Thursday, March 22, 2012

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Episode 17: Them, Robot

Burns replacing his workforce with robots... sure why not? Oh but wait, Burns keeps the most essential employee he can keep: Homer. Yeah if you couldn't guess by now, this premise already pisses me off. but you know what? I can still keep an open mind here. Anyways, let's take a look at this.

Opening Sequence: 41 Seconds (Twice in a row, maybe they're actually learning)

The episode begins with Homer sleeping which causes a power outage with no real consequences on the rest of the episode... moving on. After a scene of Lenny and Carl play with the sleeping Homer, Mr. Burns gives afternoon announcements (In fairness, I felt like this was a decent short joke, maybe because I expected them to go way further than they really did) and tells everyone that the plant will be giving Physicals on Monday. After an unfunny random Asian guy smoking appears (Again, random does not equal funny, I don't know how many times I've said this). However, Burns informs them that alcohol will result in firing as well, which causes Homer to "D'oh!" so loud, he causes an earthquake that has no consequences on the remainder of the episode (While I did get a few chuckles out of some of the jokes, the scene is ruined for me by two things. 1) The cartoony idea that shouting causes an earthquake. 2) Like I said, this earthquake is inconsequential to the rest of the episode, it could have worked just as well (If not better) if we cut to people in China hearing him).
Now then the following employees will be sent for their execution: Lenny, Carl... bah too long, everyone but Homer
Oh and by the way, I've been noticing this throughout this particular season. One of the jokes has Ol' Gil being squashed by a brick wall and we can see he's bleeding badly, what I'm trying to get at here is that the staff seems to have this fixation that episodes EXCEPT the Treehouse of Horror should be bloody and violent. Seriously, I could name 5 episodes this season where there has been more blood and gore than this year's THoH, that's pathetic. At home, Homer tells everyone about how he needs to stay sober over the weekend as every family member decides to tell Homer he needs to do all this boring stuff that would make him want to drink beer (By the bye, if you want to see Homer's temptation for beer done correctly, see Duffless, it actually has FUNNY jokes and it's not mind-numbingly dull). After a pointless scene at a restaurant to remind us he can't drink (See previous suggestion) we see everyone prepare for their Physicals as everyone who took theirs do random drugs (Eh a bit funny, but I think just Lenny would have sufficed). Afterwards we see Mr. Burns talk to Hibbert and Blue-Haired Lawyer as they inform him that he is liable for paying his workers lots of money for their health care (Annoying app reference included, why would Burns of all people use an app for his trap door?).
FOX wanted you to see these ratings from the last 3 years, they're abysmal
Oh and by the way, we never find out if Homer passed or failed and really it becomes inconsequential whether or not ANYONE passed or failed seeing as they all get fired in the next scene... writing at it's finest folks scenes that make the first 5 minutes completely pointless. Burns then introduces the employees his staff of robots as the first thing he tells them is that the employees will train them to be their replacements (A scene which never happens). Okay, I find this lazy in execution, first off announcing your evil intentions in forced dialogue is never a good thing. Second, if I could pitch an idea here: the workers train the robots, but halfway through they find out about the replacement scheme, so they sabotage the robot's training in various ways, i.e. teaching them sloth, taking long breaks, wrong ways to handle certain protocol, and so forth. Granted it's not the best idea, but considering the meandering of Homer and the bots for half of the episode, I don't think my idea is any worse. Where was I, oh right, the robots, Burns fires everyone and as everyone is leaving, Smithers recommends that Burns keep ONE human employee around to take care of the human aspect of the plant (Logic dictates that Smithers is that one human employee, let's see how well that works out). So Homer comes storming into Burns' office to have a bi-polar moment as Burns forgets that Homer is incompetent and decides to re-hire Homer.
Wait! I need someone to stay around to make these bland robots look interesting in comparison
Okay, while this is stupid beyond belief, it's better than Burns legitimately thinking Homer should be the one employee he hires back. I don't like this, but not as much as I thought I would when I read the premise. After Smithers is given the boot by Burns (Again, Smithers could have been the human employee, but noooooo....) we see Homer go in for work as he decides to try to chat it up with the robots which leads into a scene I like to call "Shut the fuck up you stupid jerkass! You're not funny, now go die!!!", I think I lost control there for a second. But seriously, it's a scene where Homer repeats the same joke over and over being louder and louder until a bot shocks him, just for him to repeat the process. To whichever writer thought this was funny, I recommend that they get a screwdriver, a hammer, and plenty of towels. After a scene at Moe's Tavern to establish that everyone is out of work, we get another scene of Homer meandering at work as he tries to reprogram the robots so he can talk to them. After a few failed attempts (And they butcher the "Robots feeling pain" joke that was mastered in Lisa the Skeptic, seriously, THAT version was funny) he gets them to talk and they become his friends now. Oh and by the way, the robots are voiced by Brent Spiner, most notable for his role in Star Trek as Data. I found that amusing and I'll admit to Mr. Price himself, this is not just a guest star for the sake of a guest star, still doesn't make up for 80% of the episodes where they have 3  or so guest stars just standing around saying their names.
The robots caused all this because?
We then see that the town is basically a ghost town because Burns' robots are causing unemployment everywhere because... I honestly don't know the reason, there is no explanation outside of "Burns replaced his own workers with robots". There's no inidcation that the other businesses did that, or did Burns buy out all the businesses? Dear God this plot hole confuses me, WHY?! Why is the unemployment rate 99%? What did hiring robots at the power plant have to do with every other business in Springfield?! ANSWER ME! Okay the closest explanation I can think of is that because all the power plant employees lost their paychecks, it affected the businesses they would normally go to. One problem with that explanation though, the time interval given appears to only be about a few days, a week at most, there would not be this much unemployment and poverty after one week. This sin't the Great Depression we're talking about here, it's a lazy plot hole with no real affect on the story. Why did I put so much more thought into this than the writers? Oh right, because for some unknown reason I actually CARE. After a pointless flashback (With an unfunny origin story about Moe's face. Oh and to be completely honest, I didn't even realize that was Moe, for some reason I thought that was young Wiggum, seriously, the initial voice sounds more like Wiggum than Moe) as we see some of the ex-employees at their new "jobs" Lenny is a windshield washer on the streets, Smithers is a substitute teacher, and Barney... wait a second, Barney was unemployed before this, why is he affected here?! Dear God, do the writers think Barney works at the Power Plant? I thought that was a bad throw-away joke, but I'm not sure anymore given their awful writing.
Homer: It's so nice to be around so many things that are as lifeless as I am
Back at the Power Plant, Homer talks to the bots as he finds out that they can only travel along a yellow line, this gives Homer the idea to paint a yellow line and he plays baseball with them (Totally NOT padding, this was essential. Do you see what I meant when I said Homer meanders with the robots? Nothing actually gets done in this plot). EDIT: They never follow the rules of the yellow line system, they only introduce it here for a sight gag of Homer painting a yellow line and then the robots can move wherever they feel like it afterwards, who says you need consistency within a minute of establishing something? Really the only things that get accomplished in these scenes are a bunch of "Homer says something and the bots take it literally" misunderstandings. So after a robot hits a homerun, Homer goes out into the street to retrieve the ball and is about to get hit by a truck. Fortunately (From the Writers POV) a robot sacrifices itself to save Homer, Homer tries to comfort the robot, but of course seeing as the writers don't know when to end a joke, about a dozen or so more robots get hit by cars trying to protect Homer. Remember how I complained that the "Edward saving Lisa from cars" in the Twilight section of THoH 21 was stretched out? This is FAR worse, it goes on longer. After Homer burns all the broken bots, he gets frustrated with them to the point where he decides to reprogram them all. This of course backfires and they all want to kill Homer (Please kill him!).
Burns: Will you please kindly get out of my house? No? Oh, well you can stay then
After a slow chase scene of the robots and Homer, we cut to Burns' manor as Homer tells Burns to save him from the robots. Burns of course tells him no, as he looks out for only himself and- oh wait he takes Homer in to protect him from the robots...I keep forgetting that the writers have forgotten what Burns' character is supposed to be. Burns then releases the hounds against them, aw yeah hounds vs robots, this is gonna be intense, this is gonna be funny, this is gonna- I just realized I put in the expectations of competency in this scene. My standards are too high at this point. So the hounds get their asses kicked and as a result, they turn on Burns and Homer, *sigh* remember when Burns and the hounds were intimidating? Neither do the writers. After Burns and Homer hide from the hounds and the robots, the robots catch up to them in a greenhouse as  suddenly everyone appears out of nowhere to save them from imminent death and they all destroy the robots (Of course how they all knew Burns and Homer were in trouble is beyond me, the writers and any sense of logic, it's almost like to the writers quality in their stuff is somewhere on the bottom of their priorities list). So after they are saved, Burns re-hires everyone as temps, and the episode ends with Homer going fishing with one of the bots until it self-destructs.

Final Verdict: This episode was rather dull, while it did have its fair share of jokes, it doesn't make up for the stupid premise and bland execution. Taking one-shot jokes and turning them into entire storylines haven't been kind to this writing staff in the past and this was no exception. Really while I liked this better than last week's episode, that's partially because I have lowered my standards and they're all still lame.

Final Grade: 3.4/10 just rather forgettable.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Episode 16: How I Wet Your Mother

Oh goodie an Inception-based episode about two years after Inception was released in theaters. Eh, they're about on time with this dated plot given how the show runs. Let's see, they've already done Social Network, Despicable Me, Black Swan, and The King's Speech which leaves us True Grit, How to train Your Dragon, Scott Pilgram vs the World, Kick-Ass and Shutter Island for them to "parody" within this season. And I would bet my soul that at least ONE more 2010 movie will be referenced either in the title or the plot itself because the writers don't understand their own lazy scheduling causes their episode to be dated before they even air. Whatever, let's begin this horrid mess of an episode.

Opening sequence: 25 seconds. Hot damn they actually did something right

The episode begins with Smithers going into a supply closet and accidentally causes a Plutonium rod to prop the door open (Random Portal reference by the way. Pros: It was short and they didn't explain the joke. Con: It was random). Homer, Lenny and Karl pass by and as Karl closes the door, Homer slides in to prevent it from locking, thus he gets his head caught in the doorway (You know, I'm all for physical comedy, I really am. But the writers have run the "Physical abuse against Homer" joke into the ground so deep, not even the first time in an episode can I find it funny, I just know it'll be beaten into the ground about 9 more times per episode). Anyways, after a bunch of employees steal some stuff, we see Burns walking outside as Homer decides to floor it and escape with all the supplies he looted (I know this might sound stupid later, but what does this have to do with Homer's bed wetting problems or why the family goes into Homer's dreams? Just because the set up doesn't HAVE to be related to the rest of the episode doesn't mean you can't make sense). The next day, Burns addresses how he's fed up with them stealing their stuff (Barney stands up to object to which Burns points out how he doesn't work there. I would find this funny if not for the fact that in The Falcon and the D'ohman Barney is at the Plant and they treat it like he DOES work there. That's just pointing out their horrible writing).
Now then, because I like this man, you should all worship him like a God
Burns then says that Homer was the only person NOT caught stealing stuff (So wait, all those people who got out before Homer did got caught? HOW DOES THIS WORK?! Goddammit writers, you don't even understand basic logic, why should I respect you?) and because of this, he tries to use Homer as a good example for the rest of the employees (This may have worked in the earlier seasons where Burns kept forgetting who Homer was, but that character trait was dropped and he knows that Homer is a lazy bum. UGH, how is it they can't go 30 seconds without contradicting themselves?). As a result, Homer is given the day off while the rest of the employees have to write 30-page essays about how good Homer is (No writers, I will NOT write a 30 page essay about how good you guys are at writing, it would require you to not suck). Seriously, a lot of these recent episodes have felt like bad self-insertion fanfiction where they make a character good at something and everyone wants us to know just how good that character is at that something. Writers, get your heads out of your asses and write these guys as actual characters and not Mary Sues we should all love.
Homer: You know the best part about being poorly written Bart? Everyone loves me in the end
Anyways, we cut to the lake as Homer is fishing with Bart, and Bart asks how Homer hasn't been dealing with bad things due to karma and Jarkass Homer decides to be loud and obnoxious about how everything good goes his way (Because Jerkass Homer has no real character, this scene loses any attempt at humor or irony). The next morning, Homer wakes up to find out he's wet the bed, which he's never done before... ten bucks says the resolution to this will be utterly bullshit and disappointing, who wants in? Homer tries to hide his bed wetting when he asks Marge where the washing machine is as this causes suspicion between Marge and the kids Oh, by the way, as recently as Lost Verizon Homer was next to the washing machine, you see, this is what happens when your show is on for too long; certain character traits and jokes just cannot work if you put the slightest bit of logic into them. After Homer fights with his brain, we cut to the next day where apparently he has pissed himself all over his body (Great, the episode has fully devolved into toilet humor >.<) Okay at this point I have to ask a simple question that clearly the writers didn't ask: How does Marge not notice this? She's out of bed both times and the stench of urine is not something people can mistake as Febreze, it's these sort of plot holes the old writers spent hours on into the early morning ironing out, for these guys it's just simply "First draft of the script done? Let's go get hammered!" They want to put in as little effort as possible and get that paycheck.
Toilet humor is always funny, right?
Anyways, Apu appears in a dream bubble telling Homer it's Karma that's causing him to wet his bed. So Homer decides he needs to apologize to the employees for what he did (What did he do again? Oh right, he threw them under the bus, sorry that sequence was just so bland, I didn't even care). So at Homer's apology picnic (Which he could somehow afford... I don't know maybe he sold a kidney or maybe he really DID discover Julius Caesar's Gold offscreen). Because of this, they forgive Homer which makes him believe that his bed wetting problem is over. However the next morning, he wet himself again, causing him to go out and get something to deal with his problem (And again, Marge has no idea what's going on despite sleeping with this man, it's those little things that prevent one from pointing out obvious plot holes like this). So Homer installs his "Uralarm" which has a loud police light attached to a pad to go off when it detects urine (A joke only works if it makes sense. How would a loud alarm be helpful? How would that keep Homer's newfound bed wetting problem a secret? Ugh, I sense a bad joke coming up where everyone finds out Homer's secret in the middle of the night). Later that night, the alarm goes off waking everybody up and they all go to figure out what the sound was (A child with a nail in their eye saw that coming a mile away). Anyways, Homer tries to tell the kids that Marge also wets the bed (UGH) and we see later Homer and Marge making out as Homer's wearing an adult diaper... these writers have a sick sense of humor.
Thank God the plot dropped in to help Marge out
Wait, the writers don't have a sense of humor, my bad. After Homer tries to make the diaper look sexy (My eyes! The goggles do nothing!) Marge decides to take a midnight stroll and she runs into Professor Frink who just happened to have exploded her way (You know what, at this point I'm not even going to bother bringing up how they killed him in season 20 as part of a joke and just assume he got better after choking on that poison). After Professor Frink tells Marge he learned about Homer's bedwetting through Twitter (I thought it was Spring-Twit, oh wait he only said "Tweeted" and "Retweeted" but I bet he would have called it Twitter if given the chance. They've already abandoned the idea that Facebook was non-existent) Frink then informs Marge that he has created a device that allows someone to enter someone else's dreams and explore their subconscious. Okay a few problems here
  1. You already created that device in Eternal Moonshine for the Simpsons Mind (Which actually would be a better Inception parody than this one despite coming out two years before the movie)
  2. He doesn't even know WHY Homer is wetting the bed. Bed wetting isn't always psychological, it could be medical, who knows? That is the equivalent of telling someone you're afraid of dogs and they recommend you go to China for the Summer
Lisa: So let me get this straight, we're going to do an Inception parody and not make any jokes whatsoever?
Frink: Correct
Lisa: This new format sucks
Anyways, Frink hooks everyone up to the machine and they all get put into Homer's dream (At the 9 minute mark no less. Took them long enough to get to their crap-tastic Inception ass-kissing, er I mean parody). We then see Homer skiing down a mountain (Couldn't even bother coming up with someplace original I see). After some chit-chat, the family follows Death on a snowmobile, after Homer sees the coffin say "Marriage" they fall off a cliff where Frink informs them via horrible joke that if they die in the dream, they die in real life (Please die! Please die! Please die!). After falling some more (Easy opportunity for a "What's taking so long?" joke) Lisa says they should dream in the dream so that they can delay the fall since time will be slowed down in the second level. Okay, HOW?! I know this rule is explained in the movie, Inception is one of my favorite films. But they've already broken the rules that were actually established in the movie, so how Lisa would know this works comes out of nowhere. Frink never explains this and like I said, the writers disobey how the machine actually works and what happens when you die in stage one of a dream. The only reason the man would die in stage one as explained by the movie was because they were under HEAVY sedation, here they're just knocked out and software is not updated. So the rules of Inception are void unless verified by Frink, the person who understands this machine. The movie made sense: all the characters who knew things about how infiltrating dreams worked had previous experience, they knew their stuff. Here, Lisa just HAPPENS to know that it'll work despite just finding out that dying in a dream will not wake you up. The writers don't even understand their own logic here. Long rants are long, let's move on.
Hey I saw it in a movie, therefore is HAS to work
So after Lisa's plan works (So I guess they're back to following the rules of Inception) we see the family a la The Tracy Ullman Show waiting in a room. While I'll admit, this in-joke is a bit funny, they screw it up a few ways here:

  1. Instead of actually having their references to the shorts make sense, all the characters just spout them out. References still need context. For example, Bart burps, to which Homer tells him to fetch him a baloney sandwich. You guys are in a waiting room, where the fuck do you think Bart is going to get a baloney sandwich from?
  2. Because the characters have changed (Jerkass Homer, Know-it-all douche Lisa) the bits don't work as well
By the way, a total of 5 shorts are referenced here, none of which make sense in context. You know what this reminds me of? There was a Pearls Before Swine strip where 4 punchlines from 4 different comics were used by the main characters. Out of context, the punchlines didn't make sense, but that was the joke, all the punchlines, none of the buildup. Instead, here they are referenced just for the sake of referencing. Anyways, the family is called back to the therapists' office where they open the coffin to reveal fish. They go into another level of dreaming, to which they ignore Lisa's dream and go into another level of dreaming. 
No, if you're going to go for taking all of Inceptions ideas, those buildings should be crumbling
So inside the fourth layer of dreams, we see Homer's dreams as basically a knock-off of Cobb's 4th layer but instead, the buildings are made of food and beer. Anyways, the next two minutes are spent as the family wanders around "Admiring" this dream with random occurrences as the road going up at a 90 degree angle a la Ariadne warping Cobb's dream and a bunch of Moes. Back in the real world, Frink is sitting around as Wiggum and the police bust in to order Frink to shut the machine off... why? No seriously, this scene is NEVER explained in the episode. Who called the police to inform them of this? Why is it a crime that the inventor of a machine be allowed to use said machine? Why do the police care? Why didn't the writers put any effort into this? Anyways, as a result from Frink and Wiggum fighting, the 4th level begins to collapse and it results in beer spilling over and almost killing the family. After admittedly a funny fight scene between Frink and Wiggum (Still doesn't justify his existence in this scene) the family is saved by Death who turns out to be Mona Simpson to help Homer find out why he's dealing with his problem (I smell bullshit explanation). Mona takes them to a theater where we discover that one Summer, Homer and Abe went fishing as Homer asks if Abe and Mona were fighting the other night. Abe lies to Homer and after Homer capsizes the boat, we find out that weeks later, Abe and Mona split up, leading Homer to believe that he caused their divorce... *Bangs head against wall* UGH, where do I begin with this?
Homer: Oh God this is horrible
Mona: This is next week's episode
Homer: Why do you think I said it was horrible?
  1. Did the writers just never see Mother Simpson? Homer never blamed himself for their divorce. And really this episode seems to hate that episode, seeing as it was good and gave Homer some closure with his mother for why she had to leave him.
  2. Again with the problem of a show with as much history as this one. The conclusion they come to is that the fishing incident caused Homer's bed wetting problem, I'm pretty damn sure he's fished before and was perfectly okay. How sad is it that the hypnosis from The Blunder Years would make more sense for Homer's problem here?
So the writers know about the shorts, but cannot remember something as basic as Mother Simpson? Why are these guys employed? Oh right, they are blackmailing Jean and would go nowhere if they wrote on their resume "Wrote for the last 4 seasons of The Simpsons". Might as well write "Financial adviser for Enron" on your resume, you'd stand a better chance. Anyways, Mona tells Homer that it wasn't his fault for their divorce (Something he discovered in Mother Simpson, no I'm not letting that go) and she tells them to wake up from their dream states (Too bad they didn't set up any way to wake themselves up in each dream state, they're all screwed). 
And the top would spin forever, thus making the past 10 seasons not exist
But of course, the writers can't figure out which logic they want to use and the family proceeds to wake up from each dream state until they're all back in reality (So Inception logic is back off, God dammit writers, logic is not like a light switch, you can't just turn it on and off when you feel like it). After Wiggum pulls the plug, Homer realizes he's cured and his family congratulates him. The episode ends with Marge giving Homer a top to spin to see if they're in a dream or the real world (Wait a second, the totem system was never brought up before this scene. NO! You can't just introduce a concept like this with no set up in the episode and expect us to buy it you lazy hacks!) and after they think it's still a dream, they go off to bike naked only to find out it's reality. Hardy-har-har, oh thank God this is over.

Final Verdict: This was bad, not as bad as some of the others, but still very bad. The whole bed wetting plot was painful and unfunny, the plot point about karma is dropped at about the halfway mark with a very lazy resolution, the jokes were hit and miss, more good ones here than in a lot of other recent episodes though. And the parody of Inception was horribly written with it being basic Modern Simpsons "Hey, let's put our characters in this movie" logic and the jokes were mostly terrible. I would not recommend this and even though Insheeption was a better parody of the movie than this piece of junk, despite the main parody being a parody of a College Humor clip.

Final Grade: 2.8/10 I wish this episode was a dream

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Bart Mangled Banner

An episode that Friedberg and Setlzer personally endorsed 
Special Thanks to Rosenhacker:

Monday, March 5, 2012

Episode 15: Exit Through the Kwik-E-Mart

Oh look an episode about Apu, thank God, for a moment I had thought the writers had forgotten he was an actual character and that there were characters outside the family they could focus an episode on. Wait nevermind, I'm still thinking that the writing staff is competent and would make an episode where the main plot centers around what the title implies it would center around, my bad. Without further ado, let's take a look at this.

Opening sequence: 1:07 (P.S. if anyone can tell me what they were referencing I'd like to know) EDIT: The opening sequence was Game of Thrones, found out before I published this but forgot to change it, my bad

The episode begins (In Springfield no less... pay up everyone, they never mentioned the Outlands, why would they?) with Lisa waking up Homer to inform him that he needs to get Marge a Birthday present since her birthday is tomorrow, and Homer informs her that he's already gotten it much to the shock of Lisa. While I'll admit the beer joke got a chuckle out of me, the rest of the scene was 'meh' Lisa reaction to Homer caring about Marge left me a bit uneasy and the name of the present (Puree-Station 3) wasn't funny and in my opinion, they left it up on screen too long as if to say "Do you get it? It's a PS3 joke!" I mean we live in an era where although VCRs are dead, Tivos and other recording devices are a aplenty and finding freeze-frame jokes isn't as hard anymore. Freeze frame jokes are actually EASIER today and yet the writers never allow that kind of joke to just sit in the background. Dear God did I just get into a rant about freeze-frame jokes? My apologies, let's continue.
Did you miss it the first time? Don't worry, they only show it 7 more times
Anyways, Homer tells Lisa that he will be getting the food processor signed by the woman on the box as they head on over to "Swapper Jack's"... while admittedly it's better than a lot of their parody names any particular reason for Trader Joe's? Ah forget it, it's not like there's this Mega-Store that could quite possibly compete with the Kwik-E-Mart for the Simpsons' business anyways, oh wait. Anyways, once inside, the writers feel the need to place in more food-related jokes (None of which are funny) to which Apu appears out of nowhere after Homer suggests that they might not need to go to the Kwik-E-Mart anymore (Oh the writers remembered that Apu is a character and not a means for a plot device *Cough*Homer the Father*Cough*). A group of people then join the Simpsons to argue to Apu that his store is crap and that Trader Joe's (No I'm not addressing bad jokes) is where they'll be shopping from now on (And in the next episode, it'll be like this place never existed). Apu is then  insulted and grabs a toothpick sword and thus begins a fight between Homer and Apu with these swords...I love how they play this scene seriously as if to indicate that if Homer were to be stabbed, he would die.
My name is Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, you killed my son, prepare to die!
Anyways, after...that Apu gets tackled and wrapped up in a Hawaiian shirt by some employees and gets taken out, thus allowing Homer to get the box signed (So everyone, say it with me: that scene was entirely pointless). After Homer gets Paula Paul to sign it, she tells Homer that she will call Marge live on tomorrow's show to wish her a happy Birthday. Must... resist... pointing out... how the writers... think... the family... is the center... of the universe... instead I'll just assume that Paula does this for everyone who comes by her book signings, yes that'll do nicely. Anyways, we see Lisa get Marge an apron, Bart get Marge a bunny (Because she had one growing up apparently, okay I'll buy it for now, no complaints) and right before Homer allows Marge to open his present to her, he stands by the phone (Moved to the dining room for convenience) and waits for the call. After 3 hours, we see that they haven't gotten the call and Marge decides to open the gift anyways.
It's a good thing that the clock and phone were installed there yesterday
She loves the gift, but Homer thinks that she loves it out of pity because Paula didn't call and he decides to give Paula a piece of his mind (Ah yes, when someone makes a vague promise in a public area without knowing enough information to proceed with said promise, you should always act like an ass). Homer finds out that the phone is dead and he finds out that the bunny chewed through the cord of that phone as he's seeing the bunny chew through another cord (Doesn't the family have a phone in the kitchen? You know the white one right next to the fridge? Hello logic? Consistency? Bueller?). Anyways, Lisa decides to listen to the answering machine as they find out that Paula tried calling multiple times and ended up getting angry after calling her four times. Okay I have to ask a question, why does Paula care so much about a woman she's never met, I would think a woman of her fame would call once, realize Marge isn't answering and leave it at that. Seriously, this sounds more like what a crazy fan would do if they found the number of their idol.
Ah yes, she's wearing new perfume from Calvin Klein: Obsession for bitches
Anyways, we see that Paula will not let this go as 3 hours after those calls, she's still upset that Marge didn't answer and she's trying to make her look like a demon on television (Plot hole: They have a drawing of Marge, yet as I said before, Paula never actually saw Marge. That's one hell of a coincidence). Also, as mentioned before I love how the writers think that she would obsess this much over a fan, GET OVER IT PAULA! It's one person, you apparently have thousands if not millions of fans, stop obsessing over Marge. After Marge decides to go upstairs, Homer is about to strangle Bart but he decides against it and instead has Bart go into the rabbit cage...because why not? By the way, you can see another phone in the background, why that phone didn't ring is a mystery. If they wanted to say that THAT phone's phoneline was chewed through as well, I'd accept that, but they draw it in and treat it like it doesn't exist. I give up. Later we see Homer about to let Bart out of the cage, but he doesn't want out of the cage.
I'm coming out of my cage, and I've been doing just fine
So after a scene of Homer forcing Bart out of the cage (Another scene that goes on far too long) we see Bart and Milhouse in the Treehouse as they finish some stencils in an attempt to humiliate Homer with graffiti. Dear God, it's the plot! And it only took us 9 minutes to get there...WHY?! And why am I actually surprised at this point? Soon we'll get plots that don't start until the 15 minute mark. We then get a montage of how Bart has gone everywhere (And I do mean everywhere) to spray this stencil in an attempt to humiliate Homer (Oh and please DO NOT mention in the comments about how these stencils are references to certain designs, I do not care). Anyways, after Homer misses the obvious (And a pointless Wiggum appearance) we see the news talk all about the graffiti and how they've dubbed it "Mr Fatso" to which Homer STILL has it fly over his head (Even in Angry Dad Homer was able to notice how the cartoon was about him. He's dumb, but not this dumb).
Nice to see Bart go the extra mile to get that shading down
P.S. the can says red but sprays black
Anyways, Wiggum gives the dumbest warning to whoever the graffiti artist is (And no, not a "Wiggum" dumb I mean "This isn't funny" dumb). Later, we see Apu appear at Trader Joe's as he points a gun at Jailbird (Who is a cashier) as it goes nowhere (I'm assuming this is the subplot, but it's so uninteresting I could care less). Anyways, we see Bart prepare for more vandalism as we partake in another montage... yippee (P.S. Way to try to over complicate a simple season 1 joke. You suck at fanservice). Afterwards, Bart and Milhouse get chased by some people who reveal themselves to be street artists who specialize in artistic graffiti.Oh great now we get to dive into Bart is a master graffiti artist, so much so that professional artists have come to meet him in Springfield. And don't bring up how Bart has been a graffiti vandal, his graffiti was crude and looked like that of a kid's work, not what we're seeing today. After they extend an invitation for Bart to be the center of an art show, he agrees and they all split when the cops come out.
You see Bart, the writers think you're the next Picasso so we thought we'd  come for one scene to see if that was true
We then see Apu closing up the Kwik-E-Mart as Manjula informs him that the Trader Joe's got shut down due to monkeys being passed for chickens and all is okay... was this subplot really needed? We had all of three scenes and nothing was accomplished here, what was the point of having the Kwik-E-Mart in the title of the episode if it has ONE appearance in the entire episode and is mentioned in a grand total of three scenes. Was it too hard to come up with a title that would make sense for Bart's plot? Anyways, we then cut to Homer walking Santa's Little Helper and the bunny (Never named and will never be seen again after this episode) as Homer still cannot make the connection about the graffiti (I guess Homer's diet consists of lead paint and mercury). Milhouse approaches Bart about the show and Homer overhears that "Mr. Fatso" is him (Ha-ha-ha what wit, Homer not realizing this for 5 minutes and all the misunderstandings that followed, it wasn't like this felt the least bit forced at all...COMEDY! DO YOU SPEAK IT WRITERS?!)
Homer: What the? Bart has been insulting me all this time? What Should I do?
Anyways, at the art show, we see everyone likes Bart's work, but it turns out to be a dream as he wakes up to Homer strangling him over the graffiti. I've said it in past reviews, when Homer strangles Bart, it's supposed to be impulsive, here he had PLENTY of time to think about this and he decides to strangle Bart while he's sleeping, thus he had the intent of murdering Bart over art... I didn't think it was possible to outsuck the "Homer choking on a noose while Bart prank texts Moe" or the "Homer tries to commit suicide in front of his kids and they could care less" YOU HAVE REACHED A NEW LOW!!!
Homer: Well thank God I had 8 hours to think of how I'd react to that
So after Homer's  attempted murder of Bart, he walks away feeling like a disappointment to his son (Maybe if Homer breaks the neck of Nelson, he'll gain Bart's respect). At the show, Homer doesn't attend which upsets Bart as he apologizes to Homer in the form of graffiti and thus that riff is over (All of 30 seconds, the emotional tension was amazing). As Bart is giving a speech, Wiggum appears from nowhere to arrest Bart for his graffiti as he reveals the whole art show was a sham. Wiggum then reveals that one of the artists was an undercover cop who set Bart up. As Bart is getting handcuffed by Eddie, Marge asks for him not to get arrested and the episode ends with Bart being put in the rabbit cage as he signs autographs and poses for photos for everyone as he escapes the cage through the power of magic (Rushed endings are rushed).

Final Thoughts: The episode was mediocre at best, neither plot flowed at all, the Marge's Birthday setup was entirely pointless (Seriously, does Bart need to be put in a cage for him to be angry at Homer?) and the Kwik-E-Mart subplot had no effort put into it as it was just a collection of scenes pasted together. The jokes weren't funny and the writing was terrible. And like I said above, the scene where Homer strangles Bart in his sleep was a pathetic low even for this staff, to even fathom the idea that child abuse in that nature could be seen as a joke is just sickening, but one scene does not make an episode.

Final Grade: 2.2/10 Rather boring and uninteresting