Synergy Hides in the Bureaucracy

“We need to talk about the, marital difficulties, we’ve been having lately.” – Marge Simpson
“Marge, there’s just too much pressure.  What with my job, the kids, traffic snarls, political strife at home and abroad!  But I promise you, the second all those things go away, we’ll have sex.” – Homer Simpson

Sometimes even your in-house fanboys don’t like an episode, it doesn’t happen very often, but it does happen.  So while the IGN review below has some entire sentences I didn’t need to edit, the numerical score is still a 6.2.  6.2!  Even setting aside the goofiness of rating a cookie cutter television programs on an effective 100 point scale, I’m still forced ask, what would it take for one of these episodes to garner a rating of less than 5?  What would a 22-minute test pattern get?  If one actually takes the time to read this review it’s pretty devastating (especially when compared with the baseline sycophancy that makes up most of IGN’s Zombie Simpsons reviews).  But if all you’re looking at is the score, then it really isn’t so bad.  Let this be a lesson to anyone out there who ever needs to write up a report that a superior may or may not take the time to read in full: you can get away with a lot so long as it toes the line at first glance. 

November 16, 2009 – I enjoyed watched the first act of "The Devil Wears Nada." I think it’s because that’s where all the potential was I’m a glutton for punishment. Carl got promoted and went from Goofus to Gallant instantly became a different person. This left Homer and Lenny to toil under his pointlessly exaggerated supervision. There was a lot to play with there. Likewise, having Marge drunkenly pose for a pin-up calendar that the entire town got their hands on offered up loads to work with made no sense, had no point, and saw everyone act like jerks for no reason. After all, there are a lot of residents in Springfield, and their reactions to Marge’s pictures could have been priceless couldn’t have been less well thought out. But the potential was wasted then the expected happened as the stories converged and took an unexpected, fairly predictably boring route.

Instead of playing up the goings on at the nuclear power plant, with Homer and Lenny left behind and Carl joining Mr. Burns in the executive rung of the business ladder, we were given a more singular and separate tale. Carl promoted Homer to become his executive assistant, for some reason, and a very loose reinterpretation of The Devil Wears Prada took off from there. It’s a role we’ve seen Homer take on fail at before as he was briefly Mr. Burns’ assistant in "Homer the Smithers.", when he was as terrible an assistant as one would expect. Here, the The Devil Wears Prada spin meant that Homer was overworked and over-utilized uncharacteristically competent for various demeaning tasks, most of which we only hear about and don’t actually see, thank goodness. The tenuous thread connecting these two slapdash stories was that All all of that executive assisting left Homer exhausted and useless to Marge in the bedroom.

Marge, meanwhile, had somehow become intensely aroused by the town’s polite bizarro reaction to her pin-up calendar pictures. The calendar was meant to be a fundraiser organized by the Springfield Charity Chicks. Instead, after several glasses of wine, it became 12 months of scantily clad Marge for some reason. At first I thought the episode might be trying to tie in with Playboy’s recent Marge pictorial, but it soon became clear that the calendar was just a cheap means to get Marge horny while Homer remained exhausted promote this vapid episode. This was another case of the series returning to botching familiar storylines. It’s tough to get away from this one — trouble in the bedroom — as they are a married couple and this is Zombie Simpsons has become, essentially, a sitcom. Unfortunately Naturally, "The Devil Wears Nada" doesn’t give the story anything new.

What it does throw in there is the hacktacular idea that a lusty Marge and a single Ned might just come together for a night of passion. This was ridiculous boring to watch and I’m disappointed utterly unsurprised the writers even thought to go in this direction. First, it goes against everything we know about these two characters. Never mind that they came to their senses in the end, Marge is too loving a wife and Ned is too good a Christian for the option of hooking up to ever enter their minds. The series did make a joke of the situation use some more joke free exposition with Homer’s reaction to seeing the pair embraced in the doorway: "My wife and my worst friend? Could it be? Nah." Of course "nah." And that’s why they couldn’t make it at all funny to watch.

"The Devil Wears Nada" was a disappointing typical Zombie Simpsons episode. The potential present in the first act decade of the show was not fulfilled. Homer’s role as Carl’s executive assistant did not yield a great number of laughs do anything but chew clock. The only thing that really stood out for me was the random guy picking up Homer’s discarded Blackberry: "Nuclear secrets. Pictures of Lenny. Everything I need for my plan." Similarly, Marge’s turn as a calendar girl and temporary nymphomaniac was far more painful to watch than it was funny. As we approach the big celebration documenting 20 years on the air, I hope the episodes get better than this, but I know they won’t.

5 Responses to “Synergy Hides in the Bureaucracy”

  1. 1 Cassidy
    17 November 2009 at 5:34 pm

    ” when he was as terrible an assistant as one would expect”

    Oh no you don’t. I won’t let you badmouth that poor guy. I’m going to defend Homer from “Homer The Smiters”. He really did give it his best shot and if Burns had been half-way reasonable Homer probably would’ve been fine. Sure there were the whole breakfast debacle and the misguided report on the accounting department but I mean c’mon! Poor Homer went through the trouble of installing a CRAY supercomputer only to see his work torn apart mercilessly. And I’m sure his Postum tasted just fine. Burnsie was just being mean.

    I really miss that Homer.

    • 2 Charlie Sweatpants
      17 November 2009 at 6:00 pm

      Yeah, you’re right, he wasn’t “terrible”, he just thought assisting Mr. Burns could give his career a real shot in the arm.

      On the other hand, he didn’t know how to transfer a phone call.

    • 3 Celia
      18 November 2009 at 10:37 am

      Also, in Homer the Smithers, Smithers was actually looking for someone incompetent so that they wouldn’t outshine him. And his computer told him he could have used anyone in the plant. Ironically, nobody would be able to outshine Smithers, he is an electrified toadying machine :) This is probably why Mr. Burns was so disappointed in Homer – Smithers ends up setting the standard.

      Come to think of it, I miss that Smithers too. Smithers used to be one of my favourite characters. What happened to that?

  2. 4 Celia
    18 November 2009 at 10:30 am

    I wouldn’t call those reactions “polite” either. “Creepy”, certainly. “Out of character” for some of them. But when is it “polite” to perve unpleasantly at the mother of one of your students, in front of said student? And when did Principal Skinner become someone who talks about women like that? I want old sexually inexperienced Skinner back :( But I said that before, I know.

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