28
Jan
14

Behind Us Forever: Specs and the City

Chalkboard - Specs and the City

“This is my pride and joy: I’ve had hidden cameras planted in every home in Springfield.  I got the idea from that movie ‘Sliver’, what a delightful romp.” – C.M. Burns

If there’s one thing Zombie Simpsons has perfected, it’s taking familiar elements of The Simpsons, blasting away everything that made them wonderful, and then propping up the barely recognizable remains as though they weren’t decrepit garbage.  In its own ass backwards way, “Specs and the City” was a tour-de-force of that.  Homer actually spent time at the nuclear plant and stopped for a beer at Moe’s when he was done.  Marge was running the house.  The kids even managed to go to school.  There weren’t any magic powers or post-apocalyptic hellscapes, there was nary a drawn out chase scene nor even a bizarre celebrity cameo.  But even within those relatively calm confines, Zombie Simpsons still managed to create a husk of an episode with few to no jokes, nothing that could be called a coherent story (or ending), and lots of expository filler.

To take just one particularly wretched scene, Nelson is for some reason obsessed with the Valentine’s Day cards he gets from the other kids.  (Did I mention that it was Valentine’s Day?  Well it was, until it wasn’t anymore, and then it was again.  Yeah.)  Not only is the entire classroom set up as a line to Nelson’s desk (there was a notable and distinctly awkward absence of Mrs. Krabappel), but for some other reason Dolph and Jimbo(!) are acting as fourth grade muscle to punish kids whose cards don’t meet with Nelson’s approval.

And they weren’t the only ones who were just slapped into scenes with no regard for who they are (or were).  Incompetent Burns was back, letting Homer easily break into his office, stay there for several hours, and then allowing Homer kick him out.  Marge got mad at Homer for wearing his Google Glass thing while they were fooling around, but didn’t notice until Homer told her he was wearing them even though they were glowing through the damn sheets.  Moe gave Homer atrociously terrible advice, which wouldn’t have been bad in and of itself, except that it worked like a charm.

– So the couch gag has stopped even being a couch gag and just become another way they can kill a minute before they have to start the actual episode.

– The stress ball was dumb the first time someone swallowed it.

– “You wear them like eyeglasses, but inside the lens you see information about the people and places around you”, thanks Exposition Smithers!

– So Burns had a wall of TV screens installed behind his wall of TV screens?

– And he spent too much money on them?  Here’s a mini-compare & contrast for you, this dialogue . . .

Burns: Smithers, how much did this company lose to office supply theft last year?
Smithers: Seven thousand, forth-three dollars.
Burns: Yes, well, no more of that thanks to this twenty-six million dollar surveillance system.

. . . and this quote about the same thing from Season 3.  Notice how in one Burns is evil and competent and in the other he’s hapless and costing himself money.  These are two very different Mr. Burnses.

– And we’re supposed to be surprised that he’s spying on his employees when he’s been doing that since the start of the show?  Not to mention the whole town?  And why is Smithers shocked?

– Apparently this is also a Valentine’s Day episode.  Huh.

– Frontline/Firstline, comedy gold!

– “right after I decide if these videos are funny or die” – ah, a preview of the exact thing you’re about to do.

– Why is Marge surprised he’s wearing the glasses in bed?  He was already doing that and she can clearly see them.  And they could’ve handled his getting caught wearing them during sex well if they were so inclined.  Homer could sneak the glasses on, whisper something to them to get some information, turn on a sex app, anything but having him just wearing them and Marge somehow not noticing would’ve shown at least some care toward what they’re doing here.

– “Burns gave us those glasses so he could spy on us”, for the sweet, uncompromising love of Jebus, please just give us one scene where something happens without you telling us what it is.  Just one!

– And then he tells us exactly what we’re seeing on the monitors.

– The floating head Moe scene certainly took up some time.  Well done.

– Apparently the Valentine’s Day plot is going to drag on past actual Valentine’s Day.  (And let’s not even get into the weirdness of having an A-plot where Marge and Homer are fighting and a B-plot where it’s Valentines Day and yet the holiday never comes up in the A-plot.)

– We see the happiness (Wednesday) and sadness (Tuesday) montages, and then Homer explains what we just saw in case nobody noticed the several times they put the day on screen.  Six-year-olds don’t need things explained to them this many times.

– That ending was . . . unexpected.  This episode basically had three things going on, Burns spying on everyone with Google Glass, Homer spying on Marge’s therapy sessions, and that bizarre, unconnected Valentine’s Day plot with the kids.  Not a single one of them had an ending, or even really a conflict, and they wrapped it up with a completely unrelated scene with Ralph drawing on his face.  I was actually surprised when the credits rolled.

Anyway, the ratings are in and we have a new champion for least watched episode ever.  On Sunday, just 3.91 million people wished they were playing around with Google Glass.  That easily breaks the previous record of 4.00 million people set back in Season 23.  We’ve still got half the season to go, but it looks like Season 25 is going to easily break Season 24’s recently set record for least watched ever.  But hey, there’s Legos and Mr. Potatohead now, so we’ve got those.


24 Responses to “Behind Us Forever: Specs and the City”


  1. 1 Stan
    28 January 2014 at 5:28 pm

    Ah, so you’ve returned… Golly, I’ll just go cancel my clozaril prescription for the day then.

  2. 2 FireFlower
    28 January 2014 at 5:38 pm

    A advertisement for Google Glass with yet another marriage crisis and yet another pointless B plot. I didn’t even watch it and it does not look like I missed much. I am not going to watch any more new episodes.

    Lowest ratings ever…I can’t say I am surprised. Maybe there is hope that the show will finally end!

    • 3 Stan
      28 January 2014 at 5:49 pm

      Wanna bet?

      • 28 January 2014 at 8:14 pm

        3.91 Million? WOW, that’s craptacular! My cash is still on the show dying after next season. Am I the only one who would bury it on Friday Nights to accelerate the process?

        My prediction for average for this season is 5.0 Million, give or take .15.

        • 5 Stan
          28 January 2014 at 9:25 pm

          5 million is way too good for this shit-on-a-stick. If it hits near above it I’m not watching Season 26 either.

  3. 28 January 2014 at 6:11 pm

    So the number of self loathing Simpson fans drops every year. Why do I keep watching? I can’t even use the excuse that I only watch The Simpsons because it is the lead in for Bob’s Burgers because I specifically set my DVR to record the show. My only guess is morbid curiosity or foolishly holding out hope that the show will return to its former glory.

    • 7 Stan
      28 January 2014 at 9:24 pm

      You remind me of me 2-3 years ago pal. Believe me – it’s hopeless. Aim for the head, it’s not the show you once knew.

    • 8 Sarah J
      29 January 2014 at 6:06 pm

      I regularly watched ZS for more years than I’m willing to admit. For a while it was due to denial about the quality slippage. In my defense, the local FOX station would rarely air the older episodes, so I kind of forgot how much better they were. After I began to notice, I still watched out of some vain hope that it would get better. Eventually I just stopped watching altogether. I caught the last two episodes just to see where the show was going.

    • 9 Joe H
      29 January 2014 at 6:30 pm

      Morbid curiosity now. I used to use the same Bob’s Burgers excuse too. But I used to love the classic Simpsons so much, that I figured I might as well watch to the cold, bitter end

      I really don’t expect it to return to its former glory anymore. I watched religiously back in the late ’90s when there was a classic Simpsons rerun on Fox everyday. I was in denial through most of season 10, but by season 11 I pretty much knew it was starting to suck and it’s been downhill from there save another brief moment of denial that Al Jean would save the show (rather his tenure has sealed the series’ doom of increasing banality). I stopped watching for about 10 years even after the movie came out, and only decided to watch again after my boredom and curiosity got the better of me.

    • 30 January 2014 at 6:16 am

      I actually started watching (somewhat irregularly) again BECAUSE I found DeadHomers. Ironic that a website dedicated to killing the show actually got me watching again.

      As for me, I stay on for morbid curiosity. With it seeming more and more likely that each renewal could be the last (again, 3.9 Million viewers), I (and a good chunk of people) are tuning in just to see the show take it’s last breath. It’s like watching “The Room”; you want to see how bad it really is.

      …on second though, I apologise for insulting “The Room”. Because “The Room” is actually entertaining compared to an average ZS episode.

  4. 11 Joe H
    28 January 2014 at 7:25 pm

    This episode really flop-flopped its plotline in a strange way. It’s all set up for some sort of NSA-like parody on electronic spying through net-linked gadgets, but then goes way off track into yet another Homer / Marge marriage crisis (or something). Quite unmemorable.

  5. 12 Jeff
    28 January 2014 at 11:08 pm

    “Frontline/Firstline, comedy gold!”

    What happened to Smartline?

    • 13 Rob K.
      29 January 2014 at 12:54 am

      Good question Jeff, ZS writers can’t keep track of simple things and maybe wanna change things in the show in a failed attempt to keep it fresh, or whatever.

  6. 14 Joe H
    28 January 2014 at 11:27 pm

    Regarding the whole Burns plot, it was certainly half-baked. Mr. Burns had video cameras spying on everyone since practically the first season. These glasses didn’t give Burns anything new to spy on other than a first person POV. This would have worked much better if Burns actually was collecting databases on each of their employees’ conversations and net browsings, maybe doing business on the side selling the info to another corporation.

    The sheer ineptitude of having a marriage/love crisis A-plot and the Valentines Day b-plot and never having them intersect was astounding. Not to mention that whole Valentine’s Day plot with Bart and Nelson was pretty dumb–do guys (straight guys anyway) ever really want a valentine from another guy? I’ve always thought the whole point of them was cheering up the opposite sex. “I Love Lisa” seemed to get this.

    And, yes this episode did seem a lot like a commercial for Google Glass.

    • 15 cm
      29 January 2014 at 2:45 am

      I don’t know if it was an advert for it, so much as the staff relishing the chance to finally appear up to date. It’s rare that they get a chance to be topical, they’re usually a ridiculous distance behind the curve, but this time they had the option to write an ep about something zeitgeisty before it became publically relevant.

      It sounds like they squandered their head-start, just panicked and flapped about going, “BURNS. SPYING. MARRIAGE CRISIS. WHAT,” but… who’s surprised?

      • 16 Joe H
        29 January 2014 at 11:25 am

        I’ll certainly give you that about the show being up to date for once. I had never even heard about Google Glass until very recently.

  7. 17 Oli
    29 January 2014 at 12:22 pm

    The “couch gag” was so stupid…
    Especially since it’s been used as a preview for the Simpsons on UK Channel 4 since 2004.
    http://www.theidentgallery.com/c4/2004/C4-2007-ID-SIMPSONS-4.jpg You can even see where the outline of the ‘4’ in the episode.

  8. 21 FireFlower
    29 January 2014 at 1:52 pm

    The couch gag was a 10 year old British commercial?

    They just aren’t trying anymore…or even making an effort to try,

  9. 22 Brad M
    29 January 2014 at 3:05 pm

    The worst part of the “B-plot” was that they had to have Bart TELL us that Nelson still bullies him, rather than making any effort to show it before the Valentine’s Day scene. It felt like the writers may have been trying to take Nelson back to his roots a bit, but it’s inconsistent with the friendlier Nelson of countless later episodes and the audience is given no reason to go along with it.

    “Apparently the Valentine’s Day plot is going to drag on past actual Valentine’s Day. (And let’s not even get into the weirdness of having an A-plot where Marge and Homer are fighting and a B-plot where it’s Valentines Day and yet the holiday never comes up in the A-plot.”

    I’ve only seen this episode once, but didn’t the Homer/Marge conflict only begin after Valentine’s Day was over? The Valentine’s plot continued for Bart because Nelson granted him an extension to come up with a card, but we can assume that Homer and Marge’s Valentine’s Day was satisfactory if unremarkable.

  10. 23 Sarah J
    29 January 2014 at 5:57 pm

    If there’s one thing I can give this episode credit for, it’s dealing with something “modern” without being several years too late. Zombie Simpsons is usually REALLY bad about that. Google Glasses are pretty recent, so it’s not like doing a lame Twilight “parody” years after the franchise was a new and strange thing.

    But, yeah, this episode still stunk. ZS ruins a LOT of decent jokes by explaining or telling them to the viewer as they appear on screen. It feels like watching Dora the Explorer, where they feel things need to be explained to the viewer multiple times to get it. But Dora is an educational show dedicated to teaching Spanish to very young children, so it at least has an excuse.

    The ratings are REALLY starting to get nasty. If this were any other show, it’d be cancelled already. I would be surprised if ZS last 2 or 3 more seasons. I’m a little surprised it’s still sticking around now.

  11. 4 February 2014 at 8:43 am

    I am genuinely glad to glance at this website posts which includes lots of helpful data, tanks for providing these kinds of statistics.


Comments are currently closed.

E-Mail

deadhomersociety (at) gmail

Run a Simpsons site or Twitter account? Let us know!

Twitter Updates

The Mob Has Spoken

Anonymous on Quote of the Day
Anonymous on Makeup Quote of the Day
Anonymous on Quote of the Day
Anonymous on Quote of the Day
Anonymous on Quote of the Day
Boourns on Quote of the Day
Anonymous on Quote of the Day
Anonymous on Quote of the Day
Anonymous on Makeup Quote of the Day
Anonymous on Quote of the Day

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Reruns

Useful Legal Tidbit

Even though it’s obvious to anyone with a functional frontal lobe and a shred of morality, we feel the need to include this disclaimer. This website (which openly advocates for the cancellation of a beloved television series) is in no way, shape or form affiliated with the FOX Network, the News Corporation, subsidiaries thereof, or any of Rupert Murdoch’s wives or children. “The Simpsons” is (unfortunately) the intellectual property of FOX. We and our crack team of one (1) lawyer believe that everything on this site falls under the definition of Fair Use and is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. No revenue is generated from this endeavor; we’re here because we love “The Simpsons”. And besides, you can’t like, own a potato, man, it’s one of Mother Earth’s creatures.