Monday, November 28, 2011

Episode 7: The Man in the Blue Flannel Pants

Homer as an assistant to Mr. Burns... that's all I have to say. Nope, no clever quip about how this show sucks, no mention of how this plot's been done several times before in the classic years, just straight onto the review. Okay before I start, this is the third episode in a row without an opening sequence, from now on, I'll only mention if they do include an opening sequence because it seems like they've dropped it for the Matt Selman Era.

The episode begins with Bart and Milhouse at a live recording of the Krusty show as Bart goes into a dream about seeing his 'corpse bride' coming down the aisle just to eat his brain (Okay I'll admit it was funny... until they had Homer talk at the very end ruining it for me). Krusty is confronted backstage by some business advisers as they tell him that they need to make a viral marketing campaign to sell his vodka and they suggest that he goes to a loyal fan's home to serve the vodka to generate positive buzz about it (It's gonna be Bart). Krusty tells the audience to send him letters saying why they should host the party and of course we see Krusty at Bart's home (Too predictable, but honestly I'm more upset about how lazy the transition was). Krusty's advisers tell Homer that they want his house to be the location of the party and wouldn't you know it, the party is a success with tons of people coming despite the only people who would come are people Homer invited (I would have been a bit more forgiving if the business advisers invited these people, but they say "All you have to do is invite every cool person you know" so no dice here). After they try to explain why there are so many people there (They say it's people from the plant, I'm pretty sure Captain McAllister, Blue haired Lawyer, Bumblebee Man and Rich Texan don't work at the plant) Mr. Burns arrives and starts to kill the mood of the party. The business adviser tells Homer to do something about Mr. Burns and Homer tries to get Mr. Burns to sing karaoke... WHAT? Is this a joke of some sort? I'm not talking about it being a "ha-ha" joke, but rather a joke on us. But because Burns sings the oldest song on the machine, everyone lightens up to him and sings along (I'm just going to put out an APB for the REAL Mr. Burns, if you'd like to help, just start posting signs around town).
Missing: One old man, goes by the name of Charles Montgomery Burns, if found please call...
Afterwards, Mr. Burns tells Smithers that it's because of Homer that he's enjoying himself at the party (Because heaven forbid Homer be involved in a plot that doesn't revolve around him). Now let me make one thing perfectly clear, I have no problem with the plots being around Homer, my problem here is that Mr. Burns and Homer are extremely out of character for this to work and Homer's rather forced into this, I can't look past either of these flaws. The next day, Mr. Burns informs Homer that he'll be promoting Homer to accountant of the plant. So let me get this straight, Mr. Burns decided to promote Homer to as he said it "One of the most important jobs in this plant" based solely on the fact that he was entertaining at the party? What delusional dimension do these people live in? Homer is then introduced to the old accountant who is retiring and after Homer hesitates, he agrees when he's told he will lose his soul (So he'll become a lawyer?) Later, we see Homer enter the sterile executive building as he's amazed by all the luxuries he gets (Okay so this is another example of the writers forgetting about the family being lower-middle class and just trying to make them Rich LA-type people, ugh).
Maybe this will make you funny again
So the old accountant (Not going to bother with his name, let's just call him Not-Karl) then informs Homer that he's sticking around to help Homer with his job and his first task is to convince the Mayor to approve a rate hike (Yeah the Not-Karl name is appropriate seeing as how this is a bum's version of Homer and Delilah) At the restaurant, we see Not-Karl go off with Quimby to talk about the tax breaks as Lenny and Carl walk by. Homer ignores them by drawing funny faces of them on the window (So what was the point of that scene? Are we going to get Mayored to the Mob next?) Later, we see Quimby, Homer and NK at a game where Homer sways Quimby by using a sports analogy (I'm not kidding that's their joke. We all know the real reason, but that was pointless and unfunny). Back at the office, Not-Karl offers some drinks for Homer but Homer looks at a picture of his family for a few seconds before saying yes. Not-Karl then gives Homer a set of bar tools as it's been passed down from accountant to accountant (Hmm... his character is too subtle, I THINK he might be an alcoholic given the fact that he drinks in every scene he's in... nah) Back home, Marge wants to bring Homer back to bed, but Lisa tells Homer that he was supposed to read to her. Homer blows Lisa off, telling Bart to read to Lisa and heads upstairs with Marge to bed, our protagonist everyone, a selfish jackass who ignores his own daughter. So Bart decides to read to Lisa anyways (Previously established character traits? What are those?) and while trying to read Little Women Bart has trouble reading words like 'Genius' and 'Patience'... BART IS NOT ILLITERATE! Bart might be a bit dumb, but these are not words he would mess up, does anyone on the staff have a clue how this show works?!
Bart: The kid then... um... uh... Stoo- died?
Lisa: That's 'Studied'
Bart: Is that how it's spelled? I never bothered with that word.
Anyways, Bart admits he's a bad reader (Bad reader and illiterate are two different things writers) and Lisa offers to help Bart improve his reading skills (You know, if Bart struggled with words like 'Onomatopoeia' or 'Commensurate' I could understand, but genius and patience are not complex words in my opinion and for him to struggle with them seems ludicrous). Later, we see a brief montage of Homer at his job as he gets tired but it ends with Homer on a lawnmower running over Smither's foot (Random cartoony-violence in a sitcom equals funny, guess I never got that memo). Later we see Homer getting home, but Marge is asleep so he goes to Moe, where Moe is asleep as well... let's move on. We then see Bart reading Little Women with no problem and Lisa feels accomplished that she's a mentor (Great to know that the only transition for that is... jack shit). I mean, seriously? They have a grand total of 3 scenes for this subplot, why bother including a subplot if you can't develop it? Oh wait, they couldn't reach the runtime without that filler, my mistake. So we see Homer drinking some bourbon at night as Marge comes down to find out what he's doing. Homer explains that his job is so meaningless and, hold on, I shouldn't have used 'explains' but rather 'whines', there the previous sentence makes more sense.
Nobody understand me, especially the writing staff
After Homer tries to be poetic in how loneliness is his wife (I've seen high school poems with deeper meanings than this) we see Maggie is still up and apparently, like Lisa, she too gets drunk on milk... that joke wasn't funny the first time, so of course; they think it's funny and stretch it out longer this time. Later, we see Marge approach Not-Karl at his awkward home (It might just be me, but I think this building could give the Leaning Tower of Pisa a run for its money). Marge asks Not-Karl to take his job back, but NK explains that the job emptied him and he won't take it back. After NK takes Marge to different places rather quickly (I'd say this is a parody of the Old Spice commercials, but that would be giving the writers too much credit) Not-Karl tells Marge to get Homer out before he loses touch with his family (Oh and the scene ends on a random bit about Kirk and Luann Van Houten at NK's place with some S&M gear... Okay, I'm going to pray that like the Ratatouille thing, this is just some reference I don't get, because there is no way that was meant to be a funny original joke). Later we see Bart reading on the playground (Little Women I might add, because thinking up of another book would be too hard... 1984, A Separate PeaceShakespeare, Frankenstein, The Old Man and the Sea, The Great Gatsby, Catcher in the Rye I can go on) and the bullies spot him reading. Bart convinces them not to beat him up by reading to them.
Bart: "When life offers you a dream so far beyond any of your expectations..."
Later, we see him finishing a chapter and the bullies says they'll be back for more. You know I'm glad that subplot was included, it was so vital for this episode to work. Later, we see Homer at the office as he's informed that Marge is there to see him. Homer tries to pretend that he isn't there but through bad jokes, Marge hears him anyways and barges in. Marge then tells Homer that she wants to go on a family vacation and Homer decides to treat his own wife like a client  and forces her out (Another example of why I hate this Homer, he fails to be human and is instead devoid of emotions while acting like a complete assclown). Mr. Burns comes in to tell Homer that some nuclear regulators are coming and then he notices the rafting brochure and decides to have a rafting session with them to loosen them up (Oh and Mr. Burns says: "Finally humanity has found a use for water"... anyone with an inkling of how a nuclear power plant works understands why I mentioned this). Homer realizes that the rafting could be done because he could be at work and with his family over the weekend. After Homer's secretary tells Homer that he has other plans, Homer assures her that he's got it under control as he hits Jub-Jub with a golf club into his aquarium (Why does he have Selma's pet? Ah screw it, I smell hijinks).
Oh shit! I've been spotted, must flee from family
On the river, we see Homer and the family in a raft enjoying themselves as Homer notices Mr. Burns on the raft across the river and he swims over there for the meeting. Okay you get the gist, Homer swims back and forth trying to balance both things, so I'm not going to go into detail, I will mention however that one of the jokes involves Bart watching a porno that was meant for the meeting despite Marge being right next to him as he watches it. I'm pretty sure Marge would throw a fit immediately but that would require the writers to remember that these people have character. After Homer gets caught by Marge, he gets in between both rafts and finds out that he can only save one raft from going over a waterfall (Correct me if I'm wrong, but rafting gives you paddles so you can direct yourselves while going down the river. Ah fuck logic, that would mean that this lazy plot wouldn't have a true resolution). After he questions who to save *Headdesk* Marge tells him to save them because they'll always be with him (That and they are your FAMILY!). Homer saves them and right before the business raft plummets, Not-Karl shows up out of nowhere to save Mr. Burns and leave the rest to die (Nah, they didn't die, they magically landed on a bed of marshmallows that was set up by Comic Book Guy on a picnic with Blue Haired Lawyer).

Rejoice, Homer's about to die :D
And the jerkass lives to find some gold... There is no justice
Afterwards, Mr. Burns forgives Homer because he saved them some money and he returns to safety inspector as Not-Karl decided to un-retire. Homer is thankful and after playing with Bart and Lisa some, he falls into the river and over the waterfall and dies (YAY! The series is over, Jerkass Homer is dead, all rejoice and-) Of course he lives and he finds some bars of gold which are lighter than regular bricks (Everything must go his way because the writers still believe we like this jackass) I mean, what the hell was that? He miraculously survives going over a waterfall and to compound the stupidity he finds gold which bears NO MEANING on this episode or future episodes. I've said it before and I'll say it again, the writers have turned Homer into a self-insertion fanfiction character. The episode truly ends with Homer and Marge in bed as Homer's glad that he's back to a safety inspector as we see the Nuclear Power Plant have a meltdown behind them (And that will have no point as status quo has been achieved and it will not be mentioned in next week's episode)

Final Verdict: This episode sucked, the plot was recycled and brought nothing original, the jokes were bad and the subplot and opening bits were entirely pointless to this episode. I don't get the idea to need 4 minutes before deciding what your plot's going to be, you should not be wasting that much time. In short, this was rather bad, but not the worst this season has to offer.

Final Grade: 2.6/10 Yep, that slight increase in quality was just an illusion and this season is going to suck again.


  1. I like how "this" is what they walked to the barn with, a rehash of a good idea featuring anti-comedy Homer.

  2. the only part that made me laugh was the lawnmower part, and only because it is what actually happened in Mad Men

  3. The Mad Men jokes went over my head, so for me, I thought that was just the writers putting in senseless blood for the sake of violence=humor. Probably made more sense in Mad Men.