“It was an unusually warm February 14th, so the children walked home without jackets.” – Lisa Simpson
In all its manic motion – to Europe!, to camp!, to Not Brooklyn! – Zombie Simpsons never stops to develop a character, tell a story or, heaven forbid, make sense from one scene to the next. To take just one example, Lisa rides her bike to hang out with the Conchords in what she imagines is their cool artist abode. She’s wearing just her usual red dress. Once she gets inside, they have her shiver and complain that it’s cold (because they have no heat), but she’s wearing the same thing she had on outside.
Obviously this is not a huge problem (this episode has many far larger ones), and careless things like it are par for the course for Zombie Simpsons. But it shows how lightly the people behind the show regard their own work. No one, writer or animator, thought to put a jacket on Lisa; no one thought that a girl leaving home in the dead of night on a bicycle might be cold, even though her being cold is on the next page of the script.
In his oral history of The Simpsons, John Ortved recounts a scene in the parking lot of the studio during the early years of the show. One of the writers, frustrated with an episode that they couldn’t quite get right, actually drop kicked the script and sent the pages flying all over the place. I’ll bet you anything no one kicked the script for “Elementary School Musical”.
Anyway, the numbers are in and they are historically bad. Even the interior demographics, long the silent strength of the dismal top line numbers, were weak:
The Simpson’s 3.7 adults 18-49 rating was down 14% from last season’s premiere (9/27/09).
Overall, last night’s poorly plotted excuse for cross promotion was endured by a mere 7.76 million viewers. That’s the lowest rating for a season premier ever. But wait, it gets better. The Season 21 premier, “Homer the Whopper” was watched by 8.21 million people, and while that too was an all-time low for a season premier, it was also the fifth highest rated episode of the entire season. And Season 21 was massively aided by the “20th Anniversary!” and “Live Nude Marge!” things, advantages Season 22 will not have. If 7.76 million is the best Zombie Simpsons can do with a heavily promoted season premier and all the star power of Glee behind it, Season 22 is going to be embarrassingly terrible, ratings wise.