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

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