“Krusty, why won’t you answer my calls? You’ve never even seen our son.” – Fraught Woman
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 (especially on “illegitimate”).
I sometimes wonder whether the people behind Zombie Simpsons operate from the same comedy principals that made The Simpsons great and just suck at implementing them, or if they don’t understand what made the show funny in the first place and instead just flail around in their own mediocre way. The truth is that it’s probably a bit of both. Indeed, we can see evidence for each in “Once Upon a Time in Springfield”.
In support of the first contention (that they get it but suck) are things like the wedding scene where we see Krusty’s bitter ex-wives. It wasn’t particularly funny but it had the structure, if not the content, of actual Simpsons.
In support of the second contention (that they don’t get it and suck) we have the underlying premise of Krusty’s plot. Krusty is funny precisely because he’s so unlikeable and selfish and yet here we have him finding love and, as the odious phrase goes, “growing as a person”. It completely contradicts and undermines everything that made the character who he was, it’s hard to imagine anyone who understands him writing this. Ah well, I guess we’ll never really know, but either way the key word is “suck”.
Charlie Sweatpants: Shall we get started?
Mad Jon: Yes
Yes we should
I’ll need some prodding though, I seem to have blocked it from memory.
Charlie Sweatpants: Okay, I would like my opening statement entered into the record as: this episode unintentionally crossed a line of bitter irony that was barely on the horizon in "Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie"
Mad Jon: Oh wait, now I remember, something about Anne Hathaway and a princess
Dave: Yep, that was something that happened
Charlie Sweatpants: Having Bart and Milhouse writhing in agony as their favorite show became a travesty of its former self was either the most clever "fuck you" to the fans in years or a depth of self ignorance hitherto unplumbed on network television.
Mad Jon: I am going with option b. That would be pretty clever, a little too clever methinks.
Charlie Sweatpants: I’m inclined to agree.
Charlie Sweatpants: I’ll stay here, but I’m going to think about products I might like to purchase.
Mad Jon: You can’t expect me to sit here for thirty minutes.
Dave: Back, and yes, option B makes the most sense
The writers aren’t nearly that good or clever enough to be that subversive
Charlie Sweatpants: You’re probably right. The show is pretty oblivious these days.
Mad Jon: That would be pretty funny if we were wrong about this, and it turns out that the last few seasons of the Simpsons are like the Jonas Brothers episode of South Park and Matt Groening is making a crappy show for some profitable purpose.
Charlie Sweatpants: It’s all a massive marketing conspiracy?
Mad Jon: Not that I can think of what that profitable purpose would be, I am pretty sure the merchandising is equal to the GNP of most developed nations.
Dave: Oh please won’t somebody think of the fanboys?
Their heads would explode
Charlie Sweatpants: I’d buy that, but I don’t think there’s anything secret about it. At least the Jonas Brothers were being lied to, I’m pretty sure the current staff knows what the score is on some basic level.
Dave has left
Charlie Sweatpants: Uh oh
Mad Jon: Well, it looks like Dave can’t take it anymore.
Dave has joined
Charlie Sweatpants: Comcast again?
Dave has left
Charlie Sweatpants: Damns.
Dave has joined
Charlie Sweatpants: Internet problems?
Dave: Yeah, I think so. Carry on
Mad Jon: I know a guy who went to ITT Tech for 2 years only to end up as the supervisor of the 12-8am call center.
He made more money selling computers at Best Buy, and didn’t have to pay ITT Tech to do that.
Charlie Sweatpants: That’s awful on a number of levels, but what does it have to do with this conversation?
Mad Jon: Nothing, just saying.
Dave: My mind is reeling at those statements
Mad Jon: Comcast sucks that’s all.
Charlie Sweatpants: Yes it does.
Anyway, back to the episode.
Dave: Agreed. So where were we?
Charlie Sweatpants: We were debating whether or not having Bart and Milhouse suffer as television fans was an intentional swipe at guys like us. We came down on "no" because it seems too clever for them.
Mad Jon: Man, that’s all we got?
Charlie Sweatpants: But while we’re on the subject of "fuck you"s to the fans, um, what the hell was up with Burns?
Mad Jon: They must have felt they needed a B plot. Probably because the A plot, which has the same guest star the A plot had like 6 episodes ago, sucked.
He must really like Homer, Carl, and Lenny.
Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah but how would that be different from any other episode?
Mad Jon: You know, because of the Guest Star, usually its a different patsy each time.
Dave: I think you mentioned this a while back Charlie, but Burns liking his employees is wildly out of character
Charlie Sweatpants: That Burns would want them back I can stomach, that he would get them back by being NICE to them, that I cannot.
Mad Jon: To play the Devil’s advocate, I don’t think he liked them, he just wanted them not to leave.
Er, what Charlie said.
Dave: Sure, six of one, half-dozen of another
You guys knew what I meant
Charlie Sweatpants: Oh, I can read between the rage lines.
Mad Jon: Those doughnuts sounded pretty tasty though.
Charlie Sweatpants: But isn’t that part of the problem?
Mad Jon: Taste?
Charlie Sweatpants: I’ve seen Homer eat a donut that was dropped on a parking lot by a monkey.
Mad Jon: And then stepped on by another monkey. Yeah, you’re right.
I’m not saying the plot wasn’t shaky, or even terrible, but I do like doughnuts.
Charlie Sweatpants: Sorry, I’m choking on my own rage here.
Mad Jon: While I’m thinking of it, Did they end up getting married in the river, or something. How did this end?
I kinda wandered off as the episode was wrapping up.
Charlie Sweatpants: To take Homer loving donuts and turn it into something that was legitimately out of character for Homer is almost beyond comprehension.
Dave: They floated down the Seine to an acoustic version of "Moon River"
Mad Jon: Bam, second encore.
Charlie Sweatpants: After like three minutes of cliche.
Dave: and then there was a unicorn and sparkles
Charlie Sweatpants: You know what that reminded me of?
Mad Jon: What?
Fill me in here.
Charlie Sweatpants: "You know what happens! They find Captain Kook’s treasure, all the elves dance around little green idiots, I puke, the end."
Mad Jon: Ah.
Dave: Well played.
Charlie Sweatpants: The ending of this episode was more formulaic and predicable than the Happy Little Elves. I can’t stress how mind bendingly uncreative this show has gotten any more than that.
Mad Jon: I liked Krusty better when he was a drunken gambling degenerate who has several illegitimate children.
Charlie Sweatpants: Yes, a thousand times yes to that.
Mad Jon: And how many hours a day do you think Jackie Mason is awake? Like 3?
Dave: Jon you made a comment a few days back that still resonates today – I haven’t the energy to say anything more than "this sucks" anymore
Mad Jon: Yeah, Zombie Simpsons will do that to you.
Charlie Sweatpants: When Krusty let her go for what can almost be described as a decent Simpsons-esque reason, they screwed it up by chickening out and giving it a sappy ending.
Dave: Well you forget Charlie, they had to celebrate a meaningless milestone
Mad Jon: Oh yeah, the best is apparently yet to come. So I guess all our fears can be set aside.
Charlie Sweatpants: I don’t know about that. "Fear" implies uncertainty, whereas I know that there’s at least another season and a half of this feculent drivel left (and probably more than that).
Dave: Ye of little faith.
Mad Jon: Well put. I remember about 15 years ago when Troy McClure told us that this is going to go on until the show becomes unprofitable.
Dave: It’s going to go on until the actors croak.
Mad Jon: Those can be replaced.
Dave: Damn you and your relentless logic.
Charlie Sweatpants: Unprofitability is but a scant hope these days.
I will say that there was one joke in this episode I liked. Near the beginning when they were auditioning Krusty’s replacements and one of them says "Hey hey, I’m non-union!"
Dave: I thought that was cute.
Charlie Sweatpants: But like Bart and Milhouse’s agony this may be either a ridiculously clever threat at those sadly mortal voice actors or just more unintentional irony.
Dave: Again I’m voting for the latter.
Charlie Sweatpants: Yup.
Anything else? I can’t help but feel like all we’ve criticized is the romantic comedy ending, the massively out of character B plot, and the intentionally dull nature of the main plot.
But when I type it out like that it seems longer than it felt.
Dave: That pretty well covers it. I might add though that Hathaway’s Long Island accent was excruciating
Mad Jon: I didn’t know that Anne Hathaway could sing. Not that it matters, and for all I know it wasn’t even her, but whatever. Also, I always thought that, um, dogs, laid eggs.
Dave: And as a once and future New Yorker, wildly offensive
Charlie Sweatpants: IMDB says she was born in Brooklyn though.
Mad Jon: Hah, her accent does suck. So that’s pretty funny.
Charlie Sweatpants: So she can’t convincingly imitate her own accent . . . actually that is kinda funny.
Dave: Brooklyn isn’t Long Island friend
I mean, they might be on the same island but they’re worlds apart
Charlie Sweatpants: But culturally they’re different, I got you.
Mad Jon: Go back to the east coast you bastard. You probably like the Yankees too, don’t you. Everything I know about you is a lie.
Dave: I don’t know how to begin to respond to that.
Charlie Sweatpants: Don’t.
He’s probably been drinking.
Mad Jon: Sorry, I typed the loud part quiet and the quiet part loud.
Charlie Sweatpants: Ha.
Mad Jon: And actually I am stone sober, so that’s probably my problem right now.
Charlie Sweatpants: Sobriety is irritating.
Dave: I forgive you Jon.
Charlie Sweatpants: So once again we’ve come to anger while discussing Zombie Simpsons.
Mad Jon: We have to stop this. It’s tearing us apart.
Charlie Sweatpants: Zombie Simpsons is like that slime from Ghostchasers II, it makes good people to bad things.