Behind Us Forever: Married To The Blob

Chalkboard - Married to the Blob

"Tell me, how do you feel about forty-five year old virgins who still live with their parents?" – Comic Book Guy
"Comb the SweetTarts out of your beard and you’re on." – Comic Babe
"Don’t try to change me, baby." – Comic Book Guy

[Note: Sorry for the extremely late posting on this one.  That kind of week.  Compare & Contrast should be along tomorrow.]

Over the last ten years or so, Hollywood has become extremely adept at giving "geeks" (for lack of a better term) what they want.  The most visible expression of this is the way that comic book movies have come to be routine fixtures in each year’s list of box office champions, but down on the small screen things have been going along just as well.  Between the Battlestar Galactica remake, yet more comic book properties, the uneven but occasionally glorious return of Futurama, and plenty more, there is stuff beyond Star Trek that your stereotypical fat guy geek can love.  Over that same span of time, The Simpsons went from one of the most beloved things on television to the pale imitation of itself that exists today, something so cluelessly mediocre that pretty much nobody outside of the entertainment industry and its various paid shills will say anything good about it in public.  "Married to the Blob" is like a tiny microcosm of that, with the once razor sharp satire of Comic Book Guy getting the full Moe treatment of lovesick lonely heart before falling ass backwards into a one-dimensional wish fulfillment girlfriend who is, wait for it, a hot, Asian manga artist.  I guess there’s something to be said for the completeness of that collapse into hapless pandering, but it sure doesn’t make for entertaining television.

– Once again, the couch gag goes on for a very long time and is possibly the most creative part of the episode.

– This Radioactive Man movie/show/comic-imagining/whatever it’s supposed to be would have worked better without each character explaining themselves, sometimes twice.

– Lisa just walked in from nowhere to tell us what’s about to happen . . . and now it’s happening.

– A pointless, self voiced celebrity.  Thanks, Mr. Ellison.  No, there won’t be a check in the mail.

– So this other comic book guy, whom they had to remind us who he is, just barged in front of Homer in line to exposit and get the plot started and brag about being married.  I don’t think it would kill them to have at least one scene make sense, but they seem to think it would.

– And now Homer’s impatient at being made to wait.  He wasn’t for the minute it took them to have rival comic book guy appear and disappear, but the show conveniently forgot he was there for that stretch of time.  Infants have a better sense of object permanence than Zombie Simpsons, and it’s not even close.

– Well, give them this, they know their songs suck even if they do hide it behind their mask of low key, Comic Book Guy hostility calling it cliched.  Seriously, they rhymed "it" with "it".

– Stan Lee’s here as both a real person and a hallucination, and they still had Comic Book Guy exposit exactly what he did.

– Kumiko’s first lines involve her telling us what she’s doing and the pulling out a copy of her manga which she then tells us about as we see it.

– Comic Book Guy immediately goes to the Simpson house for advice because what else would he do?

– They switched it up, now Marge is telling us exactly what’s going on.

– Okay, Mr. Sparkle being a popular form of suicide is kinda funny.

– Nothing says good writing like conflict free explanation of what a character is feeling at exactly that moment: "Oh, I don’t mind.  If you think it’s stupid, say it’s stupid."

– Which is followed quickly by "I’m in love, and yet still a little bitter.  It’s surprising."

– Montage!

– They say the first rule of screenwriting is "show, don’t tell".  The post-montage scene is Comic Book Guy and Kumiko telling Marge and Homer that they’re moving in together, which is followed by Marge and Homer in the backyard telling us about a housewarming gift.  They broke it twice in two scenes.  Three more and they get a free Subway sandwich.

– The guy who is obviously Kumiko’s father is here, but Homer told us who he was because otherwise it would’ve been confusing.

– They are really angling for that free sandwich: "So an obese nerd has stolen my daughter to live in his basement?".

– Comic Book Guy is on the couch and straight up telling us who he’s referencing.  I can almost smell the low grade meatballs.

– Now Kumiko’s father is drinking with Homer . . . even though we just saw him walking off screen saying he was going back to Japan with his daughter.  It’s amazing, when they do almost show us something they don’t seem to think it counts.

– And we’re back to montage, though at least this one is kinda pretty in that, "Hey, we’ll animate something in someone else’s style so people will say nice things about us on-line for a change" way.  This is their go to stunt these days.

– And yet they still had Bart and Lisa show up to explain what’s going on in the montage.  Honestly, it’s like a neurosis.

– "Enough non-sense, I came here for my daughter" – who was with you two scenes ago.  How you lost her again will never be explained or even mentioned, but you did have her back not all that long ago.

– And now Kumiko is singing the exposition.

– That’s like ten scenes in a row: "Homer, drinking that rice wine and going to White Castle really opened my eyes."  That punch card has been filled out, free sandwiches for all!

– And because all that exposition didn’t fill up enough time, we’ve got a completely unconnected final scene where Milhouse lays an egg.  A fitting metaphor for this piece of dreck.

Anyway, the ratings are in and, as expected, they crashed back to earth with no football as a lead in.  Just 4.71 million people wondered why they weren’t watching a Miyazaki movie instead on Sunday.  That’s not quite enough to break into the ten least watched all time, but it’s not far off the pace either.  There’s no Zombie Simpsons this Sunday because of football, but non-football-lead-in Zombie Simpsons appears to be just as bad in 2014 as it was in 2013, and 2012, and 2011 . . .

32 Responses to “Behind Us Forever: Married To The Blob”

  1. 1 Stan
    15 January 2014 at 7:51 pm

    I watched all of the “simpsums” recaps on Youtube, and honestly, if the guy doing them doesn’t lie, they’re all awful as fuck! To put those who don’t know up to speed: I willingly boycott this season.
    Going to go read Wikipedia and see what other marvelous storylines await us until mid-May.

  2. 15 January 2014 at 9:37 pm

    Surprised you didn’t comment on what I thought was the most offensive moment(s) of this abortion: the remember-when-we-used-to-be-cool reminders that real fans would never need. First, Milhouse loudly exclaims that he once played Fall-Out Boy [in a vastly superior episode] (deliberately not spelled the same way that horrible emo band spells it). Then, the Mr. Sparkle references–yes there were multiple references [to that vastly superior episode]. Is that supposed to be fan service or something? To remind us of brighter days, and in doing so make us acutely aware of how abysmal the immediate episode is?

    • 3 Joe H
      16 January 2014 at 3:14 am

      This one was very reference heavy and almost all to better episodes.

      Except “Husbands and Wives.” Anyone remember how that one set up this rivalry between the “Cool CBG” and CBG in the first act and completely derailed from that plot afterwards never to speak of that rivalry subplot again? That one sucked almost as badly as this one.

      • 4 FireFlower
        16 January 2014 at 9:32 am

        Yes. I remember that. I much rather would have seen more of the Milo/CBG rivalry than Homer’s obsession with Marge.

    • 5 Rob K.
      16 January 2014 at 3:40 pm

      Fallout Boy is actually a great band, good sound. I play guitar btw.

  3. 6 FireFlower
    15 January 2014 at 9:41 pm

    Kumiko’s entire reason for exisitng is to be CBG’s love interest. NOT every single character needs to be attached! He was much better when he was sad and lonely. Now he is happily married. I predict they have a baby next season.

    The Studio Ghibli thing wasn’t a montage…it was filler.

    • 16 January 2014 at 10:04 am

      I don’t think “filler” is the correct word here. It implies that the sequence was done as a desperate attempt to use up extra time left over whereas it’s pretty clear that this was the only part they actually had planned for. The rest (ie the entire story) was really the filler. I think everybody would just be a lot happier if instead of a tv show, they had a Tumblr where they could post their fawning couch gags and montages of Simpsonized versions of other people’s work because at the moment it seems as though they resent the fact that they have to justify those with full stories.

    • 16 January 2014 at 3:27 pm

      To respond to the “not every single character needs to be attached” part of that, the writers are in two positions. One, they think that they can appeal to the geek community (which they think is made up of shippers and only shippers) by paring the spares (or, in CBG’s case, making a Relationship Sue character who’s main purpose is to get hitched to CBG.) However, they also have the writing capability below that of the average sitcom writer. The end result is a mess.

      It’s worth noting that Futurama did manage to do several “relationship” storylines, so I’m not trying to bash writers who focus on the shipping aspects. However, in Futurama, almost every relationship constructed works with the personality of the characters, and feels quite natural. With ZS, personality is put on the back burner, and there’s no sense of natural conversation/dialogue: every line leads to a mediocre joke.

      • 9 Joe H
        16 January 2014 at 4:27 pm

        Futurama definitely went whole hog into shipping, especially from season 3 on. Almost the whole crew ended up in a relationship at some point. But I agree, the difference there was that those mostly involved relationships with established characters, and there was more effort put into developing the characters in the process. The closest comparison between this episode and a Futurama episode was the episode from the last season where Zoidberg falls in love with the girl with no sense of smell, and that one was infinitely better than this CBG one.

        This episode cringingly reminds me of the whole “Nedna” thing. You know its bad when that whole set up looks better in retrospect.

        • 10 Sarah J
          16 January 2014 at 11:30 pm

          Not to mention that Futurama romances, even single-episode ones, tended to have funny outcomes. You pair up a strange character with someone else and hilarity ensues. Not really done on this ZS episode.

      • 11 Jeff
        17 January 2014 at 10:57 am

        Coincidentally, I was watching the Blu-Ray of the last season of Futurama instead of watching this. (This site is still entertaining even if you haven’t seen the episode being reviewed, though.)

        • 12 Sarah J
          17 January 2014 at 9:20 pm

          Ha, agreed. This is the first ZS episode I’ve seen in a while, but I’ve been reading this site anyway because it’s great for learning about comedy analysis. I’ve had trouble with comedy critique for a long time, where I knew something wasn’t funny but I had a hard time articulating why. This website has certainly helped me with that.

  4. 14 Joe H
    16 January 2014 at 3:11 am

    This episode is a very bizarre 180 on the CBG character. Wasn’t he essentially conceived to to be the in-series embodiment of all whiny internet critic that would over-analyze and nitpick the show? A character the writers held in contempt? Matt Greoning even said so himself multiple times in the commentaries, and the series pretty much followed through with that, even giving him a mock relationship with Agnes.

    So why all of a sudden are we suppose to feel bad about him having no life, to the point where we feel he deserves a gorgeous wife who sees virtually no flaws in him? None of the Moe-gets-a-girlfriend episodes even went that far, allowing some more believable conflict and never the the point of marriage, and Moe’s entire character trait these days is being an object of pity and/or mockery.

    • 15 Stan
      16 January 2014 at 8:49 am

      Because HEY LOOK OVER THERE!
      No really, you still seriously expect to find any sane explanation for those who write their scripts ?(other than simply trying to stay on the air)

    • 16 Sarah J
      16 January 2014 at 11:36 pm

      Yeeeeah, that’s one big thing that COMPLETELY confused me about this episode. CBG was never a nice or sympathetic character. Like, ever. Pairing him up with a perfect girlfriend/wife who loves him completely doesn’t make any sense. If they wanted to have an episode where CBG meets another nerdy girl? Okay, fine. Nothing really wrong with that, hell, it could even be really funny. Maybe have lots of conflict centering around them having different opinions on different shows and comics and the like. It may sound like a petty thing conflict to fuel a story, but it’s PERFECTLY in-character for CBG. And they get to play with the whole reason the guy was created in the first place: someone who is way too obsessed with media.

      • 17 Stan
        17 January 2014 at 12:56 pm

        They are trying to develop their secondary (really secondary) characters into somebodies with their own backstories, but like I said, neither Moe nor Comic Book Guy (Albertson?) were initially conceived that way. So if they want to give those townsfolk a spotlight or two, they just GOT to morph them into less caricature and more human personas.

        • 18 Joe H
          17 January 2014 at 1:51 pm

          Moe used to be well enough developed during the classic era, at least compared to CBG (see “Flaming Moe’s”) but he’s been zombified to such an extent over the years that he’s turned into the equivalent of Meg from Family Guy. Now he’ someone you really couldn’t care less about and is nothing more than a set-up to a joke about him being a loser or a plot device.

          • 19 Stan
            18 January 2014 at 12:07 pm

            I think it’s a little different in this case because Meg in FG is kinda like the main character still, they just never managed to give her anything decent story-wise last 5-6 years. Meg’s personality blends perfectly with that of a teenage girl unsure of herself. Moe’s on the other hand, was what I believe initially a joke on how he was all spikes on the outside, but soft on the inside, although that kind of thing was really there to stay as a joke. Then ZS came along…

        • 20 Sarah J
          17 January 2014 at 9:10 pm

          Eh, yeah, that seems to be the case. You always hear the jokes about how they’re running out of ideas, I suppose more episodes revolving around secondary/minor characters are a sign of that. Not that I’m against an episode revolving around secondary characters, or attempts to give them backstories. But this episode annoyed me because there wasn’t much conflict, and they didn’t take advantage of CBG’s character. As I said, the idea had potential. If they paired him up with someone more interesting, quirky, or crazy, that could’ve been fun. But Kumiko is probably the most egregious example of a Relationship Sue I’ve ever seen. She literally just walks in and tells CBG that she loves him. There’s no real struggle within the relationship, her dad (who also doesn’t really get any characterization, which just makes him come off as the stereotypical crazy Asian parent) comes, takes her back, changes his mind, and she marries CBG.

          • 21 Stan
            18 January 2014 at 12:18 pm

            Bah, I read enough about that ep to understand that the only reason they even did this heck of a storyline is to promote mange, anime and everything Japanese. Of course I might stand corrected because I didn’t watch it, but that’s just the idea I got out of it.
            Moreover, what you state is perfectly casual for the late ZS: absence of conflict, shitty-shoddy arguments or quarrels between the characters out of nothing, and loads and loads of inconsistent filler. These, I find, are the main problems with this show, and so long as they’re not taken care of, it just won’t get anywhere.

            • 23 Sarah J
              18 January 2014 at 11:20 pm

              Don’t forget stuff that happens for no reason. Why does Kumiko love CBG, feeling that way even before she ever spoke to him? Why did CBG immediately march over to the Simpson house to seek advice from Homer? (it would’ve been more believable if Homer, accompanying Bart, walked into the comic book shop, overheard CBG talking about his new relationship, and then tried to give advice. Would’ve been in character for Homer, and a bit funnier) Why did Mr. Nakamura go drinking with Homer?

          • 24 Stan
            18 January 2014 at 12:24 pm

            They also lately acquired a tendency to drop B-plots flat down at the end of the third act, which was even kinda frustrating for me the first time I saw it. I mean, why should I respect a show that doesn’t respect me as part of its audience?

  5. 25 Troy McGuyver
    16 January 2014 at 6:03 pm

    And wedding after wedding after wedding!

    • 26 Sarah J
      16 January 2014 at 11:37 pm

      Taking all bets: who do you think will get married next? My money’s on Skinner.

      • 27 ecco6t9
        17 January 2014 at 2:13 am

        “Incest is cool right? Just have him marry his mom already.”

        My guess is how they are going to write that episode.

        • 28 Sarah J
          17 January 2014 at 9:12 pm

          Naw, I’m thinking more of him getting his own Relationship Sue, with either a new one being created or an existing female character (Ms. Hoover, perhaps?) getting molded to become one for him.

  6. 29 FireFlower
    17 January 2014 at 9:21 am

    No I don’t think they will have Skinner marry his Mom. He doesn’t even like her. My guess is that Selma will get married next….again.

    • 30 Jeff
      17 January 2014 at 11:00 am

      To Itchy? (Wasn’t that one of the weddings shown in the “wedding after wedding after wedding” scene?)

      • 31 Stan
        17 January 2014 at 1:00 pm

        to Moleman. After he fails his license test (yet again), the two fall in love.
        Then Snake comes back for some reason and it turns out he and Selma were dating back in high school, and then they just copy A Hunka Hunka Burns in Love from there on.
        Shit, that’s sum serious episode plot for ZS right here!

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