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.


  1. I didn't really get a lot of the jokes, maybe it's just because I didn't find them funny. Another reason I couldn't get myself attached to the jokes is that they had to explain every single one.

  2. There IS a private school in the Simpsons neighbourhood according to "Lisa Simpson, This Isn't Your Life", and did you notice how they say "Wii" in this ep istead of "Zii"?