Crazy Noises: Rednecks and Broomsticks

Homer Goes to College4

“Marge, they don’t have anywhere to stay. And they’re geniuses! They’ll solve all our problems, they’ll elevate us to the status of kings on Earth!” – Homer Simpson
“Mr. Simpson we all have nose bleeds.” – Black Nerd

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 “dialogue”).

Once upon a time there was a Simpsons episode titled “Homer Goes to College”. In it Homer had a reason for going to college, went to college, met three nerds and hilarity ensued. The nerds three, though only one of them even had a name, were given plenty of screen time to run amok in their nerdy way as the kind of unabashed self-parodying stereotypes for which The Simpsons justly became famous. The nerds discussed Star Trek on-line, had a rock tumbler, got nose bleeds, and thought about correcting for wind resistance when trying to save an adult male from being hit by a speeding car. They did stuff.

On Sunday Zombie Simpsons had an episode with three Wiccans that Lisa met for no particular reason. Despite being introduced fairly early in the episode they were given almost no screen time. What time they did get was spent on dialogue comprised of them explaining themselves and jokeless exposition used to move the story along. They didn’t do anything but stand there and wait for stuff to happen to them. They weren’t characters; they were props (and poorly used ones at that).

Charlie Sweatpants: Shall we get started?

Dave: More Bambi killing, less of everything else

Mad Jon: Did anyone get the feeling that episode started as a cut scene from the movie?

Charlie Sweatpants: Not really, but I see where you’re coming from on that.

Other than the frozen lake there really wasn’t any need for it to be winter, but it did give it a bit of an "Alaska" feel.

Mad Jon: Yeah, I more or less got that feeling as they were driving and had to be saved by Cletus.

  Wow, they are really going out of there way to ruin all the best one-line characters.

Dave: I didn’t expect the Cletus/Homer thing so soon, nor did I expect it to be more substantial than that Wiccan bullshit

  Not that any of that matters, it was still boring and sucked balls

Mad Jon: It was pretty bad. How much do you think FOX gets for each scene with an iPod?

Charlie Sweatpants: I’ll give them this, last week when they had Bart caring a ton about his future they just did it. Here they did give Lisa a single line about still being a skeptic before dropping that aspect of her character completely.

Mad Jon: Well, that was one of the deals with the Wicca chicks.

Charlie Sweatpants: Also, what was with the pipe cleaner project and weird scene where Miss Hoover wasn’t there?

I mean, why the hell was that old woman screaming about "which craft"?

  They eventually explain away the poisoned water (which I called about ten minutes before it happened, by the way) but that was just bizarre.

Mad Jon: The Lisa plot had about as much of a lead-in as Carlin’s stand-up. But they aren’t George Carlin, they haven’t earned what he’s earned!

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah that’s just it, this one actually kinda almost had a coherent story, but it wasn’t enough to even begin to fill out 22 minutes of screen time.

  I went back and timed that thing with the toy in the car from the beginning, it takes a full minute.

Mad Jon: I see you went out of your way to make ‘kinda almost’ in bold.

  That’s pretty bad. Do they actually have toys like that?

Dave: That’s almost a reversal of our screening last night, which was punctuated with "what the fucks" and "this is taking too long"

Charlie Sweatpants: I don’t think it matter whether or not the toy is based on a real thing, it was still a full minute of screen time that had almost no dialogue and no jokes.

Mad Jon: I can hear Charlie’s high-pitched anger right now…

  No, I know it doesn’t matter, I was just curious.

That was were my movie Deja-vu started.

Charlie Sweatpants: When I went back and thought on it though the time killing got even worse because when you think about it they had three ripe for the plucking new characters and they barely used them.

Bart’s little monologue about the stages a woman goes through before she becomes a Wiccan could’ve been funny. You’ve got three Wiccans right there, show it to us with them!

  Nah. Not our style, we’ll just have Bart monologue for a while.

Mad Jon: Yeah, that could of gone better, I thought it had some potential.

Dave: That’s what I said last night; making fun of Wiccans is like shooting fish in a barrel, but they couldn’t be bothered

Mad Jon: It is. It really is.

Charlie Sweatpants: While I’m going down my mental list of things that sucked here, what the hell was up with Moe?

Mad Jon: Oh Jesus, I almost forgot about that.

Dave: Uh yeah, the whole wanting to be raped bit was awful

Charlie Sweatpants: He had two scenes, the first time he begs to get raped by Cletus; and then he’s happy when he’s being chased by the mob . . . what the fuck?

Mad Jon: I think I was trying to create a mental block there.. Seriously what the fuck was the rape fantasy about.

Dave: Rape fantasies are the new suicide attempts

Mad Jon: That’s unfortunate for so many reasons.

Charlie Sweatpants: Indeed.

Did anyone else notice that there were eight headings on "Wiccapedia" and only two of them were jokes?

Dave: Negative

Mad Jon: I just assumed they were all actually what they were supposed to be

Charlie Sweatpants: Again, it’s the missed comedy opportunities left and right when they spend so much time killing time that really made this one awful.

Mad Jon: Good point. But that would reek of effort,

The suckiest thing about the most recent few episodes is that They are just dead weight. I can’t even spend any serious time pissing on them

Dave: I think it’s worth noting that basically all the witchcraft comments/threats were regurgitated from the ToH segment

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, it’s not like they’re trying to cover a lot of new ground.

Mad Jon: No, but there isn’t any need to backtrack and burn the bridges down.

Its just boring time filling and unfunny sight "gags" followed by the desecration of classic one line characters and they almost always end with a fucked up musical bit

Dave: I think that was the point I was trying to make

Charlie Sweatpants: Like the whole dunking chair thing and then Lisa figure skating?

Dave: Whether or not they were covering new ground, it’s just fucking lazy writing

Mad Jon: What the fuck was that? Was it a parody of something? Am I that out of touch?

Why not just draw a bunch of Simpson characters standing around blinking. That’s it, just standing around blinking. At least I would know where they stand. None of this trying to try crap;

Charlie Sweatpants: I don’t think so, I stand by the title of the recap post we put up yesterday, I think this episode came in massively short of 22 minutes and they just padded the margins like crazy.

Mad Jon: Ugh, I need to vomit and shower.

Charlie Sweatpants: I guess that means we’re done.

  And none too soon.

Mad Jon: I got nothing else.

Dave: Yeah, agreed.

Charlie Sweatpants: Vomiting and showers for everyone!

8 Responses to “Crazy Noises: Rednecks and Broomsticks”

  1. 1 Celia
    2 December 2009 at 9:38 am

    what the hell was up with Moe?

    See, I was wrong when I said it was too dull to complain about! That’s a pretty substantial thing to complain about, but I must have been too stunned to remember it after I’d just watched the thing.

    This could be a dullpost about society’s views on sexual abuse in general and male rape in particular, but I’ll just say instead that Moe is Pervert Gil. And regular Gil ought to be more than enough Gil for any series.

  2. 2 Lovejoy fan
    2 December 2009 at 11:43 am

    Yeah, the Moe thing was awful. And I thought the “Harold Schwarzebaum” incident in “Wedding for disaster” was bad, but that… well, actually they’re both equally bad as far as I’m concerned.

    • 3 Celia
      2 December 2009 at 12:02 pm

      (Possible dullpost alert) The “Harold Schwarzenbaum” bit, aside from being another to add to the small collection of “lol trannies – that’s the joke” bits, also contradicts earlier canon. Not that it really matters, I’m sure, but in an earlier episode, Helen was seen in flashbacks with Marge as a little girl. Meaning she is either XX female, or started transitioning as a child. And people didn’t really start letting children transition, or understanding that it was an option until very recently.

      Perhaps we can say “well, pissflaps to continuity!” except that whole episode was constructed around the remembering of things that happened in earlier episodes. So yeah, you know, just stuff any old thing in for teh lulz. Perhaps Pranks and Greens was true realism when it suggested that TV writers are teenage idiots.

      • 4 Lovejoy fan
        3 December 2009 at 11:46 am

        Thank you for pointing out exactly why I hate “Harold Schwarzebaum” (and, to a lesser extent, “Wedding for disaster” in general). I’m one of the few people who likes Helen and wanted to see that family appear more often, so I wasn’t really impressed. Also, I don’t think transexuals are funny. This is on top of how badly written the whole episode was; so basically, it can go to hell.

        As for the rape thing in this episode… well, I don’t find rape funny either. I remember when I used to like Moe. Maybe TV writers are teenage idiots, but I’m a teenager myself so maybe I just have a different sense of humour.

        • 5 Celia
          3 December 2009 at 12:27 pm

          Well, judging from what I can tell, I have a different sense of humour to most people. And it’s not that long since I was a teenager, so I’m not maligning the whole age group. Just the idiot ones. Sadly, a good number of people (of all ages) seem to think things like “transsexuality” and “male rape” are complete jokes from start to finish, which is probably how this stuff ends up on shows with good reputations in the first place. Now, I think that good comedy can be dark enough to incorporate sick elements like that, but it takes real skill and care, and doesn’t just involve shouting “butt rape!” and then running away giggling. I probably wouldn’t do very well at it myself – this is what people mean when they say comedy is hard.

          • 6 Charlie Sweatpants
            3 December 2009 at 4:37 pm

            I’m very much in agreement with Celia here. Getting a cheap joke out of just about any subject is easy; that’s why they’re called “cheap jokes” and nobody thinks very much of them. Making fun of things that are depressing, or scary, or just plain poorly understood WITHOUT making an ass of yourself in the process is very, very hard. George Carlin, Richard Pryor and Mel Brooks were masters of it, old Simpsons (despite the restrictions of network television) also excelled at it. Zombie Simpsons isn’t even clever enough to realize when they’re being stupid. Larry the Cable Guy is more self aware.

            • 7 Celia
              3 December 2009 at 9:21 pm

              As I said in an earlier comment, the part in Homer’s Phobia where Moe says “I guess it’s suicide again for me” is a good level of darkness, showing us a glimpse of the true unhappy psyche of this character, and of the kind of men who would take a boy hunting to stop him turning gay – and yet it encourages the viewer to use their imagination by leaving it at that one line and not expanding on it. At least, for the ten minutes or so until they did start expanding on it. Now, what was once dark with Moe has had a giant spotlight shone on it while the writers (in their “freak show owner” costumes, no doubt) point at it and go “LOOK LOOK LOOK AT THIS IT’S SICK WE’RE EDGY”. Like I say, I’m not an expert on exactly what the writing technique would be but I’m quite sure that of all the jokes, the sick ones are not the ones that can stand being beaten into the ground.

            • 8 Lovejoy fan
              4 December 2009 at 3:14 pm

              I also agree with Celia.

              The sad thing is, Zombie Simpsons doesn’t seem to put much effort into the jokes. It’s sad because they used to – there’s a great example in an entry you posted today, with the car journey in “Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy” (I love that episode, by the way) and how it had more effort put into it than the one in “rednecks and broomsticks”.

              This is particularly sad because, as you said, The Simpsons used to be good at handling jokes like that. Now it’s mostly “lol she used to be a man”, or similar. There’s barely any effort.

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