30
Jan
12

Sensitive Moe Was the Least of Our Problems

Chalkboard - Moe Goes from Rags to Riches

“The Flaming Moe dates back to my forefathers who were bartenders to the Tsar.” – Moe  

Whatever else may be said about it, and we’ll likely be saying a lot this week, “Moe Goes from Rags to Riches” is further evidence of why there’s no hope whatsoever for Zombie Simpsons ever getting any better.  It had a Halloween episode level of weirdness, gore, and insane things (Moe is apparently a yeti, for example), but still couldn’t manage to squeeze out anything satirical or intelligent despite not having any rules to play by.  It had a celebrity playing someone other than himself, but didn’t have him do much of anything and didn’t give him any meaningful lines.  It had a B-plot in which Bart and Milhouse could have been just regular kids, but instead had them acting in that same weird, knowing, painfully self aware manner that Lenny and Carl do nowadays.  They gave themselves a completely blank canvas with no restrictions on story, character, believability, setting, or even time, and still fell back on things like Homer’s head being used to break down a stone wall, people beating Burns’ corpse with sticks, and multiple beheadings.  Oh, and there was a talking sponge.  This is the show now.

The magical narration tapestry/rag/respected character actor was theoretically the common element, but it didn’t have anything to do with about half the things that happened.  No explanation was given for how it got from place to place, it was hardly involved in a number of those sketches, and the entire thing with Nelson and his many wives didn’t involve it in any way.  The rag may speak in the dignified tones  of Jeremy’s Iron, but it didn’t have anything to say other than to complain.  The entire “history already written on the tapestry” thing was dropped completely midway through the episode, as was the curse of the sheep or whatever that origin thing was.  Confusingly, some segments had regular Springfield characters (Homer ended up as a peasant, a Viking, and a mountain climber) while others seemed to involve just random dudes. 

Making the entire thing even more bizarre was the way the Bart-Milhouse story apparently happened while the rag was narrating.  It wrapped up at the same time that Moe got the rag back from Marge, which means that Bart freaked out about Milhouse (and had Lisa write him a poem or whatever) all in a single night.  If that’s the case, then why did the two plots have nothing to do with one another?  It’s one thing to abandon Springfield for an episode of historical sketches, but to keep yanking us back there every few minutes for some more creepy passive aggressive conversation between Bart and Milhouse just made it even more sloppy and scatterbrained than it already was. 

Anyway, the numbers are in and they are lower and grimier than the floor at Moe’s.  Last night’s incoherent history essay was yawned through by a mere 5.12 million people.  That’s just a hair above three weeks ago and is good for fourth place on the all time lowest rated list.  Season 23 remains on track to be the least watched ever by a fair margin. 

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14 Responses to “Sensitive Moe Was the Least of Our Problems”


  1. 1 Stan
    30 January 2012 at 3:25 pm

    And the point of that episode was? Treat friends equal even if you ain’t go any?

  2. 3 monoceros4
    30 January 2012 at 8:27 pm

    Was this a parody of some art-house movie or other? I refuse to believe that the current Simpsons writers could come up a plot device this off-the-wall all by themselves these days.

    • 30 January 2012 at 8:30 pm

      It was certainly reminiscent of that short film with Werner Herzog as a plastic bag. They make no overt references to it, but the choice of a classy-sounding voice for the rag makes me think it was the inspiration.

    • 5 Bea Simmons' Rotting Corpse
      30 January 2012 at 8:44 pm

      There is some french art-house movie about a violin’s trip trough several centuries and countries. The movie covers several stories of the violin’s former owners. Remembering that it starred Samuel L Jackson, I found it’s name to be Le Violon Rouge: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120802/

      • 6 Bea Simmons' Rotting Corpse
        30 January 2012 at 8:47 pm

        (BTW, can’t you just imagine the ZS writers congratulating themselves for parodying obscure art house films, thinking how much smarter they are than other television writers/people? I dunno, must be the smugness Matt Selman sometimes presents for doing ‘obscure references’)

      • 7 monoceros4
        30 January 2012 at 10:49 pm

        There you go, you are undoubtedly correct about this. I’ve never seen the film but I remember it well from previews and, judging from the description of the film on Wikipedia, this episode is structured much the same, with much cutting back and forth in time.

        And yeah, writer persons? Just lampooning an obscure movie doesn’t make you clever automatically. You actually have to do it well.

  3. 8 Thrillho
    30 January 2012 at 10:43 pm

    This was clearly a case where the writers had no story ideas, so they just threw some random shit together and called it an episode. Usually ZS episodes give me at least one thing to laugh at, but this just had me asking “What?” more often than not.

    And in another example of the current show’s “stellar” animation, you gotta love how the footprint Homer leaves in the snow disappears a second after he lifts his foot up.

    • 9 Bea Simmons' Rotting Corpse
      31 January 2012 at 7:13 pm

      Honestly, something like the foot print is just a little annoying thing that sneaks by until you notice it after rendering. You’d be surprised how often this happens when you are working with so many layers/elements in a composit, and you’d be surprised how much time and money it costs to fix it and rerender it with such a tight deadline.

      If you want an example of horrifying animation, look at Lenny standing and then walking offscreen after he picks up the rag.

      You have to feel sorry for the animation directors, though. Getting trash like this and working 16 hours days to get something out of it, only to have half the animation cut out so it can be replaced by even more terrible writing. Deep in your soul, it’s gotta hurt bad to spend so much time on a waste of animation, and it’s got to hurt even more that you can’t do decent animation but have to half-ass it, even if the money is decent.

      One of the reasons the animation isn’t quite as good anymore, is because the animators have stopped bothering. It’s just too much to spend time animating on something, when there is a high chance that it will end up being cut.

  4. 10 Stan
    31 January 2012 at 1:41 pm

    Guys, who cares what was the inspiration here. The point is – this ep sucked ass. Just like the previous one, and the other before, and etc. Whenever they have a fresh idea they gnaw on it so much it makes itself into a movie or something. Either way it’s been a decade now that they fish in the recycle bin for shit written on discarded paper bits and hope they find some interesting plots in there. And when that doesn’t happen, they smoke weed.

  5. 11 Nuts and Gum
    31 January 2012 at 2:41 pm

    WHOA. A TALKING RAG. What were you guys smokin’ when you came up with that!?

  6. 12 Thrillho
    31 January 2012 at 6:02 pm

    I think a Compare and Contrast between this and Homer Defined is in order. In that one, Milhouse no longer deciding to be friends with Bart felt believable. Here, it feels sporadic and practically pointless in the end.

    • 13 Stan
      31 January 2012 at 6:46 pm

      If anything, I think Charlie should C&C the history bit with the ones from Season 8-10 or something. I think there was one about the Simpsons ancestors immigrating from Europe… Or the tall tales? Or… ah I don’t give a fuck, it was better done back then anyway.

      • 14 Charlie Sweatpants
        1 February 2012 at 12:32 pm

        I went with the Bart-Milhouse story. (I considered “Homer Defined” but went with “Bart’s Friend Falls in Love” because Bart wrongs Milhouse instead of his mom being the problem.) The magic rag was so dumb, I hardly had a choice. I could’ve picked one of the little set pieces and gone with a Halloween segment or something, but I didn’t think there was much there.


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