In our ongoing mission to bring you only the shallowest and laziest analysis of Zombie Simpsons, we’re keeping up our Crazy Noises series for Season 22. Since a podcast is so 2004, and video would require a flag, a fern and some folding chairs from the garage, we’ve elected to use the technology that brought the word “emoticon” to the masses: the chatroom. Star Trek image macros are strictly forbidden, unless you have a really good reason why Captain Picard is better than Captain Kirk. This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “dickey”).
I’ve linked the above graph before, and I couldn’t help but think of it when “The Fool Monty” did that rather half assed dome reference toward its ass end. That graph neatly sums up the general opinion on the movie, and if anything the SpiderPig slice is too small. What I especially like about this is that it exposes the movie for the cheap, forgettable ninety minutes that it was.
One of the hallmarks of paint-by-number, chum bucket studio comedies is when they have just one or two decent jokes (which are often flogged to an early death in the trailers). In this case, it was a single iteration of a pig that had three of them, and only that because of the song that accompanied it. If Harry Potter had a catchy 60s cartoon theme they could’ve played off, that graph would read differently.
But that isn’t what Zombie Simpsons brought back in their little meta-joke about how little sense the movie made. They brought back the dome that no one cared about, and then they tried to play it as though they were sending themselves up. The cultural ignorance that displays is impressive in some way and unintentionally funny in another, but neither does them any credit.
On account of Thanksgiving we were a man short again, though this time it was Mad Jon. In the spirit of being thankful, I assume that he is.
Charlie Sweatpants: Well then, let’s get this over with quickly, shall we?
Dave: Please, let’s.
Charlie Sweatpants: On a scale of one to the largest prime number yet discovered, what the hell was that?
Dave: That was maybe a -8.
I err on the side of caution lest I seem biased or anything.
Charlie Sweatpants: I don’t think there’s any way to be objective about that thing. They took perhaps the easiest character to write for in the entire list of characters, made him act pathetic, then brainwashed him into some kind of plaything, then they made him pathetic again.
Dave: Yeah the plaything bit was borderline demented, even by ZS standards.
A, it’s implausible. B, it went on for what seemed like 4/5ths of the episode.
So I suppose that’s actually par for course, who am I kidding?
Charlie Sweatpants: Burns isn’t off the hook either, though. Even when he was still himself he wasn’t actually himself.
Since when would C.M. Burns, a man who’s cheated death countless times and once, when he faced death, responded by kidnapping a child so that his evil would live on, when would that man kill himself?
Sorry, I’ll stop ranting. It’s just that the suicide thing really pissed me off. And then it didn’t end. It went on for like thirty seconds.
Okay, now I’ll stop ranting.
Dave: No, you’re right though. They ran with the essential bits of Burns but left out the irrevocably evil and selfish part
Which, you know, is kind of the point of Burns.
Charlie Sweatpants: Pretty much. On slightly (very slightly) less dismal ground, the B-plot, while timid and about five years too late, had one or two things that were okay.
Dave: Go on.
Charlie Sweatpants: Well, the Dick Cheney business card that said "architect of America’s downfall" and the joke about stacking naked men (which are right next to each other) were decent.
Dave: I actually thought the Fox news chopper was timely.
Charlie Sweatpants: I enjoyed the opening. As usual it was a little off, but the whole yelling at NBC joke was pretty good (though it didn’t need repeating).
The same with the FOX chopper joke. "Not Racist, But #1 With Racists" was good. But then there was that really strained "fair" and "balanced" joke.
Dave: Yep, they couldn’t leave well enough alone.
Charlie Sweatpants: The whole scene had those problems. Things just went on a bit too long here and there. Still, it was easily the best thing so far this season. That isn’t saying much, but it’s there.
Charlie Sweatpants: It was also better than the Cheney thing, to get back there for a second. Like I said, I liked the card and the torture joke, but then when they actually got to him it was pretty much a let down. His evil was about as lame as Burns in this episode.
Dave: Again, my point earlier stands, they couldn’t really leave well enough alone.
Charlie Sweatpants: Agreed with that.
Dave: The whole Smithers needing purpose thing has been done before and better.
Charlie Sweatpants: Well, this wasn’t repeating things so much as it was just really soft and lame.
But a few enjoyable pokes at our dark overlords aren’t enough to make up for the rest of the episode.
Charlie Sweatpants: And I don’t think they realize that twice going meta on yourself (once for Homer’s limited imagination, the other for the worthless return of the dome) stopped working for them fourteen seasons ago with Roy.
Dave: Jesus. Fourteen.
Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah.
Dave: I mean, it’s not like that’s a revelation or anything.
But it’s not often that I think about how much time has actually passed.
Charlie Sweatpants: It’s not so much the time as it is the change in culture. When they did it in Season 8 the general feeling about the show wasn’t that it was over the hill. Now, in lightly making fun of themselves, they make themselves look stodgy. Like Krusty with the flapping dickey.
In other words, when they bring the dome back (in a stretch for that Stephen King joke), it’s not like people loved the dome and they’re saying something counter-cultural. They’re just referencing themselves with the kind of gentle dead weight humor you hear at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner.
It’s obligated humor, which makes it dull.
Dave: I wish I had something to add to that, but I don’t, and you’re absolutely right.
Charlie Sweatpants: Anything else? I want to go watch good cartoons.
Dave: You should, because that’s what I’m about to do