This is a terrible episode. As is often the case in Season 12 there’s a mildly coherent idea, Krusty has a daughter he didn’t know about, that degenerates into incoherence when Homer and Krusty have to break into a mob summit meeting to steal back a violin that they mob had because . . . ah hell, you can’t even summarize this episode without babbling on like an idiot. You know what the least bad parts of this episode are though? The Fat Tony parts. And do you know why? It’s because Joe Mantegna is awesome. This was also far an away the best of the Season 12 commentaries to which I’ve subjected myself for the same reason. Joe Mantegna was in the booth with them and he is a one man show.
Ten guys on this one, including Castellaneta and the above mentioned Mantegna. Also, when introducing himself, the director seemed kinda down. Not sure why. Regret, remorse, shame, could be anything.
1:30 – Long discussion from Mantegna about how much he likes doing the show.
3:00 – Talking about how this one was written the previous year but didn’t get all the way produced. They refer to episodes like that, jokingly of course, as “holdover, or bad episodes”. Everyone laughs. Again. Sigh. By the way, Homer and Bart have been blowing up the house for no reason whatsoever for about two minutes now and not one of the commentators has mentioned what’s actually going on in the episode.
3:30 – Mildly interesting note that the “illegitimate child” idea was originally a spec for an episode of “The Critic”.
4:05 – They forget that Tom Wolfe wasn’t actually in this one, he was in a later episode.
4:45 – Trivia about Stephen King filming Maximum Overdrive. Still haven’t said a word about what’s going on except for the celebrity guest voices.
5:40 – Story about Christopher Walken at a party. Jebus, this is like listening to a gossip show.
7:00 – Celebrity story about John Updike now.
7:40 – “Krusty’s daughter has been in many many episodes since this episode, right? We wouldn’t bring something like that up and then just drop it.” Laughter.
(A brief aside on continuity and the reaction to it: It doesn’t matter. I’ve mentioned this before, but you can start poking continuity holes in this show in Season 1, it isn’t a problem because it isn’t a serial drama. But whenever defenders of Zombie Simpsons feel like scoring a cheap point against critics of Zombie Simpsons they’ll erect the strawman of, “Oh those nerds on the internet, they want everything to make sense, blah blah blah, a wizard did it.” On behalf of rational internet nerds, let me just say that we don’t care about continuity between episodes, but it would be nice if you a) didn’t recycle whole plots and b) had the story make sense within a single episode, which, by the way, this one doesn’t.)
8:00 – Time for the Drew Barrymore story, she’s a celebrity who likes dogs! OMG!!!! Sooooo cute!!!1!!!!1
10:00 – Talking about how Krusty’s daughter looks like him. Low bar for success these days, eh?
11:40 – Ah, more discussion of the outfits. Fashion faux pas have always been central to the show’s appeal.
12:15 – Discussing how they can’t remember what changes were made to this episode during rewrites, “I do remember we used to keep more story back in those days.” Shocking.
12:30 – Talking about Homer walking along the beach with a truly ridiculous amount of shit (flippers, a kite) and children hanging on him, they cite that as scene that grounds him as a normal father. Then they talk about how they often don’t do that anymore, though they apparently think it takes only one token scene to ground all the crazy shit. I think most of these guys know the show is a pale imitation of itself, they’d just be fired and sued into bankruptcy by FOX if they ever admitted it.
15:00 – Mildly interesting note, Mantegna based Fat Tony off of an uncle of his.
15:30 – Reminiscing about salad days in Chicago and ignoring the stupidity of the poker/violin/etcetera.
17:00 – More Mantegna stories. They’re far more interesting than either this episode or the usual commentaries. I’m glad he’s here.
18:20 – Once again ignoring what’s going on as the plot goes into its lunatic tailspin.
19:00 – Seriously, Mantegna is great. I can’t do it justice in print.
20:45 – Laughing at the conceit that is the gunfight that breaks out after Krusty and Homer (who has no business being there) carry out all the violin cases (for some reason), right past all the mob guys (for some other reason), and then the guns go off (for some final reason). This leads to one of the worst parts of Zombie Simpsons: the clock eating “action” sequence.
21:00 – Long silence at the pointless ending.
22:00 – Uproarious laughter at the pointless Homer scene at the end. And we’re done.