Posts Tagged ‘Rednecks and Broomsticks

03
Dec
09

Compare & Contrast: Car Humor

After we sat through Sunday’s “Rednecks and Broomsticks” Dave and I cleared our heads with some regular Simpsons.  We decided that we should watch a good Lisa episode to cancel out the bad one so we threw on “Lisa vs. Malibu Stacey”.  It didn’t occur to me before we picked it but both of these episodes have extended scenes with the family in the car. 

In the Zombie Simpsons scene the only thing that happens for almost a minute is the kids playing the “Bonk It” game.  It goes on and on (and on and on) and there are less than forty words of dialogue the entire time.  In fact, here they are (not counting the game):

Homer: I can’t take it anymore!
Other Dad: I can’t take it anymore!
Homer: D’oh!
Marge: Oh darn, the batteries are dead.
Bart: Not to worry, it plugs into the cigarette lighter.
Homer: Hey kids, it’s daddy’s turn!  Stomp it! Crush it! Kill it!

That’s it.  The whole scene takes almost a minute and there’s nothing else even attempting to be funny.

Rednecks and Broomsticks1
This is the entire scene on a loop, it just looks like a freeze frame.

Contrast that with the car ride home from the mall in “Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy”.  I’m not going to transcribe the whole thing, but it takes almost exactly the same amount of time as the interminable “Bonk It” scene and the following happens:

  • Homer endangers his family (and ignores his wife) by buttering a muffin he made with the EZ Bake oven he bought for his car
  • Grandpa gets nervous around Bart’s toy because his “skull is eggshell thin”
  • Grandpa accidentally launches a missile from Sgt. Thug’s Mountaintop Command Post that causes a giant off screen explosion (which Bart thinks is cool)
  • Lisa thanks Grandpa for the presents only to have him complain that they bought lousy stuff (he thinks they should’ve gotten something useful e.g. “a nice pipe organ”)
  • Grandpa then goes on one of his awesomely bizarre rants and mentions: things smelling like mustard, all the ugly people he sees, his glaucoma, and the fact that the the President is a “Demi-crat”
  • After the family cold-heartedly abandons their elderly relative in a car he gets stuck because he can’t unbuckle his seatbelt.

All of the above was done in the same amount of time that Zombie Simpsons did “Bonk It”.  This is why Zombie Simpsons is thinner than Dickensian gruel.  Where once they were thinking “How many jokes can we cram in?”, now it’s “How much longer can we stretch this?” 

02
Dec
09

Synergy Lashes Out

American Wiccan

Image used under Creative Commons license from Flickr user Robotskirts.

“Let’s come to our senses everyone, this witch hunt is turning into a circus.” – Goody Simpson

Once again setting aside the ridiculously high number (6.1), this is now the third week in a row that IGN’s Simpsons review has been downright harsh.  Not only did they think Cletus was overused, but they hated on the Wiccan storyline almost without exception.  There’s no doubt in my mind that this isn’t going to be a permanent trend, but it still makes my job easier and as a profoundly lazy person I appreciate that.  I scrubbed out what synergy I did find, but there wasn’t all that much. 

Enjoy.

November 30, 2009 – "Rednecks and Broomsticks" started out with potential one of the longest and most pointless scenes ever, but that was lost after the first eight minutes or so only a taste of what was to come. What was left was a Lisa-heavy episode about Wiccans with a smidge of Homer and moonshine thrown in. Though there were some was one standout moments, the episode as a whole was lacking.

The most fun to be had came early on. Leaving "The Snowed Inn" early to beat the traffic after a ski weekend, the Simpson family ran into traffic anyway. This led to a an endlessly repetitive but funny bit with the kids playing "Bonk It!" the world’s most annoying game. After a number a funny gags it went on much too long, Homer smashes the game with his foot, causing some of the bits to get lodged under the brake pedal. This turned into the Simpson car careening off the road, sliding across a frozen lake, hitting Bambi (Yes!) and launching the fawn into the next county. Had I been drinking something, it would have come shooting out of my mouth in a spit take when I saw that last, very funny visual.

Everybody’s favorite slack-jawed yokel, Cletus, saved the entire family from sinking into the frozen lake. To help kill time the The episode then gave off a Deliverance vibe, or at the very least, something along the lines of Misery. But instead of taking that direction, which would’ve made what they were doing consistent, the tale took a much friendlier turn. Cletus invited Homer to partake in some moonshine with the locals, while the kids played grenade snowman bowling and hide-and-seek, instead of, you know, leaving.  Homer’s expertise with the moonshine ("It’s got a rich mash base, and a sense of danger.") included a Sideways referencing montage that was entertaining also killed time, even without having seen all of Sideways. But the hillbilly jokes could only go so far. I love Cletus in the small, quick bits that made him famous, but feel whenever he gets extended screen time, the jokes work less and less.

Meanwhile, the game of hide-and-seek resulted in Lisa getting lost in the woods at night, for some reason. It’s here she stumbles across a Wiccan ceremony being performed by three never-before-seen teen girls. Lisa was frightened at first, but began to considered joining the group after they apparently caused Mrs. Ms. Hoover* to get sick, helping Lisa get out of doing her pipe cleaner art project, which for some other reason she had not done. The Wiccan storyline as a whole was almost entirely laugh free. Plus it’s vampires that are all the rage now. Witches are so 1996.

The last half of the episode had the three girls arrested and put on trial, twice (apparently once didn’t eat enough clock). Per Kent Brockman, this would be Springfield’s "first witch trial in 12 years." One of the girls — Stacy Deathsatan, I think — was voiced by Neve Campbell. Get it? She was in The Craft, and now, 13 years later, she has the free time to do underwhelming voice work for an established primetime animated series. There was no logic put forth for arresting the girls; it just seemed to happen to have it happen.

The episode did get a little more clever a bare minimum of coherent storytelling as it tied in the moonshine storyline with the witches causing half the town to go blind. Turns out it was the moonshine spilled into the drinking water that was the actual culprit. In the end, for all the small bits the worked — Moleman operating on himself, Moe and the angry mob — "Rednecks and Broomsticks" was just too bland to be worthwhile.

*This is the second time since I’ve been doing these that IGN has identified Miss Hoover as Mrs. Hoover.  I know that might seem minor, but half of her character is that she’s single and doesn’t want to be. 

01
Dec
09

Crazy Noises: Rednecks and Broomsticks

Homer Goes to College4

“Marge, they don’t have anywhere to stay. And they’re geniuses! They’ll solve all our problems, they’ll elevate us to the status of kings on Earth!” – Homer Simpson
“Mr. Simpson we all have nose bleeds.” – Black Nerd

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 “dialogue”).

Once upon a time there was a Simpsons episode titled “Homer Goes to College”. In it Homer had a reason for going to college, went to college, met three nerds and hilarity ensued. The nerds three, though only one of them even had a name, were given plenty of screen time to run amok in their nerdy way as the kind of unabashed self-parodying stereotypes for which The Simpsons justly became famous. The nerds discussed Star Trek on-line, had a rock tumbler, got nose bleeds, and thought about correcting for wind resistance when trying to save an adult male from being hit by a speeding car. They did stuff.

On Sunday Zombie Simpsons had an episode with three Wiccans that Lisa met for no particular reason. Despite being introduced fairly early in the episode they were given almost no screen time. What time they did get was spent on dialogue comprised of them explaining themselves and jokeless exposition used to move the story along. They didn’t do anything but stand there and wait for stuff to happen to them. They weren’t characters; they were props (and poorly used ones at that).

Charlie Sweatpants: Shall we get started?

Dave: More Bambi killing, less of everything else

Mad Jon: Did anyone get the feeling that episode started as a cut scene from the movie?

Charlie Sweatpants: Not really, but I see where you’re coming from on that.

Other than the frozen lake there really wasn’t any need for it to be winter, but it did give it a bit of an "Alaska" feel.

Mad Jon: Yeah, I more or less got that feeling as they were driving and had to be saved by Cletus.

  Wow, they are really going out of there way to ruin all the best one-line characters.

Dave: I didn’t expect the Cletus/Homer thing so soon, nor did I expect it to be more substantial than that Wiccan bullshit

  Not that any of that matters, it was still boring and sucked balls

Mad Jon: It was pretty bad. How much do you think FOX gets for each scene with an iPod?

Charlie Sweatpants: I’ll give them this, last week when they had Bart caring a ton about his future they just did it. Here they did give Lisa a single line about still being a skeptic before dropping that aspect of her character completely.

Mad Jon: Well, that was one of the deals with the Wicca chicks.

Charlie Sweatpants: Also, what was with the pipe cleaner project and weird scene where Miss Hoover wasn’t there?

I mean, why the hell was that old woman screaming about "which craft"?

  They eventually explain away the poisoned water (which I called about ten minutes before it happened, by the way) but that was just bizarre.

Mad Jon: The Lisa plot had about as much of a lead-in as Carlin’s stand-up. But they aren’t George Carlin, they haven’t earned what he’s earned!

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah that’s just it, this one actually kinda almost had a coherent story, but it wasn’t enough to even begin to fill out 22 minutes of screen time.

  I went back and timed that thing with the toy in the car from the beginning, it takes a full minute.

Mad Jon: I see you went out of your way to make ‘kinda almost’ in bold.

  That’s pretty bad. Do they actually have toys like that?

Dave: That’s almost a reversal of our screening last night, which was punctuated with "what the fucks" and "this is taking too long"

Charlie Sweatpants: I don’t think it matter whether or not the toy is based on a real thing, it was still a full minute of screen time that had almost no dialogue and no jokes.

Mad Jon: I can hear Charlie’s high-pitched anger right now…

  No, I know it doesn’t matter, I was just curious.

That was were my movie Deja-vu started.

Charlie Sweatpants: When I went back and thought on it though the time killing got even worse because when you think about it they had three ripe for the plucking new characters and they barely used them.

Bart’s little monologue about the stages a woman goes through before she becomes a Wiccan could’ve been funny. You’ve got three Wiccans right there, show it to us with them!

  Nah. Not our style, we’ll just have Bart monologue for a while.

Mad Jon: Yeah, that could of gone better, I thought it had some potential.

Dave: That’s what I said last night; making fun of Wiccans is like shooting fish in a barrel, but they couldn’t be bothered

Mad Jon: It is. It really is.

Charlie Sweatpants: While I’m going down my mental list of things that sucked here, what the hell was up with Moe?

Mad Jon: Oh Jesus, I almost forgot about that.

Dave: Uh yeah, the whole wanting to be raped bit was awful

Charlie Sweatpants: He had two scenes, the first time he begs to get raped by Cletus; and then he’s happy when he’s being chased by the mob . . . what the fuck?

Mad Jon: I think I was trying to create a mental block there.. Seriously what the fuck was the rape fantasy about.

Dave: Rape fantasies are the new suicide attempts

Mad Jon: That’s unfortunate for so many reasons.

Charlie Sweatpants: Indeed.

Did anyone else notice that there were eight headings on "Wiccapedia" and only two of them were jokes?

Dave: Negative

Mad Jon: I just assumed they were all actually what they were supposed to be

Charlie Sweatpants: Again, it’s the missed comedy opportunities left and right when they spend so much time killing time that really made this one awful.

Mad Jon: Good point. But that would reek of effort,

The suckiest thing about the most recent few episodes is that They are just dead weight. I can’t even spend any serious time pissing on them

Dave: I think it’s worth noting that basically all the witchcraft comments/threats were regurgitated from the ToH segment

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, it’s not like they’re trying to cover a lot of new ground.

Mad Jon: No, but there isn’t any need to backtrack and burn the bridges down.

Its just boring time filling and unfunny sight "gags" followed by the desecration of classic one line characters and they almost always end with a fucked up musical bit

Dave: I think that was the point I was trying to make

Charlie Sweatpants: Like the whole dunking chair thing and then Lisa figure skating?

Dave: Whether or not they were covering new ground, it’s just fucking lazy writing

Mad Jon: What the fuck was that? Was it a parody of something? Am I that out of touch?

Why not just draw a bunch of Simpson characters standing around blinking. That’s it, just standing around blinking. At least I would know where they stand. None of this trying to try crap;

Charlie Sweatpants: I don’t think so, I stand by the title of the recap post we put up yesterday, I think this episode came in massively short of 22 minutes and they just padded the margins like crazy.

Mad Jon: Ugh, I need to vomit and shower.

Charlie Sweatpants: I guess that means we’re done.

  And none too soon.

Mad Jon: I got nothing else.

Dave: Yeah, agreed.

Charlie Sweatpants: Vomiting and showers for everyone!

30
Nov
09

People Like Witches (Sort of)

Chalkboard - Rednecks and Boomsticks

The numbers are in and last night’s gruel-thin effort at witch humor managed to entice 8.99 million viewers.  That’s the third highest all year and brings the Season 21 average up to 8.39 million.  In addition to that small triumph, Zombie Simpsons not only managed to out draw The Cleveland Show (giving it a commanding 5-2 lead in their increasingly lopsided ratings duel), but also beat Family Guy by more than half a million viewers.  That’s the first time in a long time a first run Zombie Simpsons has done that.  Oh well.

29
Nov
09

“We’re 13 minutes short, does anyone have any ideas on how to make this longer?”

Let’s start with the good stuff.  Dave and I both laughed when the car hit Bambi.  That was funny.  Um, then there was the “nipple slip hotline” on Flanders’ speed dial, that was . . . okay.  The rest of the episode was so thin on ideas and humor as to be transparent.  Clock eating, comedy free sequences include:

  • Long ass traffic scene at the beginning
  • The “suspense” sequences surrounding the witches
  • The “Sideways” moonshine/wine-tasting montage
  • The pointless, yet exposition heavy, trial in the courtroom
  • Moe’s two bizarre scenes, especially the mob one that pushed this tired thing over the finish line

Classic Simpsons could’ve crammed every one of tonight’s plot points into about a five minute B-story (plus it probably would’ve had, you know, jokes). 

There is one other thing that bears mentioning.  I don’t know if it was a national spot or just on the local affiliate, but there was an honest to Jebus detergent commercial.  A woman in a hospital bed sees an astonishingly handsome doctor (bathed in angelic light) who tells her about the benefits of some liquid detergent.  At first I thought it was one of those ads that takes a well worn stereotype and uses it for another purpose.  Nope, straight up detergent ad.  If there’s one thing that marks formulaic, crappy television it’s ads that are usually broadcast during daytime soap operas. 

29
Nov
09

Sunday Preview: “Rednecks and Broomsticks”

Another Sunday is upon us, which of course means there’s a new episode of Zombie Simpsons waiting in the wings to ruin our evening. There’s no promo picture for me to bloody up, but there is a description (courtesy of Simpsons Channel) that we can all point and laugh at:

Just as Lisa is about to become involved with a group of practicing Wiccans, they get arrested for witchcraft and Lisa becomes the star witness in their trial.

Right, because we’re all looking forward to what sounds like a 22-minute ToH segment gone bad. I’m also quite certain that making fun of Wiccans stopped being relevant or enjoyable years ago. Androgynous teenage vampires are the new Wiccans, idiots. But wait, there’s more! Here’s the B-plot from SNPP:

Homer becomes friends with Cletus when he discovers Cletus and his friends make their own moonshine.

Why do Homer and Cletus need to be friends? Their relationship is best summed up in “Home Sweet Home-Diddily-Dum-Doodily” and anything further is both a flagrant lie and superfluous. But this is Zombie Simpsons, so I should stop asking questions and just accept that our favorite characters are now soulless proxies for a peculiar brand of un-humor.

By the way, now would be a good time to start drinking yourselves into lucidity in advance of tonight’s clusterfuck. Whiskey counts as beer if it’s a boilermaker.




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