Monday, January 31, 2011

Season 22 Midseason Report Card

Well I could take a break this week, what with there not being another episode til February 13, but because we're at episode 12, I figured now would be just as good as any to make a report card as sort of a preview of what's to come at season's end. Let's see, there will be a bottom 5 episodes list, top 5 episodes list, montage count, celebrity count, special moments, and finally a preview of February's theme.

Bottom 5:
Now this is a tough one considering what we have to choose from, I thought about it long and hard and decided that these five (In order from bad to worst) deserve it:
5. Donnie Fatso
  • It's one thing to kill off a character; it's another thing to kill off a character just to bring them back and act like nothing happened. There is not a bigger insult to the intelligence of the audience than "Don't be concerned about that dead man, he'll be back". When Disney thinks higher of children's intelligence than a TV show, you should really just quit now.
4. Flaming Moe
  • This show has had success in the past concerning episodes with gay humor. The PAST being the key word. This episode contains horrible, unfunny, gay non-stereotypes that are somehow worse than bad stereotypes while at the same time offering nothing funny at all. Combined with the crappy B plot, this episode is extremely forgettable and just a pain to watch.
3. Homer the Father
  • Let's see, no coherence plus ludicrous plot elements plus not funny equals... well the past few seasons. But this one really takes the cake when it comes to incoherence. While there were times that made me chuckle, the episode had no idea what the plot wanted to be and the padding, don't even get me started. This episode felt long already, but it was just clear that the writers had no idea how to transition, fill out the episode or even end it properly.
2. Elementary School Musical
  • This was originally going to be #1, but you'll see why it's not in just a minute. This episode pissed me off so much, from the beginning you could tell the writers didn't give a damn and by episode's end, I wanted slow painful torture to the jackass who thought a musical episode was a good idea. One of the worst thing had to be all the build up for the cast of Glee and they only appear ONCE! I kid you not, outside of maybe one or two lines they were in that bat shit annoying musical number and then disappeared. I'm not saying I was looking forward to the cameo, but don't build something up if you can't deliver, that's all I'm saying.
1. Mother's I'd Like to Forget
  • Props to whoever saw this coming, I hated this episode, this was probably one of the most painful episodes I've reviewed in a few years. The plot makes no sense, the characters make no sense, the secondary characters had no personality or anything that would make us care about them, the jokes are nonexistent, the writing sucks, it has more padding than my pillow, and, worst of all, IT'S FUCKING STUPID!! I mean it wasn't enough that this episode pissed me off, but they had to top themselves by adding that stupid, ridiculous, pointless, asinine lesbian make-out scene at the end. This episode makes my blood boil and I'd prefer not to hear anyone defend this one.

Top 5:
Yeah this list isn't going to be as popular. This is like picking prettiest dog at an ugly dog show, you're not going to like the results, but you have to pick one. I probably should have renamed it "Outside the bottom 7" because really this season has little to no redeeming value, but in the spirit of fairness, I did find some that didn't totally piss me off, mostly on the merit that they're just "Post-season 10" bad and not "God-awful". Let's begin
1. Loan-A-Lisa
  • You know, I think I could have liked (tolerated) this episode if it weren't for the stupid subplot. Yeah the main plot has holes in it and at times drags, but overall, the main plot doesn't suck. I mean it is original (mostly) and there is some good in watching Lisa enjoy Nelson's success. But yet again, poor writing prevented this idea from reaching full potential and we're left with this.
2. MoneyBART
  • I'm just going to say that this one really didn't get under my skin that much. It's not something I'd recommend but honestly it seems more original than most of the episodes today and there are some positives. I did somewhat like the Bart-Lisa thing, but I only liked it because I loved Lisa on Ice and for me a poor man's Lisa on Ice is still better than a rich man's Mother's I'd Like to Forget. But like I said, it's still not something I'd recommend. 
3. .........
4. Watching paint dry for 30 minutes
5. Driving 30 minutes to Best Buy to go buy Season 4 on DVD

After looking back, I have counted 22 montages in the first 12 episodes (And that includes no montages in the first 2 episodes.) Yeah for those of you convinced that the writing is still good, just consider that last season's montage count was 19, and that was for a season of 23 episodes. I mean 3 more montages for 11 less episodes? And considering 2 don't have any montages, WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?! To be fair though there might be a couple that I counted that you wouldn't count, but still, that reduces it down to about 15-19 which is still an awful ratio for Episodes:Montages.

Now, onto the celebrities, this show has always been known as a goal for celebrities... in the 90's. Now a days, celebrity cameos are about as common as a loaf of bread, nothing special and usually they get screwed in terms of involvement of the story. Now with this, I'm just going to list off the celebrities and at the end, take a percentage of those who voiced "Themselves"

  1. Elementary School Musical: Jermaine Clement, Bret McKenzie, Ira Glass, Stephen Hawking, Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, Amber Riley
  2. Loan-A-Lisa: Mark Zuckerberg, Muhammad Yunas, Chris Hansen
  3. MoneyBART: Mike Scioscia, Bill James
  4. Treehouse of Horror XXI: Hugh Laurie, Daniel Radcliffe
  5. Lisa Simpson, This Isn't Your Life: None
  6. The Fool Monty: None
  7. How Munched is That Birdie in the Window?: Danica Patrick, Rachel Weisz
  8. The Fight Before Christmas: Katy Perry, Martha Stewart
  9. Donnie Fatso: Joe Montegna, Jon Hamm
  10. Mom's I'd Like to Forget: None
  11. Flaming Moe: Alyson Hannigan, Kristen Wiig, Scott Thompson
  12. Homer the Father: James Lipton, David Mamet
Of all the cameos listed 14 voice themselves and 14 either have less than 5 lines or appear in just one scene. So considering there has been 25 celebrity voices in the 12 episodes and we get these numbers, I think it's safe to say that doing a celebrity cameo on the show doesn't carry much weight anymore.

Now when I say 'Special moments" I mean high/lowlights as in "Moments where the show seems to be taking a turn for the better" or "END THIS FUCKING SHOW ALREADY!!" Now there might be somethings I miss here, don't be afraid to mention anything you think I may have missed in the comment section. I'll try to be chronological with this list, so let's begin (P.S. because I'm going to list quite a few, I'll just list the moment and you decide whether it's a highlight or lowlight)
  • Krusty "winning" the Noble Peace Prize
  • Cast of Glee breaks out in song
  • Lisa helping Nelson with his bike business
  • Homer getting caught by Chris Hansen
  • Bart and Lisa bond over the sport of baseball
  • The writers sexual innuendos in the Treehouse of Horror
  • Maggie turning into Alex DeLarge 
  • The Twilight parody
  • Marge and Lisa try to act more childish in Lisa Simpson, This isn't Your Life
  • Mr. Burns tries to put a glass dome over the city of Springfield
  • Bart cares more about a bird than his own dog
  • Katy Perry guest stars on a live-action puppet segment
  • Katy Perry is the subject of an oral sex joke
  • Fat Tony dies
  • Fat Tony is replaced by his identical cousin Fit Tony
  • Marge's friends make out when she leaves
  • Moe kisses Smithers
  • Homer blows up a nuclear power plant in China
Yeah I'll admit there are a couple of good jokes overall (a couple being the key words), but I realized that the list was dragging on so I apologize to those who were expecting specific lines/jokes to be mentioned.

Okay with all that out of the way, time to give a final verdict, final grade and a sneak peak at next month

Final Verdict: This season is so far terrible, all but two episodes are awful while the other two are just "Post-season 10" bad. They aren't really that bad, they're just 'meh'. If the staff was trying to establish this show as "A show not for kids (7-13) and only for "mature" audiences" well congratulations, kids would find this stupid and be horrified by this crap, only problem is that the 'mature' audience is too smart for this BS (Oh and by the way to all those people who think this show is not for kids and only for adults. The normal rating is PG, with even the Christmas episode having a PG rating and I have seen recent episodes with a G rating, so blow it out your ass). In short, this is very forgettable, very stupid season and nobody will be talking about this season as one they enjoyed when the show finally does end.

Final Grade: 2.7/10 Just crap, can't wait for the second half

Okay, in terms of February, let's just say that I might not get in trouble for these episodes, but the staff certainly did when these episodes aired. Looking forward to seeing you all for next month's posts.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Phil Hartman Dedication Month: The 'Other' Characters

We end this month-long tribute to Phil Hartman by remembering the smaller roles he played, be it background characters with one or two lines, to one-and-done characters that left a lasting impression on us all. No matter who the character was, his performance was always top-notch. So without further ado, let's look over these characters.

I will start by listing off all the characters he's done (Including the ones I mentioned in the introduction):
  • Lyle Lanley
  • Bill Clinton
  • Fat Tony
  • The Godfather
  • Nelson's Father
  • Jimmy Apollo
  • Tom
  • Horst
  • Evan Conover
  • Moses
  • Shady Cable Man
  • Plato
  • God
Let's begin this part with something for the little roles. Phil Hartman did Fat Tony once for A Fish Named Selma because Joe Montegna  wasn't around (He's also the only other guy to voice Fat Tony). Moses, God, Plato, Nelson's dad, Jimmy Apollo and the Godfather were other notable minor characters as none of them really had more than 5 lines but you still remember them.With that out of the way, let's look over the bigger minor characters:

Bill Clinton:
Bill Clinton has been a character for the show before and after Phil Hartman did his voice for the Treehouse of Horror VII segment Citizen Kang. But Phil's performance was the best Bill Clinton in my opinion and it shows as this was the longest role for Bill Clinton.

Shady Cable Man:
Okay that's not his official name, but that's what I refer to him as. Essentially his main character is that he's a cable man who's basically a criminal and based on the moral of the episode, I'd say that Phil did a great job personifying the Devil in a human body (Seriously, never did think about it before but yeah, the cable guy is the Devil in human form).

Evan Conover:
Yeah this guy is basically Lionel Hutz if he worked for the Government but that's also a great reason why he's so memorable, he's essentially a more successful Lionel Hutz. I love his role in Bart vs Australia and I think it's one of the more memorable minor characters.

Not really much to say here, he doesn't really have much character, but at the same time, he's very memorable. Basically the instructor to Homer for his job that he eventually loses and just his want to make the power plant more efficient despite what we know just gives me a feeling of joy.

Yeah this was supposed to be for Tom Cruise, but the staff called up Phil and it worked out all right. Tom is basically the anti-Homer as he's a good guardian for Bart, he's healthy and fit, he has hair, and he's intelligent. The way his character is built up throughout the episode to lead up to the final battle I thought was just excellent.

Lyle Lanley:
Saved the best for last, this is by far my favorite Phil Hartman performance, I'd go so far to say it's better than Troy McClure and Lionel Hutz. But that's just my opinion. Anyways, Lyle is... you know what, do yourself a favor go watch Marge vs the Monorail I'll wait...
You done? Okay back to the character. Lyle is basically a Music Man homage as he goes town-to-town scamming people into buying a monorail system that costs a lot to buy, but nothing to make. Lyle is also so over-the-top hilarious in his actions ranging from leaving his plans alone for people to read (Plans with stick figures mind you) to trying to get to Tahiti to escape with the money (The cab and the layover in North Haverbrook made me crack up). Really there's not much more I can add, other than the staff thought it was Phil Hartman's best performance and the episode is on many people's top 10 lists, and I credit a lot to Phil Hartman.

Well that was an interesting month, I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did. See you next week

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Episode 4: Treehouse of Horror XIX

Well, even though the show's been in free fall for so many years, there is always one episode I always look forward to. That's right, the "Homer wants to be a good father" episode, just kidding, it's the Treehouse of Horror. I was first introduced to the show by watching the Treehouse of Horror episodes during trick-or-treating breaks, and they hooked me like a drug addict (With apologies to drug addicts). Since then, I've always prayed "Please writers, don't let THIS episode suck" and what do we get? Well let's find out.

We begin the episode with Homer going to vote and voting using a rigged electronic voting machine while not even trying to be funny (Remember those days where skeptics were worried that those would be bugged? Yeah I'm not all that enthused about this episode so far). Homer then gets killed by the machine and we can now begin the three stories.

Untitled Robot Parody
We start off with Bart going to get Lisa a Christmas present because she's last on his list. Bart finds a truck that he scoffs off until it turns into a pink convertible and he buys it (I would keep it for myself to be honest, a small transformer that seems to have limitless possibilities, who wouldn't want that?). On Christmas morning Bart gives Lisa the convertible to which she is grateful for because it's an actual present (Unlike the box of burps last year apparently, I thought she was Buddhist, does that mean she shouldn't be attached to material possessions? Nevermind let's continue)(Dude, if I convert to Buddhism, I'd still appreciate the gesture of a material gift. A box of burps would piss me off). Maggie observes the transformer destroy the angel and tries to warn Lisa, but because she can't talk (Keep that in mind for a later review) Lisa is condescending to Maggie and does not realize what the toy really is (Eh so far it's better than Transformers 2 that's a positive). Later that night the convertible autobot (OK they call themselves Posobots but screw it I'm calling them Autobots) creates more autobots out of all the electronics in Lisa's room as they're all given uncreative names (If you need me, I'm off to give "Creativity" a proper burial).
Oblivious doesn't even begin to describe Homer here
The next morning, after a pointless scene in the kitchen, Homer and Ned's cars transform into transformers and fight each other (Further proven after dumps some exposition from the Transformers movie, I love it when your "parody" is nothing but a bad script for the TV series). After a few scenes of fighting and other electronics turning into death machines (Is anyone else getting Attack of the 50 ft Eyesores flashbacks?) Marge approaches the two leaders and tries to get them to agree to peace. After they realize they can't remember what their battle is about (So what? I don't think that's stopped violence in the past) they decide to team up to enslave humanity (Good going Marge). The segments ends with the town being used as a Foosball table (So essentially the entire segment can be summed up with "Robots come and attack" I bet it took months to think that up).

How to Get Ahead in Dead-Vertising
After a parody of the Mad Men opening (No reason, they just can) the story begins with Marge and Homer dropping Maggie off at a day care center to which Maggie is hesitant to until Homer shows her the Krusty mural on the wall (Okay stupid question, Is there just no other forms of children entertainment outside of Krusty and Itchy & Scratchy cartoons?). The real Krusty comes and has the mural sandblasted for unpaid use of his image (I have to wonder why is he there instead of places like the horse track, but whatever). This makes Maggie cry, and Homer goes to confront Krusty about what he did. Homer being upset that Krusty's a selfish ass-hole he accidentally kills Krusty in the most ludicrous way possible (I've seen less over-the-top ways for killing Kenny). Afterwards, Blue-haired lawyer (I know he's Mr. Burns' lawyer but screw it, it's blue-haired to me as well) approaches Homer with some advertising agents who tell Homer that they can get rich by using dead celebrities in their commercials. OK I know I have addressed this before but why is it whenever someone in this town does something ONCE, they are really good at it now? Also I want to bring up a valid point, just because Homer kills the celebrities, it doesn't mean you can use their image for free, there's always an estate you have to pay, that's why songs from Michael Jackson and Evil Presley aren't free, you still have to pay to use them.
Remember how I said I'd kill you first? I lied.
After Homer kills off some celebrities (Through a montage, huzzah), we cut to them in heaven complaining about their images being used in commercials (You know if I were in heaven, I think I'd be enjoying my time instead of watching people use my image unlawfully). John Wayne then decides to lead a charge of Angel celebrities against Homer and stop him once and for all (While all the normal angels stay in "Normal heaven", yeah I'm not going to mix my religious views into this review, but it's tempting). They come down and kill all the people at Homer's party with their heaven guns as they kill Homer last. Homer beats them to celebrity heaven (Ugh this is stupid) and locks them out. This segment comes to an end as Homer walks off with gay Lincoln (Classy).

It's the Grand Pumpkin, Milhouse
Subtle ain't it?(I'd let it pass; the titles are rarely subtle) We begin this segment with our parody Charlie Brown opening of Milhouse (Linus) and Lisa (Sally) walking off to get a pumpkin (The other parody characters include Ralph (Pig Pen), Santa's Little Helper (Snoopy) and Bart (Charlie Brown)). We cut to Lisa in her Wiccan costume (Not to be confused with a witch, which Lisa will do later *Bangs head on desk*) and Milhouse as Linus as they prepare for Halloween (We also get our 'grown-ups can't say squat' parody as Marge plays the trombone *weak chuckle*). Okay I want to get this out of the way because it's bothering me, while I do like the backgrounds for this segment (Animation style of the 60's) it just feels awkward when compared to the characters as they have far more detail and finer lines, it just looks like the animators photoshopped their characters into the Peanuts classic.
Bart, what have I told you about breaking the 4th wall?
Milhouse tells Marge he isn't going to the party but instead hanging out at the pumpkin patch for the "Grand Pumpkin", (Bart then comes in to explain why Milhouse thinks it's real. Eh I would have accepted "Milhouse believes in it because he's a wuss"). Later at the pumpkin patch the main characters come to make fun of Milhouse and Lisa decides to stay behind to keep him company (Yeah I'm starting to see why Bart and Lisa were chosen as Charlie Brown and Sally). After a few hours (I assume) Lisa is woken up and she berates Milhouse for making her miss the party (Even though she stayed there voluntarily, bitch)(So did Sally. I sense a connection). Milhouse then starts crying and his tears create the Grand Pumpkin (Sunk to the levels of Pokemon the First Movie? Really?). Milhouse offers the Grand Pumpkin some pumpkin bread which doesn't go over too well (If you'll excuse me, I'm off to go give Obama some kidney pie).
The Grand Pumpkin decides to go on a rampage as Homer is his first target. Milhouse goes to the party a bit before the pumpkin and warns them but nobody believes him. The pumpkin then arrives and goes around eating Willie and Nelson (With some average pumpkin jokes, they're not bad, but they aren't worth mentioning either). Lisa gets to Milhouse and she gets him to create a giant turkey named Tom Turkey to fight the pumpkin (Suddenly I want to turn this into a pay-per-view fight. I mean a killer giant Jack-O-Lantern vs a giant killer turkey, doesn't that sound awesome?). After Tom Turkey beats the Grand Pumpkin, Milhouse makes the same mistake again and causes Tom to want to kill everyone (Now just believe in Santa Christ hard enough and he will remove Tom Turkey from existence)(SANTA CHRIST, SANTA CHRIST! WE ALL LOVE SANTA CHRIST!)

Final Judgment: This Treehouse isn't bad, but on the other hand, it's not good either. The first segment is weak and lazy, the second segment is rather stupid and unfunny, the third segment is the strongest in my opinion and it's really more of a "Your Mileage may vary" type of segment. All together, it's not terrible, but you wont see it in many top THoH lists.

Final Grade: 5.2/10 Just meh, it's not that bad, but it's below what you'd expect from a THoH

Monday, January 24, 2011

Episode 12: Homer the Father

Well let's see here, Homer trying to be a better father by modeling the parenting of an 80's sitcom father? If you can't guess why that pisses me off here are two clues:
  1. 1980's sitcom father with good parenting, hmmm....
  2. Homer trying to be a good father to his children, where have I heard that before?
Okay, okay, so I'm nitpicking a little, but you have to admit it's stale, old and really it's a basic staple of Homer's character. He does fail at parenting, but it's not like he doesn't try to be a good father and husband, he just isn't good at it. So to make an entire episode about it (Again) really just comes off as lazy and "Screw it, we're getting paid to write this shit so ha-ha!" With that out of the way, let's take a look at this.

We begin with Homer and Lisa watching TV as they find a show with an opening that somehow is longer than their own (Seriously it's not til the 2:32 mark that we actually get something off the ground. Note to the writers, you do have less time with the time commercials take out, but it doesn't mean you can just pad out the episode as you wish). We then see that the show is basically a father who's a dentist and makes a lot of bad corny jokes, and he happens to have his office in his house... no comment (Although I did smile once, just because Lisa is not amused by this crap, she is suddenly my favorite character for this episode already). After another few bits from the sitcom (Along with Homer saying something I think was supposed to be funny, but I only snickered because it's a lot like how this show works) we see Bart and Milhouse biking down plot device street as his bike breaks down.
Yeah I feel the same way Lisa feels everytime I watch an episode this season
Fortunately because he's on plot device street, he happens to break down right in front of a bike shop and he starts to daydream about owning the minibike (He's more a skateboard daredevil to me). Bart then goes back home and begs Homer for the bike, Homer then daydreams about what Patrick Waters (Father) would do and decides not to buy Bart the bike because he wouldn't appreciate it... WTF?! Okay I want to do another poll, who else thinks this is the opposite of what he'd do? I mean Homer would more than happily buy Bart whatever he wants because he's very impulsive and not that good of a father. After Bart complains about Homer being out of character, Homer strangles Bart, but then stops because of what he's learned from the sitcom (Okay, seriously, who actually takes any advice from a TV show?! Plus this doesn't make any sense, I mean all we've seen is; Homer watches sitcom, Homer decides to be a good father. I think the writers forgot step 2). Homer then goes inside where he tells Marge he feels bad for not getting Bart something he wanted and Marge decides to kiss him because of it (Marge for all you know, Bart could have been asking for medical attention for a broken leg).
He's right behind me isn't he?
Marge explains that she appreciate him being a good dad (Okay yet again, she doesn't know what he asked for, he could have asked for a tutor for a class he's failing, okay that's not like Bart, but you get the point). After they have "Homer's a good father sex" (Second best sex behind "I've killed two evil men, rescued a firefighter and adopted a stray puppy sex") Bart talks with Lisa online using "Generic online webcam chat" (You know this scene is entirely pointless as Bart lives ONE ROOM AWAY. Plus is it just me or does Bart have explosive teleportation as he arrives next to Lisa in less than a second?). Bart asks Lisa how he can make money to buy the minibike and she gives him suggestions but he scoffs them off except for bargaining with Homer (Remind me the point of that? We're back at square one). After another sitcom bit (Where we see Homer wearing the man's sweater... Okay when I made the Bill Cosby reference, I didn't expect the writers to actually make this connection, this is just extremely lazy) Bart asks Homer about making an agreement for him to get good grades in exchange for money (Sounds familiar, but I might be connecting dots that aren't there). After another montage (Yippee) we see Homer watching The Fresh Prince of Bel Air but with an alien (The creativity detector can't take this much abuse, please stop it).
Well according to our script, we don't have a second act... Quick Bart think something up!
Bart then comes in with an A but Homer's too distracted by the stupid show to pay attention (Remind me again, is the plot about Homer being a better father, or watching shitty television shows?) Homer tells Bart that his reward is the feeling of accomplishment, and it pisses him off as he storms out of the room (But Homer decides that he needs the last dumb line before the act break. Don't you just love it when the writers don't give a damn about the audience?) We cut back to Homer watching more television shows that would be rejected by MTV (Seriously, this is just awful padding) as Bart's still angry about how Homer broke his promise. Apu then arrives to give Homer his nuclear plant badge as he exposits the rest of the plot while Bart overhears it (Yeah that sounded so natural Apu, not contrived and stupid in any way.) Bart decides to write a letter to multiple countries offering the US nuclear secrets in exchange for a minibike (Way to think big, most terrorists ask for millions of dollars and protection from the US). Can anyone explain how this plot went from "Homer wants to be a good father" to "Bart becomes an international terrorist in order to get a minibike"? I'm watching this and I don't get how we got here. After Bart doesn't get a reply, we see Bart biking up a hill as he's being followed by a CIA van and fails to outrun them (Guess he doesn't need a new bike then).
WAIT! Our unfunny joke organizations need screen time
But it turns out that CIA stands for "Chinese Intelligence in America" and they're interested (This is followed by some other bad puns, you know the CIA thing wasn't original, but it did have some charm, way to suck it all away). The Chinese tell Bart to transfer all the information to a flash drive but Bart begins to have second thoughts (Gee I wonder why, maybe because he's a 10 year old who didn't think this through. I'm sorry, but I cannot get attached to this plot at all, it just seems way to disconnected from the plots this show is known for, I feel like I'm watching a bad episode of 24). As Homer's watching the sitcom again (Has Homer even left his spot on that couch?) Bart approaches him to spend more time with him (As we get some thought bubbles to explain what we're seeing. I love the fact that the writers think we have the brains of a lobotomized lab rat). After another montage (Seriously?) we see Bart and Homer at the plant as Homer passes out and Bart puts the self-aware USB drive into multiple CPUs (Seriously, he just plugs it in and it automatically knows what to download. Uh Writers, that's not the way they work).
I'm sorry Homer, but I'm afraid that's not funny
Later, Homer tucks Bart into bed as Bart sneaks out after Homer leaves. Bart then goes to the zoo where he exchanges the minibike left for him for a folder containing the USB drive (Nice way to not give a damn about what you're doing). Bart wakes up the next morning finding out that Homer bought him a minibike already for being such a good son. Bart starts to feel guilty about betraying his country for a minibike he was apparently going to get (Well actually, he wouldn't have gotten it unless he planned on betraying his country in the first place. Great message for the audience there writers). Later Bart decides to ride his bike around unenthusiastically, Homer watches as he wonders why his TV fathering didn't work (Well I got a list of reasons right here, but I don't have enough space to read them all). Bart then rides off as Homer follows him to the zoo, Bart finds out the USB drive is still there as the Chinese arrive and try to intimidate Bart into giving them the drive. After Bart swallows the USB drive, the Chinese bring out their bad stereotype merchandise (Well if it was American stuff, it'd break instantly). Homer then arrives as he offers himself to them (I'd like to know how Homer knew about the USB drive, he wasn't around when Bart swallowed it, consistent writing? What's that!?) and they agree.
I'm calling BS here, not the idea that Homer could build a power plant, the idea that the Chinese find Homer funny
In China, Homer is given a huge thanks because he helped them create a nuclear power plant (That explodes instantly, defying all laws of physics, nuclear science, international law, character consistency...). Homer then gets home and we see Bart and Homer sitting on the couch as the episode seemingly ends with a long Itchy and Scratchy cartoon (God bless padding and lazy writing, how else would they get paid thousands as thousands of children in Africa die of starvation and curable diseases). Oh wait, in the credits we get a pointless scene as we find out what the actors are like now (Because my life would be incomplete if I didn't know how their worthless lives are now).

Final Verdict: This episode is terrible, the plot is a complete mess as it's pretty hard to determine what we're supposed to be following. I can't even say it's two different plots as it's more like "Incohesive plot 1A" and "Incohesive plot 1B". The jokes are non-existent, the writing is terrible, the transitions for the "plot" are just terrible and lazy and it's just a huge mess, plain and simple. Joel Cohen has reestablished himself as a man who just cannot write for this show.

Final Grade: 1.8/10 I still have no clue what happened in this episode. Tune in next week where I do the mid-season report card

Friday, January 21, 2011

Phil Hartman Dedication Month: Lionel Hutz

We continue this tribute to Phil Hartman by discussing another one of his famous characters; Lionel Hutz. You know, the incompetent lawyer you always get stuck with on your court date despite him having a great ad and seeming like someone who will win your case. I love this guy, everything about him is just funny, the way he acts, the way he talks and the way he thinks is even hilarious (Imagine a world without lawyers). So today, I thought I'd just go over a little history, talk about his cases and try to make a list of the best moments of Lionel Hutz (There are so many great moments, it's hard to choose).

Lionel Hutz was first on Bart Gets Hit by a Car where he is actually a competent lawyer who does his best to nearly win a lawsuit against Mr. Burns (I know, in retrospect this just seems so odd). But the majority of his character was established in that episode, he was crooked, more flashy than effective, and quite unprofessional. Lionel Hutz is named after a lawyer named Sir Lionel Luckhoo who was an extremely successful lawyer and is listed by many as the best lawyer ever (Considering what we know about Lionel Hutz, that's some good irony). Lionel's Hutz's office is called "I Can't Believe It's A Law Firm" just furthering the idea that he's not the guy you'd want to have handle your case. Lionel Hutz has also done some work on the side that either proves that he's incompetent, or that those degrees on his walls are probably just photoshopped to make himself feel good. Lionel Hutz has been:
  • A babysitter
  • A prosecutor (Usually a defense lawyer)
  • Shoe repairman (My personal favorite)
  • Substitute teacher (On Bart's list)
  • Actor
  • Real estate agent
  • Moocher
  • Dumpster diver

Anyways, now onto the cases, where do I even begin with the cases, well lets start off with the cases he actually won (I know shocker isn't it?) He won the case against Sideshow Bob (Although that was more on Bart and Lisa, but it counts), a lawsuit against Krusty for the metal Krusty-O, a lawsuit against the all-you-can-eat buffet (Classic line from Mr. Hutz) and a lawsuit against Roger Myers Jr. to end Itchy and Scratchy. With the short list out of the way, let's take a look at all the cases he lost:
  • Bart Gets hit by a Car
  • Bart the Murderer (I count this because he was about to be found guilty)
  • Marge gets a Job
  • Marge in Chains
  • Treehouse of Horror IV (Even when it's not cannon, he screws up royaly)
  • Burns' Heir
  • The Boy Who Knew Too Much
What's in common with all of these? Lionel Hutz is hilarious in the way he screws up all these cases. I know we want to see the main characters succeed, but it's far more satisfying to see Lionel fail.

Okay what you've all been waiting for; the top 5 moments of Lionel Hutz. For this segment, I'm just going to list my favorite quotes, moments and even storylines for Lionel. Keep in mind, this is a personal list so don't get up in arms if you don't see your favorite moment here, just list yours in the comment section
  1.  Marge in Chains, I couldn't pick just ONE line or moment from this so here are the sub-moments:
    • When Marge and Homer approach Lionel for the case, the monkey thing was funny, but it was topped by this great exchange:
      • Hutz: Now don't you worry, Mrs. Simpson, I - uh-oh. We've drawn Judge Snyder.
        Marge: Is that bad?
        Hutz: Well, he's kind of had it in for me, since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace `accidentally' with `repeatedly', and replace `dog' with `son'.
    • "World without lawyers" (My personal favorite)
    • Lionel Hutz presents his closing arguments without pants
  2. The babysitter plot from Marge on the Lam, yet again, no one moment, the entire plot is great
  3. His shoe repair scene in Burns' Heir, I know he's not supposed to be seen as a serious lawyer, but I just found this so over the top and hilarious
  4. Approaching Mr. Burns in Marge Gets a Job, how he goes from "I'm serious" to "HOLY SHIT I'M SCARED FOR MY LIFE!!" is just so funny
  5. The business card from The Day the Violence Died, something about the way he tries to con Bart out of money by eating his own card made me roll on the floor.
With all that out of the way, I'm glad that I have been able to do this for the past 3 weeks, join us next week when we take a look at his minor characters.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Episode 3: Double, Double, Boy in Trouble

Before this episode aired, I read this exact story in one of the Simpsons comics which I thought did a much better job at the whole "Prince and the Pauper" story (It most certainly did! As it turned out, there was a singer who was coming to Springfield to perform on the Krusty Show and actually resembled Bart under his sunglasses and hat. Both ended up at the Quik-E-Mart, and took some time to talk about their lives. Bart had a history exam coming up, which he didn't want to study for, and the Bart lookalike wanted some time to have a family and be a real kid. Bart comes up with the idea for them to switch places, and they know enough about each other to impersonate each other fairly well. However, it's revealed that they have to switch back sooner than they thought, because the singer's performance is a day earlier than they both realized. How does it end? GO READ IT, IT'S MUCH BETTER THAN THIS EPISODE!). Unfortunately, the writers did not use that idea as a reference to do their own story and this one comes off looking half-assed. Let's review this and see why it's not always a good idea to do a story twice.

The episode starts off with Homer and Bart at the Kwik-E-Mart with Bart is acting up (You know the whole "Bart is a bad boy" moniker? Yeah that's blown WAY out of proportion for the entire first act). Apu entices Homer to buy the last scratch-off ticket, but Homer is distracted when Bart jumps off the top of an aisle and almost hurts himself. Lenny buys the ticket and wins $50K, enraging Homer moreso (If only you didn't have to bring Bart along for your shopping at the Kwik-E-Mart like you did Lisa). After some more rage scenes with Homer (And a little bit of Marge), Homer goes down to Moe's as Lenny announces he's throwing a party for his friends (Including an unfunny bit by Barney, I'll be searching for my gun now). As they get ready for the party, Bart accidentally soaks Marge with cat pee, forcing her to wear a dress she hates instead. After Marge and Homer try to figure out why Bart is misbehaving (Including a scene with Marge getting a drop of alcohol in her mouth that turned Bart evil at pregnancy)(. . . what) Bart then picks a fight with Lisa (I'm, I'm sorry. What. I'm a teetotaler, and I know one drop of alcohol WILL NOT DO THAT!) in the back.
Don't make me add drama to this!
Homer responds by threatening to drive into a tree. Marge settles Bart and Homer down, preventing anything further (Hooray for padding). At the party, Lenny thanks everyone for being friends with him (I usually hold parties to celebrate something meaningful, but whatever) and tells Homer that everyone's going home with a gift bag. Bart overhears them and decides to sabotages the "Vac-U-Bots" (How creative) everyone is going to get. OK Bart has crossed the line from his normal behavior to being a flat-out dick, seriously should we feel the least bit sorry if he were to be hung over a cliff in a few minutes? (OK a little harsh but you get the point). Bart gets busted after the police round up all the killer vacuums and Marge punishes him by taking away his games (Instead of letting him serve more time in juvie where he belongs. Hey, it worked before). While cleaning up in the bathroom, Bart stumbles upon our plot, er I mean his exact doppelganger Simon Woosterfield (Oh great the beginning of the writers attempts to replace the town of Springfield with " Identical Cousins")  This also leads to Bart meeting an older version of himself married to a female version of Milhouse. ( I have nothing, the joke is stupid enough as is)((I have something: and the few slash fans rejoiced.....yes, the Simpsons have slash fans! I HAVE RUINED YOUR MIND FOREVER!).
And yet, this isn't the worst thing the writers have ever came up with
Simon suggests that they trade places because he's bored with his life and Bart agrees. After they exchange some exposition er I mean information about their lives, Bart goes into the limo to live Simon's life. Bart then watches Homer strangle Simon as he just laughs thinking he won in this (Oh Bart, you are an idiot. Nothing in this world come for free). After a rather stupid McMansion set of jokes (It wasn't funny, it was stupid) Bart enjoys what he sees in the mansion. He finds out that his racecar bed is like a real car (Where was this when I was a kid?!) and he passes by our shameless Joe Montana cameo (Poor Joe, reducing yourself to this, but it could be worse). After Bart calls Milhouse (Why is the writing staff so fascinated by the features of phones today? Are they still using phones from the 30's?) Simon has an outburst because of Homer chewing with his mouth open (Nice way to keep your cover, I bet you were trained by 007). Lisa suspects something because of the way he said it (To me when "Bart" called Homer "Father" I would call him out and suspects something's afoot).
You dare to question our writing?! Off to the troll feeding den with you!
As Bart and Milhouse eat in the Grand Hall, we meet our spoiled half-brother and half-sister, Devan and Quenley, who express their spoiled rotten core within five seconds of being on screen (Subtle, and here I thought characters should be fleshed out over time). Bart begins to understand why Simon wanted to trade places after Quenley gives us some forced exposition (Seriously, who talks that way? I defy you to try to have a conversation the way she does, you wouldn't be able to finish) After some bad topical jokes about the U.S. (Please kill me now) Simon calls Bart to say how he hates it and tries to explains why Devan and Quenley hate Simon. Simon, though, has a change of heart after Marge gives him a lot of affection and decides that his new life is okay (Cookies solve all problems). The next day Bart gets trapped in the family Mausoleum by Devan and Quenley (I'd rather not question how Bart can be this retarded). Mr. Burns frees Bart and decides to explain to Bart how he shouldn't trust his relatives at all. He also decides to show us how all his siblings died as well (As far as I'm concerned, the continuity for his childhood resides in Rosebud, nothing else).
Here are all my siblings, never mentioned before nor after this episode
After Bart realizes why Simon wanted to change places to avoid the step-siblings (Sorry but you gave it away when you introduced Devan and Quenley, you fail writers) we see Simon listening to Grampa's stories which raises another red flag in Lisa's mind (OK timeout HOW THE FUCK CAN'T SHE SEE THIS UNTIL NOW? SHE SHOULD HAVE BEEN ABLE TO SEE IT AFTER THAT DINNER, SHE'S NOT THIS STUPID!) Lisa then confronts Simon and gets him to spill the beans, since Simon doesn't really understand how much Bart hates Lisa. Bart is informed that the family is going on a ski trip to which he remembers Burns warning him about. Simon tells the family about what's going to happen to Bart, resulting in the family going to Aspen to save him (Odd how Bart didn't know about the trip until he was told by Devan and Quenley but Simon just happened to know this all along. Why not warn Bart about this beforehand in the bathroom? Why not let him know so he doesn't look like an idiot when the family's packing?)(Apparently, dickery is contagious) Either way Bart is forced down an tough trail that's too hard for him, and Homer, in his comedic ways er I mean recklessness, saves Bart from death. Simon goes back with his family, Bart goes back with his, and we end with Bart realizing that the grass isn't always greener on the other side (Blow it out your ass writers).
Too bad we can't replace our Bart with this exact look-alike

Final Judgment: This episode isn't terrible, but just poorly executed. Like I said before, I've seen this storyline before done better but to be fair this had some original ideas and concepts, but in the end, it just didn't capitalize on the entire premise provided. The characters were what I expected, but then again, I didn't expect much here. The jokes were hit-and-miss, but mostly miss. In short the idea's been used hundreds of times and this one isn't anything special, but it can be watchable in my opinion.

Final Grade: 5.9/10 Not quite an episode that inspires confidence for the years to come, but it's harmless and maybe worth a watch if you're not a diehard fan

Monday, January 17, 2011

Episode 11: Flaming Moe

For the love of God, these episodes are really taking a toll. I mean, it's one thing to make a bad episode, but to make a bad episode with a title based on a great episode is just painful.This episode just makes me feel uncomfortable; it's so unfunny in the way they make these gay jokes and yet there's a part inside me that feels like I'm homophobic for hating them. But any time I think that way, I go back to Simpson and Delilah and remind myself; "It's just their shitty writing". With that out of the way, let's see how they can possibly botch up recycled plots, pointless guest voices and jokes in general.

So we begin with Homer, Lenny and Carl check in at the power plant as their counterparts from the late shift leave (Yeah the whole setup for that was a day-shift vs night-shift fight over a candy bar...So essentially the beginning is entirely pointless and unfunny). Smithers then tries to tell Mr. Burns about the fight, but Burns is too busy updating his will with "Blue hair lawyer". After he finishes it (And goes into a state of dementia, okay show of hands, when the hell has Mr. Burns ever been mentally incompetent?) (Besides that time he was on drugs?), Smithers goes back later that night to read the will. Smithers finds out that Burns is giving away his estate and money to Yale, Gary (Bad joke, don't ask) and his tortoise (I just love lazy writing that's not in the least bit funny). Burns then tells Smithers that he will never see him as his equal until he can prove himself (Wait, I thought his exclusion would be because Burns was going to have Smithers buried with him!). As Smithers walks down a road, he notices a gay bar and decides to go in; however, he gets rejected by the bouncer and it depresses him further (I've got a bad feeling I'm going to hate this episode for the unfunny gay stereotypes it's going to throw at my face).
I wonder if I can be an offensive gay stereotype as well
Smithers then walks over to Moe's (across the street no less) and gets some scotch. Moe and Smithers talk for a bit and Smithers gets an idea to turn Moe's Bar into a gay bar for normal looking gays (But not before butchering the talking heads gag with Mr. Burns.) Moe at first rejects the idea but decides to change it up after seeing Barney come out with a toilet (Okay let's see I can think of at least 4 times where there's been a plot about Moe changing his bar. Are the writers just throwing darts at old scripts to pick the next episode's plot?) After a bad "Self-aware montage" Moe and Smithers throw out the "E" in Moe's sign and the bar is changed (Even Mommy Beerest was more creative in the way they did the renovation of the bar). Smithers then tells some gay people that got rejected from the gay bar (Including Mr. Largo, refresh my memory, when did he go gay?) to go over to the new Mo's. We then go inside to find out, the design's exactly the same but looks fancier (I'm calling lazy bullshit here!)
Looks like a brand new place, must have taken them 4 hours of furniture shopping to get it here
As Homer, Lenny and Carl walk in they prove that they aren't the brightest lightbulbs in the box (Or the basement, or the dump, or the...) as they don't catch on to what's happening until Moe drops some exposition on them (And shows all the different versions Moe's used to be. Okay, now you're just shameless writers, you could have played coy). After Moe forces them to accept what's going on, we cut to school where Mr. Largo announces to the kids that he's leaving. After announcing he found his soulmate, Milhouse mistakes Chalmers as the soulmate (Okay two things; 1. Which room does Chalmers live in? He clearly lives in the school now, there's no doubting that anymore. 2. Hank Azaria cannot voice Chalmers anymore as he struggles with his lines throughout the episode). Chalmers then introduces the class to the new teacher; Ms. Juniper as we soon find out that she has the free spirit of a hippie along with the brains of one on pot. We then cut back to Mo's where we see Marge and Homer drinking there and having a good time. However that's all cut down as the writers decided to make a gay cousin for Comic Book Guy and have Marge be mistaken for a Drag Queen by transvestites (This episode reeks of abject failure).
Not since Vince Vaughn have we seen such bad taste in gay people
How is it that there seems to be so much going on already but neither plot seems to be getting off the ground? After some unfunny padding, Marge tells Moe to tell the customers that he's not really gay so they'll stop hitting on him (Excuse me for a moment *Laughs uncontrollably* Oh that was precious, for a minute there I thought the writers were being serious and trying to make us believe that Moe was attractive to men. Oh that was precious). As Moe's about to tell them the truth, he decides not to because he fears that he'll lose their business (Okay, I did find the 2 shoulder devils for Moe to be a funny joke only because that seems like the bitter Moe I know). Unfortunately, we then cut to Moe getting everyone in the bar to do a gay dance (Joy, just when I was starting to like it, the plot got back in the way). We then cut to Ms. Juniper teaching music class outside with a guitar and continuing to be a hippie (Okay I have no problem with hippies, but there's no better way to describe her).
The hills are alive, with the sound of crappy writing
Skinner then arrives and passes out from having to walk all the way to the mountains they're on, after he wakes up he instantly falls in love with her (Thanks to a dream sequence. As much as I want to call bull I have to bite my tongue because it was established that Edna and Seymour broke up. I hated that but it's canon) (As I am a fanfic writer, I am not constrained by canon. LONG LIVE SEYMOURxEDNA!). We then cut to Smithers showing Burns what he accomplished and Burns is happy for Smithers and respects him (Wait, why?) (Show, don't tell). Burns then gets hit on by a grizzly gay and Smithers gets Burns out of the bar (I know he has a name, but screw it, they're all poorly written stereotypes to me). After Moe shoots down grizzly gay again, Smithers tells Moe that he doesn't approve of what he's doing to the customers but Moe uses the logic of money to put his mind at ease (And has Homer as more comic relief, joy). The next day, Skinner calls Bart in and tells him about his crush on Ms. Juniper and how he wants Bart to help (For Christ sakes, THIS IS THE BASIC PLOT TO GRADE SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL. They're not even trying are they?) Skinner tells Bart to go out with Juniper's daughter and in exchange, Bart'll get extra weeks off from school (Yep basic premise all the way) (Wait, GSC, Bart's role made sense. Here, how will dating this lady's daughter get Seymour closer? It's not like Bart's related to Skinner!). At the arcade, the daughter (Melody) is all giddy for Bart as he could care less about her (Am I the only one who thinks she's borderline stalker?).
Come on Bart, let's pose for the promotional poster
Juniper then tells Skinner out of the blue that she loves him and decides to dance with him right there and that she wants him over at her house later (Like I've said before; "I couldn't make this shit up if I tried"). Later, grizzly gay and some others go to Moe and tell them about their problems which leads to them asking Moe to run for town council to represent the gay community (Okay time-out, Patty is among the group, doesn't she of all people know that Moe isn't gay?) Smithers then confronts Moe and tells him that he's gone too far and he shouldn't be their fake leader. However, Moe let's it go through one ear and out the other and assures the gays he'll run. The next day, Skinner comes in happy, butchering "I'm Walking on Sunshine" (*Sigh* You know the drill by now; Recycled plot element from GSC) and has a pointless conversation with Chalmers outside his new bedroom (I can only assume).
Why did I agree to this piece-of-crap of an episode?
Later, Bart breaks up with Melody (In an anti-climatic, underdeveloped, "who gives a rat's ass?" way, just like this plot) and it causes Ms. Juniper and Melody to leave town (Um why?). Oh yeah, quick thing: Melody was voiced by Alyson Hannigan despite only having two scenes. Who says that this show just gets shameless cameos to boost their ratings? After a small conversation between Ms. Juniper and Skinner (and Agnes), Skinner decides he'll go with her and her daughter (Okay, as much as this makes no sense and is unceremonious. I will give a kudos to the writers for throwing a creative curve ball at us. But I'll revoke it if Skinner comes back within the episode). After Willie gets promoted to Principal (Another bad joke), we cut to Moe as he's giving a speech to get elected and it's interrupted by Smithers as he reveals that Moe is straight. Moe denies it but Smithers corners him into confessing that he is straight. The gays all turn against him and leave, after they leave, Moe kisses Smithers once to see what it's like (Like last week's episode wasn't a punch to my stomach before) (And, trust me, I don't think any fangirl was asking for that). We then cut to Springfield Elementary as Skinner gets off a bus and tells Bart that it only lasted a day (Bart tells him it was three months. You know that kudos I gave, forget it, in fact replace it with a FU right back at the writers).

Final Verdict: This episode sucks, the writing is awful, the plots are poorly paced and not developed in any sense, the jokes suck and the gay stereotyping was awful. The plots were unoriginal and the initial kickstart to the "A" plot was completely pointless as it had nothing but a token ending. Bottom line, terrible episode fitting into a terrible season.

Final Grade: 2.7/10 Just despicable

Friday, January 14, 2011

Phil Hartman Dedication Month: Troy McClure

Hi there, I'm the ghost of Troy McClure, you may remember me from such hauntings as; The Marilyn Monroe Story and This is It. Today I'm here to help this guy KK do this tribute to my character as clearly I was the coolest guy from the 90's.

Okay, okay, time to be serious. Now as you all know, I'm doing a tribute to Phil Hartman's work on The Simpsons, and I decided to start with his most famous character; Troy McClure. Even though Phil wasn't brought onto the show initially to do Troy McClure, that's the character I've seen most people associate to him first. So with that, let's begin.

A little backstory to begin, Troy McClure's name is based off the actors Doug McClure and Troy Donahue. Troy's first appearance was in Homer vs Lisa and the 8th Commandment as he was doing an infomercial Troy's basic character is that he used to be a big name actor who descended into B-movie obscurity and hosted infomercials and TV specials. Probably my favorite part of his character (Besides all the funny dialogue) had to be the movies and educational films he'd star in, it was a better time when the writers were very creative and they proved to be a good idea whether they were just mentioned or we could actually see him star in them. I've also loved how Troy was nothing more than a washed-up has been but would have an IMDB profile longer than most major movie stars. Troy McClure was one of those characters that can be imitated but never duplicated.

Troy started off his educational videos with Bart the Murderer where he was giving a lecture to the kids about the history of chocolate (Which I believe isn't true, but that was part of the character that I loved). There are quite a bit of his videos that I love and I could make a list of my favorites, but I'd feel that one or two would get snubbed and I can't narrow it down to just 10 or so. I think though the videos I enjoyed the most would be the ones with Billy where Troy would be condescending to him even though the kid had a more active imagination than he did (Lisa the Simpson). In short, his educational films was a great bit and Phil could add a new element to every video he did.

Of course Troy McClure seemed like he was basically a one scene character that you'd want to see him get his own episode but you'd assume that his bit would get old fast. That is where the comedic genius of Phil Hartman would prove you wrong. In his own episode (A Fish Named Selma) we got some further back story into Troy's character and Phil does a great job conveying how Troy has a fish fetish and is not just a washed-up actor (Although I personally never liked the fish thing, the episode was still a great one). I've always appreciated what Phil was able to give to this character and I wish that he could have gotten more screen time, maybe the movie that was thought out. Yes there was talks about Phil Hartman making a live action Troy McClure movie and the Simpsons staff was behind it, a shame it never came to pass, I would have gone to see it.

As this comes to an end, I though about listing all his works but it is a lot. I knew it was a running gag with him in a lot of work but I didn't realize it was THIS much. So I hope you enjoyed this and be sure to check out one of these great titles at your local Beta-Barn:
  • The Boatjacking of Supership '79
  • Calling All Quakers (with Dolores Montenegro)
  • Christmas Ape
  • Christmas Ape Goes To Summer Camp
  • The Contrabulous Fabtraption of Professor Horatio Hufnagel
  • Cry Yuma 
  • David versus Super Goliath
  • Dial M for Murderousness 
  • The Electric Gigolo 
  • The Erotic Adventures of Hercules 
  • Give My Remains to Broadway
  • Gladys the Groovy Mule 
  • Good-Time Slim, Uncle Doobie, and the Great 'Frisco Freak-Out'
  • The Greatest Story Ever Hulaed
  • Here Comes the Coast Guard
  • Hitler Doesn't Live Here Anymore
  • Hydro, the Man With the Hydraulic Arms
  • Leper in the Backfield
  • Make-Out King of Montana
  • Meet Joe Blow 
  • The Muppets Go Medieval
  • "P" is for Psycho
  • Preacher With a Shovel (with Dolores Montenegro) KNOBBB
  • The President's Neck is Missing
  • The Revenge of Abe Lincoln
  • The Seven-Year Old Bitch
  • Sorry, Wrong Closet
  • Suddenly Last Supper
  • They Came to Burgle Carnegie Hall
  • Today We Kill, Tomorrow We Die 
  • The Verdict Was Mail Fraud
  • The Wackiest Covered Wagon in the West
  • Jagged Attraction
  • Look Who's Still Oinking
And you can find the rest here

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Episode 2: Lost Verizon

Let's start off by saying that I do not come into any episode with any bias, I approach every episode with the possibility that it mat be good. However, for those of you who remember my November posts, this episode was written by John Frink, one of those writers that inspires fear and dread anytime I see his name. But I'll still keep an open mind for this, so let's see what's in store for me today.

First, a little trivia: this episode was originally supposed to star Matt Damon, but instead the role went to Denis Leary (I have no clue why, I guess Matt said no)(Wouldn't you?). The episode begins with Seymour and Agnes Skinner running out of gas on the highway, along with a piss-poor gas joke because gas prices will always be over $4 a gallon, right? Seymour decides that the best way to get gas for the car is playing a good game of Frogger (Seriously just put the Frogger music over that scene, it's so appropriate). After some more padding, Milhouse texts everyone relevant to the school to watch Seymour act like a fool in public (You get the fact that they are now culturally relevant? Yes? Well too bad, this whole episode decides to shove that fact down your throat). After Barney mistakes Skinner for beer, Nelson wonders why Bart isn't there. Milhouse claims Bart doesn't have a plot device, er I mean cell phone and we cut to Bart having a tea party with Lisa (I have no comment, I just wonder if that tea is laced or not)(We're not that lucky).
Bart: This is the worst possible thing that could happen to me
The bullies exposit that Bart missed out on Skinner being a fool because he doesn't have a cell phone (As opposed to calling him at home but I guess that makes too much sense). Bart gets angry and Lisa mocks him with an "Imaginary cell phone". Oh yeah, huge continuity error: the bullies come up from the backyard and are on the road when clearly the backyard borders a house unless a joke dictates it to something else (i.e. the power plant in Homer the Great). Bart complains to Marge about not having a cell phone and Marge explains they don't have the money and, oh God, my nostalgia level for this show has died again. I will give the money joke its credit; it did make me laugh a little just because it does remind me of the days where the family had huge money problems. As Bart whines off, Lisa exposits about how she's used to disappointments such as not going to Machu Picchu ~plot point~. Bart walks around when he gets hit by a golf ball and finds out that he can make money by collecting them (It seems that The Simpsons Movie is not canon with the series as Dr. Nick is alive, but in later episodes, we find that to be bullshit and inconsistent writing. I love it when the writers can't even figure out their own shitty continuity).
I thought you were dead, aren't you?
After a montage of Bart collecting balls (I have a bad feeling about this season and montages) Willie takes away his business, and Bart retires. Wow, way to pad out the episode, that was annoying and pointless. We then see Denis Leary play golf at Krusty's golf tournament, and see that he's proud that he is best known for Ice Age. After his phone disrupts his swing, he throws it towards Bart and Bart takes it as his own (And people dare to claim I have a bad attitude towards cell phones)(Sure why not. It's not like all the contacts in that phone wont know that Denis threw his phone away and they might mistake Bart as Denis and, oh wait). After some more cell phone antics (I GET IT, YOU THINK YOU'RE CULTURALLY RELEVANT, STOP SHOVING IT IN MY FACE!!!) Bart gets a call from producer Brian Grazer to star in Everybody Poops and Bart agrees as Denis. Ok, quick question: HOW THE FUCK DOES BRIAN NOT RECOGNIZE DENIS' VOICE? It's a really big plot hole in the rest of this story as nobody seems to be able to tell the fact that they aren't calling Denis but some other guy.
Hey Bart, after we finish texting all our friends, why don't we Skype our cousins, update our Facebook and then Twitter how our day went.
After a scene with Denis in his new movie (I really don't get how that'd make money, but hey, I'm not a Hollywood producer) Bart decides to pad out the episode by crank calling bars with Denis' cell phone (*sigh* Remember those days when Bart crank called Moe and he and Lisa would get such a kick out of it? Yeah those days are LONG over). Denis threatens Bart after getting some Yankee stuff (Hey who wouldn't be angry over that?) Marge then takes the phone and talks to Denis as he convinces her to give the phone back to Bart and track him using the tracking device in it (Afterwards eating pop-tarts in the most over the top way possible). And that's the last we see of Denis, what was his point in the episode? No point at all, glad to see these cameos are being put to good use. I could talk about how the cell phone tracking an invasion of his privacy, but I'd rather not get political here. Besides, after seeing him play with a forklift (Who gave him that?) she has a right to try to prevent him from doing bad stuff, but it does seem a bit out of character for Marge. After another montage (Yipee) Lisa finds out about the tracking and informs Bart about it because she respects his rights (I guess then people under house arrest should be given privacy too, how does this make sense? I mean it's not like Marge actually knows what Bart's doing, she just knows where he is. I'd also like to remind you that Bart's 10, of course a mother wants to know where her child is).
Bart, you're an idiot, give me a minute to explain the plot to you
Bart takes the chip out and attaches it to a bird which sends Homer and Marge on a wild goose chase... I did not mean that but I'll punish myself for that *Smacks self for bad pun* (*smacks him again* That's MY job!) Afterwards, Bart decides to do whatever he wants, which includes all the stuff he doesn't like doing, such as eating vegetables.... moving on. We cut back to Bart having Nelson and Milhouse over after the family's been gone for three days as they both leave before it gets dark, causing Bart to get scared of the dark. How did this story go from Bart wanting a cell phone to Bart getting afraid of being alone? As the family continue to follow the bird (Seriously, the bird travels faster than the car and they aren't the least bit suspicious of that?) Lisa discovers that the chip is attached to a Scarlet Tanager the whole time and she decides not to tell Marge and Homer because she wants to go to Machu Picchu. OK I have two complaints here:
1: Why is Lisa such a selfish asshole here? She'd be more than willing to make her family travel through all of Central America and North West South America just so she can visit a city which she could probably visit later in life when she's older. That is just so stupid it doesn't even deserve a wall-banger here.
2: After a quick Google check, the Scarlet Tanager does travel through Peru but it's only in the U.S. during the Summer unless the Simpsons live somewhere between Florida and Texas. They couldn't have used a different bird here?
Look at that, our plot device is a Scarlet Tanager. Good thing we have Wi-Fi in the middle of nowhere.
Moving on, after Bart decides to tell us how night sucks and day is awesome (Show, don't tell, nimrods)(Because I feel it's my duty to help the world, here's how this could be done: just SHOW Bart having fun during the day, going 'Whoo-hoo!' and the like. At night, he can just be shivering, blankets pulled up over his head. No need to actually SAY night sucks and day's awesome, since most viewers are intelligent enough to understand) the Simpsons finally end up in Machu Picchu (Nice going, Lisa, you just cost your family hundreds in gas money, scarred Bart and skipped over a week of school but it's all for a good cause, the chance to NOT ENJOY Machu Picchu. A couple of hours isn't enough to soak in the atmosphere of a city like that, it's like telling me I could enjoy Bermuda with only three hours of walking around). As Marge takes a nap, she dreams about what the city was like if it had all its warriors emasculated by their mothers and unable to fight off the Spanish Inquisition.
Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!
(The writers clearly were lazy here, as there is very little known history behind Machu Picchu and the history we do know points to Machu Picchu abandoned before the Spanish Inquisition). In Marge's revelation, she realizes she can't always be there for him (Where did this come from, honestly it seemed like the writers forgot what their message was supposed to be for this). The family goes home to reveal they were gone for two weeks as Bart is grateful for them to be back. We end with Maggie being left behind but being worshiped as a God by the Machu Picchu natives.

Final Judgment: This episode is fair at best and awful at worst. The writing is stupid, the plot is littered with cultural relevancy up the wazoo and worst of all the message seems tacked on and stupid. This episode just goes to show that just because you're keeping up with culture doesn't mean your writing will be good.

Final Grade: 3.3/10 It's really not worth watching

Monday, January 10, 2011

Episode 10: Mom's I'd Like to Forget

Today we look at an episode where the premise is just plain stupid and it seems like there's no possible way to salvage it. I don't think that even the writing staff of season 4 could save it, it's just so retarded. But it's okay, we have the Brian Kelley seal of quality attached to this episode so... wait... I quit *leaves*. For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, I'll give a quick history lesson; Brian Kelley cannot write a decent episode to save his ass!!! I hate his writing, I hate his episodes and I hate the fact that he's still on the staff, trust me his day WILL come on "Hate Month" here, but his name along with a couple of others are the LJN of writing, the Asylum of episodes. In short, Brian Kelley is my Joe Quesada and I never feel good whenever I see his name on the screen. With all that out of the way, let's see how badly he can botch this episode.

After a long opening (I'm eventually going to stop this, only after they stop making openings that are 1:30 in length) we see a dodgeball match between the 4th graders and the 5th graders is about to begin (Crap, this show's already detracting me, I could be watching an episode of Recess instead). We then get a dream montage of Bart winning the match and what happens after he wins (What exactly is the point of all this? Oh right, I forgot, there doesn't need to be a point for storytelling, just padding). Anyways, in reality, Bart misses the 5th grader and his two remaining teammates get knocked out, but in typical Invincible Hero fashion, Bart seemingly wins the match for the 4th grade (Which causes Nelson to dump Gatorade on Ms. Krabappel, no good reason, he just does it).
Prepare to die Vince, er I mean Bart
But because this show doesn't believe in physics, the ball finally drops from the sky and the 5th grader catches it, winning the match (Taking bets now on how utterly pointless this turns out to be). The next day, we see the 4th graders and the 5th graders in the hall in a standoff, this leads into a bunch of scenes where the 4th and 5th graders take shots at each other (Screw it! I'm watching Recess instead *leaves*) Okay I'm back, where were we? Oh right, all this bickering causes a huge fight in the teachers lounge because they themselves have the maturity of the classes they teach (We're already over 5 minutes in and there is still no semblance of a usable plot. It's especially jarring considering that we've never even seen the 5th grade on the show before). After more banter from the 5th graders (Because it never gets stale) Bart challenges them to a rumble. After more unfunny padding (Thank you Brian Kelley, thank you) Bart sets down the ground rules for the rumble and they begin (With Chalmers and Skinner watching from a distance. Does Chalmers just live in the school now or are the writers just incapable of giving him any character outside of berating Skinner?) As the rumble begins, the 5th grader (You know what, until named, I'm calling him Bob) throws a punch and Bart notices a scar on Bob's hand resembling a sword toothpick.
If you like this tattoo, you should see the one on my ass
Bart asks about it and reveals he has the exact same scar on his hand... (WHAT THE FUCK WRITERS?! You know I can suspend my disbelief enough for the whole 5th graders that we are apparently supposed to know, but this is massive bullshit. This is the equivalent of finding a long lost brother when you're in your 50's by bumping into him at your grocery store. You see why I hate the man so much? He puts NO effort into thinking this stuff through, I'm willing to bet my house that the end result will be so lazy that it just makes the whole scar thing even less connecting to the two). Anyways, Willie then buts in for an unfunny joke as the act ends with Bart and Bob staring at their hands (Making the entire conflict between the two grades, you guessed it; entirely pointless). Bart then asks the bullies if they gave it to him but they tell him no (Well that's another pointless scene and that calls for a shot... oh wait wrong theme). After seeing Homer being Homer (Dumb unsympathetic idiot version) Bart asks Marge about the scar and Marge starts telling him about how it happened (With a convenient picture book in the bathroom, what you don't keep yours there? You must keep yours in a closet or something *Scoffs*)
Let's see what the script has in store for us this week
Marge tells Bart that she was friends with 3 women and Bart was friends with their sons who were all bad influences on Bart (I've seen Bart when he was a toddler, he wasn't a choir boy himself Marge). After Marge tells Bart that she had a falling out with her friends, Bart asks why they don't get back together, Marge thinks about it and decides to get back with them (When in doubt, write lazy excuses for why we never see these new characters. I'm glad they don't feel the need to put effort into this). After Homer does the taxes on the toilet (It's as stupid as it sounds) we see Marge with her old friends in their group called "The Cool Moms" (Great, the effort meter just flatlined). After no development for the parents, we see that all four boys have the same scar (This episode has inspired me, I'm going to go out in the world and look for all people who have scars similar to my own) and then they jump out of the tree on their skateboards (OMG! Character development! The boys are all troublemakers and, oh wait we already knew this, nevermind false alarm).
Why can't we do anything for this episode?
The next morning, Marge tells Bart that they're going to have another get-together and Bart seems less than thrilled about it. Marge then is told by her friends that they should meet every Tuesday and Marge gladly agrees (With a stupid brain joke. I'm getting too old for this shit). Homer hears Marge coming home at 12:10 AM and we see Marge drunk and not even tired (The only thing Brian Kelley can get right; Character derailment). After another pointless scene of the parents being together (Seriously, this is just so boring, it's giving me no material) we see Bart getting made fun of by his new friends (Who I still don't know, say Brian, if you want me to give a rat's ass. Give me a reason to care!) Lisa then sees Bart doing a dare for the boys and she tells him that he needs to get Marge away from the women. Bart concludes it has something to do with the scar on his hand (Which is still never explained how HE NEVER SAW IT BEFORE IN HIS LIFE!!!) After Dr. Hibbert tells Bart to go see Comic Book Guy, he and Lisa head over to him where CBG decides to tell bart about how he got it (After threatening a rare comic book. Odd how this episode indicates that Bart's had this scar his entire life yet in ALL the times he's gone to the store, CBG NEVER DECIDED TO TELL HIM ABOUT IT!! I'm sorry, but this episode's really pissing me off, must be the Kelley effect).
Give us a coherent plot or I'll ruin this comic book
CBG tells Bart that the scar happened 7 years ago on July 4th at the 4th of July picnic for Springfield. After a lot of unfunny jokes (Please kill me now) we see that CBG was in charge of the fireworks display and Marge and her group were in the audience with their kids. Bart and the boys then snuck off to the fireworks controls where they pressed all the buttons causing the fireworks to all go off at once and cause chaos. One of the fireworks made it back to the control panel destroying CBG's sandwich and causing the four sword shaped toothpicks to explode off and land on all of the boys hands... THAT IS COMPLETE AND UTTER BULLSHIT!!! Let me count the ways this makes no sense in the slightest:
  1. There were 4 toothpicks for the sandwich no more, no less, how convenient
  2. I'm no scientist but they all happened to superheat instead of melting like the plastic they are
  3. They all happened to land on each boy's hands and stay there long enough to cause said scar
  4. That's not the way fireworks work, they don't head back when dozens are all shot off at once
  5. Bart can remember back to when he was 2 or 3 but he can't remember this?!
  6. Why doesn't Bart EVER question why he has this scar on his hand?
  7. This causes the whole "Connection" to make even less sense as it was purely coincidence that they all got the scar on their hands instead of it being intentional to connect them for life
Class act our Mr. Kelley, classy
    I'm sorry if it seems like I'm nitpicking but this episode is terrible. Anyways, Bart decides to make a new explosive to cause the moms to separate, but Marge catches Bart making it and Milhouse runs away (Nice to know he was vital). Bart tells Marge the truth and Marge gets angry that he wants her as a mother again and she can't be with her friends (I hate your character derailment Brian). After Bart explodes the fireworks anyways (With Homer being an idiot *Bites tongue*) Marge then tells her group about Bart's plan as the other women accuse Bart of being the bad apple. Marge defends Bart as she decides to leave because they insulted her son (Which leads to the 3 remaining women making out after she leaves... FUCK YOU BRIAN KELLEY!!!) Bart and Lisa comfort Marge about losing her friends as Marge tells the kids that Homer ended up staying with the fathers (As they do what they've done the entire episode: NOTHING!)

    Final Verdict: This episode sucks, the plot is stupid, there is no coherence anywhere to be found, the pacing is abysmal and plot elements are dropped almost as quickly as they are added. The jokes are terrible, the writing is lazy and horrible and the episode is boring, I've just got one thing to say about this:
    Brian Kelley, YOU'RE! A! HACK!!!!

    Final Grade: 1.7/10 Talk about a title that's just a word off from what we all feel. This is truly an episode I'd like to forget.