“Mr. Burns, this is Base Command. The intruder appears to be a young male, age nine to eleven.” – Guard
“Release the hounds.” – C.M. Burns
“They swore they’d get us back by spiking our water supply, but they didn’t have the guts.” – Homer Simpson
“Ohhh, the walls are melting again.” – Marge Simpson
“Personally, I think I’m overdone.” – Turkey
Happy birthday Wes Archer!
“This is hour fifty-seven of our live, round-the-clock coverage outside the Simpson estate. Remember, by the way, to tune in tonight at eight o’clock for highlights of today’s vigil, including when the garbage man came, and when Marge Simpson put the cat out. Possibly because it was harassed, we don’t know.” – Kent Brockman
“Yes, son, you can have an electric guitar just like your old man.” – Homer Simpson
“Dad, I’m asking if I can get a job.” – Bart Simpson
“Gig, son, when you’re a musician a job is called a gig.” – Homer Simpson
In the past, I have described watching Zombie Simpsons episodes as akin to listening to a 5-year-old tell a story. It’s just an endless series of “and then this happened”. In “Covercraft”, which had no B-plot, Moe trashes the music store, and then Homer bought a bass guitar, and then there was a montage, and then Homer was in a cover band, and then there was a montage, and then Apu got picked up by a famous band, and then there was a montage, and then the famous band got food poisoning, and then there was a montage.
- Another relatively decent and brief couch gag. Two in a row might be some kind of record.
- Things get off to a typically sloppy start. Barney vanished from the alley, then Moe got into a fight with the guy who apparently owns the music store, who is also clearly not the guy who sold Homer the reeds in “Lisa’s Pony”. A real waste of Will Forte.
- The sign on Guitar Central “Where Dreams Become Purchases” is pretty good. But to get there we had to have Lisa do a dramatic pause on “the big box music store”. None of these characters act like people anymore, and it’s very annoying.
- Now that Homer and Lisa are in the guitar store, Lisa conveniently vanishes for what appears to be several hours.
- Back at home, the Simpson family is once again telling the audience how they feel about stuff. Lisa continues to be a total non-entity. She says it’s cool to have another musician in the family, even though she just saw Homer get ripped off and already knew what he bought.
- Now Marge is at a restaurant with Helen Lovejoy, LuAnn van Houten (or whatever her name is now), Bernice Hibbert, and a totally silent Manjula. Like, she’s sitting right there and doesn’t say or do anything in the whole scene while the rest of them exposit the backstory about their husbands playing instruments. It’s weird.
- In our next poorly constructed scene, Homer, Kirk, Dr. Hibbert and Reverend Lovejoy are all in the Simpsons’ garage. They have all set up their instruments and look ready to go but have not, apparently, talked to each other about this at all:
Kirk: What were our wives thinking? We probably don’t even like the same tunes.
Hibbert: On the count of three, everyone say their favorite kind of music.
It doesn’t read like dialogue or even an outline of dialogue.
- If you’re wondering if they suddenly all became good after that, well, wonder no more. This is one of roughly a dozen sections of this episode that are just, “Hey, let’s play some 80s rock”.
- Apu just walked up. Apparently, Manjula is only allowed to talk off screen this week, but she told him about their garage band and now he’s gonna be their singer.
- Oof, this “Sungazer” crap is really bad. Accoding to the credits the songs were a joint effort of Selman and Matthew Sweet. I guess they got the crap rock vibe down, but the lyrics are, well, just lyrics. Probably should’ve at least tried to make those funny.
- Hibbert just asked Apu to explain why his voice is different when he sings. So they are aware of how wildly dumb this is, but they only pause to explain the implausible when they have a flashback to cut to.
- I’m not even sure how rawk music many montages we’re on now. Still, I like those better than dialogue like this:
Homer: Guys, are you feeling this? Are you feeling this?
Kirk: I’m feeling it.
Hibbert: I’m definitely feeling it.
Lovejoy: I felt something earlier but I was afraid to bring it up.
Apu: I think we all felt something.
After that, Homer exposited that they are now a band, in case we were unclear on that.
- Wait, a decent callback joke! The all appetizer restaurant the wives were at files for bankruptcy, and a newspaper headline calls the concept flawed after a sign in their window said it wasn’t. I feel like I found a four leaf clover or something.
- Well, that didn’t last. They’re backstage and Homer asks Apu what’s wrong before expositing how Apu can sing if he imagines he’s singing alone in the Kwik-E-Mart. It took the better part of a minute to get though that, and then it’s time for another montage.
- And I wasn’t kidding earlier about the lyrics being pointless and unfunny, “When I close my eyes/ I wish that I could fantasize/ Pull a dream right out of the air/ take a chance turn it into a prayer/”. Someone needs to confiscate Selman’s rhyming dictionary, for the good of us all.
- Bart just noted that everyone loves his Dad now. That may be the first thing he’s said all episode. We’re eleven minutes in.
- Ooh, they’ve dipped back into “being aware” of how dumb this is:
Marge: Oh, sweetie, this band has brought out the best in you
Lisa: Yeah, you really get that it’s all about the music.
Homer: Yep, it’s all about the music. And it would take a pretty unforeseen development to change that. Pretty unforeseen.
I wonder if the script said “with sexy results” originally.
- And just like that, four old rock stars show up a the garage. Kirk lists of their names, then explains that they’re from the band “Sungazer”. Hibbert then asks what happened to their lead singer. He’s dead, so they’re gonna replace him with Apu. Dun dun dun.
- These are Apu’s last words before being whisked away in a helicopter:
Tonight we play Las Vegas! And the theme of the casino is circus! Circus, ha!
- Sammy Hagar just showed up to voice himself.
- Oh, sweet baby exposition Jebus, they’re having Kent Brockman explain how great things are going for Apu.
- Homer just explained to Lisa the dictionary definition difference between envy and jealousy. Lisa then produced a dictionary from nowhere to verify it. That’s right, this episode has gotten so boring that they are reading from a dictionary.
- Homer then yelled at Bart about the band Genesis. It took awhile.
- Man, I’m getting sick of this:
Hibbert: You know, we really could use a new lead singer.
Then Homer accuses everyone of being “a Yoko” and the rest of them pack up and leave.
- Marge just showed up in the garage in the middle of the night with tickets and back stage passes from Apu. She’s in her bathrob and just holds them up. Then they disappear. This is how this show pushes its plot forward.
- Homer has now broken into Apu’s dressing room. There’s a picture of the Be Sharps on the wall. Sigh.
- In a shocking twist, Apu isn’t actually happy on tour. Then, and I am not making any of this up, they order rancid hot dogs from the Kwik-E-Mart to poison the guys in Sungazer, then the dad band we just saw break up plays the stadium while a final montage shows them getting arrested. Five-year-olds can do better.
- The credits feature Sammy Hagar telling an incoherent story in jail. On the plus side, it’s finally over.
Anyway, the numbers are in and they are literally the lowest ever. With no football lead in, last night just 3.49 million people yawned as the writing staff lived out its own collective mid-life crisis. That is the smallest audience in history, and by a fair margin as well. The previous record holder was a flat 4.00 from Season 23. To be fair, ABC had one of those tedious but usually solidly rated “award” specials last night, so this probably isn’t a new baseline, but it ain’t good, either.
[Note: I made a mistake in the ratings originally. This episode is actually 4th lowest all time. I was looking at an old part of my ratings spreadsheet. Still a terrible number, though.]
Homer has a mid-life crisis, takes up bass guitar and forms a cover band with some of the other dads in town. But the band’s modest early success is soon overwhelmed by the breakout potential of their most unlikely star, Apu.
The Red Rocker himself, Sammy Hagar, will guest voice tonight in an episode that I can only speculate to be ‘dad-rrific’. If you are feeling musically inclined however, I would suggest pulling out your season 5 DVDs and watching “Homer’s Barbershop Quartet” instead.