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?|
|I say I'm okay with it, therefore everything's resolved.|
|If I stop complaining, I die|
|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?|
|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|