Posts Tagged ‘Chief of Hearts

24
Apr
10

Compare & Contrast: Counterfeit Clothing

“Oh no, it’s Gloria Vanderbilt, out for revenge!” – Hired Goon

Near the end of “Chief of Hearts”, Fat Tony and the gang are counterfeiting clothing in the woods for some reason.  Homer and Wiggum are there for some other reason.  Homer and Wiggum then get thrown in the trunk for yet another reason.  While in the trunk, they have an earnest and humorless heart-to-heart moment that finally pushes their earnest and humorless plot line towards the finish line. 

As if to underscore how lazy this entire setup is, just about the only stab at comedy in the entire ending is Wiggum’s joke about the tire iron being what was poking him in the back.  Except that Wiggum was facing Homer, not the other way around.  That’s not normally the kind of thing I give a shit about, but there’s no reason other than sheer apathy for it to have been that way.  They could’ve put Homer behind Wiggum in the trunk, there was nothing stopping them.  But they didn’t even consider it. 

You Should Look Sad

This could not have been more than two script pages from the tire iron “joke”.

Compare all this to the ending of “The Springfield Connection”.  Here, too, we have a counterfeit clothing scheme to wrap up the plot.  The difference (other than that this one was fresh and Zombie Simpsons was recycling an idea) is that both of the elements that bring the story to a conclusion have been previously established.  We know that Homer gambles in the house with Herman (and that Herman ducks out for unexplained reasons), and we’ve seen Marge on the firing range doing target practice.  Moreover, even during the “suspense” parts, nearly every line or action is a joke of some kind, from Homer telling Marge to “sell the jeans and live like a queen”, to Marge’s exasperation at her back yard turning into a shooting gallery, to Herman’s “foiled by my own shoddy merchandise”.  Everything is played for humor and it all moves on quickly. 

Even Homer’s reconciliation with Marge, telling her that she’s a good cop, is played for a laugh when Homer immediately turns on her when he thinks Herman is getting away.  Not only does it take less time than Homer and Wiggum’s multiple makeup sessions in “Chief of Hearts”, but it’s done with comedy – not drama – in mind.  To top it all off, when things finally do end, everything returns to normal.  Marge quits the police (which she’d already grown disenchanted with) because of all the corruption, and no one had to act out of character to get things back to normal.  Wiggum and company remain self interested and dishonest, Marge remains incorruptible and upright. 

Zombie Simpsons perverts the essence of a long established character, lingers on contrived situations that are played for suspense, and ends with Homer and Wiggum being friends instead of returning things to the way they were.  The Simpsons has a long established character explore a new opportunity that fits right in with her personality, has a coherent story that never gets serious, and wraps things up neatly at the end. 

22
Apr
10

Crazy Noises: Chief of Hearts

A Star is Burns4

“At last, an excuse to wear makeup!” – Chief Wiggum

In our continuing mission to bring you only the finest in low class, low brow, and low tech internet Simpsons commentary we’re bringing back our “Crazy Noises” series and applying it to Season 21.  Because doing a podcast smacks of effort we’re still using this “chatroom” thing that all the middle schoolers and undercover cops seem to think is so cool.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (though, for comedy purposes, “cumly” has been left alone).

Zombie Simpsons likes to graft hackneyed plot ideas and story structures onto its one dimensional characters.  Unfortunately, when groping blindly for concepts that have only been done a dozen or so times before, they don’t consider what kind of baggage comes along with them.  Cheap comedy plots often have pointless “danger” sequences at the end that give the characters a modicum of cover to come to terms with whatever has been driving the plot forward.  (If you’re familiar with the lesser works of Adam Sandler you know exactly what I’m talking about.)  Take “Chief of Hearts”, which spends the last 20% or so of its runtime forcing Homer and Wiggum to re-bond because of gangsters.  Why were gangsters hanging out in the woods?  Why were Wiggum and Homer there in the first place?  If they’re already in the woods why do they have to go for a drive?  It’s best if you don’t ask those kinds of questions since there are no answers that don’t include the phrase “it’s because . . .”.

Anyway, we had a good time last night picking at some of the more obvious problems with this episode.  The complete lack of jokes or satire were only the beginning.

Mad Jon: Anywho, you guys ready?

Dave: I’m a couple beers in. Let’s rock

Charlie Sweatpants: Initial thoughts?

Mad Jon: Mr. Burns I believe you asked for an opening tirade.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yes I did Kent.

Charlie Sweatpants: The fundamental problem with this episode is that it’s using a concept of romantic comedy that was tired in about 1985, and yet they believe that by grafting it onto Chief Wiggum it will be funny.

Mad Jon: I especially hate episodes that humanize characters known for only one thing.

Charlie Sweatpants: I would dispute your use of the word "humanize".

Mad Jon: Next there will be an episode about how lonely Disco Stu is or something.

Dave: Wiggum as an emotional trainwreck was special.

Charlie Sweatpants: Wiggum is eminently human, he’s massively corrupt and completely oblivious to the harm he causes other people.

Mad Jon: But seriously, Wiggum is a cop. A terrible, terrible cop. And that is why we love him. The only family or emotional stuff he should be responsible for is the occasional post Ralph comment-comment.

Moe tends bar, Krabappel teaches, Lovejoy preaches, and that’s that.

Dave: Completely agree. The insecurities he expressed in this episode were out of hand and not funny, which goes without saying

Mad Jon: And to top it all off, he gets shot.

Charlie Sweatpants: The only time he was ever – ever – sad while the show was still on the air was when he lost his job. Now he’s sad because . . . why?

Mad Jon: Because he lost the only friend he had or something.

Dave: Sarah won’t play ball?

Charlie Sweatpants: That would make sense if only we hadn’t seen him enjoying himself over and over again with the other cops.

Mad Jon: Sarah, get me Superintendent Chalmers.

Thank you Sarah.

Yes, which would also make sense if he was something other than a cop.

Charlie Sweatpants: I cite his love of pretzels in "So It’s Come to This", his burger conversation in "22 Short Stories", watching Itchy & Scratchy in "Krusty Gets Busted", and a bunch of others.

Mad Jon: Wiggum is supposed to only be around the two other cops, Lou and the guys whose name the beer has made me forget.

Charlie Sweatpants: Eddie?

Mad Jon: Yep, That’s it.

Keep it up and you’ll make sergeant one day.

Charlie Sweatpants: But only if you don’t put squirrels down your pants for the purposes of gambling.

Mad Jon: Knock it off boys..

Dave: Ok, so we’ve established that Wiggum sucked donkey balls in this episode.

Mad Jon: Oh jeez, now I just feel like reminiscing about Wiggum quotes.

"Get his license and registration."

Charlie Sweatpants: Okay, I think we’re agreed on the fact that Wiggum was acting like a love struck teenager because the writers couldn’t think of anyone else to act like a love struck teenager. Damn you, Dave, for taking my segue.

Dave: It felt right.

Charlie Sweatpants: Fat Tony was also out of place here.

Mad Jon: So plot B then? A tired concept that was actually meaningful almost 10 years ago?

Charlie Sweatpants: I would say "almost meaningful" not "meaningful almost".

And besides that, a drug suspicion plot? Really?

Mad Jon: Ah, but to the rest of the world the Pokemon thing was quite the craze.

The drug thing was pretty retarded. And not in cute funny way.

Dave: Wikipedia says this wasn’t a riff on Pokemon.

Charlie Sweatpants: It’s like they’re channeling the most cliched parts of every family sitcom ever, only they’re not satirizing them, they’re using them.

Mad Jon: Perhaps the writers edited it before the Japanese could.

Charlie Sweatpants: Dave, what was it a reference of?

Dave: This is what they were "satirizing:" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bakugan_Battle_Brawlers

Mad Jon: They all look the same to me.

No offense Dave.

Dave: None taken. They’re a blur to me too.

Charlie Sweatpants: Wait, I’ve just spent 10 seconds skimming the Wikipedia article and I still don’t get it. Are there little toy robots that you play cards with?

Mad Jon: 10 seconds, you got me beat two fold.

Dave: There are cards of some sort.

Charlie Sweatpants: Oh wait, there it is, near the bottom.

Dave: Regardless, stupid.

Mad Jon: So no snowmen shooting carrots?

Charlie Sweatpants: "The game uses spherical, spring-loaded miniature figures, representing the Bakugan, which pop open when rolled onto special metal Gate cards."

Mad Jon: So maybe snowmen. And maybe carrots.

Charlie Sweatpants: Either way it’s getting shot onto Marge’s face, that ought to make some people happy.

Mad Jon: I didn’t think of it that way… neato. At least that should drive up search engine hits

So many people looking for Simpsons porn. It really is amazing.

Charlie Sweatpants: So we’ve established that they’re able to cite something that exists on Wikipedia. That doesn’t change the fact that the entire plot was based on the idea that Bart was dealing drugs, even though it was based on the kind of latent eavesdropping that only occurs on soap operas when shit needs to go down.

Mad Jon: That is true, and also I can’t believe Martin wasn’t in on the battle balls

Dave: How was the drug stuff resolved? I can’t remember.

Mad Jon: Marge found out it wasn’t drugs.

Charlie Sweatpants: Then it ended.

Mad Jon: Pretty much.

Dave: Hooray.

Charlie Sweatpants: Actually, "ended" might be too strong a word. "End" implies that there was a conflict. Then it "ceased" is neutral enough to actually describe what happened.

Mad Jon: It wasn’t alive anymore.

Dave: Wise conclusion.

Charlie Sweatpants: Speaking of "ceased", the whole locked in the trunk thing . . . um, huh?

Mad Jon: It was a reason to make a tire iron penis joke.

Charlie Sweatpants: There’s a marker of how far the show has degraded, penis jokes are beyond their powers.

Mad Jon: Yeah, that was pretty bad.

Charlie Sweatpants: While we’re here, can we rag on that awful "coma" thing?

Mad Jon: I guarantee it is the "Joke of the Day" or something on the Zombie forums.

Dave: What of the coma, Charlie?

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, it took up a shitload of time, and yet nothing but a montage happened.

Mad Jon: That actually happened? I thought I was in a coma or had gone to hell for 10 minutes only to be resurrected or something.

Charlie Sweatpants: No, it happened.

Mad Jon: That’s too bad.

It says here I’m supposed to get a pig every month…

And two cumly lasses of virtue true…

Ha, cum

Charlie Sweatpants: It’s another mark of how un-creative the show has become that they had a coma montage, and all they could think to do was have Homer act stupid. I mean, they didn’t even use Ralph! Ralph-fucking-Wiggum was ignored because all they know how to do is make Homer act like a jerk.

Dave: Ralph had a forgettable line early on

Mad Jon: That is an excellent point. A Wiggum episode with like 2 lines for Ralph.

Swing and a miss. Strike 4

Charlie Sweatpants: And he’s the go-to character for Zombie Simpsons.

Mad Jon: Maybe they were feeling adventurous.

Charlie Sweatpants: Ralph could say "bucka-bucka" or "wuzzle-wuzzel" and the Zombie Simpsons fans would cheer, and yet, nothing.

Anyway, anything else here?

Mad Jon: Not from me.

Dave: I don’t ever want to hear "At Seventeen" used in a TV show ever again.

Charlie Sweatpants: It was a bad romantic comedy with an unconnected b-plot that made no sense. Is there anything else?

Dave: I think we’ve covered everything.

Mad Jon: Ok then. Now that’s out of our way and we can go back to enjoying our evening.

20
Apr
10

Synergy Wears Down

Fatigue

Image used under Creative Commons license from Flickr user marwho.

“Homey, why don’t you lie down and relax.” – Marge Simpson
“No time, Marge, I think Mr. Burns wants me to do some long division.” – Homer Simpson

I think all those staff cuts at IGN are finally having an effect.  Last week I noticed that their fluff piece on “American History X-Cellent” was unusually short.  Now comes this week’s entry, and it’s even shorter.  Out of curiosity, I grabbed all the reviews from calendar 2010 and ran a word count.  Starting with “Thursdays with Abie” and running through “The Greatest Story Ever D’ohed”, IGN averaged 650.5 words per week.  The highest was 720 and the lowest was 614, so the lengths were relatively stable.  Then last week’s checked in at only 473 words, and this week’s is a mere 420.  (I presume that’s a coincidence, but you never know.  I’d probably need to be high to write this kind of crap.)  IGN just can’t seem to muster the effort for a proper fellating of Zombie Simpsons. 

Anyway, this week’s is pretty typical: restate the plot, praise a few things, make positive reference to Three’s Company . . . wait, what?  Three’s Company?  And it’s a compliment?  Yeah, I’d say IGN is pretty worn down.  As always, I’ve edited out the synergy. 

April 19, 2010 – There was a lot nothing to enjoy in "Chief of Hearts." Pairing Homer with Wiggum had not been something overdone by the series [Ed Note: leaving that alone because it’s too screwed up to fix], so having the two at the center of the episode had a certain freshness to it has only been done two or three times over, instead of the usual five or six. The story, maybe not so much, but the pairing worked however, has been done so many times that it no longer matters who’s doing it.

It all started with Homer’s misinterpreted unfunny and wildly nonsensical armed robbery at the Springfield bank. I thought his hidden candy apple and his caramel-filled mouth were a great way to get the story rolling a good preview of the relentlessly boring antics to come. I also loved felt the same way about his rants against doing community service. "I want to go to jail. Free food! Teardrop tattoos! Library books that come to you! I’ll serve anything but the community!" That it was a cooler full of food that made Homer and Wiggum fast friends was no surprise just as unoriginal and dimwitted.

Their misadventures playground flirting together were entertaining was hacktacular and pointless. It was fun to learn about the versatility of police pants. Learning that Wiggum’s underwear is specially made by a village in the Ukraine was another standout way to make this barren scene take even longer. ("They call me Daddy Round Round.") I wasn’t expecting to see Chief Wiggum get shot, but Homer’s bedside vigil made for a satisfying gave them an excuse for a clock eating montage of boring bits. The episode took an interesting embarrassingly predictable turn as Wiggum became needy and their friendship hit the rocks, and then for some reason the pair needed to work together again to free themselves from Fat Tony. Overall, the story had an interesting staggered along a tired and trod path and there were a good number of successful bits throughout without anything to keep things entertaining and funny.

Bart’s "Battle Balls" storyline was also fun a black hole of pointless suck, even though there was absolutely nothing to it. It mainly consisted of a few well-placed television trope bits about Marge’s misinterpretations of things said about the Japanese game. In a very Three’s Company way, Marge began to think Bart was a drug dealer, it was just a dull in 2010 as it was in 1980. Just as funny  lazy were a couple great lines about why Bart couldn’t possibly be dealing drugs. First was Marge with, "He doesn’t have the math skills," and then later was Bart with, "Not until you raise my allowance."

An episode with Chief Wiggum as a central character means there’s a chance we’ll get a few Ralph bits to enjoy make the fanboys slap their fins, both directly and indirectly. Ralph’s bet with Bart during a game of "Battle Balls" was classic typical: "And if I win, you have to teach me how to play this game." And I loved Chief Wiggum sharing a couple of Ralph’s major worries: "What if the bed wets him," and "What if Superman decided to kill everybody." Those were a few of the bonus failed Ralph-isms were extra uninspired dreck in an enjoyably solid episode that consisted of nothing but.

19
Apr
10

Ratings Catastrophe Continues

Chalkboard - Chief of Hearts

“That story isn’t suitable for children.” – Lisa Simpson
“Really?  I keep my pants on in this version.” – Chief Wiggum

Remember when Chief Wiggum used to go to speakeasies, porno theaters, and brothels?  Zombie Simpsons thought that was a little dull, so they decided to spice things up by grafting a cliche-ridden romantic comedy plot onto him.  It’s almost as though improbable melodrama is the only thing they know how to do.  Along the way they managed to turn Wiggum into something even whinier and duller than their endlessly heartbroken Moe.  In terms of sheer character destruction, that’s pretty impressive. 

Then there was the Bart plot, which, uh, I don’t even really know what that was.  Much like last week’s little ant farm side show, it had neither an ending nor a conflict.  It was just sort of there for a little while, until it wasn’t.  The scene in Bart’s room was so flat, humorless, and anti-climactic that it took me a second to realize that it was the ending. 

Anyway, the numbers are in and they’re still awfully bad.  Last night’s obliteration of Wiggum seared itself onto 5.93 million pairs of eyeballs.  That’s up slightly from recent weeks, but still low enough for 10th worst all time.  It’s now the fifth week in a row that Zombie Simpsons has scored in the bottom 10.  Or, to put it another way, the last five Zombie Simpsons episodes are all among the ten lowest rated in the show’s 21 year history.  Oh, and to add insult to injury, a rerun of Family Guy did better than a first run Zombie Simpsons. 

18
Apr
10

Sunday Preview: “Chief of Hearts”

Another Sunday is upon us and while there’s no promo picture for tonight’s “Chief of Hearts,” we’ve got a gut-wrenching description via Wikipedia:

Homer is completing his court-ordered community service when he befriends his supervisor, Chief Wiggum, by offering him one of his sandwiches. Touched by the act of kindness, Wiggum assigns the other convicts unpleasant tasks, but allows Homer to join him at the picnic table. They continue to grow close, but when the Chief gets injured during a botched bank robbery, Homer doesn’t come through when Wiggum needs him the most. Meanwhile, Bart becomes addicted to Battle Ball, a Japanese game made up of plastic balls and magnetic cards, and his family and teachers try to help him kick the habit.

To quote Eric Cartman, “Dude. The fuck?” Where’s the plot? The entire (and flimsy) synopsis could’ve been a throwaway gag in an episode of Classic Simpsons. I’m curious to know whether anyone actually thinks there’s any potential for tonight’s episode to be, um… good.




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