Thursday, September 26, 2013

About the Blog

Well I think it's been pretty obvious at this point. Despite no official announcement before today, I am retiring this blog and my 'reviews' in general. Don't get me wrong, I still think Zombie Simpsons is a below average show that pumps out crappy episodes like a trailer park wife pumps out babies, but I've just lost the enthusiasm for writing these posts. I told myself from the very beginning; "If I ever cannot get excited to write up a review, don't half-ass it, try again later." And I have been trying again and again to get the remaining Season 24 episodes that I missed into text review format. But everytime I stared at my screen, I just could not type something that I was proud of. I will admit, my work is not "A+" "5 stars" quality, but I would not put out something of low quality just to meet a deadline.

I am not going away from the internet in general, as I am thinking about actually using my Youtube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/Kriken8) for stuff. Nor am I completely staying away from Blogger either. Who knows, maybe one day I'll find that spark again and go back to reviewing Zombie Simpsons or maybe something else. But for now I'd like to thank everybody who has read my posts, be they people who liked reading me rage, people who agreed with my opinions, or people who liked the show and just wanted to disagree with me anonymously. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

With all that said, I end this blog with an image that helps summate my feelings for a Season 25 of The Simpsons coming October 1st, enjoy.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Blog Status

Well it's been weeks since my last review and to be honest, my next text review will take more than a couple of weeks to come out.

I've thought about this for the past few weeks weighing the pros and cons of this decision, but I've decided to put the blog on hiatus until further notice. Between school and work, I don't find myself having much free time to write these reviews. Also, I can't help but feel that a little part of my drive for writing the reviews is missing so between now and whenever I post something new, I'm going to do some self-evaluation and decide how much longer this blog will even last. I thought I would easily write this blog until the show ended and just use the Mondays where reviews of new episodes would go and just talk about the classics or even assorted things on my mind.

In the meantime, I will be posting some videos from my Youtube account on Mondays and with any luck, I should be able to produce some more video game commentaries. Who knows what I have planned for the future.

Who knows, I just hope you don't get upset with me and can understand where I'm coming from. With all that said, I will see you all later.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Episode 10: A Test Before Trying

Okay for those of you who wondered what I was complaining about in the animation from last week's episode, it was the ketchup on the guy's face. It seemed like there was a keyframe issue on the layering of the ketchup and mustard. It didn't match up well when the guy was laughing and if you look at his wrinkles, it's quite noticeable. I brought that up because it's one of the many reasons I hate the computer animation, it allows them to be completely lazy, just add a new layer onto the animation and hope it syncs up with the layer below it as opposed to drawing each frame guaranteeing that it looks fluid. But you know what? My knowledge of animation is next to nothing so I might be nitpicking, but give the video another shot and see it from that perspective.

Anyways, we have an episode where a Simpson child can be responsible for raising standardized test scores for Springfield Elementary... gee that sounds totally original. You know what? Originality flew out the window with dignity and respect years ago, at this point it's simply trying to avoid screwing up what they have today, so let's see how bad they fail today.

Opening sequence: 2:27 Dear God that dragged, an opening sequence should not be more than 10% of your run time. I hate couch gags like these simply because they miss the point of the short "Simpsons find a creative way to sit on couch" gag

The episode begins with Kent Brockman reporting about Mr. Burns making his annual rate hike announcement as Brockman decides to narrate everything that's going on when Burns reaches the podium (SHOW, don't tell. First scene and you screw up so badly). So at the press conference (With all of what appears to be less than 50 random people... why bother mentioning it on the news if there isn't even going to be a cameraman there to report it. Oh right, bringing logic here again, proceed) so Burns announces that he'll decide the increase by choosing an accountant with a random percentage on their back with a system, by releasing the hounds on them (Okay I did find this joke to be amusing, kudos). So the dogs pick 17% and Burns gets rid of everyone by releasing gas on them (Okay, curve ball. Not bad, making up for lost ground by that long-ass couch gag). So after a few scenes of people cutting back on electricity, we cut to school where the faculty has a meeting where Chalmers informs them that not all the schools can stay open and there will be standardized tests to determine which will remain open with the lowest scoring school closing forever (You know, considering how piss poor other episodes do at informing the audience what the hell we should be focusing on, I do have to give credit to this episode so far. Granted there have been the stupid joke here and there, but so far, it's okay).
Confound these writers, they've driven me to smoke
So Homer goes to the dump to drop off the electronics as he finds a parking meter and decides to take it home (*Sigh* I had such high hopes for the episode, now we've got a combination of Lisa Gets an A and Lisa's Date With Density). So the test proctors arrive to the school (All menacing and such, geeze, talk about overboard) where we then see the students taking the test that's accompanied by the theme from Halloween (Again, way too overboard for this right now). So the main proctor (Does she have a name?) tells Skinner and Chalmers that their school had the worst scores in the state and they're basically screwed (Oh and I also don't care for her voice at all. Really bland and uninspired to me). So the school gets shut down, uninteresting jokes are made (Even Lisa cannot escape this) and Bart reveals that he never took the test and Lisa realizes that he can take the test and alter the average (Well that would require the testers to even allow Bart to take the test and even if they did, as a person whose taken multiple courses in statistics, the weight of the hundreds of students would only allow a difference of average about plus/minus 0.006% which seems unlikely unless the writers can pull stuff out of their asses, oh wait...)
Willie: No, FOX does not own the rights to Schindler's List so we're not sorting you guys that way
Bart is allowed to take the test the next day and Skinner bargains with Bart to try to do well (Well if canon has taught me anything, Bart studying his ass off for a test to prevent him from repeating the fourth grade was almost a failure so of course the writers will forget completely about that). So Homer begins his dumb scheme with a montage of him placing the meter around town and collecting money from suckers (Oh goody, montage...). So the next day, Bart prepares to take the test as he reveals to Skinner that he's not ready. Bart then convinces Skinner to give him some more time, so Skinner pulls the fire alarm. We resume Homer's subplot where he watches the news at the exact time where Brockman is reporting about a rogue parking meter (Oh and the title of the story is "Meter Madoff". How long have you been holding that pun in?)  Oh by the way, Channel 6 news now has no problem paying the electric bill nor does anyone else for that matter... it's like they wrote that plot but forgot about it 5 minutes in, but that would be silly. So we see Bart slacking off some more and Lisa berates him for it (Again, I refer to Bart Gets an F for proof that Bart can be motivated to study and try his best).
You see this is what happens when you try too hard to make something look imperfect
So Bart has a dream where because of his failure, everyone becomes really dumb and Springfield is horrible, as he wakes up, he informs Lisa that he wants to pass the test and he needs her help (Well considering this is the first time he's expressed said interest, I'm going to call bull). After a pointless scene between Marge and the proctor (Seriously, why was that scene even included?) we see Homer dragging the meter around until Wiggum attempts to arrest him. Homer escapes, bad dick joke, and the meter gets destroyed thus ending the boring subplot (YAY!) So we cut back to Bart studying at 3 in the morning as Lisa gives him a bit of advice (Okay, another joke I have to give credit for). So Marge asks Homer about the quarters and she forces him to toss them into a wishing well... Why is Homer so okay with this? Who wrote this tripe? So Bart takes the test as the last question is answered by a bug in his shirt (Oh I forgot to mention this, Bart missed the test because he was messing with this bug, I didn't mention it because their attempt to tie it into the plot is so contrived and stupid). Bart passes causing the average to rise (Must be cartoon statistics) ad the bug circles the globe to the Superman theme (Just because you HAVE the license to the theme doesn't mean you need to use it). So the episode ends with some attempt at connecting Marge with the proctor again (Again, pointless), the playground being happy and joyful as Skinner is miserable in his broken down office and a dumb joke question about stealing a parking meter. Oh and apparently this episode was dedicated to Huell Howser.

Final Thoughts: To be honest I don't exactly know what to make of this episode. Sure it had some good moments, but it also was plagued with the normal Zombie Simpsons problems as well, it's a mixed bagged episode. Honestly this episode was better than I thought it'd be, but as you know, my expectations are rather low. It didn't really feel like it dragged too much as looking back, outside of the opening sequence, the flow was rather decent. I guess in short, by Zombie Simpsons standards, it's above average, but in terms of Simpsons standards, it's forgettable and mediocre.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Episode 9: Homer Goes to Prep School

Still obsessing over the Mayan Apocalypse that never happened? Seriously, this show jumped on that bandwagon and rode it so hard, I'll go into more detail in the midseason report card. But what better choice for a lame, uninspired idea of an episode than to have it written by the ever talented Brian Kelley... I do hate myself at times.

Opening Sequence: 1:04 Not much to really say, it's just a standard opening sequence at this point.

The episode begins with Homer driving the family to an "Educational" place where the kids (And Homer) are upset. Now I'm not entirely sure about his, but I swear the joke they write for Homer is reused, I just can't remember the episode. However, when they go in, it becomes a fun place and thus everyone (Sans Marge) is happy. After a barrage of unfunny jokes (Seriously, it's like the writers just stockpiled these jokes and couldn't figure out any episode to put them in so the just dumped them into this one) Homer has to look over Bart and Lisa playing as so many kids and things just happen to look like Bart and Lisa. I guess the joke in that scene was... actually I got nothing, nothing about that scene was funny in the slightest. So after some filler that results in Homer getting pelted by foam balls and falling over a tall structure (Which causes no injuries whatsoever. Heck even cartoons like Loony Toons showed that there were effects from those types of actions.) We see Homer walk into a room where all the dads are using their phones for texting and whatever else the writers think is topical because they need to appeal to 12 year olds. Okay I usually don't make a point about this and this has nothing to do with Brian Kelley's awful writing (Although that element is in this episode) but the animation in this episode is really sub par. It just looks terrible at points, two examples right now are Wiggum and Rainier Wolfcastle, they both are off model and just look like amateur knock offs. When you can't even draw your own characters right, there's something wrong.
As we can see, Chief Wiggum has been abducted by aliens

And here we see that Rainier got a nose job
So a kid escapes the place and thus it goes into lock down causing all the women to panic... until Marge saves the day by having the women talk about their childbirths. Given that Brian Kelley wrote this, I'm shocked that he didn't have them gossip about their neighbors or talk about shopping. We then cut to the fathers as chaos and anarchy has broken out and they are all trying to kill each other. You know, considering that all they were doing a minute ago was texting/web browsing/playing phone games, I'm surprised they even noticed the place was locked down. Oh, by the way, before we proceed. Do you notice what's wrong with this scene? I'll give you some time to think about it.
video
So after more throwaway jokes, Rainier (Now with a different nose) throws Homer and they all escape the room. Homer suddenly imagines them all as apes because he "realizes" that deep down everyone is a savage ape... You're joking, right? This is honestly one of the most convoluted, bullshit start ups to an episode and considering that Act 1 is basically a throwaway act to the writers nowadays, that's saying something. The buildup to this is virtually nonexistent and Homer of all people being the wimp during chaos and anarchy really goes to show how little the writers actually care about previously established character traits.
Let's play a game; I call it "What's funny about this?"
So the next day, Homer goes outside but sees everyone as apes and after seeing Ned, he runs back inside where he slams the door on Ned's head (Because assault is totally the same thing as envy. I mean even in When Flanders Failed, Homer admitted that wishing Ned's death was too far. With the way this episode is going, I half expect Homer to kill anyone he sees). Later, Homer goes to Moe's Tavern where he laments how civilization can sometimes be without order, suddenly a guy appears at the end of the bar to tell Homer that he can help him (Effort? What's that?!) So after an attempt at a joke, the man (Not yet named) basically tells Homer that America will soon crumble because anarchy will spread (Never explains WHY anarchy will spread, my guess is that the staff just couldn't let the Mayan Apocalypse thing go but couldn't fit this before December 21). So Homer is shown a generic "Civilization will end for no adequately explained reason" video and suddenly he is convinced that this stranger is right. I can tell you right now what the problem with this episode will be; It tries to satirize delusional people who think the world's ending tomorrow but it takes itself way too serious and fails to actually satirize anything.
Hey there barfly, nice to see you here
HEY! Stop being invisible
Anyways, after Homer and guy leave (With the barfly vanishing, consistency, who needs that? Okay seriously, I'm getting sick and tired of that line, but the animators make it so easy) they head on over to Herman's military store where we see a bunch of random people together because unlike They Saved Lisa's Brain, no character outside of Herman makes sense for this group. By the way, before I stray away from this, Herman  looks really out of place, maybe it's the art style in the fact that he hasn't made an important appearance in the HD era, or maybe it has to do with his PINK hair (Seriously, I don't know what color that is exactly, but it sure as hell is not brown).
It's Herman... I guess
Anyways, the group asks Homer what he'd do in the event of an emergency and predictably, Homer doesn't know. They tell Homer that they want him to learn survival skills and join them for the eventual civilization meltdown (Why Homer? Because the writers are hacks and have no original ideas). They tell Homer not to tell anyone else because they don't want to allow in the "Unprepared" (Remember this folks, because the writers sure as hell won't). So after about 2 minutes of unfunny filler, the group tells Homer that he can join them at their compound when society collapses (Okay, where's the satire? Where are the funny jokes? Anything? No? Aww...) Anyways, Homer tells Marge about what's going on and she basically says what we're all thinking; Homer is a nut job and should not be taken seriously (Too bad the writers didn't seem to take that advice). So later, Homer is watching some video at work about survival on MyTube (UUUGGGHHHH) all the while, a reactor goes off and emits an EMP, effectively screwing over all of Springfield. The video Homer watches is exactly what I'm talking about when I'm talking about satire, that's the perfect opportunity to make fun of survivalist, but instead they play it straight and thus when they attempt any satire later down the line it just doesn't work.
Quimby: People, we have preserved through much worse shit on this show, we can manage
Oh and the scene where all the electronics go out just sucks, the jokes aren't funny and it goes on a scene or two too long. I know that sounds like nitpicking, but that extra scene or two can disrupt the flow of a joke. So Quimby informs the town that an EMP has knocked out everything in Springfield and he has no plans on how to fix it (Gee I wonder if they'll actually do anything with this concept or if they'll just fix it all offscreen like a lazy hack would). So Homer gathers his family (In his rather well-lit house I may add. So what, was their house not affected? Is the sun really that bright? Or are the animators really that lazy?) and he arrives at the compound which has electricity of its own (Oh and Grampa is strapped to the roof of the car, we never see him again so chalk that up as just more laziness). So later Marge tells Homer that she's disappointed that he turned his back against everyone else to save his own ass from the end of civilization... okay, why is Marge saying this? There's been no chaos or destruction as far as we can see. Nobody's approached the compound with Homer telling them to piss off. This is a case of "Show, don't tell" where the character feel the need to tell the audience that Homer is bad when none of the actions so far have indicated that he is. I stated earlier that Homer was a complete jerkass in this episode, but right now, Marge is being a complete ditz, her actions in The Simpsons Movie made sense because Homer actively ignored Springfield and betrayed Marge, here, we got nothing. Right now I have no likable characters to root for, so at this point, I'm just hoping that they shoot each other over the last bag of grain. Okay, long story short, Homer decides to take the supplies back to Springfield where surprise, surprise, the town is back to normal (Fixing stuff offscreen to achieve status quo? That totally doesn't sound like a rush job by the writers at all). So the episode ends with a force as all hell message about how society may be imperfect, but it's better than a hate filled new one (Fill in the blanks: Go f_ck yo_rselves) and suddenly an asteroid filled with zombies is heading for Earth... WHU?!

Final Verdict: This is a Brian Kelley episode alright, that's all you need to know. Unfunny, stupid and just plain painful to watch. Like I mentioned earlier, the setup for this episode is just awful and completely irrelevant. I didn't laugh once at the jokes in this episode, for as much as I bash the newer episodes, I can usually find one or two jokes that make me snicker, not here. The satire is nonexistent and their weird obsession with the apocalypse is just jarring. And the animation in this just feels lazy at points. Why this man is still employed I haven't the foggiest, then again Michael Bay is allowed to direct Transformers 4 (OMG TOPICAL REFERENCE THAT WON'T MAKE THIS POST STALE IN A FEW YEARS!11!!) so I guess that's not the worst thing in Hollywood. In short, this was terrible and a new contender for worst of the season.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

About the lack of updates

As you may know at this point, I have missed not one, but two reviews thus far this season and come next week, it will be three. Why three you may ask? Let me explain. While I still do enjoy writing these really detailed, unprofessional "reviews" there are more important priorities in my life right now.

Finals
This week final exams will begin for me and like good college students, studying for exams that could alter your future are more important than entertaining a dozen or so people online. I do want to eventually write up  some belated reviews for the 3 episodes that I missed, but right now that's not a priority. What is a priority is memorizing my notes on finding the Moment of Inertia about a rigid body, applying Gauss' law and Airfoil Theory and how it helps find the downwash of a wing that is distance 'b' away from the origin. I really do appreciate all of you who read my blog, but a man needs to set his priorities straight.

Outside projects
For those of you who follow my YouTube channel (Link right here, be sure to subscribe and such), I have tried my hand at video game commentating. Like this blog, it is a hobby, I do not take it 100% serious and do not expect to go far with it. However recording footage has taken a toll on my work schedule and I can't help but feel that it has affected the quality of my reviews. But that's neither here nor there. I feel that having the ability to do multiple things like this is good for me and allows me to broaden my horizon and open my mind when I talk to others so that conversations don't immediately begin with "Hey, you're that Simpsons guy, right?" and because of this, I am only able to put out just a review each week. No extra analysis, no reviews of past seasons, etc.


I hope that shed some light on what's been going on, I will do my best to keep you guys in the loop when stuff like this happens. Thanks for reading and have a safe holiday season.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Episode 6: A Tree Grows in Springfield

With an episode as dull as last week's, could the tide possibly be turned with this episode? *Checks FOX promotions* Well apparently the writers think that Homer throwing Bart into a Lion's den is funny... yeah and throat cancer is equally as funny. *Sigh* Why do I even bother to pretend to care?

Opening sequence: 1:03 Not terrible, but am I the only one who  finds the chalkboard gag more confusing than funny? Bart says 20 days of shoplifting until Christmas, but at the time of the airing, it would be 30 until 12/25. It's not a reference to the Mayan Calender either as that ends after 12/15. I feel like I'm missing something.

The episode begins with Homer sleeping outside as he dreams about being in a crazy version of the World Series where the announcers are food and the pitcher is Santa on steroids and... am I seriously writing all this?! So anyways, Homer bursts the ceiling and the field begins to flood as he wakes up to find out that it's raining and the rain is ruining his house. Responsible man that he is, he heads off to Moe's to get some alone time. Naturally when Homer gets to Moe's he tells Moe that he's depressed with his current life and is unsatisfied with how his life is going... excuse me a moment *Goes off to scream in another room* I mean, you've seen what I've had to say about the way the writers treat Homer, right? The LAST thing the man deserves is a depression episode about how his life sucks, that would be like having an episode where Burns laments that he doesn't have enough money or Barney lamenting about not drinking enough. Ugh, this will be such a fun episode. So Moe brings Duffman over for a party and Homer sulks some more about how his life sucks. Afterwards, Homer's car gets impounded and when he gets home, his sprinklers go off (Which he apparently owns for this one episode).
You know, life sucks when I'm not typecasted as an instant expert
Marge informs Homer that they're going to the school fundraiser and as he is then informed that Santa's Little Helper has mumps and it'll cost $800 to fix (Because using a cliche line followed by a cliche is funny, right?). So after a bunch of 'eh' jokes at the fundraiser, Skinner informs everyone about the raffle for the latest 'Mapple MyPad'... You know how I feel about that fucking joke, so I will just refer to it as the IPad since there is no originality to it anyways. So after a callback to a non-classic episode (The song "You'll never stop the Simpsons" with the line about Moe getting a cell phone. I'd rather watch that right now. Yes, I'd rather watch a clipshow that glorifies the cameos than this trash) Lisa informs Homer that she bought him a raffle ticket, say it with me now; Homer- "I never win anything" Lovejoy- "And the winner is Homer Simpson". I'm being dead serious, all they do is add a couple of new words, but the feel is the exact same. So Homer accepts his new IPad and suddenly it's a big deal for everyone that he won this (This would be okay if it was done to someone like Flanders who usually gets screwed, but I could really care less about Homer here). So we then get a series of scenes where Homer is playing around with his new IPad as the highlights include him translating what Mr. Burns is saying to the zoo scene I referenced at the beginning which then culminates with Homer falling down an open manhole and getting seriously injured with his IPad getting destroyed. Wait, did I just summarize an entire act in a single sentence? Guess so, I mean how else can you talk about stale, repetitive, outdated technology jokes?
LOOK WE'VE GOT AN IPAD!
LOOK WE'RE MAKING IPAD JOKES THAT WERE MADE 2 YEARS AGO
DID WE MENTION THAT WE HAVE AN IPAD?!
IT'S FUNNY BECAUSE EVERYONE OWNS AN IPAD RIGHT?! 
WE'RE TOTALLY HIP AND COOL, RIGHT?!
We then find out that Homer's alright, but his IPad has been completely destroyed, despite Homer's pleas for it to not be true (Because the family in poverty needs to remind you that they can afford to destroy things like this on a weekly basis, wouldn't be surprised when the family gets a WiiU that gets dropped midway through the episode). However, because Homer's IPad is extremely important, God decides to grant Homer a miracle on his own IPad... I... Whu? WHAT?! My brain is hurting my head trying to escape the stupidity of that scene. I mean, why the fuck should God even give a crap about one guy and his lost IPad?! You know what? Let's see where this goes before I jump to any conclusions. So the next morning, Ned tells Homer that a miracle has happened and lo and behold, the word 'HOPE' has been written in sap on Homer's tree in the backyard. Okay, clearly a reference to the grilled cheese Jesus phenomenon in the recent years of *Checks Wikipedia* 2004... Okay, okay, there was the episode Lisa the Skeptic that came before that craze and maybe this is trying to be an homage to that. Too bad the staff is currently 0 for a million when it comes to doing good homages. So anyways, Homer goes to the bar and tells Moe that he's decided to believe that the tree is a miracle and he's in a much better mood.
Yeah, this isn't your father's Fossilized Angel
Later, he goes to church where he tells everyone about his tree and everyone is in shock and awe that the word 'HOPE' is on the tree. However, not everyone is buying it as we see that Kent is skeptical of the miracle. After Kent decides to make it his mission to expose the tree as a hoax (Totally never done before, right Lisa?) he tries to get information from the bar, but fails to get anything. Oh but we get a hilarious scene of Kent from his childhood where nothing funny happens as he finds out that "Not Mickey Mouse" is just a man in a mouse costume (Oh this episode is so comfortable, must be all the padding). So Kent Brockman reports about the tree as he shows footage of a person painting the 'HOPE' onto the tree with maple syrup and a paintbrush late at night. So after Brockman's arc of exposing the tree (Well that felt rushed and unsatisfying) the tree believers burn their hats and  are never heard of again... actually this is their first true mention, I mean they were in the scene where Kent was looking for information, but their formation and disband were the only 2 scenes we see them in. That sure doesn't sound lazy at all. So Homer sulks about his tree being a hoax as Marge tells Homer that he should feel good because the hope he got from the tree was real and somebody was looking out for him. The episode ends with us finding out that it was Homer writing the 'HOPE' on the tree as Steve Mobs (UUUUUUGGGGGGHHHHHH) tells God that his IPad is outdated and he cannot get Christmas off. You know, jokes like these might have been better if they were the focus rather than just throwaway jokes. Actually I lied, because 21 minutes is too long (Seriously?) the episode ends at 18:40 with a pointless bit at the very end that lasts for 2 minutes.

Final Thoughts: How does an episode with basically no plot still need 2 minutes of padding at the very end? I wish I could say that I could sum this episode up in a couple of words, but in reality this episode was all over the place and just really was a jumbled mess. Watching Homer sulk wasn't funny, watching a bad rehash of a decent episode wasn't funny and like a lot of recent episodes, a laugh or two does not redeem this piece of crap. Not to mention that a main focus of the episode is centered around a joke that I've hated since day 1. Horrible episode and I really can't think of where it'd rank for this season so far, probably pretty low.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Episode 5: Penny-Wiseguys

...I honestly don't feel a good snarky introduction from me, so do my work for me and think of one yourselves this week.

Opening sequence: 1:00 Really not much to talk about here, it's okay I guess

The episode begins with an attempt at nostalgia with the Holy Rollers facing the Pins Pals except Otto's replaced with some guy named Dan. The Pin Pals are about to win, but contrived writing forces them to forfeit right before the last throw. Really, some more does happen, but the pacing is just so awful in the first minute of the episode that it's hard to actually absorb it all in, even being allowed to pause and rewatch the episode doesn't help. So we then see Dan approach Luigi's as it turns out he works for Fat Tony... oh wait, no actually it's Fit Tony, remember Fat Tony died and then his convenient look alike cousin was retconned as the new Fat Tony. So Fat Bob (What, it's not like he's actually Fat Tony so why should I call him that?) needs a temporary replacement (He's on jury duty for the record) and of course, he picks the guy we were just introduced to because that's totally not lazy and cliche, right? So after a boring scene of Dan trying to convince everyone else not to kill him, we cut to Springfield Elementary as a concert is being held with everyone in the audience hating the music.
It's a good thing they just happened to have that anvil on standby
This prompts Bart to remember the music from Bugs Bunny which gets Homer to say "I sure wish an anvil dropped on my head right about now" followed immediately by an anvil hitting him...I honestly have nothing to say here. No "Another stunt double?" quip, no "These guys are getting PAID to write this" no "They aren't even TRYING to let the comedy feel natural". The writing will never change because no matter how much "New blood" they try to incorporate, the same toxic formula will remain in place, and as long as FOX and blind fanboys allow it to happen, they'll keep repeating the same shit over, and over, and over until we see "The Simpsons: Season 35 episode 12- Bart Kicks Homer in the Balls" a 16 minute episode with 14 minutes of commercials. Huh, I hate using up my weekly paragraph rant so early in the review, oh well, let's move on. So Lisa performs her Sax solo and then passes out after she finishes. Everyone is shocked and it's up to the school nurse to get her offstage, the school nurse turns out to be Willy... yeah Lunchlady Doris doubling as the nurse was how you do the joke correctly. So Dr. Hibbert tells Lisa that she needs more iron as he gives her "comically" oversized iron pills for her to take. After another boring scene of Dan not getting the trust of the mafia (Okay, the Joey the Arsonist joke was a bit amusing. Credit where credit's due), we see Lisa trying and unable to take the pills during lunch, this causes zombie lunchlady Doris to give Lisa some food to help her (Because she's been dead for years and only because of lazy writing around season 18 brought her back into the show. Seriously, this would be like bringing back Troy McClure because they couldn't come up with a new character, this is just disrespecting Doris Grau).
Lisa: This is delicious, what is it?
Doris: The gardener who overcharged me this past summer

Lisa likes it, but after Doris tells her it's made from bugs, Lisa tells her she promised McCartney she wouldn't eat meat (After this episode, I'm going to wash my mind of this shit and watch something good). But in all seriousness, I love how the show tries to reference earlier seasons as if they're responsible for those episodes, name 5 members of the current writing staff that actually had a hand in season 7, I'll wait. It'd be like an artist's drunk son trying to take credit for his father's work, he saw it happen, but he doesn't have the talent to paint any of his father's work. Anyways, Doris tells Lisa that vegetarians do eat insects without worrying and she should give this a chance. Okay, let's just list off iron alternatives that vegetarians eat all the time: Spinach, oatmeal, grains, nuts, soybeans, tofu, prune juice, oh wait, none of those would have the comedic value of a plot where Lisa eats bugs, how stupid of me. Later, we see Dan go to Moe's Tavern and Moe acts like he's late to drinking... okay we barely know a thing about this guy and yet the dialogue acts as if we've known this guy since day one. This wouldn't be so bad if I knew anything about the guy, but the writing is just so lazy I know next to nothing about him and therefore don't care about him in the slightest. After the whole "Dan is an asshole for showing up late" sketch is drawn out for too long, Dan tells them that he hates his job and Moe tells him to stick up for himself and such. Wow, that scene was so utterly vital and necessary to continue watching this tripe and dear God this is boring.
Please find this funny, nobody else does
So at school, we see some insect eating group welcoming Lisa as a montage of them dining on some meals made of insects begins... and my theory about the subplot has been confirmed, they just wanted to do gross-out humor with bugs so they said "Fuck logic, we'll just have Lisa eat worms!" So we see Dan start to assert himself and tells everyone to cut down on expenses, goody because mafia expenses is the height of animated comedy. So we then see Lisa plant some grasshopper eggs as if they were seeds when Snowball knocks over the bag and some stuff that makes them grow faster. After a scene that teases with Lisa eating shrimp (Fuck the writers, fuck the writers, fuck the-) we see Dan talk to Bob during a lunch break as Bob suggests he kill some personnel that are redundant (I'm sorry if this sounds boring, but I can't find a way to make this interesting. They have Steve Carrell and yet every scene he's been in has been boring, even Dan is just plain boring). So Lisa is in a dream sequence where she realizes that *Gasp* bugs can feel things and are living animals... I'm sorry, there's no wall hard enough to bang against that will express my utter shock at the stupidity of this writing. So after Lisa screams her way awake, she tells Bart to free the grasshoppers, he tries and fails as they're free in the basement. Boy howdy, I sure do hope this doesn't come back to bite them in the ass.
Somewhere Paul McCartney is crying and he doesn't know why
So Dan meets Homer inside his car and he tells Homer that he has to kill some people and he asks Homer to prevent him from killing the people. I could summarize the rest of the scene, but there's nothing TO summarize, it's just so bland. So later, Homer drives Dan to keep him from killing the people, when we then get a scene where can tell the writers just gave up and told Dan Castellaneta "Just say mumbo jumbo, it'll be hilarious". Funny how the two moments where the writers gave up both involved Homer. SO Homer ties Dan up in the basement (Insert bondage joke here) and Homer leaves him alone with all the grasshoppers (Do I smell contrived comedy brewing?) So after a rather bad sketch where Bart and Homer are watching "AFI 100 screams" with Dan screaming as well, Homer goes to feed Dan and frees him once he sees the grasshoppers everywhere.
OH, NO! NOT THE GRASSHOPPERS! NOT THE GRASSHOPPERS! AAAAHHHH!  OH THEY'RE IN MY EYES!
Dan escapes and we cut to him trying to kill the people he was supposed to kill. However, Homer arrives everywhere Dan is and convinces him not to kill anyone, and after a long drawn out dialogue exchange with no action, they accidentally shoot Snake who was just acquitted from Fat Bob's trial as he tries to rob Apu (Umm... full circle?) Lisa releases the grasshoppers into the wild as the episode ends with Fat Bob declaring only 1 gun in the mafia and we see Dan working in the mall as a piercing guy.


Final Thoughts: This episode was very dull and very short on laughs. The humor was very contrived and while I did find some things amusing, I never did laugh. Neither the plot, nor the subplot had much potential and the whole "Lisa eats bugs" barely would work as a stand-alone joke, much less an entire subplot. Like I said earlier, the opening was way too rushed, but looking back, the rest of the episode seemed to drag WAY too much at times, especially with the plethora of scenes involving Dan talking to the mafia. Overall, probably the worst of the season to date and just not even worth a watch.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Episode 4: Gone Abie Gone

Sorry for the lack of review last week, personal life prevented me from doing an initial review of the episode. And as the week went on, I just found the idea of writing a review to be more and more pointless so I just decided not to watch the episode entirely and just scrap that review for now. Of course, I will get around to watching the episode later, but I just didn't feel that it was essential to get a review out last week. Now, onto this week, oh writers, you couldn't even wait 3 years to recycle yet another title. Now this wouldn't be a big problem if it was done every now and then (Even the classic seasons would recycle a title or two) but when 75% of your titles are just rehashes of old "parody" titles, you fail at your job. But hey, at least it's an original premise with Grampa leaving the retirement home... you know what, I've got nothing in terms of initial praise, let's just start.

Opening sequence: 54 Seconds. A bit amusing, but nothing to put up on the fridge

The episode begins with Homer eating at Krusty Burger when after a poorly done thought bubble gag (This joke DOES work, they just screw it up in this instance). Homer then orders some onion rings where Squeeky Voice Teen gets bombarded with people asking him for stuff (Apparently the staff is comprised of two people. Worst. Fastfood. Chain. Ever) as this results in him accidentally throwing the cooked onion rings on Homer, burning him (Let me guess, that was a stunt double Homer as well. No, i'm not letting that go, they acted like Homer getting injured is a once-in-a-blue moon event when in reality it's every fourth scene). So Homer goes to a lawyer where the lawyer makes his burns out to be worse than they really are and thus Homer wins the lawsuit against Krusty (If they're trying to make fun of frivolous lawsuits, this isn't the right way for two reasons. One, this is legit as his burns were caused by the company and not him failing to realize that hot coffee is hot. Two, New Kid on the Block actually made fun of dumb lawsuits over twenty years ago). So Homer wins $5000 and after going to the bar, Moe convinces him to put the money into an online gambling site instead of a bank.
Homer: Say Lisa, what do you think of my script?
Lisa: ...That's a recipe for pudding.
So Homer decides to put the money into the site and instead of simply allowing the joke to last for 5 seconds, it gets drawn out in the scene (Drawn out jokes always kill the joke and ruin what comedy it initially had). So later, Marge reminds Homer that they missed something yesterday, apparently they missed their meeting with Grandpa at the home... What a great transition, I mean there was absolutely NOTHING indicating that he was supposed to meet Grandpa during what I can assume was his day in court. I say assume because the timeline for the opening act is for shit as I have no idea whether it's been days, weeks or even months between the initial burn and this kitchen scene. Well I'll admit I did chuckle at the Blue Moon joke as it wasn't posted on the screen for an eternity for us to laugh at the joke. So when Marne and Homer gets to the retirement home, they find out that Grandpa isn't there right now, so of course, they must go looking for him (Ten bucks says that it's because Grandpa wants to throw a pity party for himself that the family never visits him).
Marge: Look Homie, it's memories from our glory days. Let's forget about them completely
So Marge and Homer go through Abe's stuff as Homer's dialogue ranges from meh to insufferable (Remember when Homer actually talked like a real person and his dialogue didn't sound forced? What's that? I sound like a broken record for bringing this up in EVERY review? Well if Homer actually sounded like a human being, I wouldn't have to keep bringing thing up). I'm sorry, but when I watch scenes of Marge saying "I'm sure this trunk contains his most valued possessions" and Homer replies with "So precious" and then dumps the chest on the floor, the irony is completely lost when it's repeated 3 times per episode. So Marge finds a coaster of a restaurant and Homer decides to take this flimsy lead and go with it, wait I lie, he doesn't decide that, he SAYS it. You know what I said about his dialogue ranging? Well remove the 'meh' option and make it 4 insufferable lines. So back home, we get our subplot moving as Bart loses some of Lisa's money on the gambling site. Lisa finds out and as soon as she's ready to log out, she decides to earn back the money Bart lost and thus begins our predictable subplot of Lisa having a gambling addiction. You know, normally I would write within the review how the subplot goes, but it's so cliche and predictable, I'll summarize it all right now:

Lisa makes a lot of money in a montage which leads to her getting one hand that makes her cocky enough to go all in with a predictable losing result. She mopes until Bart reveals that he won the hand but they're back to the $5000 she started with b/c somehow the site found out they were both under 18.

5 Simple steps for a lazy subplot
Step 1: Introduce your character to something different 
Step 2: Make said character good at this activity
Step 3: Character learns harsh reality of activity
Step 4: ...

Step 5: Twist ending!
There, 3 lines and nothing of value was lost. Anyways, Homer and Marge go to the restaurant on the coaster where Homer asks a simple question, but since he cannot talk like a normal person, the bikers think he's a narc and start to threaten him and harm him. However, the owner comes out and recognizes Abe in the photo ans tells the bikers to put him down. Okay stupid question that borderlines on nitpicking, we will see in a moment that the restaurant was classy when Abe worked there, why does he own it in the condition it's in? It's not a big problem, but it does raise some questions. So Abe was a busboy and he fell in love with a black female singer at the club. While trying to put this on some timescale is stupid, I'm going to assume the late 60's or so which would put this after Mona leaves the family and would mean that Abe's hairstyle is wrong and... wait I'm putting continuity into this. Ignore what I just said.
Oh the hilarity of seeing Homer needlessly getting harmed for the 7th time in the span of 5 minutes. That doesn't get old at all...
So in between more of Homer's awful dialogue ("My grandfather was an aspiring musician like Charles Manson" to name one charmer) the guy tells Homer that he was sorry for pushing them apart and to look up Rita Lafloeur (Oh and they try to make a gag out of the fact that the owner has a long name, but really naming him "Mr. Kamquat Pickles" would be funnier). So after Marge pulls out the script to conveniently find Rita's number (Yeah, yeah probably a yellow pages app. *Sigh* I'm getting old) Rita informs them that's she's Abe's wife. So Homer is distraught that Abe had another wife (He also had at least two illegitimate children and neglected his family, what do you expect from him) and they head over to Rita's place. Rita explains that she saw something in him under all his layers (So Grandpa is an ogre?) and she fell in love with him. Homer doesn't understand how he didn't remember any of this as he is shown to have witnessed this as a kid (Oh so we're going down the whole George Lucas path of inserting characters in stories to pretend that they have some sort of connection).
Sorry Young Homer, but not even you are safe from this trainwreck
So Marge decides to explain that this was after Mona left (Silly writers, trying to act as if this were canon) and in the flashback, Abe and Rita get married as it results in Homer getting harmed because he's stupid like that (IS HOMER GETTING HURT FUNNY YET?! NO?! WELL LET'S TRY IT 7 MORE TIMES!!!) So in the hospital, Homer falls off his bed for no reason (Once). Then Rita gets a call to perform in Europe as Homer sticks his tongue in an electrical socket while Abe is turned around (Twice). Abe decides that his retarded son is more important than Rita and he tells her he can't go with her (Apologies to retarded children everywhere as Homer would be a disgrace to those children). So after Abe sees Rita off, he decides to forget the memories by drinking it away at the bar, however Homer falls off his bar stool (Thrice). Okay this isn't even stupidity anymore, I think child Homer might just have a disease that's cut off his nervous system completely, get the child help now. Later, Rita apologizes for her scene being utterly useless and gives Homer some of Abe's cologne. This prompts them to go to a cologne store where it turns out Abe is working there. Look, the episode's almost over and I can summarize this very quickly, so let's do that. Abe gives the whole "You didn't pay attention to me" speech for the 65th time, Homer and Marge apologize, Abe accepts the apology and they go home. Okay, one joke that made me snicker was the jab at FOX, but more because it was a jab against themselves. So the episode ends with Abe back in the retirement home as Rita plays the piano to get Abe's attention and they play into the credits.

Final Verdict: This episode was very bland and forgettable. The opening act felt jumbled and had awkward transitioning. The subplot was very safe and took no chances, which in the end made it incredibly forgettable and gave you that sense of "I've seen this before in something better". The whole plot involving Rita and Grandpa was pure filler and just an excuse to make Homer a punching bag, now granted young Homer has been the punchline of injury jokes in the past, but those jokes made sense and weren't just mindless "Harm Homer". And the ending was very rushed, because the fact that Abe was missing between the 5 minute mark and discovered at the 19 minute mark of a 21 minute episode, there was no room for the whole apology scene to even take place. Overall, this was a rather bad episode and 2nd worse of the season next to Moonshine River for me (Keep in mind I'm ranking this out of 3 episodes, my midseason review will be more precise).

Monday, October 8, 2012

Episode 2: Treehouse of Horror XXIII

You know, it's really sad when I need to double check what number this treehouse of horror is. It should be easy, whatever the season is, subtract 1 from that number and there you go. But because they've become so dull and uninspired, I don't even bother caring what the number is. So this time, we actually have a segment resembling a treehouse of HORROR as there's one based on Paranormal Activity... huzzah. Oh and just to further my inescapable enjoyment, Brian Kelley is the co-writer of this episode...

Opening Sequence
The opening sequence begins with the Mayan Empire predicting that the world will end by the 13th Bucktune (Or however it's spelled) unless a sacrifice is made. Remember how everyone made such a big deal about the whole 2012 thing in 2009-2011? It's not as big of a deal anymore now is it? So of course, Mayan Homer will be the sacrifice but Mayan Marge decides not to let Homer be the sacrifice. She tricks Moe (Through a bad dialogue exchange) into being the sacrifice and he gets decapitated instead, which is followed up with a "Head as a soccer ball joke" (Isn't the point of reusing jokes to prove you can improve on them?). So when they realize their mistake, Mayan Frink calculates what year the wrold will end and ends up with 2012, to which Mayan Quimby says they can blame Obama... Uuuggghhh. So we cut to the present where Homer is setting his watch according to Mayan time, why you may ask? BECAUSE JOKES ARE FUNNY IF THEY MAKE NO SENSE OUT OF CONTEXT!!! So when Homer looks outside, there are 3 Mayan statues that wreak havoc. The segment ends with the world being destroyed as Kang and Kodos almost get hit by the Lard Lad Donut thrown in space. Yep, that's the only time they show up.
Thanks Kang and Kodos, your paycheck is off to the left 

The Greatest Story Ever Holed
This segment begins with an atomic accelerator being demonstrated, but initially failing. This causes everyone to be upset with Lisa (Well considering the alternative, I don't see how this is worse). So after everyone leaves, the accelerator creates a small black hole that starts to suck things up (Okay the Willie joke did get a chuckle out of me). So the black hole meets up with a sobbing Lisa outside of the building the experiment was taking place. So after a few more people get sucked into the hole (Oh hi obligatory Ralph Wiggum cameo that's there purely for fanservice) Lisa decides to take the black hole home, she does this by sticking a stick into the hole... okay I have no problem with the black hole, as I've said before, Treehouse of Horror is allowed to have cartoon physics and leaps in logic because it's outside of the cannon universe, HOWEVER, that does not mean that they can break their own rules within the segment. There is no adequately explained reason why the black hole doesn't suck up the stick and Lisa too. I'm not going to talk about this anymore, but it did annoy me. Anyways, Lisa brings the black hole to the basement and she decides to show the black hole to everyone. So after Lisa tells everyone to avoid feeding the black hole, Homer gets too close and gets his fingers extended a la "Stretch Dude" (I half expected him to start raking up the clutter in the basement).
Homer: Dear God, this episode sucks so much
You know, looking at the black hole, there's a part of me that believes they wanted to do this to try to show off their distortion effects in animation as there's a slight distortion around the black hole at all times. Maybe it's impressive in the world of animation, but honestly I don't care. So after a montage of everyone feeding the black hole (Bart feeding it was funny, until he fed Edna into it) the black hole becomes bigger and starts sucking things up at will in the living room. We then see a giant crowd outside of the house as Homer admits he advertised the black hole as a waste removal site (The crossing fingers gag did get a chuckle, but it was followed up by an unnecessary billboard joke that brought me back down). So the black hole eats the house as people start throwing things into it. This prompts Lisa to say that if one more thing gets thrown in, it could reach critical mass. How does she know that all it takes is ONE more thing? Because the irony of something accidentally going in wouldn't seem as contrived if she said "Feeding it more and more will cause it to reach critical mass".
Lisa: I suggest you all go out for some fresh air before going on the internet and saying how much this black hole sucks
Of course, we cut to Milhouse hitting a baseball which lands in the black hole and thus everyone gets sucked in, well except the Simpsons who get sucked in last despite people further away getting sucked in before them. How you may ask? Main character immunity of course!However, the black hole doesn't suck up Maggie because it takes her pacifier and simply floats away... whatever, I'm not questioning this. So episode over, right? Nope, we find out that the black hole took everyone to another dimension as they appreciate all the junk Springfield sent them (Okay while dated, the Zune joke was a bit decent, at first).

UNnormal Activity
This segment begins with Homer shooting a bad V-log talking about how there have been weird things going on. Oh and by the way, the entire segment is shot in the perspective of the camera, I'm going to assume that was the style in Paranormal Activity so I can't complain about it. So later, we see Homer set up the camera in the bedroom as fast-forwarded footage shows something invisible messing around in their bedroom, the spirit even whacks Homer over the head with a golf club (What, was that Homer a stunt double as well?). So an hour after that, Marge is awoken to a thud and she goes to investigate it, Homer tags along (By panning around towards the corner to a non-existent door. Seriously, the camera goes past the door that leads to the hallways, but the animation completely forgets that and just creates a new pathway for Homer. Thank God for that HD animation, it truly shows the mark of quality). So after Homer tumbles down the stairs (Okay this joke is incredibly painful, Homer remarks "We have stairs?" ...You couldn't force a joke harder if you tried) we see the living room trashed as Marge insists that she doesn't know (Painfully obvious foreshadowing).
Marge: I don't know why rabid fans keep trashing our house, maybe if we make Homer more of a jerkass, they'll be appeased and leave us alone
So sometime later, Homer gets cameras installed throughout the house as later that night, Marge wakes up with a soulless expression as she just stares at him for 4 hours, followed by her staring at Homer taking a piss for another hour (Extended toilet humor; for when you run out of legitimate jokes). I mean, that toilet joke was for me the worst joke in the entire episode, and yet they fast forwarded it 3 times to put emphasis on it like they were saying "Isn't this just incredible?!". So sometime later (The days are rarely given initially) Wiggum comes over to investigate and comes to the conclusion that a family member made a deal with the devil, which causes Marge to get 'shifty eyes'. Oh and by the way, outside of the Mayan segment (Which doesn't constitute as a segment) Wiggum's death is the ONLY death in this episode, I'm just putting that out there. So on night 15, our devil spirit comes to collect Maggie but is stopped by Marge. Bart reveals the form of the devil as it turns out to be a Moe-like Devil (I would complain about it not being Devil Flanders, but I'm glad they didn't associate THoH 4 with this garbage).
No, no, no! Maggie's head should be turning a la The Exorcist
So Marge breaks down and confesses that she's to blame for Devil Moe as when she was a kid, she witnessed her sisters summoning the Devil in the attic and when he was summoned, Marge pleaded with him to spare them (By the way, the young versions of the Bouviers SUCK, I have nothing against Kavner, but her age really shows as her ability to change voices is minimal and they all sound like their adult forms. I know that sounds like nitpicking, but when we saw young Marge and sisters before, there were subtle changes that made them feel young. I don't get that feeling here). So Homer negotiates with the Devil to change the deal as Devil Moe says a three-some between him, Homer and another Demon will appease him *Headdesk*. So the episode ends with Homer, Devil Moe and some Demon in bed as apparently Homer is so disturbing in bed it causes Devil Moe to shout the safe word repeatedly... just one more segment.

Homer and Bart's Excellent Adventure
The segment begins with Bart at the Comic Book Store as he finds an old comic that he finds too expensive. Comic Book Guy tells him that the initial price is only good in 1974. So Bart wishing he could somehow go back in time sees a poster that reads "Fantastic Foreshadowing: The Boy Who Went Back to 1974"... do I even NEED to explain why this joke sucks? As he walks out Frink just HAPPENS to spawn right next to him on the road and declare that his time travel machine works. So after Frink just gives him the keys, Bart goes back to 1974 via a stream with James Bond Posters in the background (I would find this funny if I found the relevance to time travel). So Bart ends up in 1974 as Springfield looks much cleaner and sterile (Okay the Middle East protester was the highlight of the segment for me. Don't ever say I'm not fair). So after Bart's purpose for going back to the past is complete (Oh like you expected  there to be payoffs for anything) Bart overhears Dondelinger scolding Homer and Barney for smoking as he realizes that he's stumbled into the plot of The Way We Was. You know, I remember Family Guy had a recent episode that many considered good and reminiscent of the pre-cancellation episodes where Brian and Stewie go back to the pilot episode and experience it from a different POV. I wonder if this segment can mimic that success.
The difference between these two scenes is minimal, but the real doesn't feel wrong
So Bart decides to run in and we transition to detention where Bart explains to Homer that he's his unborn child and will cause him hell in the future. Upset, young Homer begins to strangle Bart just as Marge arrives. And here begins the man reasons for why I absolutely HATE this segment, altering the future a la Back to The Future is an interesting concept, however, when you alter the past by giving characters sudden mood changes for no reason, you immediately lose your premise. Young Homer was never a jerkass, but because the writing staff is composed of one-note uninspired 2nd rate monkeys, they can't mix BTTF and this show to make an interesting concept. It has potential, but that potential, like any other modern episode dies as soon as the word document is opened. Oh and a few more notes, because the animation style is sterile and the voice actors have aged, the cleanliness of the detention room combined with Young Homer sounding off  really offsets any nostalgia they attempted. Anyways, Marge says she would never go to the prom with a guy like Homer. So Homer, naturally is depressed that he scared off his love interest and realizes that he needs to find some way to get Marge back... oh wait, I keep thinking that these writers don't keep their heads up their asses, let me say what ACTUALLY happens. So Homer blames Bart, as Marge says she doesn't love him, Homer denies this, Marge calls him an idiot and Homer calls Marge and idiot... FFFFFFUUUUUUU- This just has Brian Kelley written all over it, although since nobody in the multiple re-writes changed this, the blame goes to every asshole involved with this. 
Now which seems more interesting? (I swear if you pick the top, you're dead to me)
So Bart finds out that his life would be better if Marge never married Homer as Homer continues to be a dumb jerkass trying to get Marge's attention (This segment is terrible and you should feel terrible for liking this). So after Bart convinces Marge not to marry Homer, he runs off and Homer chases him (With the whole detention thing being nothing more than a set piece, gotta love not giving a shit). So Bart goes back to 2012 and Homer follows him in the trunk. Bart finds out that his father is Artie Ziff and he's so much better off as Artie exposits about his life as if this was his first day in it. Oh and because there are too many instances like that, the writers really fuck up the whole "Alternate timeline" idea. The writers have so little faith in their audience, they feel the need to explain EVERY difference through characters who shouldn't know that there's an alternate timeline in place. Seriously, if I actually cared, I could go on explaining all the inconsistencies, but I'll just say that the time travel story here makes the one in Sonic 06 look like... well that's still terrible. So we see Young Homer staring into the house from a tree as Modern Homer is also staring into the house, they try to formulate a plan, but decide they need more Homers to make it work. So later, Homer approaches Artie and Bart to get Marge back. His plan is to fight them with an army of Homers from different time periods, naturally they fail in five minutes (Okay, that was a bit amusing, could've been done better, but given the standards...)
Finally, an army worthy of fighting the society of NoHomers
Marge suddenly goes outside and notices all the Homers beaten up and then for no reason decides that Homer was supposed to be the man she married... BASED ON WHAT?! Okay, I skipped over the other inconsistencies, but this is massive bullshit, the Young Homer went forward in time to 2012, therefore a Modern Homer shouldn't exist because he never grew up between 1974-2012, so thus the last encounter between Marge and Homer would be 1974 and that encounter left such a horrible taste in her mouth. So the episode ends with Marge taking care of all the Homers for no reason other than "Because destiny! That's why!"

Final Verdict: This Treehouse sucked, not as bad as last year's but that's really not something special. The best segment by far was The Greatest Story Ever Holed and even that was just okay at best. The Unnormal Activity was the closest to a Halloween segment, and it really accomplished nothing that Bad Dream House didn't do better (The Simpsons made a better parody of Paranormal Activity than the one that actually was supposed to parody it). The less I say about the final segment, the better. Overall, not worth a watch, and if you really want to see a better Modern THoH I'd reccomend XX or XIX is better.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Episode 1: Moonshine River

So great to be back, right? Right? With such a horrible episode to end last year's debacle of a season (Sans an episode or two) it's safe to assume that standards will be lower for this season. So what better way to open up a season than remind us of how many girlfriends our 10 year old boy has had over the 23 years and how few of them were before season 10. Woo... So let's truly begin.

Opening sequence: 1:26 (Nice reference to the short, but it felt too long for my taste)

The episode begins with the Springfield Grand Prix (Because they have that now, shut up). Not really much to say here, it's just rather boring and filled with meh jokes (The audience in the bleachers reminds me of an early Family Guy joke, maybe I'm just making connections that aren't there). So while the race is going on, we see Homer trying to drive through a gap in the race when suddenly a bike race is going on behind the family...the hell? You know what, I don't regret making the Family Guy comparison, this show has as much linearity as an oval. So later, we see a Ball for the after race where Milhouse and Lisa are dancing which prompts Bart to make fun of Lisa for liking Milhouse. Lisa replies that at least she has a date... let's see, how many times have I mentioned that the writers think Bart and Lisa are teenagers instead of children, oh right, TOO FUCKING MANY! The dialogue doesn't disprove my case either, it's stilted for two children (Brother and sister mind you) under 10 to be saying. I know I've said this before and I know some think "Well it's just fiction" but one of the drawing points of The Simpsons was the fact that it could challenge the boundary between fiction and reality. You knew the setting didn't exist, but the scenarios were played out like in real life. That mixture hasn't existed for years and as it goes on, and as it continues, the problems are harder to mask. Anyways, to retaliate, Bart turns around and suddenly Edna appears for Bart to dance with, I must say, Springfield must be loaded with inter-dimensional portals, because people appear out of thin air so quickly.
Bart: Wait a minute, this isn't how I had you two dance in my fanfiction
Lisa sees through the thinner than plastic wrap getup and says she's with someone that likes her and this is becoming very boring very quickly. At this point I'm just praying that the show gets hijacked by the ghost of Charlie Chaplin. I know it's not going to happen, but I have better odds betting on that happening  than this being a good episode. So Lisa zings Bart by saying all of Bart's girlfriends leave him once they get to know him for a week or so (Paging Jessica Lovejoy who actually liked Bart for being Bart. You there Jessica? Jessica? Bueller?) But in all seriousness, why is Lisa being such a bitch right now? Oh right, because the writers will never get her character and they just don't care. So after Bart realizes Lisa might be right, Edna disappears and suddenly Moe and a blow-up doll appear next to Bart to say she was right. You might be asking "But didn't Moe get hit by a train in the last episode?" Oh please, you were actually expecting that joke to be something more than a cheap throw-away? You stupid fools.
Bart: Hey aren't you supposed to be dead?
Moe: Eh, different writers
Bart: ...Tim wrote Lisa Goes Gaga as well
Moe: ...#*($
So after a painful second blowup doll joke (Ow my side) Bart goes through his box of junk and finds pictures conveniently taken of him and some girl as he laments about how his relationship don't last long (Bullshit! The first picture shows Jessica Lovejoy, that actually lasted some time. How do you screw that up?) So Homer comes by (Saying he'll be taking a popcorn bath... remember when Homer's acts were actually funny instead of random?) and starts to give Bart useless advice about how being rejected is hard for his age and pretends to drunk dial someone (This joke isn't funny, so it has to be used again within 30 seconds). Oh by the way, am I the only one who thinks the animation on the phone just doesn't match the rest of the room? The phone looks close to classic, while the room feels HD. It was the same problem as the Peanuts Halloween sketch, it's just jarring and not pretty to look at. So as Bart leaves (With a horrible looking door perspective, seriously there's something wrong with Bart's wall according to the door) Homer drunks dials Bart (Of course >.<). Bart goes on a mission to track down ex girlfriends, we begin with that girl nobody remembers from that episode that aired in season 20, followed by the girl from Little Big Girl (Although why she's with Jimbo is beyond me, isn't the father from Norway or something?) followed by the girl from prison, followed by that bi-polar bitch nobody liked. Notice how none of those girls I mentioned were from the Classic years, gee I wonder why, it's almost like the staff doesn't want to acknowledge the good years of this show.
Look at how interesting each set piece is, oh wait those are girls...
Bart's hunt ends with him looking for Mary Spuckler, the daughter of Cletus. So Bart asks Cletus where she is and he says she ran off, on the way out however, Bart gets a lead from another child that she went to New York City as he exits the scene by sitting in a truck that drifts into a pond... ha-ha-ha? So after Bart watches a tape of him and Mary together he begs Marge to go to New York City (Didn't he get roped into an engaged marriage with her and begged to get out of it? Wait, why do I know more about this shit than the writers who wrote this shit? AND WHY DO I CARE?!). So reasonable, Marge says they can't afford to go and Homer declares his hatred of the city. However, Bart says that now his two least favorite buildings are no longer there, Old Penn Station and Chase Stadium... I just have one thing to say; SCREW, YOU, WRITERS! There were many ways you could've made a Twin Towers joke, but this was disgusting and not funny. So Homer decides to have a flashback of when they last went to NY, but instead it's just a reference to The Sweet Smell of Success (See Selma's Choice for how to do an incorrect flashback). However, Homer and Marge decide to go to NY by swapping houses, however, the NYers go to Flander's house (Okay a bit funny) where they go on for too long (And joke ruined). So in NYC, we see some "Hilarious" sign jokes that the writers must have spent 30 seconds thinking of (Again, changing a letter does not a good parody make).
Homer: Well thank God NYC is such a nice, crime-free place. Wouldn't want to make fun of something that doesn't exist
So after the only decent joke in the episode (BURN IT WITH FIRE!) we get a callback to the Khlav Kalash  guy and now he owns a huge corner Khlav Kalash restaurant (I guess he wasn't immune to "Hollywood Simpson Syndrome" either). So the family splits up with Homer and Bart searching for Mary while Lisa and Marge seek out NY culture (Gee, does that sound familiar?). So after Homer and Bart take a cab, we see no response from the apartment that Bart was sent to. After Homer gives a long winded unfunny bit, we see a young rich girl approach Bart asking what he's doing. After a bit of chit chat, she reveals herself to be Mary and Bart's shocked that she's so high class. She reveals that she has a job that's not steady and she's ashamed of, a writer of SNL (Eh, I'd be more embarrassed if I was a writer of this episode). So we cut to Marge and Lisa as unfunny jokes about Broadway are spewed out... CUT! Cut the scene, that was pointless and unfunny, okay let's take it from the top people. We then cut back to Mary and Bart as Homer randomly gets hit by and air conditioner... I guess they really needed to shoehorn in that "Homer getting hurt=funny" scene somehow. So Mary tells Bart to meet her later as Homer comes over with ice cream but ends up trying to strangle Bart, but ends up strangling a lamp post. Now if you didn't think that was funny, don't worry, the writers decide to hammer it in more by having a cameraman randomly shooting the scene while Homer says "Hilarious" stuff.
Believe it or not, this is the ONLY scene involving crime in the City... *Sigh* I miss the days of Homer getting mugged after simply turning a corner.
So after an awful "NY has no crime" joke (Again, the season 9 episode was so much better) Bart and Mary talk about stuff with each point leading to a bad joke. So Mary decides to tell Bart about her life in a song... and it's so bland. I can't even make fun of it for being bad, it's just uninteresting. So after the song ends, Cletus randomly appears to take Mary back. So we see Marge and Lisa go to see a Shakespeare play but it gets delayed because the actors quit. However, since Lisa is a master director (Just roll with it) she gets amateurs to play the roles and the play goes off without a hitch. However, Lisa and Marge get attacked by the NY SWAT team by a giant hose (Okay, admittedly another decent joke, however, it's rather sad how quickly I was able to summarize that series of events, it was just so boring). So Cletus tells Mary she's coming home, but she excuses herself and take Bart with her, they then go to the train station where Mary leaves and tells Bart she'll miss him. So when Cletus asks Bart where Mary went (Along with a horrible hillbilly joke from Homer) Bart says no and they all decide to go back to Springfield. The episode ends with Cletus giving Bart a photo of Mary as Lisa is upset with the reviews of her play... da fuc? However, during the credits, the family asks for requests for a couch gag (They're running out of ideas I tells ya) and Homer says there was a stunt double who got hit with an AC unit (BS, it happens every week, to the writers, Homer is Gumby)

Final Verdict: This episode was very boring and unappealing. Granted there weren't many terrible moments, there wasn't anything to really make this episode stand out on its own either. The jokes were very meh with maybe a handful being decent, the pacing was actually atrocious, yeah I know I never mentioned it in the review, but this episode seemed to have too much going on while having nothing happen. The main plot is basically onscreen for about 5 minutes and the opening takes way too long to establish which girl Bart is going after. In the end, it's what would happen if the writers wrote The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson. Oh and no more "Final Grades" they're too inconsistent and often will not truly reflect how I feel about episodes compared to each other.