Crazy Noises: Sunday, Cruddy Sunday

Sunday, Cruddy Sunday1

“Any final thoughts?” – Pat Summerall
“Nah, I’m too mad.  Let’s get the heck out of here.” – John Madden

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 “Unfortunately”).

Today’s episode is 1012, “Sunday, Cruddy Sunday”.  Yesterday’s was 1011, “Wild Barts Can’t Be Broken”.

Charlie Sweatpants: This one is the poster child for the bloated excess that Zombie Simpsons likes to try and pass off as comedy.

Mad Jon: This one dies with the addition of the travel agent.

Charlie Sweatpants: That’s more generous that I’d be. I don’t even like the field trip at the beginning.

Mad Jon: I don’t mind the post office, and I kind of like the tire salesmen, but not Homer in that scene, but that’s it for me.

  Although the post office field trip is pretty much a repeat of the box factory, minus the funny stuff and plot that follows.

Dave: You mean the box factory manager, whose even-tempered passion for his work is charming?

Charlie Sweatpants: What I don’t like about the post office is a) the way all the kids are there instead of just once class, b) that the jokes all feel repetitive and stretched, and c) that it’s basically a series of unconnected things.

Mad Jon: I meant the repeat field trip to boring locale to get the plot rolling, but whatever, I’m not really sticking up for it, I just didn’t hate it like I did pretty much the rest of it.

Charlie Sweatpants: Oh, it’s far and a way the easiest part to watch. Once they get out of the tire store and Homer and Fred Willard go to Moe’s, it’s a whirling dervish of crap.

Mad Jon: There were only two parts at which I smiled. The first was the Catholic Church commercial, because my Catholic wife was sitting next to me, and the second was when Marino threw the pass and painfully put his elbow in ice. That was it.

  And I would take the song and dance ending in "Wild Barts" a hundred times over the ending to this one.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, the Catholic Church commercial is good. But that might be it. By the end when John Madden is complaining about it, it’s just a little to meta too be funny.

None of it makes any sense, but despite that it’s super serious in a lot of places.

Dave: I don’t think the lack of humor has anything to do with it being meta. It’s just plain not funny.

Charlie Sweatpants: What I mean is, they’re sort of making fun of themselves, but not really.

Mad Jon: I feel like the Madden recap was kind of like an apology mixed with a sales pitch.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah.

Mad Jon: Which is funny, because a lot of my sales pitches are like that.

The majority of this episode was an excuse to have familiar faces drink beer and get in trouble. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out like it sounds like it should.

Charlie Sweatpants: It just keeps jumping from one scene to another, and none of it makes any sense. Here’s some NFL players, here’s them running around the stadium, here’s Rupert fucking Murdoch.

Dave: Sure, easy premise, lackluster execution.

Charlie Sweatpants: They just threw shit on the wall in the hopes that some of it would stick, but all that was left was a big runny brown mess.

Mad Jon: And there weren’t really any good lines to try to make up for it either.

  Most of the episodes in this season at least have a few of those.

This one was more of a visual attack, which didn’t really do it for me.

Charlie Sweatpants: But even with all the crap, they still tossed in that worthless B-plot about painting eggs.

  The whole episode just feels thin, because for all the glitz and the guest voices, there just isn’t much here.

Dave: Another harbinger of things to come I suppose.

Mad Jon: Makes you kind of look forward to when the Simpsons go to Delaware.

Charlie Sweatpants: That’s the other thing. If this had been the last season, you could just forget this. But there’s a decade of Zombie Simpsons that you can’t help but see in every scene where there’s a pointless guest voice or Homer yelling.

Mad Jon: I wonder how many more seasons were on the contract when this episode was made.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, when Homer, Willard and Wiggum run out of Murdoch’s suite Loony Tunes style I had that same thought.

Mad Jon: Well, bottom line, at least the got the title right.

Charlie Sweatpants: That they did.

Mad Jon: You guys got anything else? The rest of my notes is basically profanity.

Charlie Sweatpants: I don’t think there’s much to say. This one is basically a bunch of YouTube clips before there was YouTube.

Mad Jon: That’s a pretty good observation.

Dave: Don’t give them any ideas. We don’t need this show continuing in a new medium.

Charlie Sweatpants: Probably too late for that.

23 Responses to “Crazy Noises: Sunday, Cruddy Sunday”

  1. 1 Thrillho
    13 July 2011 at 9:18 pm

    The only Super Bowl-related Simpsons episode that should ever exist is Lisa the Greek. Homer and Ned’s Hail Mary Pass is even more forced and less funny than this one.

    In addition to the Catholic Church commercial, I got a smile out of Homer’s fantasy, and…yeah that’s about it.

  2. 2 PR
    13 July 2011 at 11:28 pm

    I remember this episode marking the time I stopped tuning into the Simpsons on a regular basis. Oof. Thanks for opening up old wounds.

    (Incidentally, this episode’s original airing was followed by the world premiere of a new Fox show called “Family Guy.” I remember being more impressed with Family Guy, god help me.)

    • 3 Patrick
      14 July 2011 at 6:02 am

      TBF Family Guy should have replaced The Simpsons instead of FOX pissing around with Family Guy which got it cancelled twice when it didn’t deserve to be and now people have mixed thoughts about Family Guy now :/

      • 4 RCreed
        14 July 2011 at 7:47 am

        Lol, naw. Family Guy always sucked; like, not just from an opinionated viewpoint, but from a written and artistic viewpoint as well. It’s so odd to hear all these people who seem to understand good writing (Classic Simpsons) think Family Guy was a good show in its first couple of seasons.

        • 5 fudge
          14 July 2011 at 10:17 am

          Right on. Family Guy is just a bunch of random bits pasted together, references to things to make you go “OH! HAHA! I KNOW WHAT THEY’RE REFERENCING!” There’s no substance whatsoever, and they even reuse their own best bits over and over and over again. Most episodes are basically 5 minutes of Conway Twitty, 3 minutes of chicken fight, about 5 or 6 or MORE flashbacks and “Remember-whens?”, and about 3-5 minutes of “humor” in a plot that is always lamer than even the lamest South Park or Zombie Simpsons episode. Strangely, the existence of American Dud (American Bad?) and … that other show starring the black guy from Family Guy … makes Family Guy seem funny in comparison. Mainstream animation is in a bad state, especially when honest-to-god forward-thinking and hilarious shows like 12 Oz Mouse and Xavier: Renegade Angel don’t have anyone rooting for them.

          • 6 Anonymous
            15 July 2011 at 2:24 am

            Not the main point of your post, but: how much of American Dad have you seen? Granted, episodes from the past two seasons have been hit or miss (and lately, more miss), but that’s normal. See what Chris said below about series peaking in season 3-4. American Dad is nothing like Family Guy, apart from the animation style and Seth MacFarlane’s involvement. There’s no cutaway gags, very few flashbacks, and (ironically, considering its premise) nobody’s trying to cram any messages down your throat. It’s so much more character-driven than either Family Guy or The Cleveland Show.

            Admittedly, the playing-with-tropes moments and meta jokes aren’t for everyone. But I think it’s one of the better animated series of the past five years, and it doesn’t deserve to be in the same sentence as MacFarlane’s other shows.

  3. 8 kokairu
    14 July 2011 at 7:23 am

    So I’m alone in not hating this episode? I caught it on TV recently and the only thing to really dislike was the mundane B plot. I think low expectations always help though… Channel 4 in the UK usually have some series of Zombie Simpsons on loop, and I’m no good at differentiating between the seasons after #9, so I assumed it was a higher quality later one and was impressed to find myself getting a good few laughs from this episode. I definitely prefer it to Wild Barts anyway…

    That piece of Family Guy trivia is quite interesting!

    • 9 RCreed
      14 July 2011 at 7:53 am

      Yeah, I always heard people say that The Simpsons only became “more random” in an attempt to compete with Family Guy. Always thought that was bullplop; at least now I have something convincing to respond with since I now know it premiered after one of their most random episodes.

      • 10 fudge
        14 July 2011 at 10:23 am

        The main problem with The Simpsons is how everyone seems to think they’ve run out of ideas. There are at least a hundred b-characters they could revolve entire shows around, because there is so much history and depth and intelligence — or there used to be — within the show. They literally could have written great episodes forever, but I think the problem isn’t that they became more “random”, it’s the fact that they decided to appeal to the lowest common denominator — a la Family Guy. See, the main problem I have with Family Guy — beyond the voices, the animation, the “plots”, the flashbacks, the “Humor”, the songs, and everything in between — is how damn UNLIKEABLE EVERYONE is. Chris the Retard Son is an unlikeable idiot, Peter is the most annoying “Jerkass” character EVER, Lois is whiney and has a penis as a head (HAHAHA ALL THE CHINS LOOK LIKE BALLS TOO HAHAHA!), Stewie is some ugly Jimmy Corrigan looking “Smart” asshole, etc. Literally, all the characters are worthless. So, I think the Simpsons definitely did decide to make their characters more worthless in response — why put any effort into anything when you CAN just make everyone cruel meanspirited assholes?

        I think THE PRINCIPLE AND THE PAUPER — which, obviously, was before Family Guy — was the point in which the Simpsons started really sucking. The point when the writers were like “Eh, here’s a character with history, depth, intelligence — let’s RUIN HIM!” And it’s just gone downhill since then. The Simpsons seemed to have some respect for their characters up to a point, and wouldn’t just randomly throw them in any “Wacky” situations until it became Zombie. Now, with the competition’s whole SELLING POINT being “let’s get a bunch of unlikeable shitty characters and have them do random pointless shit” … well, why would the Simpsons be any different?

        • 11 fudge
          14 July 2011 at 10:26 am

          Oh, in response to my own first sentence: Even the WRITERS think they’ve run out of ideas. They COULD still be doing great episodes, but I think they listen to their own critics and pay too much attention to their own competition. Even though I hate South Park, at least South Park kinda just doesn’t give a shit what people think of their going-through-the-motions shit. Listening to various Simpsons commentaries, you hear things like “we stopped doing flashbacks because Family Guy did them” and “yeah, this ending REALLY PISSED OFF THE INTERNET.” When they first started, they were a cult show that went about things their own way and could still be that show, but they care way too much about others — other opinions, other shows, other ideas.

          Okay, that’s all.

          This is a great blog, btw. Nice to see people with thoughtful observations on ZS/The Simpsons beyond the usual “this sux” / “this doesn’t sux0r so much” shit on most blogs/websites.

    • 12 Lovejoy Fan
      17 July 2011 at 12:11 pm

      No, I don’t really hate it either. It’s definitely not the best episode, but I don’t hate it. Oh, and you have to put up with Channel 4, too? I remember when they ran season 16 almost continously.

  4. 13 Chris
    14 July 2011 at 1:08 pm

    I’m tired of seeing people blame The Principal and the Pauper for the decline of the show. For one thing, that was an Oakley and Weinstein episode, and it was during the Scully years (starting in season 10) that the show went into its decline. And secondly, at the end of Pauper everything literally goes back to the way it was at the beginning of the episode. Armen Tamzarian, the real Skinner…none of it is ever to be heard from again, and the Skinner we know is given everything back that he had at the beginning of the episode.

    The Simpsons declined for the same reason a lot of show decline, which is that over the years the writers become aware of what makes certain characters funny, and then they play up those characteristics until they become caricatures rather than characters. Lisa started out as a very smart kid who still acted like a kid (wanting a pony, owning dolls, etc.). Then they decided she should be a flavor of the month liberal. Flanders went from a nice guy who believed in God into a religious freak. Ralph went from slow-witted but capable in I Love Lisa to a child with sub-zero intelligence in This Little Wiggy. And Homer…well, we all know about jerkass Homer and the transformation from well-meaing oaf into raving lunatic.

    This happens on all shows. The Office started playing up its character’s eccentricities, Seinfeld started playing up Kramer’s antics and George’s incompetence…even a small-time show like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has “Ralph Wiggumed” Charlie’s character. This is why the best seasons of any particular show are usually seasons 3 and/or 4. The writers spend the first couple of seasons figuring everything out, then during seasons 3 and 4 they’ve got the characters figured out and roll out their best material, but then after that they become too self-aware and start playing up their character’s uniqueness to the point that it becomes annoying. The fact that the Simpsons made it 8-9 seasons before this happened is a medical marvel. Seinfeld making it until about season 8 before Kramer became really annoying was also very good. The Office only made it until about season 5 before Michael Scott and Dwight Schrute got annoying.

    All my opinion, of course. But this has been my experience with television.

    • 14 kokairu
      14 July 2011 at 2:44 pm


      • 15 Thrillho
        14 July 2011 at 4:03 pm

        Absolutely this. I believe the term (at least on TV Tropes) is called Flanderization, and it isn’t always a bad thing. It can work to futher chracter development, but when said traits are exploited to the Nth degree, that’s when you start having problems.

        • 16 Shane
          15 July 2011 at 7:27 am

          It also helped in Seinfeld’s case having the show end after Season 9.

        • 17 Charlie Sweatpants
          15 July 2011 at 6:35 pm

          “It can work to futher chracter development, but when said traits are exploited to the Nth degree, that’s when you start having problems.”

          Precisely. There’s a line between developing a character or showing the audience a new side of them and destroying the character by making them act out just because. It’s the difference between Season 8’s “Hurricane Neddy” and Season 10’s “Viva Ned Flanders”. “Hurricane Neddy” has never been my favorite episode, but the Flanders we see in it basically tracks with the man we know from all those other episodes. The same isn’t true of “Viva Ned Flanders”, where we see him say and do things that not only don’t make sense in the wider context, but are anathema to everything he’s about.

    • 18 D.N.
      14 July 2011 at 6:50 pm

      “Armen Tamzarian, the real Skinner…none of it is ever to be heard from again”

      *puts nerd-cap on*

      Not true. Lisa refers to Skinner as “Principal Tamzarian” in the season 15 episode, “I, (Annoyed Grunt)-Bot.” And I suppose we could also mention season 11’s “Behind the Laughter,” which makes a reference (albeit a self-mocking one) to “The Principal and the Pauper.”

  5. 19 Anonymous
    14 July 2011 at 7:04 pm

    The only part of this episode I liked is when Homer shouts “FOOOOOOTBAAAAALLLL!!” and they all run around the stadium to Blur’s “Song 2”, then Moe says “Homer, we’ve been running around cheering for an hour now, where’s the game?”. I laughed out loud at that the first time I saw it and it still makes me chuckle to this day. The episode itself wasn’t great, but for that one scene I’d recommend it. Although I understand that for some one scene does not make a strong epsiode.

  6. 14 July 2011 at 8:29 pm

    I did like the earliest moments of the kids’ trip to the Post Office:

    Postmaster Bill: “Hi, kids! Welcome to *your* Post Office!”

    Bart: “‘My’ Post Office? All right!” (Pilfers pen, scribbles on wall)

  7. 23 Ezra
    22 July 2011 at 11:15 pm

    The second time I saw this episode, I liked the sub-plot dealing with Vincent Price. Of course, I had recently become a fan of his stuff at the time, so that probably explains why.

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