Friday, October 21, 2011

Episode 4: I Don't Wanna Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

If an episode airs and nobody laughs, does it make an impact? Well that's the question for this episode today, an episode with nothing memorable about it in a season that's very forgettable. I don't think I've ever had a more apathetic feeling towards an episode after watching it than this one. It's just so... 'blah' I can't even get angry at this one. With that said, let's see why it's so bland and forgettable.

The episode begins with Marge dressing Bart up nicely as Homer doesn't know why. After the writers butcher the "Talking to brain" joke (It's not that hard of a joke, how do you screw it up?) Marge tells Homer that there's going to be a ceremony for Lisa tomorrow. After Marge tells Homer that he needs to be there (And listing off the times Homer missed his kids events, I find it sad that I give credit to this episode for NOT making their flashback sequences over 10 seconds long) Homer decides to come to the ceremony only after "negotiating" with Marge on how drunk he's allowed to be... I'm sorry, was that meant to be a joke? The next morning, Homer gets ready as he mistakes Maggie for a tie and puts on milk as cologne... did the writers forget their Ritalin? I didn't see anything actually funny about that scene. Anyways, Homer's driving to the school and gets there about two hours early so he decides to continue his book on Superman... wait, what? After some more unfunny padding (Remember the freeze frame jokes from the 90's? Yeah they figured they could turn them into 10 second stills so that we can sit and 'enjoy' them) we see Marge at the bank as the man in front of her opens fire and tells everyone he's robbing the bank (For a moment, I thought he was just testing the accuracy of his gun. I would never have guessed bank robbery).
After some bad jokes when pointless bank robber #2 pulls his own gun out (If he has a name, I don't care, he lasts for all of two scenes) we cut back to the ceremony where Homer decides to go into jerkass mode as he mocks 'Marge' for not being there (You know, if the writers knew Homer at ALL they would know that he would be concerned that she's not there since she would never miss something like this. Oh wait, that wouldn't be 'funny' what am I thinking?) When Homer decides to call Marge during the ceremony so he can gloat (This is our main character everyone... are we supposed to root for him or wish a slow painful death upon him?) the robbers get paranoid and pointless robber #2 shoots randomly which happens to kill Ol' Gil just as he had 2 days let til retirement (Okay it was his first day not 'two days til retirement' although the latter is still more ironic than the former). After pointless robber #2 flees, Lou tries his hardest to explain to Wiggum that an armed robbery might be taking place (Wiggum's dumb, but not THAT dumb).
Hey! The animation took a step up now
Back at the ceremony (Oh yeah, this proves to be utterly pointless, literally NOTHING happens. Yeah Skinner talks, but really think about it, nothing actually occurs, it's just padding) Marge calls Homer and tells him that she's being held hostage and Homer decides that trying to comfort her is for humans and 'comically' tells her everything that would get her killed (Okay, seriously, HOW do people find this guy funny? I get the fact that all he does is spout 'jokes' and has no real character anymore. But he is such an unrelatable jerkass, why would anyone like him?) Back at the bank, Dwight (The robber) locks all the hostages up (Which is why in the next scenes they're all outside the vault... Is the concept of continuity THAT hard to grasp?) where Dwight gets hit by a lot of dye packs and turns blue (But don't worry, in the next scene he's perfectly alright, if you need me I'll be walking out the door to my lawn only to end up in my kitchen). After some more padding by Wiggum (I just realized, we're over 8 minutes in and we're STILL on the bank robbery, the pacing here is atrocious) Marge decides to try to talk some sense into Dwight as she recommends he surrenders himself.
Now I expect you all to stay put while I rob the bank
Hmmm... I guess the honor system doesn't work after all
Dwight says he has no family and can't go back to prison and says he'll turn himself in if Marge agrees to visit him. After a dated 'Chinese lead paint' joke (I get it, it just helps date this episode terribly... how many times will I have said that by the end of this season?) Marge agrees and the standoff is over (Well we're at the 9:10 mark now, thank God for padding or the writers may have needed to put in real jokes and story). Dwight is taken away as he gives Marge and ominous statement that he'll see her soon and this makes Marge uncomfortable (Just avoid him, he has no way of knowing anything about you). Later, Marge tells Homer that she's afraid to visit Dwight in jail (Really? The way I saw it, I thought she'd be ecstatic to see him). Later, we see two scenes of Marge not visiting Dwight and this ends up making Dwight needy for attention from her (*Yawn* sorry, nothing interesting is happening, there's not really much to say here). Later, Marge starts coming up with excuses not to see Dwight as she gets a call from him and hangs up when she doesn't get a response (How he got her number I will never know, and neither will the writers). Later, Marge is watching the 'Plot device' Channels' latest original movie: Guilt Trip, a movie about a guy on death row who hopes to see his mom and she never shows up (Eh my titles are better than their half-assed attempts). In a transition to the prison a la Cape Feare (Except ruined by the image of Ralph holding the balloons, I don't get why, it ruined any atmosphere the scene may have tried to create) there, we see Dwight escape the prison a la Shawshank Redemption only to see a pipe nearby with spring water (Yeah, Dwight always getting screwed is a running joke that's not really funny)
I don't think I've ever seen a more appropriate metaphor for this show
After Marge finishes the movie, Dwight pulls out a newspaper with all the information he could ever need to locate Marge (The only way the writing could have been lazier was if he was handed the script in episode). After a 75 second Itchy and Scratchy cartoon (Remember when they were put it for entertainment value and not to help pad out the running time?) Kent Brockman gives a bulletin saying Dwight escaped and Marge becomes afraid now. After a montage of Dwight following Marge around (You get the drill, padding, padding, padding and no substance. This is just so boring right now) Dwight catches up to Marge and forces her to drive him to an amusement park (Oh right I forgot to mention, in some painfully obvious foreshadowing, Dwight's mom abandoned him at an amusement park). After passing by some signs with 'joke' ride names.Dwight reveals that all he wants is for Marge to give him the day at the park that his mom didn't (Just three more minutes, I can take this).
Hey Dwight? Is that a pickle in your pocket or are you just happy to see Marge?
Doctor Hibbert then approaches Krusty at the amusement park where they notice Marge and Dwight, Krusty suspects foul play and Hibbert shows Krusty that the police are at the amusement park too (You know, by the looks of how Marge and Dwight traveled, this amusement park seemed to be in the middle of a desert, why is everyone here?) After Lou tries to tell Wiggum about Marge and Dwight, Dwight gets Marge to take him on the ride where his mom abandoned him. Wiggum tries to apprehend Dwight on the ride but fails and Dwight, in an act of kindness for Marge sacrifices himself to jam the gears (What a sad death, I'll go prepare his tombstone, it's 'Dwight Bugeye' right?) Of course he lives and the episode ends with Marge visiting Dwight in prison (Healed from his wounds... there's nothing indicating how long she took to visit him, so I'm calling this lazy writing).

Final Verdict: This episode was boring, I mean nothing about this was memorable, the jokes were mediocre, the writing was stupid and the pacing was all over the place, ranging from plodding at the beginning to rushed ending. In short, this was boring, stupid and very forgettable.

Final Grade: 2.3/10 As I write this part, I forgot what started this episode


  1. One thing that can be commended about this episode though, is that it actually utilises a guest star. That was Steve Buscemi as Dwight. Aside from that, it was a forgettable episode.

  2. A point that the writers seem to always FAIL to reference, Marge was a police office once and a great one at that. True that the guest star had a point but these "episodes" don't utilize their time well, and hell Shin Chan gets more done in a third of the time.