Crazy Noises: Realty Bites

Realty Bites2

“But I earned that wall!” – Gil
“Don’t push your luck, pal.  You’re hanging on by a thread.” – Lionel Hutz
“I brought this wall from home.” – Gil

There’s no new Zombie Simpsons until September at the earliest (October? fingers crossed!), so we’re going to spend the summer overthinking Season 9.  Why Season 9?  Because we did Season 8 last summer, and Season 9 was when the show started becoming more Zombie than Simpsons.  Since we’re too lazy to do audio and too ugly to do video, we’ve booked a “chatroom” (ours is right between the one with the sexy seventh graders and the one with the bored federal agents pretending to be sexy seventh graders).  So log on to your dial-up AOL and join us.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “contemptuous”).

Normally these will be spread out over two days (because we’re just that lazy), but this week we had some problems half-assing things on time.  So here’s episode 909 “Realty Bites” to complete the set for today, with 901 “The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson” having gone up earlier.

Charlie Sweatpants: So Dave, I take it you’re not a fan of Realty Bites?

Dave: No, not at all.

Charlie Sweatpants: Come on, at all is a little harsh, isn’t it?

Mad Jon: Well, looks like you are going to get your disagreement

Dave: Whereas New York had redeeming bits, Realty’s just dreadful. Jerkassitry cranked to 11.

Sweet, let’s fight.

Mad Jon: What are you basing this on?

Dave: Homer and Snake’s extended car bullshit.

Mad Jon: Granted that’s not good, but it’s not the A plot either, an A plot I enjoy.

Charlie Sweatpants: I’d say that this one is also half suck and half awesome. The Red Blazer Realty plot is great, the Lil’ Bandit plot is bad.

Dave: Great? Really?

It’s serviceable.

Mad Jon: The realtors are quite funny. This may be the one time I enjoy Gil.

Charlie Sweatpants: Dave’s right about the Jerkass to 11, for like the first three minutes of this episode Homer gleefully treats Marge like shit. It’s really painful to watch.

Dave: Contempt is the word I’m looking for.

Mad Jon: Yes, and I agree that Homer is on his way to Zombie Homer full speed in this one.

Dave: He treats her with contempt and it’s not funny/clever/entertaining/whatever.

Charlie Sweatpants: Agreed on that.

But Hutz (in really his last episode) kills pretty much everything, I enjoy the Magna Carta song, and there are several quotable lines.

Mad Jon: The Bart and Lisa role playing scene was funny, and the 6% commission sign was great as well.

Charlie Sweatpants: From, "Trying is the first step towards failure", to the whole "the truth" thing, to "please don’t tell anyone how I live".

There’s a lot of redeeming content in Red Blazer, and it’s good enough that I don’t really mind this episode.

Mad Jon: Homer does make one trip back to his old form with the "It’s just an expression" quote.

Dave: The quoteables are enjoyable, but do little to change my overall opinion of the episode.

Mad Jon: The dead look on his face as he turns away was as contemptuous for Flanders as in early seasons.

Charlie Sweatpants: Most of Lil Bandit sucks, but even in that there are still flashes of good stuff, like the honor system in prison, "waking a police officer", and Skinner’s painful memories of racing cars in high school.

Mad Jon: Forgot about the drag race scene, Skinner was funny in that.

Charlie Sweatpants: Jon, good point. When he refuses to help Flanders and then says the old Flanders place creeps him out, those are about the only genuine Homer moments in the episode.

I will say that the Red Blazer plot does take too long in places.

Marge goes back on her lies too many times, the whole moral crisis combined with the fakeout of the red paint is really unnecessary. Way too much string music of suspense.

Dave: The moral crisis thing irks me the most. It was the basis of what felt like 7/8ths of the episode.

Charlie Sweatpants: It does take its time, but I didn’t have any problem with the overall concept.

Mad Jon: Fair enough, being that it is Marge’s moral crisis, and not a character’s who would never have one, I am willing to look past it and check out the Lumber King’s billboard.

Charlie Sweatpants: Lumber, we need lumber.

Dave: I thought the repurposing of the I&S billboard many episodes earlier was more inspired, for what it’s worth.

But Lumber King has its moments.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, none of this is on a Season 4 level, is it?

Dave: Not even close.

Charlie Sweatpants: I mean, you can tell that right from the opening credits, in both of these episodes you’re really starting to get a lot of names as "producers" and such that weren’t around in the before time, in the long long ago. By Season 9 the writing staff that made the show what it was has very clearly fractured.

But that’s sort of what you get from Season 9. It’s like a lot of Season 8 in that respect, where there is still some very good stuff, but it doesn’t go down as sweet because there’s a lot of junk too.

Dave: Like Season 8 in spirit, but clearly a few notches below overall.

Charlie Sweatpants: Agreed.

Dave: I tend to skip much of Season 9 out of spite and principle.

I’ll happily watch most of 8.

Charlie Sweatpants: I think of 8 and 9 as peas in a pod. 9 isn’t as good as 8, but this is the last season where there are more than one or two episodes that make it into my regular rotation.

Mad Jon: It is the last bathroom on the highway to canceldom.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, the last clean bathroom, anyway.

Dave: By my count, there are two episodes in my rotation from 9. Generously 3.

Charlie Sweatpants: You are harsher than I.

Dave: Meh.

Charlie Sweatpants: Anyway, is there anything specific to Realty Bites we haven’t discussed yet?

Dave: The virtual silence is deafening.


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