Compare & Contrast: Flapping Dickey

“It ain’t comedy that’s in my blood; it’s selling out.” – Krusty the Klown

I’ve started quite a few Compare & Contrast posts this season by noting that there were a lot of different possibilities for what to compare and contrast.  It’s true as well for “The Man in the Blue Flannel Pants”, the two big, blinking neon obvious ones being the raft trip and Homer becoming an executive.  The raft trip in “Boy Scoutz ‘N the Hood” contains things like Flanders doing “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe” with the books of the Gospel and Homer actually bragging that they’re all doomed.  The promotion in “Simpson and Delilah” is because of a crooked union contract and comes only because of the world’s prejudice against bald people.  (Oh, and there’s Karl.  I love you Karl.)  In both cases The Simpsons had things that fit better in the overall story, made more sense, and were actually, you know, funny.  I could elaborate, but I’ve harped on those things a lot in the last few weeks.  Instead I’d instead like to take a look at a smaller incident that illustrates the comedic weakness of Zombie Simpsons. 

Back in Season 9, as a way to explain that Krusty’s clown/1950s standup routine was painfully dated (oh, the irony!) they had him epically bomb at a charity comedy festival.  Just as things are going completely off the rails, none other than Jay Leno asks rhetorically, “What’s he gonna do next, a flapping dickey?”.  Immediately Krusty indeed begins, ahem, flapping his dickey.  The audience remains unimpressed, and Krusty swiftly gets the hook. 

The Last Temptation of Krust4

Simpsons era Krusty knew this wasn’t funny.

On Zombie Simpsons though, the flapping dickey is a working gag rather than a sign of being abysmally unfunny.  Its mere existence is supposed to be funny in and of itself.  (It even goes to 11.)  Moreover, Krusty is expecting it to work.  As he says, “Why can’t I be funny with just my words?  Bill Maher doesn’t put dangerous things near his crotch.”  Zombie Simpsons is thinking something like “A flapping dickey?  That could be funny if we make it extreme!”.  Yes, they’re implying that Krusty is lame, but at the same time they’re expecting you, the audience, to laugh at the thing itself. 

The Genuine Article

Apparently the spinning bowtie didn’t make the cut.

This episode has a lot of problems far worse than its earnest treatment of the flapping dickey, even including the scene’s lame conclusion when Krusty’s machinery backfired and he fell down.  But it’s indicative of the overall cheapness that Zombie Simpsons brings to its humor.  It’s one thing to take low hanging comedy fruit, it’s another to take the stuff that already fell off the tree and try to package it as gourmet. 

Nor is the flapping dickey an isolated incident.  Just in this episode there’s things like pouring Homer a bunch of consecutive glasses of bourbon, pretty much everything (the wrong family, the chopped up contract, the lawn mower-foot thing) from that montage, and Homer stopping to take a whiz while swimming between the rafts that inexplicably can’t see each other.  If you’re feeling generous you could give them high marks for at least trying to keep things busy, but are any of those things supposed to actually be funny?  They aren’t even halfway to clever. 

Things like this are why Zombie Simpsons is such a bore to watch if you want to do anything other than stare blankly.  It’s a hash of things that have been done better before and the dumbest, least imaginative things anyone could think of.  That’s why the flapping dickey is such a perfect example, it’s not just a repeat, it’s a repeat of something that was deliberately not funny. 

9 Responses to “Compare & Contrast: Flapping Dickey”

  1. 1 Stan
    29 November 2011 at 5:45 pm

    Honestly, comparing Homer’s promotion in this and Delilah could’ve been more interesting. His line at the end “Yes, I’m back to being the boring safety inspector” (or something like that) is one clear indicator of how ZS came to take stale unfunny stuff for jokes. If they can’t for once conclude with stupid shit, they conclude it the boring way. I can’t say I like this better, the show’s rotten structure doesn’t seem to change much whether or not they aim for humor.

  2. 29 November 2011 at 7:58 pm

    Wow. Mel looks like a cardboard cut-out in that shot.

  3. 3 Anonymous
    30 November 2011 at 9:59 am

    Can you stop calling them zombie? Name calling is stupid, please stop.

  4. 7 LoLo
    30 November 2011 at 1:59 pm

    Old grey mare ain’t what she used to be indeed…

  5. 30 November 2011 at 10:03 pm

    The whole bit hinged on us expecting the pants to go off…and then it did. Yawn. If they wanted it to go off and be funny, it should’ve given off a disappointing little spritz.

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