Friday, April 29, 2011

Around the World in 30 Days: Blame it on Lisa

Yeah I already talked a little about this episode in my controversy month. So for this time around, I'm going back to my standard text review of the entire episode. There isn't really much to add here that I didn't already say before. So enough padding, let's take another look at this.

The episode begins with Bart and Homer watching an Itchy and Scratchy cartoon (Filled with some pretty bad puns). Marge then comes in and informs Homer that they received a $400 phone bill with the majority of the charges coming from a call to Brazil. After Homer strangles Bart (If I'm not mistaking, Homer strangles Bart out of impulse and blind rage, not because he initiates the rage) Marge decides to take Homer to the phone company to sort it out (Not really liking the "Phone company changes names every 3 hours" joke, seems forced). After a few phone jokes inside the company (None really worth mentioning in particular though) Marge and Homer talk with Lindsey Naegle (If you haven't seen the CR bit about her, I recommend it. Although I have to disagree with him about the Naegle-Marge scene). After Marge and Homer refuse to pay it, Lindsey cuts off their service. Back home, we see that the family misses out on quite a bit because they refuse to pay their phone bill (Okay I'm not a writer but when Lisa asked Homer why he fights with all the utility companies, I thought a better joke would have been "Because the water company refused to pump cola through our pipes" or something to that effect). This causes Homer to get phone service illegally through the telephone pole (Great we all know what's coming next).
Let's see, if I put it in the right one I get free cable, the wrong one will mean the end of humanity
On the telephone pole Homer, wait... I'll give you all of three seconds to guess what's coming, I'll wait. Okay time's up. Anyways, Homer tries to connect some wires but ends up getting shocked 5 times (To hell with the rule of three!) Okay, maybe it's just because more recent episodes center solely on the concept of "Homer act like idiot = funny" (No I'm not talking about the occasional time, I'm talking about that as his only characteristic) that I don't like this scene, but also the joke went too far as well. After the family gets Homer inside (Offscreen) Marge declares that they'll just pay for the phone bill. Lisa then confesses to Marge that she made the call to Brazil and it shocks everyone (I'm sure there's a reasonable explanation for all this). Lisa then tells Marge that she's been sponsoring an orphan in Brazil... Correct me if I'm wrong but these types of programs are more for children in third world countries, it just seems odd to me that Rio De Janeiro would have this program. Okay yes I understand that these programs do reach areas of Brazil (Quick Google search) but I still have to wonder why Rio? I'm looking too deep into this, let's just continue. Anyways, Lisa explains that she's received letters from Ronaldo monthly until recently, thus prompting her to call the orphanage. Later, Lisa shows the family a video of Ronaldo that the charity sent her that depicts Ronaldo with new shoes until he's chased into the orphanage by monkeys (I still stand by my remark that the whole monkey joke is just plain stupid).
Isn't failing to be funny with monkeys like failing a test with a cheat sheet next to you?
Afterwards, Lisa convinces Marge to go to Brazil to find out what happened to Ronaldo (I think some brain cells just popped). Later, Lisa tries to explain to Homer a little about Brazil, but Homer's brain is gone at this point in the show so he just assumes that Brazil is opposite land (If at first you don't succeed, keep doing the joke until your audience is brain dead enough to laugh at it). After a scene of Maggie being watched by Patty and Selma (And now we know where Maggie is) we see the Simpsons get to Brazil and they get to their hotel via a congo line (I've got nothing, I prefer to do the Macarena to get to McDonalds). At the hotel, we find out that everyone working there act like soccer players (Isn't that like saying all Americans act like they're football players just because the sport is popular?) Later, we see the family in the hotel room with a bunch of unfunny jokes and antics (Could have been cut and nobody would have noticed, next scene!) We then see the family go through downtown Rio as they go through the slums and Bart notices how the government even painted their rats... excuse me a moment *Puts face in a pillow* This is such a stupid episode, I hate it I hate it. *Returns* Anyways, the family gets to the orphanage and finds out that Ronaldo's been gone for months and nobody's been looking for him. Lisa gets down until Homer decides to inject some more unnatural comic relief (Homer used to be funny by acting like a human. Now... we get this). Later at dinner, Lisa brings out a map with certain places marked as Ronaldo liked to visit those places, and she gives half of the map to Homer and Bart (Is it just me or does Lisa have better strategies that Patton?)
If we strike the Nazis here, here and here, we just might win this war.
After we get a Brazilian "Yes?! Guy" (In Season 23, they'll kill off the real Yes?! Guy and replace him with this guy) we see Homer and Bart go to the beach as they are forced to wear speedos (BRAIN BLEACH!!! GOOD GOD GET ME THE BRAIN BLEACH!!!) After a few more scenes with Marge and Lisa and Homer and Bart (They're okay, but you can easily skip them) Homer gets into an unlicensed taxi  and gets kidnapped (Subtlety is beyond dead at this point). Later, we see Homer being taken down the Amazon River by two kidnappers as he tries to escape, but decides that he'd be safer with them than he would be in the jungle (Hey fun fact! Rio De Janeiro is nowhere near the Amazon River, in fact the closet point it is to the Amazon is Brasilia and that's over 1,100 Km and still not close enough to the Tocantins River. I'm just saying) Back at the hotel, Bart tries to watch a "Brazilian kid show" (Oh the subtle humor of how America is so strict with its censorship of children's programming, I would never have been able to figure out what this was trying to accomplish) when Marge asks Bart about Homer. Bart tells Marge about what happened (But not without going back to that "Kid show"... I'll give you 3 guess as to whether or not they bring that joke back and the first 2 don't count).
It seems like our DVD sales weren't as good as we predicted
After Marge finds out that Rio's police are just as incompetent as Springfield's (Okay that is rather funny, but only because it worked for them before) we see the kidnappers sent the Simpsons a ransom note. Marge gathers up all the money she can, but can only get $1,200 (They need $50,000). So after a series of Homer calling friends to try to get the money (All of which fail if you couldn't guess) we see the family walking down Deus Ex Machina street as they run into Carnival where Ranoldo just happens to be working as the flamingo from the kids show (Of all the streets in all the cities he just had to be in this one). Okay quick question, how the HELL does Ronaldo know what Lisa looks like? She has a picture of him, but to our knowledge Ronaldo has no clue what she looks like. For all he knows, Lisa is a 75 year old cat lady with too much money. I assume that Lisa sent a picture in a letter or something, but we never see that or even a token mention ~plot hole~. Secondly, he claims that he didn't write to her because he had no clue what state she lived in. I'd just like to quote a line here:

  • 4:46: Lisa: "Ronaldo used to send me a letter every month, but then they stopped"
HOW LAZY ARE THE WRITERS?! THEY CAN'T EVEN KEEP CONSISTENCY IN THEIR OWN SCRIPT!! Good God this episode sucks. *Sigh* Anyways, Ronaldo tells Lisa to meet him at the studio so he can help her. 
Great, the pink elephants have been replaced with flamingos
At the studio, Ronaldo gives Lisa the $50,000 and claims that because he has nobody to share it with, it's not a big deal to him. At Sugarloaf Mountain (Okay did the writers just forget how far away the Amazon is? Because it seems like outside of that one scene, everything takes place around Rio) we see the family in a cable car with the money to meet up with the kidnappers. In the other cable car, Homer has developed Stockholm Syndrome as he made a scrapbook of the memories (Which one of the kidnappers explains, and here I thought the writers gave us credit). Bart gives the kidnappers the money, Homer then jumps onto the other car causing the cables to snap, the car tumbles down the hill and the Simpsons come out in one piece. The episode ends with Homer telling Marge how much he appreciate her bailing him out as Bart somehow got eaten by a snake (I have nothing, but screw it the episode's over).

Final Verdict: This episode sucks, not only is this offensive to Brazilians (According to sources) but this offends me as a viewer. The writing is mediocre, the jokes are horrible, the premise is rather dumb, the entertainment value is low, and there's about as much research into Rio De Janeiro as a 1st grader's project. In short, this is a truly despicable episode that shouldn't be watched.

Final Grade: 1.8/10 And so ends our little trip around the world. Next month, we'll revisit "Hate Month" with someone who is responsible for something big recently.

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