“Mr. Brockman, I need your help. I’ve got to become a great anchor so I can show up my sister.” – Bart Simpson
“Sister, huh? I’ve got a sister, miss big shot CNN Washington correspondent. Pfft! Well, she’s not the boss of me! Come in.” – Kent Brockman
Posts Tagged ‘Girly Edition
“Our license renewal is on the bubble. We need educational programming, fast.” – Channel 6 Executive
“What about that Mattel and Mars Bar Quick Energy Chocobot Hour?” – Krusty the Klown
“That’s barely legal as it is.” – Channel 6 Executive
“Eww.” – Lisa Simpson
Near the beginning of The Great Muppet Caper, Diana Rigg, playing wealthy fashion designer Lady Holiday, tells Miss Piggy all about her ne’er-do-well brother and the giant diamond that will be central to the plot. Miss Piggy then asks Rigg why she’s telling her all that stuff. Rigg’s response should be carved into the walls of studios, film schools, and wherever they’re producing Zombie Simpsons these days:
It’s plot exposition. It has to go somewhere.
Indeed it does, but “somewhere” is not “everywhere”, a distinction that was lost on “How I Wet Your Mother”. About two thirds of the way through the episode, I stopped even trying to keep track of the verbal duds that were competing for being the longest, most literal, and most unnecessary pieces of clunky exposition. Some of the contenders include Marge saying “This might be a clue, what’s in that coffin could be behind your nighttime whoopsies”, Homer declaring “It’s the land of my innermost thoughts and fondest desires”, and the one-two punch of Frink’s “You see, I have invented a device that allows you to enter someone else’s dreams and explore their subconscious”, to which Marge responds, “So we can go inside Homer’s sleeping mind and find out why he’s wetting the bed?”. Inception, which this episode so incompetently copied, is seven times as long and makes more sense, and I don’t think it had half this many explanations.
Of course, the exposition was only the most glaring problem because it was in pretty much every scene. There were plenty of other head shaking “whoopsies” ranging from small to huge. There was the fact that Burns clearly sees Homer leaving the office with stolen supplies before declaring him the only one who didn’t steal. There was the bizarre way Marge didn’t notice Homer was wetting the bed. There were several instances of characters appear and disappearing, and all of those took place outside of those interminable dream sequences. The less said about Frink coming flying out of the sky the better.
It wasn’t all bad. They do seem to have picked up their game in terms of background and sign humor of late (the putty in the supply closet was nice), and there was some far above average animation in Homer’s dream utopia. I even liked the extended callback to the Tracey Ullman shorts, though it’s always more bitter than sweet when the thing they do best is inadvertently reminding everyone of when the show was good. But ultimately, this was talking bar rag redux. By pretending that it’s Halloween all the time, they can give themselves enough space to add in a nice piece of trimming here and there, but the main elements of the episode are all dumb, tired, and shoddy.
Anyway, the numbers are in, and they are wet the bed embarrassing. Last night’s satire free Inception remake was slumbered through by a mere 4.96 million viewers. That’s the second lowest number of all time, leading only last month’s “The Daughter Also Rises”. Overall, they’re off more than 15% from this time last season, which was itself chock full of historic lows. Just a few years ago it was notable when they dropped below six million viewers, now that would be a good night for them. Us internet die-hards notwithstanding, the general viewing public has very clearly stopped caring in the least about new episodes of Zombie Simpsons.
“I want you to take that monkey back so he can be rehabilitated and get a second chance.” – Marge Simpson
“No, no, he’s fine. Go on, Mojo, show Marge your Happy Dance!” – Homer Simpson
There’s no new Zombie Simpsons until September at the earliest (October? fingers crossed!), so we’re going to spend the summer overthinking Season 9. Why Season 9? Because we did Season 8 last summer, and Season 9 was when the show started becoming more Zombie than Simpsons. Since we’re too lazy to do audio and too ugly to do video, we’ve booked a “chatroom” (ours is right between the one with the sexy seventh graders and the one with the bored federal agents pretending to be sexy seventh graders). So log on to your dial-up AOL and join us. This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “convenience”).
Charlie Sweatpants: This one is mostly good.
Mad Jon: I generally enjoy it.
It’s not 1-6 top caliber, but it is one of the best in season 9.
Charlie Sweatpants: It gets a little carried away with Willie (especially at the end), but other than that it’s very solid.
Mad Jon: The Brockman induced schmaltz is worth the price of admission.
Charlie Sweatpants: They really enjoyed themselves with all those mind fogging reports.
Dave: It’s watchable, yeah.
Mad Jon: I sense a lingering desire to put us in our place, Dave.
Dave: Nah, there’ll be none of that tonight.
It’s not top of 9 for me only because I have fewer in the top than the two of you.
Charlie Sweatpants: What displeases you?
Mad Jon: Yes, tell us.
Dave: As an aside, I had a friend in high school who more or less built a career around foggy news and warm fuzzies. I blame this episode, actually.
Eh, it just doesn’t grab me. The Bart/Lisa rivalry isn’t particularly entertaining… I hate Lindsey Naegle… the Willie stuff got weird. Y’know. That.
Charlie Sweatpants: The only Bart/Lisa thing I didn’t like is how personal Bart takes her thinking he dumb.
He knows he’s dumber than her, he doesn’t care.
Mad Jon: The Willie stuff dragged on for sure, and I agree with Pants on the Lisa/Bart point.
Dave: And for no reason Bart gets massively butthurt and goes on a mission to prove a point that doesn’t matter.
Charlie Sweatpants: But I do like Lindsey Naegle.
Mad Jon: But time wise they weren’t that lengthy and they led to funny lines.
Charlie Sweatpants: Well, he doesn’t really, and I like when he reads the newspaper.
Mad Jon: And of course, Mojo was great.
Dave: Naegle reminds me of too many alpha-bitch types I work with. Therefore I hate her.
Mojo is pretty awesome.
And I enjoyed Homer’s request for a duck.
Mad Jon: It is unfortunate/fortunate that it clouds the Homer – jerkass stuff.
Charlie Sweatpants: How so?
Mad Jon: Homer wasn’t the man we loved from the early seasons in this episode. But because of his behavior Mojo came into my life, so it’s a wash as far as I am concerned.
Non-Homer behavior wears on me very quickly.
Charlie Sweatpants: I see what you mean, but this is so tame for Jerkass Homer that it hardly registers any more.
Mad Jon: True enough, but I don’t have a lot of grey area for that man.
Dave: I agree with Charlie here. Homer’s a jerkass but by modern standards he’s a saint in this episode.
Charlie Sweatpants: I remember distinctly not liking the way Homer acted when this one first aired, now I don’t mind so much. Again the parallel with the declining elderly relative is apt. This was one of his better days.
Dave, to get back to Lindsey Naegle for a moment, if she reminds you of people you work with, shouldn’t that make this funnier?
Dave: It should but it doesn’t.
There isn’t so much parody with her character as there is a mirror.
Mad Jon: You would think so but here we are…
Charlie Sweatpants: She showed up for the first time as the network executive spouting business speak, so you know she was based on all the ladder climbing career nutjobs that show up at a place like FOX the way new teeth show up in a shark.
Dave: Wasn’t this the first cat lady episode too?
Charlie Sweatpants: I think so.
Mad Jon: I’ll take your word for it.
Dave: Again, Wikipedia backs me up here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eleanor_Abernathy#Crazy_Cat_Lady
Two new female non-characters, how lucky we were.
Er, scratch that.
I’m dead wrong on this one.
Mad Jon: About what?
Dave: I thought this was Naegle’s first appearance; it’s not.
Charlie Sweatpants: Cat Lady is another one of those characters in the Duff Man/Disco Stu mold where it was funny once, kinda funny the second time, and then turned into an actual character.
Another reason to love Naegle: she gave us permission to scratch “proactive” and “paradigm” from the language.
Mad Jon: She is in plenty of Zombie-sodes
Charlie Sweatpants: To this day I avoid using those words.
But Naegle’s a better character than the Cat Lady.
Mad Jon: My boss uses proactive at least 3 times a day.
Dave: I get twitchy if I don’t say paradigm at least once a week.
Charlie Sweatpants: The Cat Lady is one joke, Naegle’s much closer to the show’s better minor characters.
Dave: Well enjoy your Naegle-lovefest.
I still don’t like her one bit.
Mad Jon: Fair enough.
Charlie Sweatpants: I guess if I didn’t like Naegle I would dislike this one, but I don’t so I don’t.
See that? Quadruple negative!
Dave: Mind blown.
Mad Jon: Very creative.
But since I’ve been drinking, it kind of went over my head.
Charlie Sweatpants: Oh wait, “I don’t doubt that if I didn’t like Naegle I would dislike this one, but I don’t so I don’t” Sextuple negative!
Mad Jon: Take THAT you stupid Dean.
Charlie Sweatpants: I watched that one this morning.
Mad Jon: That’s a good one.
Charlie Sweatpants: Before we get sidetracked again, any final thoughts on Girly Edition?
Dave: Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.
Mad Jon: Are you high too Dave?
Charlie Sweatpants: No, it’s a grammatically correct sentence that uses only one word.
Charlie Sweatpants: It’s kinda-famous.
Mad Jon: Clearly famous.
Maybe I run in the wrong circles.
Charlie Sweatpants: Then again, I dislike things that are grammatically correct, so I’ll hang with Lindsey and Dave can play with his buffaloes.
Seriously, anything else?
Mad Jon: You could have ended that sentence with a preposition or something.
No, nothing from me.
Charlie Sweatpants: I cheated on the preposition test in fifth grade. I still don’t totally understand what one is.
When it comes to “reviewing” Zombie Simpsons, IGN basically has two tools at its disposal: low standards and positive spin. This week’s sycophantic drivel is heavy on the latter. These aren’t recycled ideas that have been done much better in the past, they’re “variations of themes”. Sarah Silverman’s character (hereafter referred to as “Girlfriend #8”) isn’t a one dimensional character who exists only to kiss and longboard, she’s a “female version of Bart”. Skinner and Willy kissing for hours isn’t wholly unnecessary filler, it “was probably funnier on paper”. It can’t be easy to suck stale crumbs off the floor and call them delicious, but IGN’s (still) on the job.
As always, I’ve edited out all the synergy.
March 22, 2010 – I have a
soft spot particular dislike for episodes of The Simpsons Zombie Simpsons that center around the elementary school in some way. Of all the locations in Springfield, it’s the elementary school that has the highest concentration of great supporting characters should’ve changed the least. The nuclear power plant is a close second, but the variety of characters at the school edges them out in terms of sheer wasted comedy opportunities. And the kids are definitely more fun resistant to character drift than the gang at Moe’s Tavern. So when "Stealing First Base" established that it was going to be school-centric, it already had a lot going for it “massively aggravating” written all over it. And overall, it didn’t disappoint.
The storylines, as
can be the is often the case with The Simpsons Zombie Simpsons after so many episodes, were variations of recycled themes we’ve seen a number of times before. Bart was once again struck by love and the results were quite entertaining pretty much the same as they always are. Mrs. Krabappel’s absence forced Principal Skinner to combine the two fourth grade classes at Springfield Elementary into one class for some reason. The setting that we never saw again gave us a number of great throwaway lines from some of our class favorites characters that used to be funny, including Milhouse, Martin, the twins and Nelson. Nelson had the best only minor storyline in the episode after getting paired with a blind student in the other class. Throughout the episode, we returned to the duo and saw how Nelson was taking the kid under his bully wing acting out a particularly hackneyed after school special. And this is precisely why I so enjoy loathe these school-based episodes. There’s plenty to work with to fill the episode with extra laughs The reanimated corpses of characters I used to enjoy acting nothing like themselves pisses me off all over again.
Doubling up at the desk introduced Bart to
Nikki Girlfriend #8. Essentially a female version of Bart few lines of dialogue that happened to skateboard, Nikki Girlfriend #8 was the closest thing Bart has gotten to finding true love since Greta Wolfcastle. [Ed Note: I’ll take his word for that.] Voiced by guest Sarah Silverman, Nikki Girlfriend #8 turned out to be a fun and memorable one dimensional and rather boring character. And since she’s theoretically a regular student, the possibility remains overwhelming likelihood that we may see will never hear her again someday makes her nonsensical introduction that much stupider. After Bart stole a kiss, urged on by a banana-eating Grampa Simpson, Nikki’s Girlfriend #8’s parents threatened a lawsuit for some reason and were granted an "affection-free environment" on school premises never heard from again. Unfortunately Predictably, this concept was not played up as much as I had hoped it would be at all. Out Because of it we did get suffer through a "skit, or sketch" defining what was inappropriate, but watching Groundskeeper Willie and Skinner kissing for longer than they should be was probably hopefully funnier on paper because in execution it was boring and long.
Regardless of the affection ban, Bart continued a relationship with
Nikki Girlfriend #8, who’s only purpose was to show ed Bart that women are entirely impossible to figure out. My favorite line of the episode One of the hacktacular lines that would’ve fit better in a low budget romantic comedy came when Nikki Girlfriend #8 told Bart he should know what she wants: "I want you to act the same way two days in a row!" I also loved the The montage of famous "kisses" that played as Nikki Girlfriend #8 was giving Bart CPR (for some reason) also dragged on far too long. The clips started as you might expect, with some of the most famous, passionate kisses in cinema, but then added the unexpected that didn’t take enough time. So they added in The standouts for me were the alien smooching Ellen Ripley something they stole from “The Critic” and Sammy Davis Jr. laying one on Archie Bunker.
Meanwhile, Lisa was going through her 100th crisis of "being smart ain’t all it’s cracked up to be." It started with her suddenly becoming popular
after receiving a failing grade on a test for some reason. But once that situation was cleared up (Ralph: "I cheated wrong. I used the Lisa name, but the Ralph answers."), Lisa went right back to being an outcast. In a very roundabout way, This was supposed to have something to do with First Lady Michele Obama came coming to the elementary school to give Lisa some support and herald overachievers. Angela Bassett was good as the voice of Obama, but the whole thing felt odd massively out of place and very forced. Still it It did give the opportunity an excuse for Superintendent Chalmers to state, "He’s our Joe Biden," about Principal Skinner.
Again, any episode set in the elementary school will always
be worth your time remind you of how bad this show has become. Although "Stealing First Base" fed us some old very stale ideas, and it did so with a lot of great bits drawn out time filler (the Itchy and Scratchy 3-D movie, The Very Hungry Caterpillar) and some very strong utterly pointless guest voices.
“Let’s take the trophy route to the den. Twelve Newsies, seven Iron Mics, four Golden Coiffs, this is the most prestigious award that Del Monte gives. Do you want to hear my award winning secret? Human interest stories, they tug at the heart and fog the mind.” – Kent Brockman