“I want to go on the yard work simulator!” – Bart Simpson
The official synopsis for this week’s episode of Zombie Simpsons:
Mr. Burns’ search for a clan to play his virtual-reality family leads him to hire the Simpsons, except for Homer, since Burns intends to play the father. With nothing to do, Homer befriends the new next-door neighbor, a woman who eats, drinks, thinks and acts like him.
A more honest synopsis:
Burns goes to a therapist, who then dies for no apparent reason. At the funeral, which the Simpsons attend because reasons, Burns realizes no one loves him. Then he runs over Frink, who was using a virtual reality headset. Burns then has Smithers use Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie as a virtual reality family so that he can pretend someone loves him, which for some reason means all four of them have to live at Burns Manor seemingly forever. Meanwhile, Homer meets a new female neighbor of his and becomes weird friends with her. When Marge gets back from Burns Manor, she freaks out about this in one of the dumbest and angriest Zombie Simpsons scenes in a while. Then it ends.
The most unintentionally entertaining part of the episode was the couch gag. They’ve gotten so used to explaining jokes and filling their scripts with unnecessary exposition that they did it before the episode even began. First, we see the family on the couch with a smart phone in front of them. Each member gets clicked and turned into an icon:
As couch gags go, at least it’s slightly novel. But when it gets to Homer, instead of having the screen flash “memory full” or some other wordless joke like the couch gags have long been, they had Homer explain out loud what was happening:
Homer: I’m too fat!
The phone then gets swapped for a larger tablet and he declares himself, “Still too fat!”. It’s completely unnecessary, we can plainly see that he’s too big to fit, but they felt the need to explain it anyway. I’m not laughing with you, Zombie Simpsons, but for once, I am laughing.
Anyway, the ratings are in, for both this week and last week’s premier. For the season premier – with no football lead-in – Zombie Simpsons managed to attract just 3.36 million viewers. That’s a horrifically bad number, but thanks to the nearly as bad Season 27 premier, isn’t actually a record. Last year’s premier only got 3.26 million viewers. By way of comparison, the previous low was Season 25’s 6.29 million.
On Sunday, Zombie Simpsons managed to display some self awareness with their chalkboard gag:
Unfortunately, they did, in fact, lose half of their NFL lead-in. FOX’s postgame show was watched by 12.49 million Americans, with Zombie Simpsons retaining only 6.00 million. Heh.