Synergy Aces the Final

“It’s the last day of school, Milhouse.  Try to show some dignity.” – Bart Simpson

After a couple of weeks of poorly feigned enthusiasm and mild, mathematically illiterate criticisms, IGN got back on the horse for the season finale.  This is exactly the kind of mindless raving I expect from wholly owned subsidiaries.

As always, I’ve edited out the synergy.  Enjoy:

May 18, 2009 – “Coming to Homerica” was a great an appropriate way to end season 20 because it was everything The Zombie Simpsons should be is: smart dumb and funny boring. The series has often taken used to be able to take cultural issues and twisted them for their specific brand of mocking, too bad it lacks the imagination to do it properly anymore. In the finale, it was the issue of immigration and border control, strung up in ham fisted “satire”. The episode brought crammed the controversial topic into the world of The Simpsons, making Ogdenville the a foreign country for some reason and turning the remnants of some of our favorite Springfieldians into border patrol agents, for some other reason. And comedy ensued.

The episode had a lot of great things going for it on, but what stood out for me was the way it told this story complete lack of a story. Instead of gGrabbing the immigration/border patrol idea and beating it to death with a half-hour worth of related jokes retardedly obvious references, “Coming to Homerica” took a wider view and told a longer, more complete story didn’t have anything that could be called a narrative. And iIt started with Krusty and his unhealthy Krusty Burgers. To combat his burger being named “the unhealthiest fast food item in the world,” Krusty decided to make a barley burger plot device. The ad campaign for the Mother Nature Burger was great weak sauce, and I loved noticed that Krusty used a stunt eater, when he used to just spit his burgers out.

But the burger’s barley was tainted, for some reason. As Kent Brockman investigated, we discovered that it was Ogdenville barley that had been used, and the industry was shut down in a day for some other reason. With nothing left to live for in their city, the Norwegian-descended Ogdenvillians headed into Springfield, for yet another reason. This was where parallels with the real world started to become clearer face meltingly obvious. The men of Ogdenville worked as day laborers, and the women found work as “illegal” nannies. At first, everyone was happy with the Ogdenvillians taking the jobs that Springfielders didn’t want, but that all changed as the influx of people creaky patch job of a plot started to interfere with Springfield health care, and even worse, the alcohol being served at Moe’s mercifully roll towards its moralizing and unsurprising conclusion.

A town meeting was held and it was decided to ban immigrants and close the border, which has never happened before. When it became clear that Wiggum, Lou and Eddie — now apparently the only three policemen in Springfield — wouldn’t be able to guard the city line, a civilian border patrol “comedy” conceit was created, made up of the likes of Homer, Cletus, Barney and Gil. The Zombie Simpsons have always had a liberal bent, so it was no surprise that the patrol was shown as being a bunch of gun-toting drunks that called themselves the Star-Spangled Goofballs. This all made me laugh pine for a time when The Simpsons was still clever.

The episode also showed that Clumsily going through the motions, the Goofballs failed miserably. It was then decided to build a fence because not enough screen time had been eaten by the vigilante thing. Marge was against this idea until she heard Maggie speaking in Ogdenvillese and, completely out of character, changed her tune: “Make it as tall as the sky and deeper than hell!” But tThe wrap up of the story was a bit of a letdown exactly as formulaic as the rest of it had been. I liked that tThey hired the day-laboring Ogdenvillians to help build the wall, but thought it was a bit predictable that and, right on schedule, the two sides would find found similarities and start to miss each other made up the way only people on bad television shows do. I was especially disappointed not at all surprised with the “dance party” happy ending which is starting to feel like a Zombie Simpsons go-to choice when they can’t think of anything better.

Shaky ending aside included, the story unfolded well predictably and the episode was full of funny bits what we’ve come to expect from the brain dead corpse of this once great show. The Krusty home pregnancy test, “The Drowningest Catch,” everything closing down in Ogdenville except for the “closed signs” store — all quick and funny the whole thing consisted of little more than throwaway gags, most of which sucked and were haphazardly jammed together. Others standouts included Homer’s fear of xylophones (“It’s the music you hear when skeletons are dancing.”) and Homer’s lifeless exchange with Cletus when trying to come up with a name for the patrol. Homer: “Our group needs a name that evokes America’s proud history of citizens rising up to defend our way of life.” Cletus: “The Klan?” Homer: “Well, there are no bad ideas, but let’s keep trying.” Cletus: “The Nazis?” Homer: “Okay, you stop trying.” Funny Boring, smart dumb and, well, funny Godwin’s Law, c’mon Zombie Simpsons, message board posters know better than that. “Coming to Homerica” was a great a fitting way to end a generally positive wretchedly awful season.

4 Responses to “Synergy Aces the Final”

  1. 1 JTeller
    19 May 2009 at 8:22 pm

    Ok, I get the fact you hate the current Simpsons, but why do you feel the need to lash out at people who don’t? I mean completely editing someone else’s review? Kind of pathetic, guys.

  2. 2 Charlie Sweatpants
    19 May 2009 at 10:15 pm

    We wouldn’t ever do this to a review someone put up on their blog or a message board. But this is different than just somebody’s opinion. This is a professional “review” done by IGN, which is a subsidiary of Fox and is therefore biased all to hell. It deserves all the scorn we can heap upon it.

    See the comments at https://deadhomersociety.wordpress.com/2009/05/06/if-you-stop-praising-it-waverly-hillis-9-0-2-1-doh/ for a bit more.

  3. 3 Ryan
    20 May 2009 at 10:55 pm


    It’s Ryan again.

    I’ll be honest. This is another episode that I really liked. I actually thought that it DID do a good job of returning to some simpsons roots. It was, in essence, a Homer caper, which is fun, and it had lots of zany simpsons elements. Particularly, in the above redone review, you seemed to not like that they treated ogdenville like a foreign country. I actually really liked that. It’s ludicrous and completely out of left field, which is just like the Simpsons that you know and love. In Season 4, there was a completely horrible musical of a streetcar named desire. Springfield is notorious for having over the top stupidity. That’s one reason the Simpsons is so funny. It’s able to do crazy things while still relate to real life. Quite frankly, the proposed wall between mexico and texas was portrayed fairly accurately, and being a texan myself I loved the satire. I urge you to have a little more of a open mind; perhaps you’re far too biased towards recent Simpsons and you need to look past those biases to see the episodes as they truly are.

    I’m certainly not telling you that you aren’t allowed to have your opinion. But as an avid fan of all 20 seasons of the Simpsons, I feel obligated to reason with you.

  4. 4 Charlie Sweatpants
    21 May 2009 at 7:17 pm

    As always I appreciate the comment. I realize that some of the pyrotechnic language around here can give the impression that we think Zombie Simpsons is the worst show on television or something, which isn’t the case at all. We just think Zombie Simpsons is basically indistinguishable from other television shows, and that’s not a good thing because most of TV is really awful. The Simpsons used to be more than that and it isn’t anymore.

    Fundamentally it displays a real lack of imagination and creativity to show established characters going through the motions in well understood and predictable “immigrant” stories (e.g. Maggie learning another language first, Moe’s clientele changing). It’s “competent” television in that it follows formulas very well and maybe gives you a chuckle or two along the way, but real Simpsons was always much better than merely “competent”. The anger comes from watching characters we love behave so stupidly, so predictably, and so monotonously.

    To take the examples you’re citing, there’s an extreme difference between using Norwegians as Mexican stand-ins and having there be a slightly extravagant musical production of “A Streetcar Named Desire”. Amateur theater like that is something that people really do, maybe not exactly like it was done in Springfield, but pretty close. So it’s a story about them putting on a play, with the subtext being about Homer and Marge, and every scene contributes to the plot, which then has an ending that wraps everything up. Along the way they’re satirizing people who think they’re hot shit when really they’re just running a day care center or putting on a play.

    On the other hand, you’ve got a series of disconnected little sketches about immigrants, there’s no real story to speak of and it just sort of ends when they run out of things to do. They’ve got this template for comedy (What if Springfield had X happen, or what if the Simpsons went to Y) and they go through the motions for 22 minutes. That template (Springfield and its residents) is strong enough that yeah, there’s some funny stuff, but there’s no underlying creativity. There’s never a moment where you think, “Wow, I never thought of it that way” or even just a simple “Zing” when someone or something gets taken down a peg.

    Okay, this went on far longer than I was planning.

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