into Ned’s face. At these points, I was embarrassed for the writers, the animators and the director who allowed this rubbish to make it to television.

Nothing about this episode worked. There’s Moe dishing out sarcasm, which hasn’t brought him a lot of love in the past yet now he’s celebrated for it. Marge annoyed at Homer for getting in the way. It could have been done better but got lost in the mediocrity that the show is drowning in. Lisa’s subplot with the dog is pure filler and not worth opening your eyes for. If I had to grade the episode, it’s a big fat F.

And now the girls will yay it


The Bob Next Door

Billboard: Springfield Retirement Castle: New vacancies every flu season

Batman is not “nothing without his utility belt”

Couch gag: A baby draws the living room scene, and the Simpsons sit on the drawn couch. Homer asks the baby to draw him a beer.

Director: Nancy Kruse

Guest Voice:
Kelsey Grammer as Sideshow Bob

Synopsis: The Simpsons have a new neighbour, who sounds suspiciously like Sideshow Bob.

Discussion: I’m just gonna say this now: this is the best Sideshow Bob episode, and also the best episode of season 21.

Regular readers will know that I’m not a Bob fan. I think the character is limiting and lacks depth as well as being inanely repetitive. The plot of this episode loosely follows that of Face/Off, which admittedly I haven’t seen for about 10 years or so, although I remember it to be a fun film- Travolta and Cage looked like they had a lot of fun making it. Anyhoo, Springfield is broke (again) and to save money, all the petty criminals are released from prison. This part is important because it sets up the loophole exploited by Bob to allow him to escape.

What follows is another murder plot against Bart, with an improbable premise by Bob that if he pulls the trigger in one state and Bart dies in another, no single action is against any of the state laws. Well, OK, I’m willing to overlook that minor blip in logic because the rest of the ep is just so good. The improbability is heightened at the junction of the five states because the law enforcement officers have distinct accents that don’t join geographically; that is, the accents of the cops are from states that aren’t joined in real life.

After Bob is arrested, the house is sold again… to Ned Flanders’ cousin Ted. I seriously cannot think of a better way to end that episode.

Everything about this works. It has a solid plot the whole way through, a plot point you forget is there until it becomes the most important plot point in the whole episode, plus there’s a musical interlude of Gilbert & Sullivan, which never goes astray. Walt Warren is a good character and I wonder what happened to him?

If you’re a Bob fan, this is one of the best. Also… I just learned about Harold and the Purple Crayon.

Go ugly up someone else’s house


Moe Letter Blues

Billboard: picture of Bart with the caption, “Abduct this boy, call Homer”

Eating my vegetables is not a Mother’s Day present

Couch gag: The couch and family are assembled, painted and blown up by Nelson. Haw haw!

Director: Matthew Nastuk

Guest Voice:
Don Pardo as himself

Synopsis: Moe writes a letter to Apu, Homer and Reverend Lovejoy to inform them that he’s running off with one of their wives.

Discussion: OK, so now I know who Don Pardo is (we don’t get SNL over here, except years old reruns on pay TV).

Anyhoo, The Simpsons is best when it sticks to warm fuzzy episodes with a lot of heart. In this ep, Moe has written a letter informing Apu, Homer and the Rev that he’s leaving town with one of their wives. As the ep progresses, each man looks at his relationship with his wife to deduce which one would leave him. It must be pretty bad if the wife is leaving to be with Moe. Just sayin’. In the end, of course, the wives aren’t going anywhere and Moe confesses that he just wanted to scare the husbands into giving their wives a bit more positive attention.

It’s a solid episode. No viewer actually believes that any of the wives are running away with Moe, but watching the husbands squirm is always fun. All three couples have had their ups and downs, which makes the “mystery” worth watching, but really… Moe? having said that, I’m glad it was Moe. He’s an underrated and underused character who is actually really interesting and worth exploring. He has a heart of gold, again evidenced in this episode.

Although it’s not the best episode, it’s a highlight of this season which has produced some outstandingly awful crap. And as a coincidence, Mother’s Day happens to be tomorrow so give your mum a hug, leave her alone for the day (because that’s what all mums want, apparently) and watch a Simpsons marathon of great episodes. Slip this one in for a bit of a feel-good feeling. Be good to your mothers!

Experimenting with my butt


To Surveil with Love

Couch gag: Springfield’s townspeople lib sync and dance to Kesha’s ‘Tik Tok’

Director: Lance Kramer

Guest Voice:
Eddie Izzard as Nigel Bakerbutcher

Synopsis: Mr Burns hides nuclear waste in Homer’s bag, which is left unattended at a train station and detonated. Fearing terrorism, Springfield covers the town with surveillance cameras. Meanwhile, Lisa is prejudiced against because of her blonde hair, so she dyes it brown.

Discussion: Once again, the most interesting part of this episode is the opening credits. Homer having a wild time outside the view of the law has been done before (remember the pirate boat in international waters?) while Flanders and Marge peering into the lives of Springfielders has been done when they were the counsellors for the church hotline. Yawn.

Lisa’s subplot of being blonde might have been interesting but she dyes her hair to confirm the bias… what would happen if she wore a hat to cover her hair? What would the debating judges judge then? It just doesn’t make any sense.

There’s not a lot to like about this ep. There’s nothing memorable about it (except the ‘Tik Tok’ beginning), no funny lines and nothing to distinguish it from the rest of the mediocre rubbish seen lately. Disappointing but entirely expected.

I’m made of man meat and skeleton


The Squirt and the Whale

Billboard: Jimbo Jones with the caption eBully.com- Text me your lunch money

Je ne suis pas Francais (I didn’t see the South Park one)

Couch gag:The family chase the couch through the pages of a newspaper

Director: Mark Kirkland

Synopsis: Lisa tries to save a beached whale.

Discussion: Lisa tries to save a beached whale. The End. There’s really nothing I can say about this episode except it’s extremely boring and the best thing people can say about it was the reference to South Park in the chalkboard gag, which isn’t in the version I watched. Wow.

It’s nothing we haven’t seen before: Lisa feels bad for some creature, it dies anyway and 10 minutes of crap happens before the end credits. This ep solicited only one laugh from me, and that was in the first few minutes when Barney wore a sign, “Ask me about burp power”.

In fact, the only amusement I found within the episode had nothing to do with the ep at all. Recently, Australia’s national Treasurer, Joe Hockey, stated that wind farms are “utterly offensive”. It has provided much outrage with the Aussie public as well as some very good memes. That’s what was going through my head as I stared incoherently at The Simpsons before me, with Bart manually turning the turbine and no one minding that Homer had turned off the grid.

Other lowlights include: Homer’s talk with the cat and Lisa speaking whale (it was funny when Dory/Ellen DeGeneres did it, not so when Lisa does it).

If you have a rusty spoon nearby, stare at that for 20 minutes instead of this pile of sewerage.

They call me Daddy Round-Round


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.

Woo hoo I’m drinking my salary


American History X-cellent

Billboard: Duffman advertising the new Duff 200 “nothin’ but booze”

Hot dogs are not bookmarks

Couch gag: The Simpsons sit on the couch and the house, nothing but a painting, falls down around them. 

Director: Bob Anderson

Guest Voices:
Kevin Michael Richardson as Mr Burns’ cell mate
Joe Mantegna as Fat Tony

Synopsis: Mr Burns is imprisoned for possessing a stolen painting, giving power of the nuclear plant to Smithers, who turns out to be a worse boss than Burns. 

Discussion: OK, so Lisa and Bart have some sort of subplot about ants that no one really understands nor cares about, so let’s just forget it exists. 

The episode opens with Mr Burns in jail, being broken out by a gang who appears to be Homer, Lenny and Carl. Mr Burns then relates the story of why he’s in jail. It’s a fairly decent narrative, disrupted only by Bart and Lisa fighting over ants, and an over-long scene of Marge telling Homer to eat a rotten pumpkin. Mr Burns’ story itself is actually pretty good but not great- it has potential to be a really great storyline but just doesn’t quite take the jump. Mr Smithers seems like a cool boss but quickly turns into a tyrant, leaving Homer, Lenny and Carl no choice but to break out Mr Burns from jail. 

I like the way the story was told, leaving a mystery from the very beginning, but the story itself wasn’t that interesting. Mr Burns’ time in the prison seemed like a parody of movies such as The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption but it was kinda hard to actually place references into the films; it was reminiscent of, but not a direct parody. The whole prison bit could have been more interesting instead of Mr Burns just bouncing around meeting people; I was waiting for an escape plot or some hair-brained scheme to go terribly wrong. Instead, the bit that does go terribly wrong is Lisa and Bart. Oh wait, I said we were going to forget that existed, didn’t I? 

Again, it’s an episode that starts off well, has a great idea behind it, but fails to execute it properly. It’s a shame because it has potential to be such an awesome episode. 

Shalom is the aloha of this place


The Greatest Story Ever D’ohed

Couch gag: The Simpsons are paraded like dogs in a show

Director: Michael Polcino

Guest Voices:
Sacha Baron Cohen as Jakob
Yael Naim as Dorit

Synopsis: Ned Flanders takes the Simpsons to the Holy Lands in an attempt to change Homer’s sinful ways.

Discussion:Why oh why did God not smite this episode before it could stain my eyes?? In short, I was searching my desk for a rusty spoon to gouge out my eyes and stop the madness. But, in the interests of continuing this endeavour, I kept watching (although I did promise myself that if Homer was rescued by Ewoks in the desert, I was definitely going to turn it off).

Homer’s up to his tricks again. This time he’s offending Flanders by being naked on a Slip’n’Slide and disrupting Ned’s Bible Studies group. Ned offers to take the Simpsons to Israel in order to enrich Homer with the culture and religious aspects of the Holy Land… with predictable results.

There’s not a lot to like about this episode. As well as wanting to stab my eyes with a rusty spoon, I wanted to mute the annoying tour guide, Jakob. It was only after watching the ep that I discovered he was voiced by Sacha Baron Cohen, whom I dislike anyway and now I know why I was so irritated by the character. He tries to be funny and completely fails (I am most certainly not a fan of any of Cohen’s “comedy” although I find his dramatic roles to be very good).

Other lowlights include: the over-long Krav Maga scene, mirage vegetables, everyone ending up with Jerusalem Syndrome and Homer being the chicken and peace Messiah. But the worst lowlight of them all is Krusty’s prayers. I felt embarrassed on behalf of everyone watching and all Jewish people… and I’m not even Jewish!

Hands down, one of the worst Simpsons episodes ever.

If only real life was in 3D


Stealing First Base

Billboard: Dr Nick, the home of the One Hour Sex Change

World War II could not beat up World War I

Couch gag: The Simpsons are insects feasting on a giant vegetable.

Director: Steven Dean Moore

Guest Voices:
Sarah Silverman as Nikki
Angela Bassett as Michelle Obama

Synopsis: Bart falls for a girl but gets into trouble when he kisses her. Meanwhile, Lisa experiences fleeting popularity when she fails a test.

Discussion: Before she was Vanellope von Schweetz, Sarah Silverman lent her voice to Nikki, a fourth grader whom Bart falls for. It took me almost the whole episode to realise who the voice was (Silverman is not a big name over here, I only know her from Wreck-It Ralph and “I f-ed Matt Damon”).

Another deja vu episode: Bart likes a girl and it doesn’t work out, while Lisa tries to be empowered by her nerdity. We’ve seen it all before, and this ep doesn’t add anything new except a guest appearance by FLOTUS1, voiced by Angela Bassett.

Personally, I found Nikki to be annoying, although she definitely embodies the type of annoying person many people are: they like to play games and just assume that the males of the species know (or should know) what is going on. Just a tip: don’t play games and spell out what’s wrong. Happy wife, happy life. Got it?

Anyhoo, Bart kisses Nikki and her parents attempt to sue, although I got caught up in the question, If these parents are such high powered lawyer types, why is their kid going to a public school? Nikki likes to think of herself as a rebel, maybe that’s it. The highlight of this escapade is the prolonged kissing scene between Groundskeeper Willie and Skinner. Other than that, the plot doesn’t really offer anything of value.

Meanwhile, it seems Lisa has failed a test and experiences popularity when the other kids think she’s average, not gifted. Turns out, Ralph copied her name but with Ralph answers and she’s back to being Little Miss Perfect again. After a whinge on her organic gardening blog (what?), someone named FLOTUS1 replies that she’s awesome, and then Mrs Obama makes an appearance at the school to encourage high achievers to continue being high achievers. We’ve seen all this before: Lisa has tried to dumb herself down in order to make friends, but always winds up hating herself for doing it. This storyline was not well thought out and screams for something else to make it palatable.

I would have liked to see Nelson’s storyline padded out a bit more.When the fourth grade classes are merged, Nelson is forced to sit next to a blind kid, whom he takes under his wing and teaches him all he knows, until the student has become the master. It’s good, but not really fleshed out enough to make an impact. It’s probably worth doing a whole episode on this plot: how about Nelson becoming best buds with the blind kid and Bart trying to make it a trio to take on the other bullying trio of Jimbo, Kearney and Dolph?

Overall, it was all a bit ho-hum. The parody of a Japanese film in the Itchy & Scratchy section was good… but the reference is lost when no one has seen the film. Not the case with Bart’s Great Kisses montage while Nikki is performing CPR- that was really well done 🙂

The words were in my brain


Postcards from the Wedge

couch gag: The couch is a pinata and when Ralph hits it, the family fall out.

Director: Mark Kirkland

Synopsis: Bart tries to tear his parents’ marriage apart by playing them against each other.

Discussion: This episode made no sense. It starts with Bart not wanting to do homework, then Marge and Homer fight, and to fill in the last five minutes, Bart and Milhouse play in an abandoned subway and somehow the school is ruined.


The ep was a mish mash of ideas that were thrown into a hat and pulled out one by one to fill twenty minutes. There were some good one liners, which made the episode bearable, but on the whole, it was a pretty poor effort with no clear direction. Bart doesn’t do his homework, Marge and Homer fight, an abandoned subway and the ultimate demolition of the school. Somehow these loose threads are vaguely tied together but there’s no narrative satisfaction. Marge is usually the one pushing Bart to do better, Homer’s the lazy parent. Changing sides doesn’t make any sense although it does lead to some great lines muttered by Homer.

I did enjoy the TV show parodies of The Jetsons and House. The scenes of Springfield in the future made little sense (if you want to fill up some time, throw in Eye on Springfield or Bad Cops) but were amusing enough to hold attention. The House parody was featured in the Itchy & Scratchy cartoon and was very funny (“Violence relaxes me”). The parodies were really the only highlight of the ep for me.

And Mr Kelleher, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry I never handed in that assignment about Canberra. But then again, you still owe me a Mars Bar for guessing the last word of Little Brother.

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