Posts Tagged ‘The Princess Guide

06
Mar
15

Compare & Contrast: Lisa Goes to SNPP

Bart on the Road12

“Lisa, you’ll have a fine time at the plant with Dad.  You’ve been interested in nuclear power for years.” – Marge Simpson
“I’ve signed numerous petitions to shut down that plant!” – Lisa Simpson
“Well, there you go.” – Marge Simpson

Per Wikipedia, Take Your Daughter to Work Day started in 1993, but:

The program was officially expanded in 2003 to include boys; however, most companies that participated in the program had, since the beginning, allowed both boys and girls to participate, usually renaming it “Take Our Children to Work Day” or an equivalent.[5]

In 1996, The Simpsons invoked it as “Go To Work With Your Parents Day” so that Principal Skinner could squeeze an extra day into spring break and keep his middle seat on his flight to Hong Kong (“Custom made suits at slave labor prices”).  That sent Lisa to work with Homer, and Bart, after trying to stay home, to the DMV with Patty and Selma.  It was a quick setup to get the episode going and, befitting The Simpsons, showed how high minded, well intentioned ideas could be taken advantage of for selfish reasons.

Today it is 2015, twenty-two years since the concept was hatched and twelve since it officially changed to include both girls and boys.  Zombie Simpsons, ever the creative laggard, simply called it “Take Your Daughter to Work Day”, which is both a verbatim use of someone else’s words and inaccurate.  In another context, that might be impressive.  Here it’s just lazy.

And the problems don’t stop there.  At the plant, Lisa does basically nothing.  First we see her in the auditorium while Burns exposits a bunch of stuff we don’t see.  Then she stands in a hallway and asks Homer a couple of questions about the plant (he doesn’t know the answers).  Then they go to the cafeteria where her lunch got ruined.  This is everything she says while she’s there:

Dad, what does that do?
Who’s that guy?
Where do those pipes lead?
Is it called the cooling tower because there’s-
How many kilowatts-
How many kinds are there?
Oh, no, my almond milk leaked all over everything.  Dad, do you have anything I can eat?
[30 so so seconds of montage]
Wow, Dad, thank you.

Literally her only line that’s longer than a few words is her expositing something we’re seeing as she says it.  She doesn’t actually do anything the whole time she’s there.

SNPPBackground

Get used to this view.

In the interests of fairness to Zombie Simpsons, here is an equally context-free version of Lisa’s entire dialogue from the first time she went to work with Homer in “Bart on the Road”:

No, thanks.  Do you have any fruit?
Why are there so many burnt out ones?
Maybe we can make your job more fun.  What are those?
Well, what if we used our imaginations.
Houston, we have a problem.  Homer 13 is spinning out of control, I’m going after him!

For starters, she’s actually speaking in complete sentences.  Better yet, when she does ask questions, it’s not a series of unrelated ones, she asks about actual things we see: Homer’s contention that “purple is a fruit” and his inability to change tiny light bulbs without an assistant.  Then we get to see her actually do something, playing with Homer in the radiation suits and pretending a stapler is a radio.

Bart on the Road13

Characters doing things!  Neat.

And when you put the context back in, her visit in “Bart on the Road” shines even more.  Here are those lines with Homer back in them:

Homer: Donut?
Lisa: No, thanks.  Do you have any fruit?
Homer: This has purple stuff inside.  Purple is a fruit.  Uh, oh, this is a map of nuclear sites around the country.  As a safety inspector, I’m responsible for changing most of these light bulbs.
Lisa: Why are there so many burnt out ones?
Homer: Cause they won’t hire an assistant.

Compare that to Homer and Lisa’s first scene in “The Princess Guide”:

Lisa: Dad, what does that do?
Homer: I don’t know.
Lisa: Who’s that guy?
Homer: I don’t know.
Lisa: Where do those pipes lead?
Homer: Not sure.
Lisa: Is it called the cooling tower because there’s-
Homer: Not my department.
Lisa: How many kilowatts-
Homer: Look, sweetie, would you like to go to the cafeteria and get some ice cream?
Lisa: How many kinds are there?
Homer: Twelve.

This actually ends with a joke, so by Zombie Simpsons standards it’s pretty decent.  But look how much thinner it is than the same scene in The Simpsons.  There, Homer and Lisa have a real conversation that also happens to crack wise about how horrible a place Springfield Nuclear Power Plant really is and just how boring Homer’s job is.  Zombie Simpsons is one note schtick designed to setup a lone ice cream punchline.

From there, of course, Season 26 Lisa sits around while Homer goes off on the episode’s first montage.  (There will be more, oh, yes, there will.)  In Season 7, on the other hand, Lisa and Homer start playing astronaut in the radiation suits, which ends with Homer telling us that it’s a lot more fun with a second person.  The difference is simple: in one she’s a real character visiting her dad at the plant, in the other she’s a prop.

The mindless (yet inaccurate) repetition of Take Your Daughter to Work Day, the time killing montage, and the hacktacular dialogue never would’ve passed muster in the 1996 writers’ room.  In the 2015 one, however, they’re good to go.  Maybe they should start bringing their kids to work.

02
Mar
15

Behind Us Forever: The Princess Guide

Dumbbell Indemnity9

“I’m sorry, Homer.  It’s just, it’s been four years since my last date with a whatchacallit . . . a woman.” – Moe

Another week, another Zombie Simpsons episode.  This one starts with “Take Your Daughter to Work Day”, which means Lisa gets to go to the power plant again.  That doesn’t last long, however, as Burns suddenly needs uranium and begins negotiating with a Nigerian king (yes, you read that correctly).  In the meantime, the king’s daughter is going to be looked after by Homer.  The daughter wants to go out and see the town, but ends up inexplicably hanging around with Moe before inexplicably not hanging out with Moe.

In other words, this episode combines Sad Sack Moe with Incompetent Burns.  Also, Jon Lovitz had a line as some kind of paparazzi, and I think Bart’s only line was in the opening scene.  It’s a mess.

– Well, the couch gag was short.

– Decent headline gag on “Hurricane Consuela Stopped At U.S. Border”.

– Pretty sure they got rid of take your daughter to work day two decades ago.  Love the topical humor.

– Burns and Smithers just had a brief conversation while they were still on stage in front of everyone.

– Oh, good, a clone of Burns is being used as a background gag.

– Uh, Richard Branson is apparently Burns’ neighbor?

– We’re two minutes in and there have been about four cutaways.  This is a Family Guy-esque pace.

– Montage of lunchroom trading.

– We’re getting a huge dose of weak, incompetent Burns this week.  It’s not great.

– Now Burns is giving Homer instructions at the top of a hotel on baby sitting a Nigerian princess.  We’re five minutes in with fifteen to go.  This is gonna get weird.

– Marge is on the phone with Homer explaining what’s going on.  Love when that happens.

– First the princess wanted to go out, then she and Homer watched TV for a while, then she asked to go out again and now they’re going out.  This all happened sequentially.

– The princess is putting up with Moe.

– Moe grabbed Homer and dragged him into a back room to tell him about an e-mail scam leading to yet another cutaway, this one with bonus expository narration as Moe tells us what we’re seeing him do.

– And the princess is gone.

– Homer, Gil and Apu all ran up to Wiggum and got locked in his back seat in succession.

– The princess is back at Moe’s now.  Whatever.

– Lenny and Carl apparently bailed Homer out, and now they’re all standing around the jail.

– Moe is still hitting on the princess, then he sent her off to the fridge, then he told us he wants to close.  That was an act break.  Ugh.

– Turns out she was asleep in the back room because . . . nevermind, Moe is doing a Goodnight Moon thing that the princess saw before going back to asleep.

– Smithers just fantasized about him and Burns in Tahiti for the third time.

– The princess just woke up after sleeping in Moe’s stockroom.

– Now they’re montaging across Springfield.

– Princess: “I have a confession to make, this is my first montage”.  Oh, sweetie, it isn’t ours.  Not by a long shot.

– Homer just appeared out of the tire fire to tell Moe that the princess has to go back to the hotel and watch TV.  As a recap, at this point the princess was in the hotel, wanted to go out, got taken to Moe’s, left briefly for no reason, came back, flirted with Moe before voluntarily and unexpectedly sleeping in his stock room, then she woke up and has been in a montage.  This episode has six minutes to go.

– Alright, I’m done.  After a lengthy monologue from a pedicab guy so Moe and the princess could escape Homer, they peddled down the street and she said “Actually, I wanted to go back with him.  I don’t want to get my father mad.”  I’ll let you know if anything interesting happens the rest of the episode.

– 15:30 – Nope

– 16:00 – Still nope.

– 16:30 – Still nothing.

– 17:00 – Zilch, but lots of exposition.

– 17:30 – I’m switching to 1 minute intervals.

– 18:30 – Nothing, but the entire Simpson family teleported into Burns office for no reason.

– 19:30 – Still on.

– 20:30 – Richard Branson is back, nothing is interesting.

– 21:30 – The credits ended!

Anyway, the numbers are in and they remain terrible while not being quite as rock bottom bad as they’ve been.  Last night, just 3.97 million people wondered why they got someone to voice that princess when a cardboard cutout would’ve done fine.  That’s the 14th least watched of all time, but actually qualifies as success given that the previous two episodes were both fractions of a point away from taking the crown.  On the plus side, we probably only have seven left in Season 26.

01
Mar
15

Sunday Preview: The Princess Guide

The_Princess_Guide_promo_2

A Nigerian king comes to Springfield to finalize a deal with Mr. Burns, and Homer is assigned to keep the royal daughter out of trouble, but when he brings her to Moe’s, the barman assumes she’s related to a Nigerian prince who duped him in an email scam and plots to get back his money. However, Moe finds himself falling for her.

Does Homer still work for Burns? I don’t really watch new zombie episodes, so I don’t know what the deal is anymore.  Regardless, Homer is apparently getting yet another assignment he is dangerously unqualified for, and Moe will cry at least 4 times.  Don’t worry, there are only a few episodes left this season.

 

 




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