“Bart, we can’t let Bob steal the spotlight. We’re gonna have to stoop to the lowest common denominator.” – Lisa Simpson
“I can do that.” – Bart Simpson
Seemingly everyone with an internet connection weighed in on the Family Guy crossover this week. I couldn’t possibly read or link them all, so the below is by no means a definitive, or even a representative, sample, but broadly reactions seemed to fall into two categories. There were people who hated it and there were people who liked it. The difference is that the people who hated it, really hated it, while the people who liked it qualified their admiration with lots and lots of caveats and reservations. So the below is mostly reviews of the crossover leavened with some other stuff that somehow made it through all the noise.
We Met the World’s Leading Authority on Bootleg Bart Simpson T-Shirts – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is this interview with a guy who collects bootleg Bart t-shirts. There’s a neat little video, lots of examples, and he even says this:
A lot of people bash the show now for not being like how it used to be, but the couch gags alone smash anything I’ve seen on TV. You don’t need to watch the full episode if you don’t want to, but man… watch those couch gags.
I keep saying it because it’s true: nobody cares about what’s actually in the episodes.
Is The Simpsons relying too heavily on gimmicks? – Yes. (The article makes a number of good points that will be familiar to anyone reading this site, namely that the actual episodes are now by far the least important and visible part of the show. Maybe they should pull the plug or something? Nah, that’s crazy talk.)
Don Hertzfeldt’s Simpson’s Couch Gag is about relationships and mental illness – That couch gag got kind of lost in the shuffle this week, what with the death and the crossover. I’m not sure I agree with this, but it’s by far the most thoughtful and careful writeup of it that I saw.
They did it! They actually did it! Why critical old me is pleasantly surprised by The Simpsons/Family Guy Crossover – I guess it’s time to get started with the crossover links. This is from someone who liked it:
This crossover was nothing less than a big “jokes-on-you” to everyone who was getting way too hyped about this crossover. Everything from the Griffin’s first conversation to the widely-predicted chicken-style end fight between Peter and Homer is a slap in this face to whoever thought this was going to be the best thing that’s ever hit Fox’s Sunday night line up.
Couch Potato: “The Simpsons Guy” B+ – Again, this is from someone who was generally pleased:
the special was smart to begin with Chris basically breaking the 4th wall and explain that crossovers are mostly a marketing ploy. Stewie then tells him to shut up, acknowledging that even if so, so what?
Not exactly a ringing endorsement.
The Simpsons/Family Guy Crossover – This is fairly typical:
Throughout the episode, characters from each of the two shows popped up in different scenes. It was fun to see some of the characters interact with one another and during these moments, we could easily identify how The Simpsons has inspired elements of Family Guy, but as the episode wore on, these interactions became less funny. Ultimately, an episode’s success has to rely on its ability to tell a story. An endless stream of interactions between characters from two different worlds does not accomplish this.
6 Other Potential TV Crossovers – This “it was okay but still lame” opinion was widespread:
In a television event that is almost as historic as the final episode of M*A*S*H, The Simpsons crossed over with Family Guy this past weekend, creating a relatively mild episode for both shows. I liked it, in the same way I generally like any new episode of The Simpsons or Family Guy. I will always be a fan of both shows, but I think we’ve all settled into a general state of mediocre acceptance. Still, whoever though it would happen, right?
The Simpsons/ Family Guy Crossover Review – See what I mean?:
With The Simpsons entering it 26th season, and Family Guy entering its 13th, these two much loved shows are perhaps both past their primes, but the novelty of seeing both families duke it on screen is a something that provides in part moments of greatness, in part missed opportunities, as well as a smattering of simply bizarre moments.
The 5 Worst Things About The ‘Family Guy’/’Simpsons Crossover – Uproxx gives it the blow-by-blow.
Family Guy: The Simpsons Guy (13.1) Review – An actually positive review with no sarcasm, irony, or sarcastic irony. Also, the only one I saw.
Why Brandscaping Works – Unless you count the guy who saw it as a brilliant marketing ploy and actually used the word “brandscaping”.
No soul means that there is no organic drive. Neither the Griffins nor the Simpsons feel like real families anymore. Instead they all feel like actors, lining up to do the same routines regardless of whether or not there is any comedy left in them. When both shows were at their peak, they contained scripts that made the audience able to relate to the characters.
As a lifelong Simpsons fan who admittedly subscribes to the common wisdom that the show’s halcyon days are behind them (the new seasons middling premier didn’t help) and as someone whose enthusiasm for Family Guy has dwindled pretty markedly over the past several years, to say that I was less than thrilled about the crossover would be an understatement hovering somewhere between “the Hindenburg explosion was kind of a drag” or “John Wilkes Booth wasn’t really vibeing with what Lincoln was laying down” in terms of severity. But, a combination of failed self-restraint and journalistic integrity (the six of you who actually read this will remember that promise here) led me astray my better judgement and in front of Fox for an hour this past weekend. And, while “The Simpson’s Guy” might not have been the eldritch monstrosity that I believed it would be, it wasn’t much better.
Family Guy/Simpsons Crossover: Bad For Both Shows – The headline says it all, but the article has some fun moments:
“The Simpsons Guy” is a lame Family Guy episode that would never be talked about by anyone outside of the series’ core fanbase if it wasn’t also for the appearance of America’s favorite animated family. Family Guy is never going to be as great as The Simpsons, and both shows are aware of that. But “The Simpsons Guy” is bad for both of them: Family Guy comes off worse than usual, and it’s both frustrating and sad to see it try so hard to bring The Simpsons down to its level.
‘The Simpsons’ and ‘Family Guy’ came together and it was awesome and sad – You know things were bad when USA Today (America’s Favorite Pencil!) trashes the show on a sports blog:
It was funny, but also really sad. Mostly because after 26 years, The Simpsons isn’t funny. It’s been a very long time since The Simpsons had its edge,
‘Simpsons’ fans are totally underwhelmed by the death of (spoiler) – And speaking of McPaper:
So that was it?
That’s what a lot of Simpsons fans are saying after Sunday’s season premiere, when, after the show hyped that a character was going to die, the one who actually kicked the bucket was Krusty the Clown’s dad Rabbi Krustofski. Many fans were expecting a major character, like Krusty himself, to die, and they felt pretty underwhelmed after all the hype.
The crossover episode put the husband to sleep. It left me feeling like I’d spent an hour watching Seth MacFarlane’s therapy session. And I felt like I should send him an invoice and a list of suggestions for better handling his insecurities.
On TV: Review of ‘Family Guy’ and ‘The Simpsons’ cross-over – Feel the enthusiasm:
The crossover proved largely entertaining if unsurprising. Both “The Simpsons” and “Family Guy” are mature shows that have little room for growth. Their tropes are well-established and all-too predictable.
The Simpsons Guy – Another less than overwhelmed viewer:
Overall I did not like this crossover. The reason? Because it didn’t seem to know what it was supposed to be.
So there you go: lots of “meh” and more than a few “ugh”. That was a worth a year of buildup.
Simpsons fake out on major death – As for the death of Krusty’s father, this seems to be a pretty typical reaction:
so he will be missed by the shows crew and cast, but maybe not as missed by the fans.
The Simpsons: Krusty’s Dad Dies — Rabbi Krustofsky Dead On Season Premiere – Jean doing a little post death publicity. Nothing in the way of actual information, though.
Sunday Discussion: Comparing Alabama Political Leaders To The Simpsons – I know nothing about politics in Alabama, but these are some pretty good comparisons.
The Simpsons, Maths and Museums – A writeup of Jean and David X. Cohen at a British science museum talking up the math book.
Girl Gang – Very cool fan art of a Simpsons clad gang. Bravo.
Don’t Make People Pay for Media, Let Them. – Yet another person whose parents tried and failed to prevent her from watching the show.
And Now: Breast Cancer Action Month – Excellent usage:
My problem is with the name. I’m okay with “breast” and “month,” but the rest?
The Simpsons once had an episode that cleverly poked fun at the idea of awareness of this or that. They had the Awareness Awards (for Awareness of course):
From The Simpsons episode “Behind the Laughter”
Bart: When Willie [Nelson] asked me to be a presenter at the New Awareness Awards, I had to think about it … for about a microsecond!
Marge: You just don’t say no to the redheaded stranger … and when I heard that it was for awareness, that sealed the deal!
But awareness in the social media age seems to be all about putting something, a cause or a product, in front of you early and often and then doing little else.
Kwik-E-Mart Reusable Bag Styled in Honor of ‘The Simpsons’ Convenience Store – Rabbi Krustofsky may be dead, but merchandising will live forever.
The Simpsons USB Sticks 8GB – I enjoy a decapitated head sticking out of my laptop.
We meet the guy who draws Homer Simpson in the sand on the South Bank – Our old friend Martin Artman got his name in the paper, and there’s more pictures of those giant beach drawings.
Wauseon students paint to win pizzas – Art students painted the family on the front of a snow plow. No Mr. Plow, though, so that’s weird.
What to do with a Simpson’s house – Legos are always more fun when you don’t follow the instructions.
The logo 1.0 – Heh.
springfield nail game – Bart, Homer, Milhouse and Duff on fingernails. Cool.
Bartsock – Some socks, including Bart and Homer ones.
‘Simpsons’ Creator Matt Groening Talks about Early Life, Cartooning – No real news or anything in this Groening interview, it’s just his usual stuff, but the picture of him with yellow hands was pretty clever.
On TV: Review of ‘The Simpsons’ Season 26 premiere – Someone agreeing with us:
I can’t do it. I can’t be generous to “The Simpsons” anymore. I just can’t. It’s dull. And I watched the premiere of the 26th season Sunday night. I chuckled once or twice.
Bart’s Right, Let’s ‘None Of Us Have A Cow’ – And finally, I get to end with someone who really agrees with us:
Well, because the problem is, that killing off a character, can’t possibly rekindle anyone’s interest in the Simpsons; I rarely tune in these days and lament the fact that Maude Flanders isn’t in it anymore. But the main reason that a ‘death’ can’t solve the Simpsons’ problems, is because it is already dead.