Sunday, May 23, 2010

Episode 23: Judge Me Tender

Riddle me this dear readers; What do you get when you combine a weak main plot with an Indecisive B plot with a pointless 30 second C plot? This Episode! Since Thursdays with Abie, the series hasn't had a decent sub-plot to complement the regular plot. That trend continues with this episode (7 episodes in total). I expected not to like this because it would push Idol in my face, as it turned out that was a lie. That all aside, let's begin our review.

The episode begins with Bart and Homer trying to make Santa's Little Helper as ugly as possible so that they can win an ugly dog contest. Between the opening scene and Moe arriving is just a lot of padding so I won't discuss it. Moe arrives with nobody wanting to sit by him with even Mrs. Skinner burning a chair that defies physics. We then see Krusty failing as a judge by just saying what each dog reminds him of. It is at this point I would like to point out he is supposed to be a judge, not a critic - there is a difference people. Moe then ends this nonsense by insulting Krusty and taking the job himself to which the audience has a change of heart about him. After watching the dog show, I wondered if there was any system to who actually won (was it based on the funniest insult? biggest reaction from the audience? Really I have no clue). The Simpsons win with their "butt dog" (the same town that ran Bart out for cheating in a race mind you) the audience goes to praise Moe for his one-time judging. I have always wondered why someone in Springfield can do something just once and then they are the master of it by everyone (case in point in Act 2). After Moe agrees to judge a beard contest, we get our funniest joke of the night when he stands next to guns and instead drives out his customers with flickering lights *cue Alone in the Dark flashbacks* (P.S. the Love machine is back where it belongs now). Afterward we get our running gag of Lisa trying to sell Band Candy which to me isn't that funny (plus I don't wanna know why she is in a bar). We begin our B story with Homer deciding to spend more time at home *plot scenarios: 1* ( I know this isn't the right term but I'm just trying to show they somehow mess up the process of starting at point A and getting to point B with pointless scenes that bring the story to a halt). One boring montage of Moe judging later we cut back to the B plot with Homer making stalkers look amateur by the way he is able to be wherever he wants. We end this act with Moe meeting up with a bad agent who offers him a lot of crappy shows for him to judge and all are canceled save Idol so Moe decides to do it. As Moe heads to Fox studios we get a montage of LA to "Sweet Home Alabama" (I Guess "Going to California" wasn't good enough). After Marge can no longer stand Homer being around, she sends him to a sports bar to get drunk there *plot scenarios: 2* where then he finds out he isn't welcome there. And now because the show was too short, the writers decided to settle the dog's sensitivity issues with a poorly executed pep talk from Lisa about him being a great dog (you'll never get those brain cells you lost watching this scene). Moe then talks to Simon about how he will do as a judge which leads to paparazzi taking their pictures. Marge then finds Homer taking apart the washing machine *plot scenarios: 3* and Marge is just irate about Homer. Grandpa then suggests that Marge introduce him to golf and she agrees. Simon shows Moe about how people hate Moe for being a mean judge with even Ralph cussing Moe out. Act 4 begins with quite possibly the best way to evacuate a room; a bad singer singing happy birthday on Idol. Somewhere an Idol fan jumps off a rooftop at just the stupidity of this. We then have each judge do their thing (I assume) as then we get to Moe who praises her while chewing out the desk. Simon then insults Moe's review as the "Band Candy" joke is shoved in, Moe then threatens Simon and is booted off the set. As Homer prepares for golf *plot scenarios: 4* a golfer tells Marge about how golf has taken over his life. Marge then grabs Homer and has sex with him prompting the joke "I'm the Tiger Woods of sex" (I don't get paid enough for this). Oh yeah, by the way, this subplot was set up as Homer takes up golf, and the golf scene DOESN'T EVEN LAST 30 SECONDS. I mean talk about lazy, what was the point of building up to that scene if you weren't even going to use it?!  Moe comes back to the bar where Homer is and we end this crap with Rupert Murdoch having Moe put Jay Leno on who then makes light of the oil spill with an NBC joke.

Final judgment: When you put an episode together that makes me look like a credible reviewer, that's pretty bad. The main plot was stupid and boring, at no point did it ever draw me in and make me give a crap about Moe. The subplot couldn't decide what it wanted to do so it just jumped around from one underdeveloped scene to the next. And the less I talk about their "C" plot the better

Final Grade: 3.6/10 This is the weakest season finale since season 19 and seeing how that ran over into the crap that was season 20, I have low expectations for season 22.

Well my season 21 review will be up later this week and I will give you stuff to read over the summer. Til next season.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Admission

Before this Sunday's new episode, I have prejudice against it to begin with. I honestly do not care for American Idol and I don't understand why people love American Idol so much. I do find it sad though that some American idol fans would rather pay attention week in and week out about their favorite contestant and vote for him/her a thousand times and yet if asked about what their congressman stands for they draw a blank. It's not just Idol i dislike though, there is no reality show that I care for and really TV has gone down the crapper since reality TV. Hopefully this week's episode does not shove the whole Idol thing into my face and I might like it. After this week's episode I will give a "season in review" review and then go back and give reviews and grade for every season 21 episode I missed. Afterward I plan on something special for the summer for you all to read. See you all later.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Bowser's Castle Theory

Now in my previous review I mentioned a theory I had created but unfortunately I realized today, I never explained it. Because the town of Springfield is never in the same place twice (can border Kentucky one episode, be close to Mexico, be 500 miles away from Mexico, over 2000 miles away from Miami, etc.) I thought to myself, "Why bother thinking of an actual location for this place when I can allow suspension of disbelief to make me accept it." So while thinking about it, I coined the term "Bowser's Castle Syndrome" as in: "A building or location that is never in the same place twice and can move to whatever location a person desires". the idea came from Paper Mario when Bowser has his castle in space and he was able to fly it down to earth to take Peach's castle. It just makes a lot more sense than actually trying to come up with an actual location and it just helps me to see Springfield as a more realistic place. You may not agree but it's just an opinion.

If you have a similar idea, just post your own theory with a brief explanation.

Episode 22: The Bob Next Door

What can I say about Sideshow Bob? Only the fact that his episodes are the only ones that can never suck and it stays true today. Sideshow Bob is easily my second favorite character (next to Lisa), I didn't expect this episode to be a great Bob episode but it did do better than what I expected it to do.

The episode starts off with a town meeting discussing how the town is broke so Quimby released some of the low threat inmates. This leads to a few unfunny jokes about what some of them do as it then leads into a new neighbor living next to the Simpsons (you know the house that never has a recurring character outside of Ruth from the early seasons). Marge and Lisa watch as the neighbor seems to be a high class guy based on what he has and Bart decides to humiliate him. Bart then approaches him as Walt then introduces himself to Bart causing him to immediately flash back to all the "Hello Bart" scenes including two pretty funny new ones. Bart then goes into a panic convinced that the neighbor is Sideshow Bob and nobody believes him. (Although I really have to question why Lisa never believed Bart, she always helped him against Bob, ok I'm getting carried away). Bart tries to get Walt to sing along to the song from "Cape Feare" as Walt is not inclined to do so. Marge tries to convince Bart that Bob is still in prison by taking him there to see Bob. Afterward Bob escapes from prison and Walt invites Bart to come to a baseball game with him. Here is where we get our twist (for anyone who didn't read wikipedia before this episode) Walt IS Sideshow Bob and Sideshow Bob is Walt. It is explained in a flashback that Sideshow Bob tore off Walt's face and tore his own face off so that Bob would go out as "Walt" and exact his revenge. I may not be a doctor but I'm pretty sure that the face-switching scene would cause them both to bleed to death and Bob would be screwed. Also, the whole face-switch gag sorta breaks the rule of the Simpsons not being a "Cartoony" cartoon. After going into Bob's house the Simpsons figure out that Bob is going to the five corners location originally from "Itchy and Scratchy Land" (Not the best idea to be showing us better episodes that we can be watching). Bob explains that he plans on standing in one state, shooting Bart two states over and having him fall in the fifth state so that he cannot be prosecuted under any jurisdiction. Although I'm pretty sure murder can be a federal crime so the FBI can arrest him and charge him but whatever. Walt stops Bob's plan temporarily while a waitress misleads the Simpsons to Mexico (just go with it I say that Springfield suffers from "Bowser's Castle Syndrome"). The police arrest Bob, Bart insults Lisa and the episode ends with the Simpsons having two Flanders neighbors.

Final Thoughts: The plot was good but the whole Face-transplant thing really detached me from this episode more than it should have. While it's not the worst Sideshow Bob episode, I can name 7 better ones.

Final Grade: 4.6/10 It's better than "Squirt and the Whale" I do recommend this if you like Sideshow Bob. He's the only character that bad writing cannot screw up.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Episode 21: Moe Letter Blues

Update: Robert Cranning is allowed to keep his membership of the Simpsons Fan Club because of his great UNBIASED reviews of past episodes.
Being serious now let's dig into this episode.

This episode starts off with Moe narrating about how he knows everyone's problem and at the Bar I did like the Barfly Rodeo, but that was the peak in my opinion. The episode then moves onto the Simpson family in the living room watching Krusty as a not so funny Itchy and Scratchy is put in for a little padding. Homer suggests that he take the kids to an island to allow Marge to have the day off. After Homer, Reverend Lovejoy and Apu board the ship, they are given a letter from Moe saying he plans on leaving and plans on taking one of their wives with him. The act ends with Moe having a monologue with their guest star.

A couple of problems though:
Strike 1: Marge would never leave Homer, they have had worse problems in the past and never left each other before. (3 gays of the Condo doesn't count, Homer left Marge)
Strike 2: Moe claims to leave town forever yet the season finale is centered around him so that aspect is thrown out the window.
Strike 3: Are any of us to believe that Moe COULD get with one of their wives?
Not even 1 act in and this plot has 3 strikes. Let's move on

Act 2 begins with all of them conveniently not having communication with their wives as Homer causes the ship to explode on the dock (a little funny). We then see Bart locking up Apu's kids and "torturing" them which impresses Lisa that Bart does know his history. I though am wondering where Jessica Lovejoy is throughout the island. The rest of Act 2 consists of Homer's flashback to him being an ass at his Mother-in-law's party. This does contain the funniest joke in the episode only because of the irony. Ned goes up to Homer as his "friend" and claims he will be the shoulder angel to his 400 devils. Anyone who remembers Ned in Tree house of Horror 4 is just on the floor laughing at that. Act 3 contains flashbacks for Manjula and Helen when they were disgruntled with their husbands. So all three of them realize it could be anyone of them. By the way, the theme park operator sorta creeps me out, I don't know what they're referencing, but I don't like him. I also had to ask what ever happened to the Love Tester and Mechanical Bull Moe had in his bar, why replace them with the Video game? The bar that only a handful of guys go to by the way. The act ends with a pretty funny joke about how the theme park is still a dump. The episode ends with all 3 husbands going home and realizing everything's all right and that Moe was just yanking their chains.

My final verdict: I have never been so bored with an episode of the Simpsons ever before. The plot was linear with no surprises, there was no drama and all the false tension kept me from enjoying this. There were a couple of jokes that revived my interest but as far as story, this was a very boring episode.

Final Grade: 3.0/10 Rather boring

Monday, May 3, 2010

Alternative openings

While as I said that an opening does not make or break an episode, as I said before I would have preferred an established song as opposed to a song of the week
Alternatives: (based on what's on my Ipod)
Whole city in jail with "Jailhouse Rock" playing
Simpsons going through a cemetery to shave time off the trip home when Homer turns into a zombie and "Thriller" plays
All the characters wear black attire while "Back in Black" is playing
Bon Jovi's "You Give Love a Bad Name" (situation to be set up but I can envision this)
Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run" (same as previous)

Considered:
Bon Jovi's "Living on a Prayer" (just couldn't envision the town doing this)
Aerosmith's "Walk This Way" (same as above plus they already had Aerosmith do this)
A different Michael Jackson song (almost all of them could work)
Papa Roach's "Getting Away with Murder" (Purely Sideshow Bob and could probably do a music video with enough clips from the show if I were better with video editing)

In conclusion ANYTHING BUT "Tick-Tock"
(post any ideas that come to your mind)

Episode 20: To Surveil with Love

What can I say about this episode? Well when the opening is more memorable than the actual episode, you're in deep trouble. But couch gags do not make or break episodes so that will not factor into my review. This episode begins with Homer at the bar when "Duffman" comes in and does his best imitation of Duffman because he couldn't afford the license to Duffman's original music. Either way that leads in a somewhat weird series of events that has Homer leave a duffel bag with a rod of plutonium alone at a train station. Meanwhile, Nelson trips Milhouse which leads to Lisa (who is sitting across from him for no reason) berating him for tripping him and making fun of him. After the annoying "logic" we see a woman who invites Lisa to join an unknown debate team, she accepts and we cut to Lisa debating some girl about carbon emissions from cars. We come to realize why this debate team has never been mentioned before as all it is is just a kindergarten argument where the winner doesn't win by having the better argument but by making fun of their opponent better. This is the point where you will want to grab the booze if you watch the rest of this. We then see a woman who makes the people from the bank look like Mensa, who starts spazzing out about a bag left alone for not 10 seconds. The police blow it up and then the city assume that the bag was meant to be a terrorist attack. Some British person comes in and explains that England has never really had to deal with problems (I guess WWII bombings were just a mild nuisance) and referencing the London subway bombings, the man explains that they added cameras everywhere and crime is now non-existent. Lisa argues that it is an invasion of privacy and it violates the Constitution, but as the writers realized their was logic in this plot, they insert yet another bad blond joke saying that all blonds are dumb and they should not be listened to. Marge tries to comfort Lisa by giving her a stupid book on how to deal with being different, even though A lot of America is blond so that's like saying wearing black makes you different. After the cameras are all installed the police force hire 8 people who will monitor people's actions. The only funny part of this is when Maggie watches a gay bar where there are multiple people dressed up in Sesame Street clothing. It is at this point where you realize that George Orwell must be rolling in his grave. Lisa then decides to dye her hair in a mildly cool scene that made me laugh because I have a soft spot for those Frankenstein like scenes. The whole Big Brother thing continues with very boring scenes as filler so moving on. When Lisa does reveal her new hair I admit it was cool but I didn't know that hair dye not only changes the color of the hair but it cuts and styles it as well. This subplot was very underdeveloped and it seemed utterly pointless. As Flanders realizes that the Simpsons have been using the blind spot to commit crime, he comes to flat out say that this episode is a mockery of 1984. After all the cameras are destroyed we finally get an idea of who was behind it all. It could be anyone it could have been some political person trying to set up another dome over Springfield, it could have been Sideshow Bob planning his return to Springfield. As it turns out though, it was the Queen of England who made the cameras into a reality show. Yes the writers were so bankrupt for ideas that they had to steal the 1st episode of South Park.

This episode is just so blah, I really love 1984, it is perhaps one of my favorite books of all time and the writers just give it the middle finger. I do not feel that same sense of a great plot while watching that plot that i get while reading 1984. The subplot of Lisa's hair was stupid as it was just pointless and didn't really make you feel any different about Lisa.
*Note: this episode has Krusty again, and again they do not address what happened in Paris so I'm giving up on any continuity involved with that episode and throwing that episode out the window.

Final grade: 2.4/10 Read 1984, you'll get such a better feeling

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Opening

video
1 minute into "Surveil with Love" and I'm already cringing. While the idea is creative no doubt it fails as an actual couch gag. If i wanted to see the cast of the Simpsons sing "Tick-Tock" I would look for someone on Youtube to make it as a bad music video, having this as a couch gag makes this opening fail. Basically a bad song-of the week on the radio is turned into a couch gag, in two years this gag will fall flat on its face by most people. There have been way too many song-of the week songs that have been integrated into popular TV shows, they are usually considered great at the initial airing but after time has passed either it's a popular song or a very forgettable song. I classify this as the latter, I really thought that the Simpsons would never reduce themselves this low to being culturally relevant but now I have to grab my smelling salts and incenses at collect myself while I try to put that behind me and not allow that to affect my view of this episode. I probably wouldn't have had much of a problem with this if they used an established song like something from Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson, etc. but seeing how this was a song that you would hear every day on the radio nonstop, it really got under my skin (when she sang it on SNL, it wasn't really anything to change my mind).

I will give it credit though, the more times I have seen it, the more bearable it becomes. But still leave the amateur music videos to people on Youtube, they need a purpose in life.