“Krusty, this camp was a nightmare. They fed us gruel. They forced us to make wallets for export. And one of the campers was eaten by a bear!” – Bart Simpson
“Oh my God!” – Krusty the Klown
“Well, actually, the bear just ate his hat.” – Bart Simpson
“Was it a nice hat?” – Krusty the Klown
“Oh yeah.” – Bart Simpson
“Oh my God!” – Krusty the Klown
It will come as no surprise to readers of this site that Zombie Simpsons is dumb and derivative. It’s been coasting off the legacy of The Simpsons for well over a decade now, and it’s got to scratch and claw at the worn out bottom of a wormy barrel for story ideas that have maybe only been done once or twice before. That brings us to “Kamp Krustier”, this week’s attempt to squeeze people’s fond memories for just a little more attention.
The episode opens with a title card reading, “A short while ago, in Season 4…”. This is, presumably, to let us know that they know how absurd it is to have a direct sequel episode a quarter of a century after the original. (It doesn’t help.)
From there, we see Santa’s Little Helper wandering around the house, past discarded items of Homer and Marge’s clothing. We then see him walk past the kitchen, which is trashed and in which Maggie is resting in a chicken bucket. Eventually he gets outside to find Homer and Marge humping in the treehouse, after which Homer literally bangs a gong he produces from nowhere.
Now, I don’t want to blow this out of proportion, and I recognize that they’re under no obligation to faithfully recreate things from Season 4, but even this first scene is telling about how much the comedy of this show has gotten dumber since then. If there’s one thing Simpsons Marge would never, ever do, it’s let the house become a trashdump like this and leave Maggie completely unattended.
We know this because we were shown the exact same scene (literally) in Season 4. Homer and Marge get extra frisky while Bart and Lisa are gone in “Kamp Krusty”, and the house looks fine and Maggie is being watched.
Look at the above: Homer and Marge are still getting it on, but Marge hasn’t suddenly forgotten who she is just so the show can have Homer crow about sex like a twelve-year-old who just learned what the word means. On The Simpsons, it’s clear that Homer and Marge’s lives got easier and more fun without Bart and Lisa around, on Zombie Simpsons they just default down to a trashed house because that’s the simplest and most outrageous thing they could come up with. That it’s something Marge’s character would never do doesn’t enter into their thinking.
Don’t get me wrong, the opening didn’t ruin the episode or anything (the rest of the script is more than capable of that), it’s just a perfect, 1:1 comparison of how vacuous the show is now and I couldn’t pass it up.
As for what actually happens in “Kamp Krustier”, well, the kids come back and get sent to a therapist where Bart fakes being traumatized so as not to go to school while Lisa pretends not to be traumatized so she can go to school. Meanwhile, in the other plot, Homer becomes ultra-smart and productive at work after he and Marge can’t screw 24-7 anymore. No, it doesn’t make sense. And no, neither really get resolved.
– Continuing with the whole “let’s show a dumbed down version of twenty-four seasons ago”, here’s a couple of screen grabs from what “Kamp Krusty” would look like if they did it today:
Yes, that is Bart riding a vulture. Please laugh.
– While riding the vulture, Bart burns four children alive, screaming “Death to tennis camp”. It’s weird.
– Krusty is dropping the kids off and Milhouse is sucking his thumb and so is Kirk.
– Now we’re at a group therapy session where Bart realizes he can get out of school. Outside, Skinner walks up out of nowhere to complain that the therapist parked him in:
Skinner: Uh, somebody parked me in. Toyota Corolla. It’s got to be one of you.
Therapist: Try the karate studio.
Skinner: I tried the damn karate studio.
Therapist: Ugh, alright, it’s me. I blocked you in, okay?
Then it ends.
– Homer’s trying to get it on with Marge, but she shoots him down and then Bart shows up to sleep in their bed for some reason.
– At breakfast, Marge is reading a pamphlet on Bart’s trauma:
Marge: This pamphlet on trauma they gave Bart is very alarming. Loss of appetite. Thousand yard stare.
Bart: Not hungry.
Marge: Where are you looking?
Bart: A thousand yards away.
Expository repetition comedy, brilliant.
– In a nod to their favorite kind of dialogue, there’s an Itchy & Scratchy cartoon with an expository intro.
– Homer getting to work early because Bart is still sleeping in his parents’ bed. Suddenly, Homer’s smart and tells us that it’s because he’s sexually frustrated.
– In a twist we probably could’ve done without, Bart’s having a nightmare about camp, wakes up to tell the audience, “My God, I really am traumatized”. He then goes to Lisa’s room in the middle of the night:
Bart: Lis! Lis!
Lisa: Can it wait till morning?
Bart: Sure. [morning comes] Lis! Lis!
Lisa: Thanks for waiting till morning!
Bart then tells Lisa about a dream he had so she can explain what’s going on:
Lisa: It’s coming back to me too! Whatever happened must’ve been so horrible we repressed the memory. But don’t tell, because they’ll make me miss school.
Thanks for the recap, Lis.
– Homer being smart montage.
– The kids are now at an amusement park where Lisa exposits her trauma and tells us she’s riding a ride while she’s riding it.
– Marge tries to seduce Homer, but he shoots her down and pulls a theremin out from nowhere.
And now, the punchline: “I said therapy, not Theramin!” [rimshot]
– We’re now at the “Masters and Johnson Institute”, which has a sign outside reading “If We Weren’t Doctors, We’d Be Arrested”, which is so far the only funny thing in this episode. Well done, sign gag.
– Homer and Marge are now in a sex therapy session with Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan from Masters of Sex, a show I have no particular opinion on since I only made it through about four episodes. They also tell us exactly what we’re seeing.
– Moe then shows up to masturbate with a robot in the hallway outside the therapy room. He orgasms behind a pebble glass window, and the show reaches what may be a new low.
“Alright, I just finished. Deviant out.” That’s what he actually says.
– For reasons that I’m sure were explained, the Simpsons go to Kamp Krusty at night to discover that it’s now an adult retreat.
– Bart exposits us into a flashback:
Bart: I’m remembering now, we were trying to escape by canoe.
– Also, Mel is in the flashback and Bart narrates exactly what we see.
– Homer and Marge eventually have sex at the camp while Bart and Lisa discover that their trauma was actually a dwarf posing as a child who escaped and didn’t die. I made none of that up.
Anyway, the ratings are in an they continue to be bad. Last night, just 2.62 million people heard Moe finish. To its (VERY) slight credit, Zombie Simpsons acknowledged this near the end. Bart says, “Now I’m glad everything’s alright”, which leads to the following two screens:
(That’s the fake dead dwarf/escaped child on the left. In case you were wondering.)