Friday, July 29, 2011

"Hate Month" Moms I'd Like to Forget

Black: Kriken
Purple: RBY

Before I even start this discussion with RBY, I want to say one thing about the title. Yes I get the joke put in there (MILF) no it's not funny. Whether that was intentional or not (Although given it's Brian Kelley who wrote this) it's rather stupid and doesn't make this any less shitty.

Look, can we finish this. I want my cat back!

Fine, how about the first dream sequence. It just seemed to go on and on with no real purpose other than "Bart wins"

Oh, there was purpose: padding. Not only were there two dream sequences (both of which were amazingly long), but also the theme song was amazingly long (a minute and a half). In the past, commentaries have mentioned that they use a longer version of the theme song and a longer couch gag when there's not enough material for the required 23 minutes.

Yeah, but a 1 and a half minute opening sequence is now the norm. So Bart knocks out unknown fifth grader and apparently gravity doesn't exist when the writers don't want it there. Your thoughts?

That, or physics in general. I'm pretty sure if the ball was able to rebound that high, that fifth-grader would have a serious bruise. In the time it took for it to come down, more than a few things happened, after all - interviews, t-shirt, the Gatorade a sidenote, Kriken, does Kelley ship Nelson/Edna?

... You're just trying to torture me now aren't you?

You stole my cat and made me watch this crap. If anything, I'm just trying to get even.

You'll see him soon enough. Anyways, onto what the writers call a plot lead-in. Only positive thing I could think of was the teacher's room brawl. At first it was funny, but after Skinner's role, it really wore itself thin. On a side, nice of the writing staff to remind us that one of their own gave us Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.

Not their wisest move. I have a question though. After the revelation of the twin scars (which are somehow EXACTLY the same), do the fourth-graders and fifth-graders ever resolve their differences?

Tsk tsk tsk, you're expecting competency from this writing staff RBY. Of course, the first act is ENTIRELY pointless to the rest of the episode. You could have literally put in a scene of Bart running into that guy and they both notice their scars and it would have worked just as well.

It's sad when the fanfic writer and the amateur reviewer can see the plot holes and figure out a better substitute than the professional writers.

Sad but true, anyways onto what we should be caring about. Betcha you didn't know that photo albums were meant to be kept in bathrooms? Did you?

Oh, yes, right next to my copy of War and Peace and underneath my disco ball. Doesn't everyone? ...Well, point is, they manage to ruin a lot of moments we're meant to take seriously through 'jokes'. Another good example would be the 'bad influence' jokes. I'd say it was so over-the-top, it was funny, but 'funny' isn't the word I'm looking for.

Agreed, but one thing I want to note now that was a common theme throughout Marge's subplot: Every time we saw Marge with her friends (Names unknown) they were always sitting. They would sit and talk, sit and have their nails done, sit and drink wine, sit and eat, etc. They couldn't possibly have them play croquet, walk along a neighborhood, or do something exciting at all.

None of the characters introduced here were named - one was name-dropped (Anita), but we don't even know which one Anita was. I know that, given the circumstances here, trying to give the names could feel shoehorned, but it would've given SOMETHING, seeing as none of the characters had anything memorable about them.

I sorta disagree, Marge could have easily introduced Bart to the mothers in the photo album scene seeing as how he seemed to forget that portion of his life. But I digress, moving on. There was only one character I actually liked; the father that hated Homer's antics was quite possibly the best character in a while, only because he didn't take any of Homer's forced 'comedy'.

He could be the next Frank Grimes (except, y'know, alive)! Now, moving on, what follows is a lot of conversation between the families as they catch up (speaking of which, who's taking care of Lisa and Maggie?). Now, I can see why Homer and Bart don't like hanging out with the families, and then I can see why Homer doesn't like Marge hanging out (she keeps him up late). And then Bart decides he'll make Marge stop seeing the others - wait, what?

Because the boys dared Bart to stuff remotes in his mouth... at home... where they can't see it happen...

Ignoring that, he can just stop seeing them. The closest explanation I think we get for trying to split up the mothers is 'but you don't act like yourself! You're happy!' (paraphrased).

Material for dethroning moments of suck ladies and gentlemen.

It doesn't help that, in a sense, they've done this premise before. For those who have never seen 'Scenes from the Class Struggle in Springfield', let me try to sum it up: Marge makes new friends at a country club, but the rest of the family doesn't fit in. However, rather than let Marge be unhappy, they're willing to go along with it, even as she starts acting meaner to her family. Compare to Bart's behavior in this episode, in which he's actively seeking to sabotage her relationship for no particular reason.

You're comparing season 7 to season 22, that's like comparing a gold brick to roadkill. Anyways, per quota, Comic Book Guy is shoehorned into this to explain to Bart how he got his scar so this episode could be wrapped up.

On the other hand, they at least tried to justify his appearance (easy to blackmail, had a reason to know the details of the event). The story's pretty unlikely, and the animation - well, let's put it like this: there's 'miscoloring Lisa's pearls' and then there's 'forgetting he's in front of a PROJECTOR'. Guess which one's far less excusable?

Miscoloring is 'bad editing', the projector error is 'not giving a fuck'. People who've read my original review know how I feel about the backstory, so I won't talk about it again. All I have to end on is the stupid as all hell breaking up scene between Marge and the moms. Two things: one, grow up Brian Kelley; two, would it have been so hard to animate a scene of what happened after the fireworks to show us why Marge split from the group?

I guess so. This scene kinda reinforces my view that Brian Kelley has some problems with women. I just don't see how the hell he's been allowed to write five whole episodes!

And now we're done. We'll never speak of Brian Kelley again, here's your cat and I'll see you again later.

*hugs Damien* .....hey, wait. We did four episodes; I mentioned there's five. Any reason we skipped over his worst?

All in due time RBY, all in due time...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Deeper Look At: Elementary School Musical

And the shit has hit the fan now. The other episodes were pretty bad, but now the episodes go into mind torture as these are all very terrible.

Issue #1: The entire subplot
Where to begin? Okay first off, the subplot begins in such an implausible way that I made a statement in my original text review that the episode jumped the shark almost immediately. I still stand by that statement as it's just so stupid and lubricious that nobody (with a functioning brain) could take the episode seriously after that. And yet the writers continue on with the idea that Krusty won a Nobel Peace Prize being totally serious about it and thinking that we should to.
You mean that I didn't win a Nobel Peace Prize? That's just unrealistic and wrong.
It's just insulting, even as a parody of the Nobel Peace Prize, this still would have probably fell flat. So Krusty goes to Holland where he was brought there to be tried for crimes he committed against Europe. Krusty finds out that he needs to prove that he made a contribution to Western Culture to be exonerated. Okay let's just take a moment to realize just how stupid that idea is:
  1. He is more or less being tried for ruining European culture so he needs to prove that he's helped it in some way. And in other news, pedophiles can be freed if they ran a daycare center that worked.
  2. Why they just couldn't look this up themselves BEFORE they brought Krusty over is beyond me. Nope instead they made a mockery of the Nobel Peace Prize to extradite a person whose crimes are so petty, that he should be fined at worst for his actions.
  3. The crimes are pretty stupid themselves. It's not even like they made good jokes, they were just lazy. There are so many other things Krusty HAS done that could get him extradited. Tainted burgers, dangerous products, et cerera....
Please tell me that Bart's going to start watching Doctor Who instead of this episode
So after a drawn out session of Homer and Bart looking for a clip to save Krusty (Padding at it's worst) Krusty is about to be put away until Bart and Homer find a disc that gives Krusty his freedom. Really in the end this subplot was stupid, pointless and not entertaining at all. I never got the feeling that I should care nor that I should laugh at any particular scene.

Issue #2: Lisa's attitude
Okay, I have two issues here, so I just broadened this one. First off, her attitude between Bart going with Krusty to Europe and her arriving at the camp bugs me. Her bitching really comes out of nowhere and does not make us want to care about her. You should know by now that I like Lisa a lot, but after that, all bets were off and I couldn't care less about her stupid music camp. She just seemed to want to find things to bitch about. Note to the writers, bitchy whiners are not endearing to the audience, it does not make us want to care about them and when something bad happens to them, we feel nothing. I don't think I could remember a person who actually cared about what happened to her in this episode, and I remember that this episode made people roll their eyes when they found out about the next Lisa-centered episode.
Oh woe is you, being the smartest, most talented person of Springfield is not enough for you?
Next was her attitude after she was picked up from camp. I can understand her being upset about losing friends and having to leave a great experience, but she milks it far too long. She even goes as far as to not even want to be expressive outside of camp just because there aren't other people like her around her. Uh news flash writers, SHE WAS CREATIVE EVEN BEFORE THIS EPISODE! It really pisses me off how the writers think that she COULD think that way. It's made even worse by the idea that we should feel bad for her not being able to be expressive. Like I said, she isn't likable in this episode and the very notion that she's meant to be sympathetic here is just wrong.
Pity her! She couldn't possibly be creative on her own, that would require a brain... wait

Issue #3: Jokes? There were jokes?
What was entertaining about this one? Where were the jokes? Where was the thing to keep our attention? They were non-existent. For the sake of argument, I'm just going to bullet point the 'jokes' I didn't like or flat out hated. I'd go into more detail, but you'll just have to take my word that these are bad.
  • Homer's actions for the Noble Peace Prize announcements
  • Krusty's speech for going to Europe to accept his award
  • Homer's 'Laughter' towards Krusty explaining his joke
  • The Marines singing the Itchy and Scratchy Show theme
  • Lisa listening to her Ipod (Was that meant to be a joke?)
  • Maggie's 'Cigar pacifier'
Surely this song will sell dozens of copies on ITunes
  • The camp song (My ears bled after this)
  • The 'Singing what they said' by the counselors
  • The 'Heckling' training
  • 'Sprooklyn'
  • The campfire song
  • Bringing in Stephen Hawkings to rap
Oh the hilarity... are the snipers in position yet?
  • The camera joke
  • "Stuck behind the joggers from the fat camp"
  • The Roofi CD
  • The bullies scene
  • Bart and Homer looking for a clip to help Krusty
  • The signs for 'Sprooklyn' (Spanhattan, The Spronx, Spueens, and Spaten Island)
  • "Little squirt" (Although I think they may have had that joke be bad on purpose)
  • Putting "Euro" in front of everything (See original review)
YES! Please arrest the writers and the rest of this staff for this abomination
  • "We're region 1! We're region 1!"
  • Krusty leaving the performance
  • Trying to integrate Nelson Mandela into this (Okay that's not a joke, but an insult to intelligence)
  • Krusty and the judge's conversation
  • 'Sprubway' (Okay... seriously?)
  • The dropping of the sandwich
I wish I could go into more detail, but considering how many I listed, that wouldn't be a good idea. In short, there were MANY more terrible jokes than there were good ones and it really made this episode bad. I probably placed this too low and it should have probably been around 2 or 3, but I can't change it now and the other ones are pretty bad as well. (Also apologies for using almost all the pictures I had in my original review, I just felt like they fit in this one)

Friday, July 22, 2011

"Hate Month" Postcards From the Wedge

Black: Kriken
Purple: RBY

Oh great another Brian Kelley episode, I'm beginning to regret choosing him for this theme. But fortunately I have RBY here to suffer with me. How's it going RBY?

Kill me. Kill me now. Or at least knock me out.

We had a deal, you can have your cat back at the end of this.

I hate you soooo much....just, let's get this done, I want lil' Damien back!

Just one more week (I pray), so any positives you can think about for this one?

Well....they gave us this very excellent line that sums up the episode: "Well, that concludes...I don't really know what that was."

That more or less sums up the past few seasons. So onto the actual episode. I want to first talk about the role-reversal, it's an okay plot (albeit overused) but this episodes manages to screw it up so much.

I know. They've done it before in episodes such as 'The Itchy and Scratchy Movie', where Homer ends up being the strict one and Marge wants to be lenient. The thing is, it's explained there: Homer had finally lost his temper because Bart had nearly hurt Maggie, and Marge became lenient because she felt Bart had learned his lesson. Here, there's no there?

Nope, just Homer happens to get the letter first, screams like an idiot (I'll get to that later) and then Marge thinks that a MONTH's worth of homework is too much for him despite his laziness allowing that.

Being the nerd I am, I only have to say Bart's got no real excuses. It's actually rather annoying, though, in that Bart usually shows no signs in keeping up. He may fail with his grades, but falling behind THAT much? He'll at least get Marge to help with the bigger projects or do it the night before. It's just how he does it.

Agreed, he might be lazy and stupid, but he's never sunk to this level before. Before we continue, thoughts on the Pokemon joke?

Everyone's done it years before. The only pokemon joke in recent times outside of amateur-produced (i.e. unpaid) Internet material is a Foxtrot comic, based on the new generation, which makes sense because Jason's a known fan. Here, the joke, 'How do they stay so fresh', is more applicable to The Simpsons.

I swore it was almost like a middle finger to anyone who has watched it before season 10. But back on track, something I didn't think of before: Bart tells Lisa about how he plans on turning Marge and Homer against each other, and at no point does she ever tell them about Bart's plan. Was she expecting to gain something from this?

Considering her only response is to call Bart a sociopath for threatening their parents' marriage, don't think so. That part also really bugs me - aside from the fact no one under the age of 18 can be diagnosed with sociopathy/psychopathy, one of the most defining traits of the sociopath is a lack of conscience and empathy for others. Even in Bart's meanest moments, he's demonstrated that, at his worst, he's just Dennis the Menace.

Normally I wouldn't have a problem with something like Lisa calling him names, however, she says it with such a serious tone and it seems like she's convinced that she is. I thought she was the smart one.

You know what's actually a bit scary? Her knowledge of Bart's plan with her apathy towards his actions. Unlike Bart who, like most kids, just wants to avoid doing his homework, the only thing Lisa would have to gain is her parents divorcing. Guess who comes off more like a sociopath in this scenario?

Hypocrite, no wonder she never told Marge or Homer about Bart's plans.

To add insult to injury, I consider her to be one of my favorite characters.

Same here, anyways, is it just me or in between 'Bart struggles in school' to 'Homer and Marge make up' there's very little to no substance, it's more or less 8 minutes of Homer and Marge yelling and acting angry while Bart laughs in the background. It gets very annoying and is very forgettable.

Really, it reeks of the modern-day Simpsons padding that we ought to be used to by now. I'd say we should discuss it, but there's pretty much nothing TO say. If I may, this is probably Kelley's best episode, if only for the fact that the plot is vaguely similar to past plots.

I'm not so sure about best (Or even least-worst) but so far it's a tossup between this and the history tour from last week. However, the history tour had some moments within some stories that...

You're getting off-track there. Anyways, yeah, I could argue this as his least-worst with astonishing ease. Lisa's presence (who he cannot write to save his life) is minimal, and only one of those scenes was bad. In addition, there are only two sex-based jokes, and, honestly, the second one at least fits into the story.

I'm going to disagree on the sex-based joke, to me it was padding, yes Marge and Homer made up, but the purpose of that scene? Brian Kelley again felt the need to thrust his wet dreams onto us. So at that point in the episode, wouldn't you agree the story was basically over and the last 8 minutes felt like unfocused padding.

That, I will agree with. If the episode had ended after the two made up, I don't think anything would have been lost. Honestly, this episode lacks anything so spectacularly awful that it warrants a closer look. The sociopath thing was bad, yeah, but those who don't look into the disorder won't see it as that offensive to their intelligence.

Is it just me or is this conversation starting to resemble the episode? Eh maybe it's just me. Anyways, because Bart can't get his parents to fight anymore (Why was he continuing it now?) he and Milhouse just happen to find an underground subway system and it somehow causes mild tremors whenever they use it. It just felt out of place and a lazy way to try to end this episode.

It doesn't even make sense for Springfield, a self-proclaimed small town, to HAVE a subway system. If they just wanted to get Bart in trouble, there were so many other ways to do it. You saw he had bottle rockets in his backpack - from personal experience, Kriken and I know what those are capable of!

You're still not letting that go are you? I love just how lazy the director was here, the tremors clearly happen during the afternoon, and yet when a tremor hits the Simpsons residence (And Bart gets back home) it's nighttime, great to know that their resources are going to things like bigger animation studios and better sound quality when something that takes all of 5 seconds to notice slips through (Including Lisa's red necklace).

It's also worth noting that, just a few minutes after the tremors end, Bart walks in. Just where was he let off at? We've seen aerial overviews of the neighborhood, and there's no reasonable idea where a subway entrance would be.

At this point, RBY and I are pointing out flaws, there is no true narrative structure for the last act. So, Bart and Nelson swing on swings (Which apparently can hang from space) purely for Nelson to be the shoulder devil and to pretend that Lisa (Who is also on a magic swing) knows what's going on and could stop Bart. Even a 7 year old who eats lead paint could figure out how much of a red herring this scene is.

Considering her inaction before and the fact that Bart just wants attention - was anyone genuinely misled? Seriously, DID anyone think Lisa tried tipping off Homer and Marge?

Do people who think that think that gullible is not in the dictionary count?


Then I guess nobody. I could go into detail about how the ending sucked, but let's get to the final scene. Lisa tells Bart that she found out about what he did and decides not to tell Marge and Homer so that they think that he's bad. Aw, what an emotionless scene that might've made us care had this been written well.

As I said, it's ALMOST similar to past, decent episodes. However, thanks to pointless derailment, a lack of humor and motivation, and padding, it falls short of even being mediocre.

And yet this could be argued as his best: less than mediocre. *Sigh* Final thoughts RBY? I just gotta say this was painful, boring and insulting.

Iiiiii have nothing else to add. Except GIMME MY CAT BACK!

Next week RBY, just one more week to go.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Deeper Look At: Love is Many a Strangled Thing

What to say about this one? Well, I've got quite a bit to say so let's get right to it.

Issue #1: The first act
Originally this was going to be either about how the framing device is insignificant or just how padded out it is, but then I realized that it's more a question of "What's RIGHT with the first act?" So let's start off with the opening scene, Burns' balloon isn't really funny and Homer's bit... *Sigh* it really gives off the vibe of "How much padding can we fit in?" I mean how was Homer's little "Ritual" funny? It was stupid and meant to help pad this out. This scene is also a great example of how little the staff actually gives a fuck about anything as Burns is right next to a church (That somehow is near the plant) and in a weird cut happens to land in the parking lot. The writers inserted a church for the sake of a gargoyle head joke and nothing else, they couldn't be bothered with it actually making sense.
The blimp in front of a church clearly nowhere near the nuclear plant
Okay now the balloon is descending downwards, should hit the grass there
And apparently Mr. Burns can travel from dimension to dimension
Anyways, onto the stadium part (I'll ignore the fact that they lost out on a football franchise a couple of years ago) the family walking around is just more padding with the occasional laugh. What really bothers me is Homer's actions on the jumbotron. Homer sees that the screen is calling Bart a party pooper (Despite 5 seconds ago the background characters looking lifeless... whatever) and decides to tickle him which results in Bart pissing his pants. Now Homer instead of being a human being who would feel bad for embarrassing someone in public decides that acting like a fucking spaz is more important than trying to apologize for what he did. Now all that aside, that opening act takes up over 6 minutes and the main plot has absolutely NOTHING to do with that incident.
Say, isn't there a football game the jumbotron should be focusing on?
Homer goes into a fathering class as a result, but he never mentions the incident in the class and the first thing he tells Dr. Zander is that he strangles Bart constantly. I know I'm no writer, but I feel like This would be an improvement (Not much but when you hit rock bottom, you can only go up):
  • Homer gets tickets to a football game for saving Burns, he then takes his family with him to the game. There, Homer loses Bart in the stadium. Homer finds Bart but Bart tells Homer that he's pissed that Homer lost him in the first place. In response, Homer strangles Bart in public which catches the attention of Dr. Zander. Dr. Zander contacts Homer saying he wants to talk to him and when they meet Dr. Zander tells Homer that he's going to 'cure' him.
It's FAR from perfect (Heck I'd probably still bash this) but's it's still way better and it would make the opening act more relevant to the episode. 
Why do I get the feeling that the writers had this idea first and tried to write around it?

Issue #2: Bart's a bully because...?
This really got to me because it makes no sense at all. So Bart knows that Homer cannot harm him due to the treatment, okay that means Bart can pick on Homer all he wants. But since when does "My father can't punish me" equate to "I can wreak havoc and chaos at school as much as I want"? I mean Bart drives a tractor into the school with the reasoning that Homer cannot punish him so he can do that. Okay, let me stop and point out all the ways that reasoning is stupid:
  1. It's a school. Homer had no control over him there in the first place
  2. Just because Homer can't do anything doesn't mean Marge can't (Seriously they act like Marge doesn't exist)
  3. I'm pretty sure that a teacher or the principal can still punish him on school grounds
  4. He drove a TRACTOR into the school, I'm pretty sure that's against the law
So Wiggum apparently re-enrolled into elementary school
But even with all that, the writers play out Bart's new attitude complete with him driving the tractor in the gym (Where Chief Wiggum apparently is... Why is Wiggum at the school? Oh right, because these writers are FUCKING LAZY!)

Issue #3: Bart's therapy
I regret not talking about this more in my original review, but I was using a different mindset when I wrote that part (The idea that an unlikable character dying was more on my mind). Looking at it with a normal perspective, the last scenes in this episode really personify just how bad this episode was. In an effort to get Bart to actually care about Homer, Dr. Zander puts Homer in a noose and lets him fall. However, Bart feels the need to prank-text Moe's Bar instead of helping his father. A few things I want to talk about here
  • I already talked about how the prank text more or less butchered the prank calls from the early seasons. There are so many problems with this alone.
    • If Bart has Moe's number, wouldn't Moe have Bart's number? (Thus ruining the idea of Moe not knowing who it is pranking him)
    • How does Bart know Moe's reaction? Moe never SENT a reply
    • The way Moe reads the text makes no sense, he literally reads it like he's learning English and the way he shows it to the bar flies seems very unnatural
  • There's a reason why this moment is on TV Tropes "Dethroning moments of suck" Bart more or less says that he could care less about whether his father lives or dies. The moral implications of this scene cause brain cells to die. This scene was just dark and lacked any humor to try to cover up Bart's dickish actions.
    Why would I bother with helping him? I need to text Moe with a horrible joke.
    This is just horrible writing and makes Bart look like a giant asshole. And to top it all off, the writers give a feelgood ending with Bart and Homer laughing at how they got everything of Dr. Zanders. A mere 2 minutes after Bart almost let Homer die... hey fans of this show now? I hope you enjoy your ending now
    And to think, two minutes ago you would have let me die

    Honorable mention: Making a big deal out of the strangling. The strangling has always been more cartoony than anything, it's like making a big deal out of the violence on Tom and Jerry

    Monday, July 18, 2011

    A Deeper Look At: A Midsummer's Nice Dream

    Is there a kind way of saying; boring as all hell and makes paint drying look interesting? No? Well let's see how that and a few other problems keep this back.

    Issue #1: Homer's character
    The best question here is where to start. Okay, Homer was in high school in the 70's so it makes sense why he'd like Cheech and Chong, fair enough (Despite using Modern Simpsons continuity, I still refuse to use That 90's Show continuity, IT NEVER HAPPENED!) but when he gets to the show, he decides that as soon as they start up their first act he needs to interrupt it by shouting out the punchline. Okay a few things wrong with that alone, first off if you're a fan of someone, you respect them by letting them perform without interruption no matter how much attention you want. Second off, the crowd is very unrealistic as instead of throwing him out for being an asshole, they cheer him and want Cheech and Chong now to do the bit despite it being ruined.
    Realistically, Homer would be taken away by security where they'd beat him to a bloody pulp
    The writers can try to force it down my throat all they want, but Homer has not been a likable character for a while and this doesn't help us sympathize with him. Homer then proceeds to go on stage (As requested by the audience) and perfectly finishes the skits in place of Chong. I mean I know this show isn't supposed to be 100% realistic, but this is the stuff someone writes in Fanfiction; it's the equivalent of inserting yourself in the final Harry Potter book, defeating Lord Voldemort on your own, and becoming the best wizard in all the land. Not only is it near impossible to care about Homer, but even if we could, we don't WANT to care. He doesn't struggle; any conflicts he comes upon are solved instantly, just like that, or the conflicts aren't even real conflicts.
    Yes, cheer for the guy who ruined your favorite comedy duo. Makes sense to me

    Issue #2: A subplot revolving around a one-line character
    This is one of the most annoying aspects to me. The Crazy Cat Lady is more or less a one or two line per episode character. To try to create a whole subplot around that just doesn't work *Cough* Kill Gil Volume 1 and 2 *Cough* The appeal of characters like her is show up, do her bit, and then leave. Her character got very tiring by the end of it and the writers couldn't even end the subplot (Seriously, the subplot ends with Homer saying "We'll deal with all that later". She could still be terrorizing their house)
    Aww, I feel so bad for her because...
    It also doesn't help about the timing of this subplot, coming just under 5 months after South Park's Insheeption. Considering it takes about 4-7 months for production of each episode and there would be re-writes, new recordings and computer animation doesn't take too long, it's easy to see the suspicion (Plus it doesn't help that 2 months later they did a Jersey Shore episode and South Park did one October 13, take that for what it's worth). The main point I'm trying to say is that there was little to no potential in making a story revolving around this character and this subplot proved this point by being boring, stupid and feeling like nothing but filler.
    Don't worry, the writers will deal with this some other day

    Issue #3: Very boring
    Where were the jokes? Where was the incentive to watch? This just felt like a half-hour dose of Ambien. It's hard to describe how something is boring, so I'll try my best here. Tracking back to Homer's character, it's hard to get invested in a story where the main character we follow around just isn't likable. We can't invest in Homer's storyline because we know that nothing can go bad for Homer and in the end Homer will be back with Marge and his family. In fact the episode doesn't even bother with the idea that Marge or the kids would even be upset that Homer's leaving for a while, if they don't care, why should the audience? There's no tension or drama and there are no funny jokes to distract the audience from that.
    Bye Homie, I'll be sure to have an affair while you're gone
    It also doesn't help that this show has done this basic plot before (Although they were Classic Simpsons but they were done). Also, there are just certain jokes that either go on for way too long or are just very unfunny. For example, the bit after Cheech tells Homer that he's going to reward him went on WAY too long (In addition to the unfunny bit at the museum). I could list quite a bit more but two that stick out in my mind with punchlines that are beyond obvious. One is where Cheech and Homer are practicing and Cheech tells Homer about the high expectations of their act, followed immediately by Cheech telling Homer (Both of them dressed as dogs) to sniff his ass. Another is where Homer tells Chong "Don't make the same mistake that I make by thinking too much before I act", followed immediately by Homer pulling on a rope that causes a sandbag to hit him. Both of those jokes are terrible and the punchlines are about as unoriginal as one can get. I can't really describe it any better than this episode being very forgettable and will probably be lost in obscurity of the series when the show finally does end.
    No wonder this episode put people to sleep, Bart is really Puck. It all makes sense

    Saturday, July 16, 2011

    "Hate Month" Margical History Tour

    Kriken: Black
    RBY: Purple
    So yeah, another Brian Kelley episode. I'll admit I didn't remember this one being God-awful and thinking this was his best one. In reality, it could be argued that this is his least horrible work and that's as good of a compliment I'll ever give this guy.

    And yet this would fit in just fine with the later episodes of the show, if you catch my drift.

    Oh hi RBY, I see you got my message, clearly he was ahead of his time.

    That sounds about right. So, let's skip the imprisoning/idle chatter/whatever, just get this over with. What are we starting with?

    Well I'd assume the first segment, in my opinion, the framing device isn't worth talking about.

    There's not much that can be said about it, I guess - it's too bland to really pick out anything to harp on (except the treatment of that one book, but I speak as a mild bibliophile). So, we're starting off with King Henry VIII, then. 

    Well I feel that the King Henry segment more or less helps support my theory about Brian Kelley's sense of humor and how he always feels the need to insert meaningless sex jokes that aren't funny. Case in point, the opening scene where King Henry announces to the royal court that he just screwed his wife.

    Keeping in mind the era, where open talk of sex was essentially forbidden, it's a bit jarring. Even more irksome, though, is the scene where Homer makes a sex joke and then has Wiggum explain it. 

    Ah yes, the "Modern Simpsons School of Comedy"

    1. Write an unfunny joke
    2. Explain said joke
    3. ???????
    4. PROFIT!
    See, it's funny because we referenced South Park in a Simpsons review! .....laugh, damn you!

    I see you have taken a few courses there yourself. Anyways, the whole divorce bit and re-marrying scenes weren't funny. The whole "Splitting things in two" has been run into the ground by so many others shows and the "Sex in the church"? Ahahaha, not funny.

    That could be said of a lot of jokes in this episode - the 'cannonizing', the pikes, the Agnes/Homer pairing (and Otto/Homer implications), the scene with Lisa (which will be touched on again later) get the idea. 

    We could honestly go into great detail about how this segment ALONE was bad, but it's time to move on. The Sacajawea segment was there, after all.

    This is another thing that'll have to come back up, and a lot of the complaints here are similar to the King Henry VIII issues (i.e. lack of humor and gags that went on for too long). That said, as bad as this may sound, who they chose for Lewis and Clark is also a tad problematic.

    You mean the whole "Blacks were slaves back then"? I can understand that, and it probably could've been solved with a different male pairing (Burns/Smithers, Moe/Barney, Skinner/Chalmers (despite what I've been saying recently), you get the idea).

    I'll be honest, when I can, I'll give the episode credit when we're reviewing. This, I can't find anything to give credit for.

    Well since you didn't bring it up, the whole 'time period jokes' were just bad. Ranging from how Lewis and Clark knew names of landmarks despite minimal exploration of that land to that point, to Moe's Bar, to the exploration somehow getting back to Washington DC in 1806...

    Honestly, I felt those fell under the same issues as King Henry VIII; the stories presented are mere scraps of the truth sewed together with inaccurate jokes. As I've made clear, it's outrageous how the writers seem unwilling to do any research on topics central to their plots. Still, there's one last thing that needs to be discussed: when 'Sacajawea' mentions how to scare off a mountain lion, without ANY reason to mention it. Maybe if they had heard a mountain lion's roar, and 'Lewis' or 'Clark' asked about it, then it'd make sense.

    Ah yes the 'Painfully obvious foreshadowing'. How lazy can he be to not possibly put that in some form of context where it would make sense?

    Don't you know? The jokes padding out each segment kept them from having enough time to create the necessary context! And we all know how good those jokes were! Weren't you rolling on the floor the whole time?

    Yes I guess I was, when my brain tried to evacuate my skull, I had to cover my ears with the floor and my face with my hands, so I guess I needed to roll back and forth.

    See, there we go! So, shall we move onto the 'Mozart' segment?

    You know you can't throw in 'It's historically inaccurate' because Mr. Kelley beat you to the punch at the end of it.

    So he KNEW it was bad and didn't feel like fixing it? That's somehow even WORSE!

    Yeah ripping off (There's a difference between homage and ripping off) the historical inaccuracies of the movie perfectly justifies your crappy segment. Makes sense to me.

    As usual, there are bad jokes abound here, but there's also a rather strange plot hole: when Lisa drugs the emperor, she only drugged ONE glass, with no apparent leftover liquid. How did she manage to also drink a drugged glass?

    You expect a Brian Kelley episode to have continuity? Ahahahaha! *rolling on the floor*

    Well, a LITTLE would be nice!

    That's the best joke I've ever heard involving Brian Kelley. Anyways, yeah that was stupid and two jokes in particular I want to bitch talk about: the Jackson 5 joke and the 'Musical fruits' opera *Cries*

    *puts on Literary Analysis glasses* It does bring up one question: just where did the Jackson Five come from? Did they travel through time? Or is it a sign in-story that Marge knows absolutely nothing about the era?

    *Breaks glasses* For me, the problem was the joke had NO buildup and made no sense. The opera joke... it's an opera about farting... I'll let that sink in *Sobs in corner*

    *picking up shards and the frame* Despite what people claim about opera, it's mostly reserved for epic tales, usually of a romantic nature. Again, given the era, the joke makes no sense given how people felt about bodily functions. 

    I'll say one thing about the epilogue and then we'll be just about done. It was very stupid and a piss-poor attempt to re-integrate 'real Homer' (Although the real Homer has been dead for a while) and the jokes at the end were just stupid and not funny. We get it, Homer likes Animal House, you though are not worthy to mention Animal House.

    Now, then, Kriken, I just have one final thing to say. As I mentioned earlier, I wanted to talk about Lisa's scene in King Henry VIII, her treatment as Sacajawea, and (though I actually didn't mention this) her treatment in Mozart.

    Aw, crap, everyone take cover. 

    Hardy-har-har. Anyhow, in each segment, Lisa is, at best, brushed off and humiliated. At worst, she's just degraded, with no sense of how her character - or even the characters she represents - works. In the King Henry VIII segment, it's BARELY justified considering the king's desire for a son, and even then, the scene was just clearly meant to be 'comedy' by humiliating Lisa. 

    Ugh, please never bring up the 'Grow a penis' joke again.

    Then, as Sacajawea, despite the help she did offer and accounts that have portrayed her as the explorers' greatest asset, whether for guiding, negotiating peace with angry tribes, or simply showing that the explorers meant no harm. All of this runs contrary to the portrayal shown by Brian Kelley, who only shows her as a know-it-all bitch, if you'll pardon my language. It's just frustrating. Lastly has to be Lisa in the role of Salieri, who is ignored and pushed aside at every possible turn until they push her into the madhouse. I could see this happening to Lisa in the show as well, given how Brian Kelley has her written every time! I can't tell if Brian Kelley just hates Lisa, or if he has issues with women in general (though, given other episodes he's written, it's easy to believe the latter is the correct theory).

    Okay, and that's the end of our discussion about this episode, next week won't be fun at all, will it?

    We're finally going to do 'Lisa the Dra

    *Points gun* NO.

    Wednesday, July 13, 2011

    Lovecraft's Corner #7: The Curse

    Before I talk about today's film, I want to talk about my grading system: judging the film as an adaptation and then judging it as a film, on its own merits. It may seem strange to do so, but some works that stray away from the source material (Re-Animator is a prime example on this blog) are actually quite good on their own merits. Conversely, a movie that stays true to its source material may not take into account unfortunate implications or racist themes that were present in the source, and so the movie may end up repulsing viewers. Given that H. P. Lovecraft had incorporated some racial and miscegenation themes, judging any Lovecraft adaptation by such standards is important. So, why is this coming up thanks to today's movie,The Curse?

    The Curse stands on IMDb with a 4.6 rating. That's pretty low - Die, Monster, Die!, the other adaptation of "The Colour Out Of Space", has a rating of 5.4. Still, this isn't proof it's bad in either aspect, right? stars Wil Wheaton, better known as Wesley? Ok, still not proof but....well, let's just do this. As usual, spoilers ahead.

    The film opens with the police arresting an oddly-scabbed man, who's yelling at everyone to stay away from the water. Of course, with him inside a police car and being insane, no one's listening. The movie then cuts to a card giving the location and time - Tennessee (I guess they couldn't afford tickets to the New England area), six months prior to the opening. The credits roll over footage of a farmhouse, shot by a possibly-drunk cameraman. It's not certain. We meet the family - a religious zealot father named Nathan, the son he favors named Cyrus, a little girl named Alice, the mother named Frances, and a scrawny boy named Zack. There's also a guy who I guess is a farmhand; it's never really said, just mentioned he's setting up the well. Personalities are established fairly quickly, I admit. Only six minutes in, and I hate both Cyrus and Nathan. We also meet a sleazy real estate agent named Davidson who's trying to buy the farm - yeah, a lot of introductions are dropped in the first ten minutes.

    It's soon established that Frances and Nathan had married after starting families and that Nathan is uninterested in sex, leading Frances to seek out the farmhand (who will not be seen again after this). Not much later, a meteor falling from the sky, revealing one of the film's biggest flaws: its special effects suck. Anyways, the family goes outside to investigate (and Nathan figures out what Frances did), and Zack retrieves Dr. Forbes. He says it's probably safe. The next day, Davidson visits and persuades Dr. Forbes to declare the thing safe, in order to ensure that the water company will build the dam in the area. Dr. Forbes tells the family that it's just waste released from an airplane. Zack isn't swayed, especially since he watched the glowing meteor melt into ooze and sink into the ground. Nathan then starts pumping from the well - water going to the crops, the farm animals, their dogs... yeah, if you've read the story, you know how that goes.
    There's an abrupt jump to a man in a car, soon revealed to be Willis, who is responsible for determining the dam's location. Davidson shows him around to make sure he picks this area to buy up (making Davidson rich in the process). Meanwhile, Frances notes that several vegetables are ready for picking; however, cutting into the cabbage produces a briefly nauseating moment, and slicing a tomato produces more red fluid than a severed artery. That night, while Dr. Forbes is dealing with his guilt (and his wife Esther tries seducing him to make stay quiet), Zack steals water from their hose. The next morning shows it may be too late for Frances; she's already developing a sore. Both Alice and Zack are refusing to drink the water and eat the farm food at this point.

    While Nathan and Zack are working, Cyrus starts screaming for help - he's caught out in the pasture with the horse trying to attack him (not that the footage looks like that). Zack gets a moment of revenge, and Frances is apparently going insane in a moment that's either creepy or hilarious. However, business goes on as usual, with Alice going to feed the oddly-molting chickens and Zack, Cyrus, and Nathan harvesting apples when Davidson comes along. He talks to Nathan and tries an apple to find, in a rather disgusting moment, it's rotting and filled with maggots. Nathan starts cutting open the other apples to find they're all diseased and worthless, and it's then Alice is attacked by the chickens (in yet another moment of unconvincing footage). She's saved, and the chickens start leaking yellowish ooze from their mouths and eyes. Somehow, this attack is bad enough that Alice has to stay in bed for a few days. Dr. Forbes tries the water at last and realizes something's wrong, both with the water and with Frances. That night, when Frances sews a sock to her hand, Nathan takes her upstairs and Zack runs for Dr. Forbes, who Nathan turns away. Zack is then punished, and Dr. Forbes takes a water sample, with the scene implying the 'colour' is present in fog.

    Willis is continuing to survey the next day, when he needs a drink. The Crane place is right there; he knocks on the door and, getting no reply, wanders in. Frances attempts to stab him and Nathan shoos him out. Frances' insanity and appearance is getting no better, as shown by breakfast, and Zack is disposing of the food made for his sister. Cyrus, who is now developing the sores, and Nathan then go to check on the cows, only to find they've been infected too, showing signs of decay, and one exploding in a shower of insects. Nathan blames Frances' affair for their problems. She manages to get loose and Zack finds her, in very bad makeup. Nathan subdues her and takes her out to the cellar, much to Zack's dismay, Alice's sorrow, and Cyrus' excitement. Of course, that may just be him going insane too, I honestly can't tell.

    Dr. Forbes finally gets the results of the water testing and is told it might be a new element that is altering the chemical composition of the water. ...uh, right. Anyways, he tries to reach Davidson and Willis, to no avail. Both Esther and Davidson make one last attempt to buy the farm, and do so, metaphorically, as Esther is mauled by the insane dogs and Davidson flees into the cellar and is caught by Frances in a horribly-done shot. That night, it's shown Zack has been buying food in town to keep his sister safe from the farm's sickness. He then goes to check on his mom, but Nathan catches him. When Zack gets in the house, repacking his bag (for no real reason), Nathan finds out what he's been doing, and it's shown Nathan's developing the sores too. Nathan then attacks Zack, and Cyrus attacks Alice. Zack manages to stop Nathan temporarily, though, and knocks out Cyrus with a bat so he can hide Alice while he goes for help.

    Nathan manages to recover at some point and has already begun sealing up the house. Dr. Forbes arrives, finding the house shrouded in fog. He breaks in, and Nathan kills him. Zack comes downstairs and tries escaping via the sealed door when Nathan attacks him with a crowbar.

    I can think of so many ways this could've been better done.

    Zack gets away and finds Dr. Forbes' body by tripping over it. Nathan is about to kill Zack when Willis abruptly shows up and stabs him with a pitchfork. The house starts falling apart incredibly slowly, and Zack and Willis go to get Alice. When Cyrus returns for another attack, Zack pushes him from the top of the stairs. Zack THEN decides he has to save Frances, who was moved upstairs, and goes to do so while Willis makes sure Alice is safe. Zack finds Frances melting into a puddle, so that was pointless, and he FINALLY decides it's time to go. Cyrus and Nathan just won't stay dead, though, and try to stop him but fail. Zack, Willis, and Alice all get away and live happily ever after, and everything's ok!

    Except Willis was the one who had the screaming breakdown at the beginning and was infected.

    And Alice and Zack's fates are unknown, doubly worrying since they had more exposure to the water than Willis did and he got sick.

    And the meteor's light is still around, as is its contaminating ooze.

    Yeah, life still sucks.

    So, that's The Curse. How does it fare as an adaptation? Surprisingly, despite its lower rating, it's a better adaptation than Die, Monster, Die! Even on its own merits, it's not a bad adaptation. The relatively downer ending is more true to the story's end, in which the colour never completely left. The meteor's effects on animals and crops are fairly accurate, even if the depiction was poorly executed, and the dam subplot actually came from the original story. They attempt to make it clear that it's not the rock itself that creates this effect, though it's hard to tell if they intended for the glowing color or the ooze that does it. That being said, it fails as an adaptation in terms of the characters - the thing that makes 'The Colour Out Of Space' so horrifying is that it happens to an ordinary family, all of whom are good people. They are completely innocent folks who suffer horrific fates for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time and for that are made to decay from the inside out without having the ability to get away, even when they know something's wrong. As I've mentioned before, changing it from 'innocent victim' to 'he had it coming' undermines the story and the horror element. Even the wife, who is supposedly good, isn't fully innocent either, and, in the end, only Alice and Zack could be considered the good ones of the family - so, unsurprisingly, they get out.

    Kriken, your thoughts?

    Thanks. As a movie, I thought it had its moments, but the movie was held back by horrible effects, sub-par acting at times and a religious theme that wasn't needed. I'll admit, I don't mind the occasional religious theme, but this movie kept trying to hammer in the fact that all Nathan needed was 17th Century clothing to be a Puritan, and it really annoyed me. I'll admit that there was a scare factor with such scenes as the cabbage and the apples, but the tomato seemed more like comic-relief than scary and the apple scene was interrupted by the chicken fight (Which seemed to ruin the atmosphere a bit). I commented about how the effects from Die Monster Die were bad, but this movie somehow made them look good in comparison. I didn't think that was possible, and that was the movie where the Lovecraft monster looked like Snuffleupagus. The writing was rather cliche at times to the point that we WANTED to see Nathan and Cyrus die in the end. Charlie was the exact opposite of subtle and took all of 5 seconds for me to realize he was the villain. The ending was less than desired as I couldn't help but wonder what happened to Zack and Alice. Willis was never shown on-screen to be exposed by the 'colour' but somehow he gets the insanity and sores? I won't lose sleep over it, but I felt that it left an empty feeling in the end.

    Monday, July 11, 2011

    A Deeper Look At: The Scorpion's Tale

    We continue this series with an episode that really annoyed me this past year.

    Issue #1: The characters
    This issue takes on Homer, Lisa and Grampa in this episode. Grampa gives an annoying one-note performance for the first act and it's played way out of proportion for what real Grampa acts like. Lisa's an idiot here and never gives two thoughts about anything which is just absurd for her. And Homer... this was quite possibly the worst performance by him this past season. This is the episode I point to when people would ask me "How has Homer been stripped of personality?" he has all of TWO lines that aren't jerkass comic relief.
    If you will, allow me to expand on Lisa's actions. She discovers a drug that appears to create a sense of euphoria but decides to get rid of it because she 'doesn't know the side effects' and 'she doesn't want to see people 'falsely happy'. If I may address the latter first, this is coming from the girl who was on antidepressants. Now, if she was worried about people abusing the drug to get high, fine. However, she should know more than anyone that some forms of depression are simple chemical imbalances that NEED outside treatment. This reasoning is incredibly hypocritical and ignorant, two things Lisa is not supposed to be. Now, to address the former excuse, Lisa's supposed to be a genius, so she should know, that's how all medications start. The PROPER response is not to flush away the drug but to continue testing. That's how pharmaceuticals work. I know people think animal testing is wrong and, given that the drug's effects are discovered later, it would probably disturb more than a few viewers, but really, that's how the side effects are figured out. There's also human testing, but, well, we all saw what it did to people, and it wasn't done in a controlled environment either... Hey wait.
    Testing? Research? Why would I bother with that?
    Okay I'm going to cut you off RBY, you can continue later. To add onto Lisa's character being utterly stupid, she makes a weird heel turn by saying that she's okay with Grampa taking the medicine despite us never seeing her between flushing the medicine and that scene. It really comes off as lazy as her development is told but we never see anything to understand WHY she changed her mind.
    I say I'm okay with it, therefore everything's resolved.
    My biggest problem with Grampa as stated above is that he's so one-note in the first act it gets painful. His crankiness is so Flanderized that when he becomes happy, everyone in the family is absolutely shocked that he's acting different. It's just very lazy writing.
    If I stop complaining, I die
    Homer's character here is awful, everyone of his lines was just painful and stupid. The only way his character can work is if The Simpsons incorporates a laughtrack. His actions make no sense (Why did he spray his shirt with the medicine? Why did he bellydance with Grampa? Why did he drink the supplement that gave him a wolf tail? Why was he dancing topless around his burning car?) Point is that Homer for a while has been stripped of any real character and this episode is just a great example of that.
    Me have character, me brother of Joker

    Issue #2: The padding
    I felt that I would only say the opening, but Homer's little soliloquy without a punchline at the end was painful on my brain. I mean, if the opening five minutes did ANYTHING to try to set up the storyline for the rest of the episode it'd be okay (See The PTA Disbands for a good example) but it was rather a bunch of non-sequitors that led nowhere and weren't funny. So the class goes on a field trip (Which apparently has only 2nd and 4th graders and the supervisors are Skinner and Chalmers?... whatever) and a bunch of stuff happens before Lisa finally stumbles upon flowers that make scorpions tame. Were any of the events funny? No. Did any of the events have any effect on other events? No. Could we have re-arranged them in a random order and not spotted a difference? Yes. This opening seems to be more 'bad Family Guy' than 'Simpsons' and that's never a good thing. (Image from DeadHomerSociety.Wordpress)
    So... Can you tell what's going on here?
    Did anyone actually believe that the "message" was planned from the beginning? If so, I have a place for you to spend a couple of months in, the walls are nice and padded and you get a free coat. For everyone else, that ending was utter BS and lazy. It's nonsensical: the message is that crankiness somehow automatically equals competence...I think. That, or age creates wisdom which, while nice and has truth to it, is completely unrelated to the the episode we just watched. There's just no logic behind this 'moral', and it brings to mind the 'Wheel of Morality' (Except this is playing it dead straight).
    I'm going to say that the message here is to have a vasectomy as early as possible

    Issue #3: The eyeball ending
    This ending was purely meant for a shock reaction in the hopes that people would actually remember this one. Something to the effect of "You remember the episode where all the eyes pop out of the people's sockets?" Fortunately for us, that failed miserably. What I can only assume to be the writer's sick sense of humor for this really just came off as creepy initially, and then nothing as the eyes were treated as nothing more than novelty glasses as there were no real consequences for what happened to the eyes. In short, it was stupid and not funny and the writers should be ashamed of this.
    Big deal, I can get the same effect at the Dollar Store

    There's also the realization that this essentially means that the FDA allowed this drug to get past without any kind of testing - no animal, no human, NO kind of testing. I'm sorry if you're against animal testing, but it's for this kind of reason it exists - to catch damaging side effects before they can harm the public (same principle applies to smaller human trials). There's the implication that this episode took place over a week or two, give or take - most drug trials for animals alone need at least a MONTH (due to their smaller side, side effects show up faster. Humans require FAR longer). What the hell did this company do, falsify dozens of pages of data?! Bribe the FDA official?! HOW did this get out to the general public! (And if you say, Bart sold it, guess what, that doesn't excuse it. It's a minor selling what could be misconstrued as a designer drug, that got out from a professional pharmaceutical lab. Assuming Bart was never arrested, that company probably had to declare bankruptcy after all the liability lawsuits and the fines from the FDA)
    It's alright, we've done no testing whatsoever, so you should be safe

    Friday, July 8, 2011

    "Hate Month" A Star is Born-Again

    Well it's that time again. A glorious time where I bash some of the worst writers ever in the history of the show. This month I take on my personal least favorite writer; Brian Kelley. Now keep in mind that while I dislike him as a writer, I don't know him (Or any of the writers) personally so while I hate their work, this is in no way a personal attack against them. With that out of the way, let's talk about today's episode. A Star is Born-Again is an... interesting one to say the least. While the idea of Ned dating again isn't terrible, this episode just manages to screw it up nonetheless. How bad can they screw it up? Let's find out.

    The episode begins with the family heading to the beach as it's revealed that they are there for the annual Jellyfish Festival (While it does set up Ned's loneliness, that doesn't occur until the 4 minute mark. And it's not like this Festival is even mentioned ever again, so it's rather pointless). After Ned walks for a bit we see him filling out some forms in the Leftorium as a woman comes in to shop around. After the two chat a bit we find out the woman is charmed by Ned's wholesomeness and how she can't find people like that in LA (And in other news that'll shock the world, water is wet). The woman buys some stuff and tells Ned that she's a visitor to Springfield and she'll only be in town for a week and she'd love to have dinner with him (So many questions to ask, so few answers given). Ned finds out through a single conveniently placed poster that the woman he's about to go to dinner with is none other than movie star Sarah Sloane (Gotta love how there's only ONE poster around the walls of the Leftorium, it really speaks to the laziness of the staff).
    I've had my eye on you for quite some time Mr. Ander- I mean Mr. Flanders
    The next day Ned tells Homer about his date and the conversation goes nowhere as Homer really doesn't give advice to Ned but spouts off unfunny lines instead (That didn't take too long). Later we see Ned and Sarah at dinner as Lenny decides to take a joke too far (Jokes that go on too long aren't funny, writers). Later, Ned and Sarah go walking down the boardwalk as Sarah decides to kiss Ned as Ned has no problem with it (Am I the only one who feels that Ned would have SOME problem with that? I mean it's their first date, oh well, maybe I'm overthinking this). The next day we get a brief biography about Sarah's relationships from the Simpsons (Ah yes the patented "Tell don't show" method we've come to expect. Really It was established she seems like that so I don't know why they even bothered with this scene). Homer gets a call as we get introduced to... ugh, the "Tabloid satire". As Ned shows Sarah his kids, the doorbell rings and a bunch of tabloids come to storm the house. As Ned, Sarah and the kids leave the tabloids wreck everything and decide to "Concoct more lies" (You know Mr. Kelley, the purpose of satire is to point out flaws by means of irony and ridicule, and not by LOUDLY ANNOUNCING IT).
    It's funny, right?! I mean because the tabloids will just break stuff and photograph it right?!
    Afterwards, we see Sarah on set for a film as Ned gets the director to cut a pointless nude scene out of the film and Sarah's tells Ned that she might "thank" him later (Brian, how long can you go in an episode without including some pointless sexual joke? It seems to be a somewhat common theme in your episodes. Eh maybe I'm just forcing something that's not really there). Later, the Simpsons have dinner with Ned and Sarah when we find out that the tabloids are outside of Ned's house and are fooled by a dummy that looks like Cher (Besides the fact that the joke is terrible, where are Rod and Todd? Did you just leave them in the house to watch the paparazzi or did the writers forget about them?) Ranier Wolfcastle breaks into the Simpsons and tries to win back Sarah which doesn't work (Yay for pointlessness!) Later Sarah and Ned are walking down the street and Sarah tells Ned that she wants him to come to LA with her. This causes Ned to have a dream sequence of him in Hollywood (NO! You need to earn a dream sequence! Go back and try again)
    And all this time, I thought Jim Brooks looked like the monopoly man
    After seeing Hollywood looking like hell (How is that any different than today?) Ned tells Sarah that he couldn't go so she decides to stay in Springfield (Okay everyone got what they wanted, episode's over. It was bad but not as bad as I remembered it w- oh, there's still a third act left). We see Ned and Sarah as they are driving down a road and then shopping at the Kwik-E-Mart ~Padding, Padding, Padding,~ ~Padding, Padding, Padding,~ Marge invites Sarah to her book club as we find out that Sarah invited Helen Fielding to the meeting as she's the author of the book they decided not to read. Helen's not upset that they didn't read it (As she still gets paid for the sales) and decides to leave a la Benny Hill style... whu? How does that make any sense? Because she's English that automatically means she runs a la Benny Hill? When you use the Benny Hill theme, you do it for a "wacky" chase, not just because they're English. You FAIL writers, you fail!
    We are the humor police! Get back here!
    So after 3 minutes of nothing, we see Sarah decide to wear a revealing dress as she goes out with Ned and the kids to a Pops concert. Ned is shocked that Sarah is wearing what she is and at the concert she takes his jacket to make the dress even more sexy. After a bad Homer leers Sarah joke (3 times now and another time later) Sarah tells Ned that she wants to sleep with him but Ned tells her that he can't because he doesn't believe in pre-marital sex (Like his character SHOULD). Ned talks with Homer about it but it goes nowhere (Seriously, can someone actually tell me HOW that talk swayed Flanders in any way? There was nothing said about what he should do, just Homer thinking he's funny). Later, Ned and Sarah are on a hillside when Ned shows Sarah passages from the bible for and against pre-marital sex (One vastly outnumbering the other).
    Next he's going to join a motorcycle gang, then convert to Islam and then...
    However through the power of shitty writing, er I mean wind, there's only one passage left and it was from the "Pro-sex" pile that says something that makes no sense but it's good enough for Ned... Okay I'm calling bull here! Even if that did happen, I don't see Ned just throwing out all those other passages because of wind. You fail Brian Kelley, you FAIL! The next morning Ned tells Sarah that now they have to get married and she's adamant and decides to go back to LA. Ned's a bit depressed that Sarah left as the episode ends with Helen Fielding running a la Benny Hill style with Marge, Homer, Ned and a bear... wait what?

    Final Verdict: This episode was awful, the jokes were terrible and often times made no sense in context to what was happening. The writing was bad with character derailment and the third act was just a mess. The story could have worked if it were just Ned and Sarah just getting into a relationship that didn't force Ned to act the way he did at the end. All together this episode was rather boring and stupid to sit through and I'd recommend staying away from it if you haven't seen it.

    *Edit*Final Grade: 1.3/10 A rather stupid episode

    Wednesday, July 6, 2011

    Homer Scissorhands in 5 seconds

    Just another little project. If there will be more, they will not be posted to a schedule

    July Schedule

    7/5: A Deeper Look at: Flaming Moe
    7/8: Hate Month: Brian Kelley Part 1
    7/11: A Deeper Look at: The Scorpion's Tale
    7/13: Lovecraft's Corner #7
    7/15: Hate Month: Brian Kelley Part 2
    7/18: A Deeper Look at: A Midsummer's Nice Dream
    7/20: A Deeper Look at: Love is Many a Strangled Thing
    7/22: Hate Month: Brian Kelley Part 3
    7/25: A Deeper Look at: Elementary School Musical
    7/27: A Deeper Look at: Homer Scissorhands
    7/29: Hate Month: Brian Kelley Part 4

    As usual, schedule subject to change

    Tuesday, July 5, 2011

    A Deeper Look At: Flaming Moe

    Continuing with this theme, I'll be taking a closer look at why this episode sucks just based on its own merits.

    Issue #1: The gays are neither funny nor interesting
    I feel like saying what's right with this would be much easier than what's wrong with this part. Nothing about the characters leaps out and leaves an impression. They are very forgettable and offer nothing in terms of jokes. They don't even try to satirize a "Typical gay", I wouldn't mind this too much if it wasn't for the fact that this show still claims to be a comedy but takes everything seriously. Heck there is only one gay that can be argued to have personality it would be Julio, and that's only on the basis of his multiple appearances (And I swear to God if he appears in just ONE episode this season....). Let's start off with the first encounter; the gays are very forgettable and the club name is about as generic and bland as a plain sandwich.
    Hell this is much funnier and wastes far less time (You'll thank me later). Let's try to talk about the gays that are supposed to be funny:
    • "Super Hair Wonder Woman" This character is beyond unfunny (I present: 'the antifunny') and is so random it could challenge Family Guy for worst random joke ever.
    This was SO vital to the episode
    • "Comic Book Gay" Where do I even begin with this? First off, this "Pun" is awful and kills brain cells. Secondly, puns do not work that way, it makes as much sense as me mocking the Green Lantern by calling him "The Green Lazy" (Is that making you laugh? No? Well now it's easier to understand why this fails). Thirdly, why does the writing staff feel the need to inject characters like him into situations that make no sense? Take a look back at certain episodes and you'll understand. The writing staff will inject guys like Ralph, Comic Book Guy and Chalmers into scenes that don't make sense just for the sake of it.
    Worst joke ever? Quite possibly
    • "The Transvestites" Was there supposed to be a joke attached to them or something? If so, I must have missed it or it wasn't funny. Were they supposed to show that transvestites are regular people too? If so, that failed as well.
    Ever want to play a prank on your friends? Tell them to spot the joke here.
    • "Grizzly Shaun" His character is that he's grizzly, gay and... nothing else, next guy.
    And his bit is...?
    • "Grady" ... I've got nothing, he left no impact whatsoever
    Still as bland as ever
    • "Julio" The less I say about him the better
    What day would be complete without our daily dose of Julio?
    Now, to be fair, some characters can be not-so-funny and dull, but the struggles they undergo make you feel sympathetic towards them (even for a second). However, the way it's handled means you don't feel bad for them at all. Let me explain. Near the end there's this problem that gay community cannot march in some parade (For some reason) and somehow this leads to Moe running for Town Council (For some reason, I don't know I gave up caring about this episode a while ago) and he's exposed as a straight man and the whole "Parade" subplot is just forgotten. It's clear the writers needed to find a way to finish this but had no idea how to, so they just threw together this "Conflict" that is entirely POINTLESS.

    Issue #2: The framing device is awful
    Does anyone actually remember HOW the main plot got off the ground? Apparently it was something to do with Smithers being upset that Mr. Burns didn't put him in his will because of respect. So Smithers helps Moe and then earns Mr. Burns' respect. I don't have too much of a problem with framing devices that have little to nothing to do with the rest of the episode as long as they aren't too long, not HALFWAY THROUGH THE EPISODE! Seriously, it wastes so much time at the beginning and then the framing device is ended with one sentence midway through the episode. It's just pathetic how lazy the writers are when it comes to this, if you cannot integrate your framing device with the rest of the episode, don't shoehorn it in. So let's talk about the things wrong with it:
    • The irrelevant opening takes too long
      • Can anyone tell me what the whole point of the "fight" at the beginning was supposed to accomplish? Was it funny? No. Did it advance the plot in a way that nothing else could? No, Smithers could have easily walked into Burns' office for no reason (or, if there MUST be a reason, delivering his morning coffee). So the only conclusion we can come to was that the scene was just padding.
    Violence is always funny, except when it isn't
    • The scene with Burns' dementia is stupid
      • Okay truth be told, the dinosaur joke was a bit funny for all of five seconds. Unfortunately, it lasts longer than five seconds. The joke was further ruined by the writers having Homer come in for the sole purpose of screaming. I've said it before and I'll say it again, the writers have no clue how to end a joke properly and this is a great example.
    AHH! An unfunny joke!
    • Trying to reintegrate the framing device midway through
      • So Smithers tries to earn Burns' respect by making the bar successful, okay fair enough. But the writers felt the need to somehow make the conclusion even worse than an open ending. They throw in a scene about 11:30 in to show (Oh wait I mean say, showing us would require the writers to have working brain cells) that Burns respects him now. Then it gets dropped, never to be mentioned again. It was utterly pointless; anyone who actually cared about the opening didn't care what Burns was feeling by that point. He hadn't shown up since the 3-minute mark so that aspect was worthless at the 11-minute mark. Try imagining watching a movie where someone dies at the beginning, and you see the body being moved halfway through the film. By that point, you want the plot to move on, not wrap up a detail that's no longer relevant (and actually doesn't achieve anything; Burns never says, after all, he'll change his will).
    I'm so glad we got to see this scene. I would have lost sleep if I didn't see  this.

    Issue #3: The guest stars
    My issue here is that outside of one, they are completely wasted. Kristen Wiig is the only guest star I could say could be justified. Alyson Hannigan and Scott Thompson contribute NOTHING to this episode. Alyson is given a grand total of maybe four lines, and Scott Thompson is just so BLAND. Hell, I forgot who his character even was (P.S. he was the gay with the sweater around his neck); he adds nothing to the episode that any of the other gays do not already add. Looking over his role, you could easily cut out every one of his lines and there'd be no change in the script whatsoever. In the end, while having guest stars is nice and all, actually using them is much better.
    Truly theirs is a romance for the ages