Monday, December 19, 2011

Episode 9: Holidays of Future Passed

Well I guess you all know how I feel about this episode so there's no point in me doing some "clever" introduction about how I have little hopes and I think it's going to suck. Now just onto the details of how I feel about this trip to the future.

The episode begins with the family finished eating their Thanksgiving dinner as Marge tells everyone it's time for the Christmas photo (Admittedly this is a scene I'm not too particularly fond of, there are some rather bad jokes in this scene in my opinion). After Marge dresses everyone up and sits them in front of the couch, we get a montage of family photos over the next 30 years which I'll admit is worth another look, if only to see each family member age (But like most long jokes, it loses humor towards the end). We then cut to the elementary school as it's turned into an apartment complex and we see Bart living there (I really wish they could've done more with this idea, they did very little with "Bart never leaves that school") After Skinner tells Bart he's late on the rent, Bart's kids arrive at his place because his wife wants him to spend some quality time with them. Okay before we continue I just want to address a small problem; the voice acting, Bart has aged 30 years yet he sounds like a ten year old still. There are other problems in this episode like Homer and Marge sound the same (Seriously, tell me a 35 and a 65 year old person sound the same, I dare you). Now this might be a nitpick but it's not like they haven't aged the voices in future episodes or future dreams, and really it comes across as lazy. If it doesn't bother you, there's no problem, it just bothered me, that's all.
Poor Bart, even at 40, he still can't get away from school
After adult Bart gets the idea to drop his kids off at his parent's place (Oh and to make them sound different enough, the kids sound like Bart from Lisa's Sax) we cut to Milhouse and Lisa as Milhouse's allergies are making him miserable (I still don't like this pairing, fortunately, it's briefly seen, so I'll let it slide). After we find out that Lisa's daughter is a typical teenager wanting nothing to do with her parents (I suddenly just got some bad images stuck in my head) Milhouse suggests that Lisa takes their daughter to Marge's place while he goes to Michigan since they don't celebrate Christmas. In England (Okay to their credit, they don't linger too long on the background jokes, so I found them amusing) we see Maggie is pregnant and to prevent her from talking, they make up some medical excuse about how pregnant women shouldn't talk (I know this is going to sound like a back-handed compliment, but they did do one thing right in not having Maggie talk. Fuck you season 20, you suck).
You appear to have would you like to star in a George Lucas remake?
After implying that Maggie is a slut (Charming) we cut back to Marge and Homer as they're in bed with holographic books as Marge gets some "Brain messages" telling her that Maggie, Lisa, Zia and Bart's family (Sans his ex-wife) are coming home for the holidays. After a bad joke involving Homer (There's always that one) Lisa finds out that Homer has stopped drinking and taken up boat modeling as a hobby (That was rather pointless, it doesn't really lead to anything and it wasn't all that funny in my opinion). After Bart is told that his ex-wife re-married (So Bart turned into Kirk Van Houten?) as Bart asks Homer to take care of his kids for a bit and they resent him some more (Okay, do they have names? I may have missed it, but I'm not quite sure). After a pointless scene involving Flanders revealing Edna died (Why are they so insistent about us accepting that relationship?) we cut to the airport where Maggie is unable to teleport on the basis of being pregnant as we find out that air travel is the equivalent of a motorcycle convoy. Later we see more "Futuristic" set props (This is becoming Futurama more and more) we see Lisa and Zia as Zia acts more like a one-note character in disrespecting Lisa while Marge is ignorant on the situation.
You see, this is what happens when you spend your days watching online videos every day.
After another scene inside the shit airplane, we cut back home as Homer decides to take Bart's kids downtown (Okay for the sake of the rest of this review, I'll call them Tom and Bob). After a montage of Homer taking Tom and Bob to the Kwik-E-Mart and by Mr. Burns' manor (That's not taking them downtown, they lied!) we see Kearney driving Maggie in a cab as Maggie goes into labor and Kearney has the cab drive them to the hospital (While I thought that joke was rather weak, I'll admit, the "Church of Lard Lad" was rather funny). Later, we see Lisa meet up with Bart in the treehouse as they drink some wine and discuss their lives. Bart tells Lisa that she's doing alright and she turned out just great (Eh this is more emotional than a lot of the 'emotional scenes' from other modern episodes, but it just doesn't work for me). After Bart sees Homer loving his sons, Bart and Lisa get down from the treehouse by revealing that trees are sentient and it lets them down (Honestly, I didn't like that joke).
Bart, let me tell you a secret... I'm not really Lisa,
Lisa died in a horrible drug overdose in France after  her days as a Blues Musician
Drunk Lisa then goes to apologize to Marge  and Bart tries to connect with his kids by showing them some unfunny Krusty the Clown (Wouldn't he be dead? Then again, Mr. Burns was alive... I think it would've worked better if Mr. Burns's brain was put in a robot and Krusty's tombstone was talking as to say "I'm bound to Hollywood forever"). We cut to the Hospital as we get some rather lame jokes alluding to the birth of Jesus (Let's see, Maggie is pregnant, with no father, around Christmas... I give up). Later, we see Zia connected to the internet (HEY! there's nothing wrong with spending some quality time on the internet every d- *Looks at self* you know I need to work out a bit) and Bart decides to confront Homer about watching his kids. After a pointless, unfunny bit with Patty and Selma (Seriously, they serve NO purpose, they show up for a joke and then disappear, presumably leaving, but I don't think the writers thought that out) we cut back to the hospital as Maggie's in labor and to help her, Doctor Hibbert gives her a pacifier (Considering that she's pregnant, the youth and innocence of Maggie sucking on a pacifier is GONE).
Yeah.... no
After a pointless scene so we can see how Apu is doing in the future (Okay, scenes like these just make me think the writers were off their Ritalin) we see that Lisa has finally decided to go into the "Ultranet" to get Zia out of there. After some more set pieces meant as jokes, Lisa goes to Google (Nevermind the joke about it being Dr. Seuss' birthday despite his birthday is in March. Seriously, they had nothing else?) and she searches for her daughter and finds her door and ponders whether or not to invade her privacy. Later, Bart goes looking for Homer, Tom and Bob as he gets pulled over by Ralph Wiggum (Again, a perfect opportunity at a joke is wasted by them going for a drawn out bad joke. I think it would've been funnier if Ralph ended up as a respected head of police for the state just as a twist. But that's just me) At Moes, Bart finds out that Homer isn't there, but instead is at Grampa's (Two things of note; The crime scene is worth another look and the joke involving Lenny and Carl was one of the worst jokes in this episode and entirely pointless).
I guess the rake finally got the better of Sideshow Bob
After a Hospital scene (It lasts about 5 seconds, just thought I'd mention it) we see Lisa decide to go in and she learns that Zia is more like her than originally thought including that Zia idolizes her. We then see Homer take Bob and Tom to a cryogenic lab as he tells the boys that just because Bart isn't a good father that doesn't mean he doesn't love them and they should give him more credit and love him back (While I do like Homer in this scene, it's ruined a bit later by Homer freezing and unfreezing Abe a bit more). Bart approaches Tom and Bob and tells them that he'll be a better father to them and he gives them a big hug. We cut back home as Maggie had a girl and as Abe asks who the father is, he interrupts her saying he doesn't need to know (Okay I know this is still going with the whole "Maggies doesn't talk" motif, but we never get the baby's name or father, those are things she can answer, there's no excuse for her to be cut off for answering those). The episode ends with the family gathered around for a Christmas photo to be taken by their evolved pets (Not going to question it, let's end this).

Final Verdict: This episode was decent, yes there are flaws, but for what we've had to deal with, this was great in comparison. The writing was pretty good with some areas being sloppy, the jokes varied, but there were some good ones and while the three plots didn't really mesh, at least the pacing of the three plots caused minimal padding. In short, for those of you who know how cynical I am about this show nowadays, this is high praise from me.

Final Grade: 8.2/10 I thought about high 7's, but I'm in a giving mood this season. Merry Christmas and I'll see you all next year


  1. Best episode I've seen in a long time, hope they don't ruin it.

  2. Well there won't be another new episode until January 8th, at that point, the show will suck again

  3. The best episode in several last seasons. I would not expect to say this ever again: That was great, I want to watch it more times! Still I would delete some scenes an jokes (Carl/Lenny brains, Petty/Selma lovebots etc.), but generally I was pleased. Also I appreciate Maggie's kept silence (because no one knows after Groening blabbed out real Springfield location...).

    -- Arccos --