An English proverb states "All good things must come to an end" while we all know this series is seeing its expiration date soon, thankfully the series did not end with this season. It would be a shame for a series this great to end on such a low note. To say this is a horrible season is a bit harsh, it had its high notes and it did deliver three top-notch episodes (They made the nomination list for my top 50 episodes). But like the past 8 seasons, the season was plagued by more crappy episodes than good ones. Since I've been watching this for the past 6 years, every year the show seems to get worse and worse with the exception of this season (But really Season 20 was so bad, mentioning it gets a 1-way ticket to purgatory).
This season did start off positive with "Homer the Whopper". I really came in to the season with low expectations after season 20 ended with a crappy version of "Much Apu About Nothing" but after "Homer the Whopper" I saw hope in this season. Then along came "Bart Gets a 'Z'" and disappointment soon set in again.
After that we go through an up-and-down series of four episodes that don't really define the season too much.
There is light though as we got our 3 episode highlights staring with "Rednecks and Broomsticks" which proves that the writers are capable of writing a good plot. "O Brother Where Bart Thou?" which is yet another good plot with jokes that is the closest thing to season 8 writing in a long time. And ending on "Thursdays with Abie" which yet again proves that subplots can be written just as well as the main plot.
There were two average episodes afterwards but then the bad writers reared their ugly heads in. With Horrible episodes like "Boy Meets Curl" and "Stealing First Base" the season seemed could not be salvaged. The rest of the season had its ups with "The Squirt and the Whale" and "The Bob Next Door" but was outweighed by crap like "To Surveil with Love", "Moe Letter Blues" and "Judge me Tender".
This season is one of the worst seasons I've seen so far from this show. While there are some memorable episodes, it's all together a bad season with bad writers. "Things get better with age" does not apply to this show, I really hope next season is its last and it goes out on a high note.
There were a few things I noted particularly with this season. I noted a few times in the season that there were too many montages, and after counting them, it turns out there were 19 montages in a 23 episode season. That's close to 4 montages every 5 episodes and it defeats the purpose of the montage. Also, doing something not many people would have noticed, I counted the lines for Lisa per episode. In season 20 I had an equation basically determining the quality of an episode is based on the number of lines for Lisa (More on that in my season 20 review). After doing a full count, Lisa averaged about 23 lines an episode (But closer to 20 if you remove the Eliza lines from "The Color Yellow") and the sad part is, in 5 episodes, Lisa got just 10 lines (5 lines in 4 of those episodes). I don't know what the writers had against Lisa this season but she was the first cast member to be completely shut out of an episode.
Final Grade: 5.4/10 It's just not that good it can be considered better than other shows on TV, but I really think that it's name is keeping this series afloat.