10
Jan
17

Behind Us Forever: Pork & Burns

behind-the-laughter8

“They can’t take our house! My pot-bellied pig is in there! Oh, Mr. Porky, no!” – Homer Simpson

It has long been true that just about the only thing anyone remembers from the bloated mess that was the movie (itself now almost ten years old) is Spider-Pig. In this episode, Spider-Pig comes back as a kind of Mojo-the-Helper-Monkey replacement. Wacky hijinks ensue. In the B-plot, Marge becomes obsessed with de-cluttering her house, which leads Lisa to get rid of her saxophone until it turns out Marge had it all along. No, it didn’t make any sense in the episode either.

Here are some typically brainless scenes:

  • The couch gag has dialogue again. This seems to be happening a lot more lately. I guess they’re finally giving up on maintaing them as a short, silent pre-show joke. Can’t say I blame them. Every part of this show is beyond the point of exhaustion.
  • There’s a book called “The Japanese Warrior Monks’ Guide to Tidying Up”, which would be okay as a throwaway gag, but turns into an entire storyline, complete with Marge reading the whole title aloud after we’ve already seen it three or four times. Delayed exposition, huh.
  • The writing on this show has gotten so sitcom-y over the years that I don’t even notice it most of the time, but this was particularly bad: “Think of the kids! The kids working in overseas factories to make this crap!” Setup, beat, punchline.
  • Characters who weren’t in the room suddenly appearing in the room: Milhouse & Grampa so far, I’m sure there will be more.
  • Homer makes a “reuse this calendar” joke. Sure it’s not 1985 right now, but who knows what Season 30 will bring?
  • So, uh, Spider-Pig is back for some reason.
  • gimpvan
    Homer just attempted to give Spider-Pig away in a darkened parking lot at night, which lead to a lot of shallow “creepy van” jokes that ended with a guy in a gimp costume in the back of one. Do things like this really get laughs at table reads? And, if so, has anyone checked for a gas leak in that room?
  • There’s a Dr. Nick scene. About half of it is him counting to five in Spanish.
  • In one of their more bizarre scene set ups, Marge and Homer have a confrontation about Homer keeping Spider-Pig while they’re standing in the front door. How did they get there? Why are they there? No idea. The scenes on either side have nothing to do with it. I know they don’t care about things like this, but nobody actually seems to live in this universe anymore, they’re just cutouts standing in front of backdrops waiting for the next skit to start.
  • Homer and Lisa are now duel expositing about their feelings at the dinner table. Really badly:
    Homer: Oh, that is really, really sad.
    Lisa: Wow you understand how I feel?
    Homer: Yes, because I feel about my pig the way you used to feel about your honk-a-ma-flute.
  • “Homer, those kids hands are covered in barbecue sauce”, um, okay.
  • “Dad, no, that’s a snake from the petting zoo!” – The context for this line is that Homer is going to spray the hounds with a hose. There is no petting zoo. This show makes more sense when you pretend there’s an invisible box marked “Props” that follows everyone around.
  • unwoundedpig
    So . . . Mr. Burns’ hounds attacked Spider Pig, with lots of growling and tearing. Then they get pulled off and Spider-Pig is . . . fine. Looks a little sad, but fine. Homer then freaks out because he needs to or something. The whole scene is awkward, because they want it to simultaneously be a vicious dog attack, but they also don’t want to show any blood or gore because this is still supposed to be a comedy.
  • Now there’s a pig doctor treating Spider-Pig, and now Mr. Burns is going to put him into pig rehab because he just exposited about his insurance for some reason.
  • Homer is having a dream about the Mayo Clinic being doctors who are mayonnaise jars. Worse, the mayo jars spend the whole dream expositing what they’re doing.
  • Pig vacation montage. There’s three words I wasn’t expecting to type when I started this episode.
  • Let’s end on some more clunky exposition: “Now what’s wrong?”, “My joy’s returned  but my passion’s gone.”
  • They must’ve really liked that mayo doctor things, because they’re killing the last twenty seconds of contract mandated runtime with an ER parody. Timely.

Anyway, the ratings are in and the annual Zombie Simpsons NFL Playoff lead-in has once again produced their best number of the year. On Sunday, 8.19 million people left their televisions on after the Giants-Packers game. To my surprise, FOX is also getting a late playoff game this Sunday, so that’ll help Zombie Simpsons next week as well.


7 Responses to “Behind Us Forever: Pork & Burns”


  1. 1 Victor D
    10 January 2017 at 9:56 pm

    The only thing you forgot with this post is italicizing Homer’s quote from “Behind the Laughter”. Otherwise, spot on.

    I remember reading in the comments of an earlier post from a few weeks ago that the animation of the show has actually improved somewhat? That may be so, but it’s not really that evident in the screenshots you posted up top, and too bad the overall quality of the episodes/dialogue/scripts still suck. While they’re switching to better animators, they should also switch to better screenwriters as well.

    Also: “Think of the kids! The kids working in overseas factories to make this crap!” – What on earth is this referring to in the episode? I would hope this is referring to the people who are constantly forced to crank out shitty Simpsons episodes, but I think that’s much too clever for Zombie Simpsons to pull off these days.

    • 2 Charlie Sweatpants
      11 January 2017 at 12:20 am

      Fixed the italics on the quote, thanks.

      The “think of the kids” quote is right at the beginning when Homer is telling Marge not to throw out a novelty coaster. It’s just a random piece of plastic crap, so it’s probably not a “we’re being held against our will” message from the writers. As you said, that would be much too clever.

    • 3 Dman
      11 January 2017 at 7:42 am

      There was an episode a few weeks ago, the one with Krusty’s daughter, where the animation seemed different – more expressive in the face, especially with Krusty himself. I noticed watching at the time and later there were comments on this site about that.

      I haven’t noticed anything similar since. Maybe it was just an experimental thing they were tinkering with.

      • 4 Dman
        11 January 2017 at 7:45 am

        Okay just looked it up and apparently that episode was the last new one, until this one here. So….yeah. Shows how much I’m paying attention. But anyway I didn’t see that type of animation in Pork & Burns.

  2. 5 Anonymous
    13 January 2017 at 9:18 am

    (Can we use quote blocks in replies? Is is just basic HTML tags or what?)

    “It has long been true that just about the only thing anyone remembers from the bloated mess that was the movie (itself now almost ten years old) is Spider-Pig.”

    Since I refused to see the movie, I only remember it from preview commercials, but that sounds about right, and it was still stupid.

    “In the B-plot, Marge becomes obsessed with de-cluttering her house, which leads Lisa to get rid of her saxophone until it turns out Marge had it all along. No, it didn’t make any sense in the episode either.”

    Yeah, like Lisa would EVER voluntarily get rid of her saxophone. Can you elaborate further? How high were the writers this time?

    “Do things like this really get laughs at table reads? And, if so, has anyone checked for a gas leak in that room?”

    I chuckled at this comment, but I wouldn’t so much as crack a smile at those lame scenes.

    “The whole scene is awkward, because they want it to simultaneously be a vicious dog attack, but they also don’t want to show any blood or gore because this is still supposed to be a comedy.”

    Remember when they used to show people getting hurt or even slightly bloody in this show without it being over-the-top and painful for the audiences? Pretty sure they’ve long forgotten how to do that.

    The Mayo Clinic “jokes” sound just fucking awful. I mean, maybe a five year old could get away with that, but really? Shows just how low they’ve sunk over the years. This whole thing sounds like an atrocious mess, but that’s literally every new episode now.

    So what ultimately became of Spider-Pig, then? Will we be seeing it in future episodes or is it back to the status quo? And thanks once again, Charlie, for suffering through this crap so the rest of us don’t have to.

    • 6 Charlie Sweatpants
      14 January 2017 at 1:12 pm

      I’ve tried doing block quotes in comments, but it doesn’t seem to work. That said:

      “Yeah, like Lisa would EVER voluntarily get rid of her saxophone. Can you elaborate further? How high were the writers this time?”

      The book Marge got says you should get rid of everything that doesn’t bring you “joy”, Lisa eventually feels that her saxophone doesn’t bring her joy, and gets rid of it. It’s a fairly typical Zombie Simpsons hash where there’s maybe a coherent story under there somewhere, but it’s buried under lame exposition, wild mood swings, and out of character lunacy. By the end, Lisa’s room is completely empty and Marge has just gone along with it the whole time.

      • 7 Anonymous
        16 January 2017 at 8:30 am

        Sounds like the usual nonsensical garbage they come up with nowadays. Also reminds me of the episode you wrote about where Bart goes on a cruise (basically whoring out the cruise industry, nauseatingly enough) and sells all his stuff and has to sleep on the bare floor. The characters are just shells of their former selves now. They’re basically nothing but props to move these insipid “plots” along.


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