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


  1. I actually went into this episode thinking it would be horrible but it exceeded my expectations. The plot doesn't drag (Unlike the rest of season 22) and I could actually see the characters life in them.
    My only problem was the end, it was just a pathetic move for publicity, and it was out of character for Ned to judge someone's past.

  2. I think that it really exceeded everyone's expectations (If you remember, I called it "That 90's Show Part 2" because I honestly thought it would suck that much)

    I agree about the ending, the ending for me was basically the writing staff's way of saying "We got nothing, this episode was all a marketing gimmick and now we beg of you guys to watch next season's opening. We really need the ratings" At least the cliffhanger for "Who Shot Mr. Burns" had the clever 4th wall joke of "I can't figure out who did it, can you?" as Hibbert points at Wiggum, so we actually cared.

    (P.S. Was it just me or did Homer and Marge's bit at the end seem like a PBS drive begging for donations to keep up public broadcasting?)

  3. Yeah Edna and Ned's voice were off a bit in a few scenes, you mentioned it in the review but I would like to stress a decline in acting quality.
    And I really am trying to resist voting, they ain't gettin' my publicity.