Image taken from Wikimedia Commons.
“Ah, Mr. Simpson, you’re forgetting the first two Noble Truths of the Buddha.” – Sideshow Bob
“I am not.” – Homer Simpson
This episode is so by-the-numbers Zombie Simpsons that it might as well be a “How to” manual. Homer acts crazy, Lisa acts sanctimonious (literally), and there’s a Hollywood movie star voicing himself for no reason. It even has the bonus feature of the weird ending. In this case, it turns into an abbreviated Christmas episode with no warning whatsoever with about three minutes to go. Truly bizarre.
This commentary is also pretty par for the course. Mostly they ignore what’s going on, Jean tells some stories, and occasionally they deign to notice the episode and chuckle at something dumb.
Eight people here, including token female Pamela Hayden.
1:00 – The “Roswell That Ends Well” episode of Futurama beat this one out for an Emmy. That is a much better twenty-two minutes of your time than this.
1:30 – Discussing juvenile model rocket shenanigans.
2:20 – “Rain Delay” theater passes without comment.
3:05 – Still talking about model rockets of yore.
3:35 – Model Rockets and Your Childhood is interrupted because Milhouse’s eyebrows got blown off, but in the next scene they’re back. This is cause for mild guffaws and pointless crosstalk.
4:20 – This was originally pitched as Lisa Starts a Religion, but that was too shameless on account of Bart and Homer had already started religions, so they turned to Buddhism.
5:15 – They’re laughing about how much they used the hamster in these days.
6:20 – Jean goes off on an odd tangent here about how the rocket with HJS on the side got blamed on a guy named Hassan J. Salaam, and they did this before the 2001 terrorist attacks. Then he lets everyone know that they’re aware that the image from “City of New York vs. Homer Simpson” that has the “9” in front of the World Trade Center.
7:10 – More reminiscing about how many things got censored in 2001.
7:40 – That over, now it’s time for the customary praising of the guest star. Richard Gere’s only request was that Lisa say “Free Tibet” in the episode.
8:45 – Not much going on here except to say that Tress MacNeille does the voice of Lindsey Nagle.
10:05 – Long silence is broken by someone mentioning that they’ve sat in some hard pews in their life as the family settles into their cushy new church chairs.
11:10 – Someone mentions that they use the word “apt” like Lisa does here. There is very little in the way of commentary going on. It’s about time for Selman to ask Jean to tell a story.
11:45 – Long silence broken by someone remembering a comment someone wrote on the internet when this was first broadcast.
12:05 – Selman didn’t ask, but Jean does tell a story, apparently other shows are talked about on the internet too.
13:00 – After talking about television on the internet for a minute, Jean is reminiscing about Get Smart and Leonard Stern.
13:30 – Apparently the good part about the writers strike was meeting all these old writers on the picket line. Tom Gammill met someone who worked on The Munsters, and after Max Pross can’t remember who it is they finally realize that they’re talking about nothing.
13:50 – When no other conversation is forthcoming, Jean starts up with a Jackie Gleason/Leonard Stern story. Meanwhile, in the episode, Lisa is pointlessly expositing with an “As Himself” Richard Gere.
14:50 – Still talking about The Honeymooners.
15:20 – The young son of one of the guys (no idea who) tried buttering his bacon after he saw this episode. That is easily the most relevant comment in the last five minutes.
16:15 – This episode was written by a guy named Bill Freiberger who was a friend of Jean’s. The original draft went over a hundred pages and one of the things that got cut was an opening where Marge forced Homer to build the model rocket as a way for him to spend time with Bart. According to Freiberger, “people” at the time thought Marge wasn’t getting enough screen time, so he put that in only to have to cut the whole thing out and leave Marge with only one line.
17:20 – They’re talking about what kind of spec scripts people write these days.
18:25 – Once upon a time Jean and Mike Reiss wrote a Golden Girls spec script. By the way, it’s Christmas in the episode now.
19:15 – Apropos of nothing, Jean is now talking about the color version of “It’s a Wonderful Life”.
20:00 – Sometimes they hint that Milhouse is Jewish, but then he’s at the church, and this whole tangent is confusing me.
20:40 – Jean’s back to talking about how nice Gere was.
21:00 – Mild chuckling at the nonsensical ending here, and from the sound of things I don’t think all of them even remember this part.
21:45 – Steven Moore (I think) talks about how he’s done about three Christmas episodes and is working on one now. Jean then mentions that FOX will, without quite telling them what to do, ask that they have a Christmas or at least winter episode so it’s easier to promote.