Friday, September 23, 2011

Episode 1: He Loves To Fly And He D'oh's

Welcome to Season 19's series of reviews. Before I start, let me say one thing; I have little to no memory of this season. Perhaps that's a testament to how bad and forgettable this season was, but also I feel that it allows a fresh, unbiased take on the season. So let's begin this series with, of course, episode 1.

Before I begin, I'll talk about the opening sequence. As you probably know, Season 19 came right after The Simpsons Movie, so naturally, the staff decided to have a little shout-out to their own movie by having a special opening sequence. I'm rather apathetic towards it as it's not bad, nor is it really worth mentioning. To me it's just... there, let's continue. The episode begins with Mr. Burns and Smithers shopping as they decide to get a new cell phone for Mr. Burns. Okay a couple things I want to address here, first the name of the cell phone store isn't really bad, nor is it something you'll see mentioned by anyone 5 years after it airs. Secondly, there's a joke where the PA states: "Attention shoppers, IPhones now 20 cents" it wasn't funny when it first aired and it dates the episode terribly nowadays. That's one of the issues with Modern Simpsons, their topical jokes often lose comedic effect within a couple of months; if they're lucky, it'll be a year or two. I'll talk about this in detail in a future post. Anyways, it turns out Mr. Burns needs a new cell phone because he accidentally ate his old one. Yet again, I'll go into detail about this in a future post, but the idea of Mr. Burns having a cell phone is just wrong to me.
Who knew Mr. Burns was part dolphin?
Mr. Burns goes wandering off and notices a penny in a fountain, he hesitates at first to grab it, but after seeing Ralph act like an idiot, he decides he needs to take it before Ralph can (And Ralph is there by himself just because. This is a very common theme among these episodes). After Mr Burns gets caught in the water system (...somehow) he thinks he's going to die (See Burn's Heir for how this is done right). Homer comes passing along and picks up Mr. Burns from the fountain. Mr. Burns decides to reward Homer by taking him out to dinner. After Mr. Burns decides he needs to try to pick up the penny again (Because it was so funny the first time) we see Homer getting ready for dinner as Bart mocks him for going out to dinner with Mr. Burns (Ah yes, it's time for Jerk-ass Homer... * Unenthusiastic* yippee). So Mr. Burns offers to take Homer to Chicago for dinner as he reveals that they'll be going there via private jet (Okay we have the seeds for a plot, only took 3 minutes, and yet somehow this feels faster than the more recent stuff). However, the next two minutes are bogged down and spent on bad airplane jokes and a pointless cameo by Lionel Richie. Afterwards, Homer is forced off the plane by an extractor (Twice, because senseless violence towards Homer is always funny, right?) Mr. Burns and Homer walk through Chicago via montage (Oh thank God, for a minute I thought that the writers would actually be creative for a change).
Oh please tell me they're going in to get some real comedy
Afterwards, we get to see where all the writers came from as Mr. Burns and Homer go to a 2nd-rate improv theater (The audience there seems to laugh at whatever's onstage no matter how bad it is. My guess is that those people are usually the test audience for every episode). After Homer and Burns leave, Homer is dropped off at home by the extractor (Because it was so- you get the point). At home, Marge doesn't seem to mind that Homer was gone all night and has now been spoiled by one flight on a private jet (Has anyone seen the real Marge? This phony isn't doing a good job of impersonating her). The next day (I assume) Homer is sad because now he'll never get into a private jet again (Oh for fuck's sake, I just dealt with Lisa's whining, I don't need you to start now). Homer is then introduced to Colby Kraus who is voiced by... Stephen Colbert?! NO!!! Why Mr. Colbert? Why? You're awesome, what are you doing here? Wait! There might be hope for this now. *Checks writing credits* Actually nevermind, let's continue. So Colby is a life coach who was hired by Marge to help improve Homer's life (Why are you encouraging his selfish, spoiled behavior, Marge? Oh, right, because everything has to be about Homer getting what he wants, my mistake). Colby tells Homer that he's going to observe him do what he does normally which leads to some padding of Homer not knowing what he normally does (Ugh).
Homer, I'm here because I don't think your life is perfect enough yet
After Homer fails to put a sock on (I'm sorry, but is Homer's problem that he wants more or that he has a railroad spike lodged in his brain?) Colby tells Homer that he needs to concentrate better (Or something, I don't know these scenes are very underdeveloped). At the Plant (Which looks very sterile) Homer launches two staple in his head (What was the point of that? There was none, it's just "Homer+pain=funny" to the writers). At the Bowlarama, Colby discovers that Homer is much more confident when he's wearing his bowling shoes so he instructs Homer to wear them everywhere. After a montage of Homer being successful while wearing the bowling shoes (Two montages in one episode? It must be my birthday) Colby gives Homer the news that he's being offered an interview by a copper company that has a private jet (Oh right, THAT'S what the episode was supposed to be about, forgot about it for a minute). Colby informs Homer that he's going to call Mr. Burns to tell him that Homer quits (But he works there for Maggie, oh right, the writers don't believe in any continuity before season 10) and sends Homer off for his interview. Later, Homer comes home depressed but tells his family that he got the job (I know where this is going, and so can anyone with half a brain). The next day, Homer goes off for his first day as it's revealed that he doesn't work for them and he goes to Krusty Burger (This is accompanied by sad music. Are we supposed to feel bad for Homer or something? I don't his intentions are completely selfish and wrong).
This is why he needs the show to stay on the air
Later, Homer comes back and pretends like he's happy with his new job and basically says everything short of "I'm unemployed!" to his family (I don't get this, the episode makes it seem like we should feel bad for Homer, but in reality we shouldn't. If Homer applied for that job for the sake of better pay to support his family better, I could sympathize with him, but the reason he applied for that job is to be on a private plane all the time, he gets NO sympathy from me). The next day, the fourth grade goes to Krusty Burger (After a field trip. I don't know why Edna isn't there, but this has far more effort than The Scorpion's Tale in terms of why they are there. That's not saying much, but it speaks volumes to how much worse the show has gotten). Bart, of course, notices Homer and after poking his eye for a while (Pain+Homer=funny, right?) and Homer reveals to Bart that he never got the job. In a flashback, Homer didn't get the job because he didn't know anything about copper (I could name a handful of things that would prevent him from getting the job, but I'll accept the obvious one). After some padding showing Homer trying to get the job by force, he tells Bart that he couldn't bring himself to tell Marge about it. Bart tells Homer that Marge has been spending more money and he needs to tell her (It was a new job, not a better paying job to my knowledge).
Say that you LOVE ME! SAY! IT!
Homer calls Marge to try to break the news, but decides he needs to get deeper and deeper into this (Oh lazy sitcom cliches, will you ever learn?) At the airport, Homer gives a man hundreds of dollars so that he can rent a private plane to tell Marge the truth in the sky (Ugh, this is so stupid). During the flight, Homer tries to break the news to Marge, but the pilot falls asleep (Due to drugs... right...) and it's up to Homer and Marge to land the plane (Don't worry, Homer MS Simpson can do whatever he wants because he's got the power of lazy writing at his hands). After Homer 'hilariously' almost crashes into the ocean (Ow, that hurt) Marge pulls the plane up and decides to call Colby to coach Homer into landing the plane (Because it's just that easy to land a plane). After Marge tells him to help Homer (Okay, seriously, she paid their life savings to make Homer feel better about never getting on a private jet again? There's something called therapy I hear, it's much cheaper and much more efficient), Homer almost crashes into the Duff Blimp (Why? Just... why?)
I've played hundreds of video games, how much different could this possi- *Crash*
Colby then encourages Homer by telling him that someone said he couldn't land the plane (Again, it's just that easy). False tension ensues and Homer successfully lands the plane, however, that's not funny enough as Homer decides to drive the plane off the runway and into the water (Why does that sound like a bad Family Guy joke? Oh right, because it is). Homer and Marge are saved and Homer tells Marge that he can't risk his life like that again so he'll go beg for his old job back (You already have, DON'T FORGET, YOU'RE HERE FOREVER). Marge is accepting of this (Because having someone being disappointed with Homer would be unfathomable for the writers) and the episode ends with Lionel Richie trying to be saved, but cannot as his awards are holding him down (Why was he on the plane? Why does he have his awards with him now? Who knows, and who cares, certainly not the writers).

Final Verdict: This episode was rather mediocre, at times it felt okay, but as a whole it was boring and stupid. The jokes were rather bad, the whole plot of "Homer needs to get a job to get on a private jet" is rather bad and the guest stars were wasted.

Final Grade: 4.2/10 Very forgettable, but not terrible


  1. I remember this episode and didn't know that Stephen Colbert was even in it. I think a Family Guy episode had a plot start out like that but wasn't this stupid. Also don't you find it weird that Bart had to point out that Homer should break the news to Marge?

    Homer will NEVER be the likeable clod he was back in the 90's

  2. The major difference between 'Modern Homer' and 'Classic Homer' I find to be is that Classic Homer, despite his shortcomings and attitude, always loved his family. He might have been inept in trying to cheer up Lisa/Bart or making Marge feel better, but at least he tried his best and his heart was in the right place. 'Modern Homer' is selfish, rude and uncaring, his intentions are misguided and he rarely makes up for them.

    It really wasn't until the movie that his family said "enough is enough", 'Classic Homer' would never have driven them to that point, and that's why he is up there with 'Modern Lisa' as the least likable characters on the show today.

    Ugh... To season 23 tonight >.<