Monday, June 13, 2011

A Deeper Look At: Homer the Father

Over the next couple of weeks, I'm going to take more in-depth looks at the bottom 10 episodes I listed earlier and discuss why not only most of these suck as part of the series, but why it sucks on its own. Naturally I will try my best to disregard previous continuity from Classic Simpsons as I will judge these episodes based purely off their own merits. We will be talking about certain things ranging from basic storytelling to continuity to character and many other criteria for how we base our opinions on TV shows and movies. So first on our list: Homer the Father.

Issue #1: Storyline
Now before you get down my throat with "But it's a comedy, storylines don't matter" yes, yes they do. It's only when there isn't one that you realize how important a storyline is and its taken for granted on this show. This is going to be a main issue for a majority of these episodes. The problem I have here more or less is that while Act 1 and 2 aren't terrible in their flow and Act 3 was about the same way in its flow, it's the transition that is downright horrendous. As you know, shows use storyboard to get their ideas across, going from point A to point B and so on, here it feels like a sizeable gap of story is missing, let me show you:
Okay, it's just Homer enjoying a TV show, no biggie
Bart wants a new bike, still easy
Bart and Homer coming to an agreement about how Bart can get his bike, still with them
Bart's angry that Homer didn't live up to his end of the bargain, okay end of story see ya later.
More or less
Bart decides to sell secrets to the Chinese in exchange for a bike, -the hell?
Okay, in the interest of fairness, there is a scene where Apu explains to Homer that countries would pay a great amount for his access to nuclear secrets. The problem with that is the scene is so forced and out of place, that calling Apu the McGuffin of the episode would be very generous. It's clear the writers had no idea how to transition to the nuclear secrets plot so they resorted to turning a B-character into a McGuffin whose appearance at the Simpsons residence makes no sense and is out of character for him to randomly visit a customer's house to return something they lost. Real Apu would hold onto it at the Kwik-E-Mart and hand it over to Homer the next time he comes by, you know like real people act. Modern Apu however needs to go to the house for the sole reason of spouting out exposition to advance the plot. It's lazy writing at its worst and is just painful to think that nobody important objected to this whatsoever. But hey, why take the time to properly introduce us to the nuclear secrets plot when we can see all the great jokes about the channel Homer watches, which brings us to issue #2.

Issue #2: The Filler
It's bad enough that the sitcom Homer watches isn't funny whatsoever, but their attempt to make another show or two for him to watch complete with unfunny introductions is just awful. The sitcoms they put on don't even sound like parodies of 80's sitcoms, they sound more like rejected sitcom ideas (There is a difference). It is so easy to make fun of sitcoms ranging from "It's very cheesy" to "It's too sappy at times" to "These jokes are corny" and so on. The writers spare no expense at showing us the entire introductions (About 45 seconds for each give or take) of two sitcoms, it just pointless, they aren't funny and it's plainly filler. And they show us a bunch of other failed sitcom ideas (I took a count, there were 9 sitcoms in total that were mentioned. The rule of three be damned!). It feels like the majority of the 1st and 2nd Act is just watching failed sitcoms parodies, if I wanted to make fun of a sitcom, I'd watch Full House. It also doesn't help that there are two montages one of Bart studying that is deemed even more pointless when Bart doesn't get a reward (A lot like the audience, they sit through this garbage and get nothing in the end) and the other is Bart and Homer bonding, it's just very tedious to watch these and there's no entertainment to be found in montages. Also, Bart's dream sequence went on for much longer than it had any right to go on for. It's a problem that Modern Simpsons has suffered from for a long time; They don't know when to cut their jokes, they just extend out a scene or two rather than putting in 4-6 scenes with equal length and more jokes. And to cap it all off (Or begin it all) the opening takes up 1:40 of a 21 minute show and there's an unfunny, unrelated bit at the end to help pad this episode out. It's just further proof that they don't care about the quality of the show rather than if they can add another digit to their bank accounts.

Issue #3: The Parody
Okay I may have actually addressed this in the previous issue but this is something I feel really needs to be torn apart. The parodies of the 80's sitcoms are in a word: AWFUL, all it is is just Homer watching sitcoms that had no right to be on the air at any given time period. The satire (I guess) is that the father of the sitcom is just a stereotypical 80's sitcom father, and... nothing else, heck just using a stereotype isn't satirical, it's lazy, especially when you don't even make fun of it (Like the episode did). I don't even get why they felt the need to add in another 5 sitcom names and 3 sitcoms with actual footage, they weren't funny and just wasted time. I know I said that I wouldn't compare this to classic Simpsons but I do want to note that Saturdays of Thunder did an excellent satire on 80's sitcoms without wasting our time or insulting our intelligence.

So that's installment #1, I hope you enjoyed it, come back when I take on Donnie Fatso.


  1. I think the transition was more or less acceptable, but the result of bart selling nuclear secrets to China was just plain stupid. What about the rival plant in Shelbyville or something?

  2. For me personally, the 3rd act just made no sense to even have in the episode. It came out of left field and had a half-assed resolution with Homer destroying a nuclear power plant in China (Which fortunately does not cause radiation poisoning unlike those real life ones)

    The main reason why I hated the transition was because of just how forced it was. They could have put anyone at the door to give some forced exposition to Homer as Bart listened and it would have been just the same. When I first watched it I was thinking to myself "That sounded like a natural conversation, I wonder if in any way this will lead to the third act" It just felt like something I'd write in the fifth grade to move a short story along, and it annoyed me how much they were pandering to the audience.