Posts Tagged ‘The Bob Next Door


Crazy Noises: The Bob Next Door

 New Kid on the Block3

“Set sail for the Frying Dutchman!” – Captain McAllister
“Aye-aye, captain!” – Homer 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  “camouflaged”).

The above quote and image have almost nothing to do with the discussion below.  I just wanted to put it next to this:

Dumb Sign

And, of course, I could’ve also put it next to Gulp-n-Blow, the Buzzing Sign Diner, the Who’s To Know Motel, or any of the other funny and clever establishment names the The Simpsons came up with when it was still on the air.  The low give-a-shit level is one of the few constants of Zombie Simpsons, and it shines through in every single episode.

Mad Jon: Let’s do this so I can kill the taste with beer and Halo.

Charlie Sweatpants: Can I point something horrible out?

Mad Jon: You sure can

Charlie Sweatpants: "I’m the real Walt Warren", was I the only one who got a massive flashback to perhaps the most famous Zombie Simpsons moment ever, the Armin Tamzarian reveal?

Mad Jon: Every moment of that episode was a direct ripoff of another episode.

It wasn’t even camouflaged

Charlie Sweatpants: Of all the horrible plot twists and stupidities you’d think they’d never bring back . . .

Dave: I’ve long since repressed Armin Tamzarian, but I see your point

Charlie Sweatpants: Half of this episode was recycled.

Mad Jon: I would say more than that.

Charlie Sweatpants: That was just the one part that was recycled from a shitty episode.

Dave: Recycled, repurposed, and incredibly dull.

Mad Jon: Everything from the Flanders family to the five corners to the feet revelation and everything in between was already done.


Mad Jon: They had the gall to mention the writer’s creativity.

Charlie Sweatpants: When did they do that?

Mad Jon: There was a joke that made reference to crushing creativity that made me choke, but I think I have blocked out the actual quote…

Charlie Sweatpants: I’ll take your word for it, verifying it would mean watching this again and that would retard my efforts to forget it completely.

Mad Jon: You’re better off not trying to figure it out.

Charlie Sweatpants: I agree completely. I’m also not going to try to figure out how they thought the face coming off thing was funny twice.

Mad Jon: The only thing that made me crack a smile other than the occasional thought of suicide was the joke in the beginning about another family moving to Detroit.

And when did Ruth Powers move?

Charlie Sweatpants: Enh.

  Got me, but since when would that matter anyway?

Mad Jon: I guess it doesn’t.

Charlie Sweatpants: Dave, did you laugh at anything?

Mad Jon: But my point remains as valid as any other point I would make about this or any Zombiesode.

Dave: Nah…

Charlie Sweatpants: Good man.

Mad Jon: I also didn’t say that I laughed. Only that I cracked a smile.

It wasn’t that funny, just less painful.

Charlie Sweatpants: Fair enough.

Dave: I did squirm a bit.

Charlie Sweatpants: Or, should I say, "cheerfully withdrawn"?


Mad Jon: I don’t understand how Bob had figured out he could kill Bart at the 5 corners and escape justice. I think he tried to explain it, but my public school education may not have covered interstate murder laws…

Charlie Sweatpants: But he explained it twice, then he acted it out when getting arrested.

Mad Jon: Hmmm…

Charlie Sweatpants: It didn’t make any sense and wasn’t suspenseful, but they played it straight and acted like it was.

  Then he gets arrested and they walk across all the lines.

Mad Jon: Ah, closure.

Dave: And then it goes on for a few minutes.

Charlie Sweatpants: You can’t have it both ways, you’ve got to pick one.

You can be zany, you can be straight, but you can’t be both, and especially not in the same scene.

Dave: And then Bob’s back in prison and Bart’s free until next season.

Mad Jon: Also, was anyone grossed out by all the face surgery and removal?

Dave: Yes Jon. That’s when I squirmed.

  Even animated it was kind of gross.

Mad Jon: It was pretty bad.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, lip-less teeth always look kinda freaky, but what gets me more is that they thought it would be funny several times.

You want to do something for shock value? Fine. It’s not really the "Simpsons" way, but fine. But you can’t do shock value on the same thing four times.

By the time "Walt" got his thread pulled, I mean, why even bother?

  At that point aren’t you better off with a head fake? Having it really be a loose thread on his collar?

Mad Jon: I don’t think "reason" made it to the white board during the initial brain storm session.

Charlie Sweatpants: I ought to be numb to it by now, but the complete lack of creativity still surprises me.

Mad Jon: This was even more completely lacking though, EVERY single thing done in this episode was a repeat or at the very least repeatish.

This could have been done by a computer that was turned on by a monkey missing one paw.

Charlie Sweatpants: But what if he has to reboot? Can he hit Ctrl-Alt-Del with only the one paw?

Mad Jon: He has a tail you know. He is just lazy and doesn’t want it to come to that.

Charlie Sweatpants: Any other low points we ought to discuss?

Mad Jon: The opening couch scene, did homer really have to ask Harold to draw the beer? You think that would have been automatic.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, it did take forever, so at least it was consistent.

Mad Jon: True that.

Dave: Yep. I was just going to say it was a time suck.

Charlie Sweatpants: Everything in this episode was a time suck, even the recycled stuff.

  The Gilbert & Sullivan with Bart & Milhouse went on forever.

Mad Jon: As did the taco translation scene.

Charlie Sweatpants: Oh man, was that ever a reach.

It was like "Who’s On First" except that the word only had one meaning.

Mad Jon: Excellent analogy.

Dave: So million dollar question

Mad Jon: oh god what.

Charlie Sweatpants: Cash or check?

Dave: When we see Bob next season, will he have his face or Walt’s?

Charlie Sweatpants: That ain’t worth $3.50. Of course not.

Mad Jon: Three fiddy

Charlie Sweatpants: True.

If they’re really feeling conscientious they might mention it, but other than that, no.

Mad Jon: ugh, they even used Bob’s foot size to pin him down as the actual bad guy.

Dave: But we’re all sort of tacitly agreeing that there will be another Bob episode, and that it’ll likely dig a deeper hole. I’m happy with that.

Charlie Sweatpants: I’m happy that we’re in agreement, I’m not happy that it’s going to happen.

Mad Jon: Assuming Kelsey Grammer is still living… Well I guess even that doesn’t stop the Zombie writers now does it…

Charlie Sweatpants: Hasn’t yet.


Synergy Develops Stockholm Syndrome

The Simpsons Spin-off Showcase1

“Ahh, the boy is fine, so far.  I taught him to play the spoons.” – Charles “Big” Daddy

I think IGN is beginning to yearn for the freedom of summer.  This week’s corporate fanboy rant is really a stunner, even by their standards.  It’s not just high praise, it’s a justification, a plea that yes, Zombie Simpsons is indeed good.  Most of these reviews eagerly lap up whatever Zombie Simpsons left on the rug, but this wants to argue that it’s a good thing to shit on said rug:

A lot of the best moments from "The Bob Next Door" came from our familiarity with the character, his love of operettas being just one.

For IGN, it’s not enough to say that all the drawn out and recycled jokes were great, it’s that the very act of drawing out and recycling jokes makes them great.

Anyway, I had to do some serious synergy exorcising on this one, but I think I got it all.  Enjoy.

Now this is the Bob we’ve know and love come to expect. His last two major appearances, 2005’s "The Italian Bob" and 2007’s "Funeral for a Fiend" did not live up to the standard set by so many other great Sideshow Bob episodes. "The Bob Next Door" was a funny obliterated those standards in a black hole of suck that proves that this show will never return to form and that proved there’s still a lot to enjoy when new ways for The Simpsons Zombie Simpsons to pit exploit the once awesome idea of Bob and Bart against each other.

The episode, of course, didn’t come right out at the beginning and make it all about Bob advertise just how bottom dredgingly awful it would be. The majority of the first act gave us the Simpson typically lifeless Zombie Simpson spin on the current economic crisis. Like many local governments, Springfield was in major financial difficulty. Homer’s vision of Mayor Quimby’s "cooked books" and "fudge numbers" was the best misrepresentation of what he heard since kind of drawn out, clock eating “joke” that’s replaced quick lines like his take on Mr. Burns’ "open-faced club, a sand wedge" request. Other references also brought laughs reeked of runtime desperation, including Krusty Burger taking up where the city’s road kill pick-up left off, and folks leaving Springfield to find a better life in Detroit. And then Iceland blamed Homer for their financial collapse; this too made no sense, involved pointless exposition and took much too long. "At least we’ll always have Beowulf." "That’s not us." "No! No!"

The situation only got better managed to get worse when Bob arrived. Or was it Bob? A new neighbor moved in next door to the Simpsons and everyone was smitten except for Bart and the audience. He We recognized the man’s voice as the one and only Sideshow Bob. I thought Homer and Marge rationalizing the familiar voice was a fun shout out to Kelsey Grammer pathetic attempt to cover up for such a terribly weak set up: "A lot of people sound like Sideshow Bob. Like Frasier on Cheers." "Or Frasier on Frasier." "Or Lieutenant Commander Tom Dodge in Down Periscope." Bart’s attempts to catch Bob in his lie were fun pointless and clock eating, especially the Gilbert and Sullivan bit. A lot of the best most blatantly recycled moments from "The Bob Next Door" came from our familiarity with the character, his love of operettas being just one.

One of the many, many factors that made the last two Bob episodes such letdowns was that Bob’s plan (or lack thereof) to kill Bart was very weak. This was not very much the case with Sunday night’s episode. Bob’s plan was incredibly elaborate, and that wasn’t a good thing since the episode felt the need to spell everything out in painfully unfunny exposition, starting with trading faces with his soon to be released cellmate: "Why do you keep measuring my face?" Everything about the face transplant operation and then the faces later coming off was a treat treated as suspenseful, clever, and funny when it was anything but. Once he had attained Bart, Bob’s plan to commit the crime at Five Corners, shooting the gun in one state, hitting him in another and Bart dying in yet another was evil genius pointlessly elaborate and needlessly exposited over and over again. A bonus appearance by Bob’s other arch-nemesis, the rake, was also fun another awkward reminder of when this show was creative. The only let downs continued with was Bart’s counter plan. A simple phone call to the police, needlessly exposited like everything else, wasn’t nearly as fun as the many other ways Bart has foiled one of Bob’s plots.

Overall, this was a great return to form for an total waste of an appearance from Sideshow Bob. The vengeful character has been let down by recent episodes, but "The Bob Next Door" has reminded us what makes Bob so much fun just how exquisitely terrible this show can be.


Well, At Least They Didn’t Make a “Face”book Joke

Chalkboard - The Bob Next Door

“I really wish they wouldn’t scream.” – Itchy & Scratchy Land Technician

There’s not much to be said about an episode that spent most of its time expositing its many loopy story conceits.  Of course, in between bouts of joke free exposition there were any number of recycled premises, sloppy scene staging, and all of the rest of the usual problems.  Four year olds who have to pee very badly can tell a funnier and more coherent story than this.  Happily, there’s only one episode left before we’re free for the summer.

The numbers are in and though they remain atrociously low they still represent an improvement.  6.26 million people remembered why they never bought Face/Off on DVD, even from the $3 bargain bin.  That’s the highest number since the 20th anniversary special and it’s still lower than all but a handful of Season 20 episodes.  I’ve run out of creative ways to say the same thing: Season 21 would easily be the least watched season were it not for the 20th anniversary stuff.  This week’s numbers fit right into that pattern. 


Sunday Preview: “The Bob Next Door”

While Charlie tends to his liver this morning, I have the pleasure of bringing you another Sunday Preview. Tonight’s Zombie Simpsons seems like a routine Sideshow Bob episode, except that we all know these types of episodes stopped being funny after “Brother From Another Series.” This latest installment is called “The Bob Next Door” and SNPP tells us that

Bart is so convinced that the new next-door neighbor is Sideshow Bob that Marge takes Bart to the prison to prove that Bob is still there.

Again, nothing remarkably vile. One does have to admire the writers’ gall, however, in wringing the Bart/Sideshow Bob relationship dry, especially when they haven’t been able to add anything new to the mix in years. Then again, that’s been the overriding will of the show for over a decade now. In other words, move right along, nothing to see here.

(Thanks to Simpsons Channel for giving us the promo pic to defile.)


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