24
Nov
15

Behind Us Forever: Lisa With an S

The Last Temptation of Homer13

“Dad, why are you singing?” – Lisa Simpson
“Tell a lie!  Tell a lie!” – Homer’s Brain
“Because I have a small roll in a Broadway musical.  It’s not much, but it’s a start.” – Homer Simpson
“Bravo.” – Homer’s Brain 

I gave up on this episode halfway through (read more and you’ll see why).  The basic idea is that Lisa wants to go to band camp, but Homer loses money in a poker game to Moe’s elderly, ex-Broadway star girlfriend.  (I am not making that up.)  Said ex-Broadway star comes over to the house and then takes Lisa on tour, wacky hijinks ensue, etcetera etcetera, and then at some point the credits roll.

The couch gag is a kind of Star Trek doodle that probably never should’ve left the upper right corner of some bored person’s script.

We open with a West Side Story “Tonight, Tonight” song opening for poker night.  Most of the lyrics are the word “tonight”.

Lisa: “to save time, I’ll start describing the favor.” There’s an extra layer of laziness and audience contempt when they pre-exposit the exposition.

Lenny just fell out a window.

Poker montage!

Now they’re doing an Inside Out thing in Homer’s head.  Helpfully, it restates what’s going on (again).

And Homer loses at poker.  Barney is now driving a dart board like a steering wheel.  Feh.

Late at night, Bart pokes his head into Lisa’s room to re-exposit the plot.  Thanks, Bart!  I was confused as to whether or not Homer losing at poker would impact Lisa going to band camp.

The old Broadway lady is at dinner with the family now.  They’re recounting stories.  Tell, don’t show!

Here’s a typically boring and haplessly constructed series of events:

  1. Homer tries to flatter the old lady by saying “tell me you’re writing a book”.  Then . . .
  2. Bart starts choking himself with his necktie, which causes the camera to pan away from her and over to him.  Then . . .
  3. Homer grabs Bart and says, “sit down, boy, we’re trying to show this dame that we’re deserving of her pity”.  That neatly restates the thing we’d just had explained to us twice.  He continues:
  4. Homer: “Where’s that crutch I gave you?”
    Bart: “There’s nothing wrong with my leg.”
    Homer: “There will be!”
  5. Bart then bashes Homer’s leg with a crutch, so . . .
  6. Homer screams in pain, then . . .
  7. He pretends to hobble around on the crutch when the old lady, who’s been sitting there the whole time, is put back into frame.  Homer then restates the plot once again.  Pre-explained jokes, repeated exposition, no sense of object (or character) permanence; Lordy, this show is bad.

Lisa is now playing saxophone for the old lady, then pulls out “Laney’s” albums and reads the covers to us while she shows them.  This form of storytelling, reading out loud while showing us the accompanying picture, is usually reserved for librarians reading to kindergartners.  It is also sadly typical of Zombie Simpsons.

Marge is arguing with the old lady, then Grampa chimed in before saying, “I’ve been here, I’ve just been quiet”.  Things like this are why I’m convinced the writing staff knows how shitty these scripts are and is long (LONG) past the point of caring.

You know what?  Fuck it.  Let’s skip forward three minutes and see what’s happening . . . the screen is panning over a bunch of empty theater seats and balconies before Milhouse appears from nowhere to tell us he got a ticket and then Lisa describes what we just saw.

Let’s skip ahead another three minutes . . . the old lady is singing (Lisa’s part of the band).  Moe, in the audience, then tells us what we just saw, “Cheering for someone getting a word right.  That is a low bar.”  Indeed.  Three more minutes, please . . .

Moe and the old lady finish the episode in a “visiting New York City” montage.  But there’s one of those post-credit sketches where Homer is arguing with an Amish guy who’s related to Flanders.  I watched 51% of this carcass, that should be enough.

So, the ratings for the last two episodes are in and very little has changed.  The one from two weeks ago, “Friend With Benefit”, did not have the benefit of an NFL lead-in and was endured by only 3.5 million viewers.  (Fun fact: the headline of that article includes the words “family”, “guy”, “series”, and “low”.)  This one did have an NFL lead-in and managed 5.64 million viewers, almost exactly a million less than the previous episode that had football protecting it from apathy.  Overall, ratings: still atrocious.


17 Responses to “Behind Us Forever: Lisa With an S”


  1. 24 November 2015 at 11:35 pm

    I saw a screenshot of that Inside Out “parody” on Facebook the other day. And I’m not gonna lie, it always gets under my skin when modern Simpsons tries to take a potshot at Pixar.

    Yeah, I get it, writers. You’re pissed ’cause all your best animators keep leaving to work at a studio that actually encourages creativity. (I’m sure Brad Bird, David Silverman, Jim Reardon, Lauren MacMullan, and Rich Moore all say hi.) But don’t delude yourself into thinking you’re better than the lamp factory just ’cause you’ve been famous for longer. Inside Out alone was more entertaining than the last fifteen years of The Simpsons has been, and you damn well know it.

    • 2 Ryan
      24 November 2015 at 11:57 pm

      “You’re pissed ’cause all your best animators keep leaving to work at a studio that actually encourages creativity. (I’m sure Brad Bird, David Silverman, Jim Reardon, Lauren MacMullan, and Rich Moore all say hi.)”

      I don’t think David Silverman had to, considering his name was on screen at the time.

      What exactly are you ranting about? How in holy fuck do you think they’re taking potshots at Pixar just because they’re parodying it? Are all parodies based on contempt now?

      • 3 Spiked Eggnog
        25 November 2015 at 12:13 am

        That pic alone isn’t funny. Animating it is a sin.

      • 4 Ah Hee Hee Hee
        25 November 2015 at 6:51 am

        Is this you on Twitter, freaking out about a children’s show ending?
        https://mobile.twitter.com/rwmead/status/669214507697311744

      • 25 November 2015 at 9:19 am

        Granted, I may have overreacted. Especially since I don’t actually know the nature of this particular reference, whether it was meant to be a potshot or a tribute or what.

        But seeing it reminded me of something from the Season 13 DVD commentaries that just bugged the hell out of me. Lauren MacMullan is on one of them, and this was recorded when she was at Pixar working on Brave, and she’s trying to talk earnestly about animation and her career. And goddamn Matt Selman keeps butting in with one of his stupid bits, going on about how he supposedly found all these huge plot holes in Up (and always talking as if Up is the name of the main character, because I guess he thinks that’s funny) and demanding that Lauren explain them.

        Yeah, like Matt Selman is so much smarter and funnier than the Pixar crew. And this is a trend I’ve seen in Zombie Simpsons, where they’ll take cheap shots and crap all over movies and shows that are clearly better written than they are, trying to prove that they’re still relevant. It just comes off as kind of pathetic.

  2. 25 November 2015 at 2:52 pm

    I’ve reached the point where I’ll only watch The Simpsons if it’s sandwiched between a new Bob’s Burgers and Brooklyn Nine Nine. By watch I mean The Simpsons is on in the background while I do something else for a half hour.
    Bob’s Burgers really deserves that primo 8 PM slot. You can tell the people working on that show still give a shit about putting out quality content whether you’re a fan or not.

  3. 13 Rob K.
    25 November 2015 at 4:52 pm

    I have stopped watching the show for 6 weeks.now.

  4. 14 FireFlower
    25 November 2015 at 7:38 pm

    I stopped watching the new episodes almost two years ago.

  5. 15 Milpool
    26 November 2015 at 1:43 pm

    To be fair Laney is one of the better new Simpsons character introduced in a decade, and while a bit flat her relationship with Moe feels more sincere than the peddled schlock that was introduced before (Kumiko and Comic Book Guy anyone?) They needed to at least explain how they got back together though, which is glossed over in the beginning of the poker tournament.

  6. 17 Sara_sp
    30 November 2015 at 7:58 pm

    Keep it coming with Behind Us Forever, these are always a nice read


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