Posts Tagged ‘The Fool Monty


Crazy Noises: The Fool Monty

Simpsons Movie Pie Chart

In our ongoing mission to bring you only the shallowest and laziest analysis of Zombie Simpsons, we’re keeping up our Crazy Noises series for Season 22.  Since a podcast is so 2004, and video would require a flag, a fern and some folding chairs from the garage, we’ve elected to use the technology that brought the word “emoticon” to the masses: the chatroom.  Star Trek image macros are strictly forbidden, unless you have a really good reason why Captain Picard is better than Captain Kirk.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on  “dickey”).

I’ve linked the above graph before, and I couldn’t help but think of it when “The Fool Monty” did that rather half assed dome reference toward its ass end.  That graph neatly sums up the general opinion on the movie, and if anything the SpiderPig slice is too small.  What I especially like about this is that it exposes the movie for the cheap, forgettable ninety minutes that it was.  

One of the hallmarks of paint-by-number, chum bucket studio comedies is when they have just one or two decent jokes (which are often flogged to an early death in the trailers).  In this case, it was a single iteration of a pig that had three of them, and only that because of the song that accompanied it.  If Harry Potter had a catchy 60s cartoon theme they could’ve played off, that graph would read differently. 

But that isn’t what Zombie Simpsons brought back in their little meta-joke about how little sense the movie made.  They brought back the dome that no one cared about, and then they tried to play it as though they were sending themselves up.  The cultural ignorance that displays is impressive in some way and unintentionally funny in another, but neither does them any credit. 

On account of Thanksgiving we were a man short again, though this time it was Mad Jon.  In the spirit of being thankful, I assume that he is. 

Charlie Sweatpants: Well then, let’s get this over with quickly, shall we?

Dave: Please, let’s.

Charlie Sweatpants: On a scale of one to the largest prime number yet discovered, what the hell was that?

Dave: That was maybe a -8.

  I err on the side of caution lest I seem biased or anything.

Charlie Sweatpants: I don’t think there’s any way to be objective about that thing. They took perhaps the easiest character to write for in the entire list of characters, made him act pathetic, then brainwashed him into some kind of plaything, then they made him pathetic again.

Dave: Yeah the plaything bit was borderline demented, even by ZS standards.

  A, it’s implausible. B, it went on for what seemed like 4/5ths of the episode.

  So I suppose that’s actually par for course, who am I kidding?

Charlie Sweatpants: Burns isn’t off the hook either, though. Even when he was still himself he wasn’t actually himself.

Since when would C.M. Burns, a man who’s cheated death countless times and once, when he faced death, responded by kidnapping a child so that his evil would live on, when would that man kill himself?

Sorry, I’ll stop ranting. It’s just that the suicide thing really pissed me off. And then it didn’t end. It went on for like thirty seconds.

Okay, now I’ll stop ranting.

Dave: No, you’re right though. They ran with the essential bits of Burns but left out the irrevocably evil and selfish part

  Which, you know, is kind of the point of Burns.

Charlie Sweatpants: Pretty much. On slightly (very slightly) less dismal ground, the B-plot, while timid and about five years too late, had one or two things that were okay.

Dave: Go on.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, the Dick Cheney business card that said "architect of America’s downfall" and the joke about stacking naked men (which are right next to each other) were decent.

Dave: I actually thought the Fox news chopper was timely.

Charlie Sweatpants: I enjoyed the opening. As usual it was a little off, but the whole yelling at NBC joke was pretty good (though it didn’t need repeating).

The same with the FOX chopper joke. "Not Racist, But #1 With Racists" was good. But then there was that really strained "fair" and "balanced" joke.

Dave: Yep, they couldn’t leave well enough alone.

Charlie Sweatpants: The whole scene had those problems. Things just went on a bit too long here and there. Still, it was easily the best thing so far this season. That isn’t saying much, but it’s there.

Dave: Word.

Charlie Sweatpants: It was also better than the Cheney thing, to get back there for a second. Like I said, I liked the card and the torture joke, but then when they actually got to him it was pretty much a let down. His evil was about as lame as Burns in this episode.

Dave: Again, my point earlier stands, they couldn’t really leave well enough alone.

Charlie Sweatpants: Agreed with that.

Dave: The whole Smithers needing purpose thing has been done before and better.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, this wasn’t repeating things so much as it was just really soft and lame.

  But a few enjoyable pokes at our dark overlords aren’t enough to make up for the rest of the episode.

Dave: Right.

Charlie Sweatpants: And I don’t think they realize that twice going meta on yourself (once for Homer’s limited imagination, the other for the worthless return of the dome) stopped working for them fourteen seasons ago with Roy.

Dave: Jesus. Fourteen.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah.

Dave: I mean, it’s not like that’s a revelation or anything.

  But it’s not often that I think about how much time has actually passed.

Charlie Sweatpants: It’s not so much the time as it is the change in culture. When they did it in Season 8 the general feeling about the show wasn’t that it was over the hill. Now, in lightly making fun of themselves, they make themselves look stodgy. Like Krusty with the flapping dickey.

In other words, when they bring the dome back (in a stretch for that Stephen King joke), it’s not like people loved the dome and they’re saying something counter-cultural. They’re just referencing themselves with the kind of gentle dead weight humor you hear at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner.

  It’s obligated humor, which makes it dull.

Dave: I wish I had something to add to that, but I don’t, and you’re absolutely right.

Charlie Sweatpants: Anything else? I want to go watch good cartoons.

Dave: You should, because that’s what I’m about to do


Compare & Contrast: Burns Hosts a Party

“This party is over.” – C.M. Burns

Over the years, Zombie Simpsons has gutted a lot of the great characters bequeathed to it by The Simpsons.  Moe went from being a bitter bartender running various criminal side businesses to a perpetually lovesick wet blanket.  Chief Wiggum used to be a gleefully corrupt and incompetent police chief, now he’s their go-to guy when they want a fat and/or stupid joke and Homer’s already in use.  I’m not even sure Patty and Selma are on the show anymore.  The less said about what happened to Lenny and Carl the better. 

Burns hasn’t been immune to these sad developments.  The arrogance, greed and “unbelievable contempt for human life” that used to animate him are all but gone, replaced by bumbling incompetence and a frequent need to impress the people he once considered beneath him.  In “The Fool Monty” we can see both of those sad and unfunny traits on full display, and in a situation very similar to one in which the real Burns took a very different course of action. 

In “The Fool Monty”, Burns was sad and hosted a party.  At that party his guests displeased him and he wasn’t having a good time.  In response, he sulked off to his bedroom like some kind of spoiled child and lamented that he had no friends. 


Nobody respects tyrants who sulk.

In Season 5’s Machiavellian masterpiece “Rosebud”, Burns was sad and hosted a party.  At that party his guests displeased him and he wasn’t having a good time.  In response, he ordered a band that wasn’t present killed and brought in hired goons in full riot gear to beat the troublesome partygoers, even though most of them had done nothing to him. 


The real Mr. Burns would never be driven from a room by the peasantry. 

Things like this are why even when Zombie Simpsons does something semi-decent, like it’s media conspiracy opening, everything rapidly falls apart.  None of the characters still possess the traits that made them so funny in the first place.  Burns has become a wuss, and an incompetent one at that.  It wasn’t just the sulking in his room after – horror of horrors – people were mean to him.  He let himself get skyjacked by a fourth grader.  He failed to kill himself (or take anyone with him).  He fell for the media scare of cat flu (or whatever it was). 

Those are not the actions of an evil tyrant, at least, not an evil tyrant this side of Saturday morning kids cartoons.  Zombie Simpsons has discarded the funniest characteristics of Burns and many others in favor of whatever they need for a given scene.  The result is lifeless characters, stories that can’t go anywhere, and gruel-thin, one-dimensional comedy. 


All Downhill

Chalkboard - The Fool Monty

“Gimme your fortune or I’ll pound your withered old face in!” – Nelson Muntz
“Oh, I like his energy.  Put him on the callback list.” – C.M. Burns

Once the overwrought couch gag finally ended, and I think it may have been longer than Avatar itself, Zombie Simpsons had a secret media conspiracy inside the Statue of Liberty.  To my astonishment, it was actually funny.  To no astonishment whatsoever, the rest of the episode was not.  Even by the filler-rific standards of Zombie Simpsons, the last, oh, seventeen minutes or so of this episode were filler-rific.  Burns’ odd suicide alone took nearly a minute, and that was before the usual round of poorly executed slapstick, long form exposition, and about three different endings, each one longer than the last. 

The numbers are in and they are worse than ever.  Last night’s self referential crapfest was suffered through by a mere 6.63 million viewers.  That’s half a million people lower than any fall episode from last year and the second lowest fall number ever.  That record, 6.19 million viewers, is held by Season 20’s “The Burns and the Bees”, and I have great hope it will not hold that title much longer.  There is only one Sunday left in November, and Zombie Simpsons typically only has one or two new episodes in December before going dark for the oddball weeks around Christmas and New Year’s, so there are two or three chances. 

Last week’s number, by the way, was revised down from 8.97 million to 8.83 million.  Through six episodes, Season 22 is averaging a mere 7.79 million viewers.  The first six episodes of Season 20 averaged 9.19 million, and Season 21’s number was 8.29 million.  Notice a trend?  I sure do. 


Sunday Preview: “The Fool Monty”

Sweet baby Jesus, Zombie Simpsons are at it again this week with another spiritual rehash of an old episode.   Tonight, Lisa takes an interest in curmudgeonly old Burns, only to realize that he’s incapable of being changed. Sounds familiar, right?  It’s basically the plot of Season 8’s “The Old Man and the Lisa,” and I harbor doubts that “The Fool Monty” can outshine its predecessor.  If you’re still curious, here’s the actual rundown from Simpsons Channel:

After learning that he is suffering from multiple illnesses and has only a few weeks to live, Mr. Burns becomes distraught by the town’s less-than-sensitive reaction to his announcement. Following an unexpected turn of events, Bart finds Mr. Burns weak and vulnerable in the wilderness and secretly takes him into the Simpsons’ home. But when Homer and Marge learn about their new houseguest, they decide it’s payback time, and Lisa, determined to stand up for Mr. Burns, learns that old habits die hard.

The Season 22 suckfest continues unabated.  Stay tuned for our usual ratings report and Crazy Noises later this week.


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