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


  1. It's a CONGA line, not a mamba line.

  2. Did,I... oops, sorry about that mistake

  3. I would've like the heart stabbing joke with willy if they hadn't taken it too far. Leave it to the writers to ruin it.

  4. Three things I've learned about their approach to jokes in recent years:
    1) If it seems like a nice short joke, find a way to extend it
    2) Explain the punchline or why the joke is so funny
    3) A joke cannot be allowed to stand on its own merits