19
May
10

Synergy Develops Stockholm Syndrome

The Simpsons Spin-off Showcase1

“Ahh, the boy is fine, so far.  I taught him to play the spoons.” – Charles “Big” Daddy

I think IGN is beginning to yearn for the freedom of summer.  This week’s corporate fanboy rant is really a stunner, even by their standards.  It’s not just high praise, it’s a justification, a plea that yes, Zombie Simpsons is indeed good.  Most of these reviews eagerly lap up whatever Zombie Simpsons left on the rug, but this wants to argue that it’s a good thing to shit on said rug:

A lot of the best moments from "The Bob Next Door" came from our familiarity with the character, his love of operettas being just one.

For IGN, it’s not enough to say that all the drawn out and recycled jokes were great, it’s that the very act of drawing out and recycling jokes makes them great.

Anyway, I had to do some serious synergy exorcising on this one, but I think I got it all.  Enjoy.

Now this is the Bob we’ve know and love come to expect. His last two major appearances, 2005’s "The Italian Bob" and 2007’s "Funeral for a Fiend" did not live up to the standard set by so many other great Sideshow Bob episodes. "The Bob Next Door" was a funny obliterated those standards in a black hole of suck that proves that this show will never return to form and that proved there’s still a lot to enjoy when new ways for The Simpsons Zombie Simpsons to pit exploit the once awesome idea of Bob and Bart against each other.

The episode, of course, didn’t come right out at the beginning and make it all about Bob advertise just how bottom dredgingly awful it would be. The majority of the first act gave us the Simpson typically lifeless Zombie Simpson spin on the current economic crisis. Like many local governments, Springfield was in major financial difficulty. Homer’s vision of Mayor Quimby’s "cooked books" and "fudge numbers" was the best misrepresentation of what he heard since kind of drawn out, clock eating “joke” that’s replaced quick lines like his take on Mr. Burns’ "open-faced club, a sand wedge" request. Other references also brought laughs reeked of runtime desperation, including Krusty Burger taking up where the city’s road kill pick-up left off, and folks leaving Springfield to find a better life in Detroit. And then Iceland blamed Homer for their financial collapse; this too made no sense, involved pointless exposition and took much too long. "At least we’ll always have Beowulf." "That’s not us." "No! No!"

The situation only got better managed to get worse when Bob arrived. Or was it Bob? A new neighbor moved in next door to the Simpsons and everyone was smitten except for Bart and the audience. He We recognized the man’s voice as the one and only Sideshow Bob. I thought Homer and Marge rationalizing the familiar voice was a fun shout out to Kelsey Grammer pathetic attempt to cover up for such a terribly weak set up: "A lot of people sound like Sideshow Bob. Like Frasier on Cheers." "Or Frasier on Frasier." "Or Lieutenant Commander Tom Dodge in Down Periscope." Bart’s attempts to catch Bob in his lie were fun pointless and clock eating, especially the Gilbert and Sullivan bit. A lot of the best most blatantly recycled moments from "The Bob Next Door" came from our familiarity with the character, his love of operettas being just one.

One of the many, many factors that made the last two Bob episodes such letdowns was that Bob’s plan (or lack thereof) to kill Bart was very weak. This was not very much the case with Sunday night’s episode. Bob’s plan was incredibly elaborate, and that wasn’t a good thing since the episode felt the need to spell everything out in painfully unfunny exposition, starting with trading faces with his soon to be released cellmate: "Why do you keep measuring my face?" Everything about the face transplant operation and then the faces later coming off was a treat treated as suspenseful, clever, and funny when it was anything but. Once he had attained Bart, Bob’s plan to commit the crime at Five Corners, shooting the gun in one state, hitting him in another and Bart dying in yet another was evil genius pointlessly elaborate and needlessly exposited over and over again. A bonus appearance by Bob’s other arch-nemesis, the rake, was also fun another awkward reminder of when this show was creative. The only let downs continued with was Bart’s counter plan. A simple phone call to the police, needlessly exposited like everything else, wasn’t nearly as fun as the many other ways Bart has foiled one of Bob’s plots.

Overall, this was a great return to form for an total waste of an appearance from Sideshow Bob. The vengeful character has been let down by recent episodes, but "The Bob Next Door" has reminded us what makes Bob so much fun just how exquisitely terrible this show can be.


1 Response to “Synergy Develops Stockholm Syndrome”


  1. 1 Djyellow
    20 May 2010 at 12:39 am

    Truely a Horrible episode. Makes me wonder how the show still makes money.


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