“Ughhh, this goes on for twelve more minutes.” – Krusty the Klown
“Trilogy” or “storytelling” episodes like this one, where they have three independent segments, have always been maligned, even by people who think Zombie Simpsons doesn’t suck (check out the ratings, poll, and comments here if you don’t believe me). I’ve always thought the reason for this is that there are no genuinely good trilogy-type episodes. They didn’t do the first one until Season 10 (“Simpsons Bible Stories”) long after the show had begun transforming into Zombie Simpsons and so there’s no well of built up good will from which they can draw.
This is the second entry in the series and it’s no winner, although I think it’s noticeably less boring that most of the rest of Season 12. Which is to say that it’s got a small handful of decent jokes as opposed to the one, two, or none that’s more typical of 12. Of course, to get to those you need to wade through painfully unfunny stretches like the hobo making out with himself, the ineffective derringer fight, and the horrifying second segment (where they shoot all the buffalo). The buffalo bit in particular reminds me of nothing so much as the fake SNL skit The Big Ear Family from “Brother from the Same Planet”. There’s a single joke (buffalo die easily!) and then it goes on for four awkward minutes with nothing but exposition to accompany it.
Nine guys on this one.
1:25 – “That couch gag, that was one of my favorites, and I’d completely forgotten it and this was at a time when it was really hard to come up with those couch gags unlike in Season 20.” General laughter. For the record, the couch gag for this one has the family jumping on the couch in a subway station, the train pulls up and then leaves and the Simpsons are gone. If that sounds familiar it’s because it’s almost identical to the couch gag from “Homer the Whopper”.
1:45 – Remembering that the Delaware thing was a call back to “Behind the Laughter” episode about how lame their ideas were.
2:15 – Talking about hobos as a way to avoid the episode.
4:00 – Talking about how now they’re on a “new” four act structure and that’s going to spell the end of these. Gotta pay for that HD animation somehow.
4:30 – Long discussion of how great the animation looks. I don’t think that’s ever been disputed, but who cares?
6:00 – Someone points out that the Paul Bunyan story doesn’t make sense, but then someone else reminds them that it’s okay because they have Lisa point that out.
8:00 – Very little going on right now.
8:45 – They can’t remember if they had to delete some stuff but the trilogy episodes always come in long. Then someone else says “This segment already seems pretty long.” They chuckle.
9:15 – More discussion of how they can’t show butt crack any more.
10:00 – Long silence on the hobo’s craziness as he talks to himself, then as the silence becomes embarrassingly long and the hobo is writhing on the ground, someone deadpans, “I’m surprised we never called this character back.” Indeed.
12:00 – Once again not talking too much about what’s actually going on in the episode, instead discussing how the design is like a Halloween episode and how this got shown at somebody’s kid’s school. Also, silences.
13:20 – Long silence as Homer freaks out.
14:00 – Long, long silence as the cannibalism ending plays out really slowly and then fades back to the Hobo’s list of apple stuff.
15:00 – More discussion of hobos in general.
15:35 – Discussing how great the outfits are. Again with the outfits.
16:50 – Marveling at their ability to swap Nelson for a pig. I realize that some of the guys commenting have done a lot of really funny stuff, both on the show prior to this and in other places, but on these commentaries all they ever seem to be is pleased with themselves for not being able to tell a coherent story or come up with decent jokes.
18:15 – Silence as things get strange again.
19:15 – More silence and uncomfortable non-laughter as Bart and Nelson are fired into the sky and then into the riverboat saloon. It goes all the way through to when the guns get pulled and then someone compliments the animation and then more mostly silence for the ineffectual gun fight.
21:00 – Mostly silence as it gets weird again for the end.