Someday I may run out of examples of how Zombie Simpsons is watery gruel compared to the hearty, nourishing comedy stew that was The Simpsons, but not today. I’d like to compare the camp song in “Elementary School Musical” to the one in “Kamp Krusty”. Both songs take about fifty seconds of screen time, with the one from Zombie Simpsons being a little bit longer. Here are the complete lyrics of the song from Zombie Simpsons:
Lea Michele: I, I love the elegant pearls you wear.
Cory Monteith: And the starfish shape that constitutes your hair.
Amber Riley: You’ll be staying in cabin twelve
Cory Monteith: And we think that you’ll be very happy there.
All: You’re gonna like arts camp, Lisa. Marge paid with her debit Visa.
Lisa: Arts, arts, arts, and education.
Lisa and “All” then repeat their lines for the next twenty five seconds, or half of the time the song takes. This may be a bit reductive, but let’s count the jokes. I see one, and only one. Line by line:
I, I love the elegant pearls you wear. [Not a joke.]
And the starfish shape that constitutes your hair. [Almost a joke, but recycled from Season 7 so it doesn’t count.]
You’ll be staying in cabin twelve [Again, not a joke.]
And we think that you’ll be very happy there. [See above.]
You’re gonna like arts camp, Lisa. Marge paid with her debit Visa. [The one joke.]
Arts, arts, arts, and education. [Not a joke.]
While Lisa and a cast of thousands repeat the harmony over and over again, are there any visual gags? Not really, there’s just a bunch of animated choreography:
I said “Step pause turn pause pivot step step”, not “Step pause turn pause pivot step pause!”
Aaaaaand scene. Now, let’s look at the song from The Simpsons. Again, lyrics first:
Hail to thee Kamp Krusty, by the shores of Big Snake Lake
Though your swings are rusty, we know they’ll never break
From your gleaming mess hall to your hallowed baseball field
To your spic and span infirmary, where all our wounds are healed!
Hail to thee Kamp Krusty, below Mount Avalanche
We will always love Kamp Krusty, a registered trademark of the Krusty Corporation, all rights reserved
First of all, this is much better, musically. All the lyrics work within the rhyme scheme and nothing gets repeated ad nauseum. It also actually sounds like a camp song, and is a much denser piece of writing. Let’s count the jokes:
Hail to thee Kamp Krusty, by the shores of Big Snake Lake [“Big Snake Lake” doesn’t exactly sound friendly, and you could argue that it’s a joke, but I’ll let this one pass.]
Though your swings are rusty, we know they’ll never break [Joke.]
From your gleaming mess hall, to your hallowed baseball field [Two jokes, for a total so far of three.]
To your spic and span infirmary, where all our wounds are healed! [Joke. Total = 4.]
Hail to thee Kamp Krusty, below Mount Avalanche [Joke. Total = 5.]
We will always love Kamp Krusty, a registered trademark of the Krusty Corporation, all rights reserved [Joke. Total = 6.]
Not only does the song work better, but it’s also got a joke pretty much every line. And that’s if you don’t count the meta joke of the kids (who already hate Kamp Krusty) being forced to sing the camp’s praises as a recreational activity. Then, of course, there’s the accompanying imagery. The “gleaming mess hall”, “hallowed baseball field”, and “spic and span infirmary”:
Which is followed immediately by the triple visual gag of “Mount Avalanche”:
Which is followed by the finale, when the one semi-wholesome camp image in the whole song literally collapses:
Nothing’s funnier than injured children.
And, of course, there’s the further joke of the bullies making them sing, including Kearney shouting at them to be “Louder! Faster!”. Depending on how you want to count, that means that in the same amount of screen time, in the same format, and in a very similar setting, The Simpsons fit in roughly ten times as many jokes as Zombie Simpsons. Zombie Simpsons isn’t watery gruel, it’s imitation watery gruel.