“George Carlin on three.” – Miss Pennycandy
“Yeah? Lawsuit? Oh, come on! My seven words you can’t say on TV bit was entirely different from your seven words you can’t say on TV bit. So I’m a thief, am I? Well, excuse me! . . . Give him ten grand.” – Krusty the Klown
“Steve Martin on four.” – Miss Pennycandy
“Ten grand.” – Krusty the Klown
Let’s get this out of the way first: this is the best they can do and they know it. If the PR machine is to be believed, this episode took two years to make and was very expensive to animate. They bragged about how careful the writing was and how they went the extra mile for this one. They hyped it for weeks and made it their big May sweeps premier. And, indeed, it is better and more memorable than most Zombie Simpsons, but that’s a low bar, and the only really memorable thing about it was the animation.
To be fair, the animation was pretty impressive and the episode looked very cool in places. But the writing and execution would’ve been awful even if the vastly superior The Lego Movie wasn’t looming over every terrible line. That movie was written and directed by the guys who did Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 1, 21 Jump Street and the unjustly cancelled Clone High. This episode was written by a guy who started writing for Zombie Simpsons in Season 13 and whose only other IMDb credits in that time are for the justly cancelled Joey. It shows.
– And we get right into things with fake self deprecation “It’s not selling out, it’s co-branding! Co-branding!”.
– Give them this, it does look nice.
– The sign gags are pretty lazy, though: “Brick-E-Mart”, “H&R Brick”, “First Brick of Springfield”, “Brick, Block & Beyond”.
– “Hey, these are the monkey’s legs”. Gee, I sure like being told what I’m seeing.
– “Hmm, what do you know, I enjoyed playing with you.” Ah, nothing brings us back to the regular reality of Zombie Simpsons faster than characters telling us exactly how they feel.
– And now Homer and Lisa are having an expository talk during a flashback. It’s crappy writing within a weak plot device within crappy writing within a weak plot gimmick.
– Marge and Homer are sitting at home on the bed and Marge reminds us again that in this world “everything fits with everything else and nobody ever gets hurt”. That’s about the third or fourth time they’ve explained that.
– “Oh, brick me!” – Just tallying the “brick” puns is exhausting.
– Okay, the increasing sized items on the Love Tester are okay. Not hilarious or anything, but at least they only used the word “brick” once.
– So, Bart rebuilt the school and then described everything we saw in it with voiceover.
– Lovejoy’s sermon about the beginning of the world is kinda funny (goes on too long, of course, but that’s standard).
– This time it’s Flanders: “everything fits together and no one gets hurt”. Jebus, we get it already.
– Homer just re-explained everything again before touching the toy box. Also, Marge was just standing there, so that was a Zombie Simpsons twofer.
– Woof, this scene with Lisa and the other girls expositing about the, ugh, “Survival Games” is really going on too long. I like how each of them explained why they were there.
– And, just because it deserves its own bullet point: “Survival Games” is incredibly lazy.
– Now Lisa is explaining why she wants to do something.
– And now, because this is Zombie Simpsons, Homer and Marge are having a conversation about Lisa right in front of Lisa’s open bedroom door. As usual, their contempt for object permanence or even just basic social sense shines through.
– Hey, how about another one: “everything fits together and no one gets hurt”. Thanks, Homer!
– Jebus, writing this bad wouldn’t have survived in a first draft of The Lego Movie. First, Comic Book Guy explained to everyone what we just saw, then Marge actually says this, “One of the main questions I have about that is why?”. That leads to more expositing from Comic Book Guy.
– Hey, another “brick” pun on the Jebediah statue. How many of these can they do?
– I’m tired of transcribing them, but Marge and Homer just re-re-re-re-re-stated the premise and explained the plot again, in case anyone missed it.
– And now he’s doing it again at a tea party with Lisa, “I’ve created a perfect world with no PG-13 movies to take you away from me.” We. Fucking. Know.
– Pop quiz: brick Homer realizes he can’t stay in his paradise. Do we see him living life and growing tired of it, or does he stand still and explain everything in a speech while doing nothing? You get two guesses, but you’re only going to need one.
– Then, directly after, we see him reiterate the speech he just gave to Marge.
– Comic Book Guy: “But you’ve discovered the joy of living in a world made of toys where nothing bad can ever happen.” That phrase may account for 10% of the total words here.
– Now Comic Book Guy is explaining who he is.
– The giant Bart robot is kinda cool. It’s not funny or anything, but it’s the first thing that’s reminded me of The Lego Movie in a good way instead of a bad one.
– Well, at least they know they’re a pale imitation of the movie.
– Nice of Homer to tell us all what he learned this week. Knowing is half the battle.
– Having Lovejoy’s description of the universe be true at the end was an actual nice touch that didn’t take too long. Weird.
– But the episode ran waaaay short despite repeating itself over and over again, so it’s time for a “Survival Games” sketch to get us to the finish line.
What a waste of an episode. Neat, innovative animation like that shouldn’t be locked into the ordinary mess of a Zombie Simpsons story.
Anyway, the ratings are in and all that publicity did not do them much good. Last night, just 4.29 million people wished The Lego Movie had already come out on home video. That’s the highest number they’ve had in a month and it’s still good for #16 on the all time least watched list. Hear that, crappy entertainment industry publications? Keep writing stories about how nobody watches anymore.