Monday, November 29, 2010

Episode 7: How Munched is That Birdie in the Window

How much does Bart love his dog Santa's Little Helper? More than he would ever love a bird. There are many things wrong with just the concept alone that you know this probably isn't an episode you'd want to watch twice. But who knows, maybe the writers got their heads out of their asses and maybe they put some effort into this one. With that out of the way, let's find out.

After a long introduction (Seriously, why are the introductions anywhere from 1 minute to 1.5 minutes if there's so much padding in the episode already?) we see Rod and Todd in their beds scared because of the thunderstorm outside. But it's okay, Ned calms them down by telling them it's angels bowling (And we abruptly cut to angels bowling... whu?) Well enough with that pointlessness as we cut to Homer telling the kids a scary while they're all in Bart's bed (I'm not going to ask why, but I will let you guys ponder why they're all in Bart's bed). Homer's story then goes into flashback mode as I'm left to wonder if this story or the thunderstorm will have any implications on the plot or if they're just padding. As Homer continues to scare his kids, a pigeon flies into the room and scares Homer off (Let's see we're at the 3:20 mark when that happens, so I guess the writers have a lot of lost ground to make up). Lisa notices the pigeon's hurt and decides to call the number that's attached to the bird's ankle (Am I the only one who would assume that a number on a band on the leg of a pigeon would be a tracking device and not like a dog collar?) It turns out that "Wise-Guy" owns the pigeon and he refuses to take the bird back if he can't fly. After Lisa tells Bart to take care of the pigeon, Bart tries to hand it off to Lisa. Lisa then reveals that she can't stand pigeons (Okay I'm just going to look back at Lisa's character 101 *Flips a few pages* Ah, here we go. Lisa had a problem with Bart's lizards killing pigeons in Bart the Mother, so I'm calling bull on this character development).
Get your wings off me you dirty stinkin' bird!
After a montage of Bart taking care of the pigeon (Goody) Bart tries to release the pigeon (Okay his name is Ray) and Ray comes back to Bart. Bart tries to leave Ray but ultimately decides to pick him back up (Predictable relationship: check). Back home, Homer constructs a coup for Ray but with some lampshading, the coup falls apart into the individual pieces it was created from (Have you ever had one of those jokes where you try too hard not to have it like others where it just ends up being unfunny? That's this in a nutshell). After some more pointless scenes the family turns on the plot device channel (Is that only available through Voom or something?) Bart then decides to turn Ray into a carrier pigeon after the commercial (Let's see how long this lasts *Starts stopwatch*). Meanwhile, Lisa asks Marge why she's so repulsed by pigeons and how it doesn't make sense (Hey wait a minute, stop pointing out the shitty writing Lisa! That's MY job!) After an unfunny bit with Lisa being a member of EVERY environmental group possible (Except for the Protection of Nazi Squids) Marge then tells Lisa that everyone has an animal they can't stand (For anyone who grew up in the 50's it's The Birds). 
Uh, mom? Dad's been letting in wild animals again
I really don't get this, is this trying to be a subplot where Lisa goes through a journey to get over her non-existent fear of pigeons? Why put it in? It just makes no sense to me, but maybe I'm nitpicking here, let's move on. After a bit where a opossum scratches Marge's leg we get a few scenes of Ray delivering messages to random people (I hated the Burns one while mildly enjoyed the Bart-Edna one). We then get a montage of Ray delivering messages (Because 1 montage wasn't enough). Afterwards, Moe tries to entice Bart to train Ray as a racing pigeon and this leads to Homer having a daydream with him winning that race and celebrating with Danica Patrick (Wasn't that cameo so necessary? I mean, how could the plot have advanced without it? I'm glad this show relies so heavily on these types of cameos). After Bart opens the coup, Santa's Little Helper grabs Ray and through a chase, accidentally eats Ray (That actually lasted longer than I expected). We then cut back to the family having a burial for the pigeon that makes the burial of a marine go to shame.
Let go of my toy bird!
After another scene where Bart expresses displeasure towards SLH, the chorus sing an inappropriate song for the funeral. After another Bart-SLH scene we see Bart watching and episode of Itchy and Scratchy while his off-color dog sits on the couch (Seriously, someone tell the animators how to use a color palate because SLH is not that dark of a brown). This I&S is honestly one of the unfunniest ones I've ever seen, and I'm not trying to be like "Worst episode ever" here, but this tries SO hard to take all the funny figures from 1930's (When the cartoon takes place) and just is over-the-top unfunny. At school Skinner tells Marge and Homer to let Bart continue to sulk because it helps both Bart and the school. Marge is upset as you'd guess but Homer doesn't care and neither does Skinner (Yet another useful scene I see). Marge and Homer decide to take Bart to therapy as Homer acts as stupid as the writers intend him to be (When was the last time Homer was an actual character and not comic relief in this show? It sure has been a while). Dr. Thurston then tells Bart that he's right to be angry at SLH but SLH's natural instinct got in the way of logic, causing him to attack the bird. Dr. Thurston suggests that Bart forgive SLH and be the bigger man. Right when Bart's about to hug SLH, SLH attacks a rubber duck and Bart then decides against forgiving him.
I'm sorry that we saved you from that race track, next time we'll leave you there
Dr. Thurston tells Bart to leave and then tells Marge and Homer that SLH must go because he's too aggressive (Wait a second, SLH destroying things based on instinct and the possibility that he may have to go... Holy crap it's Bart's Dog Gets an F all over again. And for a second I thought this was only going to rip off 1 storyline). We then see Homer load SLH in the car with the kids as Bart's still angry at SLH. Marge then reveals that they're giving SLH to an person who owns a farm upstate, Lisa gets a bit upset as Bart could care less (Hasn't Bart been through worse with SLH before and tried to defend him?) After they give SLH to his new owner, Bart gets emotional in saying good-bye to him, but still ends up being a complete jackass about the bird (For crying out loud, BART KNEW THAT BIRD FOR ALL OF MAYBE 2 MONTHS! Why does he care more about that bird than he does his own dog?) After Bart asks for some alone time with SLH, Homer lets out an ostrich and the ostrich starts attacking Bart.
Save me Yeller, er I mean Lassie, er I mean Santa's Little Helper!
After Bart tells SLH to attack, SLH remembers what Bart said and sits down confused. Bart decides to strangle the ostrich himself thus destroying any tension created from the scene (Yeah I know the whole "Dog saves boy" scene is cliche. But it works and it establishes the dog's love for his master. I mean the scene in Old Yeller where he saves Travis from the hogs (This is from memory so I apologize if I get details wrong) it really established how Jim would have a hard time shooting his own dog in the end and how much they love each other. Here it's just "You wont help? Well stay here and rot, why would I care?") Afterwards, Bart apologizes to SLH because he listened to him (Sure, why not?) the family goes home as the ostrich on their roof wakes up and tries to strangle Homer.

Final Verdict: This episode is less than average, it's not as bad as the previous ones, but that's not saying a lot. It's not that funny, the A plot was recycled and pretty out of character for Bart, the B plot was filler and made no sense for Lisa, the cameos were pointless and helped to illustrate just how pathetic they are in the show. And worst of all, the scenes do not flow well together at all. You could essentially put all the small plot points on individual notecards, throw them on the sidewalk and make a more comprehensible story. All together it's not horrible, but there are better things to watch.

Final Grade: 3.8/10 Like I said below average episode that really isn't worth it

Friday, November 26, 2010

"Hate Month" Stealing First Base Followup

We conclude "Hate Month" with a recent episode that our good ol' friend John Frink wrote. It of course was last season and it totally sucked ass. Now we will venture on with our review of this episode...
Where did that text come from?
No, you idiot! It's me, your editor!
I have an editor?!
Yes, you do. And I'm here to remind you that you already DID a review of this episode! You've SAID what's wrong with it!
Oh yeah, I did. But I'm here now to provide FURTHER insight into why I hate this one. I can only write so much before the audience gets bored reading paragraph after paragraph. have an audience?
HEY! My fans are very loyal, I mean I've got... uh... well what about... uh... well there's always...
Yeah. You have an audience all right. P.S. The above was a runon sentence.
Well, since you're here, you wanna discuss your views on this episode with me? It'll be fun.
Lies. But since I have to stay around anyways to edit and make your posts READABLE, I'll help.
Okay, let's begin then.

So let's start off with the padding for this episode?

Yeah, sure. Because I'm not sure how well Kriken's explained how he determines what padding is - padding consists of scenes that contribute nothing to the episode. They are not funny or enjoyable, they do not add to the plot, and they could be cut without any effect on the episode (well, besides making it shorter and a bit more enjoyable, but you understand my point). In fact, padding brings the plot to a screeching halt. As an amateur writer, I can safely say that, if you have to rely on padding, your story clearly isn't strong enough on its own; scrap what you have and start over. So, back on track - how much padding was there?

4 minutes and 45 seconds

.....the average episode, not counting the opening and the credits, is about 19 minutes. That's about a QUARTER of the episode devoted to padding! What the hell, writers!

Well the first piece of padding consists of a topical bit where Homer uses a GPS to take his kids to school. Where do I begin?
  1. Why does he need a GPS to take his kids to SCHOOL!?
  2. It uses meters instead of feet (For a US user no-less) so we get a bit where Lisa tries to convert it to feet. Why is she converting a short distance (50 m) to feet?
  3. The GPS is apparently sentient as it can tell when it's 10 feet off the ground or when it's in water
  4. This bit takes up 1 minute and stalls our introduction to the plot.
Personally, I think GPS units are, in fact, sentient and out to kill us, but I digress. We happen to have a GPS unit. If the route is familiar, we don't waste the power or time activating it and programming. In addition, I always considered the Simpsons to be stuck in the 90's; they don't need newer technology. I mean, how old IS their car? Finally, while I am fond of how technology has evolved, the fact of the matter  is WE NEVER SEE THE GPS UNIT AGAIN.

Our next piece of padding (I'm skipping over another piece) involves Homer taking Bart to the movies where they go to see a 3-D Itchy and Scratchy movie with no originality and it causes the plot to vanish entirely.

As per my job as editor, I reviewed the scene. There is literally no transition to this scene, and it could have been much better spent on a actual joke - say, Homer takes Bart to see 'Foxy Boxing', thus keeping Bart's mind on girls. That would be a simple joke, yes, but at least you'd laugh.

The attempts to mock 3-D are terrible, one particular line just makes me want to shove a pair of 3-D glasses up John Frink's ass.

Dude, at least TRY to stay neutral!

*sigh* You're right. Remember the days when the I&S cartoon used to be 20-30 seconds long and usually dealt with the episode itself?(Deep Space Homer comes to mind)

Yeah...heck, even in Cape Feare, where the writers admitted to padding, the Itchy & Scratchy worked - it showed that Bart was anxious, and even his favorite things couldn't cheer him up. In addition (I may be stretching here), the way that Itchy kills Scratchy in his typical over-the-top fashion isn't too different from how Sideshow Bob would want to kill Bart. .....I love that episode. Besides, it had Bob and Bart SINGING together! What more could you want! It- we're off-track. Next padding bit!

Fine *Grumbles* let's talk about the skit. Why was it even in the episode?! I get the whole "What they did was wrong in the eyes of idiots" but the skit went on for way too long and wasn't funny nor necessary to introduce the "No-touch" policy being implemented soon. We could have easily had Chalmers just come on the stage and say; Nobody can touch anyone else or we'll be screwed. Oh yeah, this bit went on for 1 minute and 5 seconds, 1 minute and 5 seconds too long if you ask me.

I concur - no demonstration was needed. In addition, unless I'm mistaken, most schools send letters home if there is a change in policy so that the parents are informed as well - obviously, the writers never went to school.

Okay, my padding bitching is reaching padding territory so I'll just wrap this part up by saying I HATED the "Kissing montage". I have CPR certification and trust me when I say that CPR IS NOT KISSING!!! And even the movie bits they use are just stupid and I find this whole bit irritating. Anything else RBY?

Classroom integration:
I don't think there's anything I can contribute to that. Besides, the less I add, the less padding there is. So, next topic - the legendary 'second classroom' never discussed before this episode?

Well, they could have done a better introduction, but okay. How about the classroom opening bit where it takes way too long to find out what happened to Mrs. K (In comparison to Lisa's Substitute, we get mention of Ms. Hoover's absence almost immediately). But back to the main point, this "Other classroom" is so underdeveloped, you could essentially just have all the students (Other than Nikki) as cardboard cutouts.

Nelson-Blind kid:
The only exception is the blind kid. Honestly, though, I like his relationship with Nelson a lot better than Bart's relationship with Nikki. The blind kid doesn't feel as tacked-on or forced as the actual A plot - I think it would have been a genuinely good A-plot.

You're giving the writers WAY too much credit, but I agree. Nelson and the blind kid were far and away more interesting than Bart's 6th love interest or Lisa's character derailment that some call a plot. I feel that with proper writing, it could have made for a good buddy-pairing. It could have given Nelson some interesting character development outside of bullying. So how about Bart's love interest that we'll call Bipolar Bitch?

Bart-Nikki plot/No-Touch policy:
That's insulting to anyone with a bipolar disorder. But, honestly, there seriously IS something wrong with this character. Even worse, the writers treat her like a normal kid. At least Jessica Lovejoy was acknowledged as a sociopath! ...and, yes, she was a sociopath, but that's beside the point.

That just sickens me because bipolar is nothing to laugh at yet the writers use it for quick unfunny jokes. But let's talk about how they meet, while Bart's reading The Hungry, Hungry Caterpillar (I'm dead serious here) he bashes her Twilight knock-off as being untrue to vampire lore (Yes take literary advice from the kid with a reading level of a 1st grader). Nikki then falls for him and it's contrived love at first sight.

You know what, Twilight sounds perfect for her. Anyways, Bart then asks Grandpa for love advice - Grandpa, who drove his wife away - and he's told to steal a kiss from her. By the way, guys, for future reference - unless we're already dating, doing this will get you seriously injured in so many ways. Back on topic, the next day, we find out Nikki is a great skateboarder. Keep in mind, these two went to the same school - if she did skateboard, Bart should know! If they wanted her to be athletic, they should have given her rollerblades - it would have been equally effective with less fridge logic.

Would make as much sense as if she came to school with scuba gear, but I digress. After they rip off a scene from "Wanted" Bart steals the kiss and it goes about as well as you'd expect with Nikki taking a 180 and overreacting. Of course this leads to our inbred hillbilly of a plot where Nikki's parents overreact even worse than she does.

That's possi-? OH. ......ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow.

Uh... my editor will be back from the mental breakdown in a minute. Anyways, this is just SO stupid and overblown, I'm surprised that nobody was fired for the complete incompetence of this plot. I mean there's satirizing a modern day problem in society, and then there's this; a complete mess of an attempt to satirize our views of young affection. This honestly takes the cake when it comes to unfunny, shitty writing so we'll just move on a little. Nikki takes ANOTHER character 180 and is suddenly in love with Bart again. After Bart and Nikki fight about going public, Bart gets injured and nobody can give him CPR due to the policy. Nikki though gives him CPR (Which is not a kiss thank you very much) and this shitty plot ends with the policy just going away (Seriously, it just goes away, no announcement or anything. No admissions of flaws or apologies from anyone, it just ends) and Nikki giving Bart a good-bye kiss. Up yours writers. Well now that we're done with this I can finally prepare myself for the December...

Wait! Wait wait waaaaait....we forgot about Lisa!

Lisa meeting Michelle Obama:
Oh, you're back. DAMMIT!! Yeah, let's go into that one now *Bites tongue* You want to begin? suck. Anyways, the thing WRONG with this - it's unbelievably unrealistic. Look, I went to school for thirteen years like most kids, and I was a lot like Lisa. I actually enjoyed school, went above the standards for assignments when I could, and never went a quarter without honor roll status. In my whole school career, I only got ONE C on my report card. So, yes, I can identify with Lisa. Why am I mentioning all this? BECAUSE THIS SUBPLOT EPICALLY FAILS! Look, in real life, if you get a bad grade, you get mocked! People will call you stupid! You will not be praised! If you're smart and you get a bad grade, people won't praise you - they will either mock you or ask you how the hell that happened! Befriend you?! HA! Look, this subplot is clearly wish fulfillment on the writer's part - he got a bad grade, was mercilessly mocked, and this is what he WISHED would happen instead!

Thank you for that. That part was stupid, but having THE FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES COME ALL THE WAY TO SPRINGFIELD TO TELL ONE GIRL THAT BEING SMART IS OKAY?! What the hell were the writers smoking?! Did the writers forget that Lisa is a very philosophical girl? Or the fact that Lisa was in MENSA and saw how successful they all were? This is honestly like having Flanders question his faith in God and then having the Pope come visit Springfield to tell him that God loves him. SOMETHING HE ALREADY KNOWS AND PREACHES DAILY!! ...hmm... anything I missed or are we good?

I'm good. And I have readings to finish, so you better be done too.

Looks like we're good. I hope you enjoyed this mini-crossover. I look forward to seeing you all for future posts. And remember, not all writers can be John Swartzwelder, but that doesn't mean we can't bash the bad ones. Or bash the bad episodes like that awful episode parodying reality TV called "The Frying Game"... wait... no. No! NO!!!!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Episode 6: The Fool Monty

An episode where people don't care about Mr. Burns' health, what a shock. However,a break from all these Lisa episodes is just what I need right now. Here's hoping that this episode doesn't cause me to gouge my eyes out. Let's do it. 

So after an overly long couch gag (Which has Avatar and 3-D in it so you know the viewers are just going to LOVE it. Is it too early to hate this episode with a flaming passion that burns with the heat of 1,000 suns?)(Has to be worse than 'Tik-Tok', but...) we get a scene with a bunch of media owners where all they do is make bad jokes and reinforce stereotypes of the media (Great this is already pissing me off, and trust me when I say there are plenty of horrible jokes that make me yearn for the comedic genius of John Frink). The media decides to release a disease and decide to blame it on cats (Hurt my cats and DIE)(I've got a new deadly disease right here, it's called a knife in your back, writers). So after an unfunny bit involving Snowball II, we see the media overreact and tell us symptoms that anyone would feel as we transition to more scenes of people overreacting to this (Good God, the media satire in "Bart Mangled Banner" wasn't this bad). After Marge acts as the voice of reason for Homer, we cut to the hospital where I now swear the writers are trying to piss me off. Mr Burns arrives at the hospital where of course, he's given preferential treatment and takes most of the vaccines while he runs over the rest (You know, Mr Burns is an unlikeable guy in the town already, you don't need to make him Eli Roth unlikable).
I'm sorry, there's nothing I can do to save this show.
After Mr. Burns is given the vaccine, his doctor tells him he's dying from a multitude of diseases and only has a few weeks to live (Even though the doctor doesn't appear again, I'm just going to name him "Dull Vincent Price" because I need to do something to keep my interest in this episode). Smithers asks Burns if he should tell the employees about this, but Burns decides he'll tell them the simplest way he knows how: throwing a huge announcement party at his house (Remember when this show used to rely on subtle humor? Yeah, it's hard to remember as well). Burns then makes his announcement and everyone inside is cheering when he says he's being serious (If only Burns represented the show and the audience represented, well the viewers). Burns then tells them that he's going to leave his fortune to create a tree that'll magically create "Burns-fruit" that's poisonous and this causes the guests to melt Burns' ice sculpture in a way that makes anything funny in comparison (And here I thought non sequitors only applied to arguments). So Burns then goes to his room and contemplates why everyone hates him so much (Well I got a list right here: You gouge people, you're miserly, you hit children with your car, you've blocked out the sun, I could go on). We then come back to Mr. Burns attempting suicide as it goes on for so long and is so ridiculous, you'd swear it was supposed to be a dream sequence (Seriously, I half expected for Smithers to wake up and realize it was all a dream). The next morning, Bart finds Burns in the woods where it turns out that Mr Burns' brain is screwed up. After seeing Burns as pathetic as possible, Bart decides to take Burns back home (Didn't this story start off with some sort of "Media satire" or something? Way to waste your entire opening). After Bart gives Burns some new clothes, Marge hears Bart talking to Burns and we get probably the WORST ET reference of all time (Seriously, I wanted to throw my laptop straight across the room when I saw that, it pissed me off so much).
ET phone angry lawyers!
After Marge comes in, the writers decide they need to make their ET parody even clearer to the viewers (Is there any way to use telekinesis to cause the writers heads to blow up?)(You can, but the National Society of Psychics will not defend you in court). After a pointless scene where the we find out that Dick Cheney owns the power plant (Along with a lot of unfunny jokes) we see that people all over the world showed up to spit in Burns' grave despite there not being a body in there, and then "dance" on his grave (I'm just going to find a pillow to put my face in for a bit). After Marge tempts fate, Burns comes into the room scaring the family. After a scene where Marge and Homer debate what to do with Burns, we cut to Town Hall where they vote to abuse him like he did them. Lisa then tries to convince the town otherwise as she lampshades how brave she is to stand up to them (Oh that makes me feel angry!) Lisa then tries to convince the town that Burns is not the same evil man that ruined their lives without success (Including a New Jersey stereotype to oppose her. Sure why not? It's not like these minor characters have to make sense or anything). At Cheney's (I really have to wonder why they decided to put this in) we see that Smithers is a little upset with his new boss as we get our first politics joke of the season (Finally, I was waiting for this, I mean last season was littered with this shit).
Wow, what great political humor! It's so modern as well!
We then cut to a scene where we find out that everyone gets an hour to get revenge on Mr Burns as we begin a semi-montage (Goody). After a few scenes of people using Mr. Burns for their own personal gain, Lisa decides to be kind with him during Homer's turn (I'd like to ask why Lisa doesn't want revenge on Burns. I know they used the excuse of "He's a shell of his former self" but are you honestly going to tell me that Lisa doesn't want the slightest bit of revenge against him for all the stuff he's done against her (And the environment)? I mean come on. Oh and there's a callback to Maggie shooting Burns, I hate this jumbled mess of an episode). Lisa then shows Mr Burns his old mansion as he sees a portrait of himself and his amnesia goes away (Yeah they never quite explain why he's the way he was but I'm calling it "TV amnesia"). We then get a scene where Burns goes to Cheney's to get Smithers back as Cheney gives Smithers an ominous threat for leaving him (And rips off Men in Black as well, can this episode end soon?!)
Only the genius of the new Simpsons writers could possibly make this happen
Burns then approaches Evergreen Terrace in a helicopter as he reveals his plan to get revenge on them is covering the town in a dome... excuse me a moment *Screams out obscenities* ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!?! You were honestly THAT bankrupt for ideas, you stole from your own movie?! This is without a doubt, some of the LAZIEST writing I've ever seen and some of the most infuriating writing ever (They even take footage from the movie to show the dome approaching Springfield, I mean WHAT THE HELL?!) . Moving on, Lenny lampshades how it's already been done (Nope too late, you've already enraged me, you can't pretend like this is "Simpsons Did it". Wait a minute...)(Oh my that on right now?). After Burns gets out of his chopper, Marge tells Burns that he's already surpassed his 6 weeks to live and she believes it's because he felt good about helping people (Sell your bullshit in the Barney department lady, we have a "mature" show to watch). It turns out that it was his hate keeping him alive and he vows to continue to be evil (So why was the doctor so afraid then if hatred was keeping him alive to begin with? Ow, my brain). We end the episode with Nelson extorting Burns to come to his play as we see the episode off with further padding.

Final Verdict: This episode sucks. The plot is incoherent and a total mess, the jokes are non-existent or are just plain unfunny, and the writing just plains sucks with ideas stolen from previous episodes (As well as footage). This episode is just stupid and shouldn't have been made. Just because this show's been on for 22 years doesn't give it the right to not even try to have an original story.

Final Grade: 3.8/10 This season is looking bleaker by the week

Friday, November 19, 2010

"Hate Month" All About Lisa

Good God, not this one. We continue our month long segment where I continue to delve into the worst episodes of our good friend John Frink. This episode is notorious among fans as one of the worst episodes of the series and this episode furthered my fear that this show would never be good as long as this writing staff was in place. At the time of its airing, this was considered the worst Lisa episode of all time and considering how many times the writers have screwed her over that's saying a lot. However, today this is NOT the worst Lisa episode in the franchise as there has been another that surpassed this one's suckiness (I'd rather not name it, but you should probably be able to guess which one). With all that out of the way, let's see why it should NOT have been all about Lisa.

So the episode begins with an award show with lines that I think were supposed to be jokes. Inside we get our first bit of narration from Sideshow Mel as he tells us that we should focus in on Lisa after he drops a title placement (Wow, the writers are so creative. For a second I thought this plot would center around Gabo). It is then announced that the winner of "Entertainer of the Year" is Lisa (Wow, must have been a REALLY boring year then. But I digress). So of course, that scene is from the end of the episode so we begin our plot (Over) with a flashback to the family going to Krusty's 4000th episode (You know, there are just WAY too many jokes that this episode lends itself to with "Simpsons going past their expiration date" so I'm just going to keep a counter here and in the end tell you how many jokes I could have made about their crappy episodes). The 4000th episode (Why do I have a feeling that the writers want to get the show to this many episodes?) is then hosted by Drew Carey as he just spews out unfunny joke after unfunny joke (And his cameo is entirely pointless. Remember the days when their cameos made sense? Yeah I'm having a hard time myself). So after a bit with the "Krusketeers" (That joke hurt) Krusty announces that he's going to reboot the "Krusketeers" and the show is searching for a new one (This bit ends with some padding. Hey how nice, the episode is giving me something to lay my head on when I fall asleep from boredom).
Wow, what a great parody, it makes me glad to have watched this show this past decade
The next day, Krusty chooses Nelson (After sleeping with his mom) and this disappoints Bart. Lisa then confronts Krusty and says how it was unfair that Bart was snubbed and Krusty could have hired him as an intern. Krusty then decides to hire Lisa as an intern because... the plot said so? After Krusty gives Lisa a list of chores, she sighs, walks off and SS Mel's narration gives us some annoying exposition. We then cut back to Mel's narration as he narrates about how show business has always had an underpaid assistant (So an assistant of Krusty who's abused by him constantly, becomes famous in their own right? Where have I heard that before? hmmm....) After a bit between Krusty and Lisa, Krusty fires Nelson because... you know what, screw it, their reasoning is stupid. SS Mel then gives Lisa some words of encouragement and he tells her some things to do around Krusty which will put her on good terms with him. After Lisa gives Krusty her necklace thread as floss (Don't ask it's pretty stupid) she gets on his good side. We cut back home where Bart is complaining about how Lisa is Krusty's assistant despite Bart being the bigger fan. Marge then tells Homer to comfort Bart as we see that Bart thinks that now that Lisa has Krusty, he has nothing (Don't worry, you'll still be my favorite drifter).
Oh the irony! His sister is his idol's assistant. You get it, or is this too subtle?
Homer suggests that they get rid of all Bart's Krusty stuff and oddly enough we cut to Homer and Bart selling all Bart's Krusty stuff... Wait what?! Why the hell would Bart agree to this?! I mean he was adamant in burning his Krusty stuff in "Krusty Gets Busted" and this is just way out of character for him to just give Krusty up just because Lisa's his assistant instead of him. I mean could you imagine if Lisa threw her sax out just because there was someone better than her at Jazz? I don't think so! So yeah, at the Comic Book Store, Bart tries to trade his Krusty stuff *Bites Tongue* for an expensive Radioactive Man comic. CBG doesn't like the haggling and counteroffers with a coin collecting book (Yeah I personally hated this concept partially because I don't really care for coin collecting and think it's stupid, but I digress). After CBG takes off his scrunchie (For some reason, I don't know the writers probably thought this was funny or something) Bart and Homer decide to trade for the coin collecting book. We then cut to Krusty as he's impressed about how Lisa cleaned up his dressing room (Wow, that was so necessary. So glad it took up all of 15 seconds!) We then see Bart is disappointed because the hobby takes effort, after Homer gives Bart a pep talk about hobbies killing time (Kill time, alternative to therapy, it's all good) we get a coin collecting montage (Goody, for a second I thought we might have some plot development where Homer tells Bart he enjoys spending time with him or something. But hey, I'm not the highly paid Hollywood writer, what do I know?).
Glad to see this false development appear.
After Bart thinks he's finished the book (With a lot of rare coins... how did he get a confederate dime by the way?) another page reveals itself as the writers realized that the plot couldn't possibly end there (Seriously, this "hidden page" just seems like a cop-out to try to extend an already pointless plot). The coin they're missing turns out to be a rare "Kissing Lincolns" penny (Get it, because the mint somehow printed two pictures of Lincoln to face each other and make it look like they're kissing. Oh the creativity, it never ceases to amaze me just how low they can go). We then cut back to Krusty as his bit gets stalled because Mr. Teeny isn't there. Lisa bails him out by acting as a pirate and squirting Krusty into the pool with a bottle of seltzer water. We then get a bit of narration as the camera pans around Lisa, giving the audience motion sickness and showing Lisa getting high off the laughter (You want a better explanation, because that's what it looks like). After Krusty's agent tries to warn him about Lisa, Krusty gets a call that he's missing a rehearsal for the network and then it dawns on Krusty that Lisa's trying to sabotage him (Wow, ONE time and Lisa already thinks she can take the show from him. That's a lot of arrogance). At the studio, Lisa tries to drop subtle hints that the executives should try her out, right as they're about to leave she changes demeanor and decides to try her own funny bit (Let's see the comedic genius of the writers, er I mean Lisa Simpson).
Great, Lisa's stoned again. Can the director tell Lisa she's facing the wrong way?! The audience is BEHIND her!
Krusty then barges in as we see Lisa (In her ridiculous clown outfit by the way, seriously, what was the director thinking?) telling a "Centipede putting on shoes" joke (Wow, that joke hasn't been told a million times in preschool).  After Lindsey Nagel contradicts what I said, Krusty sees his agent become Lisa's agent as Krusty realizes he's ruined now (No, you were ruined YEARS ago, it's just now people are catching on). The act ends with SS Mel narrating some more about Krusty learning a lesson as we see Moe is immune to his time stopping powers. You know, I realize we are 15 minutes in and there hasn't been any real humor, so enjoy this clip while I go prepare myself for the rest of this. Okay, so we find out that show's been renamed "The Lisa Show" and the show is essentially "Clown Lisa" (I couldn't make this up if I tried, and somehow this outfit is sillier than the previous one) just entertaining the audience with comedy (I can see the ratings now. The first time in history that the ratings are comparable to the host's shoe size). Lisa then approaches SS Mel as Mel transitions from narrating to external dialogue (Watch out Linkara! He's going to knock down the 4th wall you're on) and Lisa goes back out to pad the episode some more (Hey I got just the song for padding, it goes like this: 'Dundun dudundundun! EAT IT EPISODE! Take this stupid little cockroach of an episode, roll it up so tight, and RAM IT UP YOUR-' *Is given tranquilizers by RBY*) I'm better now, let's move on. Through SS Mel's narration, we find out that Krusty is hosting an unsuccessful late night talk show (So this is what Leno's comeback was like). After a scene of Homer and Bart going through some pennies to find the one they're missing, Homer takes Bart to an auction to buy the penny (Why? They saw how rare it was online, what are they expecting the penny to cost $5?) At the auction, Mr. Burns wins the penny but Homer tricks Burns later and takes the penny away from him (Just roll with it, at this point I'm too desensitized by the shear stupidity of this episode to make a joke about this).
Wow, we just wasted 5 minutes of a 20 minute episode. Let's go out for some Frosty chocolate milkshakes to clebrate
After Homer puts the penny in the book, Bart puts the book on the shelf where it's never to be seen again. This makes that entire subplot; *Entirely Pointless*. This also shows just how NOT to end a plot, with no care and no effort whatsoever. We then transition to the beginning of the episode through some SS Mel narrating as Mel approaches Lisa in her dressing room to show her something (No, not that!) Mel then shows Lisa all the previous winners of the award as this is to show that all of them let the award get to their head and they all went on a downward spiral in their career. SS Mel then reveals that he too won the award and advises her to get out of showbusiness as soon as possible. Lisa then gets back to the podium as she sets up Krusty for some jokes and she disappears away with her family as Krusty gets all the attention. The episode ends with a narration from SS Mel saying how he envies Lisa for leaving with her dignity as we see him as a fire hydrant in a skit with Krusty as a dog, classy.

Final verdict: This episode is TERRIBLE. The jokes are non-existent, the main plot is recycled and poorly written with the pacing being erratic. The subplot is terrible and pointless. And the padding is everywhere with nothing to convince the audience to want to watch this episode again, in short, it's unfunny and boring. And for my final count of "Showbusiness jokes with this show" it came out to 13.

Final Grade: 1.6/10 Just unwatchable, plain and simple

Monday, November 15, 2010

Episode 5: Lisa Simpson, This Isn't Your Life

What did I ever do to deserve an episode like this? From the title, you know this couldn't possibly be a good episode and it gets no better after seeing the promotional image for this. Heck even the plot seems to be recycled from much better episodes. So yeah, I was not looking forward to this episode one bit and after watching it, I stand by that. So let's see why this episode should have not even been in my life to begin with.

After beginning the episode with an Itchy and Scratchy cartoon, we find out that Krusty's sponsor is giving away Happy Little Elves toys as an apology for an oil spill (Wow, it took them this long to make a BP joke, give them a hand everyone. They made the latest and worst BP joke yet *Clapping*). Maggie scratches at the TV when a certain toy is shown as Lisa conveniently comes in to tell Homer that she's missing that one toy from her set (Yeah, bet you didn't know Lisa had teleportation powers did you? Because she was clearly in the room for the I&S cartoon but disappeared right before the toy bit came on and never saw Maggie scratching the TV). So after Homer makes a terrible joke about his kids (This is going to be a long one isn't it?) Homer decides to take the family to go get the toy (And make a bad joke about the gas company. I'm just going to have "Summer of 4 ft 2" playing in the next tab so I don't completely lose my sanity). When they arrive at the gas station (Some distance away I may add... why isn't there a closer one? Oh right, they explained it through a terrible joke, and here I thought it was just shitty writing) they get a box with a toy but it turns out to be the wrong one. The attendant refuses to give them another box unless they buy more gas (Okay, I never got the Hess truck or other gas station promotional items. But what sense does this make? When fast food joints do this, you can usually ask for a specific toy and they'll be happy to oblige). So after Homer drives around recklessly (So he can buy more gas... What can I say about this that isn't already being said by the actions?) he buys another toy but it's wrong again (Hey here's an idea; Jump the counter and just open every box until you get the right one. I mean there's nobody else there with him so it's not like he's honestly going to fight back. Oh wait, logic has no place here, moving on).
Yes, hundreds of dollars in wasted gas for a 50 cent toy. This is a smart idea
So after a LONG sequence (It only goes on for 1 minute but it feels like 5) they decide to leave the gas station, that makes the past 3:30 of this episode, you guessed it; Entirely pointless, good job writers, good job. As the family drives home, they go through the neighborhood where Marge grew up (Great this is going to be one of those stories the original writers never delved into, but these new writers will find a way to fuck it up). So Marge finds her old house and the family's invited in by the new resident. So after Marge reminisces about what she did in the house a little, the owner gives Marge a box of stuff from Marge's childhood labeled "Marge's stuff" (Um, why is that still in the house if clearly her family doesn't live in it anymore? Screw it, I'm asking for logic again). So Marge starts reminiscing through her old stuff as Lisa finds out she won the science fair and that Marge was a very smart student (Much like herself... I see where this plot is going, don't you dare go there writers. I'm warning you). The next day, we see that the playground is soaked and has become a mudfield as Bart uses a skateboard and kite to "parasail" across the field and decides to use this as padding until he gets mud all over Nelson. Nelson confronts Bart as Bart accidentally kicks Nelson in the face causing him to bleed thus making Bart top bully (Oh bull shit! The last time Bart caused Nelson to bleed, Bart had dreams of Nelson killing him). This is probably one of the best scenes to describe just how inept the writers are when it comes to the characters, as in; THEY DON'T KNOW THEM AT ALL! We then see Lisa ask Skinner if Marge was a great student or not, Skinner tells her that she was and she'll probably end up just like her (Yet again bull shit! This scene acts like Skinner has never seen Marge outside of school which we all know is not true).
Oh the horrors! A poorly recycled plot from season 3 *Screams*
Skinner tells Lisa that he's learned that children turn out just like their parents... (I'm just going to grab this paper bag and just scream in it for a while). Yeah if you're a little confused on why I'm angry about this point let me explain.
1. "Lisa The Simpson" already dealt with this issue of Lisa worrying about declining in her intellect. And the way those writers had Lisa deal with it wasn't done that well to be honest
2. Lisa already learned her lesson that she should strive to be the best she can be so many times before. What, did she just forget them all?
3. There is no way this can end well based on how Lisa views academics above everything else
Moving on, Lisa gets depressed after seeing how Marge ended up and we could have ended it on that note, but the writers thought it would be funnier if the segment ended on an unfunny padded out discussion between Skinner and Chalmers (Simpsons writers: Can't even understand the concept of emotion). We then cut back to Lisa going over Marge's grades to figure out where it all went wrong and she pinpoints it to be when Marge was a senior in High School (Anyone who's watched this show for more than 2 episodes knows that's when Marge met Homer. I'm going to hate this more aren't I?) So Lisa looks through Marge's scrapbook and finds a picture of Marge and Homer together in High School (Along with an inappropriate music cue. Did I say I was going to hate this, what I really meant to say was I'M GOING TO TAKE A PEN AND SHOVE IT UP THE WRITER'S ASS!!! *Gets dragged aside by RBY*) I have been given enough happy pills so that I can continue with the review, so let's continue.
Drat! Marge has been foiled by the power of love!
So Lisa decides to talk to Homer as he tells her that some boy will distract Lisa when she meets him. Lisa doesn't believe that (*Bites tongue* Must not rage about this, must not rage about this) and she says she's going to make sure nothing ever distract her... Yeah I'm just going to go off a short list of things that can distract her from academics;
1. Boys (She's had what, 4 BF give or take in the series so far)
2. Ponies (Need I say anything about this one?)
3. Saxophone (Now this is like street performing, not professional)
4. Weird friend (I'd rather not go into this one, but friendship has distracted her before)
5. Random hobby (Take your pick with this one)
So yeah nothing could possibly distract her eh writers? So we cut to Bart as Nelson's trying to get revenge from yesterday, but ends up hurting himself even more (Wow, that had so much purpose, I'm glad this subplot was put in to distract us from that Lisa story we're supposed to be following). We then see Lisa pack away all her toys and other "distractions" (I need booze) as she decides that her saxophone is also a distraction... (Do I need to say anything about how stupid this is? I really hate this episode). Marge notices Lisa's sax on the lawn as Homer tells Marge that Lisa doesn't want to end up like Marge as Marge is saddened by the fact that her own daughter doesn't want to be like her. The next morning, Marge vents her frustration as Lisa tells Marge that her lifestyle just isn't for her. Lisa notices that Marge is giving Lisa the cold shoulder as we see this in many ways (Okay, let's add the plot to "Marge be Not Proud" to the list of plots they're stealing from). At school, Lisa's trying to study while walking in the hallway as she bitches about how school isn't a good learning environment either (Hey, bit of advice; You've been able to succeed in the past with the same conditions. Why is it all of a sudden now you can't concentrate. And really, you HAVE to study every waking minute? I'm speechless at the stupidity of this writing).
If I can't study in a loud, crowded hallway. Where can I study?
After an annoying scene in the library, Nelson yet again threatens Bart (You know, these "Nelson-Bart" scenes are all the same, save the dialogue. It's nice to know that the ending will feel so rushed because of all these important repetitive scenes). We then see Lisa trying to study on the bus (No, I'm not letting this go. WHY DOES SHE FEEL THE NEED TO STUDY ON THE BUS?! I mean she gets straight A's already, what does she hope to accomplish from this? Straight A++'s?) but right as she's about to give up, our macguffin arrives in the form of a fancy bus for a high-end elementary school. After Lisa wishes to go to that school (With an unfunny joke) we see Marge and Homer talking to the dean of the Academy as Lisa begs them to go there. Marge tells Lisa that they can't afford to enroll her there (That's a ripoff from the "Lisa's Sax") but gets angry when the Dean tells Lisa that she'll probably underachieve at Springfield Elementary. So after another bit of padding (I honestly am getting sick of using that word) it turns out that Marge persuaded the Dean to allow Lisa in on a "Full Scholarship". The family then celebrates after leaving the campus (Because it wouldn't be nearly as funny if they celebrated before leaving). Oh yeah, we're at the 16:31 mark when Lisa actually start attending the school. Compare that to when Lisa got her pony in "Lisa's Pony" we were at the 12 minute mark and a lot of the time building up to that there was good plot development of Homer fearing about losing Lisa's love. This is why these newer episodes suck, they have no conception of a well paced plot.
I don't look ridiculous in this outfit right?
So after Lisa gets off the bus (And is giddy at the idea of attending an academy. Dude, you took college courses, you can tone it down) she meets other overachievers and she thinks that she'll fit in just nicely. We then cut to Marge and Bart as Bart tells Marge that he's afraid that Nelson's going to kill him (Gee I wonder where I've heard that before? That makes 5 unoriginal plot ideas so far). After Marge comforts him, she tells him to try to compliment him to calm Nelson down (And there's a joke about Marge not seeing Nelson as a bully type... Do I even need to say anything? That is without a doubt, the most retarded line I've ever heard in an episode). So we then cut to a scene of Lisa being introduced to her personal teacher as we see Lisa's just so happy (Say Lisa, have you ever thought about what your family is giving up to send you there? Didn't think so). So at recess Bart is left behind as the sky turns an ominous gray (See Bart, even God hates how you wont let the show die). Bart then is confronted by Nelson as Bart compliments him 3 times, but the third time, Nelson calms down and they become friends (Goody, and to think, I thought this plot was going to be pointless. Clearly this plot was necessary to the episode). We then cut to Homer tucking Lisa into bed as Lisa talks about just how great the school is (Well it's a good thing that you've been allowed to keep everything you've ever gotten in this show). Later that night, Lisa is awoken by a sound at 4:12 AM, as she goes to investigate it, she finds out that Marge is still up doing laundry for the academy so that Lisa can go there.
Marge: So what did you learn from this experience Lisa?
Lisa: Absolutely nothing 
After Lisa tries to tell Marge that she cannot continue living with this knowledge, Marge tells Lisa that she doesn't want Lisa to turn out like her. Lisa thinks about that and she tells Marge that she doesn't want to go to the school anymore because... the Kool-aid man is red? (Seriously, she just makes up a fake excuse to appease Marge.) Yeah I hate to go down the "Lisa's Pony" path again, but when you compare what Lisa did after finding out about Homer's job and what she did after this, she genuinely cared about Homer's health and well being. In this one, you don't get that same feeling, you get the feeling that she just doesn't want to have the guilt over her head rather than she cares about Marge. After a fake emotional scene (Sorry but Lisa's eye movements ruined that scene. She seemed to hate the idea of turning out like Marge, thus depleting any character arc she may have accomplished) Bart and Nelson barge in "Drunk" thanking Marge. The episode ends with Homer coming in showing Marge that he got Maggie the toy she wanted as we find out he got it by breaking into the gas station (How cute, the writers think we care about that shitty subplot).

Final Verdict: This episode is bad, the main story is just a bunch of recycled plots smushed together into a mess of an episode. The B plot was just stupid and nothing but filler as it resulted in nothing. And the C plot was utterly pointless as all that accomplished was wasting our time. The jokes were either terrible or tried way too hard. And above all, this is just a terrible lesson as Lisa learns nothing from this.

Final Grade: 3.1 Just another example of why Joel Cohen shouldn't be writing for this show

Friday, November 12, 2010

"Hate Month" Stop or My Dog Will Shoot

I'm back for this review. You all thought "Bart Mangled Banner" broke me didn't you? You thought I would cancel this entire theme month completely. You thought wrong, while it's true I did go to my corner and cry a little after the episode, it was nothing booze couldn't fix. Now I'm going to tear apart another horrible episode from John Frink and take out lingering frustrations from the previous episode now. Okay rant over (I'm sorry but that episode was SO HORRIBLE, I'm still shocked it was eve made) let's review this mediocre episode.

So we begin the episode with an unfunny Oktoberfest joke involving Homer losing his beer (Can I have it? I'll be needing it). So after some padding (Ah yes, thank you writers, these episodes are way too compelling for us to enjoy already) we see Marge go over to a Cornucopia contest where she sees the winner dragged off behind the barn after finding out he cheated (While I do find the whole "Killing the cheater" bit funny, it's undercut by the music selection at the beginning of the scene. The same score used in "Bart Vs. Thanksgiving" when Lisa brings her tablepiece to the table. Good job writers, good job). After more padding (I'm not beginning a count here) Homer accidentally takes the family into a corn maze where they get lost immediately. After some more padding (This episode would make a very comfy pillow for your loved ones) Marge suggests that they split up to get out.
With a-maize-ing writing like this, who needs jokes?
Homer being rock stupid has his bipolar moment as he runs off further into the maze. We then see Homer angry about being stuck in the maze as he tries to get out but is shocked when he tries to run through the corn (This is a genuinely funny visual gag, but it's undercut by a gag within the joke and an utterly stupid line. Thanks for giving false hope episode). We then see the family's gotten out by Lisa using an algorithm (Um, how? Ah screw it Bart setting the corn on fire made me chuckle a bit. Let's see how long that lasts). We cut to nightfall as we see that Homer's still stuck in the maze and he's essentially screwed. Help is on the way as the police come with their rescue dog, but that backfires as the dog gave birth earlier that day and this causes Wiggum to forget all about Homer (Why did the police not know about the pregnancy until now? Oh yeah, this police force is about as effective as the French war flag *Heyo!*) Bart's not concerned as he calls for Santa's Little Helper and we see him escape from the car through the worn out floor (I'm not going to go into why a dog was left alone in a car on what I can assume was a hot day). Bart tells SLH to find Homer but he can't until Lisa finds a sports bra in Homer's backpack for SLH to smell... I'm just going to let that sit with you for a moment, moment over. We then get to watch SLH go through the maze in a scene which I'm reluctant to call DOOM: The Maze. SLH finds Homer and brings him out of it. Lou then praises SLH's tracking abilities and Wiggum asks Bart if he wants his dog to join the force, Bart asks Homer and Homer says he can.
Watch out for the Mars demons to your right
Our next scene starts off with a statue of a dog dressed as a police officer riding a horse outside of the "Spirngfield Animal Police Academy" (I'm not sure what to say about the statue, but I will admit I've never seen any of the Police Academy movies, so references to them will go over my head). After Bart has a pointless dream sequence (Which involves SLH being Robocop, I'm starting to believe the writers just thought they could add any police movie reference and we'd accept it) we get a pointless scene of Wiggum being incompetent (Wow, something we've never seen before. Truly this is the work of creative writing). After a semi-montage of SLH and others training, we see them all graduate and SLH is assigned to Lou (Oh yeah apparently dolphins can become police animals, I'll get into this a bit later when it comes back up). Lou and SLH get called in for a domestic disturbance as we find out that Brandine is shooting at Cletus for giving a pig more attention than her. When they get there, a bullet ricochets off the tub Cletus is hiding under and it hits SLH. Lou calls for backup and we see that the dolphin comes along in a tank (Okay, now is the time. What is the point of the dolphin?! Did they honestly think it was funny?! I mean it's just so retarded and pointless. If they were going for a funny animal to dress up, here's an idea; How about a fucking bear?! Makes just about as much sense).
Oh it's so funny because it's a dolphin. And dolphins can't walk, right? Right?!
After that, Bart decides to pay more attention to Snowball II, this goes over about as well as you'd think. After Bart tells Lisa what we've all figured out by now (And for those of you who haven't; Bart misses SLH) we see SLH and Lou in a cop bar where SLH is experiencing some Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from the shot he took and he just shakes it off with some beer (How classy, make fun of a real condition that plagues thousands of people and causes them to loose sleep at night. I know people who've served in wars and PTSD is nothing to mock or even try to bring up in a non-serious manner. I'm sorry if I sound like I'm nitpicking here, but this is personal and I can't believe they even wrote SLH getting shot in the first place). Moving on, we see Snake selling steroids to the bullies as Lou and SLH bust them for illegal drug trafficking (I think *Goes to check my lawbook*). SLH chases after Snake as he catches him in probably the most ludicrous way possible (Oh yeah, SLH getting shot never comes back into the story so I guess my rant about their insensitivity did have merit as it was pointless). Later we see Snake in court as he's let go because the police report was filed by SLH and it's all messed up (Wait, why did the police department let a DOG fill out a police report? Are the writers high?) After Snakes mocks SLH (And admits out loud he's going to go sell more drugs... Why isn't he charged on the spot?) Lou drives SLH back home where SLH lets out his frustrations from Snake on Bart by biting him.
We ran out of jokes, so we just decided to throw a copy of the script in.
Later Wiggum tells the family not to worry about SLH because the life of a cop is tough (Yeah this coming from the most incompetent cop in the world. Can we get a second opinion here?) After Marge suggests that they let SLH live somewhere else Bart says no and tries to prove that SLH is still normal, but it fails. SLH goes to Lou's to try to live better, we then get a "hilarious" bit with a woman who tries to set SLH up with a poodle (...I've got nothing, the scene speaks for itself). Later, Marge and Homer take Bart to a pet store to get him a new pet as Bart doesn't want to at first but changes his mind when he sees a python and "Wise-Guy" decides to sell him a python that is wrapped up like a firehose and is cut using a paper cutter guillotine (I'm just going to put my face in this pillow, trying not to smother myself as tempting as it sounds *Puts face in pillow*) Do I even need to say anything about that or does it sound stupid enough without a visual? Moving on, we see the family eating dinner as Bart has his snake with him at the table and he decides to name it "Strangles". Bart tricks Lisa into touching slime on Strangles as Homer strangles Bart for that and Strangles chokes Homer to defend Bart (Any humor gets undercut by Homer's pathetic lines, why is it so hard for the writers to understand this?) The next day we see that Bart brings Strangles to Show-and-Tell as Strangles ate Martin's rabbit causing Mrs. Krabappel to be as unfunny as possible with a bad play-on-words. Martin announces that Strangles escaped as we find out that the school has an alarm for escaped pets (This seems funny on paper, but visually, it gets nothing).
It seems like even the snake enjoys chewing out the scenery
Of course this gets the attention of the police force as Wiggum, Eddie, Lou and SLH all show up at the school to help get the snake (Christ, not even the fire department gets to a school this fast when the fire alarm is pulled and we're expected to believe that THIS police force got there that quickly. I'm just going to classify this scene under "Inept writing") After an emotional scene where we see that SLH misses Bart (And yet again undercut by unfunny dialogue to follow. You know, this episode wouldn't half as bad if about 4 minutes of it was cut out completely) we get a scene of Strangles mistaking a computer mouse for a real one (...What?) as he knocks over two chemicals that create a noxious gas. The police continue bickering until the gas approaches them and they just stand there screaming (This is the inept police force we all know). After Skinner finds out Bart's missing, SLH goes into the school to rescue him. After Bart runs into the gas cloud (How did he not see that? No seriously, how? He runs right into it) Bart then wakes up and finds out that Strangles and SLH saved him. Bart has to decide which one will save him and he decides on SLH, after getting out Bart throws the Frisbee with SLH and Willie takes the snake as his own.

Final Verdict: This episode is underwhelming and boring. There's more padding than a mattress, the jokes are either non-existent or just not funny and the plot is rather uninteresting. This episode seemed nothing more than an unfocused attempt to parody several cop movies while having a phoned in B plot involving Bart with a new pet. It's not something that will cause you to jab your eyes out, but it's a below average episode that's very forgettable.

Final Grade: 3.8/10 Just so uninteresting

Monday, November 8, 2010

Episode 4: Treehouse of Horror XXI

I've always been under the impression that no matter how bad this series got, the THoH was always going to be something I could look forward to. That was until I saw the poster and it diminished my hopes, I came into this hoping that there could be at least one segment that I could say I enjoyed. What did I find? Well let's find out together and wrap up Halloween with this review.

So we begin the episode with a bit with Professor Frink that severely dates this episode (But I digress). I especially like how Bart and Homer are actually trying to MURDER one another, i mean I knew their relationship was strained but geez. Frink ages himself to death we get our opening title, and wouldn't you know it, the writers fuck up a task as simple as transitioning to the episode. Already this episode starts off on the wrong foot with an unfunny parody of The Office and it pisses me off.

War and Pieces
We start off this segment with Bart and Milhouse playing a war game on their Wii (No I'm never going to acknowledge that "Zii" parody). Marge then comes in and is disturbed about how violent the game they're playing is (Marge worrying about violence: check). This leads Marge to show Bart and Milhouse board games that they can play instead because they're fun and safe (Yeah, last time I played Monopoly my roommate threw the iron at my head for getting the last Railroad Station). So after a long monotonous scene of the writers showing off their creativity in parody board game titles, Bart finds a board game called "Satan's Path". Yeah I already said how this story reminded me of "Jumanji", I swear the writers don't even try to hide what their story is about, I mean look at the box and the board itself. After Bart takes his turn, the board games shoot out of the house and come to life. We then see Springfield as the board game paradise it became as we partake in some random, yet predictable board game jokes (Yeah this includes our obligatory "Kang & Kodos cameos").
Satan's Path. The true survival-horror game. From Milton Bradley
We then cut back to Bart and Milhouse as Lisa comes to tell them that the instructions tell them to finish the game. So after a pointless series of board jokes (Is anyone else getting tired of them yet?) Bart and Milhouse get on a "Battleboat" that sinks after one hit (Oh come on, it takes 3 hits to sink that ship). After another pointless board game joke (This one involving Marge) Milhouse decides to sacrifice himself so that Bart can continue on to win and end this. You can see why they decided to rip-off the death scene from Titanic then can't you, stupid writers. Bart then gets to the last game as he's attacked by "Crazy Eights", Bart decides to beat them by doing what all kids with sharp objects do; kill stuff (Oh yeah, Bart also kills Rod and Todd, nice to know they served no purpose in this story). So Bart gets back to the game as he finishes it and everything returns to normal (Including Milhouse). Bart decides that board games are not his forte as Bart and Milhouse both die from a game of Hangman.

Master and Cadaver
The segment opens with suspenseful music followed by a shark jumping onto Marge's boat (Oh my God, actual terror, where does this go, what will happen to...) oh wait it jumped to spit Homer back onto the boat... what was Homer doing in a shark's belly? So we find out through clunky exposition that Homer suggested that they go on a cruise through uncharted water. So after Marge gives us some fan service (Classy, writers. Plus we get a stupid boner joke... I'm just going to prepare the noose now) we see a random guy rowing a boat near their boat. Marge tells Homer to get him and this results in an unfunny hook joke (Just checking the tightness of this noose here). After Homer gets him onboard, Marge tends to him, and this makes Homer envious, this results in another bit of padding (Bless you lazy writing, always able to pad the episode out another minute or two). We then get the backstory of Roger, we find out he was the chef of a ship named the "Albatross" (Symbolism!) that was owned by a rich businessman.
I told you. Wait your turn for the pie like everyone else
We find out that while making a pie for the guest, the businessman poisons the pie and knocks Roger out. After that we see Homer is still envious of Roger as we get a "hilarious" visual joke that makes it look like Roger is feeling up Marge's boobs... (I'm going to go adjust the width of the noose and string it up now). Roger then goes on to explain that he found everyone dead and he fled the boat and ended up on their boat. Homer pulls Marge aside and expresses his concerns for Roger as he accuses him of poisoning the crew. Marge thinks Homer is crazy, then  Roger offers them a pie with an ominous music cue. After some bickering, Marge notices that a shark that ate the pie died confirming Homer's fear. Marge then decides they need to kill him before he tries to kill them as Homer does some unfunny lampshading (Also, how exactly will he kill you guys? I mean he's not forcing his "Poisoned food" down your throats or anything). They enact their plan by having Marge seduce Roger as Homer steers the ship hard to starboard knocking him out (But of course, the boner joke creeps back in... I'm just going to end this now...the rafter was too short to hang from). After Homer pushes Rogers into the ocean, Marge and Homer find the ship Roger was talking about and find out he was telling the truth as they see all the dead businessmen (Wait, how? You accused HIM of poisoning the pie, you never once questioned there being a boat or dead businessmen.). After Homer tries to mask over that stupidity, they find a broken bottle of soy sauce and believe him now (That still doesn't prove jack shit, especially considering the bottle was in the DINING ROOM not the KITCHEN. Can you not keep your own story straight writers?) After Marge cries a little for murdering Roger, Roger appears and explains that the pie was clean. Homer being rock stupid kills Rogers anyway. Homer then kills all the businessmen to get rid of the witnesses (Who were given an antidote beforehand, convenient).
Oh no, we ended up on the Ghost Ship. Let's get out of here!
Marge decides that the guilt of this is too much and eats the poisoned pie. As we get our emotional scene of Homer being sorry for what he did, we zoom out to reveal that none of it happened and it was all a part of Maggie's imagination *Insert curse words here*. After Marge and Homer wonders what Maggie thinks about we end the segment with Maggie taking on the look of Alex from A Clockwork Orange... (Excuse me a moment. *Goes off to have a rage fit* That scene had meaning in the movie you brainless twats!!! You can't just insert it in and think you're "Artsy" because of it. This has no purpose here and completely misses the point of that scene. I hate you writers, I honestly hate you).

So we begin this segment in a forest while it's raining, we get a POV shot of what we're to presume is the vampire (Yeah ominously eating a grilled cheese sandwich... is that supposed to be funny or something?) So the next day, Bart notices that all the girls are smitten at a bland, pale, and otherwise unlikable boy. We find out his name is Edmund (Wow, that's SO clever, I bet it took MONTHS to figure that name out) as he goes over to Lisa and she's immediately smitten as well by his... um... uh... blandness? We then see a bus heading for Lisa and Edmund (Yay! This segment's going to end early!) but then Edward (I've decided that typing Edmund lowers my dignity) stops the bus with his super speed and strength (Yeah, bet you didn't know vampires were super strong during the DAY, did you?) After Edward makes Lisa more of a schoolgirl (Yeah she IS a schoolgirl, but not that kind and it annoys me) we get more scenes of Edward stopping random vehicles heading their direction (Including Otto, wasn't he driving the bus just a second ago? I guess non-canon episodes causes continuity to leave). Edward then takes Lisa to the woods and runs up a tree as he reveals he's a "vampire" (I'd like to point out that Lisa actually has a great amount of vampire knowledge in THoH continuity). So after Lisa's not scared of him, they decide to mock how Edward travels from tree to tree (Great now he's golden age Superman). So after a pointless "Weredog" joke, we see the family preparing dinner for Edward and his father. When they arrive we see that Edward isn't too fond of his father (They did not just make a "Tearing me apart" joke did they?) After dinner (With Flanders as the meal) we get another scene of Edward embarrassed by his father (Geez, this is quickly turning into The Room with its repetitive scenes). Edward then takes Lisa away as Marge tells Homer and Ed's father to go get them.
Oh no! I'm in a crappy Twilight parody *Screams*
So we get to "Dracula Land" as we find out that the writers remember that there are vampires outside of bland ones that sparkle. They notice their kids going up a bell tower as Homer decides to do what they're doing and piggybacks Ed's father. So after Lisa tells Edward to bite her and he almost does it (I'm pretty sure Edward in the books said no multiple times. And why does Lisa want to be a vampire?) Ed's father stops it until Lisa reveals that she wants to raise awareness for vampires (You want to know a good way to do that? STOP SUPPORTING THE IDEAS OF TWILIGHT!!!) Lisa becomes reluctant as she doesn't want to be 8 forever (But you already are) and Homer gets in the way when they try to bite her. After an unfunny crucifix joke (I'm starting to hate these religion jokes, they aren't subtle or funny in the least) Homer finds out that Ed's father loves Edward (Wow, character development and we only have 1 minute left of this segment. You spoil us writers). So Homer sacrifices himself as the vampires both get fat off his blood because it's high in cholesterol. We end the segment with Homer turning into a "Fail-Bat" as he falls and Lisa looks over this in shame (What an apt metaphor for this segment).

Final Verdict: This Treehouse of Horror was terrible. The first segment had potential, but all it ended up being was a bunch of predictable and unfunny board game jokes. It didn't take advantage of the idea that it's not a game, hate to say it but Jumanji did a better job with the fear factor of a game coming to life. The second segment had an interesting concept but it was sideswiped by bad sex jokes, the "All Just a Dream" undermined any suspense that it may have built up. But the worst sin of all was the stupid, out of place Clockwork Orange reference, I mean, who just references A Clockwork Orange for no reason? *Looks around* And of course, the last segment was just dull, it really failed to be a parody of Twilight as all it did for the jokes was just lampshade a few stupid things and worst of all, had Lisa as Bella.

Final Grade: 3.4/10 Just pitiful for a Treehouse of Horror, the second segment to me is one of the worst of all time.

Friday, November 5, 2010

"Hate Month" Bart-Mangled Banner

Hello and welcome to the newest part of this blog "Hate Month". This is a segment where I take the worst writers of the show and review their worst episodes to the series for you all to see why I dislike them. The first victim of this new segment and where better to begin than his first solo episode. Yeah he produced some crap when he was teamed up with Don Payne, but I thought some of those episodes were bearable and it wasn't until he went solo that his crap became more prevalent. With all that out of the way let's dig in.

The episode begins with the family in the car with the kids all eating ice cream, and the parents giving the kids all kittens (Gee I wonder if this is all a ploy to prep them for something bad). After Lisa and Bart realize it's too good to be true, we see Homer lock the doors and pull up to Dr Hibbert's office for their shots. After Hibbert carelessly plays with some needles (Professional doctor everyone) Bart uses one of those medical skeletons to try to protect himself (Wait a minute, he was cowering on the table just a minute ago, now there's a skeleton that's right in front of Dr. Hibbert, what the hell's going on with continuity?) After Lisa proves her "bravery" (Dude, as a kid, you cry before the needle, not after. It doesn't hurt after you get it, it's scarier before) Dr. Hibbert tries to give Bart his shot (Including an unfunny "Children's Cemetery". You're really stretching for a joke there writers) Bart reveals he already stole some lollipops. This causes Dr. Hibbert to try to stick him with multiple needles (Yet again, our professional doctor people). After Bart escapes (And drives away... what?) Hibbert decides to cancel all his appointments to chase him, this results in a montage of Dr. Hibbert failing to give Bart his immunization (No shitty episode is complete without one). Afterwards, Bart finds a dejected "Dr. Hibbert" and lowers his guard, then the real Dr. Hibbert comes out from behind a tree (Cartoonishly) and gives Bart his shot.
Ah yes, the writers took a class on Physics from the "Bugs Bunny University"
After Bart gets the shot, he loses his hearing and Dr. Hibbert finds out the shot caused his earhole to swell up and close up (Yeah the writers could care less if it's medically feasible or not, we need this as our plot device). Dr. Hibbert explains that Bart's hearing will come back in a day and fools Homer into signing a malpractice waver. After two pointless scenes, we cut to the family eating dinner as Marge tells Bart to stay home from school. Bart objects because tomorrow's the big "Teacher-student donkey basketball game" (Yeah they meant to add this in an earlier episode but had to cut it. It's a shame, because it would have done much better in that episode, why? THAT EPISODE DIDN'T SUCK!) At the game, it seems like everyone in Springfield was invited and they all laugh at the teachers as they ride the donkeys (The teachers and the writers both lost their dignity with this episode).
I don't think Bart had much respect for America before he "Mooned" the flag
As the national anthem is being played, Bart taunts a donkey and this results in the donkey ripping off his shorts and Bart accidentally moons the U.S. flag.... Okay a few things I want to say.
1. Bart wasn't even respecting the flag when the anthem was playing, I don't care how "bad" you are, you always respect your flag and respect the national anthem when it plays
2. Why was Bat even taunting the donkey? It's never explained why he decides to do this
3. Why was he so close to the flag that he would be able to moon it like that?
4. He seems to be on the basketball team for this event yet NOBODY from his team grabbed him to show respect for the anthem?
This is beyond retarded, this is contrived and shitty writing across the board. So because Martin's the photographer (Uh where did this come from?) he takes a picture of Bart mooning the flag (Um... why?) Everyone then notices Bart mooning the flag (Um he was right in front of it, what were you all staring at your SHOES when the anthem was playing?) and they rightfully boo and heckle him for insulting the flag. The next day, Skinner scolds Homer and Marge for Bart's behavior (And lampshades about how Vietnam was the U.S.'s only losing war (To date) I hate this writing). Marge tries to defend Bart, but Skinner wont have it. After a follow up to a pointless scene (Which involves lampshading about the bullies being "Complex" characters. I don't think so I say it's shitty writing) we cut to the Springfield Shopper where they oh so subtly blow the story out of proportion... yeah just loudly announce that this is a shitty satire of the U.S. media, I hate you John. So we see that this makes the front page (I hate this episode with a passion) and everyone in Springfield hates the family for being "Unpatriotic" and supporting Bart's antics (Is it too late to back out of this theme month?) After a pointless scene at Moe's Bar (I'm not starting a "Pointless Scene" counter, I don't have a counter that goes to 4 digits) the family's asked to go on a show to tell "Their" side of the story (Great this is now trying to suck off the success of Homer Badman).
It's funny because the media blows things out of proportion right? I mean it's clever satire right? LAUGH DAMN IT!!
After Homer tells Bart to say he doesn't hate America, they go on the talk show where the host (Nash) tries to make Bart out like the son of Bin Laden (Pills, I need pills). After Bart tries to be sympathetic, Nash becomes an asshole and skews Bart's words to make it sound like he hates Jesus as well. Marge then slips by saying she hates talk-show hosts like Nash, but it sounds like she admits she hates America. Dear God how far are we in this? *11:30* THERE'S STILL 10 MINUTES OF THIS SHIT LEFT?! There's not enough booze in the world to make this episode okay. So after Nash makes the incorrect correlation that Springfield hates America (Maybe if I cut myself, I can use medical leave as an excuse not to finish this) we see that America denounces Springfield from the U.S. and radical Muslims love Springfield and the Simpsons in particular (You know, the purpose of satire is to point out glaring flaws through ridicule and irony. This episode does neither).
Seems like the most appropriate reaction to me if you're called unpatriotic
Because of all this backlash, Mayor Quimby changes the name of the town to "Libertyville" and the town will be as patriotic as possible (Wow, even the overreactions aren't funny, YOU FAIL JOHN FRINK! YOU FAIL!!) After some more scenes of people going overboard (And Marge lampshading this because the writers think we can't figure this out ourselves) we see Lovejoy telling the pastors to worship the American flag (I HATE THIS EPISODE!!! Sure why not, break the 1st Commandment just so people think you love America, I hope you enjoy eternal damnation) Lisa then decides that enough's enough and decides to tell everyone about her opinions (Wait just a minute *grabs my PSP* you may proceed). Lisa tells them all that Congress cannot create a law oppressing freedom of speech or of the press and that's from the Constitution (Oh, well that does make a lot of sense, maybe after listening to that, the people of Springfield might...) Oh wait SWAT comes in and arrests the Simpsons for violating the "Government Knows Best Act"... FUCK THIS EPISODE!!!!! Yeah what a "subtle" change to the "Patriot Act", none of us could spot that for miles, fucking geniuses. And you know, people don't get arrested for simply reciting the constitution. I hate this "Satire" the writers may as well of just lied naked on the White House lawn with letters on their chests spelling out "We hate George Bush" and that would have been funnier.
You're under arrest for shitty writing and horrible satire
*Sigh* Moving on, the family all gets put together in a jail cell in a jail er I mean "Reeducation Center" where we find out that anyone who opposes Bush is placed in jail with them (Wow, unfunny and insensitive, you've reached a new low Simpsons). We then cut to the family in a room (Subtly named the "Ronald Regan Reeducation Room", bet you wouldn't know this was created when the Republicans owned DC would you?) where the family's shown a reject Schoolhouse Rock cartoon where it implies that The Bill of Rights was an accident and should never have been made (Oh great, now the writers are implying that Republicans are Facists, I hate this episode). After Marge lampshades that Lisa's out of character for laughing at it, Lisa explains that she's turned to their side (I'm going to get a thesaurus to find all the synonyms of hate so I can express how I feel about this episode). The family then meets a crazy guy (Who's a Democrat... subtle) and he tells them how to escape (So why did he never use this method?) At the talent show, the family's all dressed up in flag clothing that would embarrass Rush Limbaugh as the guy tells them to escape through a tunnel after their bit. When they get up, their act consists of them singing "O' Beautiful" and then breaking into their own patriotic song (You know, O' Beautiful used to have meaning to me, now I have to wash away this episode for me to appreciate it again).
We're the Simpsons. In America
So after each kid escapes through the tunnel, Homer and Marge walk off last and tell the guards to hold still (Sure why not, fuck it the episode's almost done). As they get out of the tunnel, we find out that the prison was Alcatraz... I'm pretty damn sure Alcatraz is now a museum and hasn't been functional for years you twats.  After the family almost makes it to San Fransisco (Um how? The reason nobody escaped Alcatraz is because of the strong currents, oh forget it, it's not the biggest plot hole) they are rescued by a French liner who accepts them and takes them back to France. We then see the family in Paris as they've all developed a hokie French accent and apparently are rich enough to live in Paris (Um, how?) Marge admits she misses not living in the U.S. and Homer comes up with the idea of them all going to America as immigrants without IDs. We then see the family in tattered garb as they are on a boat from the 30's and are assigned the last name of "Simps". The episode ends with the family joyful at the prospect of living a new life in America as a song transitions us to the credits.

Final Verdict: This episode is terrible. The satire is horrible, the jokes are non-existent or try too hard to be funny and end up falling flat on their face. The writing is horrible and there's nothing interesting in this episode for a fan to want to watch this episode. All together, this "satire" of the Patriot Act fails and just frustrates anyone who watches it.

Final Grade: 1.2/10 Just disgusting. Well we're off to a bad start for this month, hope to see you all next week.