Friday, February 25, 2011

"Controversy" Thy Name is The Simpsons: Compare and Contrast: Bansky vs Itchy and Scratchy the Movie

Recently, there was a "controversial" opening couch gag that garnered quite a bit of attention from everyone. And to be quite frank and honest, I think it was way overblown and does not deserve the attention it got. Now don't get me wrong, I'm all for honest work and honest pay for hard working people, the problem I have is that the joke was already done and it was humorous in the way it was done (Also, based on sources, it was completely false and seemed more like a joke for the 80's not for this decade). This on the other hand seemed like an attack aimed at nobody that didn't seem to try to promote better working conditions but instead couldn't decide if it was supposed to be satirical or serious. For me seeing the attention it got was like watching two brothers biking and the older brother falls off and scrapes his knee. The mother comes and tries to make him feel better, the younger brother seeing this "falls off" his own bike and cries even louder thus getting undeserved attention. But hey as the saying goes "The squeaky wheel gets the grease" and boy did this get a lot of grease. But in the end was it deserving? Well that's what I'm here to find out.

Controversial moment: The portrayal of overseas animation departments as hell holes.

Why it's controversial:

  • MoneyBART: It was a dark portrayal of how animation is produced at minimal cost for the producers (Which is inaccurate as the animation staff is given quality conditions to work with)
  • Itchy and Scratchy; The Movie: None (Tried searching but nothing came up, only thing that came up was the MoneyBART opening)
  • Both treat the animation department as a harsh work environment where the workers are basically slaves
  • Both are supposed to be an attack on the animation process of big-time animated shows
Because as we all know, the animators are treated like slaves
  • The Itchy and Scratchy: The Movie was meant to be taken in a comedic sense as soldiers pointed guns to the animators to get them to work
  • MoneyBART includes merchandising alongside the animation department in terms of horrible conditions
  • MoneyBART had more of a darker atmosphere and went over-the-top in its "What have we become" symbolism
Now when it's meant to be a joke, it can be funny
Staff's response: 
  • Itchy and Scratchy: The Movie: The animators were a little mad with the writers and directors for putting that in. But nothing came of it and the animators took frequent shots back at the staff by inserting them as background characters (When the script called for "Stupid background characters")
  • MoneyBART: The writing staff was firmly behind Banksy's opening allowing for the majority to air. The animation staff threatened to walk out because of the way it was portrayed. 
Did it deserve the controversy?:
  • Itchy and Scratchy: The Movie: N/A (Like I said, it didn't get any real reaction that I could find)
  • MoneyBART: No, no it doesn't. It doesn't deserve any of the attention it gets, it's a terrible, dated, inaccurate satire that's tries way too hard and ends up falling flat on it's face. Honestly I could not believe how much attention it's getting on the internet and for what reasons? Because it's dark? Yeah because that's never happened on the show before. Because it's edgy? Yeah inaccurate and edgy are two different things. I could BS a documentary about the "sweatshops" of the Netherlands, because as we all know, the Netherlands is the 16th best economy in the world and that means it's full of sweatshops and cheap labor. I could continue on, but I think you get the point; Cheap labor is unethical, but please, don't give attention to something that's not true or funny, it's nothing more than a cry for attention.
Well that was an interesting month. Unfortunately, after a little bit of stress from this month, there will be no theme month for March and the Season 20 reviews will be moved to Friday. Look forward to seeing you all next month.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Episode 8: The Burns and the Bees

Looking back there have been few Mr. Burns based episodes and only one Burns-Lisa episode (The Old Man and the Lisa). This episode is an interesting one, since it really isn't terrible, but only goes to show the dipping quality of the series at this point. So really, is there any hope for a billionaire vs environmentalist episode? Let's find out.

We start off with Mr. Burns traveling with Mr. Smithers to the Billionaire retreat as we see what goes on with the rich minds of America (So they're all rich average Joes? Who knew)(Including Mr. Burns? PFFFT). Meanwhile back at Springfield, Bart is told by the bullies to knock a bees' nest down on some second graders (including Lisa), which he agrees to after some padding by Kearney. Lisa jumps on the hive to try to save the others (In an over-the-top way. What, is there any other way you can think of?), but is surprised to find out there are no bees in it. Lisa opens the hive to find them all dead, and Willie gives her some exposition about how bees are dying around the world. Groundskeeper Willie then reveals that he's a beekeeper himself and his bees with pun names have all been dying (If you wanted them to live longer you would have called them bee 1-infinite). We cut back to the retreat as we see more money jokes being shoved in (Net worth having Gates over Buffet, scary stories involving the Security and Exchange Commissions, large poker games, etc).
It's the bee version of Countdown! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!
Mr. Burns then wins a basketball team called the "Austin Celtics" from the Rich Texan with a 9-high hand (The lowest hand one can have is 7-high, who would be betting with those hands? And really? The AUSTIN Celtics? Not even an imaginary team, just ripping off the Celtics by replacing Boston with Austin? Hey, I'm not the highly paid writer whose job is to make these jokes). We cut to Lisa telling Homer that they need to do something or the bees will die. Homer at first is reluctant until she tells him no bees=no honey (No fruit, no vegetables, no animals that eat fruit and vegetables, no bears, no- oh wait, she doesn't explain this)(Who is she, and what has she done with Lisa?). Homer then has a dream about a honey famine and decides he needs to do something (It involves Wall-E as well. I should do a new count involving stupid dreams but these don't piss me off as much). They meet up with Professor Frink, who explains that the bees have been dying of bee measles (Is anyone else not finding this funny?)(See, measles are barely funny. If they were dying of bee WEASELS.....I saw you smile there). Frink decides to collect enough healthy bees to create a new colony. One then just happens to land on Lisa's face and thus a colony of bees converge on her face... (I'll be at the bar if anyone needs me)(GET BACK HERE!).
I think this speaks for itself
Lisa convinces Marge to let her keep the bees on her face as Bart decides to have fun and mold the bees to make her look like Milhouse (And slashers smirked). We then see the Springfield Celtics facing the Dallas Mavericks, with Mark Cuban deciding to be even more annoying than he already is after his team DOESN'T score a 3 (Seriously the one who made that had a green jersey on; the Mavericks are blue and white. Nice job, editor). We then see Mark Cuban continue his hijinks (No wonder they sell beer at games. If I paid $2200 for a courtside seat and all I got to see was this jackass delaying my game, I'd want to be hammered). Yeah, I know he's not really this distracting in real life and he does have one of the elite basketball clubs, but why is he blown so out of proportion here, that it makes him look like Dane Cook on the court during halftime? Mr. Burns then confirms that Mark Cuban's a billionaire with a long bit of padding- er, I mean "Handshake" (Could always do a Google search but whatever)(Mr. Burns? The man who answers his phone with 'Ahoy hoy'?). After Mark goes back to being a pompous jackass, we cut to back home with the family having breakfast consisting of pancakes and syrup (Cue Homer eating the bees that land on his pancakes).
I want attention!
Marge is then sucked into the plot as she "remembers" an abandoned greenhouse that'd be perfect for the bees (Seriously, the writing makes it out to be like she's known this place her whole life, and it's never explained how she knew of it). Marge and Lisa go to the greenhouse and release the bees for them to live there. Later on, Mr. Burns comes out trying to be a funloving owner like Mark by renaming the team the Springfield Excitement (What was wrong with that being the first name?)(Too obvious?) and being more involved with the game (including forgetting that Austria-Hungary is no longer a country despite the fact he fought in WWII in multiple episodes, dummies). After Smither gives a long bit of history to explain that, we further see that Mr. Burns is old and not with the times based on his cheerleader selection (I wonder if the writers were afraid that people might think that the Simpsons weren't with the times either so they dedicated episodes purely to topical events). After Mr. Burns successfully drives away any fans, he gets a daydream where Mark Cuban recommends that he builds a new arena. Mr. Burns decides to create his new arena right next to the greenhouse where the bees are (Which is next to the prison... I don't know, this makes about as much financial sense as Jacksonville having a football team). Later, Lisa debates Mr. Burns about the location of his arena and how he can't have it there. Unfortunately, because Springfield is about as environmental as New Jersey, the town agrees with Mr. Burns and allows him to build his arena (That, and Mr. Burns' ability to convince the town they need basketball now by... saying they need it).
Can you believe what they've done to our characters? I mean it's absolute garbage!
After the greenhouse gets destroyed, Lisa goes to Moe's with Homer and complains to Moe about how evil Mr. Burns is for what he did (And apparently get drunk on milk, I can't fake this people. That was actually written in. Someone got paid to write that)(It's that or REAL alcohol). Moe then suggests to Homer that they combine his African bees (Why does he have African bees...?) with her bees to make a super bee (Uh, it doesn't work that way, either that or we wouldn't be worried about honey bees dying around the world). We cut to six weeks later (and one completed arena. I thought those things took months to build)(SCIENCE!) when Homer shows Lisa the new bees, which they find out are dangerous. Homer is okay with it because he thinks they won't get far (...yes, yes they will) until Lisa points out that the new arena is shaped like a beekeeper's hive (Interesting design. I personally would have gone with convention instead of playing into the plot). Mr. Burns, after lampshading how flawed the system is for building his arena, foolishly opens the roof and allows the bees in (This isn't a football arena; basketball was always meant to be played indoors in a controlled environment).
A deadly bee weapon took over this arena. Bees my God
After the bees take over the arena, Homer and Lisa go to see the aftermath. They find out that they took over and Mr. Burns is angry about it (Lisa's excited though at the fact that killer bees took over a multi-million dollar stadium. Sure put thousands of people out of a job just so your stupid bees can have a home, well done Lisa, well done. And considering that killer bees don't pollinate well, Lisa is happy because she brought in aggressive bees to harass the town and not pollinate flowers, good job.)(Seriously, where's the REAL Lisa? Anyone seen her? About yay-high, blond hair, intelligent, possesses foresight?). A year later, it turns out that Mr. Burns sold the stadium for over $800 million, making him worth only $996 million instead of being a billionaire. They decide to rip off The Godfather, having Mr. Burns play the role of Salvatore Tessio as they decide to throw him in the millionaire's camp.

Final Judgment: This episode is bad - not terrible but bad. The plot is stupid, the writing is half-assed, and the jokes are nonexistent as you are left scratching your head at what was supposed to be accomplished. Now this was another example of the writers just picking up the newspaper and deciding to make an episode based on what's popular in the newspaper leaving people who didn't know about this alone in the dark.

Final Grade: 3.9/10 Just meh, nothing more nothing less

Monday, February 21, 2011

Episode 14: Angry Dad the Movie

I hate this even before I watch it. You know, it's one thing to try to have a bad episode that builds off a good episode *Cough* Saddlesore Galactica *cough*. It's something entirely different when a bad episode builds off another bad episode *Cough* She Used to be My Girl *Cough* But even if I could look past that, this episode seems to have all the red flags of a bad episode; Numerous cameos, non-existent "satire", implausible plot, written by John Frink, etc. But it's my duty anyways to look closer at why this episode fails, so let's look.

So after a long Itchy and Scratchy cartoon (Okay I'm just going to lay out the unofficial guide to "How to write a successful I&S cartoon". 1. Must be under 30 seconds (This one takes up 1:30) 2. Little to no dialogue from either Itchy or Scratchy, like Tom and Jerry 3. No real story involved, it's basic slapstick humor with death added in. And now you know). Afterwards, Bart decides to stall the plot by preparing for wanton destruction. We then go to Marge to find that the rest of the family is at a frozen yogurt store and have left Bart at home for 23 minutes (Okay stupid question. Why didn't you bring Bart with you? I mean you brought Grampa, why not Bart? Last I checked Bart liked desserts). We then cut back to Bart as he apparently set up this huge elaborate plan involving a physics-defying rope attached to a rotating fan that takes him around the house and Ned's house as well (I guess what the writers wanted me to do is laugh, but I can't help but wonder how he set it all up in less than 30 minutes). We then get the standard "BART!!" scene that is deprived of any actual emotion (On top of that, the direction is terrible: Homer just says something offscreen and Bart has no reaction whatsoever. Who said you need to be talented to work on a TV show?) While the family is cleaning up the house, Mr. Plot Device comes to ask Bart a few questions (I know he has a different name, but screw it, the timing makes him Mr. Plot Device).

Bart, the writing staff is all out of ideas. Mind if we reuse this plot?
After a stupid callback to the Angry Dad webcomic (Which somehow is not as bad as Sonichu. Close but not as bad) Mr. Device explains that when the company went belly-up they took control of all their webcomics (Oh yeah, you gotta love how the year for the company is 1999 despite that being before "Bart" was born and the episode aired in 2002. Who said you need to put thought and time into your writing?). Anyways, the point of Mr. Device's visit is that he wants to make an Angry Dad movie because Hollywood's out of ideas (Gee that sounds vaguely familiar). The act ends on Homer strangling Bart because he made a stupid Roman Polanski joke (Hey I can make these jokes too. Computers will some day rule us all in trivia game shows! Run for your life!)(That day already came! Take cover!).

Mr. Device then shows Bart and Homer the studio that the movie will be made at (I'd comment on the stupid Disney joke, but I'm more interested in the movie posters they glance over. I think they are the most original things in this episode). We then see Homer demonstrate he can move cards around with his ass, as well as drink soda from it to some animators (This is another one of those "You extended it too far" bits where maybe the card thing could have been funny, but they reached for the "Laughs"). Bart is then informed that the previous actor cannot do the voice and is recommended that Homer do the voice (Can we please end this now? Homer acting angry and getting hurt isn't as funny as they think it is)(No! You will enjoy our comedic sociopathy!)

The worst part of all this is that they actually read this script like this and decided to go with it
Later we see the writers and cast (except Homer) at a table read as they read the lines for the movie. You know, they've already done this concept in The Itchy and Scratchy and Poochie Show and it was actually funny; here it just seems like it's giving us the middle finger like "Yeah we actually read this stuff and green-lit it. What are you going to do about it?". After Bart introduces the movie to a test audience (Probably the same test audience of The Simpsons Movie) Mr. Device shows Bart the audience's reaction, and it's about the same reaction I have every time I see a new episode (Actually my guess to who the audience was might not have been that far off). Lisa then give him words of encouragement as she says to cut out all the parts that didn't work and turn it into a short film (Oh, like how this show should do the same and run for about 5 minutes? I'm sorry but these jokes are just too easy)

The audience's reaction to Angry Dad the Movie

Later, Luigi comes to Bart and informs him that his short film has been nominated for a Golden Globe (Too bad we didn't get to see Bart actually edit the film to make it good. Guess it was a good idea not to have that, the writers don't know what would have been the good parts). After a pointless Anthony Hopkins joke (I want to hurt someone) we go to the red carpet as we get bad caricature after bad caricature walking down the carpet. Lisa then sees the creative team of "Mixar" (You know, Family Guy basically killed Randy Newman but The Simpsons can't even use the word Pixar?) and informs them about Bart's film (Which they respond with their own bad Randy Newman stand-in. It's pretty bad when Family Guy is one-upping you in terms of similar jokes two weeks in a row (See brain joke)). After some more Pixar knock-offs (Just stop! Okay, stop! These aren't funny nor charming, they're stupid), we go inside where we begin our celebrity cameo count with Ricky Gervais (Take a shot. Trust me you'll need it). After his long unfunny bit (Seriously we need a Get on with it! clip for that), we get cameo #2 with Russell Brand (Another shot!). Russell then announces the nominations for best animated short (And yet 2 out of the 3 have better pacing than this episode).

Why is it that this is probably the way the staff looks when the win an award?
As you'd expect, Bart wins the Golden Globe, but Homer goes up there to accept it before Bart can (So this is that "Satire" against "different Oscar acceptances where two people clearly race to the stage to get there first"; well, let's see how satirical it is). After Homer gives a stupid speech, we get a montage of Bart and Homer getting multiple awards as Homer gets all the glory while Bart gets the short end of the stick every time (Nothing funny yet). Later, Bart gets a call that Angry Dad received an Oscar nomination and Bart is ecstatic about it, Homer comes in and Bart doesn't tell Homer about it figuring he'll be able to get the award by himself (Still nothing funny nor satirical). At the Academy Awards (Remind me again, how does a shitty webcomic that turns out to be a bomb as a movie get so many award nominations? Oh right, anything is possible when your show is written by a bunch of monkeys). After Bart and Lisa have an interview on the red carpet (Is it just me or does Lisa have one of the creepiest faces with that haircut and expression?) we see Homer and Marge are out doing things irrelevant to the plot (With gang talk that is rivaled by Michael Bay dialogue from Transformers 2).

You shouldn't disturb the writing staff, I think they're onto something
At the award ceremony, they decide that Homer needs to be there so they need to pad out the ceremony (Just like the real award show goes: we must wait for this guy to come so that hilarity can ensue). While the gangsters are driving Homer to the show, we see Halle Berry come to present the award for best animated movie under 40 minutes (Another shot for another shameless cameo) Anyways... jkfds Sorry about that. Anyways, we get to see clips from all the nominations as I feel that watching the Razzies is a better idea at this moment (Hey, at least some of them are so bad it's good). After Homer arrives, we get - here's a shocker - ANOTHER bad "parody" that seemingly takes forever (I want to hurt this so much, but I can never hurt it like it's hurt me). If you're still awake at this point, that means you have more willpower than me, and that's not saying a lot. Anyways, after that test of our endurance (And another pointless cameo. This one from Nick Park. You know the drill by now) we finally see a clip of this "Great" Angry Dad movie and... it's positively awful (What, are Razzies just reshaped and renamed so the winner's feelings aren't hurt?) I would say what a letdown, but expectations are drained out at this point. Halle Berry then announces that Angry Dad won the Oscar which makes Bart ecstatic (Oh yeah I forgot to mention, they play the theme song A LOT during this episode. What did they want to remind us what we're watching so that we don't confuse it for something good?) 
Not since Ctrl+Alt+Del has there been as bad of a webcomic adaptaion
As Homer comes in (With a Bansky reference. I hate the animators now) Bart accepts the award and realizes that it's not just his movie but everyone had a role in it. Homer then joins him on stage as Bart comes to realize that it's silly to have just one person accept an Oscar for a whole team's work. He then decides with Homer to saw the Oscar up and give a chunk to everyone who worked on it. The episode ends with Homer telling Bart that the Oscars are cheap and they'll buy a new one (And the satire of this all is... NONE! There was no satire, nor jokes, nor entertainment, just 30 minutes of pure pain)

Final Verdict: This episode sucks. It's nothing but filler, filler, and more filler with no real plot or jokes to be found. The saitre is nonexistent and just seems like a lazy way to just write their own lives into an episode, the pacing is abysmal, the writing sucks, the plot holes are enormous, the cameos pointless and the story makes no sense and doesn't give us a reason to get invested at all. All in all, it's a waste of the celebrities they got and the concept they had.

Final grade: 1.9/10 Just pain from start to end

Friday, February 18, 2011

"Controversy" Thy Name is The Simpsons: Blame it on Lisa

And here's reason number 2 for why I didn't want to have these as full length text reviews. This is easily one of the worst episodes of the series and quite possibly a candidate for most insensitive. This episode is so universally hated by the fans that I thought like with Principal and the Pauper I could just basically write the title and get a response just from that. But yet again, does this episode deserve all the hate it gets? Let's take a closer look

Controversial moment(s): The way the episode portrays Brazil

Why it's controversial: This episode got such backlash from Brazil about the way the show portrayed Rio de Janeiro. They portrayed had colorful rats, unmarked taxis that were run by criminals, monkeys in the middle of Rio de Janeiro, a kids show that's way too mature for kids and other assorted nit-picks.
Yeah I can see where all those monkeys came from...
Staff's response:
James L Brooks offered a half-assed apology that just sounds like "We're sorry, oh wait no we aren't". He basically said "We're sorry if you were offended. If that apology isn't good enough the President of Brazil can challenge Homer on Fox's Celebrity Boxing"
There's some basic "Serious defending" of the episode in the commentary along with some "Jokingly defending" in there as well. So really not much to take from that.

Was it justified?: Yes, yes it was. But at the same time it was blown way out of proportion. The way the staff portrays Rio de Janeiro as nothing more than a bunch of slums with easy access to monkeys is stupid and insensitive. But at the same time, it's supposed to make fun of a city, much like making fun of Detroit, Los Angeles, Paris, London, etc. But I can see why it got so much hate from Brazil, to make fun of a city is one thing, but to make fun of a city and just make up your own facts while making fun of it makes you look stupid and uncaring. I could care less if someone mocks my hometown (Baltimore) by saying something like "The harbor is dirty and full of trash" or "I wouldn't feel safe walking in this city at night" because in some ways that's true. But say something like "There's a murder happening down every street" or "It's the biggest hellhole on earth" is an insult and based on nothing but bad stereotypes.

Well I'm glad that blast from the past is over, I never want to see something related to season 13 ever again. So what's in store for this week's episode? Oh dear God.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Episode 7: Mypods and Boomsticks

Who says the Simpsons can't tackle the big issues of today's society like; "Is my Islamic neighbor a terrorist?" I'll let that settle in for a minute. Okay minute's up. If you couldn't believe that then you'll have a hard time with today's episode that makes Archie from "All in the family" look like a perfect man. Let's sit back with our American flag and watch how bigoted we can be towards Muslims.

After a stupid opening (The chalkboard gag is "Prosperity is just around the corner"... I gotta admit, that's probably the funniest chalkboard gag I've ever seen. Oh wait they were trying to be serious... please just go away). We begin with the family going to the mall the day after Christmas, where we see how quickly we abandon the Christmas spirit as soon as possible (I personally spend three days afterwards just with my presents enjoying them). After watching the mall rid themselves of the Christmas decorations (I find the Dr. King stand-in ironic because this episode is exactly what Dr. King fought against. Clever writing or accidental symbolism? You be the judge) the family all return their kitten calendars that Bart got for them as last second presents. Lisa then discovers the "Mapple Store" (This ranks up their with the "Zii" in "Topical references that I cannot stand" the Simpsons satirizing Apple) and wants to go in. As we go in we see such clever parodies as "Mypods", "MyPhones", "Brainiac Bars", "MyCubes" and "MyPhonies" (Wow, I bet it took them all day to think up those great names didn't it?) After Lisa tries to buy some Ipod (I refuse to address them by their parody names, it demeans the writing) headphones to make people think she owns an Ipod (I personally hate the earbuds that came with my Ipod so I use an assortment of earbuds, does it mean I don't own an Ipod?)
Quick guys, we need to cram as many Apple references as possible!
Krusty comes in ranting about his own Ipod with nobody responding (I know the feeling) and he just decides to give it to Lisa (I would try to sell it on Ebay if I didn't like it and it was a gift but whatever). We then see our Steve Jobs parody "Steve Mobs"... (I need booze)(You know, in most parodies, they also change the first name a little...) about to give an announcement to the audience. Bart hooks up a microphone to the feed and supplies the audience with false information. This prompts Comic Book Guy to reference Apple's Superbowl commercial (Nice to know that the writing staff's version of "Humor" includes placing one of their characters in something that's already popular). After some unfunny lampshading about Steve Jobs the customers decide to go after Bart and he escapes by running... Seriously, he runs out of the mall and they stop chasing him. Remember, whenever you're being chased by an angry mob out for blood, run about 100 ft and they'll give up. Bart then meets Bashir who's cooking some lamb and just offers some to Bart (Frankly if someone came in my backyard I'd tell them to beat it). Bashir's mom Mina then introduces herself to Bart because he's Bashir's friend for all of 5 seconds (Ah yes, life-long friendship can be established in 5 seconds that seems more contrived than the romance in Twilight).
Wait a minute! This is supposed to be funny?!
Bart then tells Bashir about school and tells him not to tell anyone that he's muslim or the bullies will appear and beat him up, hey look at that, the bullies just happen to be there when he says that (What are they like Beteljuice and just arrive when you speak of them?)  Oh yeah, the reaction on Bart's face to the fact that there are different religions just further enrages me to how ignorant the writers think Americans are (You know, I like a good satire, but when you need character derailment in order to get it, it pisses me off). Bart gets them to back off by pointing out how they all have different religions and they start fighting each other (That had a point). Later we see Lisa listening to her Ipod, and Sherri and Terri instantly want to be with her because she has an Ipod. After some padding (In the form of a shitty Itchy and Scratchy cartoon, seriously 1:10 is devoted to this "Incredible" cartoon) we see Homer meet with Bashir in some more unfunny dialogue (Icepick on standby). Afterwards, we see Homer being mocked at the bar because Bart is friends with a Muslim boy (Now for the "clever" satire of America's intolerance). Moe then shows Homer an episode of 24 which convinces Homer that all Muslims are terrorists and he needs to find out how Bashir's family plans to destroy America... uh-huh. People, I'm leaving RBY in charge for the rest of this review because frankly, I'm insulted, my intelligence is being mocked with every line involving our intolerance against Islam. Take it away, RBY. *Walks away*
Care to be insensitive with me?
(Ok, let's see. In order to discover the secret new terrorist plot, Homer invites Bashir's family over to dinner and tells Marge to keep them talking. Homer begins his Archie impersonation by assuming that Bashir's father went to a tech university to create bombs (Strike 1). Homer goes to grab a cake that looks like the American flag and asks Bashir's father to cut it (Strike 2. Like, SERIOUSLY?). Homer continues to hate against the family by saying he won't cut it because they hate freedom (Strike 3). .....between this episode and the NYC thing, **** it. **** the haters, **** the ignorant jerks, **** the terrorists, **** EVERYONE!) NOT EVEN PART-TIMER WATCHERS CAN STAND THIS! Marge berates Homer for teaching Bart intolerance and tells him to go over and apologize. As Homer goes over to apologize, he sees Bashir's father in the garage with TNT and assumes they are terrorists (You know, it's people like Homer that make other countries believe that all Americans are lazy, ignorant bigots. I HATE THIS EPISODE! I HATE IT!!) Homer goes back home to tell Marge what he saw and she doesn't believe him (What a shock). Homer then has a dream involving the genie from Aladdin (Who Dan also voiced in the second movie) making Springfield a more Arab culture and Homer believes moreso that they are terrorists (I need my pills).
Oh Genie, grant me just one wish. WIPE THIS EPISODE FROM EXISTENCE!!
The next day, Lisa gets a package from Apple with her bill which totals $1,200 because she bought more songs than she thought. Yes I know that this is a reference to a woman who got a 300 page IPhone bill, the difference here is that was a phone bill, ITunes doesn't give bills like this. This joke fails because it's like trying to fit a puzzle piece into a spot that's too small, it doesn't fit. (FAIL!!). Homer then goes to Mina's house and comically mishears the what the husband's job is (Oh Homer, if only you weren't so bigoted you could have heard the real story). Homer then gets into Mina's house and finds out that her husband is to blow up the Springfield Mall (Homer's intolerance is now hurting me). After finding this out Homer evacuates the mall and sees Bart, Bashir and his father next to the dynamite plunger which is connected to the old Springfield Mall.
Shouldn't that read "We're sorry about the past 10 seasons"?
We cut to Bashir's father explaining his job is math and engineering rather than blowing things up. Homer then breaks into the boarded up Mall and throws the dynamite into the river (Odd how the police didn't catch him and put him behind the barrier but whatever). The dynamite explodes a bridge as Bart explains how stupid Homer is. Homer goes into the river to "save" the two Duff beer trucks that went in. Homer officially apologizes to the family as they accept and the Simpsons now have a new friend that they will never see again. Lisa goes to Apple HQ to try to settle her bill with Steve Jobs. Steve doesn't change the bill but hires her as an ad person dressed up as an Ipod on the corner.

Final Judgment: This episode is terrible, the satire of America's intolerance against the Islamic faith is not clever nor enjoyable. The writing is God-awful, Homer gives Archie Bunker a run for his money on who can be less sensitive against others and above all the story just is stupid. I know that there are people like this out there but nobody was calling for an episode about this.

Final Grade: 1.4/10 About as low as the Simpsons can go in terms of being insensitive. (AGDFAHDAFH RAAAGE)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Episode 13: The Blue and the Gray

... What is there to say folks? What is there to say? I just want to count a few of the ways that you can spot the failure in this episode from the start (Besides post-season 10)
  1. Written by Rob Lazebnik; so you know it's good
  2. Valentine's Day episode: Because the last one went so well
  3. Marge having a gray hair: Because her hair is a natural blue
I know, I know, don't judge a book by it's cover. However, the last time I was told that, we got an episode that ended with a group of unknown women making out so screw that. This just has so many red flags that the problem isn't trying to go in with a positive attitude, the problem is wanting to go in at all. But because I've had 2 weeks off, I'm re-energized and ready to give this review to you all.

So we begin with a scene panning over Springfield as we see it's Valentine's Day and everyone is celebrating (Including a creepy scene of Lenny and Carl going out with each other's sisters who look like their male counterpart. Thanks Rob, you just gave me the image of my nightmares for the next 2 weeks). We then cut to inside Moe's bar where we see Moe give Homer a "Valentine's Day drink" and Homer heads back home (But of course because the writers are uncreative, Homer has to open the door multiple times to establish that Moe is depressed. I do love padding, it helps rest my head when I fall asleep). Later that night, we see Moe watching TV as he turns to an infomercial about a man named Dr. Kissingher (Subtle) holding a self-help seminar at a hotel near the airport for lonely men (Do any of the channels in Springfield just show normal TV instead of plot device shows?) After Moe decides to go (And a bad "Female Moe" joke inserted in. Thanks, that's two bits of slashfic material you've given to us? What a delight Rob can be with his writing) we cut to the next morning as we can tell Homer and Marge celebrated Valentine's Day the way it was meant to. Marge then wakes up and realizes that they slept in and only have 5 minutes to get the kids off to school. Homer, being the bad father he is (Drive kids to school? That's unheard of and completely implausible), tries to get out but can't as he's tied to the bed.
Oh Homer, you're such a card
Instead of being competent, Homer decides to play this for "Laughs" and tries to gnaw his leg off... *Angry stare* Marge  thankfully saves us all from further embarrassment and unties him herself (Yay for pointless scenes!) Marge then heads to the bathroom and notices a gray hair and starts to panic (...Um why?) After Homer and Marge have a horrible exchange (This writing can only get worse if it were written by Friedberg and Seltzer) we cut to the airport hotel where we see Moe sitting down for the seminar (So for all of you who actually give a rat's ass about this you may be wondering "What happened to the whole "Need to get the kids ready for school"?" Well like a lot of episodes with shitty writing we call this "What happened to the mouse?" and it just helps emphasize how lazy the writing is). At the seminar (Which happens to have Seymour and Chalmers there as well. Okay seriously? Are they just unofficially married or something? When Chalmers arrived it was rare and meant for a quick joke, now his presence is just painful.) Moe gets told that he needs a wingman to help him get a woman. Moe then decides to go with Homer after he sees an unfunny picture of him. We then cut to a hair salon called "Hairy Shearers" *Tumbleweed* where Marge tells her hair dresser Julio about her gray hair and how's she's doesn't care about it (Okay off topic question. Does anyone actually like this guy? I mean is there anyone out there saying; "We need more Julio! He's the the glue that keeps this show together"? Just saying).
I've had gray hair since I was 17? I never knew that.
Julio then tells Marge about how she's been gray for years and she's surprised about that *Cough* Bullshit! *Cough*. He then tells her that the blue dye he uses not only eliminates the gray hair, but the fumes give her temporary amnesia *Cough* Worse than midichlorians *Cough*. As he prepares to dye her hair again *Cough* Are you really going with this? *Cough* a random woman comes in for a touch up for her own gray hair but is told not today. She says it's okay and she seems very happy with her husband who also has gray hair. After Marge sees her happy and Julio wearing a gas mask to put the hair dye in (Slowly and long enough to give her time to change her mind or poison her), it's implied that she decides to not go with the hair dye and just let it go (You know you could always go to the Kwik-E-Mart and buy cans of blue hairspray LIKE YOU'VE ALWAYS DONE!) We then cut to back home where Marge shows off her new hair much to the shock and awe of her family (You know it must have taken a lot of time for the animators to decide how she would look now. I mean there are three shades of gray to choose from, Three!) After Marge asks Homer what he thinks about it (Which leads to unfunny padding that could have been done much better with just a "Head speaking" scene) Marge then asks her kids what they think. Lisa then spouts of some clich├ęd "I'm a feminist and what you did was empowering" bullcrap (When in doubt about characters, just spout out some random BS). This also leads to one of the most utterly, stupid, scenes ever in the show as Bart, Lisa and Maggie all freak out because they have no idea where their own hairlines start and what their hair even is. It's just so stupid and out of place.
Why are we still on TV? WHY?! WHY?!
I mean was anyone asking "Hey where do the children's hair begin? Say let's make an entire bit out of it, that'll kill about a minute of two of screentime!" It's just retarded and unnecessary. You know looking at the scene in context of the entire episode, I believe that the entire episode was based of this "Joke" and another scene to come up, it really has that "Scenes were built around this" feel to it. Sorry a bit of rambling there, I apologize. Anyways, during all that crap (Seriously this was the second time I really wanted to end the review early) Homer gets a call from Moe and we find out Homer agreed to be his wingman (You know seeing a scene of that probably would have been better than wasting time on the whole "Simpson kid's hair" bullshit). After Homer bolts (And Lisa just draws a hairline on... Okay I swear that's the last time I bitch about it... in this review) we see Moe and Homer go barhopping in a series of scenes I'm reluctant to call a montage, but hey when it comes to lazy writing, who's better than these guys, so I'm counting it (Oh yeah a little personal attack against the writer. Virginia is a beautiful state and it doesn't need to be compared to any other states you assholes!) After a pointless scene of Homer not liking Marge's gray hair (Rinse, lather, repeat) we get a scene where Bart's friends see Marge's hair and makes fun of Bart because of that (Really this whole subplot is pointless as it goes nowhere and is just another "What happened to the mouse?").
Let's see, how many more obnoxious references can we throw in? Well I guess Ashlee Simpson may count.
Later at the grocery store we get a bunch of scenes where Marge feels worse and worse about her hair from people around her (With a stupid as all hell "Jessica Simpson is related to us" joke. You know what, I'm going to start writing a letter. Dear Mr. Lazebnik, Why do you have such a hatred for the fan base? What has this show ever done to you? What is your problem with...). Marge then expresses her feelings towards Lisa and Lisa gives the whole "Don't allow other people to influence you" speech (Does Lisa have any character anymore or are the writers under the impression she's just a box of cliches?) At the register, Marge loses it when the cashier asks if she's a member of AARP (Through another long unfunny bit of dialogue. Please kill me). After another unfunny bit by Ol Gil (For those of you keeping track at home that's... TOO MANY!) we cut to school where Skinner asks Bart about why he fought with Milhouse and it leads to Bart talking with the school counselor (How cute, the writers think this plot can be salvaged). After a long pointless bit between Bart and the counselor (Yep that's the last scene of it. See any resolution to it? Nope? Me neither) Marge goes to a coffee shop where Patty and Selma mock Marge for her gray hair.
That sound you just heard? That was the sound of millions of fans crying out in terror and suddenly silenced.
Marge then asks why they aren't more supportive since they've gone gray as they reveal that their hair is just a result of smoke and ashes as they reveal their true hair colors to be red and white... Okay that's strike three. I'm done! Honest to God I'm done! Rob Lazebnik, you really don't give a rat's ass do you? You really having this seething contempt for all fans of the series as you could care less if this show goes down worse than the Titanic don't you? I really fucking hate this episode and I feel that words are not enough to express my rage. But for those of you who aren't really familiar with what I'm talking about let me just say one thing; PATTY AND SELMA HAVE HAD THEIR HAIR COLOR SINCE BEFORE THEY TOOK UP SMOKING!!!! You really don't care do you Rob? Okay *Sigh* I've taken a long walk, collected my thoughts, and am now ready to finish this review before this episode breaks me. I've never allow a shitty episode to beat me and I wont allow this one to beat me now. After Marge talks with Patty and Selma about Homer, we find out through some young girls that Homer's been out on the night life and he's really popular with the ladies (What?! What?! WHY?!) Anyways, Marge decides to go and grab Homer (All the while more "Old people" jokes are being made against Marge. When at first you don't succeed try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, until your mind can't take it anymore!!) Later, as Marge travels to the club, she accidentally drives off a cliff. Afterwards, things happen to her that make her look more and more like a witch (Yeah this was that "Other scene" I was talking about earlier. How it's set up I swear they said "Let's make Marge look like a witch" and then worked from there).
Oh Homer, your total lack of personality totally turns us on
After Marge gets into "Club Zipless" (You know what, at this point I don't care. I really want to end the review so I'm going to try to speed this up) we see Homer is surrounded by about 9 women all in their 20's (Yeah because as we've seen before Homer's a real ladies man like that time he... or what about when he... Oh wait I know, that one moment he... Huh, guess you never established how he's so popular eh Robby?) After an unfunny Mr. Burns joke (Insert your own reason for why Burns is at a nightclub because the writers forgot to) we see Marge confront Homer about him being at nightclubs. After Marge tries to kill people with a flaming broom (Strike four! You've been out for a while now, now get back on the bench) Homer poorly explains that he's a wingman for Moe and she immediately forgives him (Fuck you Rob! Just fuck off!) Marge then asks Homer what his real opinion about her hair is as he imagines a lot of blue things and implies he wants her to go back.

And the final FU to the viewers is in the bag
Back home, Lisa gives another "Empowering" speech to Marge, Marge immediately calls out the BS and Lisa responds that "Whenever a woman does something it's empowering" (Strike 5, 6 and 7 For God's sakes man just end this while you still have some dign... before you enrage the fanbase even further). The episode ends with Homer and Marge sharing a kiss as Maggie and "Eyebrow Baby" share a kiss while they're both dressed up as cupid (Strike 8, 9, 10, Oh forget it, the episode's over)

Final Verdict: This episode SUCKS!!! I hate this episode, even more than Mother's I'd Like to Forget I hate it that much. The plots are incoherent and don't flow naturally, the writing is God awful, the characterization is atrocious,  and continuity takes it up the ass multiple times and just the way this episode says "We don't care" pisses me off to no avail. You know I may hate a lot of the more recent episodes, but if I can see that they're trying I'll give it a pass. They're helping to destroy it, but at the same time they're trying to make an enjoyable episode. Writers like Rob though could care less and seem to be in it more for the money and it pisses me off.

Final Grade: 0.9/10 God awful and should never be seen by any eyes

Monday, February 14, 2011

This Week's Review

Well I'm a little red in the face this week. I apologize for not getting my review out on time this week. I had personal work and I wasn't quite sure if it would interfere with my review. I assumed it wouldn't but here we are without a review. I have started working on one and it will be available at the normal time tomorrow. Again I apologize for my lack of preparation and you guys deserve better

In terms of a preview I'll just leave you all with this thought:

Marge has no idea that she has had gray hair under all that blue hair for years, and Homer is suddenly attractive to young women without any scene to show us why.

Friday, February 11, 2011

"Controversy" Thy Name is The Simpsons: The Principal and the Pauper

This is one of a few reasons that I didn't really want to do a full text review for this theme. Trust me, I will get into this one soon enough, but today I want to take a closer look at why this is so controversial among the fans. Why this episode created such a backlash. And above all, did we overreact or is it justified. Let's take a closer look.

Controversial moment: The entire backstory of Seymour Skinner being changed

Why it's controversial: The entire backstory of Seymour Skinner was changed. This episode is one of the first legitimate cases where many could argue the show jumped the shark.
SKINNER! Er I mean Armin Tamzarian

Staff's response:
Matt Groening has called the episode "a mistake" and has gone on record saying it's one of his least favorite episodes (Pretty sure he retcons it, but I'm not 100%).
Harry Shearer has gone on record saying he hated the idea from the beginning and the writers don't even talk about it, admitting it was a mistake.
Ken Keeler (Writer of the episode), Bill Oakley, and Josh Weinstein all defend this episode and Keeler actually says "I am very, very proud of the job I did on this episode. This is the best episode of television I feel I ever wrote." I remind you, this is the man who wrote Brother From Another Series and El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer (The Mysterious Voyage of Homer) as well as some good Futurama episodes.

Was it justified?: Yes and no, first let's talk about the no (Trust me it'll be very short). The idea for this story (As told by Ken) is to satirize the audience of the show for being irrationally committed to what they already knew and too resistant to change. The problem with that is it's not really clear where the satire is and nothing to indicate that the writers know it's a 'zany', 'over-the-top' plot. It feels like it's taking itself serious from beginning to end until the token line at the end basically retcons 30 minutes of TV, which in the end makes this entire episode pointless. This sort of episode was parodied in The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular.

Now on the flip side, yes this episode does deserve most of the hate it gets. I know what it's trying to do, the problem is that it fails at doing it. Yes changing a character's backstory is very stupid and infuriating (See Highlander 2) but I don't think I would have hated it as much if "Tamzarian" actually took Vietnam seriously instead of some punk biker who's only there because he stole a purse. It's hard to view any of Skinner's flashbacks to Vietnam and not say "Hey, why isn't he combing his hair or reading a dirty magazine while on the frontline?". I think the whole premise of "A friend dedicates his life to his fallen friend's life work because he made a vow" maybe could have worked here but maybe I'm reaching for something that's not there. In short, changing the entire premise of a character you've built up over the years will always lead to backlash from the fans.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Episode 6: Homer and Lisa Exchange Cross Words

Lisa obsessed with crossword puzzles and Homer being the compulsive dumb father that he is do not make for a good episode. This is another one of those episodes that had potential but ultimately fell flat on its face. With that out of the way let's dive into this episode.

We begin our episode with Bart and Lisa selling lemonade with no success until Bart puts a dollar in the jar, which causes masses of people to arrive (Fun fact, some restaurants and bars do the same thing to their tip jar to encourage tipping). Homer smells the lemonade but is turned away because he doesn't have cash. Homer decides to go to Moe's instead but has to use Lisa's bike to get there (I swear this is familiar but I can't place my finger on it). When Homer gets to Moe's we see Mrs. Krabappel trying to break up with Seymour to no avail. Homer goes in (after Edna offers a beer) and breaks them up himself. After the breakup, Lenny and Carl praise Homer for being able to break them up and make Skinner feel good (I know I discussed this but this still pisses me off). Lenny asks Homer to help him break up with his girlfriend to which Homer does successfully and thus he is now a genius at this too (For those of you keeping count at home this makes... I don't know 1,000 things Homer is good at?)
As a lawyer I have nothing better to do than shut down children's lemonade stands. Damn I love my job
Back to the kids, we see Blue-Haired Lawyer shut down the lemonade stand because they don't have a vendor's license... Do I really need to say anything about this? At the Bureau of Licenses and Permits, Bart and Lisa are held up in line because Wise-guy cannot do a crossword puzzle. The holdup enrages Lisa, causing her to cut the line and finish it herself. After finishing it, she gets praise from the people in line and she loves it (I'm a Sudoku man myself, never really good with words)(Jumble FTW!). Homer gets a call from Grady (Three Gays and a Condo callback, SMH) as Grady asks Homer to help him break up with Julio since he is dating Duffman (When did Duffman go gay?) because he heard how good Homer is at breaking up couples (Where did he hear this? Is there such little news that this makes the news?)(Gossip?) Bart finds Lisa doing about a hundred crossword puzzles at night because she's now addicted to them (Soon she will start getting high off the newspaper ink).
It's finally happened, Lisa has taken over as the show's main writer
We then cut to Homer at a gay club breaking up Grady and Julio (Okay now I know who that annoying fucktard is that I always want to strangle) as Julio is okay with it despite Homer giving him no words of comfort (Now I know why he's a breakup artist, his clients are emotionless androids, it makes perfect sense). The next day Lisa decides to proclaim her love of crossword puzzles to Marge and Grampa, being very condescending towards Grampa in the process (Good to know all this considering she'll forget all this in a week and never touch a crossword puzzle again). Later, Lisa gets on the bus as she sees the words in her life turn into a small crossword puzzle (Okay, who left the PCP next to Lisa's cereal this morning? Mark?) We then see Homer at his job as he takes appointments with people to breakup some couples and it's followed up by a crappy montage (No I'm not letting this go, HOW THE FUCK DO PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT HIS BREAKUP SKILLS AND WHEN WAS IT EVER ESTABLISHED HE COULD DO THIS... EVER?! There's suspension of disbelief that Homer's had this all his life, and then there's character development solely for the purpose of the plot. It really bothers me.)
In just 30 easy minutes, you too can have a half-assed home business
Afterwards, we see Lisa creating a crossword with the hopscotch course and it makes Chalmers raise his voice to ask what she's doing (Huh, I was expecting him to approach her with a fisherman's outfit). After finding out that she loves crosswords, he gives her a flier about a crossword tournament (Why thank you Mr. Plot device, nice to know your presence was needed). Later Marge tells Homer that what he's doing is wrong and leaves him with the thought of someone being able to break them up after every fight. Homer stays awake pondering this until the spirits of all the relationships he broke up come to haunt him (Back to the booze). After he wakes up, he decides to leave the "Business" and goes to sleep immediately afterwards pointing out how pointless this plot was (Yes it's meant to establish where he gets the money to bet later on but really Homer's character is impulsive enough to gamble his retirement funds on the tournament, we didn't need all that padding to set that up). The next day, Lisa enters the crossword tournament and Homer goes off to the bar where he discovers that people are betting on the matches. Homer being the greedy good father that he is always bets on Lisa and wins as demonstrated in a montage (My count is two but I'm borderline on another).
My daughter's on TV, who'd have thunk it?
As Lisa reaches the finals, she lampshades how the writers always take away everything from her and how she probably won't win the tournament (Wow, I'm gonna go hang myself, this is that depressing)(Even in a good episode, that it's depressing because it's TRUE). Homer takes this information and bets against his daughter, shocking all the gamblers (Come on I've seen more shameless acts in Vegas). After showing us some words that have been removed from the dictionary (Too bad filler wasn't removed), Ol' Gil exposits about why he entered this tournament to Lisa. The round starts, and Gil loses his glasses, prompting Lisa to pick them up. She realizes they're fake, but the brief distraction is enough for Gil to solve his crossword in a record 10 seconds (Even if he didn't fake the glasses he probably would have won with how fast he was able to solve it). Homer wins the bet and is a little irritated about how the bookie is judgmental about his bet. The next day Lisa discovers Homer's bet against her and she bottles up her emotions against him throughout the next few days (Even misses school as she went inside after the first confrontation. Sure why not?). At school Lisa expresses her frustration by changing her last name to Bouvier (Marge's maiden name) for betting against her (Considering how inconsiderate she was to Homer after showing her that Simpson women can be smart and restoring her confidence, she... oh wait I forgot, these writers aren't smart enough to think about that).
Considering how Lisa Simpson's character left years ago, this makes sense
Homer gets some advice from Moe and Carl to do something nice for Lisa to win her back. We then cut to Lisa on the couch with a white "Lisa B" shirt and a watch which will come in play soon (Seriously, does anyone wear a watch just for the sake of wearing a watch anymore?). Marge offers Lisa the NY Times puzzle to pass the time as she belittles Marge as well (Seriously, who's writing this shit? Lisa really comes off as a prick a lot post season 13). After Lisa finishes the puzzle she notices a hidden message from Homer apologizing for the bet. After looking at her toys for a bit (Because they can provide insight and don't make you look like you've lost your mind) she goes to confront Homer about the puzzle. Homer explains that he got Merl Reagle and Will Shortz (Hooray for pointless cameos!) to help him plant two messages for Lisa. Lisa forgives him and our episode ends with Homer and Lisa sharing a long hug.

Final Verdict: This episode is bad. The ending feels tacked on, and the rest of the episode is stupid. The writing is awful, the characters aren't what we're used to and seem to be written by people who have little information about them and the padding in this episode is just beyond idiotic. Really this ranks very low for me on Homer-Lisa episodes and doesn't really work well as a Lisa episode either.

Final Grade: 3.8/10 It's a rather stupid episode that yet again, failed to reach its potential

Monday, February 7, 2011

HP Lovecraft Review #2: Die, Monster, Die!

This month's movie, 'Die, Monster, Die!', is another product of our friends at American International Pictures (Yippee!). The opening credits reveal that it was based on Lovecraft's 'The Colour Out of Space'. Strange story to adapt, since one of the colour's main attributes is that it's a colour never before seen on Earth. How do you adapt that to screen?I suppose we'll find out. At least Boris Karloff stars, as the film's main antagonist. ...'The Colour Out of Space' never had a human antagonist. ...We may be in trouble, folks.

After the opening credits, we cut to our protagonist, Stephen Rhineheart, exiting a train to arrive in Arkham(I'm Batman!)...England (Considering how much Lovecraft loved Great Britain, I'll keep quiet about the change in setting). He's looking for the Witley place, but everyone in town laughs him off, and he ends up walking to this place, passing an enormous (obviously fake) crater along the way and being followed by some shadowy figure. It's at the Witley place, which is a mansion, that the audience meets the wheelchair-bound Nahum Witley (played by Boris Karloff) and Susan Witley, Stephen's love interest. Susan takes Stephen to meet her mother. Stephen and the mother talk; meanwhile, Nahum and his servant going into the basement (which would have been fitting for 'The Haunted Palace'). The mother finally tells Stephen to take Susan away, fearing for her life, and Stephen agrees to do so the next day. In the next scene, Nahum and his wife talk, and his wife implies that Nahum's father, Corbin, had gotten tangled up in some sort of dark magic involving the Cthulhu mythos (sidenote: as Nahum's father was never mentioned in the story, I have to ask: is 'Corbin' supposed to be a shout-out to 'Curwen'? The actors' pronunciation make 'Corbin' sound like 'Curwen', and their activities sound similar as well)(Right now I'd rather see Curwen, Vincent Price equals AWESOME!).

Getting back on track, Stephen has dinner with Susan and Nahum, we learn a bit about the family history and the mother's increasing illness but getting no answer about the crater. At this point, Susan reveals herself as entirely ignorant of everything going on with her family. However, this scene is interrupted when Nahum's servant abruptly collapses. While Susan checks in on her mother, Stephen finds a book called 'Cult of the Outer Ones'(Subtle). While examining it, Susan sees a veiled figure (earlier said to be the maid) at the window and freaks out. Stephen comforts her, and they agree to leave the next day.

I know you're all asking me to get to the point, but this is the parsed version. If I had to remove ALL the pointlessness, the summary would be maybe ten sentences and could not alone convey what this movie is like.

That night, Stephen and Susan wake up to hear a scream, and Nahum informs them that his servant has died. After Stephen takes Susan back up to her room, he goes back downstairs to see Nahum dispose of the body on foot and finds the greenhouse. The next day, instead of leaving with Susan, Stephen goes into town by himself and is attacked along the way by the maid, who is mutated beneath the veil. After getting no help from the town, he returns to the mansion and discusses the greenhouse with Susan. She helps him break in, and they find mutated animals, green rocks that seem to promote tremendous plant growth, and sentient malevolent plants. After this, Stephen goes into the cellar to see the 'radioactive' rock. He then warns Nahum to get rid of it, but then Nahum's wife escapes from her room. After a lengthy search, they find her, mutated and malevolent, and a brief chase scene leaves her to dissolve on the floor(With the cheapest effects humanly possible). Having lost his wife, Nahum reveals that the rock was a meteorite (only at one hour and seven minutes in. Movie's 79 minutes) and resolves to destroy it. He goes to the basement but is attacked by the maid and exposed to the radiation at full blast. As a result, he turns into a 'metallic' person (Oh no! The Silver Surfer is here to kill us all!) with a green glow and some inherent hatred of people. After chasing Stephen and Susan through the house, he falls to his death, and Stephen helps Susan get away.
Revenge of the Silver Surfer!

In retrospect, I think I was too harsh on 'The Haunted Palace'. Sure, it missed a lot, but it got the basic theme down: a man looks into his ancestry and is taken over by it, losing himself in the process.

This movie doesn't even try - in the original story, the meteorite that brought the color just fell onto a random plot of land, affecting a guy who didn't know any better and just thought it was interesting. I'm not sure why the screenwriter decided to try dragging in the Cthulhu mythos, but this was one of the worst possible stories it could've been done in. More irritatingly, the color really had one effect on animals and humans: it drove them mad and turned them to dust slowly. The humans would know what was going on but be powerless to get away. In the movie, the four known victims suffered no fewer than three different effects from exposure. Never mind the fact that it seems to be the rock and not the actual color, which was more gaseous. The worst sin of all? The shoehorned antagonist. Nahum was, in the story, a good man even if he couldn't help his family, not some cackling mad scientist who had tomes of eldritch lore lying about. That just changes the character's presence from 'innocent victim' to 'he had it coming'. Why the screenwriter decided to mention what this movie was 'based' on is beyond me - I wasn't fully convinced I was watching an adaptation flick until I went back to the credits and confirmed it.

As I cannot judge this fairly as a movie on its own merits, I now turn it over to KK to finish the evaluation.

Thanks. As a movie, it fails on almost every aspect. It fails in terms of storytelling, it fails in terms of effects, it fails in terms of acting, it fails in terms of entertainment. The characterization was horrendous; I mean the main character had nothing and I do mean nothing. He was underdeveloped and I cannot even think of anything that made him special. This movie has done the impossible: it's made Roger Corman look like Stanley Kubrik in terms of HP Lovecraft films. You know how sometimes a movie can be so bad it's good? There's nothing in here to give the film any of those qualities. The acting is incredibly dull, and emphasis on incredibly dull. I can be entertained by hammy acting because I can laugh at it, but the dismal performances basically bored me and caused me to fall asleep quite a few times. The effects are laughable and downright amateur. When your demonic HP Lovecraft creatures look more like the crack babies of Snuffleupagus, you really need to reconsider your career. The story drags on ad naseum and there is no tension or reason we should give a rat's ass about any of the main characters. Overall, I say stay away from this movie as much as possible and do not track it down, it will be 78 minutes of your life that you'll never get back. I am going to go out on a limb and say this is easily one of the worst things I've ever watched in my life. And for a guy who saw Epic Movie, Alone in the Dark, and Christmas with the Kranks that's saying a lot.

Long lost cousins?

For HP Lovecraft fans: This is not the same story that made you scared of a color.

For non-HP Lovecraft fans: Unless you're a horror film reviewer looking to pad out your schedule or have a bile fascination, this isn't worth looking for.

Friday, February 4, 2011

"Controversy" Thy Name is The Simpsons: A Streetcar Named Marge

This segment of the blog will not be the same as the normal format for various reasons. But for now, this is just basically going to find 4 episodes that created controversy in the day, point out the controversial moment(s), and judge today whether or not the controversy was justified.

Today we look at a song in A Streetcar Named Marge that actually caused the staff to apologize about it the very next week.

Controversial moment: "New Orleans Song"
NEW ORLEANS! What a crappy place, someone should just jettison it off the map
     Long before the Superdome,
     Where the Saints of football play,
     There's a city where the damned call home,
     Hear their hellish rondelet:
     New Orleans!
     Home of pirates, drunks, and whores...
     New Orleans!
     Tacky, overpriced souvenir stores...
     If you want to go to hell, you should take a trip
     To the Sodom and Gomorrah of the Mississip':
     New Orleans!
     Stinking, rotten, vomiting, vile...
     New Orleans!
     Putrid, brackish, maggotty, foul...
     New Orleans!
     Crummy, lousy, rancid and rank...
     New Orleans!

Why it's controversial: The song essentially calls old time New Orleans a hell-hole where nothing but crime and debauchery occurs.

Staff response: The staff had Bart write "I will not defame New Orleans" on next week's chalkboard gag

Was it justified?: Looking back, I think New Orleans overreacted a bit, the song was a parody of the opening number in Sweeny Todd which mocks London and makes it sound like a horrible place. I think the biggest problem has to be the fact that the lyrics were initially taken out of context in a New Orleans paper and drew a lot of complaints. Today I feel like it would be okay and not controversial (Well far enough away from Hurricane Katrina).

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Episode 5: Dangerous Curves

Now what if I gave you a horrible story about Marge and Homer when they were dating? It'd be better than this piece of crap! Seriously, I have never been so disappointed by the lack of effort for an idea that they have done so well in the past. What happened, writers? What happened? Oh yeah, the good writers left, I forgot. Let's review this abomination of an episode that made me throw my shoe at the TV.

The episode begins with the family going on a trip for the Fourth of July and getting stuck in traffic (With some sub par jokes thrown in as well). On the way to their destination, Marge decides to pick up some hitchhikers (Sounds more like a Homer idea but whatever). It turns out that the hitchhikers were squeaky voiced teen and his girlfriend (I call bull!). Homer calls the couple crazy, which causes a flashback (Oh great are the writers gonna piss all over continuity with this episode aren't they?), during which we see Homer and Marge as young adults biking when Homer crashes and is forced to walk on the side of the road. After walking for some time, they are approached by Ned and Maude (Didn't you know that Homer knew Flanders before he moved next to him, it was so obvious in Lisa's First Word, I hate this episode). Maude and Ned pick them up and tell Homer and Marge that they're going on their Honeymoon which causes Homer and Marge to not want to marry each other but stay boyfriend and girlfriend (Oh alcohol I drink to your health).
I look forward to forgetting all about this when we become neighbors
I know it's a heat of the moment thing, but this sequence is shit, and when you really stop and think about it (Something the writer hope we don't do) this whole timeline is worthless, what were the writers thinking?! Afterwards, we cut back to the present as Homer tells the couple to stop making out and for Bart to keep playing his violent video game (Video game violence hasn't desensitized me KILL!! MAIM!! DESTROY!!! Sorry I have to go take some calming pills now)(Can't, I was using them for target practice. PULL!). We then have another flashback but this one is five years ago as opposed to twenty (Were the writers out of Ritalin? A major problem with this episode (Outside of the plot, writing, jokes I can go on) is that all three timelines are jumbled and unfocused. Writers, just stick to one bad timeline and develop it properly). This timeline involves Homer coming back from a family picnic with Marge, Patty and Selma (For some reason) after multiple insults from Patty and Selma, Homer throws them out and he soon runs out of gas. As Marge and Homer go for gas, they stumble upon a house with a party going on to which they both decide to stay for (The sad part is that the cutaway scene is much better than the previous two minutes of story development. You fail, writers! You fail!)
Are you trying to make me a likable character?
We then continue with the party as Homer bumps into a girl (Who I'm going to call dumb bitch) who quite possibly sets the record for character that pisses me off the fastest (Seriously she steals a drink from Homer after he says both drinks are for him, assumes he's trying to get her drunk after SHE STOLE THAT DRINK! Then she continues to hit on him after clearly him having no interest. Get me my gun). We then get to see some of the best example of undiluted padding as Homer and dumb bitch go to limbo (Brain Bleach editor! Quickly!) Marge gets angry at Homer for doing the limbo with her, she then falls into a pool and finds Homer and dumb bitch causing a food fight with sushi (Wow, I never thought I would say that). Homer and Marge drop off Squeaky voice teen and his girlfriend in front of a makeout point (Wow, they were totally necessary to the plot). Afterwards, the family gets to some cabins where Homer and Marge sends off the kids in a pedal car (To which Lisa would rather have $10 now as opposed to $100 in her college funds. God this writing is awful). We then flashback to the 20 year mark where Ned has Homer and Marge in two separate cabins because that's the fascist Ned we all know and love... moving on Ned and Maude have such a Christian honeymoon that even the knights of the round table would be ashamed of the chivalry.
You know, this porno isn't worth the $5 I paid for it
After Marge calls Patty and Selma for some filler, we cut to the 5 years ago timeline (Really in the end the 20 years ago timeline proves to be nothing but filler as it has no real consequences on the plot for the other two timelines) as Marge is given new clothes while the host decides to pad out the scene by explaining every little detail about the dress (Seriously the amount of padding rivals that of a crazy house). After he takes Marge on an airplane Dumb Bitch (Okay her name is Sylvia but Dumb Bitch just sounds so much better) tries to convince Homer to leave Marge for her. That's right people, five years and two kids into a marriage and Homer contemplates leaving his family... words cannot express my rage for the stupidity of this writing (To make it worse? THIS HAS BEEN DONE BEFORE, AND MUCH MORE CONVINCINGLY.....TWICE). Alberto takes Marge to the same cabin that she went to in the 20 year timeline as Homer and Dumb Bitch decide to grab a room as well (Okay I'm renaming her Dumb Slut). Homer spots Marge, and Alberto hides in the chest. Marge gets Homer to take the chest out as Homer stuffs Dumb Slut into the chest as well (I smell hilarity *Fake laughter*). Marge and Homer almost get intimate until Grampa brings Bart and Lisa back, who fall asleep instantly (Yay for padding!). We cut back to the present where the kids leave and Homer gets caught in the luggage. We then see that Alberto and Dumb Slut got married and have a kid of their own (And knowing the both of them they still probably want to shack up with Homer and Marge). Alberto and Dumb Slut reveal to Homer and Marge about what we already knew and that gets Homer and Marge into a fight about what happened that day.
Well this is awkward
Homer is then sent away as Bart hits him off the road in their pedal car. Okay, this is where the writing takes a turn for the worse as there is probably some very disturbing imagery that's created from this(If that's at all possible). Our final act starts off with Bart and Lisa bickering with each other because Bart got lost. Lisa asks the bullies for directions but Bart speeds off as he tells Lisa that he gets in detention to stay away from her. This wakes up Maggie as Bart tells Lisa that the reason why they don't get along is that they grew up... now if your drug trip is over as well, we can move on. We then cut to the 20 year flashback (Is it a bad thing to say that I could follow the timeline to Dragon Wars better than I can this timeline?) as Ned allows Homer to be with Marge with Maude aiming a water gun at Homer in case they express any love for each other (These two put the Dic back in Dictator)(Needs more letters). Homer carves a symbol of his love for Marge in a tree that present day Homer finds and decides to take it down to show Marge so that their marriage can be saved (Trust me Homer, your marriage has gone through FAR WORSE things and lived to see another day). The tree collapses as Marge goes over to rescue him. A bit of continuity error by the way, Homer made the carving in a tree by the lake but the tree with the carving now is right next to a cliff and over a river, just saying (Yeah, landscapes can change, but THAT in 20 years?).
Now there's something you don't see every day
When Homer goes to grab Marge's hand to get up, the bark begins to strip off the tree causing Marge to dictate how the tree spins by walking on it like a log rolling contest. Marge and Homer then fall down the Flinstone like canyon as they are able to get in quite a bit of dialogue considering how short the cliffs were (GRAVITY!). They stop right before hitting the water (how convenient) as Bart and Lisa manage to save them with their paddle-car that happens to now be a paddle-boat. After bookending the story with Bart telling Homer and Marge to stop making out (I need booze now) we see all the cars approaching a point as some only go one way and some split in two (SYMBOLISM!!)

Final Judgment: This episode is terrible, the plot is jumbled, the writing is awful and between the false tension of Homer and Marge's marriage being in peril and Bart and Lisa being like a married couple I found nothing to keep my interest. This is just another one of those episodes that just fails in every possible way and not even a "So bad it's good" type of episode.

Final Grade: 1.8/10 Just crap, I don't know why the staff insists on Billy Kimbal and Ian Maxtome-Graham work together. They haven't made a single good episode together.