“Oh, my God! Lisa! She’s been crushed, and so have the hopes of our mathletics team.” – Principal Skinner
Sorry (again) for the non-existant blogging around here, still been busy. There probably isn’t going to be a Reading Digest today, but on the plus side, Season 26 is over, so I’ve got plenty of time to pretend that I’ll get caught up at some point. On the Harry Shearer front, there has been nothing but silence from both sides so presumably they’re still talking. Read into that whatever you’d like.
As for the finale, “Mathlete’s Feat” was bog standard: lots of filler, even more exposition, several magically appearing characters, and a couple of montages. After a rich school beats Springfield Elementary’s mathlete team, the Nerds (from “Homer Goes to College”) buy the school a bunch of computers, that promptly get fried, which leads to a lot of flattering exposition about Waldorf schools, which leads to Bart becoming the captain of the math team (for some reason), which (just one scene later) leads to a rematch with the rich school, which leads to the usual unconnected ending.
– Hey, Rick and Morty, that’s better than this. Thank goodness this “couch gag” took over 10% of the episode.
– “Good Seats Will Always Be Available” is pretty decent for an opening sign gag.
– But things go south fast with a literal drive by appearance from Nelson and twenty-seconds of Homer not laughing at a math joke.
– The Nerds are back for a hopefully brief cameo. Oh, and the math competition has a full audience. They didn’t even remember their own sign gag.
– Krusty just showed up to apparently host and yell the words “Drug Reference!” at the audience.
– Okay, Krusty’s gone. Now we’re on “introductory videos” for each team. Oh, and the rich kids video is directed by a yelling Michael Bay. South Park did that way better a long time ago. Just sayin’.
– Lisa’s monologing for some reason.
– Homer is explaining Lisa’s emotions.
– The Nerds are sticking around. Apparently they went to Springfield Elementary.
– Sigh. Skinner just appeared out of nowhere in Miss Hoover’s class, grabbed a film strip projector, and hurled it out the window (breaking it) and causing Willie to scream in pain. Remember when Skinner was funny because he was a buttoned down square and not another zany nutbar? The writing staff doesn’t.
– The “state of the art digital book burner” was a bit of a stretch, but they did set its temperature to 451F.
– And now the computers the Nerds bought have all been fried. That took a while, and involved a lot of exposition and urgent horn music.
– Back from commercial and we are literally watching them do nothing.
– The teachers now have no electronics and the Nerds have vanished from the plot without so much as a goodbye, so we’re getting their new, non-technical classroom activities exposited to us. Like Nelson reading his marshmallows.
– Lisa just left class and walked outside to see Willie, who didn’t so much as greet her before he went into a monologue of his own.
– Oh, for fuck’s sake, after getting several things explained to us, Lisa declared, “Move over, metric system, I’m learning the gastric system!”.
– And now Lisa just walked in on Skinner and Chalmers to exposit some more about learning math from Willie. It’s bad, “Willie has showed me that losing our technology doesn’t have to be the end of our learning. We could turn our school into a Waldorf school.” This reminds of that scene in Spaceballs where Rick Moranis looks right at the camera and asks, “Everybody got that?”. Only there it was intended to be funny.
– Lisa is now explaining a Waldorf school. . . . and now she’s teaching in the kitchen with no teachers around and, ugh, Lunchlady Doris.
– Now Lisa is back in class learning from Miss Hoover. I guess they ran out of things for her to explain.
– Now Marge is reading from a pamphlet at the dinner table to further the explanations.
– There’s a song now, which Homer liked enough that he took over the explanations about the school in the next scene.
– Oof, this is a mess. Willie was outside with some kids, and then Lisa and Skinner ran up out of nowhere to inform him that the plot needs to move along.
– After Lisa promoted Willie to coach of the school math team, he starts yelling and chasing Chalmers with a whip. I take back my previous “Oof”, now it’s really a mess.
– Now Chalmers crashed his car after Bart hit him with an egg. Now Bart is leading the math team. Now, now, now.
– And we’re back at a math competition against the same school from the beginning. Full audience again. Sigh.
– Willie has a Gandalf hat and stick for some reason, so the squeaky voiced asks him about college so he can pretend to be a sorting hat from Harry Potter. References!
– Lisa answers a math question correctly (which for some reason is taken as stunning, but whatever), then Bart complains that no one said there’d be math, then Lisa feels compelled to remind everyone that Bart is the math team captain. That happened one scene ago, but since it doesn’t make any sense and we never saw Bart do any captaining before getting to the competition, I guess they felt the need to restate it.
– Luigi just stood up from the crowd to yell for a bit and then walk into a pole. Huh.
– Though it is giving them a chance to flash a few equations on the screen.
– Then Bart somehow got the last question by drawing on Homer’s head. Then Homer yells about what we just saw.
– Our post-plot comedy sketch this week is an after party where Lisa is somehow drunk on “Mountain Doo”.
– Nevermind, that was our first, post-plot comedy sketch. The second one is introduced with a title card that reads, “The Simpsons Post Show Jug Band Fills The Time”. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: they know how crappy these are and do not care.
– The jug band filled twenty-five seconds of dialogue free time, though, so at the very least the title card wan’t lying.
The numbers are (long since) in, and they’re about what we’d expect. Last Sunday, just 2.79 million people wished Rick, Morty, and the jug band thing could’ve taken more of the runtime. That’s good for #4 on the all time least watched list, and pulls Season 26’s average viewership down to just 4.80 million. Season 25 previously held the record for least watched Season at 4.99. Come on down, Season 27!
As always with the ratings, the nuts and gum numbers are better than the overall ones, and since we now know that FOX has the option to keep the show on until 2019, I wouldn’t hold out any hope that they’ll drive the show off the air. But it is fun to point and laugh.