Paging G.E. Smith (Updated)

Chalkboard - How Munched is That Birdie in the Window

“So then his wife comes through the door!” – Homer Simpson
“So?” – Bart Simpson
“Did I mention she was dead?” – Homer Simpson
“No.” – Lisa Simpson
“Well, she was.  And she hit him in the head with a golf club!” – Homer Simpson
“And?” – Bart Simpson
“Don’t you remember?  He went golfing all the time and it really bugged her.” – Homer Simpson
“You said he went bowling!” – Lisa Simpson
“D’oh!” – Homer Simpson

I’ve often compared Zombie Simpsons to bad sketch comedy, and “How Munched is That Birdie in the Window” is one of the best examples yet inflicted upon the masses.  Not only did none of the scenes compliment each other, many of them had literally nothing to do with the rest of the episode.  Instead, there were a series of brief scenes that barfed up a few hammy jokes and pratfalls before ending as abruptly as they started. 

It began with another extremely long couch opening.  That was followed by two scenes that were completely unrelated to everything.  And I mean “completely”, both the angels bowling and Homer’s Halloween leftover story had nothing to do with the rest of the episode, nor were they setting anything up.  I half expected a house band to break in and play a few guitar licks so that the transition from the monologue to the Big Ear Family would be easier on the audience. 

Then, apropos of nothing, the pigeon showed up.  That lead to a pigeon montage, an unrelated Homer scene with a pigeon coop, another unrelated scene with Milhouse, random characters using pigeon messages to set up random scenes and, finally, Moe appearing for no reason whatsoever.  Each scene has its own little timid stabs at humor, then ends.  You could write a description of each one on an index card, shuffle them thoroughly, and reorder the entire episode and it would’ve made as much (or more) sense as the real thing. 

The main conflict, if it can even be called that, was Bart getting upset at his dog, and that wasn’t introduced until halfway through.  It too came straight out of the blue, Santa’s Little Helper simply appeared and ate the bird, though the suddenness did not prevent them from milking it for half a minute of screen time.  As if to add to the randomness, they had two relatively well known guest stars, one an actual actress, neither of whom was given anything to do but appear and disappear quickly.  Oh, and did I mention that it ends with an ostrich fight?  It did.  And, no, it didn’t have anything to do with the rest of the episode either.

The numbers are in and, sadly, they’re up.  Happily, they are also not final, as football ran very long on FOX yesterday.  The preliminary numbers say that 9.42 million people choked down last night’s Zombie Simpsons, but even with the big lead in from football those numbers are likely to come down.  Since that number is much higher than anything Zombie Simpsons has posted this season, let’s hope it comes down a lot.  Unlike the last time this happened, I will actually update this post when the final numbers are published. 

Update 3 December 2010: Unfortunately, the final numbers were only revised down slightly to 9.39 million viewers.  That makes this one easily the highest rated of the season.  Let’s hope it stays that way.   

6 Responses to “Paging G.E. Smith (Updated)”

  1. 1 Stan
    29 November 2010 at 8:24 pm

    This episode has a shallow introduction, a very hard to comprehend storytelling and scarce to no conclusion at all. While Bart’s mood can at least be understood, I actually watched the ending twice, after going WTF the first time, and from the moment when Bart starts choking that ostridge, I think what follows is epileptic’s thoughts. Not only is this the worst ending I’ve ever seen on The Simpsons, it’s also OH LOOK! AN OCTOPUS IN OUTER SPACE!! WHEEE!!!

    • 30 November 2010 at 3:39 am

      Stan – I see what you are getting at with the Family Guy comparisons now – it was particularly evident in the angels bowling ‘sketch.’ It just cut to it, no dream or imaginary sequence to ease it in – an interchangeable joke unrelated to the plot.

      That’s not to mention the ostrich suddenly coming back to life and strangling Homer at the end, reminds me of something Family Guy-related, but I can’t quite put my finger on it.

      Can it sink any lower?

      • 3 Patrick
        30 November 2010 at 6:59 am

        I saw Bart Suckson kill the ostrich and that was just plain soulless :|, remember all the remorse and guilt Bart Simpson felt when he accidentally shot that bird in Season 10’s Bart The Mother and I found that angel bowling bit hilarious but I agree with the whole Family Guy situation I remember the imaginary sound and fade too ah better times aka the 1990’s

  2. 29 November 2010 at 11:58 pm

    As far as sketch comedy goes, I got a laugh out of the Itchy & Scratchy episode paying homage to the celeb cameos in 1930s cartoons. But dear lord, that was nothing even approaching a cohesive story. And wow, the family was surprisingly willing to give up SLH.

    So now that they’ve given up on full-length stories, does this mean that every episode is going to be The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase?

    • 5 Ryan
      30 November 2010 at 8:52 am

      I’d say it’s more like 22 Short Films About Springfield. Ugh, I can never watch that episode again without thinking about the comparisons now. =(

  3. 6 Stan
    30 November 2010 at 11:07 am

    Just for the record, the angels bowling part was funny only until she started passing his credit card, where it got exagerated. Then when it gets to Homer telling a scary tale it suddenly gets filler and basically sets the mood for the whole episode. Then it’s watchable until the ostridge part.

    For once I wouldn’t compare FG to that because they would’ve probably used cutaways at both places. Also, with guest stars that lame the next person they should invite is David Guetta or something.

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