Monday, May 30, 2011

Season 22 Review

Well, last week ended the misery that was season 22. It's hard to believe that 8 months ago we started this season with an episode that was more or less an ominous sign of what was ahead. I thought Elementary School Musical would EASILY be a bottom 5 episode of the season,it barely made it into the bottom 5 the rest of the season was that bad. If you take a look at my mid-season review, I listed my bottom 5 episodes at that point, I could only consider 2 of them as legitimate candidates for bottom 5 for the entire season. Honestly though, I'm not surprised, this show in recent years has always started off weak, maybe a watchable episode or two in the mid-season and always ended weak. So, all that out of the way, let's take a look back at the good, the bad, and the downright horrible of this season.

Bottom 10 Episodes:
Now I know I did a bottom 5 in the mid-season, but after looking back at this season, it would be too complicated to leave off some of these episodes from their 15 minutes of shame that is this list
10. Homer the Father
  • This episode was just stupid. Nevermind the idea that there have been good episodes with Homer trying to be a good father in the past. But in recent history, the writers have butchered Homer's character so badly into "Jerkass comic relief" that it's impossible for this premise to work anymore. It also doesn't help that the narrative structure is similar to a 5th Grader's fanfiction where scenes do not flow whatsoever and it's rather difficult to understand how one event leads to another.
    There, there, nothing's looking up for us
    9. Donnie Fatso
    • Like I said before, to kill off a character is one thing, but to insult your audience's intelligence by fixing status quo the way they did is just mind boggling. The episode itself was boring, stupid and not funny, nothing in this episode seemed entertaining and is a great way to teach future writers how NOT to kill of a character.

      Speak of this again and I will cut you
      8. Flaming Moe
      • So Smithers needs to win over Mr. Burns' respect so he decides to help Moe get more business by turning his bar into a gay bar. Okay fair enough, unfortunately the writers manage to screw up such a simple premise. The gay jokes are all just terrible and seem like something you'd find on a Google search rather than an original idea (The one that pissed me off the most was "Comic Book Gay", ugh). The subplot is completely inept and pointless as it serves as nothing but filler. Granted sometimes subplots are meant for that, but with competent writing, subplots can be entertaining and hold our attention just as well as the main plot.
      Wow, what a horrible attempt at humor
        7.  The Scorpion's Tale
        • Let's see, every main character gives a one note performance, plus a framing device that takes up a quarter of the episode plus a bull-shit, shoehorned in "Lesson" usually equals crap, and this is no exception. Lisa, Homer and Grampa all give a boring one-note performance in this and the jokes are terrible. It also doesn't help when an adult sitcom resorts to "Cartoon eyes" as their ending for the plot. Whenever the writers feel like growing up, give us a call.
        Yeah I still don't get it
          6. A Midsummer's Nice Dream/Love is Many a Strangled Thing
          • I put this as a two-fer because more or less, these qualify as the "Boring as all hell" episodes for the season. These could literally cure insomnia I kid you not, heck I re-read my reviews for these episodes recently to get an idea for what happened, and I forgot what they were about when I started writing this. It's one thing for a bad episode to get an angry response, it's another thing to not even garner a response at all, and that's what these two are.
          To killing humor!
            5. Elementary School Musical
            • I really debated whether or not this was a bottom 5 or not, but after thinking about it, yeah it is. This episode is painful to watch, the main plot sucks with WAY too many musical numbers in it (Seriously, just because it's a musical doesn't mean you need 5 songs) and little to no jokes. You have to love how FOX basically promoted this for the cameos from Glee, and they show up for all of TWO scenes, that is extremely lazy and purely a ratings gimmick (Which makes no sense, Glee sucks). While the subplot is annoying bad and forgettable, I think it involved Krusty in some way, I don't know and honestly, I don't care.
            This'll be fun! It'll be just like that South Park satire, right? Right?
              4. Homer Scissorhands
              • You knew this one was going to make it somewhere, only question was where. I'm all for "Family member does XXX very well" but I'm not for "Family member instantly picks up XXX and is the best ever at it". Let's take a look at Deep Space Homer for a minute, do you think it would have been nearly as good if Homer not only succeeded at the training program, but single-handedly completed the mission and guided the ship back down to Earth? I didn't think so, and the less I talk about the subplot, the better it'll be for my blood-pressure.
              I am SO sorry, I am so deeply sorry for this.
                3. Mom's I'd Like to Forget
                • Oh Brian Kelley, your ineptitude knows no bounds. Not only is this another forgettable episode you'll manage to forget after 30 minutes, but it's painfully unfunny. The whole "Bart is connected to these boys" storyline is a classic example of laziness and bad writing, I've seen a better sense of storytelling from Fanfictions written by 10 year-olds than I saw in this. Nothing in this is funny or enjoyable, we don't give a rat's ass about any of the characters (Seriously, I'll pay anyone $1000 if they can name TWO of the family members and attach the names to faces) and the lesbian scene at the end was purely retarded and seems to try to appeal to the man-child audience.
                Months later and we still don't give a rat's ass

                  2. Real Housewives of Fat Tony
                  • When you think of Jersey Shore satires, the one done by South Park comes to mind, a few others will come to mind, but not this one. A satire as defined by Websters is : The use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc. If you can find ANY of that in this, you're clearly stretching for something. The "humor" in this really rivals that of Seltzer and Friedberg as it was just painful when they actually got to the "Satire". Beforehand though sucked as well as it made no sense and was equally as unfunny and the subplot was annoyingly stupid and mind-numbingly asinine.
                  We are conducting a new program, we like to call it "Deep Hurting"
                    1. The Blue and the Gray
                    • Whenever you can't think of a good topic to write about, why not write about something that makes no sense in context of the show and is completely stupid? Not only has it been established way earlier in the show that Marge has gray hair, but the way the writers try to use it here is just painful, there were no jokes and everything seemed to be taken too seriously. Don't even get me started on the subplot, when you not only fail to satirize a very easy subject like TV-airport-seminars but actually seem to suck their dicks acting like they're God's gift to man, you really need to seek a new job.
                    There is no ONE image I can use to describe my hatred for this. But this comes close
                      Top 5 Episodes:
                      Okay, let me make ONE thing clear about this: Just because an episode is on here does NOT mean it is good, it just means I could tolerate it better than I could others.
                      1. Loan-A-Lisa
                      •  I'm debating on whether or not this would have been a decent episode if the subplot was cut entirely. But I have to go with what was given and what was given was a somewhat flawed main plot with an awful subplot involving modern Homer being annoying. The cameos are rather shameful and quite a few of the jokes are stupid, but if I was forced to re-watch an episode from this season, without hesitation it'd be this one.
                      When all else fails, conjure up memories of when this show was good
                        2. MoneyBART
                        •  Think of a  poor man's Lisa on Ice, now combine that with Lisa being irrationally out of character with her math-nazism and you have this. While that makes it sound like it should be a bottom 10 for that, it sadly may have some of the better writing of the season and I'm a rather big sucker for the Bart-Lisa episodes, so maybe it's a false sense of nostalgia for this being on here. But these lists are based off my feelings for these episodes and this one really didn't anger me much. I didn't like this one, but I didn't dislike it either.
                        We'll always have our hockey games to remember
                          3. The Great Simpsina
                          •  Maybe I put this on here because of potential rather than what is was. I could sense moments where character was trying to break out, but inept writing kept those ideas on the shelf. The story itself isn't all that bad, I could see this working with good writing. Now to the negatives; the jokes really aren't there and Lisa falls into that same "Instant expert" that Homer seemed to fall victim to a lot this season. In short, forgettable episode, but it's harmless at the same time, which is more than I can say for a lot of the garbage this year.
                          I'm sorry so much was left on the table for this episode
                            4. Ned-Liest Catch
                            •  This episode is better than it had any right to be. It's still rather bad, but the painful jokes are really at a minimum here so it makes it on the list. There are some good moments, a lot of bad moments, and very few laughable jokes. The main reason I included it however is because unlike so much other crap, there seems to be semblance of character, storytelling and actual effort. The ending was terrible, but still I'd rather watch this one over the Tweenlight shit (I can't believe I just reminded myself of that).
                            That's right folks, we're taking this VERY seriously
                              5. How Munched is That Birdie in the Window?
                              • I feel dirty for having this on here, however, I needed a fifth, and this episode seemed to piss me off the least out of all the episodes I had left to choose from. The storyboard was made by a child and scenes do not flow at all. The jokes are mediocre at best and the cameos are very shameless as the Danica Patrick one pissed me off. It was really between this and the Christmas one, and as much as I somewhat liked the first half of the Christmas one, I could not in all honesty include an episode that included a Katy Perry oral sex joke (Yet another good reason to hate her).
                              NO! Not the bird I knew for all of 5 days!
                                And now for the little moments, moments that seem small when you look at one or two episodes, but in the grand scale are mind-boggling.

                                Montages: 36
                                Song count: 62
                                Celebrity count: 46
                                Celebrities who voiced themselves: 22

                                So 36 montages to 22 episodes is a rather staggering number. On average, an episode would contain at least a montage, maybe two (And I was being generous for what I considered to be a montage). Considering that montages are viewed as one of the laziest forms of padding, it really speaks volumes to just how lazy these guys can be despite having a shorter airing time and the occasional 2 minute opening. The song count did NOT include the songs used in the majority of the montages so it's rather baffling just how many times they would force a song into a scene just because. I think the celebrity counter speaks for itself and just how insignificant it is to guest star on this show anymore.

                                Okay all that out of the way, we'll do the normal verdict and score.

                                Final Verdict: This season was terrible, it's not the worst season of all time (Although viewer ratings averaged an all-time low this season) but it was a close second. There were really two episodes that I felt were "Watchable", two more were "Borderline watchable" and a bunch of garbage that seemed to fill out this mess of a season. The writing was beyond lazy and I'll probably go more into detail this summer about the little points. The jokes were terrible and it's obvious the writers have no concept of basic storytelling, making fun of something, or reality in general. This is yet another step in the wrong direction for an otherwise great show and with at least one more season of predicted mediocrity, I don't see a silver lining in this at all.

                                Final Grade: 1.9/10 A failure from the very start

                                Thursday, May 26, 2011

                                My Thoughts on Ned-Liest Catch's poll

                                This is a little bit late, but I'd still like to take a moment to further discuss my thoughts on this week's episode The Ned-Liest Catch. While the episode itself wasn't as bad as it could (Should) have been, it was clear that this episode was nothing more than a gimmick for ratings. However, the ratings for this episode were very low (5.29 million, the all-time low was 4.996 million for The Great Simpsina). Anyways, what I want to say is that with the ending of "Now you decide America and we'll reveal the results next season" was a pathetic attempt at being relevant and trying to boost next years season premiere ratings. I have one thing to say in response to the poll; do NOT vote! I don't care if it's NO, do NOT give them attention, do NOT give this episode or series any attention over the summer and I highly encourage everyone to avoid next year's premiere. This show does not have a contract for a 24th season (As far as I know) and I feel that Al Jean and the staff will hope for good opening numbers to convince FOX to give them that 24th season and beyond. However, if we ignore this marketing stunt and desperate cry for attention, I believe we can help end this disgrace to the show and we'll be free of the modern stuff.

                                I currently stand on NO for the relationship, but I'm not going to let FOX think I give a rat's ass about their stupid little cliffhanger. I'm going to ignore this episode and the season premiere until it actually airs, I hope you can all do your part and NOT give this poll any attention and send a message to FOX that this has gone on long enough and it's time to end it.

                                Thank you for your time.

                                Wednesday, May 25, 2011

                                Episode 20: Four Great Women and a Manicure

                                Yeah you know how usually three story episodes are reserved for Halloween episodes? Well apparently the writers got lazy and decided to do four short stories instead of one long one so they wouldn't have to worry about plot development and such. Yeah, this is just speculation and my feelings on these types of episodes because frankly, I don't like these episode setups outside of the Treehouse of Horror episodes. It really feels lazy as the writers don't need to take as long to develop the plot and there is no excuse for filler yet they seem to put it in anyways (Aw, but I like some of them, like the Revenge stories). So let's watch this and see why it's best to do one full plot only.

                                We start off with Marge taking Lisa and Maggie to a nail salon (Heads up, Bart doesn't even make an appearance in this episode but Nancy does voice Ralph here, so she is still needed). Marge took Lisa there for her first manicure/pedicure and what's the first thing Lisa does to thank her? She asks why it's more important to be beautiful than smart or independent (Great this is going to be one of those pretentious "Lisa's a feminist and we're going to point it out often" episodes isn't it?)(Though it still sounds more in-character than last episode). Marge decides to tell Lisa about how women can be smart, strong and beautiful and she decides to use the story of Queen Elizabeth I about how a woman can be great but she does need a man (I'm just going to leave a bottle of scotch right next to my computer here for future use)(I'm using it first. This story cannot possibly go well....'needs a man', what in the HELL). We find out that Elizabeth (Selma) is having suitors come to visit so she can be married. After Ralph makes his appearance we see the King of Spain (Julio) arrive being as fruity as a salad bar (....aren't there vegetables at the salad bar?)(Did I mention I HATE this character? Probably but to be sure let's get that out of the way).
                                NO! We are not having you in this episode! Now scram!
                                After he threatens Elizabeth, we see Walter Raleigh (Homer) who Marge immediately falls in love with (In the interest of fairness, the writers did get Walter's character right. He did popularize tobacco in England and the writers took advantage of that to make a decent joke out of it. Unfortunately, that's the only decent joke in this segment, all the rest are cringe-worthy). Because Julio was rejected by Elizabeth (For not being straight enough to be a husband) he decides to launch the Spanish Armada against England (Okay I'm not going to allow history to affect my opinion of this story because if it did, there would be so many parts that are nowhere near what happened)(Can I?). Back in England, Walter runs into Marge and helps her carry water up the stairs and they start making out on the stairs until Elizabeth comes out of her bath (Must be that time of the month). Elizabeth decides to send Marge and Walter away because Walter was her suitor, not Marge's. We then have an unfunny bit where Moe calls Elizabeth; Grendel (That doesn't even begin to make sense. Even though the story was available in England, it'd be like Hilary Clinton calling Obama, Frankenstein and being serious about it. The book was fictional  and originated in the Baltics so that joke was stupid and made no sense). Moe then tells her that the Spanish Armada is coming and Elizabeth goes into action (This is stupid on so many levels but whatever, it's not as stupid as what's to come).
                                Well if your mission was to ruin humor, plot and an otherwise great show. Then that's correct
                                After an unfunny "Mission Accomplished" banner (These topical jokes are TERRIBLE) the ship that Walter happens to be on catches on fire by his pipe and the ship just happens to run into the Armada and sets them all on fire destroying them all and thus letting England win (A swig or two of scotch and then my mind will be clear)(...I want to hurt something so badly...). I'd rather not get into the stupidity of this because this whole story is flat out stupid in its own right so let's move on. After that, Elizabeth knights Walter and blesses the marriage of Walter and Marge. Elizabeth realizes that she doesn't need a man but she has a whole country (Sure why not? Next story!).

                                After Marge tells Lisa she'll look great, Lisa decides to try to tell the story of Snow White. Blue-haired lawyer interrupts claiming the rights to that story belong to Disney (And we see he has long nails indicating he's evil, just like Disney, and Fox executives). Lisa counters saying it's a fairy tale from hundreds of years and her characters are not the same as Disney's (That's like saying if I created a yellow kid named Elizabeth with spiky hair it's original because the name is different. What a legal system)(Technically, she is right, though, I think). After we see a musical bit that is not in any way "Hi-Ho" (Seriously it's not horrible but just try to keep the parody as a funny parody and not a "We're stealing from Disney so Ha-Ha") we see the wicked witch talk to her HD TV on the wall (Pills, I need pills). No I'm not letting this go, I hate things like this, there are idiot writers and producers who think that old stories need to be modernized in order for people to find them entertaining. I'm not a person who'll enjoy a black and white movie for the sake of it being black and white, but I'll most likely hate it if a good black and white movie is given a color release. What's the point? I've never seen it but whose idea was it to 'modernize' Rear Window in Disturbia? (Based on reviews from IMDB and Rottentomatoes that's what it seems like). Anyways, the witch finds out that Lisa is Snow White and this upsets her, causing her to tell the huntsman (Willie) to go kill Snow White and put her heart in a box (Okay the body box for Snow White and the huntsman did make me laugh a little in the interest of fairness).
                                I knew it! The real Lisa's been dead for years and they've been holding her body in there
                                We then see Snow White doing some cooking as the huntsman comes in and can't bring himself to kill her. He then tells Snow White to run away and he tries to get a different heart but he fails several times (Wow, what a pansy). Snow White gets to the several dwarfs' house and settles in but not after a piss poor attempt at parodying Little Red Riding Hood (They did that before, lazy). As the dwarfs get back, they notice someone's disturbed their house (Because we can't see shit when they say that, I guess they never understood "Show Don't Tell" did they?). They go into their room and wake up Snow White by accident (When you consider it's Lisa and she's 8 and the dwarfs are all above 20, I can't help but be a little disturbed)(In the original, I think Snow White was 12. AND Disney had censored most of it. That's fairy tales for you!). After Hibbert warns Snow White, we see all the animals helping to clean up the house (Who is she, Dr. Doolittle?)(It's Disney Power!).
                                I guess subtlety really is a lost art
                                We then see the witch disguised as an old woman with a basket of apples, offering one to Snow White (This isn't nearly as bad as taking candy from a stranger, but if a stranger offered me food after he got into my house I'd run away) After she gets Snow White to take a bite, the witch runs off against the ineffective dwarfs until she gets mauled by the forest animals (Oh great Cartman's X-mas critters got out again. Didn't you lock their cage RBY?)(I was kinda hoping I could get them to maul drunk frat boys...). We see Snow White in her glass coffin as she isn't rescued by Prince Charming but instead by a female doctor offscreen. This is the same girl whose favorite movie is "The Little Mermaid" (Make Room for Lisa), a movie that's underlying theme is "Give up your voice so you can be with a man". Words escape me people, this is total bullshit, next story!

                                Our next story starts after Marge laments being married to an idiot. We start off by seeing Marge who plays Lady Macbeth in a local play trying to get the stains out of a costume. We see she's angry because Homer cannot act to save his life and his role is that of a tree (I'd doubt that, cardboard cutouts of trees would be far more interesting)(....why would they pay someone to act as a tree?). Homer points out that Sideshow Mel is playing Macbeth and Homer could never be as good as him. Marge suggests to Homer that he kill Mel and take over the role of Macbeth (except there are probably about a dozen guys more qualified but we'll get to that soon). Homer kills Mel in his dressing room with his bone and Homer ends up getting the role of Macbeth (Odd, I would have assumed there would be promotions for all cast members)(Actually, they'd use, you know the understudy). Homer is a complete failure as Macbeth during his first performance and the reviews praise Dr. Hibbert for his role as Banquo. Marge decides to have him killed next because he's outshining Homer. Homer lampshades that he should take acting lessons instead but Marge says no and he needs to kill Dr. Hibbert.
                                I'm married to a tree, guess mom was right about you
                                Homer then pumps laughing gas into Dr. Hibbert's office causing him to laugh to death (Oh the irony). In the next review (they lampshade this) everyone except Homer is considered a good actor by the paper (We're reviewing the play? I didn't think we were famous, Kriken!). Marge in a fit of fury tells Homer to kill them all so it'll only be him and Marge. Homer then kills the cast members one at a time as they are in a conga line for a cast party (Subtle). As Marge cleans the dead casts' wardrobe (from blood) the ghosts of the cast come to haunt Marge for her having Homer kill them all. Marge then dies of a heart attack from the ghosts and she continues to nag Homer to perform Macbeth by himself. Homer then goes out and has a great performance but nobody's there to hear him except ghost Marge. After she gives Homer some more plays to rehearse for, Homer kills himself and says that having to read them would be a tragedy (Wow, that was completely underwhelming and forgettable, final story!)

                                Marge breaks the fourth wall by saying they always tell three stories until Maggie implies she wants one for herself. Marge decides her story will be that of "The Fountainhead" and Maggie is Maggie Roark (I have no idea what this is so I'll just play along)(Ayn Rand, folks....this is going to be a long ride, folks). We see Maggie at a daycare center where the teacher Mr. Toohey lets them play with blocks. We then see Mr. Toohey try to get them all to conform to be mindless impotents and he punishes Maggie for being artistically creative (Kind of counterintuitive, wouldn't you say? Blocks are one of the best ways to be creative). We then get a montage of Maggie being creative and Mr. Toohey being a complete and utter prick (I'm not sure but I doubt this was the way Howard Roark's creativity was oppressed)(He got expelled from college and was rarely hired). After that Mr. Toohey tells the kids to show to their parents how "uncreative and beaten down they've become" (Wow, how totally subtle, we couldn't possibly see that on our own. Thank God we have writers who think we're drooling idiots, it's what draws me back week after week). Mr. Toohey, expecting all the kids to be drooling idiots, is shocked when Maggie creates another building and he decides to punish her in his court (Oh scotch thank God you're still here for me).
                                Big deal, I was making designs for entire cities while waiting to be born
                                Mr. Toohey argues in "Court" that Maggie reminded them that they are individuals and she should be punished (You know after reading Ayn Rand's biography on Wikipedia, I found out she hates socialism, communism, fascism, and welfare state. Quite frankly this story is about as subtle as a punch to the face)(Restraining snark.... Rand's pretty controversial figure. I won't go into depth myself about her beliefs, as I don't know enough about them, but she had a tendency to go on long-winded tangents about her beliefs in the story. I'm not a literary critic or scholar, but Rand was never subtle. Sadly). Now before continuing, Maggie has spoken a grand total of 4 times in the series (Including the movie) and all of them have been a sentence or less with 3 being two words or less
                                1. When she said "Daddy" in Lisa's First Word it was precious and funny
                                2. In Treehouse of Horror V she had James Earl Jones' voice to emphasize the bizarreness in Homer's time travels
                                3. In Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily Maggie said "Dadily-doodily" to emphasize she barely knows Homer
                                4. In the Movie she said "Sequel" for the sake of fanservice
                                I wish for this episode to be stricken from continuity and everyone's memories your honor
                                Here Maggie talks for a grand total of 6 lines about how she's being treated unfairly. A part of my childhood died when she opened her mouth; my little nostalgic feeling died and cremated itself after this. Let me say one thing; MAGGIE DOES NOT TALK! How the fuck did this get by the director? (Booze?) Who in their right mind thought to themselves "Hey let's give Maggie more speaking time in 20 seconds than she's been given in the entire series". It would be like having three South Park episodes where Kenny is wearing street clothes and talking normally, IT'S JUST PLAIN STUPID!! This really ranks up there as among the stupidest moments in the show. Moving on, (Brain bleach, I need the bleach) we see that Maggie grew up to be a great architect and her office had a daycare center for children with active minds(FUCK YOU WRITERS!). The episode ends with Maggie using the nail polish to paint Van Gogh's Starry Night and giving the same look as we all have; confusion (While that sounds cute, that would require the viewer to stay around after seeing her TALKING).

                                Final Judgment: This episode sucks, the plots are all moronic, unoriginal and boring, the writing is horrendous and the characters are either unlikable or extremely derailed, and the jokes are mostly horrible. Having Maggie talk is one of the biggest sins of not only this episode but also this season and the series as a whole. It really wasn't funny and there was filler even though each story averaged just over 5 minutes.

                                Final grade: 1.2/10 Just something that's been regurgitated by Satan himself

                                Tuesday, May 24, 2011

                                Episode 22: The Ned-Liest Catch

                                ... I got nothing people. Does the writing staff just have hats with names and events in them for their scripts? I mean, Ned Flanders; avid Christian and not a big dater pairs up with Edna Krapabbel; quite possibly the closest thing to the town hooker on the show (But I digress). I'm just trying to think of what the thought process was in the writing staff. But this was probably more of a marketing stunt to not only rile up the fanbase with this awkward pairing but to raise veiwership for said relationship and up the summer poll (Something I'll get into later). With all that said though, let's take a look at the season finale and celebrate the fact that we are free of this show for 4 months.

                                The episode begins (No couch gag, just a title card. I'll discuss my view on the opening sequence length another day) with an assembly to celebrate the fact that their girl's basketball team actually won a game (A little funny at first, but starts to wear its welcome out quickly). After Skinner introduces the team, Lisa tells everyone that the team is suffering from food poisoning and Skinner is forced to cancel the assembly, giving the students free time. However, Lisa decides that she needs to be the buzz-kill and tells everyone she has a speech prepared for the assembly (Why Lisa? Why do you have to do this to us?) Bart being upset decides to be a troublemaker and causes hell in the auditorium (And they couldn't have had him like this last week because...?) Okay,I'll admit, I somewhat like this scene, Bart being a troublemaker here is probably the most in-character thing I've seen him do in a while. And it's not like the twin episode where he's being dickish, here he's rebelling because his free time was taken away. Skinner tells Edna to control Bart, but Edna tells Skinner that she tries but nothing seems to work (Two things, one: Is it just me or does Edna's voice sound a little off? Two: Are you really trying to tell me that Edna let Bart break her? I really doubt that she'd let that happen, just seems like it's too early for her to give up, that's all). After an unfunny bit with the students exiting the gym (They're really stretching for jokes here) Edna remembers that she's a disciplinary and chases after Bart, after she catches him, she slaps him across the head (And then slaps him again harder after everyone gasps for the first time, weird).
                                This is for changing my birth control pills with Tic-Tacs
                                Everyone then looks at Edna as Skinner tells her that her act was unforgiveable and he decides to talk with her in his office (But not before a Lunch Lady Dorris cameo. Is it even worth mentioning how I feel about them continuing to use her character?) At Skinner's office, we see Skinner, Edna, Homer, Marge and Chalmers discussing what Edna did and how she'll be punished for this (Hey the first time this season where Chalmer's appearance makes sense *Celebrates*) After some unfunny lampshading about due process (And any hope for this episode being good just died) Chalmers informs Edna that she'll be suspended with pay but will have to resort to a detention center for teachers who are waiting for their hearing as well (Why am I getting this feeling of deja vu? Huh, must just be me). At the "Teacher Holding Facility" (Really, no creative name or anything? Oh well, you probably would've screwed that up as well) Edna is shown the main room where she'll have to stay from 9 AM to 4 PM as it seems like nothing more than a run down room from an insane asylum (Insert your own One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest joke here. I'm lazy). After a brief exchange between Edna and Skinner, Edna finds out just how boring and painful the facility really is (They re-play Season 20 everyday. It doesn't get more painful and boring than that). After we see Edna being a bit depressed (Wow, genuine emotion, and it was conveyed in less than 10 seconds with nobody explaining it to us. It's flashes like this that show me that the writers DO understand emotion, but often, they'll just throw it away because they think it won't hold people's attention)
                                You'll be my friend, right Mr. Air Vent?
                                Bart gets Edna's attention and tells her he feels bad for getting her in trouble and he tries to apologize but she's reluctant to accept it. Bart tells her to meet up with him and she follows him to the bathroom (No, get your head out of the gutter, it's not like that). After Edna does that joke in the bathroom (Whatever, let's move on) Bart tells her that he has a plan to get her out and shows her a dummy he made of her to fool everyone while she's gone. Bart then gets Edna to go down a fire ladder, but the ladder breaks as she's getting down prompting Bart to find help (Well I hope, he just leaves as she's hanging there). Edna then drops and Flanders just happens to be drawn into the scene to catch her (No seriously, we get an establishing shot of the scene and nobody's around, but she drops 5 seconds later and he just happens to be right under her. I call lazy!) After Ned puts Edna down, he introduces himself to her as he goes into a 3 line rhyming conversation with her (If you'll excuse me, I'm off to hide the Rule of Three from the writers for next season). Ned and Edna then have a discussion about how she almost fell to her death and it leads into a conversation about how Ned lives next door to Bart and Homer (Is it possible for anyone in Springfield to have a conversation that DOESN'T involve the Simpsons? Just saying)
                                That's not what I meant when I said it's raining cats and dogs
                                Edna and Ned then get lunch as each of them find out that the other is single as they find out a little bit more about each other (Wow, I'm genuinely shocked, here I was expecting this relationship to be just "Edna meets Ned and they instantly love each other. Now you decide America" but it seems like the writers are actually TRYING to justify why they could be with each other. It's still a terrible idea, but they have far passed my expectations). After Ned returns Edna to the facility (Wow, that made the escape totally pointless.Isn't that like "I'm going to bust you out of prison, but you'll have to return tomorrow" what's the point?) we get a montage of Edna and Ned going out (And my hopes yet again crash back down to earth, well it was nice to see flashes of competency, I guess I'll see them again during that blue moon). Afterwards, Chalmers informs Edna that the Teacher's Union was dismantled and she's fired. However, he immediately re-hires her under the condition that she be a part-time prison guard (I sense the calm before the storm, better prepare myself for something awful). At Edna's apartment, we see her and Ned as she wants to be much closer to him but he tells her that he's against pre-marital sex (This is why so many people hated this idea before it even aired, they're polar opposites and not "I can complement you" opposites. I'm shocked that the writers haven't completely derailed one of them yet). After they start making out a little (Followed by a poorly inserted "Cheese-making documentary" joke. WEAK!) Ned decides to give into his urges as he strips down to an undershirt and makes out with Edna some more (The writers are walking on tightrope here).
                                Screw Maude, she's dead. Now I can do whatever I want with you.
                                Later we see Edna go to Ned's house as she and Bart have a rather unfunny bit where a student meets their teacher outside of school (Oh come on, that's an easy joke, how could you screw it up? Oh right, you dragged it out WAY too long). After a bit where Homer tortures Flanders in the yard (And Edna watches) Edna and Flanders approach Homer about the way he treats Ned and how he should be much nicer to him (A lot like the "Homer strangling Bart" some things are better if you don't really put much thought into them. To me, I don't really take it all that seriously and it's ruined when it is taken seriously). After Flanders takes everything back that Homer "borrowed" (Including a tumbleweed, okay that was a little funny, but who wants to bet it'll all be back in Homer's possession for Season 23?) Homer and Bart decide they need to split them up as Homer decides he needs to convince Ned to dump Edna (I still can't believe that this pairing really is now cannon). At Moe's, Homer tries to convince Ned that he should stay single so that he can do everything he wants to, but Ned tells Homer that he wants to continue to see Edna because he looks over at Homer and Marge and remembers what it's like to be married and have that special woman who he can do everyting with (I can't believe I'm about to type this... Character development! They actually gave a legitimate reason for how this could work. I still hate the idea of them together, but the writing staff actually put thought and emotion into this and kept it away from the normal monkeys who write this crap. I'd be lying if I said that this episode's writing was awful, the concept is awful, but the writing is above average, which is really preventing me from hating it right now).
                                Everyone! I have great news! We're firing the writing staff and going out in style.
                                After Homer feels bad for trying to break them up, we cut to Bart trying to convince Rod and Todd not to like Edna, but it fails and we get a rather pointless scene (Ah there's the crap I'm used to). We then cut back to Moe's as Homer proposes a toast to Ned and Edna as everyone in the bar apparently has been with Edna at some point. Skinner talks about all the times he and Edna did it around the school (All in favor of watching that episode say 'Aye') Comic Book Guy talks about how he has an e-mail dedicated as being an Edna lover (Unfortunately that is cannon, so I have to accept it) and Joey Kramer talks about how he and Edna were together for a bit (So he was able to get his drumsticks back I see. Don't know why they had to include him, but whatever, let's move on, I sense a horrible ending). After it's implied that Homer did Edna at some point (Great advertising FOX, the way they worded that part made it sound like That 90's Show) Flanders leaves disappointed. At Edna's apartment, Ned can't get comfortable with Edna as he sees different guys faces whenever he looks at her (This goes on for WAY too long and the joke is killed at the end, I guess the monkeys found their way back in). The next day, Marge berates Homer for Ned finding out the truth through other people (Yes because clearly it's Homer's fault that so many guys slept with Edna and were at that bar... wait what?!) Marge then tells Homer to talk to Ned as Homer follows Ned in the most ridiculous way possible (Oh come on, can't we just finish this as painless as possible?)
                                If we had clever writing, we could make this funny
                                Ned then thinks it over, and decides that he needs to talk to Edna about this. Back at the Flander's residence, Ned tells Edna that he forgives her past but Edna takes that as a back-handed insult and she tells him that she's not ashamed of it.Edna tells Ned that if they're to stay together, he must not allow it to get in their way. Ned then ends the actual story by breaking the forth wall with "I guess this is going to have to be decided by a higher power" (That's pathetic). The actual episode ends as Homer and Marge walk in front of the shot of Edna and Ned telling the viewers that they can decide whether or not they should stay together or not (I'd call it breaking the forth wall, but it's more like "Eh, just vote on this stupid idea and watch our crappy show next season")

                                Final Verdict: This episode is surprisingly average. I fully expected this to be God-awful, but it's rather average. The concept is stupid as all hell but the writing is okay, with flashes of decency here and there, the jokes range from horrible to chuckle-worthy and surprisingly character motivation actually plays a role here. However, there are quite a few of the stuff I've grown to hate. like: Characters appearing out of nowhere, characters disappearing because they have no more lines (Speaking of which, what happened to Lisa after the opening? She never even appeared afterwards) and an awful cliff-hanger that NOBODY will care about (Hey at least Who Shot Mr.Burns was good enough for the wait).

                                Final Grade: 4.3/10 Better than any story about Edna and Ned deserves to be

                                Friday, May 20, 2011

                                "Hate Month" Little Big Girl

                                Key:
                                Black: Kriken
                                Purple: RBY

                                Today me and RBY will talk about another one's of Don Payne's disasters which is very forgettable and rather stupid. So RBY, you ready to begin this? What choice do I have? You locked me in this room, remember? Oh good memories indeed, at least I gave you internet access. I've been eating cold pepperoni pizza for four days! And I hate pepperoni! Quit whining.

                                Let's start with the Lisa subplot, shall we?

                                I guess. If I can plagiarize a certain reviewer: "What the f*** is wrong with you?"

                                I assume you mean the writers with that. It really bugged me just how long Lisa allowed that lie to go on for.

                                Seriously, Lisa's smart and values her integrity.

                                If Lisa Gets an A taught me anything, it's that she puts integrity over grades (In the long run). I was annoyed just how easily she decided to give up integrity to begin with.

                                There really wasn't much discussion about it. Even more irksome - sure, she mentioned that the Simpsons had no interesting relatives, but the Bouviers (which sounds French) never get mentioned. What about them? It's family, she can research them.

                                Well if we even saw her RESEARCH either side that'd be an improvement. But no, she just sits in the middle of the floor and mopes about how her family's boring.

                                Technically, that night, we see her hit the books, but we don't even really know what she's doing. Yeah, they're labeled, but they seem like generic works, not tomes she could be looking for relatives in.

                                Why not have Homer call up all the Simpsons in the Tri-county area again? Oh wait, then we wouldn't have had that spectacular line of "By speaking in fork├ęd tongue, I am in heap big trouble!"

                                Ugh...even the lampshading the derailment inherent in that line afterward didn't help.

                                In my opinion, there was only one funny bit in that subplot: When Lisa did the "NorthDakotalahoma" only because I like that type of joke in general. Sucks it had to be in this heap of crap.

                                The ending was just bizarre too - really, it SHOULD have ended right at the school, with Lisa either confessing she lied for the grade, or saying that she could not attend the multicultural event. The thing at City Hall was just painful overall, and that ending? I don't know where to start.

                                Then I'll start, Lisa feeling that she had to continue the lie was just BS. She already cheated to get her grade, why continue? What does she have to gain? NOTHING! And the fact that she actually went onstage to embarrass herself further was just awful.

                                I'm shocked at how easily she was forgiven, too. Sure, she's 8 - actually, that reminds me, I'm shocked they put so much trust into her - but even then, she wasted everyone's time, took up a time slot at that convention, and all for selfish desire - a grade. I'm a tad school-obsessed (read as: I cried over my first C), but even I can't believe that.

                                Well I see this is frustrating you, let's move onto the "Main" plot. Which actually had three different arcs within it, didn't it?

                                It did: Bart getting a license, Bart driving Homer around, and Bart's relationship with Darcy.

                                You actually remembered her name?! She was about as interesting as a loaf of bread.

                                Hey, take that back! I LIKE bread! But, anyways, let's discuss the event that kicked off this plot: the barn fire.

                                Which time? The padding? Or the actual physics-defying time? They were both ludicrously insulting to our intelligence.

                                The latter, as that one's actually relevant to our discussion. The fire, as you know, somehow spreads to the town without killing Cletus and family, apparently. The scenes tries a few jokes, which fall flat on their face.

                                There were two that annoyed me the most, the "I'm flaming!" and "That's where our mom works!" The first one was cringe worthy and the second one just gave me bad ideas.

                                Considering that some fans have slashed together Lenny and Carl, and other episodes have created rather, uh, "interesting" ideas as to their relationship-

                                *Cough* The Blue and The Gray *Cough*

                                -uh, yeah - the idea that they share the same mother is a bit, well....YEAH. Hopefully, we either misheard them, or it's just they're so close as friends that they consider themselves family. Hey, me and my best friend were like that.

                                Still, stupid line anyways, moving on. Betcha you didn't know fire extinguishers worked that long and that effectively to put out an entire city fire. Where were they in Chicago?

                                Those magical ones weren't around yet.

                                I still find it really stupid that not only did Bart want a driver's license (Seriously, I could think of dozens of things he'd want before that) but he could apparently drive the family car no problem. I know there's suspension of disbelief, but come on, cars aren't like bikes, you can't just jump in and screw around a few times and instantly know driving.

                                While a lot of kids wish they could drive, licenses do not automatically equal knowledge of driving. Should we skip over the subplot of driving Homer around? Aside from a brick joke, it's pretty pointless.

                                Agreed, now let's talk about North Haverbrook, last I checked, it was a hellhole from the Monorail. But I guess it got better just for Bart's arrival.

                                Then again, it's been many years since Season 4, sadly. Thing is, there were TONS of towns they could've used or invented. Why the one established as ruined?

                                No clue. Darcy just annoyed me, she seemed like the writer's attempt to satirize the teenage girl, if the writers viewed teenage girls as middle-aged soccer moms. And all the buildup of Bart and Darcy was to reveal that she was pregnant? Why should I care?

                                Because the writers said so, and, if you don't, you're a jerk! Wait, or am I thinking of yet another one of Bart's girlfriends?

                                Probably, you need to get your mind focused on the crap today instead of much better episodes. So many wasted jokes and opportunities for Bart and Darcy, but hey if they had room for those jokes, where would the 5 montages have gone?

                                On the cutting room floor, I hope.

                                I will break your spirit yet, and you will be as bitter as I am one day. Final words: The main plot was stupid and unfunny, and the subplot was stupid and out of character for Lisa. Your thoughts?

                                Well, if I may: there was so much wasted material in this episode. Heritage stories (come to think of it, where was Bart for that?), the relationship between Darcy and Bart, fun on the road.... Just, more than what we got.

                                Agreed, yet another episode left for the sands of time to forget.

                                Wednesday, May 18, 2011

                                Episode 19: Waverly Hills 9-0-2-1-D'oh

                                Ever wonder how episode ideas are created? I don't, but here's how this one was probably created:
                                Writer: Hey, 90210 is back on, let's do a "parody" of it because it's topical.
                                Executive: Wasn't this show on in the 90s? Why do it now?
                                Writer: We aren't nearly as talented to create episodes that actually require thought so we need this.
                                Executive: Well, will you at least has some subtle jokes and writing so that people don't feel insulted by the stupidity of this?
                                Writer: Nope! We never do! Our viewers are like lobotomized rats, they need to be told what's going on and told when to laugh or they won't understand.
                                Executive: Okay, start production, but at least make the Hannah Montana knock-off creative.
                                Writer: Can't do, sir.
                                Executive: Oh well, do it anyways.
                                (Disclaimer: it may have been the executive's idea. Attempts at contacting the studio were ineffectual and resulted in an alien invasion stopped only by the ghost of Bruce Lee possessing Chuck Norris teaming up with naked zombie Sean Connery)
                                And now to review this uninspired, not-so-subtle approach to topical humor based on an unpopular spin-off of a much more popular TV series from the 90s.

                                We start off with Marge on a morning walk when she passes by a guy giving out free samples of "Science Water" *Fake laughter*. After Marge drinks about a dozen samples of the water, she needs to use the bathroom and decides to go into Springfield Elementary to use their bathroom (Oh great, we're going to have another "Helicopter Parent" theme aren't we?). Marge then takes a look in the classrooms and notices how either nobody's learning or the classes are "comically" overstuffed with students (Surely she'd know this by now)(Thank God the staff dropped the "Helicopter Parents" theme or I would have gone berserk). Marge goes up to Skinner's office and yells at him about the quality of the school, which goes nowhere (That had a point). Back at home, we see more evidence about how Springfield Elementary sucks (Including some statistics data. It's not funny but pretentious and, considering what I learned about standard deviations, it makes this joke even stupider to me). Milhouse then exposits about his cousin who goes to a school in "Waverly Hills" and everyone in the family starts brownnosing their school system (Quick question, feel free not to answer. Why is Milhouse there? Where is this cousin he speaks of? How many plot solutions can you put on the table without an explanation?).
                                Hey there Milhouse, so nice of you to come over uninvited
                                Marge decides that they should get a small apartment in WH to establish residency so that they can send Bart and Lisa there. Where do I begin?
                                1: Residency must be established for a year before you can transfer to your new "Home School"
                                2. Are there truly no magnet or private schools in the area? I only once went to my home school and that was because I didn't get into a magnet school because of the lottery.
                                3. Residency is established by utility bills, not by "You're living there"
                                Okay to be fair, there probably are no magnet schools and the home school is probably the only choice for Springfield. However, the family could have used a huge loophole in that you can transfer to another school if it has a program that one of your kids need (Just give Bart a fake speech problem and, voila, you've got a legit excuse now, it worked for me). Anyways back to the review, after Bart objects to losing his friends, Homer goes to find the worst place in WH to establish residency (For the sake of argument (And so I don't bitch about this throughout the review) I'll just accept that there is no designated time frame here for establishing residency here. Still a big plot hole, but let's let it slide for now).
                                I'm here to tell you how you can live rat-free for life
                                After a montage of WH (Goodie), Homer and Marge go to City Hall to enroll their kids and Wise-guy tells them that an inspector will come by to make sure they live there (Yeah, screw utility bills or phone bills! Make sure they live there and make sure they aren't out doing something like buying groceries when the inspector visits... I hate this episode). Homer decides that he will stay in the apartment and he exchanges some exposition with Marge about his stay. The next day, Marge drops off Bart and Lisa at their new school as we get to see all the stuff WH Elementary has to offer (Is it me or does this look like a private school? If so, they could have gotten in without establishing residency. I guess the writers decided to make this the school in the upper class area. But that does make me wonder, if there is a hellhole in WH, and this school seems to be all upper class but not a private school, where are all the kids from the hellhole area? Ah, my brain hurts from the stupidity of this plot hole). After we see the principal, Skinner comes in to try to get Lisa back to Springfield Elementary. Chalmers comes out and we get some pure undiluted unfunny couple dialogue (I guess Chalmers really DOES live at Springfield Elementary and is engaged with Skinner).
                                Look, just because I have no life outside of you Skinner, doesn't mean you need to be around me constantly
                                We cut back to Homer meeting his new neighbors who come off as pretentious douches (Wow, thanks for not making me give a fuck about these guys, now when are they going to die?! Oh wait this isn't a horror movie, damn it!)(If it were, we wouldn't be stuck watching this). We cut back to WHE as we see Lisa's having a hard time fitting in because she doesn't know who Alaska Nebraska is (Our "Subtle" Hannah Montana knock-off people, bet you couldn't spot it)(Eh, I prefer 'Yoda Minnesota') and she uses pretentious dialogue. I really don't understand why the writers are obsessed with making Lisa a popular girl on the show, it's out of character. I'm not saying she can't have friends but it seems like they are going for one extreme or the other: she either has many friends or no friends, there's no middle ground for her. We then see Lisa get a B+ on a paper. She's shocked and then responds by crying (Congratulations writers, you have somehow derailed your own derailment. This "Lisa" character is nowhere near as good as Lisa Simpson is. What is with the character derailment moments in this season? Did the writers just forget what they were writing?)(...when you consider the Spin-Off Showcase for Season 8, this suddenly loses its humor). You know what, I'm not calling her Lisa, she is just so far removed from Lisa as a character (Even for Modern Lisa), her new name is LINO (Lisa In Name Only. I'm going to figure something else out later). So LINO goes to talk to Bart about this. Bart decides to establish himself as a bad boy by having Wiggum come to WHE and "arresting" him in front of everyone.
                                You're under arrest for the impersonation of Bart Simpson
                                After Wiggum releases Bart (This will come in later so it's not entirely pointless. It's very stupid, but not entirely pointless) the next day, we see that Bart is the most popular boy in school (Because getting arrested for a crime that nobody knows what it was instantly makes you cool, for all they know Bart could have been arrested for trespassing on school property, or indecent exposure, or even jaywalking. Just saying). However the writers thought of that and the students decide to make things up for what he could have done (COULD HAVE are the key words). Bart then decides to make LINO popular by spreading the lie that LINO knows Hannah Montana (Because I refuse to acknowledge this "parody") and she was lying earlier to protect Hannah. We then see all these kids texting each other this secret, causing the phone company's computer to explode (I'm out of booze, oh well off to the liquor store down the street)(Hurry back, I'm not finishing this review for you. It STILL hurts from last time). We then see that LINO is popular and Bart gets in trouble with Wiggum because he didn't go to Ralph's birthday party. After a long pointless chase scene Bart gets captured and we end the act with an unfunny joke (What was the point of all that? Why not have Bart go to the party and be rid of this scene that could have gone to further plot development? Oh wait, nevermind look at who I'm talking about, they probably would have inserted another montage or something.). We then come back to Marge at the apartment with Homer as they go to a party together down the hall with douchebag 1 and 2 (Basically a college party with some pretentious dialogue like Homer and Marge just met. Can I go there? It seems FAR more interesting than this episode).
                                When you can't think of any jokes, just steal what douchebags do online.
                                I'm sorry, but dialogue like this really gets under my skin because even though they're married, it's just plain stupid; the writers are trying to tell us that we should be finding this pretentious dialogue funny and charming when in reality it's not. The next day at school, LINO finds out that "knowing" Hannah Montana makes her happy and she doesn't even need to try hard for good grades because the teacher is trying to bribe her for a signed T-shirt (For the love of- People, this is the same girl who would admit she cheated on a test to prevent her school from getting funding and now she's okay with lying to get grades?! Do I need more poof that this writing sucks?!) Later, we see Homer give Marge a key to his apartment that's in a ring-box in a pie, just like a wedding proposal. Moving on, we see LINO talking to Caitlin as she tells LINO to get her backstage passes to the next Hannah Montana concert (Does it ever occur to people that even if she knew the person, it'd be impossible? You can't just print backstage passes whenever you like). We then cut back to Homer and Marge as we see that Marge redecorated the apartment (This "Dating" dialogue is still pissing me off). Back with LINO, she sneaks into Hannah's dressing room and begs her for some backstage passes, to which Hannah says no and has security kick her out (But not without LINO continuing her pretentious dialogue. I'm off to drink that booze I just got).
                                Look, can we never speak of this role again? It's a real low point for me
                                We go back to the apartment where Homer and Marge start bickering until the inspector FINALLY gets there to get Homer and Marge to stop bickering and make the room look kid-like (Hooray! That means the episode's almost over). LINO then tells her "friends" that she couldn't get the passes and they chase after her for lying to them. LINO hides but is caught because she's wearing "Last year's shoes" (Whut)(If you'll excuse me I'm going to finish this bottle and then rest for 8 hours)((Un)Fortunately, folks, I held him to this. On with the review!). The inspector clears them because it's clearly the home of elementary school children (I guess my house when I was 10 would fail then)(It would've?). Bart and LINO tell Homer and Marge they need to go back home (Making the entire "Inspector" plotline *Entirely pointless* way to undermind your own writing there). They're reluctant at first, but decide to go after deciding to turn the treehouse into their new loveshack (.....poor Bart).

                                Final Judgment: This episode is atrocious. The satire is awful, the writing is shitty and disjointed, the plot is idiotic and pointless, and the character derailment is cringe-worthy.This personally ranks as one of the worst episodes of the entire series, and at least bottom 10 of the season. There's a reason this show didn't have to resort to many TV series satire-heavy episodes like this in the past: they were too talented to HAVE to. They could easily satirize anything and not have to rely on the audience saying "I know that show only because it's on right now"

                                Final grade: 1.2/10 Even the new 90210 was better than this episode.

                                Monday, May 16, 2011

                                Episode 21: 500 Keys

                                Why does John Frink continue to get work on this show? Almost every episode he's ever written has sucked and this week's is no exception. I fully expected this episode to be a 4-segment episode where each family member goes on their own little storyline. After watching this though I yearned for it to be a four segment episode instead, it probably would have been much better that way. Instead we get a supposed "A-Plot" with three subplots that are all forced to tie in at different points. The result; a terrible, confusing episode with no comedy and viewers getting dumber just watching it. With that out of the way, let's take a look at today's abomination.

                                The opening (I don't normally talk about this, but I feel the need to address this) begins with Hank Scorpio flying a fighter jet (Nothing but fanservice, now the fans will be gushing over a meaningless 5 second cameo) followed by a chalkboard gag of "It's Kristen Schaal, not Kristen Schall" (I guess the backlash of their stupidity caused them to try to apologize for their mistake. Also Lisa's playing a violin, just thought I'd mention that as well since I mentioned the other two). Our episode then begins with the family (Sans Marge) shopping for a wedding cake because... because... because the writers are out of ideas, that's why. While trying to get the cake home, they run into a traffic jam as Homer decides to take a shortcut that's conveniently pointed out to us as "Suicidal Moron Pass" (What did I say about explaining your jokes?) After some more physics defying driving by Homer (With suspenseful music to boot, but honestly the soundtrack should go more like this) Homer is able to get home with the cake intact (Phew, for a moment I thought all that fake tension might possibly be real tension). However, Maggie is left in the car as she locks the doors (With the keys inside) and Marge finds out that she's locked in, causing her to panic to find the spare key.
                                THE DEATH OF MAGGIE (To be continued in the next episode)
                                However, in the next scene we see that Maggie let herself out of the car, thus resolving that conflict (Oh Mr. Frink, is there any story you can write where the resolution isn't a disappointment?) So we're 3 minutes in, and all we know is that the family bought a cake for no reason, the family seems to have a million keys and Maggie got locked in the car, only to free herself 30 seconds later. I've seen more interesting storylines from grass growing during a drought. After Homer eats the frosting off Maggie's head (Don't ask, it's better that we not question the genius mind of John Frink) Lisa questions all the keys as Homer decides to take a moment to give some dull backstory for a few (It seems like it's a 3 way race to see which is more boring; Paint drying, grass growing, or this episode. You be the judge). After Homer holds up some keys from much better episodes (Thanks for acknowledging that this show used to be good, now do us a favor and QUIT!) Bart and Homer decide to take some of the keys and find out their uses (I sense zany antics afoot. No wait, I meant "Painfully predictable stupidity") Bart decides to first open up a mailbox to cause mischief as people start to convene on the mailbox to remove mail they had second thoughts on. Bart's upset that his first act with a key caused people to be happy as Reverend Lovejoy walks by to say "Ha-Ha" (Why not use Nelson for that? I mean he is in this episode, oh right I need to stop questioning the writing)
                                Hey there, blimpy boy, flying through the sky so fancy free
                                We then cut to Homer as he's walking with Barney and it's revealed that Homer has keys to the Duff Brewery (NO! The only time those two should ever go there is Duffless, I award you NO points for this substory, and may God have mercy on your soul). After a padded out flashback about how Homer got the keys, they get in and look around at the various parts of the brewery (Sorry, but the inspection line with Hitler's head in the jar cannot be topped, just quit now). Homer then finds the Duff Blimp and reads the text on it (That Barney typed into the computer) and decides to fly off with the blimp (And so unfunny subplot #2 begins, let's just set up a small storyboard to the left to see how badly they screw up trying to link these together). We then cut back home as Lisa finds a key that belongs to the school and decides to return it (And so our supposed "Main plot" begins). Marge finds another stray key as Maggie conveniently appears with they toy the key belongs to (I guess she has that "Plot-convenient teleportation" I've heard so much about). It turns out they wind-up key is used to start up a "Toot-train" which each person farts when they push down on their side of the handcar (Hey Family Guy called, they want their terrible joke back). After Marge gets a call from Homer (And read the script as she apparently knows what blimp engines sound like from the inside of a blimp) Maggie turns the toy back on and thus begins Marge and Maggie's journey to get the never-ending toy (Oh goodie, this bad joke is a subplot. I can just guess all the "hilarious" antics that will ensue).
                                How unfunny and crude, let's make this into a subplot
                                After a pointless bit with the Flanders involving the toy (My mind is melting with each passing second) we cut to Lisa as Nelson decides to play devil's advocate and suggests to Lisa that she figure out what the key opens (Honestly it starts off as a decent scene, but is then ruined by Nelson repeating the same line about 10 times). Lisa decides to go to the basement and finds out it opens a door labeled "Banned Band Books" (It's the bad punchline from the previous two doors). After some "spooky" cliches, Lisa stumbles upon a secret room (And decides to explain what exactly it is in the bigger picture, look just because you've dumbed down the majority of your audience doesn't mean I can't figure it out myself). After Lisa gushes over the different settings, she finds out that nothing in the room is real study material (Don't get too invested in how this all pays out, you should know by now that the writers don't understand the concept of "Satisfying ending"). Lisa then confronts Skinner about the room as he at first dismisses her but then decides to look at it anyways (Okay there was some humor in that scene I'll admit, but really it's not worth watching this). We then cut to Homer (~Padding, padding, padding~) as Homer thinks about having a Duff while piloting the blimp. He wonders if it counts as drinking and driving as he decides to text Lenny all while "Comedically" avoiding obstacles (Oh writers, your forced "Homer's irresponsibility" followed by the overwhelmingly predictable antics always manage to find new ways to piss me off).
                                Alfred Hitchcock is rolling in his grave
                                We then cut back to Marge as the toy happens to head into the Community Center as the sign indicates there's a meeting of irritable bowel syndrome support group going on inside (Classy, writers, this is truly comedy that this show is best known for). After a predictable unfunny bit (Quick question, how does the handcar continue to run and change directions like it has? Oh right, if it couldn't how would we have had that "hilarious" scene of it passing through an IBS support group. My bad) we cut to Lisa in the basement as she decides to reveal to Skinner (And various students as well... um why? Oh right, so that they can set up a plot point later on). Lisa then opens the door and it turns out a bookshelf of books is now behind the door (Ten bucks says anyone with half a brain knows this cliche) After Skinner patronizes Lisa (And Lisa just stands there saddened, come on Lisa, you should know how this works) we then see Bart (Oh right he has a subplot going on as well, almost forgot) as he decides to turn on a window washing lift so he can moon random people as he goes up (Okay, credit where it's due, that is pretty funny and in-character for him). However, Ol' Gil tries jumping off the exact building and lands on the lift as he thanks Bart and it causes Bart to get a Key to the City (Why are the writers ruining the only storyline that has potential for humor? Why not show Bart SUCCEEDING in his pranks. I know I said last week success is boring, but not in this case, in this case it would be funny).
                                We're totally not engaged! We're not! *Whispers* Don't tell Mother that we are
                                We then cut to school as Skinner tells Chalmers that she might be onto something (To which Chalmer replies "I oversee 14 schools Seymour, and for some reason I always find myself talking to you about one of the Simpsons kids". Wow, I guess the writers finally acknowledge just how lazy they are for inserting him in just for the sake of it. Now will they do anything with that? Probably not, so just file this under "We know what we're doing, we just don't care"). Skinner notices Lisa and decides to take the key away from her. As Lisa walks home (With a shoehorned reference to Homer's subplot. Frink, just stick to failing at one plot, okay?) she notices Ralph selling school newspapers and decides that she can use the photo of the key to make a duplicate to get back in the room (Okay a few things, one; why is Ralph selling papers? Oh right, the fans love him and the writers need to put him in any scene regardless of if it makes sense or not. Second; I'm pretty sure that's not how key duplication works. It might work, but I really doubt it, partly seeing as the locksmith doesn't have a scale and keys are not perfectly symmetric, just saying). After an unfunny chase between Homer and the police via blimp (I don't even... *Facepalm*) Lisa decides to get the duplicate and goes back to school where she finds the bookcase yet again. After Lisa breaks the bookshelf (And has an unfunny bit with tombstones of kid detectives, I'll admit the first time got a chuckle, the second time wore out its welcome though) Lisa goes in and finds the message "The children are on bus 23" (Great, now they're trying to add a mystery within the mystery which will not pay off in the end).
                                Now to prove women are just as good at exploring as men- Eek! A spider! *Runs away*
                                After a pointless cut to Bart (As we get one of the worst jokes in the history of the show. I hate you writers, I truly do) we cut to Marge as she's still looking for the toy (STORYBOARDS ARE YOUR FRIENDS! It helps make the episode flow naturally and not seem like this jumbled mess) She spots it as it passes by Wiggum (Who apparently is now okay from the exploding blimp. Continuity, what's that?!) as he can't pick it up because the writers feel the need to repeat the joke of "Wiggum can't grab anything off the ground" 6 times (Because sodomizing the "Rule of Three" isn't enough for these writers). We then cut back to school as Lisa tells Bart about what she knows and Bart decides that they need to talk to "Someone's whose been here a long, long time" (Willie?) Cut to Nelson in the woodshop as he is reluctant at first to tell them about bus 23, but after some bad jokes between Lisa and Nelson (And now gum stuck to my chair seems funny in comparison) Nelson decides to tell them (Along with an ominous music cue. Don't try to pretend that this has tension, broken string has more tension than this story). Apparently, Skinner and Chalmers sent the bus over an ice bridge that Skinner objected to at first, but sent off anyways and it never came back (Wow, I'm about as interested in this as I am with the ingredients of bread). Bart and Lisa decide they need to find the ice bridge, cue Homer right next to the school (See how all these broken pieces are fitting so nicely together? You can't? Neither can anyone with a functioning brain).
                                Down there! Our angry fans. Drop the bombs.
                                Homer then takes them to where the ice bridge was (Which is no longer there, is that supposed to be a joke or something? Bart implied he thought it was literally made of ice, is this the payoff?) and Lisa falls out of the blimp at a high altitude and notices the bus as she falls towards the river (I'm pretty sure a fall from that distance in a river that shallow would probably kill her, but hey that's what the laws of physics say, what do the laws of lazy writing say?) After she falls into the river (Not a bit of pain at all, oh come on she bellyflopped in, that hurts) she looks inside the bus and sees a bunch of kids. After a drawn-out scene of Homer going to save Lisa (Just a few more minutes, just a few more minutes) Homer's weight causes the bus to tip over and all the kids float to the surface. On the surface it's revealed all the kids are mannequins (...Wait what?). Somehow Lisa and Homer sink beneath them and then the surface is covered with mannequins, preventing them from getting to the surface (Are they dense or just plain retarded? THEY'RE PLASTIC! Just move them a little to the left and you can get up. I especially love how this scene is played for more drama, I wonder just how quickly the false tension will end). After Bart laments he can't help, cue the stupid toy (With triumphant music, WEAK!) as it bumps into a tree SOMEHOW causing it to fall over and allow Homer and Lisa to get to the surface (LAZIEST! RESOLUTION! EVER! Oh but it's alright, now all the shitty subplots have converged and we can end the "Main plot") After Lisa questions why the bus was loaded with fake kids, Otto appears to explain that he accidentally ran the bus off the bridge (Now we get to have further exposition from Skinner and Chalmers. Why do I get the feeling it'll end with the line "And I would have gotten away with it if it we're for you meddling kids!"?)
                                3 facepalms in three weeks? Thank you for all this material, I truly appreciate it
                                We cut back to school as Bart shows Skinner and Chalmers he has Skinner's keys (Yes! We get it! The main theme of this episode was keys! Although I appreciate the facepalm from Chalmers). Skinner then decides to exposite to everyone the reason for the room and mannequins (Where's Santa's Little Helper? We need him to make this scene more appropriate) Skinner cashed a grant for the school that got ruined in the wash. To try to protect their asses, they built the phony school room and photographed the mannequins getting a phony education. They had to return the mannequins by a certain time, so they sent Otto with the bus full of them to return them (So that's the resolution, was it worth wasting 20 minutes of our time? How about no?! That was just weak and pathetic). After Lisa tells them the things they didn't count on (You cannot seriously think you're being clever for "Attempting" to bookend this piece of shit, go to hell writers) we cut to an epilogue (Wait, what?! They couldn't possibly be this stupid... could they?) We end it with Otto driving a school bus over a bridge full of kids as the bus slips and falls over (But not without Otto making a bad Inception reference,  just saying Inception does not constitute a joke).

                                Final Verdict: This episode was stupid, granted it wasn't as bad as the previous two, but it was still rather mediocre. The storylines are jarring and stupid, the attempt to merge them fell flat and was weak, the jokes were terrible and considering one of the subplots was basically a repeated fart joke, that's pretty low. I think what annoyed me most of all was all the paper-thin tension written into this, if you want to have a suspenseful moment, I'm okay with it, but if you want to do that, be sure that the resolution isn't LAZY. If you want to see a good example of multiple storylines that converge and is funny, watch 22 Short Films About Springfield (Heck Trilogy of Error was better than this), if you want to watch something that makes you dumber as you watch it, watch this.

                                Final Grade: 3.6/10 Yet again, John Frink writes another mediocre, forgettable episode