Friday, February 24, 2012

The Blue and the Gray

Anti-love, hate, aren't they all the same?
Either way, it's not like this episode creates a positive feeling

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Episode 14: At Long Last Leave

Hey look, I've had TWO nights to walk around and get some air and guess what? THIS EPISODE STILL SUCKS! Then again, it's more bland than it is bad there was no discernible difference between this and episode 429 or episode 378, it was just another Modern Simpsons episode written by talentless (And apparently butthurt) hacks. No I'm not going to let that go, they're just fortunate that this was 6th lowest rated episode of the season (And I'm pretty sure it's in the bottom 20 overall, I just don't have the numbers to prove it) and thus not many people saw it. Oh and in terms of the Antartica thing, I was wrong I admit it, but it wasn't because I made it up, it was just more implied that's where they were going last year (See Season 23 preview) Anyways, let's begin this meaningless celebration and hope the writers don't take too much offense when I say I think this sucked (The internet is forever).

Opening title credits mention this as the 500th episode, the couch gag is a montage of the couch gags followed by Homer strangling Bart for no reason...because it's funny?

Actually you know what I love about this? It's the equivalent of Picasso's son claiming to be an artist because of his father. Al Jean and James L. Brooks are the only two people that I can think of on the main staff that are still around and Jean has proven to go the Lucas route of media-senility.

The episode begins with the family watching the news as Brockman constantly does fake-outs of survival drills (3 times, because why not?) Anyways, as a result, the family heads down to their cellar (And they felt the need to include a fart joke...pinnacle of wit ladies and gentlemen). So the family goes into the cellar and after it's revealed that Bart ate the powdered food, Homer decides that he too needs to eat powdered food now (Because the drill was for 3 hours and he'd starve without being an asshat). But of course, it's not powdered food, but instead talc (Because it HAD to be next to the vital supplies) and Homer coughs it back up. So after some more filler, the family decides to go outside while everyone else is away. On the road, the family notices that there are a lot of cars at city hall and they decide to investigate.
I'm so glad the writers think that everyone thinks only of them
By the way, we're at the 5 minute mark here, because heaven forbid they actually have good pacing. Inside, the family finds out that the entire town faked the drill in order to vote on whether or not to evict the Simpsons from Springfield. Remember when the Simpsons were nothing more than an average family living in Anytown USA? Now they are the center of the universe in Springfield Hollywood where the whole town plans meeting to get them out...*sigh* moving on. The family is spotted (And one of the few decent jokes is uttered) and the family questions why they want to banish them. The town explains that Homer and Bart have caused too much damage, Lisa is annoying and Marge is kind-hearted while Maggie doesn't act like a baby (She really got bad after Stewie appeared). Oh, by the way, Sideshow Bob appears for one line and then disappears, two gripes I have with this:
  1. Sideshow Bob's awesome, why not make the 500th episode about him? (Even though his recent episodes have sucked at least one could say "Oh yeah, the 500th episode was a Sideshow Bob episode" thus making it memorable for something)
  2. One line? You brought in Kelsey Grammer (Had to confirm in the credits, his voice felt off) for ONE LINE?! Screw you
Oh that Homer, he'll have a hard time driving like that
I guess tar just falls off in about a few hours...why even have it in the first place?
Anyways, the family gets taken to the outskirts of Springfield where they are banished forever. The family then proceeds to drive for a while until they reach a point where a man points a rifle at them (They drove all the way to West Virginia?) Actually they end up at an off-the-grid place called "The Outlands" where everyone else is a nobody (...That has to be one of the least creative names I've heard in a while, hey it could be worse, they could do what they did in Cape Feare and redo the opening, but in an unfunny manner, and that's the next scene isn't it?) So of course, we get a reprise of the opening a la "The Thompsons" but unlike that one, this one is lame. The one in Cape Feare felt like a parody of the opening, mocking how ludicrous the idea of the family living in a house boat. This is just the opening re-done a lot like how the writers will parody a movie simply by putting their own characters into the story instead of doing something creative.
Eh this entertainment sucks, let's go shoot some birds
In fairness though, it does provide the best line in this episode: (A fox sitting on a rock) Homer-"Eh, I'm sick of watching fox, let's get some fresh air" that was genuinely funny. So after Marge bitches a bit about how the Outlands is terrible, we get our pointless scene involving the WikiLeaks man (Too lazy to write his name) really, there's not much to say and there was no real point in even having that scene. It wasn't funny, it didn't affect the episode at all and it was a pointless cameo for another pop culture reference that nobody cares about anymore (Who even talks about WikiLeaks anymore?). So immediately afterwards, Homer sneaks Marge back to Springfield, where Wiggum sees them in disguise but doesn't recognize them. Plot development, what's that? I mean, they spent a whole 3 minutes in the Outlands before moving back to the Springfield set. It just feels jarring when you consider that the first 10 minutes were spent evicting the family, just to have them return 3 minutes later, make of it what you will. Oh by the way, I can't help but feel there was a scripting error here, when Wiggum first sees them, he says that Burns must be cold so he starts to unzip his jacket, the very next line from him is "You want my jacket? Here, let me warm up my gun for you" He was handing him his jacket first, the gun comment comes out of nowhere, let's move on.
Yeah because you should TOTALLY give "Mr. Burns" a gun, brilliant logic
Anyways, we see Marge and Homer at the Lard Lad statue, then the bowling alley before getting back home where all the furniture except their bed is gone. Two nitpicks here:
  1. Why is the bed still there? Every other piece of furniture is gone except the bed. I know it's a nitpick, but considering the track record for laziness by the writers, it's just odd.
  2. So what do those three places have in common? Beats the hell out of me, I honestly have no clue what those three places have in common. I'll quickly name three places that do have something in common: The mini golf course, the nuclear power plant, and their home. What do they have in common? Romantic actions happened in all those places, might be odd, but there is a theme.
Anyways, Marge and Homer are caught and as the police are about to shoot them, Marge decides to go back to the Outlands with Homer and leave everything behind. Oh so the episode will be about how you live with those who accept you for you right? Well let's see. Before we continue, there's one joke I have to address, after Quimby calls himself a jerk, Wiggum asks if he can spray his can of Jerk-off on him...on one hand that's a rather clever joke to get past the censors, on the other hand...ugh I hate low-brow sex jokes.
Seth McFarlane called, he wants his joke back
Back to the Outlands, we see Homer get injured by a stupid idea and the family notices someone in the bush. Like I've said in previous reviews, their fallback joke is "Homer gets hurt" and that's it. In this episode alone, Homer chokes on talc, gets tarred and feathered and now gets sucked into an engine. Random physical humor is funny for only so long and it should not be the focus of a character. Anyways, it turns out to be Lenny Lenford (It's Lenny Leonard) and he asks to be a part of the society and Homer allows him in (I see where this is going, Trash of the Titans made sense for the town's relocation, this is just lazy). After Karl is allowed in as well, we see Moe arrive, then we cut to later as everyone in Springfield is there building a new Springfield... for some reason... logic? Why are they all moving here? There was nothing to indicate that Springfield was worse off than it was before and that the people would want to live here instead. Is it really that hard to include something like "Springfield was overrun by rats, so everyone moved to The Outlands"? It's almost as if this is a horrible lazy ending to try to achieve status quo, but maybe if I get some more fresh air I'll see things their way.
Springfield 2.0 was created after the Ebola virus burst out in Springfield 1
The episode ends with Skinner in Springfield (Which is perfectly fine... again I ask, why did everyone move?) as Bart comes by to pick Skinner up to move him to The Outlands as well along the way hitting him against random objects (And in the next episode, everyone will be back in Springfield like this move never happened).

Final Verdict: This episode sucks, but not nearly as much as the more recent episodes. The jokes were mostly bad, but there were a few decent ones, the story is unoriginal being a combination of Cape Feare, The Simpsons Movie and a sprinkle of Trash of the Titans. Like I said, they spent WAY too much time just getting the family evicted and as a result, their main...well I can't really call it a plot, doesn't start until the halfway mark. The WikiLeaks was entirely pointless and unfunny and overall the episode just felt very short. The ending was extremely lazy and felt rushed. Overall this maybe could've been decent, but I guess the air in the writing room wasn't fresh. Oh and please don't bring up how the family was a metaphor for the show (Banished for being jerks, "Rejected by society", everyone in Springfield misses them when they're gone) it's just the writing staff continuing to stroke their own egos like if they're good or something.

Final grade: 3.0/10 Nothing spectacular and rather forgettable, can't wait for them to announce that they'll be striving for 600 episodes

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Response to the Hurt Feelings of the Writers

Last night was the 500th episode (Aka just another example of why this show no longer cares about quality, but rather quantity). And of course I and about millions of ex-fans watched it purely for the number and a reminder that the 100th episode said it best about milestones with the chalkboard gag:

For the episode itself, it was 'meh' I'll go into more detail tomorrow about how unoriginal the story was and how lazy and stupid the ending was (There needs to be effort put in for why status quo is achieved). But by reading the title, that's not why you're here. As the episode ended, the staff decided to be oh so clever and tell the audience how they feel about people like me:
Translation: They Mad
Instead of being able to just put out an episode and wait for critique (Good and bad) they decided to tell everyone to fuck off and understand that this episode didn't suck. Well guess what, we all went outside, it still sucked! Newsflash writers: NOBODY LIKED YOUR ENDING! I have not seen one person actually defend the lazy ending or this middle finger to the audience. I've seen people like the beginning and middle, but a lot of people agreed that the ending was shit.

And now I pose a question to the writers if they aren't already crying into their hundred dollar bills because I don't kiss their asses on a weekly basis and voice an actual opinion: If you cannot handle criticism, why are you in the show business? Outside of professional sports, I can think of NO place worse than show business in terms of criticism, when you go to Hollywood and sign that contract, you give up the right to not accept criticism, you need to have thick skin to live in Hollywood, not everyone will say you're great or every idea you have is excellent, you WILL get negative feedback. Now if you're talented, that negative feedback will be at a minimum and you'll be able to shrug it off, but if you aren't talented, the negative feedback will pile up quickly. In your case, it's the latter. You could have gone three ways with this

  1. Accept the criticism and look for ways to improve, therefore making yourself better at your art.
  2. Block out the criticism and continue to do what you do.
  3. Block out the criticism and tell everyone criticizing you that they're wrong and you're right.
Now most successful people will take 1. Most people who burn out take 2, and Uwe Boll will take 3. Now, say what you will about guys like the Nostalgia Critic being unfunny or rude, at least when he was told that his Bart's Nightmare sucked, he owned up to it, he didn't tell us to go walk outside, he didn't say we didn't get it, he knew it was bad and apologized. Writers, I hope in  the future that, before, you submit a script for air, you go out for some fresh air. Maybe if you do, you'll finally start seeing the crappy jokes and horribly-written endings. Baby steps will lead to something good and hopefully a series finale that won't suck.

I'm Kriken and that's all I have to say

Monday, February 13, 2012

Episode 13: The Daughter Also Rises

Ugh... Lisa falls in love with a guy voiced by Michael Cera, a guy who hasn't been really relevant since 2010. Bart and Homer decide to "Parody" Mythbusters, because that hasn't been done a thousand times on Youtube already by talentless hacks. But hey, maybe, just maybe, in the hands of a competent writer, this episode might not be total crap, I mean, the last episode was so stupid that they couldn't possibly put a talentless writer on this and *Reads credits*... Lazebnik... Rob FUCKING Lazebnik... Rob "I can't possible write anything good to save my family" Lazebnik...actually in all irony, Rob Lazebnik's last writing credit was last year's Valentine's Day episode The Blue and the Gray. Eh could be worse, could be Brian Kelley injecting his misogynistic undertones into a Valentine's Day episode. Enough with the positives,onto the review itself.

The episode begins with Bart and Milhouse next to their Valentine's Day cards as they decide to watch a random Itachy and Scratchy cartoon (It's short, but even for I and S violence, this is random). They are interrupted when Kirk pokes his head through the window to remind Milhouse not to watch Itchy and the writers have officially given up on logic at the 2 minute mark, we're screwed. I mean Kirk just RANDOMLY appears outside of the Simpsons resident just for the sake of a piss-poor joke, is it really THAT hard to justify why a character would be at a certain place? I guess so because that would require effort on the part of the writing staff. As a result of Kirk's lone appearance (Never shows up for the remainder of the episode, I'm not lying) Bart changes the channel and on comes "Mythcrackers"... eh, give them credit, at least their parody wasn't called "Mythboosters".The again, that's the ONLY positive thing about this subplot, it's all downhill from here.
Next time on Mythbusters, our guys- Dammit Pete, you misspelled "Busters" again
As a result, Marge tells Bart and Milhouse not to watch TV, which leads to a series of scenes I call "We know other forms of viewing television" as it results in Bart and Milhouse watching the show at a monitor at a gas station... maybe it's because I'm an East Coast guy, but I have never seen a gas station with television monitors in the pumps. Nice to know that the writers can connect so well with the average Joes of America *Cough*Detached from reality*Cough*. Anyways, Mythbusters (I don't know how I mixed up those two shows...oops) decide to try one thing, but end up doing something completely different for the sake of EXPLOSIONS!!! Is this a parody of Mythbusters or Michael Bay films? I'm sorry but randomness does not equal comedy, especially given how the satire of this show used to be subtle. In other words, they would not announce what they were "Making fun of" while doing it, sorry, let's move on. So Bart and Milhouse decide to replicate what they did and they cause a cellphone to explode at the gas station, to which we get a "CONFIRMED" title placed over the scene (Wow, I'm so impressed by a title someone could make in Windows Movie Maker on top of an episode... yeah I really don't care for this running gag, it's just not funny). Back home, we see Homer getting ready for Valentines Day as Marge informs Homer that he can do whatever he wants for the day as her gift to him. Homer is a bit paranoid of this, but Marge insists that Homer take Bart somewhere and have fun.
My wife is cheating on me at this very moment, heh-heh-h- wait a second
Oh and in case you figure that this will lead into some clever "Homer suspects Marge is cheating on him on Valentine's Day" plot, you'd be wrong, this goes absolutely NOWHERE. I can literally sum up what happens in one sentence: Homer takes Bart to the batting cages and "hilarity" ensues.This is utterly pointless, there is no reason for Homer's quick paranoia or his scene, if they wanted to justify why Marge and Lisa would be alone on Valentine's Day, I've got a reason: Marge gives Homer tickets to a basketball game with Bart, Homer gives Marge tickets to a ballet, they agree to have a romantic evening when they get home. There, problem solved, why are these guys getting paid? So after a montage of Jerkass Homer and Bart enjoying themselves (Okay there is one decent joke with the tickets and the prize exchange, despite the fact that they have done it before) we see Marge and Lisa at a restaurant as Marge tries to start up a conversation with Lisa but decides that a bad salad bar joke is in order (Oh and Professor Frink shows up for one scene which is completely pointless... that makes it what? Two characters appearing randomly and then disappearing so far?)
Love at first sight Norman Bates style, how romantic
 Back at the table, Lisa looks through a crack and notices a boy reading A Farewell to Arms and gets spotted by said boy (Although given how he acts throughout the episode, calling him a "Boy" is VERY generous, I'm just going to call him a 30 year old midget from now on, and you'll see why). So the midget named Nick invites Lisa to the dessert bar where the writers pretend this scene is romantic when in reality it's about as sterile as the Star Wars Prequels (Maybe I'm exaggerating here, I mean I think I may have seen some emotion from Attack of the Clones). Lisa tells her name to Nick which is supposed to be a romantic scene, which you can understand why they feel the need to cut to Moe at Nick's table sticking his arm through the hole to offer Marge some pasta (Is the idea of letting a scene sink in considered unholy to this writing staff?). At school, we see Bart and Milhouse begin their mythbusting careers as they find out that a vending machine is ordinary (Oh and they decide to put in a cigarette joke that lacks subtlety and tries to hammer itself in because we couldn't possibly get the joke on the first 3 parts). Speaking of running a joke into the ground, we cut to Lisa and Nick as Lisa shows that if she cuts off her peripheral vision, it seems like Paris, we see this played out four times (Because we're too stupid to get it by the second time...seriously, are the test audiences mentally deficient or something?).
Come play with us Marge... come play with us
After a scene trying to make juice boxes seem high class (Please kill me, please kill me, please-) we cut to a quilt making shop as we see Marge with Sherri and Terri's family as Sherri and Terri start moving a la ball under cups I on drugs? Lisa then comes in and we begin to plant the seeds of false tension between Marge and Lisa (Ugh... it's Lisa Simpson, This Isn't Your Life all over again, NO! I'm not dealing with that shit today, let's move on!). Although there is ONE thing I want to point out, a third twin appears in the motion and they say "Or maybe you're losing your mind", yes Sherri, Terri and Berri, I am losing my mind at this point. Back at school, myth two involves swinging over the swingset and it proves to be false (*Yawn* how riveting, I could watch this for hou- ZZZZ). After a montage of Lisa and Nick (Along with some terrible jokes) we cut back home as Lisa decides to tell Marge about her crush on Nick (But not without Homer acting like and assclown...there are only so many words to describe my hated for "Jerkass Homer" and only a few that would get past the censors) and Marge allows Nick to come over for dinner (As long as Juliet is banned from this house, Nick can come over).
Marge: Why Nick, are you trying to seduce me?
Nick: Actually it's your daughter I'm interested in
The next night we see why I called Nick a 30 year old midget; Nick comes over with a bottle of wine while flirting with Marge and Maggie... eewwwwwww, now I will NEVER get that image out of my head, FUCK YOU LAZEBNIK! Actually I'm honestly trying to understand why he brought wine, Lisa is 8, Nick is... God only knows, but apparently he still lives with his mother, at no point does Nick actually act like a kid. Say what you want about Stewie from Family Guy or the kids from South Park, in the end, they still make child-like mistakes, they still have child-like innocence and ignorance. Nick never displays this, he always acts like he's in his late teens or early twenties from a sophisticated family (Which we never see by the way). As a result, Nick does not come across as charming, but rather as creepy. Anyways, Nick wants to take Lisa to some fair at the gym (Which given his character so far, seems like he's asking her out to the prom) and Marge begins to resent Lisa and Nick's relationship as it's taking Lisa away from her (And now we've got Dude, Where's my Ranch? included in this clusterfuck of a plot). So later, Lisa approaches Grampa at the Retirement Home (For some reason) and tells him about how she fells towards Marge's resentment. This inspires Grampa to tell Lisa about the story of Pyramus and Thisbe (For some other reason...) Anyways, Lisa points out the obvious comparisons... You cannot be serious writers!
The fine folks at Dizney would be insulted
Grampa ends the story by saying that their kiss turned them into a tree as it turns out, his story was Disney's version, complete with a talking parrot... excuse me a moment *Goes to scream expletives into a pillow* That joke was completely awful, forget about how they explained the joke, let's instead talk about how the show could actually make fun of Disney without seeming like complete assclowns in the process. I'm sorry, but this joke coupled with a double dose of Jerkass Homer in the story just makes that scene unbearable for me. Anyways, Lisa asks Grampa to help her on a romantic mission and he agrees (Wait a second, what was the plot again? Lisa meets Nick, Lisa falls in love with Nick, Marge gets jealous, Lisa wants to kiss Nick under a tree as a very romantic I missing something? Seems very lacking to me). Back at school, we see Bart and Milhouse to a school version of Bloody Mary in the girls bathroom as they get scared when Lunch Lady Doris comes in to wash her hands (Phil Hartman characters get respect when he dies, Doris Grau on the other hand... Fuck her, it's not like the writing staff should give two shits about her. Next they'll teabag her tombstone). So everyone is disappointed that all the myths were busted and Bart and Milhouse decide to team up with Willie to make a new myth up to scare everyone and thus that subplot ends.
What's the matter, you guys look like you've seen a ghost
So essentially we got "Bart and Milhouse are the hosts of Mythbusters"... does anyone else feel like this was just a promotion for Mythbusters rather than a parody of it? Like with The D'oh-Cial Network, instead of parodying the source material, the writers instead watch something and come up with the brilliant scheme of "We can put our characters in that movie/show". That is one of the laziest forms of writing and I weep for our future. Anyways, Grampa apparently gets chased by the cops as he's driving Nick and Lisa to an beach to get to an island as Grampa gets taken back while the kids run off (What was the point of the police? Oh right, for that amazing "Spanish TV" joke... ugh). Anyways, Nick begins to seem like a wimp while he and Lisa row to the island while Marge and the family drive to try to prevent Lisa and Nick from kissing on the island (There's just no end to this, is there?) After an unfunny, padded out watershoes gag (Not the last time it'll be used, I can assure you) Lisa and Nick get under the tree as Nick acts even more nerdy and Lisa says "Shut up and kiss me"... Lisa, the FEMINIST, feels the need to place her love for a boy over herself as an equal...THIS WRITING SUCKS!!!
Can you two move out of the way? We're trying to film Twilight
But just as Lisa is about to become a Barbie doll of a character, she gets a vision of Hemingway's wives and a marlin advising her not to go through with this...I think I must be on drugs, no sober person could possibly find this entertaining. Lisa decides against the kiss as Marge finally gets there to stop them. Nick admits that he's a fraud and heads back in the boat (Then what the fuck is he? I have no clue who this 30 year old midget is, is he a postman? Is he homeless? Is he part of the upper class? ANSWER ME!). Lisa tells Marge that she couldn't do it because a person you kiss under a Mulberry tree is someone you'll love for the rest of your life, and Marge proceeds to give Lisa a kiss on her head (How sweet... if only this episode wasn't shit, I may have cared). Marge and Lisa try to walk back to the shoreline as Homer for no reason grabs a fan boat and randomly sinks (How cute, the writers think they can be funny). The episode ends with Homer getting up saying "If a fat man stays still, he floats" as he sinks with a "MYTH CRACKED" sign over the screen (And the episode comes full circle, too bad the circle turned out to be two parallel lines).

Final Verdict: This episode SUCKED. The stories were boring and stupid with the main one being a "Lisa/Bart finds Boy/Girlfriend" story with no originality, the jokes were just awful and the padding was annoying. Nick is uninteresting, unappealing and underdeveloped and his character change in the final act is just jarring. I don't blame  Mike Cera, this script was awful he had nothing to work with here. Now this isn't AS bad as last year's Valentine's Day episode, but that's not saying much.

Final Grade: 1.5/10 Only way to watch this is with some Valentine's Day cocktails. Next time is the 500th episode, where the Simpsons go to Antartica... stop laughing, it's the actual plot

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Mountain of Madness

Finishing up this Winter wonderland at last. Bummer, probably going to go back to the crap