“Okay, we’ll do a different song. Who cares? They all end up sounding the same anyway.” – Mr. Largo
For the fourth summer in a row, we here at the Dead Homer Society will be spending some time discussing twelve year old Simpsons episodes. This year we’re doing Season 11. Why Season 11? Because we’ve done Seasons 8, 9 and 10 already, and it’s time to take an unflinching look at the end of the show. Since Skype and podcasts didn’t exist in 1999, and we want to discuss these episodes the way the internet intended, we’re sticking with the UTF-8 world of chat rooms and instant messaging. This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “hemorrhagic”).
Today’s episode is 1113, “Saddlesore Galactica”. Tomorrow will be 1114, “Alone Again Natura-Diddily”.
[Note: Dave couldn’t make it again this week. I’m beginning to think this “job” of his is just an excuse not to watch Season 11.]
Charlie Sweatpants: Ready to begin?
Mad Jon: I am
Charlie Sweatpants: Very sore.
The best part of this episode is the beginning, and even then it’s all things that have been done better in earlier episodes.
Mad Jon: Agreed. This is a straight downhill episode. Shaun White would love it.
Charlie Sweatpants: That’s Winter Olympics, man.
Mad Jon: Yeah I know, but I don’t know any summer athletes who would enjoy a downhill…
That being said, Homer started at the bottom.
Charlie Sweatpants: Even the best parts at the beginning are retreads. Largo only wanting to play the same old standbys, the Simpsons at a fair, Homer making 1970s rock references. They were all things that had been done by the show not that long before.
Mad Jon: The Vietnam vet crap was a prelude to a Jerkass-ness that just, wouldn’t, stop.
Charlie Sweatpants: Case in point, the OmniGogs, which are one of the better jokes in the episode, feel like leftovers from "Twisted World of Marge Simpson".
Mad Jon: Agreed again, that would have been a great franchise in that episode.
Charlie Sweatpants: The Jerkass levels here are head splitting, almost literally when Homer imagines himself eating pearls.
Mad Jon: This man deep fries his shirt within minutes of the beginning.
Charlie Sweatpants: And screams at the band, which naturally makes them do whatever he says.
Mad Jon: Of course.
Charlie Sweatpants: And that’s before things really get going once they get the horse.
Homer’s various money making schemes are all dumb, then it gets ratcheted up even higher with them racing against professional jockeys, and then it gets even worse with the jockey elves, and then it gets even worst with the jockey elves firing a cannon and chasing Homer through the fucking streets.
Mad Jon: Disclaimer that I should have probably given before we started:
Once they went to Jockyland, I quit.
Charlie Sweatpants: Really?
Mad Jon: I left the episode on in the background, so that I wouldn’t be lost, but I left to clean the kitchen.
I just can’t stand that part.
I just can’t stand it.
It is so awful.
Charlie Sweatpants: So you didn’t get to experience the hemorrhagic joys of the chase scene and the super soaker ending?
Mad Jon: I remember that part, but the only note I have after the suicide note I wrote when Homer went into the jockey locker room is a question about how any sanctioning body would allow a 10-year-old to compete professionally.
Oh, and something about Clinton being the worst.
This episode could have fit in 5 or 6 seasons later.
Charlie Sweatpants: Agreed.
Mad Jon: I think my heart rate is up 20 bpm right now just thinking about the end.
And I watched it several days ago.
Charlie Sweatpants: It keeps asking us to overlook more and more inane crap, and then it ends.
There’s no payoff for all that crap, you get the feeling that if it’d gone on another five minutes the jockeys would’ve become zombies and then Homer would need to visit a wizard to stop them. It was on a very sharp upward curve.
It just ran out of time.
Mad Jon: Good call. I shudder to think about where this could have been if they let it go a littler longer.
I wonder if they would have ran out of horse related Jerkass-ness with Homer…
Charlie Sweatpants: Well, the horses all seemed to be sentient as well, so why not have them start talking?
Mad Jon: That was probably the last part to miss the cut.
Charlie Sweatpants: "Duncan" in this episode is basically like Air Bud, only without any of the intelligence.
Mad Jon: At least a golden retriever is cute. This thing had a nose ring.
Charlie Sweatpants: Like I said, things kept getting zanier and zanier.
At first he was just racing fast, then he started beating other horses, then they stopped even running after him.
Mad Jon: But then they did, and there was a fight where Duncan stole their whips and hit them, or something.
Charlie Sweatpants: Always gets worse. There is a kind of geometric perfection to it, albeit one that is increasingly boring to watch.
This is an episode where, very late into it, you’re not even sure how it’s going to end, you just want it to end as quickly as possible.
Mad Jon: I feel like I am at a movie I didn’t want to go to anyway, and I am super drunk so I just keep telling myself it’s almost over and someone will take me home.
Charlie Sweatpants: It is an unpleasant feeling.
Mad Jon: That being said there are a couple of good lines. Not as many as even a poor episode would have, but there are a few.
Charlie Sweatpants: I do like the one jockey asking the other if he’d like to race clockwise.
Mad Jon: I particularly like the rich guy who has broken his third monocle this week.
Also the jockey who wants to race clockwise, agreed.
Charlie Sweatpants: The rich guy is good. I also like Largo’s "fuck it" statement when he storms off saying they all sound the same anyway.
It’s a pity the episode didn’t follow that up and actually have the school band sound like, you know, a school band instead of professional musicians during the competition.
Mad Jon: I am particular to Wiggum’s "I just want the horse to have a good home or be food" as well. Mainly because of how lazily he delivers it.
Charlie Sweatpants: Wiggum is great in that scene. His "I’d rather let a thousand guilty men go free than chase after them" is classic him.
Unfortunately, all of these lines are just speed bumps on ever increasing suck pit that is this episode.
Mad Jon: Yeah, the good lines aren’t even an apology. This is an episode that twice breaks the 3 1/2 wall.
Charlie Sweatpants: I actually like the second time he shows up.
Mad Jon: Meh.
Charlie Sweatpants: When Lisa thinks Marge is getting a gambling problem, and he says "I’m watching you". I dunno. I’ve always liked that.
Mad Jon: I hate the whole "We know we’re out of ideas, so we beat you to pointing it out" crap.
Charlie Sweatpants: I do too. The first time he shows up is very revealing.
It’s kinda funny, but it’s also clearly lost its bite. They made that joke, with Comic Book Guy himself, the first time in "Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie". It kinda worked in Season 8, when things were still strong. But by Season 11, there weren’t too many people left who were still saying it’s as good as it’s ever been.
They’re hiding behind Comic Book Guy, and in doing so are also showing just how out of ideas they really are.
Mad Jon: Yep.
Can’t really describe that any better.
Charlie Sweatpants: And don’t forget the Jerkass Homer, which also kept getting worse.
Ready to bury Maude Flanders?
Mad Jon: I am.