“Okay, we’ve got the secret vigilante handshake, now we need codenames. I’ll be Cue Ball, Skinner can be Eight Ball, Barney will be Twelve Ball, and, Moe, you can be Cue Ball.” – Homer Simpson
“You’re an idiot.” – Moe
The last two episodes of Zombie Simpsons have seen the entire opening, couch gag and all, dropped completely. They’ve also featured Matt Selman’s name before Al Jean’s in the customary spot for the show runner. Not coincidentally, the last two episodes have also seen the show impressively manage to get even further away from what once made it great. At this point I don’t think the writing staff thinks of this as anything but a sketch show.
This week it was Homer running around with the kids, last week it was Marge, but it almost doesn’t matter since most of the cast is now barely recognizable as human, much less the characters they used to be. For example, Homer and Bart used to not like Patty, but here they leap right in to including her in their little scheme. There isn’t so much as a nod to anything of what we know about the Simpsons universe, all that matters to Zombie Simpsons is making sure that we understand that Homer is standing in for George Clooney and Patty is Julia Roberts.
Once they have that established, the rest of it plays out like a less entertaining version of the Family Guy-Star Wars mashups. Just like the Oceans Integers movies, everyone’s slick and cool and well dressed, only now they’re yellow! Just like the original, there are lots of double crosses and fake outs and everyone is winking at the camera. It’s so stylish and urbane that it thinks those are the only two things that matter. That’s how you get multiple flashbacks, an action montage, and a mistaken belief that those title cards were so funny that we needed a dozen of them.
Anyway, the numbers are in and they are worse than ever. Just 5.74 million people watched Zombie Simpsons instead of reading a book last night. That isn’t just a bad number, that is a catastrophe. It’s tied for the 10th lowest number of all time, and is the lowest ever for the fall half of the season. Season 22, the lowest rated season in the show’s history, didn’t have a number that bad until February.