Crazy Noises: Viva Ned Flanders

Viva Ned Flanders1

“And, once again, tithing is ten percent off the top.  That’s gross income, not net.  Please, people, don’t force us to audit.” – Reverend Lovejoy

For the third summer in a row, we at the Dead Homer Society are looking to satisfy your off-season longing for substandard commentary on substandard Simpsons.  This summer we’ll be looking at Season 10.  Why Season 10?  Because we’ve already done Seasons 8 and 9 and we can’t put it off any longer.  Prior to Season 10, we watched as the show started falling over, this is when it fell over.  And while the dust wouldn’t settle completely for another season or so, there is no bigger gap in quality than the one between Season 9 and Season 10.  Since we prefer things to remain just as they were in 1995, we’re sticking with this chatroom thing instead of some newer means of communication that we all know just isn’t as good.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “explanation”).

Today’s episode is 1010, “Viva Ned Flanders”.  Yesterday was 1009, “Mayored to the Mob”.

Charlie Sweatpants: Do you know how many ways this episode sucks? All of them. Every single last one.

Mad Jon: Minus a few lines that are dear to me, I can’t stand it either.

Dave: Ugh yeah. It’s preposterous end to end.

Mad Jon: It is one of those episodes that I thought I would enjoy, until I watched it with a pen in my hand and realized how much shit was just thrown at me.

Charlie Sweatpants: Other than Burns talking about his nursing home criminals and Lovejoy threatening to audit, there’s nothing here that even approaches decent.

Mad Jon: I like the Lovejoy bit, I also like when Ned says “The lights, the noise, the letter X, it’s all designed to inflame the senses.”

Charlie Sweatpants: I mean, it starts on an explosion and ends on screaming. Need I say more? (I’m going to, but I don’t think I have to.)

Mad Jon: Also the car wash designed to break off your antenna.

Charlie Sweatpants: I cannot stand Flanders in this episode.

Mad Jon: Well to be fair, he isn’t being Flanders so much as Homer’s sidekick.

Charlie Sweatpants: Which he should never, ever be, especially in an episode where Jerkass Homer goes to 11 from start to finish.

Mad Jon: I feel like it was similar to “Homer’s Enemy”, but with Flanders, and less consequences.

Dave: There were consequences?

Mad Jon: Well, they had to throw out a bunch of meat.

And I guess the second wife thing comes up a few seasons from now again.

Charlie Sweatpants: But the second wife thing shouldn’t have come up in the first place. Flanders and Homer are both already married. They could literally just walk the fuck away. The entire third act is a plot hole.

Mad Jon: Yeah, I don’t think anyone will argue with you on that. Not even FOX employees at the time.

Charlie Sweatpants: And it’s not like getting to that point was any fun. Flanders has close to half a dozen conversations with Homer that basically boil down to this:

Flanders: Homer, you’re awesome, say something funny.

Homer: [verbal fart noise].

Mad Jon: Wow, that is a really good explanation of the majority of this episode’s dialogue.

Charlie Sweatpants: It didn’t make sense the first time, and they just kept at it.

And that’s when Homer isn’t doing things like standing up in church to put Flanders on some kind of trial (which everyone is just fine with) and pointlessly driving his car back and forth.

The Jerkass quotient here is off the charts, and it’s my least favorite kind of Jerkass, the kind where no one even pretends to care about what he’s doing.

Until the end, that is, when it comes time for a chase montage. Were the rights to Yakety Sax unavailable?

Dave: Maybe they’re saving that for an upcoming episode.

Mad Jon: Super.

I really don’t have much of anything else to add to this discussion. Most of the episode is literally Homer doing dumb things and Ned asking him how he does it. Other than the couple of lines we mentioned earlier, there wasn’t anything entertaining about it.

Charlie Sweatpants: Right, I could summarize all the dumb shit, but it’d be just that: a summary.

In terms of things that stick in my craw enough to warrant specific mention, there are two. The first, minor one, is the Moody Blues cameo. This is one of the first times where they have a band on, say the name of the band, then have each member utter a line. I’ve seen that so many damn times now I’ve lost count.

The second, and this one was a mark of how tired the show had already become by Season 10, is the very opening where they try to both break the fourth wall and yet still preserve continuity by having Marge be surprised they just forgot about the place, and then Lisa mention that they moved it with the town.

It’s such a weak joke because each one cancels out the other. Like they both don’t care, but want us to think they do.

Mad Jon: The second one is a pet peeve of mine for sure. Convenient explanation of past plot issues when the episode itself ends in two men wandering through a desert… man.

Also attack vultures too!

But I guess they needed that scream you mentioned.

Charlie Sweatpants: It’s the thin skinned hypocrisy of it. Where they’re basically saying, alright internet geeks, we heard you, but while we still don’t care, we are going to pretend that we care because it’ll give us a cheap joke.

That’s all I got.

Mad Jon: Well I think that you’ve expended enough effort on this one.

Charlie Sweatpants: And now I don’t have to watch it ever again. So I bought something for my time.

9 Responses to “Crazy Noises: Viva Ned Flanders”

  1. 1 Patrick
    7 July 2011 at 9:06 pm

    A classic and early example of fucking up the well-beloved characters the we know and love and you forgot to mention they established flanders as being 60 even tho it directly contradicts ‘hurricane neddy’.

    • 2 Patrick
      7 July 2011 at 9:08 pm

      Forgot to mention that the next episode is one of the better season 10 episodes (in my opinion)

  2. 3 Thrillho
    8 July 2011 at 1:21 am

    There were actually two later instances where “Yakety Sax” was used. One was a Treehouse of Horror with the Grim Reaper and another was a Season 14 episode with Helen Fielding (Bridaget Jones’ Diary) doing a guest voice. You know the theory that “Yakety Sax” makes everything funny? I like to think of those two bits as exceptions.

    As for this episode, the only funny thing I recall was when Marge was going through the cassettes of artists like Air Supply and Pablo Cruise, and Homer appropriately refers to them as “wuss rock.” As bad as this episode can get, it’s still not as bad as the Season 13 episode where the second wives suddenly reappear, even though they had nothing to do with the first act or two.

    • 4 RCreed
      8 July 2011 at 2:39 am

      I thought the wives reappearing was meant to be Al Jean’s way of taking care of the Scully Era. The episode was really meta; bringing the family back together and making the show abut family values, but then having the wives show up and having to get read of them.

      Eh, I read a discussion about it on the old newsgroups, and it made sense to me.

      • 5 RCreed
        8 July 2011 at 2:40 am

        Having to get rid* of them.

        Yeah, I really didn’t explain that post well; hopefully somebody knows what I’m talking about. There are Simpsons buffs here, but I don’t think any care too much to learn more about Jean episodes, lol.

        • 6 Charlie Sweatpants
          8 July 2011 at 4:26 pm

          I didn’t read what you’re referring to, but I’ve never had any sympathy for the idea that things have calmed down since Jean took over. It’s very clear they don’t care about inter-episode continuity, so when they occasionally toss a bone to No Homers it doesn’t strike me as anything but pissing on the audience and knowing they’ve got no choice but to take it.

          I think I actually saw Jean mention in an interview a couple of years ago that he realized both he and others had been talking about getting things “back to the family” for a long time.

          • 7 D.N.
            8 July 2011 at 11:15 pm

            i thought that “getting things back to the family” was what Oakley and Weinstein said they tried to do after the David Mirkin era. Might’ve been true then, but the claim has probably lost all meaning in the ensuing years, due to becoming a bullshit phrase the showrunners are obliged to trot out.

            Anyway, the only bit I like about “Viva Ned Flanders” is the faux-Raoul Duke/Dr Gonzo cameo.

            • 8 Charlie Sweatpants
              9 July 2011 at 12:01 am

              “i thought that “getting things back to the family” was what Oakley and Weinstein said they tried to do after the David Mirkin era.”

              I’m pretty sure that was something Jean mentioned, Scully probably said it too.

            • 9 brian!
              9 July 2011 at 4:20 am

              Agree completely on the Raul Duke comment, it’s my favorite part of this episode.

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