Posts Tagged ‘O Brother Where Bart Thou

16
Dec
09

Synergy Enjoys the Nostalgia Firehose

Dog of Death5

“What’s the matter boy?  Don’t you know me?  I’m your buddy!  I love you boy.” – Bart Simpson

It’s always heartwarming to see a lapdog and its owner reconciled, especially when the rekindled love comes about because they remembered the good times.  This week’s IGN review was a fawning love letter, not so much for any of this episode’s original content but just because Zombie Simpsons opened the nostalgia valve all the way.  As Dave said in our chat, the Plow King was “fan service” and, lo and behold, the mere appearance of the Plow King, however jokeless it may have been, “brought a smile”.  As always, I’ve edited out the synergy.

December 14, 2009 – With its focus on Bart’s longing for a little brother, "O Brother, Where Bart Thou?" was a fun forgettable and entertaining formulaic outing for The Simpsons Zombie Simpsons. Packed with guest voices, the episode did well by sticking to floundered with one main story instead of adding an even weaker "B" storyline to fill out the half hour. Though Bart may never get his younger brother, we at least got another low quality episode after a couple less than impressive installments.

Things began with Springfield getting hit by a snowstorm, causing the schools to shut down and giving Bart a snow day. Comically With contrived CGI, the weather prevented Bart from ever getting outside, and once stuck in the house, a power outage prevented Bart from enjoying his videogames and DVDs. Bart’s attempt to watch "Itchy and Scratchy" using the electricity he could generate from rubbing a balloon against his hair was a highlight particularly stupid but did take up a lot of his struggle to find something to do. Meanwhile, Lisa and Maggie were playing together and enjoying their sisterly bond. Bart tried to play with his sisters for some reason, but was put off by their dress-up game. Bart tried to cover for having no one to play with by insisting he was "a bad ass loner like Wolverine, who leaves whenever people beg him to stay."

That evening, despite claiming no dream pointless, time killing storyFAIL could convince him he needed a little brother, a dream convinced Bart he needed a little brother. The dream wasted a lot of fun time, starting with cameos from the Marx Brothers and the Blues Brothers. We also got a glimpse of Sideshow Bob and his brother Cecil flying kites together. The series, of late, seems to be referencing older episodes more often. [Ed. Note: No shit.]  Whether a conscious decision because of the anniversary season, or just a coincidence, it works as a short cut to reminiscent laughs serves to highlight how creatively bankrupt this show has become. This episode also had Barney as The Plow King. No real joke was involved, but it brought a smile to this long-time fan’s face served to reinforce the fact that this show’s only remaining appeal is through nostalgia.

Other notables in Bart’s brother dream were the Manning brothers Peyton and Eli, plus their older brother Cooper. If you don’t know, Cooper was also on track for a professional football career until he was sidelined by injury, so his bragging about high school achievements to his Super Bowl winning brothers was funny and bittersweet factually correct. The Smothers Brothers cameo (and closing credit dialogue—"naked bacon") was also a lot of fun, more pointless nostalgia for anyone old enough to know whom the Smothers Brothers are. Now wanting a younger brother, Bart set out to make it happen in horrifyingly characterless and boring ways.

This was a fine what passed for a storyline, and offered up a number of great bits ways to make it to the credits. Bart’s failed attempts to trick his parents into fornicating were enjoyable outright dull, including Marge and Homer attempting a position from the Kama Sutra: "You’re ankle goes there." "Hand me your neck." The South Park reference was cute about nine years too late, but still lacked any real joke. Bart imagining his future with a third sister was also fun cribbed from a less moribund franchise, with Kim Cattrall offering up another guest voice for the episode.

Bart’s one day with a little brother (an orphan voiced by Jordan Nagai, Russell from Up) was also enjoyable labored beyond all hope of entertainment. It offered up my favorite line of the episode ("He’s just like Annie, except he’s a dude and he hates tomorrow.") plus it taught us a great lesson about poking dead animals with a stick: "Don’t go straight for the eyes. Build up to it." Best of all, like the better Simpsons most brainless schlocky Zombie Simpsons episodes, it ended with a sweet moment crammed down our eyeballs reminding us that even with all his shortcomings, Bart will always have his dad… to watch torture porn R-rated movies with.

15
Dec
09

Crazy noises: O Brother Where Bart Thou?

Colonel Homer2

“If you don’t watch the violence you’ll never get desensitized to it.” – Bart Simpson
“Just tell me when the scary part’s over.” – Lisa Simpson
“It’s over.” – Bart Simpson
“Ahhhhhhhh!” – Lisa Simpson

In our continuing mission to bring you only the finest in low class, low brow, and low tech internet Simpsons commentary we’re bringing back our “Crazy Noises” series and applying it to Season 21.  Because doing a podcast smacks of effort we’re still using this “chatroom” thing that all the middle schoolers and undercover cops seem to think is so cool.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “tased”).

South Park once did an episode titled “Simpsons Already Did It” where, amongst other things, they made fun of the fact that The Simpsons had been on forever and was now resorting to ideas that were less than clever.  That was seven years ago.  This week Zombie Simpsons had its own little “South Park” sequence.  It didn’t have much to do with anything (why Bart would ever take advice from Ralph is beyond me), but it did serve to highlight just how many jokes, scenes and sequences in this episode were either reminiscent, cribbed, or outright recycled from previous episodes.  We discuss a number of those below but we forgot to mention the whole Kama Sutra thing which, like so many others in this episode, took way too long and made no sense. 

Mad Jon: Anyway. I just watched last night’s episode.

Charlie Sweatpants: Ouch, wanna start with that one while the trauma is still fresh?

Mad Jon: Works for me.

Dave: I re-watched it

That’s how much I liked it

Mad Jon: Masochist eh?

Dave: That’s me!

Mad Jon: That’s cool. To each their own.

Charlie Sweatpants: Was anything particularly worse on a second viewing?

Dave: Nah, nothing jumped out. It was as unremarkable tonight as it was last night.

Mad Jon: Unremarkable is pretty on the nose.

Dave: The writers seem to be forgetting that the show’s supposed to be funny.

Mad Jon: It didn’t make me cringe like the Zombies usually do, but I may just be desensitized.

Charlie Sweatpants: Unremarkable is a good way to put it. With the exception of the completely unnecessary and pointless South Park thing I don’t think anyone’s going to remember this one a week from now.

Mad Jon: On the other hand, I, per usual didn’t even crack a smile.

Dave: I did, admittedly, when Chief Wiggum was tased

Mad Jon: I almost did at the weather report, but then they took it too far. Always too far.

Charlie Sweatpants: When they do come up with a kinda good idea they seem so surprised that they just feel the need to run it right into the ground.

Mad Jon: I think the writers look at jokes the way I looked at chemistry experiments in high school.

Charlie Sweatpants: I thought the horse thing at the beginning had some potential, but then it just dragged and dragged. And if there is one man on Earth who knows how to work a remote control properly, it is Homer Simpson.

But no, they needed to fill time so all of a sudden he doesn’t know how to change the channel?

Are you fucking kidding me?

Dave: Don’t forget the montages. They seem to be the thing to do this season.

Mad Jon: He does have the male anatomy surmised in the most efficient way possible.

It’s too bad that became a plot point.

Charlie Sweatpants: Bingo.

That a ten year old boy – any ten year old boy – doesn’t know he can pee on things is just too damned dumb.

And, as is Zombie Simpsons want, they got them into a "dangerous" situation with lots of the horns of suspense and string music of sadness, that really wasn’t the least bit dangerous.

Mad Jon: And the Mannings showed up too.

Don’t forget the Mannings

Charlie Sweatpants: And the Smothers Brothers for some reason.

Mad Jon: They even brought the disease riddled one.

And played keep away from him. I don’t know how that makes me feel…

Dave: Dirty?

Hungry?

Angry?

Mad Jon: Gassy. Definitely Gassy.

Charlie Sweatpants: The dream sequence was just awful. The one from "Bart Sells His Soul" was half as long, had twice as many jokes and was about a hundred times less forced.

Mad Jon: I forgot it was a dream sequence until one of the characters reminded me.

Charlie Sweatpants: I was sort of hoping the whole thing was a bad dream until I woke up this morning and the internet informed that it really did happen.

Mad Jon: Snappy comeback.

Charlie Sweatpants: I know we were on about this a few weeks ago when Bart was trying to make that other prankster guy a respectable citizen, but I mean, this character isn’t even Bart Simpson any more.

He’s whiny, and sad, and cares about things that a rebellious ten year old would never care about.

Trying to get Marge and Homer to have another kid? What the hell was that about?

Mad Jon: And he played ‘dress-up’ to spend some quality time with his sisters….

Dave: Whiny, sad, rebellious… like most of today’s teens?

Mad Jon: You ever do that with your sisters Charlie?

Charlie Sweatpants: Being jealous of Lisa and Maggie because they were having a fashion show? What the hell?

Mad Jon: Oooh bold type

Charlie Sweatpants: I can assure you that I never played dress up with my sisters.

Dave: Charlie just serioused.

Charlie Sweatpants: And it’s easy to do bold, all you’ve gotta do is put * around the text and gchat takes care of it for you.

Mad Jon: I know, but you so rarely do it. You’re either very passionate about the subject, or you’ve put a good dent in your daily rum ration.

Charlie Sweatpants: Can’t it be both?

Mad Jon: Something told me it was.

Charlie Sweatpants: Zombie Simpsons is always playing up this absolutely awful angle of Bart’s character where deep down he’s this sensitive kid and I cannot think of anything that makes any less sense for him, or that could be more diametrically opposed to what made him a popular character in the first place.

Mad Jon: Yeah!

Sorry, I’ve also put a dent in my rations

Charlie Sweatpants: I’d also like to point out that not only did they ape South Park openly, but South Park had an episode where Kenny tried to prevent his parents from having another kid, which not only would make more sense but was considerably funnier.

Dave: I vaguely remember that episode.

Mad Jon: Excellent episode. Not like this one, this one is shit.

I especially liked Kenny’s note to the pharmacist.

And what the hell was with Nelson’s mood swings? Does the pill do that to people?

Dave: Having never taken the pill I have no clue.

Mad Jon: I thought it helped to regulate that crap.

Charlie Sweatpants: No, it’s more along the lines of "ohhh he’s a woman now so he’s moody."

Mad Jon: Well that’s pretty lame.

Dave: LOL now he’s a chick

chicks r funny

Charlie Sweatpants: Celia in comments pointed it out first, but yeah it was dumb.

There’s a Comedy 101 failure: role reversal is supposed to be funny.

Mad Jon: yeah, but does that apply to putting a woman in the body of a 10 year old?

Charlie Sweatpants: It could. But all they did was have Nelson show up at random moments and spout cliches that "Friends" thought were hackneyed a dozen years ago.

Mad Jon: I think this is like a Comedy 091 failure. Like the one I suffered at the community college a few years back.

Charlie Sweatpants: I’ve had just about enough of your Vassar bashing young man!

Okay, I’m getting done with this one. There’s just one more thing I’d like to cover and that is the unusually rampant, even by Zombie Simpson standards, of joke recycling.

Mad Jon: Go on.

Was it the “you had me at five course” joke?

I think that one has been around a bit

Charlie Sweatpants: The tic tacs as birth control thing was the worst, but there was also the utter and massive FAIL of the school closing report (which took forever) and the useless return of the Plow King.

Mad Jon: Oh yeah, The Plow King came back. And with only 3 days ’till retirement. What a tragedy.

Dave: It was pointless fan service

Charlie Sweatpants: Plus during the orphanage scene I couldn’t help but think of when Homer went to the Bigger Brothers agency and there was the scene at the movies. Back in "Colonel Homer" Bart told Lisa the scary parts were over just as they were beginning to help get her desensitized, which is hilarious. This time the kid gets scared and Bart feels bad? Fuck off, Zombie Simpsons.

Mad Jon: The End.

14
Dec
09

Cleveland Show Strikes Back

Chalkboard - O Brother Where Bart Thou

The numbers are in and last night’s Zombie Simpsons snorefest was watched by a mere 7.11 million people.  That’s the second lowest number all year and brings the Season 21 average down to a mere 8.23 million viewers.  Adding insult to injury, an all new Cleveland Show came in at 7.68 million, which narrows Zombie Simpsons’ lead in their utterly meaningless contest to 5-3. 

This was also the last new Zombie Simpsons before the big 20th anniversary show in January, that one will have massive promotional hype, Spurlock’s special, and the release of the Season 20 DVDs to promote it.  However, right now Season 21 is more than 400,000 viewers, on average, behind Season 20 through the same time and number of episodes last year.  Even a massive number for the anniversary show probably won’t be enough to keep Season 21 from being the lowest rated season ever.  Huzzah.

Update 15 December: TV by the Numbers had their episode titles mixed up, they originally had a Zombie Simpsons re-run at 8:30 instead of The Cleveland Show.  This meant that it looked like The Cleveland Show had garnered the 7.68 in Family Guy‘s spot.  So the score is actually 6-2 and I don’t think the second MacFarlane spinoff has much of a chance of closing it.  Oh well.  Thanks to Simpsons Channel for having more patience in posting than I did.

13
Dec
09

That’s Okay Lisa, We Can’t Believe This Is Still Happening Either

“Bart has been guilty of the following atrocities: synthesizing a laxative from peas and carrots, replacing my birth control pills with tic tacs.” – Mrs. Krabappel

Well, that was unpleasant.  A few weeks ago Bart was way out of character worrying about his future.  This time he’s way out of character worrying about not having a brother.  As per usual the nonsensical storyline wasn’t nearly meaty enough to fill the allotted time so there was plenty of clock killing montages (including a star studded dream sequence that was as humorless as it was unbelievably long).  What jokes there were tended to be either ripped off or recycled from earlier episodes.  That they were done much poorer than in the original goes almost without saying.

The final word here comes from Zombie Simpsons itself.  Near the beginning, as Homer was acting even jerkier than usual, an exasperated and disbelieving Lisa simply said, “Really?”.  Really. 

13
Dec
09

Sunday Preview: “O Brother, Where Bart Thou?”

For some reason, the Manning brothers are featured in the promo pic for tonight’s episode of Zombie Simpsons, which is awkwardly titled “O Brother, Where Bart Thou?” See, there’s Peyton, Cooper, and Eli. And they’re playing catch. With a football.

If you really care, here’s a synopsis… but I think you’ll find Fake Peyton Manning’s posts on the much-loved but abandoned Newsgroper funnier.

When Homer denies Bart’s request for a baby brother, Bart makes his way to the Springfield Orphanage to find what he thinks he’s missing.

At least this is the last episode of 2009, so that’s something to look forward to.




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