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Posts tagged ‘Simpsons season 27’

Anyone else want a taste of blue thunder?

Orange is the new Yellow

Billboard: Apu holding wilted roses with the caption: “Wilted Mother’s Day roses, 1% off”

Milhouse does not live below the puberty line

Couch gag: Animation of instruction of how to put together a couch, Ikea style

Director: Matthew Faughan

Synopsis: When Marge allows Bart to go to the park unsupervised, she’s hauled away to jail.

Discussion: I like the premise of this episode. I like that it’s a parody of Orange is the new Black and I like that Marge is in charge.

Unfortunately, it’s really boring. It tries so hard, but falls waaaay flat. The writers have tried to give Marge a holiday from the family by being in jail but she did it already at Rancho Relaxo, with better results.

The family are looked after by Flanders, but Homer and Bart still find a way to mess it up. Marge misses her family. There’s a cow in the tornado. Yawn.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a lot better than 60% of this season’s episodes, but it’s still a total yawn fest. It’s the kind of smooshy ending ones expects from a season finale but the zing is long gone.

Thank God that season is over, but I don’t hold high hopes for season 28. Sigh.

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…if you get my diddly

Fland Canyon

Billboard: Mayor Quimby surrounded by female silhouettes. “Assistants wanted. Must be pretty and soft slapper. No dudes.”

Dad swears he’ll get his taxes in soon

Couch gag: A Disney inspired couch gag by Eric Goldberg… until Bart ruins it all.

Director: Michael Polcino

Synopsis: Ned wins a trip to the Grand Canyon and takes the Simpson family as well.

Discussion: This ep wins my heart with a Disney themed couch gag. After that, there’s actually a couple of funny jokes. I can see influences from early episodes, especially Bart and Homer’s fight with rattlesnakes and scorpions. OK, so the timeline is all wrong but hey, any excuse to bring back Maude.

What the episode lacks in plot it makes up for in visual jokes. It’s actually a refreshing change to see the story speak for itself instead of letting the characters explaining everything. The animation is also really well done; the beauty and expanse of both the Canyon and the Milky Way is nicely captured.

It’s another Ned-Homer bonding scenario which belongs up there with the best of them. It doesn’t do anything for the canon, it’s rather pointless and doesn’t continue any sort of story, but at least I don’t wanna stab my eyes with a rusty fork.

No one cares what the shuttle driver thinks

How Lisa Got Her Marge Back

Billboard: Kirk Van Houten holding up his jumper; “Punch me in the stomach for $5, cash only”

Never lose a bet to Bart Simpson (Skinner is writing)

Couch gag: The Simpsons wake up in space from their pods and Homer is only a skeleton.

Director: Bob Anderson

Guest Voice:
Andrew Rannells as himself

Synopsis: Marge admits she doesn’t like Lisa’s jazz playing. Meanwhile, Bart feels he has lost part of his identity when no one falls for his pranks.

Discussion: Firstly, what the hell are Archie characters doing there?!?

Secondly, yawn! How many episodes have we seen where someone finally admits they don’t like something another family member does and that family member tries to make things right? (Don’t answer that, it’s rhetorical.)

Annnd cue the flashback. Sigh.

This is just lazy writing and lazier execution. It’s like the writers have gathered all the thrown-out “jokes” and ideas deemed not good enough, sticky-taped them to a script and sent it to the voice actors. At one point, Lisa lets out a long sigh (when viewing the Broadway-style shows in Capital City); that’s exactly my sentiments when viewing this rubbish.

In the loooooooooooooooong history of the show, there are stellar episodes, terrible episodes and episodes like this: the absolute bottom of the barrel.

Never mind the terrible Marge-Lisa plot and the worse Bart-Maggie plotline, the Bad News Bears scene is possibly the most painful scene ever in any single episode of the show. Yikes! I just… ergh, just make it stop.

My personal recommendation is: instead of watching this episode, a more enjoyable experience would be to walk barefoot over red-hot coals then over a floor full of strewn Lego pieces.

Stop your Smithering

The Burns Cage

Billboard gag: Apu advertising Easter eggs. “They never go bad because they were never that good”.

If Villanova doesn’t win, we lose everything.

Couch gag: Homer types family emojis plus a couch on his smartphone, earning a reply “Meh. I don’t get it.”

Guest voice:
George Takei as himself

Director: Rob Oliver

Synopsis: When Smithers realises Mr Burns doesn’t return his affections, Homer finds Smithers a boyfriend. Springfield Elementary’s new production is Casablanca, starring Lisa as Ilsa.

Discussion: What, Smithers is gay?!? Colour me shocked!

Let me begin with a rant. Much of the humour with the Smithers/Burns relationship comes from a not-so-secret understanding of Smithers’ sexuality, such as his fantasy sequence of Mr Burns floating through the window or his copy of ‘It’s Raining Men’. Having Smithers officially come out is a “well duh!” moment plus it adds nothing to his character or the continuing narrative. The audience is well aware of Smithers’ affections towards Mr Burns even if Burns himself is completely in the dark. The producers have previously joked that Smithers is not gay, he’s Burns-sexual.

Having said that, the episode begins with Smithers singing a melancholy ditty about his unrequited love. It’s actually a really sad song which sums up everything perfectly. After this, there’s a few jokes which are actually amusing (whoda thunk it?) Annnd then the episode descends into Moe explaining a long-standing narrative point (“Yeah but Burns doesn’t dig Smithers!”) and Homer using the internet (or rather, a gay dating app) to find Smithers a boyfriend. This whole scene feels like the writers needed to explain what was about to happen because the audience is clearly stupid.

Comic Book Guy dressed as Hello Kitty, lol.

Sadly, there’s no actual motivation for this episode other than the writer wanted a gay-themed episode for his son’s benefit.

The B plot in this travesty is Lisa’s school production of Casablanca. Compared to the series’ other productions such as Planet of the Apes or A Streetcar Named Desire, this pales in comparison and the Bogart homages are just… weird.

The ep ends with Smithers and Milhouse in Moe’s Bar talking about the thrill of the chase, with Moe setting off to find gold a la The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.
Yep, more homage.

All in all, yet another disappointing entry into the Simpsons canon. Am I surprised? No. There’s a lot of good material here, wasted on substandard writing and retconning Smithers. Sure, it’s happened before, most notably with Principal Skinners being ousted as Armin Tamzarian… and look how that turned out: that ep is widely thought to be the point where the show jumped the shark.

A word before you finish parenting

The Marge-ian Chronicles

Director: Chris Clements

Guest Voices:
Jon Wurster as Barry
Tom Scharpling as Paul

Synopsis:

Discussion: This week’s ep starts with Flanders having chickens while Homer and Bart steal their eggs. It’s not actually a bad start. I had high hopes, based purely on this start. But before too long, it descends into what we’ve come to expect from latter-season Simpsons: lame jokes and characters explaining what they’re doing.

Somehow this leads to Lisa volunteering to be on a mission to Mars. Now, I’m a big space nerd and I looooooove everything about Mars. I was hoping Matt Damon would be a guest voice… but that’s not to be. Oh well.

Anyhoo, Lisa’s going to Mars. Marge follows Homer’s parenting/relationship advice, which inevitably leads to adventures only a dysfunctional family could endure.

It’s not actually too bad. I really like the idea. I like the mind-fuck each family member lures each other into. It’s not fully explored, and there’s a lot of times when they all explain exactly the joke or situation, but it’s still not a bad romp. It’s not very often we see the family being together anymore, and what better place than a Martian training camp to bring out some cabin fever?

This ep feels like it’s had a lot of thought about it. The dialogue could be tighter, however the angry exchange between Lisa and Marge contains a few crackers which made me smile (close enough to laugh-out-loud). Although far from a quality episode, it’s a lot closer than I care to remember. At the heart is the mother-daughter relationship, which Lisa and Marge haven’t really explored in a really long time. It’s also a near-satirical look at the interplay between stubborn family members and how even a small problem can turn into a situation no one is prepared for.

Like M&Ms with hope

Love Is in the N2-O2-Ar-CO2-Ne-He-CH4

Hershey Kisses do not drop from Cupid’s butt

Couch gag: Homer dreams the couch has abandoned the family and they fly to Iraq to bring it back. When he wakes, Marge has left him because he spends too much time on the couch.

Director: Mark Kirkland

Guest voice:
Glenn Close as Mona

Synopsis: Professor Frink attempts to solve the mystery of women and tries to make himself more attractive to the opposite sex. The oldies at the Retirement Castle have been taking new pills which make them hallucinate.

Discussion: My boyfriend just called me the Grumpy Simpsons Reviewer. Hmm, maybe I should change the title of my blog…

Anyhoo… Here’s the annual Valentine’s Day episode. It’s so highly improbable that it’s not even funny. The nurse at the retirement castle suddenly decides when and how much meds to give the oldies. Professor Frink gets a girlfriend, or rather, several girlfriends and he’s dissatisfied. Grampa’s stealing kisses from the mechanic and Homer is explaining all his “jokes”, but then acknowledges he’s explaining them.

I feel like these are both half-arsed stories which lack any thought, let alone any suitable conclusion. It would be nice for Frink to find love with an actual human woman and not some weird android. Frink having threesomes is an idea worth exploring. I get the sense that the original concept was to show one doesn’t have to change one’s self in order to find love (which is different from sex, BTW) but this fails miserably. Surely there’s some hot science woman lurking in Springfield? Even if she’s on a weekend conference and they continue the romance long-distance.

As for the story with the hallucinating oldies… WTF? There’s no story here at all! It’s just a bunch of oldies dancing with their imaginations. It’s more incoherent than this post! There’s absolutely no substance to it at all and, unsurprisingly, has a totally stupid conclusion (in the loosest sense of the word). It would be nice for Grampa to be alone with his memories, including some charming ones of Mona. Mona makes a rather short appearance in this ep which is pretty wasteful. Mona is a lovely character with a lot of heart and an unfinished story (IMO). Yet she’s only on screen and sanitised for a blink of an eye. Ergh.

Neither of these stories worked. It wasn’t just that they were ill-conceived and executed, the whole concepts were bad right from the very beginning. Please, put some thought into it! I beg you.

Does SWAT stand for short, wide and tubby?

Much Apu About Something

Director: Bob Anderson

Synopsis: Apu’s nephew Jamshed renovates the Kwik-E-Mart into a Quick & Fresh. Meanwhile, Bart retires from pranking.

Discussion:  The last time Apu lost the Kwik-E-Mart, we were treated to a tearful rendition of Who Needs a Kwik-E-Mart? and a delightful adventure where Homer and Apu went on an epic trek and got Apu’s store back. This time, we have Apu throwing a hissy fit, some hipster wannabe trying to bring the show into the 21st century and some pathetic garbage from Bart that the writers think is a prank.

As per usual, this episode makes little sense and contains nothing more than cheap laughs to fill 22 minutes. There is absolutely no substance whatsoever to this ep, making it the latest in a long line of WTF? episodes in which it’s pretty clear everyone involved with the show has given up.

OK, enough rambling from my high horse. Let’s talk plot. Apu’s store is destroyed, his brother Sanjay retires, leaving his majority stake to his son, Jamshed. How Sanjay scored a majority stake is a stroke of pure idiocy and lazy writing: Apu is addicted to scratch-and-win tickets (here in Australia, we call them scratchies). Anyhoo, Jay turns the store into a health food shop, Bart turns off the power, immediately sending the food to the depths of rotting hell, and everyone makes up and Apu regains control of his store. Yay.

It’s lazy, anticlimatic, and seriously boring. The ep relies on explaining jokes and giving voice to sight gags, which is a lazy formula proven to provide one more nail in the show’s coffin. Please please please can we just end it now?

Why is grass green?

Barthood

Couch gag: The family appear rotoscoped; Homer complains and the family turn normally-animated again.

Director: Rob Oliver

Synopsis: Inspired by the 2014 film Boyhood, Bart grows up during the episode.

Discussion: Sorry for the delay in writing, it’s a mad mad mad mad mad time of year!

Anyhoo, Barthood traces Bart from a young child to a teenager. I haven’t seen the source movie so I can’t comment on themes etc. All I can tell you is what is in the episode.

I liked what they were trying to do. The concept of Bart growing up is a good one but poorly thought out. As another reviewer put it, “It was the same jokes with a different hairstyle”. The ep didn’t go anywhere; Bart felt Lisa got all the attention so he acted out… over the course of several years before the final, predictable conclusion.

It’s always nice to see a future episode, where they end up etc. These future episodes are always contradicted which has become half the fun. I’ve said it before and will say it again: Perhaps a good way to freshen the series is to advance the kids’ ages to permanent teenage years. There’s only so many times the innocence of a first love/kiss/crush can be explored for an 8 and 10 year old. The possibilities when dealing with Bart and Lisa as teens are endless. As for Maggie… well, it can still be a running joke that Maggie doesn’t speak, or the audience catches her before or after she’s spoken.

It was a cute episode, but could have been done better.

 

I’m stuck in a Flandwich

Lisa with an S

Couch gag: A parody of Star Trek, couches surround a doughnut-shaped starship and destroy it

Director: Bob Anderson

Synopsis: Lisa makes her Broadway debut with an aging star.

Discussion:What can I tell you, folks? This sucked. The ep started well, with a Broadway-inspired song full of hope for tonight’s poker game. Homer lost to an aging Broadway star (and Moe’s new girlfriend), forcing Lisa to spend a month on the road. Something something something the show is cancelled and everyone hugs at the end. Or something, I stopped paying attention.

The plot of the episode is weak, with no guest star. Lisa’s fifteen minutes of fame parallels Bart as the I Didn’t Do It kid, but Bart did it better. This is a real snore fest.

Season 3 of anything is always the best

Friend With Benefit

Couch gag: …doesn’t involve the couch. In a parody of Pixar’s short film Feast, Santa’s Little Helper gets fat and is sent to Fat Dog Hell with the promise of free pizza.

Director: Matthew Faughnan

Guest Voices:
Kristen Bell as Harper
David Copperfield as himself

Synopsis: Lisa meets a new friend who is rich, and interrupts people.

Discussion: If there’s anything that has true wisdom, it’s a show making fun of itself. This episode absolutely does. Carl notes that the “in thing”, by which he means a couple of years ago, is crowd funding.

So, in case no one has guessed yet, I’m Australian. Doe-Eyed Boys… sigh. Seriously, there are hundreds of Aussie wannabe actors in America, hire a couple to voice these kids. And did anyone notice that their music sounded a lot like Bart’s boy band? Oh wait, that’s referenced. PS, Wodonga is an actual town in VIctoria.

And yet again, Lisa is having trouble making and keeping friends. Yawn. At least this one isn’t making up stories set in a fantasy wonderland or gluing seashells onto the family car. She’s just rich and buys friends. Lisa’s stupid conscience gets in the way and she rejects her new friend Harper, who also has a nasty habit od interrupting Lisa. Yawn.

There’s nothing in this ep to hold any interest. Harper’s dad is just plain weird, Harper is obnoxious, the plot is thin. Maybe Bart could’ve fallen for her, they could have voted Harper off like an ep of Survivor, or a number of other wonderfully weird things could have happened. As it stands, it’s just another forgettable episode.

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