Crazy Noises: Beyond Blunderdome

Beyond Blunderdome1

“I don’t know, I think this movie was a big mistake.  All I do is talk for two hours, I don’t shoot anybody, what was I thinking?” – Mel Gibson

For the fourth summer in a row, we here at the Dead Homer Society will be spending some time discussing twelve year old Simpsons episodes.  This year we’re doing Season 11.  Why Season 11?  Because we’ve done Seasons 8, 9 and 10 already, and it’s time to take an unflinching look at the end of the show.  Since Skype and podcasts didn’t exist in 1999, and we want to discuss these episodes the way the internet intended, we’re sticking with the UTF-8 world of chat rooms and instant messaging.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “Pepperidge”).

Today’s episode is 1101, “Beyond Blunderdome”.  Tomorrow will be 1102, “Brother’s Little Helper”.

[Note: Dave fled again, but I am assured that he will be back in custody soon.]

Mad Jon: Perhaps we should start, eh?

Charlie Sweatpants: Indeed, let us begin.

Mad Jon: Beyond Blunderdome?

Charlie Sweatpants: Crap title.

Mad Jon: Yep. I don’t really have any better suggestions though, and it does capture the Jerky Homer bit pretty well.

Charlie Sweatpants: It’s not surprising, half the episode is them kissing Mel Gibson’s ass, but still.

Mad Jon: Remember a time when the world didn’t know how batshit Mel Gibson is? Pepperidge Farms remembers.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah. Admittedly, Gibson’s subsequent implosion from beloved celebrity to hated celebrity does give this episode a different tenor than when it was first broadcast.

Mad Jon: That aside though I suppose…

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, it doesn’t make them look good in retrospect, but even without his late career, uh, image problem, there isn’t a whole lot going on in this episode besides them making some snarky Hollywood jokes that basically date themselves. I cite the Robert Downey Jr. thing.

Mad Jon: Which I always found amusing.

There isn’t much though, you are right. This is a great example of the Homer-centric insanity episodes we always bitch about.

Most of the 22 minutes is him doing something insane or easily convincing Gibson to do something against his better judgment.

Charlie Sweatpants: Pretty much, it’s basically Jerkass Homer vs. Crazy (the fun kind) Mel Gibson.

Mad Jon: The only part of the episode I enjoy is the brief part after he wins the tickets and before he goes to Hollywood.

Charlie Sweatpants: There are four or five times when Gibson tries to pull back from Homer’s stupidity, only to give Homer an opening for some insane speech, which then sucks them both right back into whatever chase scene or other stupidity they’re rushing through.

Mad Jon: Seriously, Gibson has no ability to say no here.

Charlie Sweatpants: He really doesn’t, though he’s funny enough as is to make most of his lines work, I’ll give him that.

Mad Jon: There were some good lines here, and it was especially helpful that some of them belonged to a trained actor.

  As opposed to flavor of the week guest star like we have nowadays.

Charlie Sweatpants: It does help. When he complains about people being super awesome to him, "It’s hell being Mel", it actually works, not because it’s the world’s strongest material, but because he delivers them really well.

  But most of the episode is just a mess, jumping from one lunacy to another.

Mad Jon: The John Travolta reference is another example of good delivery. The way he says he promised to help him move makes me laugh.

But you are right, the episode slides from one plot pile to the next.

Charlie Sweatpants: "Pile" is a good word to use there. None of it makes sense, and there are conflicts that just bubble up and dissolve away.

I mean, the point of that long ass chase scene is the movie executives getting the movie back, but when it ends with them crashing into Homer, that whole idea gets dropped like it never existed.

Mad Jon: Then all of the sudden it’s opening night, and apparently there was nothing anyone could do to stop the film from rolling.

Charlie Sweatpants: Back in Springfield, no less.

Mad Jon: For some reason.

Charlie Sweatpants: This can be said a lot about these, but this one really feels like a Family Guy episode. It’s just guest star hanging out for no reason, which gives them plenty of celebrity asides to make, and they clearly don’t care in the least about anything else as they meander along.

Mad Jon: Very Family Guy on that. Good call.

James Woods could have been here instead of Mel Gibson.

Charlie Sweatpants: Pretty much. You can’t even really tell if this one was written before Gibson agreed to do the voice. Realistically you could replace him with half a dozen other movie stars, change a few of the specific jokes, and be all set.

He’s just playing "Likable Star", there’s no personality to him, his part, or this episode.

Mad Jon: Probably true.

Charlie Sweatpants: All that said, there are some other good jokes in here. I’m particularly fond of Homer’s sarcastic approach to the electric car lady and the way he says that Marge’s ring symbolizes that she’s his property.

Mad Jon: Both good jokes. I also like the scene when Mel reads Homer’s comments.

Charlie Sweatpants: Like you said earlier, the best parts of this episode are before Homer and Mel jet off to Hollywood.

Though even then things can go off the deep end, literally in the case of that electric car test drive.

  There was something that was actually too exaggerated to be funny.

Mad Jon: Yeah, there was always the threat of that kind of over doing it, but we knew it was coming, so it’s easier to spot. Although the car scene was especially flagrant, with all the killing of the fish and the mermaids and such.

Charlie Sweatpants: Indeed. There are a lot of things like that here. Not Adam West in the Batmobile, for example, didn’t need to be there twice. And the killing spree ending would’ve been funnier if they had just used the executives exasperated reactions instead of having us sit through the whole thing.

Mad Jon: Yeah, just more evidence of the slide from a few years earlier. But still not anywhere close to where it will be soon enough.

Charlie Sweatpants: True. That whole ending was the same idea as the "It’s a Wonderful Life" killing spree ending from Season 9, here they actually did it.

Mad Jon: Didn’t even think of that.

Charlie Sweatpants: Time to move on to Focusin?

Mad Jon: I am ready.

Charlie Sweatpants: Focused, even?

  Sorry, couldn’t help myself.

Mad Jon: Focusyd I believe would be the spelling.

Charlie Sweatpants: There you go.

13 Responses to “Crazy Noises: Beyond Blunderdome”

  1. 6 June 2012 at 1:29 pm

    It’ll be interesting to compare your commentary to Mike Amato’s on his blog. Keep carrying the zombie burning torch!

    • 2 Charlie Sweatpants
      6 June 2012 at 1:46 pm

      Funny you should mention that. I’ve been deliberately avoiding his posts since he got into things we haven’t done on Crazy Noises yet. I haven’t seen many of these in years, and I wanted to come at them fresh.

  2. 4 Thrillho
    6 June 2012 at 1:58 pm

    There’s a part that’s funny in hindsight where Mel Gibson talks about how he’s never pulled over by police. That’s one of the only things from this episode that makes me laugh, and it wasn’t even intentional.

  3. 5 scottie_dog8876
    6 June 2012 at 4:20 pm

    I do like the part when Homer and Marge are discussing not opening the envelope straight from the car place. I guess the writers were trying to be funny in a ‘break the 4th wall’ kind of way but it always made me chuckle

  4. 6 Anonymous
    6 June 2012 at 6:33 pm

    I don´t know why but the scene at the cinema is the first thing I always remember from this episode:

    Homer: Like bull you don’t. Come on. [leadingly grabs Marge’s arm].
    Marge: Homer, please! You’re hurting my arm.
    Homer: No, I’m not.

    This was the first time I felt the presence from Jerkass Homer and couldn´t stand it. It wasn´t funny, took only space and was rather uncomfortable and out of place.

  5. 7 June 2012 at 3:26 am

    Funny you mention it feels like a Family Guy episode, since the first episode of Family Guy’s return was them running around Hollywood with Mel Gibson (as I’m sure you know).

    • 9 Patrick
      7 June 2012 at 10:46 am

      Actually it was in New York and Mount Rushmore but still your point is stil valid and in the 2nd James Woods episode Peter turns James Woods from a beloved celeb to a hated celeb which is funnier how you mentioned James Woods as well.

  6. 11 D.N.
    7 June 2012 at 5:34 am

    I like Mad Jon’s comparison of Gibson’s performance to the performances of the flavour-of-the-month celebrities. There’s only so much Gibson can do with some of the dreck he’s given, but a lot of it he really nails. I particularly like his panicked response to Homer in this exchange:

    Gibson: Will you please tell me the rest of the plan?
    Homer: It was *your* plan, from “Braveheart.” Your army mooned the enemy until they could take no more and surrendered.
    Gibson: No! They didn’t! They attacked us in a horribly bloody battle! Remember?!

    But in hindsight, yeah, much of the humour in this episode is unintentional (i.e. Gibson’s “The problem I have is people love me so much, they never criticize me…”).

  7. 7 June 2012 at 5:51 am

    Charlie, I emailed you about a guest post but didn’t get a reply yet – just wanted to make sure you received it? Cheers!

    • 13 Charlie Sweatpants
      7 June 2012 at 7:44 am

      Just replied. Some day I will be caught up on e-mail, but that day is not today.

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