Image shamelessly yoinked from here as a result of search for “randomly determined”.
“I’ll get the dictionary.” – Hugh Parkfield
“Why?” – Lisa Simpson
“You’ll see when you get there, the word ‘stochastic’.” – Hugh Parkfield
“Pertaining to a process involving a randomly determined sequence of observations!” – Lisa Simpson
As part of our tireless efforts to demonstrate the many ways Zombie Simpsons fails to entertain, Season 23 will be subjected to the kind of rigorous examination that can only be produced by people typing short messages at one another. More dedicated or modern individuals might use Twitter for this, but that’s got graphics and short links and little windows that pop up when you put your cursor over things. The only kind of on-line communications we like are the kind that could once be done at 2400 baud. So disable your call waiting, plug in your modem, and join us for another year of Crazy Noises. This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “Michelangelo”).
This episode is such a patchwork of unrelated elements that it’s difficult to discern a structure or theme. Oh sure, there’s the rag, but the rag seems to move between kinda, sorta real history like Michelangelo and Vikings to fanciful tales like One Thousand and One Nights. (Speaking of which, and not that this episode needed more beheadings, but in the original tale the previous wives all get killed. Nice to know that’s where they draw the line.) Things made just as little sense back in Springfield, particularly when you remember that Milhouse produced Drederick Tatum from nowhere to punch Bart in the arm. I know things don’t tend to make sense these days, but this did seem like an especially “Fuck you, audience” effort on their part.
Charlie Sweatpants: Since I imagine you are very busy, want to get right to it?
Dave: Please let’s. Anagrams of "Jeremy Irons" are funnier than whatever the fuck it was that happened last night.
Charlie Sweatpants: I’m at a loss for where to start with this episode. The A-plot wasn’t so much a plot as an excuse for whatever dumb historical situations they could come up with, and the B-plot was so undercooked and nonsensical that they would’ve been vastly better off just dropping it.
Dave: In two words: just terrible.
Charlie Sweatpants: Shit sandwich.
Dave: Santorum rag.
Charlie Sweatpants: Heh.
The structure of the whole thing was a contradictory mess. If the rag was in the "real world" of Springfield, how did a Homer look alike climb Mount Everest, break down that wall, etc.? If the rag wasn’t in the real world, then what the hell was all that stuff with Bart and Milhouse doing happening at the same time?
You can do a weird, historical sketch show, you can do a show about Bart and Milhouse having a fight. I don’t think you can do both at the same time, especially when the two stories have nothing to do with each other. If the rag had made and lost friends over the years, or if it had seen friendships wax and wane, okay then maybe there’s a connection or a theme. But there was nothing like that.
Dave: Stop it with that incessant logic of yours. You’re making too much sense.
Charlie Sweatpants: You don’t need a lot of logic to be confused by this, just a short term memory that lasts more than about ninety seconds.
More than once it cuts from the Bart-Milhouse thing back to the rag on the bar.
Which of course sends us back to Persia or Europe or whatever.
Dave: Everest. France. Whatever is right
Charlie Sweatpants: I mean, what was with the back-to-back executions? Was that supposed to be the same time and place, or different?
Dave: I think the former? Who knows. It was tedious either way.
Charlie Sweatpants: Even back in Springfield it was tedious. Marge stole Moe’s rag, which he apparently sleeps with, and didn’t tell him . . . except that she must have told him because he ended up at the Simpson house.
Dave: Question. Why does Moe sleep at the bar?
Charlie Sweatpants: I don’t know. Has he been doing that for a long time? Back in Season 6 and Season 9 he had a house.
Dave: That’s what I remember, too. I suppose it doesn’t really matter.
It was convenient for whatever sinister purpose the writers needed to advance the shred of plot they had.
Charlie Sweatpants: Though you’d think he’d lock the bar before he went to cot. Oops, there I go thinking again.
Dave: Definitely thinking too hard, that rag needed to be stolen.
Charlie Sweatpants: Moe’s panic at losing the rag was out of deep left field.
Charlie Sweatpants: Here’s a head scratcher though, was it more or less out of nowhere than the ending with Santa’s Little Helper and Maggie?
Why did Wiggum show up?
It was just nonsense end to end.
Charlie Sweatpants: I assume because that teargas joke killed at the table read.
Why were some of the historical scenes made up of Simpsons characters and others not? The monks weren’t regulars, but Homer was. The pope was a regular but Michelangelo wasn’t. It was all very strange.
Dave: Wasn’t Michelangelo one of the gays?
Charlie Sweatpants: Maybe? Of course, I wouldn’t have had time to notice all of that if there’d been some, you know, jokes. But those were few and far between.
Dave: i.e., regular by Zombie Simpsons standards
There were jokes?
Charlie Sweatpants: Well, I guess it counts as a joke when medieval Wiggum got hit in the crotch and then went over to do cave paintings, because that’s what they did in medieval times (<– may not be true).
Dave: Go on.
Charlie Sweatpants: There were a lot of those. Like the fact that the tapestry was made in medieval France, but then found its way to Persia where they’d never heard of Christians.
I’ll admit that’s nitpicky, but damn it, if you’re going to do an episode where a rag travels through historical times, shouldn’t you maybe put a tiny bit of effort into your history?
Dave: You’d think so. But then again, you’re thinking.
Charlie Sweatpants: I know, bad habit.
But I didn’t need to think too hard to wonder why Homer was walking up the wall and onto the ceiling at the beginning.
Dave: Oh right, the dance off.
I’d nearly forgotten.
Charlie Sweatpants: And I didn’t need to think to know it made no sense for Lisa to be standing right behind Bart as he read the thing she supposedly wrote to Milhouse.
Dave: Don’t forget, Maggie was there too.
Charlie Sweatpants: And I didn’t need to be thinking to wonder why Bart was on the mountain filling balloons with oxygen while Comic Book Guy floated by.
Dave: I don’t remember that. Probably a good thing.
Charlie Sweatpants: Definitely. I don’t think there was a single scene here that made sense, even just considered on its own. Burns falls off a giant cliff and then everyone decides to beat him with sticks. Why?
Dave: Because, ha ha, the French are cowards?
Look, ripping on the French is fun. But what transpired wasn’t even close to being funny.
This from a show that has a wonderfully rich history of doing just that.
Charlie Sweatpants: But like most of this episode, that stuff is all in the past.
Dave: Indeed. What a waste of my time, Jeremy Irons, electricity, and so on.
Charlie Sweatpants: Anything else catch your eye here?
Dave: Nope. To quote the rag, "I’m in hell."
Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, the rag was kind of a pain in the ass wasn’t it/he?
But it’s okay because after all that it was happy with the dog. Or something.