Friday, August 5, 2011

A Deeper Look At: Homer Scissorhands

Due to the bottom line quality of these next few episodes, I felt that for the sake of my sanity I would only do 1 a week instead of 2 like in July. And no I will NOT be using "Lisa kisses Milhouse" as an issue here, I can tear this apart even without that 'fuck you' to the fans.

Issue #1: Homer 'Mary Sue' Simpson
I had a hard time deciding what to call this because it could be debated whether this is just 'Instant Expert' or 'Mary Sue'. However, for me it's Mary Sue because when he tries to fail, he just cannot, instant experts would be able to fail. Now there's no problem with giving a character jobs that they struggle initially at but can overcome the challenges and be good at said job every now and then. However, when you give a character a new job about once every other episode that they have no problem mastering and have no development for why they are good or why they wanted to do it in the first place, that's lazy. It's basic storytelling 101, we do not care about Homer because there is nothing to care about, I'm just going to break my only rule to show how this is done right. In Deep Space Homer, Homer has no experience or training whatsoever when he is being prepared for a space launch, and in fact when he first gets there, Barney is clearly superior to him in every way and it seems like Homer will fail.
With Homer's luck, he'll cut her head off
... Or not
Also, even after Homer is basically handed the job he's still intimidated and a complete novice at space travel. Homer there has character, he is flawed and has to earn his way into the program, Homer struggles, Homer shows weakness and humanity, that is the type of character one roots for. Could you imagine that episode if Homer just stepped off the bus and was instantly the best astronaut to have ever lived? When Homer not only can cut someone's hair perfectly with hedge trimmers but also cannot fail to cut someone's hair perfectly when he tries, he lacks humanity. There ceases to be a reason to care, everything is going his way and the audience has no way of relating to this demi-god of a hairdresser. I more or less had the same reaction to him when he wanted out of the business that I did for Lisa in Elementary School Musical after she left camp.
Oh no, he can't fail... we should really pity him

Issue #2: Continuity? What's that?!
I touched upon this in the review, however I didn't really go into great detail on how little the staff actually cares about simple 5 minute continuity. Allow me to use some visual aides to demonstrate:
An attempt to understand the storyboard
So with all that I can only assume three things went down
  1. Wiggum lied about the police ball being that night and in reality it was tomorrow night
  2. Lisa can travel back in time from evening to late afternoon and the kitchen scene took place while Lisa was out stalking Milhouse
  3. These storylines are nowhere close to each other on the time scale and are in fact happening weeks apart with Lisa deciding to put on her boots and wait an entire day to follow Milhouse and Taffy.
Honestly, option 3 seems like the most feasible one, however, usually the plot and subplots run about on the same timeline unless stated otherwise by the writers. While they do not intersect at any point, they never go out of their way either to establish that Lisa being jealous of Milhouse took place weeks after Homer's hairdresser dream. As further proof of the 3rd option making the most sense, I'll just leave this issue with this last image on your minds:
The moon can change just like that in a matter of hours... we learn something new everyday

Issue #3: The entire subplot (Minus the ending)
I really have to stop being so vague about these and be more specific. Yet again though, I found myself unable to pinpoint just one detail about the subplot that I just have to be general again. For starters, I didn't really find the Finding Nemo joke funny (Did I miss something? Was there an event where a child was traumatized by this? Was it supposed to satirize something? I have no clue) and it leads to "Milhouse telling Lisa that he loves her" for the 178th time. Now granted I've seen  shows that can do a certain plot multiple times and they will still be good. The difference? They usually add variety to the story, the ending may always be the same, but the variety allows for an otherwise stale concept to seem fresh and entertaining. This on the other hand is a very generic, poorly developed "Lisa grows jealous of Milhouse" plot. The reason for Lisa's jealousy is never explained nor does it really make sense based on the character that we know from the past and even at the beginning of the story. (P.S. Derpy Lisa was not intentional, but gave me a good laugh in editing)
Clearly Lisa's jealous of Milhouse talking to Taffy, that or  she's staring at the clouds outside
Now onto Taffy, who is quite possibly the closest thing to a cardboard cutout based on her character. In fact, let's see how much about her we know without Lisa's forced characterization
  • Her name is Taffy
  • She carries inhalers for Milhouse
  • She loves Milhouse because he can rhyme (No I'm not making that up)
  • She gets jealous of girls that appear to be stalking her boyfriend
Taffy: I love a man who embarrasses himself, he's like putty in my hands
Anything else might be considered a stretch for her as a character. Basically we know nothing about her, we're lead to believe that she has ulterior motives for her actions when in reality that's just a red herring. She is nothing more than a plot device to move the story forward. She just appears, makes Lisa jealous, does nothing and then disappears never to be mentioned ever again, a sign of a truly great character (ugh).

So that was my deeper analysis of that atrocity, join me next week for some real pain.


  1. The jokes here weren't present.
    Wake up and look at your hair!
    Was that supposed to be funny because he said gentlest way I know? Was that supposed to be irony? I don't think anything here was funny.

  2. It's how the writers think comedy is supposed to work. Say one thing and then completely do the other. It works especially well when the character shouting shouts all the time thus ruining any humor that could have been accomplished.

    In other words, the writers think that subtlety has no place in humor and they must shout and make their 'jokes' as obvious as possible.