“I need something for show and tell!” – Bart Simpson
“Just take one of my geodes. . . . The rocks on my desk. . . . No, that’s a trilobite. That’s petrified wood. Bart, that’s a bran muffin!” – Lisa Simpson
Posts Tagged ‘Sweet Seymour Skinner’s Baadasssss Song
“Let’s thank the Lord for another beautiful school day.” – Ned Flanders
“‘Thank the Lord’? ‘Thank the Lord’! That sounded like a prayer. A prayer . . . a prayer in a public school! God has no place within these walls, just like facts have no place within organized religion!” – Superintendent Chalmers
“Now I finally have time to do what I’ve always wanted, write the great American novel. Mine is about a futuristic amusement park where dinosaurs are brought to life through advanced cloning techniques. I call it, ‘Billy and the Cloneasaurus”. – Seymour Skinner
“Oh, you have got be kidding, sir. First, you think of an idea that has already been done, and then you give it a title that nobody could possibly like! Didn’t you think this through?” – Apu Nahasapeemapetilon
If I wasn’t so inured to the relentless mediocrity of Zombie Simpsons, I might find an episode like “The D’oh-cial Network” disappointing. There are a lot of big ideas at play, everything from distracted driving to potential social isolation resulting from only communicating with other people on-line. Those are things that people debate and have moral panics over, and a show with the resources of Zombie Simpsons could be hilarious and say a lot by making fun of them with wit and intelligence.
But I am inured to the relentless mediocrity of Zombie Simpsons. So I’m not the least bit surprised that they want me to fawn over an episode because it’s got the same plot and musical cues as The Social Network, while at the same time expecting me to turn off my brain to the point that I’m supposed to buy Reverend Lovejoy never having encountered the problem of cell phones in church, Lisa never having a computer before this, and no one in Springfield ever having used a social networking site. The nonsense piled up thick and fast, and I’m not sure there was a single scene that didn’t suffer from one or more crippling problems with story, believability, character, or childish levels of social understanding.
To take just one example of an irresponsibly blown comedy opportunity, Lisa designs a social network to help her make friends with other kids, and later in the episode is surprised to learn that adults are also using it. Does the episode explore in any way shape or form the problems Facebook has had as the parents and grandparents of its original users began signing up? Not at all. Does the episode make fun of any of the bizarre situations that can arise from knowing someone better on-line than you do in real life? Nah. How about the still unsettled etiquette and rules concerning interactions between teachers and students on social media? Nada.
Zombie Simpsons didn’t look at Facebook and social networking generally and think, “here’s a huge change in the way people live their lives we can play around with”. The potential topics and stories there are practically infinite, and Zombie Simpsons ran the other way. They watched a movie and thought, “we can substitute some of our characters for their characters, and if we add in some car crashes we’ll be good to go”.
Naturally, they were wrong about that part too, as they had not one, not two, but three blatant filler moments at the end. First, there were the epilogue titles, then there was whatever that was in London, and then there was that strange little animated segment, which I actually thought was the highlight of the entire episode. It didn’t make much sense, and I could’ve done without the Skinner-reading-a-story reveal, but the animation was interesting (the coal-black button looking eyes gave it a nice Coraline vibe) and Castellaneta’s Vincent Price impression complimented it well. It wasn’t anything remotely close to brilliant, but there was a spark of something interesting there, which is more than can be said for the rest of it.
Anyway, the numbers are in, and as expected they are way, way up from last week. The Giants’ upset of the Packers gave the preliminary numbers a huge boost, as 15.70 million shocked football fans left their televisions on. There was some post-game overrun into the 8pm slot, so that number will come down when the final numbers get sorted out, but it won’t come down too much. (Amusingly, this is the first time Zombie Simpsons has cracked 10 million viewers since the last two times they were on after playoff football.) Of course, FOX only has one football game left this season, and, because there won’t be any new Zombie Simpsons next week when they broadcast it, this anomaly won’t do much to boost the overall number for Season 23.
[Update 30 Jan 2012: The revised revised, final numbers did indeed come down quite a bit, to 11.48 million viewers.]
Image yoinked from IMDb.
“That photo was taken shortly before I was shot in the back, which was very strange because it was during a Bob Hope show. I was trying to get Joey Heatherton to put on some pants for God’s sake!” – Seymour Skinner
“I got you fired, didn’t I?” – Bart Simpson
In case you were wondering, the creators of Zombie Simpsons do have the ability to list social networking systems. And there was a Rodney Dangerfield impersonation. And a zany replacement teacher. And a giant globe. And a muffin store. And Homer cried for no reason. And a formulaic sitcom guilt ending. And sorry for starting all my sentences with a conjunction, but watching that 22 minutes of disconnected, painfully boring set pieces destroyed my ability to link thoughts together or use transitions of any kind.
About five minutes into The Cleveland Show Dave and I figured out why it’s called “Animation Domination”. It really is like being dominated, fortunately the safe word is “remote control”. Less promotion for the second week of the season, so I’m setting the over/under at 8.2 million.
Update: The over has it, 9.31 million people are less entertained than they were yesterday.
Our old friends at IGN are filling the summer months with content the same way we are: by talking about old episodes. So far I’ve ignored these, I don’t need anyone to tell me that Marge vs. the Monorail is awesome, nor do I have much use for a review that docks a point from “Homer’s Barbershop Quartet” because people don’t praise it often enough. It’s all drivel; though if they ever get around to positively reviewing some piece of shit from a later season I’ll probably be forced to weigh in with a flurry of pointless but cathartic ranting.
All that said, there is an element of this week’s review of “Sweet Seymour Skinner’s Baadasssss Song” that is worth pointing out. I bring it up because it displays the shallow and sloppy thinking that goes into much of IGN’s Simpsons fellatio:
This was also the 100th episode of the series. Goodness, that sounds like such a small number now.
As 100th episodes go, “Sweet Seymour Skinner’s Baadasssss Song” seems a little out of place. Instead of getting an episode celebrating the series and its namesake family, we have an episode focusing on one of the many minor characters. It’s true that Skinner is a hilarious character, and this episode is quite funny, but wouldn’t a Bart-centric or Homer-centric episode make more sense to celebrate 100 episodes?
He’s less interested in the content and humor of the episode than he is in a mindless salute to longevity. ”Oh sure,” he’s saying, “The episode was great, but shouldn’t it have been more self congratulatory?” This is a byproduct of the fanboy style thinking that leads people to praise Zombie Simpsons. It essentially amounts to saying that The Simpsons is good because it’s The Simpsons instead of The Simpsons is good because it’s, you know, objectively good.
Here’s the final sentence:
Again, “Sweet Seymour Skinner’s Baadasssss Song” wasn’t what you might expect as a celebration of 100 episodes, but it was a smart and funny episode nonetheless.
“Nonetheless”? Is he actually implying that the episode is worse for not being in love with the smell of its own farts?
Even if we set aside the obvious stupidity of that, the entire mindset is an exercise in missing the joke. Bart’s blackboard phrase for this episode is, as you can see above, “I will not celebrate meaningless milestones”. Now that is what The Simpsons was about. It didn’t go down on itself for reaching 100 episodes, it just did it, made fun of people who thought it was significant, and moved along.
Not only is IGN in thrall to Zombie Simpsons, it doesn’t even understand real Simpsons.
American viewers are in for a real treat this Sunday night. As my colleague Mad Jon noted, “In the Name of the Grandfather” has already aired for our friends overseas, so we get to look forward to sloppy-Zombie Simpsons seconds for the first time ever. If you feel dirty, you should.