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


  1. Be careful the writers might cry again.

    1. Let them, I'm not going to fall for their "trap"

    2. You really think the people behind this episode can even DEFINE trap?

  2. I didn't like the ending as it was really rushed & the characters showed a 180 degree mood shift where they went from "we hate you all" to "we are acting friendly again" (especially Moe), but when I REALLY disliked was that they stopped using Grandpa after the meeting.

    I mean, WHY INCLUDE HIM IF YOU WILL ABANDON HIM LATER?! If he wasn't included, I would wonder why, but at least they would've been consistent with his appearences. Here he is in the house, he goes to the meeting, and then he's gone (also there's a cameo of him SMILING when the family is being evicted & Homer is tarred and feathered). Would it have taken so much effort to draw him in the car later, make him say some joke about why he likes the Outlands & just keep him around in the background?! Clearly yes.

    Also, minor complaint but the family takes the pets with them (but not Grandpa) in the car but then they vanish. I know the pets are moslty background characters usually, but if you take the time to include the pets, INCLUDE GRANDPA TOO!!!!!!!!

    I'm sorry for the rant, as I enjoyed the episode (minus the rushed ending), but how they used Grandpa REALLY bothered me. (Thinking about it he was only at the house to make that stupid dragon joke, but still the inconsistency with Grandpa in this episode REALLY irked me).

    1. Well for a lot of the episodes of recent, characters do randomly appear and disappear. You mentioned Kirk in the previous episode. I don't know anything about the writing process, but I figure that they introduce a character for the sake of a joke (In this case the dragon joke) but the character is forgotten about because they were used for the joke and not the story. That's one of the things about the show I don't like and the writers haven't shown that they've learned this yet.

      But like you said, it wouldn't have been hard to at least put them in as background characters, it may have been lazy to JUST have them as background characters, but at least they would have had a purpose in the other scenes.

  3. Homer Likes Max’s Voice.

    This Jokes.

    Everyone Sings to Happy Birthday to Chief Wiggum, Seven Elephants Spited and Trumpeted and Laughed.

    Marge Likes Max’s Voice.

    This Jokes. Everyone Sings To Happy Birthday To Reverend Lovejoy, Ten Zebras Spited and Neighing and Laughed.

    This Is So Funny.