Posts Tagged ‘Them Robot

21
Mar
12

Compare & Contrast: Hostile Robots

Itchy and Scratchy Land9

“Wow, this is so much like my dreams, it’s scary.” – Bart Simpson

The robot apocalypse has been a staple of fiction literally since “robots” were first imagined.  According to Wikipedia, the word “robot” was first coined for a Czech play about robots who, you guessed it, rise up and defeat us squishy humans.  (Apparently, it’s a translation of the Czech word for “slave”.  I learned something today.)  That idea has been the foundation for who knows how many works of fiction, and has so thoroughly penetrated mainstream culture that making jokes about it is more or less obligatory every time some new advance in actual electronics is announced.

Most stories about robot uprisings occur in the realm of science fiction for the obvious reason that, as Linda Hamilton so eloquently put it back in 1984, “They cannot make things like that yet.”.  Indeed, they cannot.  This presents a problem for shows like The Simpsons and Zombie Simpsons, which have contemporary settings but still want to have some fun at the expense of our would be overlords.

Since this is fiction (and animated fiction at that), no problem is really insoluble.  Whether you’re broadcasting in 1994 or 2012, if you want to have rebelling robots, you can have rebelling robots.  The important question is how you go about it.  You can work the robots into the larger framework of the episode, making them and their characteristics part of the setting and satire.  Or you can just conjure them out of nowhere, strip them of all characteristics save the most grossly basic outline of a “robot”, and have them traipse around with no discernable rhyme or reason.  The former is what The Simpsons did in “Itchy & Scratchy Land”, the latter is a roughly accurate description of whatever the hell it was Zombie Simpsons did in “Them, Robot”.

The Simpsons always had its share of improbable plots, but murderous robots was pretty far out there, even by their standards.  Consequently, the episode is very deliberate about how it introduces the concept that will eventually be crucial to its ending.  The first act is all about the family going on vacation, and doing so in very familiar terms: marketing gets kids to pester their parents, the parents eventually cave, and there’s a long and not terribly pleasant car ride.  All of it is given that specially ludicrous Simpsons touch (Homer having a trunk full of fruits and vegetables, AM radio’s love of “signs of evil”, the shortcut), but there’s nothing that isn’t relatable to anyone who’s ever spent slow hours in the front or back seat on a family road trip.

The turn comes right before the first commercial break, when they go from the Itchy Lot to a helicopter that has a Jurassic Park style logo on the side and a pilot who confidently informs them that nothing can “possi-ply” go wrong as the Simpsons nervously glance at one another.  It’s an obvious allusion to a massively popular science fiction movie, and the last shot before the ads is a rather terrifying looking island.  Those last few scenes not only foreshadow the rest of the episode, they also subtly prepare the audience for the kind of events that are more often found in big budget science fiction.

Itchy and Scratchy Land8

I think Dr. Wily might be in there somewhere. 

As an amusement park, Itchy & Scratchy Land is another great example of the way the show parodied ideas rather than brands.  There’s plenty of Disney in the place (and Homer saying that he “kicked a giant mouse in the butt” remains a great dig), but it’s also mocking amusement parks more generally and the way that they have a narrowly controlled idea of what fun is.  Disney World, Universal Studios and the like bill themselves has happy places, but underneath the gaudy surface are miserable employees, command systems that make them more like police states than parks, and a never ending hustle to make sure that there is no money left in your pocket when you leave the place.  Anybody who has ever been to one can easily recognize all of these things, which makes suspension of disbelief about animatronic robots (another well known amusement park staple) that can walk upright and brutally attack each other that much easier.

When the audience is first introduced to the robots as part of a typical amusement park parade, we’re already primed to accept them as part of a recognizable (albeit exaggerated) landscape.  And the show doesn’t waste any time either.  Right in that first scene, we learn everything we need to about the robots: they’re armed, they don’t react well to flash photography, and they are programmed only to attack each other.  These three characteristics remain constant throughout the episode, so when the revolt comes and they override their safety features (part of the ongoing Jurassic Park theme), no further explanation or exposition is necessary.  The rules of this strange but familiar place have already been laid down, and the ending works within them.

You can draw a straight line from those first hints of danger right through to the end.  As the story progresses, additional elements are seamlessly picked up so that when it does come time for a robot to go after Homer with an ax, there are no questions in the audience’s mind about why the robot is attacking or why it has an ax.  The whole thing is so well constructed that they can actually have Homer make an exposition joke (“What are you, the narrator?”) without even slowing things down.

To compare with that intricate and comprehensive build up, Zombie Simpsons has some generic robots from somewhere, a power drill, and nothing else.  The robots simply appear from behind a curtain with no reason or explanation given for how they came to be or how they got there.  For the better part of the episode they stand idly by while Homer kills them in rather gruesome ways, forces them to play baseball, kills some more of them, and then sets a big pile of their twisted remains on fire.  During all this, the robots alternate between being super strong and being incredibly fragile.  The effect of all those manic actions, unannounced  changes, and empty carnage not only undermines each scene, but the story as a whole.

For most of the episode, Homer’s been able to destroy individual robots with little more than a hard shove.  The very first one he kills simply collapses to the ground after he bumped into it.  Then he sticks a power drill into their heads and all of a sudden not only have their hands changed shape, but they’ve become frightfully capable of violence, including breaking through doors and windows and swatting away guard dogs with ease.  The episode proceeds as though they are now all but invincible killing machines . . .

Killing Machines (Killing Version)

. . . right up until . . .

Killing Machines (Killed Version)

. . . they’re easily defeated by things which they would’ve torn through in the previous scene.  The rampage ends just two minutes after it began by abruptly changing – yet again – the nature and capabilities of the robots. 

Zombie Simpsons is no stranger to weak, illogical, or outright non-existent plots, of course.  But it hurts them worse than usual in this context because the entire plot, as opposed to a scene or two, is predicated on something so strange and unbelievable that it kills any kind of flow or humor.  All they’re left with is cheap silliness like corn dogs and squeegees.  There’s nothing wrong with silliness, of course, but Homer didn’t defeat the robots when he threw his underwear at them.

The Simpsons pulled off their robot apocalypse because they treated it carefully, building up to what would’ve been head-exploding, laugh-killing nonsense had they introduced it earlier.  Zombie Simpsons dove head first into that nonsense and never came up.

20
Mar
12

Crazy Noises: Them, Robot

Robot Workers

“Crush, kill, destroy.” – 100% Loyal Robot Workers

As part of our tireless efforts to demonstrate the many ways Zombie Simpsons fails to entertain, Season 23 will be subjected to the kind of rigorous examination that can only be produced by people typing short messages at one another.  More dedicated or modern individuals might use Twitter for this, but that’s got graphics and short links and little windows that pop up when you put your cursor over things.  The only kind of on-line communications we like are the kind that could once be done at 2400 baud.  So disable your call waiting, plug in your modem, and join us for another year of Crazy Noises.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “poisoning”). 

Zombie Simpsons makes no secret about the way the front of the episode is often completely unrelated to the rest of it.  (It’s the sort of thing they’ll nervously joke about on commentaries.)  Things often take rather severe turns at or around the first commercial break, usually because the opening is more of a self contained sketch than setup for the rest of the plot.  For the most part I’ve grown numb to that, but “Them, Robot” took this to a new level of story indifference. 

The opening of the episode is Homer on an alcohol free weekend because the plant is having a drug test on Monday.  When the drug test finally got around to happening, after Jerkass Homer went to a nice restaurant and spat in other people’s food (naturally, they applauded), I thought that was going to be the reason Burns used to fire all the employees.  After all, if every employee flunks the drug test, why not hire robot workers?  Zombie Simpsons being Zombie Simpsons, they didn’t do that.  Instead they had a guy we don’t know suffer from radiation poisoning and die, a plot element that wasn’t mentioned again, and which had nothing to do with the finale when Burns rehires all his old workers. 

That kind of rank plotting isn’t unusual for them.  (And, as you can see above, The Simpsons managed to do this whole story better in three words, two scenes, and ten seconds.)  But in this instance they had a simple way to make the story (such as it was) kinda work, and they still didn’t do it.  From my humble vantage point at the receiving end of the chattering cyclops, I have no idea how they manage to produce episodes this consistently sloppy.  But things like this do make one wonder if they don’t need to put some caffeine in the water cooler down there at 1 Zombie Simpsons Plaza. 

Note: Dave and Mad Jon have both gone intercontinental this week.  Fortunately, Magdalena from Lenny Tunes and Mike from Me Blog Write Good were kind enough to join me. 

Mike: So Charlie, you wanna kick off, or what?

  However you normally do this.

Charlie Sweatpants: I’m ready to get started if you two are.

Lenny: Sure.

Mike: Yeah, I’m ready.

Charlie Sweatpants: Okay then, anyone want an opening tirade?

Lenny: The worst part for me was the brunch scene.

Mike: Wait, before we get to the episode

  Can someone explain to me what the point of that couch gag was

Charlie Sweatpants: More self congratulation, I think.

Lenny: That’s what I thought. I felt like you should either try to be political or make it all about you, but both? It was weird.

Charlie Sweatpants: Might have just been a leftover idea from the 500th episode.

Mike: It was political "commentary" with a random Simpsons timeline thrown in.

Lenny: Exactly.

Mike: With appearances of such classic characters as Lisa’s dance instructor and that weirdo Willy Wonka guy who sold Bart’s T-shirts

And it was only every other year for some reason.

  It kind of set the stage right there that the writers seem to not give a shit anymore if things make sense.

Charlie Sweatpants: I just assume that, these days.

The brunch scene being a case in point. That was Jerkass Homer to a T.

  And yet everyone else there treated him like he was normal or something.

Lenny: Everyone besides Homer was just completely vacant.

  Marge and Lisa apparently just sat there while he ordered and drank six mimosas?

Mike: Yeah. Patty and Selma just sat there, no commentary at all.

Lenny: Patty and Selma not saying anything is annoying enough in of itself, but it’s especially terrible when you consider that them being their usual selves would be an organic way to drive Homer to drinking.

Charlie Sweatpants: It went beyond them as well. All those other people, staff and customers, actually applauded him.

Mike: Exactly. They could have built a little bit of tension, but instead stuck to dumb jokes.

Lenny: And Marge just sat there when Homer drank either five or six mimosas (the animation wasn’t consistent), but then suddenly she has the all-knowing power to tell that coffee has alcohol in it just from glancing at it.

Charlie Sweatpants: I’d say they were more antics than jokes, but I may be splitting hairs.

Mike: Yeah, jokes imply there’s humor present.

Charlie Sweatpants: And then they ran that into the ground by repeating just about anything that involves alcohol, more or less as a list.

Lenny: Yeah, I don’t know if let’s-see-how-many-things-with-alcohol-in-them-we-can-name quite counts as a joke.

Charlie Sweatpants: Right. There wasn’t so much as a comment about how all these brunch foods have booze in them.

Mike: But let’s go bigger picture here: apparently this is a science fiction universe where there are these hyper sophisticated robots.

That Burns bought from God knows where.

Charlie Sweatpants: That would be the episode’s Achilles everything, all right.

Mike: That and for some reason it spring boarded to the entire town being unemployed.

  I thought I spaced out and missed a few scenes.

  Does everyone in Springfield work at the nuclear plant?

Charlie Sweatpants: Just to make things consistently annoying, the episode can’t even be consistent about what the robots can and can’t do. They go from tough to fall apart in no time flat.

Lenny: That was annoying because even throwing in a quick line from Smithers like "one solution that’s very popular" would give you some warning that this would affect more than just the plant.

Mike: There was absolutely no connection between the robots and the unemployment.

  None.

Charlie Sweatpants: It’s like they’re trying to do both too much and not enough at the same time. The town falling apart because of robot workers is a rather big story, but it barely rates more than a couple of scenes, probably less screen time than Homer playing baseball with the robots.

Mike: Well that was a laugh riot.

  Especially when all those robots got hit by traffic.

Charlie Sweatpants: That just kept going.

Mike: There’s just so much padding… That, the loud "D’oh," and the endless "working hard or hardly working"

  Which features Homer at his loudest and most obnoxious.

  And getting hurt.

  A veritable Jerkass trifecta

Charlie Sweatpants: Indeed.

Lenny: Another moment that stuck out to me as being particularly bad was Homer slicing his head, because it was simultaneously too violent and not violent enough.

  Him actually getting his head sliced open seems like overkill, but then the fact that there’s no blood or even a noticeable scratch afterwards made it absurdly tame.

Charlie Sweatpants: Good way of putting it. He had a pretty big chunk missing, but there was no blood, nothing. It was just off-putting.

Lenny: Same with him getting part of his mouth ripped out by the paperclip.

Mike: I forgot about that.

  Holy shit, man.

Charlie Sweatpants: Of course, the robots’ buzzsaw hands disappeared shortly thereafter, so who knows?

Speaking of that paperclip scene, Homer can apparently turn off power to the city while asleep now. It’s yet another thing that’s been done before (Colonel Homer) that has no impact here because of how poorly it’s done.

Mike: And it’s treated as a goof by Marge and Lisa.

Lenny: This episode had a lot of admitting that Homer’s the only person in the universe who matters. The power’s out so Marge knows it’s him, the robots who are programmed to preserve life endanger drivers to save Homer, etc.

Everyone besides Homer is a prop in this universe.

Mike: Yeah, right.

If it had been treated with some severity, it could have springboarded to Burns wanting to eradicate human incompetence by getting the robots.

Lenny: That would make a lot more sense than "the federal government considers alcohol a drug."

Mike: I mean, Smithers could have taken the only human position.

Charlie Sweatpants: Or the fact that the drug test itself was dropped like a hot potato. The actual reason Burns hired the robots was because the random guy got radiation poisoning.

Mike: So Homer’s sobriety meant nothing.

  Just more filler.

  Great jokes like Homer reading the voter’s guide and Gil getting killed.

Charlie Sweatpants: Right. Same with Homer’s attempts to bond with the robots. It’s all filler because the only thing they know how to do is wind up Homer and let him loose to act like an asshole.

Mike: I just really don’t understand where there were going with a lot of this stuff.

  Homer befriends the robots, but why?

Charlie Sweatpants: I would be curious to read the first draft of one of these scripts some time. Did it make sense once upon a time and all that got stripped out in favor of Luigi standing there with pizza boxes, or was it always this messy?

  I honestly have no idea.

Mike: I have no clue.

  I just need to reiterate: there was NO connection between the robots and the town becoming unemployed.

There has to be a version of this episode where there was.

Lenny: Yeah, I mean, they highlighted unemployment with…Barney? Like him being underemployed is this big shift?

Mike: Here, it makes no sense.

  Yeah.

  Also, his voice sounded off. His and a few others.

Lenny: That might be why Patty and Selma didn’t have any lines, actually.

Mike: I haven’t watched new episodes in a few years, is this common?

Charlie Sweatpants: I thought Kavner was having a really hard time with Marge in this one.

Mike: Burns was off at a few points. Smithers sounded fine.

Charlie Sweatpants: And yeah, I’ve long suspected that we see much less of Patty and Selma (and nothing of their mother) because she just can’t do that rasp any longer.

Mike: Speaking of Burns, I guess it’s a joke that he’s reading Tina Fey’s book.

  I guess?

  Free promotion?

Lenny: The Tina Fey book and the fact that they made their third or fourth Angry Birds joke made me feel like they’re just desperate to be cool.

Mike: You really think that’s it? A desperate attempt to seem relevant and modern after all these years?

Charlie Sweatpants: I’d say it’s more of a reference than a joke. For it to be a joke they’d have needed to make up something that was like Bossypants but not actually it.

Lenny: Maybe I’m misreading it, but stuff like that always makes me feel like my high school teacher is trying to prove he’s still with it or something.

Charlie Sweatpants: That’s definitely the feeling I get.

It was like that Chris Christie thing a few months ago, they try to stay relevant by putting in things that can be done late in the process. The book title could’ve been anything.

Mike: Yeah. It’s just Insert Reference Here.

Charlie Sweatpants: Precisely.

Though even then they screw things up. They made a joke about Rudy not being that inspiring a story, but failed to note that he got convicted of bilking investors in a stock scam.

Mike: Then we end with Burns and Homer teaming up against the robots, for some reason, and the townspeople miraculously being there to save the day.

Lenny: After the robots somehow know where Mr. Burns lives and go straight there because Homer messed with them using a screwdriver.

Mike: Well they followed Homer, to be fair.

Lenny: Oh, guess I missed it.

Charlie Sweatpants: But why did he go there?

  Did he know he’d be able to get in?

Mike: Because he bought the robots.

I guess he thought it was his only option.

  I won’t gripe that point, it was one of the few things here that made sense.

  But Burns would absolutely not let him in.

Charlie Sweatpants: I know I mentioned this above, but the ending was another place where they really expect you to not remember anything from even just a minute or two before. The robots were ultra-deadly, and then all of a sudden, they had no buzzsaw hands and were easily defeated by basically unarmed people.

Lenny: And it drove me crazy that Homer assumed he’d be able to reprogram sophisticated robots by shoving a screw into them and it somehow worked.

  And Mr. Burns then learned he needs human employees even though his only human employee was the one who screwed everything up.

Charlie Sweatpants: To be fair, this is like the fourth time they’ve shown Homer tinker with robots since about Season 12.

None of those made sense either, but they are being consistent.

Lenny: I just remember "See all that stuff in there? That’s why your robot never worked."

Mike: Linguo, the battle bots one…

Charlie Sweatpants: Wasn’t there one he threw out of his garage half built, as well?

  They kinda blur together.

Mike: Oh yeah, right.

  "Father!"

Lenny: Well, obviously I am out of my element after season 8. That is weird.

Charlie Sweatpants: But Lenny’s right, Burns had no real motivation to hire everyone back except that it was the end of the episode.

Lenny: And because they beat the scary robots with corn dogs, which is impressive.

Mike: Yeah. Those robots are total weaksauce, man.

Charlie Sweatpants: And about half of their lines were pointless exposition that even Cmdr. Data himself couldn’t sell.

  I mean they actually had him say, “Our programming restricts our movement to yellow guidance lines”. They had half a dozen chances to show us that, then they told it to us instead, then they ignored it for the rest of the episode.

Mike: They ignored it immediately when they showed Homer painting the baseball diamond, then we immediately see robots standing off the line.

Lenny: I guess the animators did their best with a script that called for completely contradictory visuals.

Mike: I suppose.

Charlie Sweatpants: They stick the animators with a lot of impossible tasks.

Mike: Poor bastards.

  Wishing they worked for Bob’s Burgers instead.

Lenny: Indeed.

Charlie Sweatpants: It’s not their fault the script called for Homer to pick up Mr. Burns and swing him around for a second before putting him back down like nothing happened.

Lenny: Or called for Luigi to use pizza boxes like a flip book.

  I hated the scene where Mr. Burns uses the robot as a foot rest because I thought I knew where it was going and then not only did they not do what I thought, they didn’t really do anything.

Charlie Sweatpants: And it took them a long time to not do it, as well.

Mike: What did you expect?

Lenny: I thought it would be about Smithers being like "I could do that!" and being way too giddy about being Burns’s foot rest, leaving them both uncomfortable.

Mike: Oh, I see.

Lenny: Which would at least be a joke based on character instead of…visual gags seems too strong, but visuals, I guess.

Mike: Harry Shearer making orgasm noises. That would have at least been interesting.

Lenny: Haha. And would have been a better and more subtle sex joke than Barney holding that hat up, which they thought was way funnier than it was.

Charlie Sweatpants: Forgot about that. Guh.

Mike: Forgot that too. In front of children, no less.

Let me just ask, was there anything about the episode you all liked?

Lenny: I thought some of the robots’ material was okay.

Charlie Sweatpants: I did like Spiner’s delivery on "We do vent nitrogen once a year. You do not want to be around for that."

Mike: I think I smirked at the Rudy line, but that’s it.

Lenny: Yup, those are the two that got me.

Mike: Like, honestly, I was stunned at how poor this episode was.

I’ve seen maybe four episodes in the last three years.

  The last being that Xmas show from this season, since everyone was jizzing their pants over it.

  At least on No Homers

Lenny: Ah, I’ve seen everything this season and I think I would put this towards the top. The Christmas one is definitely at the top for me, being a solid 4/10.

Mike: But man, I’m dumbstruck.

  I’m not even trying to be funny, are they always this bad, Charlie?

How would you rank this with the rest of the season

Charlie Sweatpants: This was par for the course, yeah.

Lenny: I thought the last two we’ve had were worse.

Charlie Sweatpants: Honestly, I’m consistently amazed people can differentiate these that much. There are notably worse things here or there, but was this overall any less nuts than the magic bar rag, or Lisa’s overnight social network? Or Homer becoming a famous talk show host and political power broker? None of them make sense.

Mike: Yeah, that’s the overriding feel I got.

Nothing made sense.

No overarching theme, no consistent character stuff, no emotional arc

  Just a bunch of random shit that sort of related to each other. Sometimes.

Lenny: For me there’s just a slight difference between the ones that I can’t stand while I’m watching them and the ones that I’m able to stomach and then upon reflection I realize how bad they are and I’d put this in the latter category, which puts it towards the top of this season.

Charlie Sweatpants: Low bar, huh?

Lenny: Oh yeah.

Mike: Those are some standards.

Lenny: For instance, this one didn’t have a scene where Homer tried to have sex with Marge while wearing a diaper, even though everyone in the history of adult diapers has realized there’s a pretty simple system of have sex, then put on a diaper, then go to sleep. Low points like that are what make the difference for me.

Mike: …I don’t even want to know what that’s about.

Lenny: It was terrible.

Charlie Sweatpants: Last week. And yeah, don’t bother.

Mike: But in summation, I can at least say this episode makes me appreciate season 9 a hell of a lot more.

  I was bumming a little bit rewatching the season, but this…

Lenny: That’s exactly how I feel about looking back on 9 and 10.

Mike: My goodness.

  We could only be so lucky to get that quality again.

  At least they told stories. And had humor.

Charlie Sweatpants: I had the same experience with Season 10 last summer. Season 10 is unbelievably good compared to these. Plenty of them suck, but there’s still some heart, logic and good ideas, even if they don’t work.

This is just a bunch of random crap that hardly seems to have had any thought put into it.

Mike: So anything else to be said about this pile? I have to go pour bleach on my mind after visualizing Homer having sex in a diaper.

Lenny: Yeah, you’re lucky you didn’t get the actual visual from the episode. I think that’s all I got for this one.

Charlie Sweatpants: I don’t think we’re going to get lower than giant diaper.

  Let me just say thanks to both of you for joining me this week.

Lenny: Thanks for the invite!

Mike: Wait, let’s end on a positive note.

  With Barney in a diaper on the street.

  A man of quiet dignity.

Charlie Sweatpants: He knows you can hear him!

Lenny: That is fine hardcore nudity.

Mike: Indeed.

19
Mar
12

Old Dogs, Old Tricks

Chalkboard - Them, Robot

“I suggest you leave immediately.” – C.M. Burns
“Or what?  You’ll release the dogs, or the bees, or the dogs with bees in their mouths and when they bark they shoot bees at you?  Well, go ahead.  Do your worst! . . . He locked the door!” – Homer Simpson

Zombie Simpsons frequently repeats things from The Simpsons, but every once and a while they come up with a perfect confluence of failure, where all of the show’s many flaws combine into a single, memorable scene.  The most recent one I can think of came last year, when they tossed Milhouse off a cliff to have a giant magic eagle save him so they could have him repeat, word for word, his declaration from “Mom and Pop Art”.  Yesterday, Zombie Simpsons put together another one, as it managed to bungle Burns releasing the hounds.

We’ve seen lots of people come to the doors of Burns Manor over the years, and just as many have turned right around and fled to avoid becoming dog food.  Burns does not like other people, and he hates dealing with them so much that he trains his dogs to attack Girl Scouts.  He’s released the hounds on do gooders, on small children, and even on his own employees after the company picnic.  It’s a perfect character trait for him because it is every inch of his contempt and cruelty wrapped up into one casual gesture he orders without a second thought.

Near the monotonously boring end of “Them, Robot”, Homer runs to Burns Manor while being chased by killer robots.  Burns opens the door without even looking, he then tries – and fails – to release the hounds before having them turn on him instead.  Then, against everything Burns used to stand for, he helps Homer escape.  Now, this isn’t the first time they’ve made Burns incompetent and kind.  But it is the first time they’ve had him fail so utterly at what was once one of his signature moves. 

On top of that, and this goes almost without saying, none of the story that led Homer, the killer robots, or the unemployed people who eventually save the day to his door made any sense.  Burns hires all these robot workers, and then ignores them while Homer runs amok, and none of the workers would know to go help there.  And let’s not even get started on the extended segments of town wide destruction and robot car crashes. 

I did actually laugh out loud at the robot fart joke, which is the first time Zombie Simpsons has gotten that out of me in a long while.  Of course, I’m a long time fan of robot fart jokes, dating back at least to that Futurama episode where Bender and the rest of the robots save the Earth by “venting”.  Other than that, this episode can rot in a burning pile of corpses . . . oh, wait.  They did that too, didn’t they?

Anyway, the numbers are in and they continue to be humiliatingly low.  Last night’s remarkably dull apocalypse was mechanically endured by just 5.24 million viewers.  That’s up slightly from last week, but still good for tenth on the all time least watched list.  There have been eight new episodes of Zombie Simpsons since New Year’s, six of them are among the ten least watched ever.  Yes, Zombie Simpsons has more lucrative demographics than most shows so lowly rated, and yes those are overnight numbers, not the ones that include a couple of days of DVR viewers.  But there’s no escaping the fact that Season 23 is notably lower than any previous year.

I’ll do a more detailed analysis after the season finale, but for now just know that from Season 20 through Season 22, Zombie Simpsons was on a ratings plateau, averaging slightly above 7 million viewers per episode, and only declining a little from year to year.  Season 23 is currently just above 6.5 million per episode; and unless it scores some unusually big numbers in the next few episodes, it’s going to end up well below that for the season. 

18
Mar
12

Sunday Preview: Them, Robot

Magic Robots

Dave fled the country again (the man really doesn’t like Zombie Simpsons), and I don’t know how to do blood the way he does in Photoshop, but I’d say the image above speaks for itself.  We are now literally swarming with magic robots:

Mr. Burns replaces all of Springfield Power Plant’s employees with robots but decides to keep Homer as the sole human worker. With unemployment at an all-time high and mechanical arms operating the workplace, Springfield becomes a dismal and humorless place. But when Homer’s machine-programmed peers start to turn on the community and his former real-life employees come to the rescue, they all realize that robots can’t replace human friends.

So, yeah.  What was a throwaway gag in “Last Exit to Springfield” is now an entire episode.  (Sorry for getting this up late.  Slipped my mind.) 




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Even though it’s obvious to anyone with a functional frontal lobe and a shred of morality, we feel the need to include this disclaimer. This website (which openly advocates for the cancellation of a beloved television series) is in no way, shape or form affiliated with the FOX Network, the News Corporation, subsidiaries thereof, or any of Rupert Murdoch’s wives or children. “The Simpsons” is (unfortunately) the intellectual property of FOX. We and our crack team of one (1) lawyer believe that everything on this site falls under the definition of Fair Use and is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. No revenue is generated from this endeavor; we’re here because we love “The Simpsons”. And besides, you can’t like, own a potato, man, it’s one of Mother Earth’s creatures.