There are four consecutive weeks of Zombie Simpsons starting on Sunday, so we’ll be back on our regular schedule for the month of May before embarking on Season 10 for the summer. In the meantime, please enjoy some excellent Simpsons writing from two of our longtime blog friends.
First up is Kokairu, who’s continuing her series of looking back at all the episodes. She’s crammed a whole lot into this one “The Simpsons on Reflection Part V: Seasons 3-5”. (I originally read this back when she posted it at the beginning of the month, and I could swear I posted it here already, but our April archive disagrees.) While she’s harsher on Season 5 than I’d be, I need to emphatically agree with this about “The Front”:
Some of the best jokes in this one went over my head when I was younger; “… actually, I did my thesis in life experience…” Perfect on so many levels.
Overall, that’s happened more times than I can remember, but what makes it even better, beyond the simple reward of catching something that had previously flown over your head, is the way it gives even repeat viewings their own personality. I still remember the time I watched “Last Exit to Springfield” with my then brother-in-law and he said, as Lisa demands the mirror, that he’d never noticed that was from Batman. I remember the first time I watched “Kamp Krusty” after I finally saw Apocalypse Now and getting the pigs heads for the first time. To some extent that’s true of anything you watch, read, etcetera, but The Simpsons provides (note present tense) an unparalleled number of opportunities for such enjoyable little moments.
Second is Andreas, who’s written one of his customarily thorough analysis pieces, this time on “Lisa’s Pony”. In particular, this should be CC’d to everyone who writes for Zombie Simpsons:
This episode also contains an example of one of my favorite Simpsons habits: using pathos to undercut brilliant, perfectly timed slapstick. Homer tries to leave the Kwik-E-Mart, but collapses asleep between the automatic doors, and they slam repeatedly on his head. It’s funny, sure, but the humor is drained out by the underlying emotional weight, and the fact that he’s reduced himself to this humiliating condition for his daughter’s sake.
When they beat on Homer nowadays it’s almost like a nervous tic. They do it without much reason, and just count on Castellaneta’s ability to scream in many different ways to make it funny. Here, none of that is necessary. When the power saw falls on Homer’s head, it’s his lack of reaction that makes it so damned hilarious. Wailing crazily would ruin it.
I highly recommend both pieces. I’d do so anyway, but in this case it’s especially a good idea on account of there aren’t likely to be a lot of warm fuzzies around here for the next four weeks.