"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."
– 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 . . .