Friday, August 26, 2011

A Deeper Look At: The Blue and the Gray

And we finish this analysis with the episode from last season I hated the most.

Issue #1: Why bother with established continuity?
Okay, for this I’m throwing out my only rule, because this episode seems to go out of its way to distance itself from established character traits and back stories. Also, before I continue any further, yes I’m aware of how the show runs on non-continuity, however, that does not mean go against previously established storylines that just means a story can be told and by the end, status quo is achieved. The story helps establish stuff like character development (Lisa the Vegetarian) or popular recurring scenes (Bart the Daredevil).  In Secrets of a Successful Marriage, the idea that Marge having gray hair was laid down, while normally they never really talk about it, it was established that her having gray hair would not bug her, but it would bug her if other people knew. 
Forget everything you know about Blue dye #56
It was a dirty secret of Marge’s that she would rarely talk about and get upset if someone outside of her family knew. The point I’m trying to make here is that Marge finding out her hair is gray is just jarring. To me it’d be like someone who chipped their tooth at age 9 being shocked to learn that their tooth is chipped when they’re 26; they knew that already, why is it a big deal? But that’s not the only continuity issue I had. Between the Maggie-Gerald kiss at the end (They’re enemies!) to Patty and Selma’s new hair colors (Oh come on that was neither funny nor make sense) all the way to Lisa’s “Feministic” views (That’s not the way feminism works) the episode just felt like the writing staff’s way of saying “We can do anything and get away with it, ha-ha!” It just felt like Rob had one of two things going through his mind
  1. Write an episode as if the audience had never seen anything prior to 2000
  2. Flip off any classic fans by basically telling them that he could do anything and get away with it

Maybe I’m being a bit too harsh on this issue, but the episode just had that “We don’t care that we no longer care about this show” feeling.
Yeah you can tell by Maggie's expression towards Gerald that she just loves him

Issue #2: Homer ‘Don Juan’ Simpson
Homer’s quite the ladies’ man isn’t he? I mean we have totally seen hot mid twenty year old girls draped all over him in the past, right? Right?! If you just said no, congratulations, you have a functioning brain. Now for me, the problem isn’t quite that he’s attractive to young women (Albeit that’s a lazy cliché in a ton of sitcoms) it’s that there is no buildup whatsoever for when it happens. The only half-assed explanation possible is that after one montage of Homer working with Moe, using a dating system picked up by a guy who runs his operation out of an airport hotel, Homer became the world’s best pickup artist. You look at that last sentence as if I just told you aliens kidnaped the Barack Obama right after his Inauguration, in order to take over the world. I could argue that this belongs with the 1st issue, but in reality it’s the entire subplot as well. 
I totally believe that a man selling his product out of here is totally going to work...
... Or maybe it will
Remember the good ole days when an episode would have something like an airport hotel seminar and would be mocked and ridiculed for just how outlandish they really were? Forget all that, they WORK! I mean, not everything needs to be a satire or parody in order to be funny, but I’ll tell you one thing that’s not funny, having stuff like that work. In all honesty which would be more interesting to watch, with better potential for humor?
  1. Homer invests in a pyramid scam and loses all his money in a matter of hours causing him to work several jobs while quite possibly losing touch with his family
  2. Homer investing in a pyramid scam and walks away with millions of dollars

If you answered 2, I have no respect for you at all. In short, an underdeveloped piss-poor story will result in a lack of interest from the audience.

Issue #3: The jokes
I couldn’t specify just ONE area here as most (if not all) the jokes are downright awful. A lot like Elementary School Musical, these jokes were just downright awful. I couldn’t think of one that I liked, even with bad episodes, I might be able to point to one or two jokes that made me snicker, nothing’s coming up here. It doesn’t help that one of the first jokes of the episode involves a slash pairing of Lenny and Carl. That’s reserved for the fanfictions and DeviantArt, not a syndicated program. I’m just going to bullet point the rest of the jokes that just annoyed me and were not funny:
  • Homer continuing to go back into the bar to see Moe alone
  • Dr. Kissingher
  • Female Moe
  • Homer attempting to free himself from the tie knot
  • Homer trying to comfort Marge
  • Dr. Kissingher’s entrance
  • Homer’s picture on Moe’s cell phone
  • Skinner and Chalmer’s chat
  • “Hairy Shearers”
  • Julio’s preparation to color Marge’s hair
This is surely funny, right? If not, don;t worry, it goes on for another 30 seconds
  • The old couple passing by
  • The family’s initial reaction to Marge’s hair
  • Homer’s brain meeting (watch Family Guy much?)
  • Every time Lisa makes a “Feministic” comment
  • The kids trying to figure out their hairline (Just feels like it goes on forever)
  • Homer talking to himself
  • Homer as Moe’s wingman (Too many bad jokes to list)
  • James Bond joke
  • “Macaroni Marconi” (That pun was terrible)
  • Bart talking with Milhouse and Nelson (I’m assuming the conversation was supposed to be funny, but for all I know, it might not have meant to be)
  • “I wonder what cousin Jessica is up to?”
Oh the hilarity of this joke, wait I'm saying it wrong, I meant  to say how unoriginal and stupid
  • Marge and the cashier’s talk
  • Ol’ Gil’s scene
  • The entire Patty, Selma and Marge scene
    • “I can bend him like Beckham”
    • Their hair is the result of cigarette smoke and ash
Wow, what humor, the animators figured out their color palates
  • Marge leaving the coffee shop
  • The entire process of Marge turning into a witch (I still believe that the writers wrote this ‘joke’ first and tried to somehow get it into an episode)
  • Mr. Burns appearing in the club (Who says character actions need to make sense)
  • Marge lighting her broom on fire (Because attempted murder equals comedy)
  • The wingman bit
  • Homer imagining a bunch of blue things
  • Lisa’s last lines (That’s not the way her character works)
  • Homer having blue hair
  • Maggie and Gerald’s scene
And that was my analysis of what I believe to be the 10 worst episode last season. Seeing as how we've put away the past, we should look towards the future and all the grim details it'll bring.


  1. Okay I have to admit I did laugh a little at the witch seen but I do agree with you on why it's not a good joke.

  2. The hairline joke would've been funny if they didn't take it too far, instead of them saying, "We can't find our hairlines" and spending thirty seconds and another 30 seconds onscreen worrying about their hairlines, why not just say, "We can't find our hairlines" and leave it there.

  3. @Revue For me the witch just seemed a bit too forced (Not helped by the flying Mr. Teeny). I don't know how I would have done it, but it just felt like an afterthought.

    @Alkhani Not knowing where to end a joke seems to be an Achilles heel for the show. They'll have something that might be funny for about 5-10 seconds, but then have the joke last for 30-45 seconds.