Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Episode 18: Beware My Cheating Bart

Ah yes, that break was bit too long for me, back to mediocrity. Okay before I even talk about this episode, let me address something that wasn't worth it's own post because it wasn't news. Springfield, despite what you may have read is NOT in Oregon. So you may be saying "But Matt said it was!" actually NO he didn't, let's read the quote together:

Springfield was named after Springfield, Oregon. The only reason is that when I was a kid, the TV show “Father Knows Best” took place in the town of Springfield, and I was thrilled because I imagined that it was the town next to Portland, my hometown. When I grew up, I realized it was just a fictitious name. I also figured out that Springfield was one of the most common names for a city in the U.S. In anticipation of the success of the show, I thought, “This will be cool; everyone will think it’s their Springfield.” And they do.

Allow me to point out one thing in particular that made the whole "OMG SPRINGFIELD IS IN OREGON" stories complete bullshit.

"Springfield was named after Springfield, Oregon..."

Read it with me now: NAMED after a town in Oregon. Plus Matt has said this MULTIPLE times in commentaries and other places. Why would it be so special now? One word: Publicity. The Simpsons have reached all time lows in their rating sinking under 5 million viewers not once, but TWICE this season which are both all-time lows (Update: so much for publicity, this managed to sink under 5 million as well, making it the second least watched in history). But an obvious publicity stunt is obvious, it has no meaning on the show today... except that the staff felt the need to plug it into their opening. *Sigh* And given how little the staff understands irony, I doubt that was meant to be ironic, but rather meant to be taken serious. Anyways, rant over, let's begin

Opening sequence: 1:40 (Already addressed the piss-poor Oregon thing, but the couch gag was nice, at first but there was no reason for it to last that long)

The episode begins with Homer taking Bart and Milhouse to the movies (And by movies, I mean terrible outdated "parodies" of movies, with one simply being called "Horrible Premise." How sad is it that the laziest poster is also the best?) where Homer takes them to go see "Happy Little Elves II: The Sequelf"... Okay let's see the second Alvin and the Chipmunks movie came out December 2009 (So closer to 2010) so that makes this about two years dated... PERFECT TIMING for the reference! So after Homer drops them off, he heads over to the food court where of course, he eats a lot (Lemme guess, a fat joke coming up?) Afterwards, Homer walks a short distance but gets winded almost instantly (*Sigh* Homer's fat and he's the victim of "physical abuse for the sake of comedy" his only two character traits according to the writers). So Homer is approached by a store owner and is brought into the store. By the way, the shop owner? Never given a name, and they even go out of their way to say he's nameless. 3 seconds of effort?! Pffft- yeah right. So the nameless shop owner asks Homer if he wants to live longer (By the way, he instantly calls him Homer despite them never meeting and Homer never saying his name. Giving a shit?! BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA, you must think this show is written by people who care).
Now I know you can't afford this, but through the power of lazy writing
you'll be able to own this with NO consequences against you
So Nameless McLazy (Yeah it's pathetic, I apologize) shows Homer a state-of-the-art treadmill with so many features he would never use. Homer claims he can't afford it, but in the end McLazy gets him to buy it (Oh quick sidenote, the joke of "I can't afford 300 a month" followed by "Can you afford 10 a day?" did crack a chuckle partly because it was short and they didn't feel the need to explain it). So even though I just praised a joke in that scene, it still bugs me that a man of his paycheck would be able to afford something like that. I guess I could just wave it off as "Borrowed credit he couldn't afford and thus he gets deeper in debt" but considering how irrational purchases made in Modern episodes have NO consequences, I'm going to say no and call out the bullshit from this scene. So we see Jimbo and the bullies approach Bart as he leaves the movie as a potentially funny joke is ruined by the writers feeling the need to extend it and explain it (SIMPLICITY! Why is that so hard to understand?!). So after the bullies decide to go see a horror movie, Jimbo's girlfriend Shauna decides she wants to see a mushy girly movie, to which Jimbo decides to have Bart go with her (Huzzah for contrived plots!)
It's a good thing the writers have no real reason for this relationship to exist...
Anyways, after a boring movie which I guess is supposed to be a parody of Jennifer Aniston movies, but really it fails to be amusing, sorry I got offtrack, where was I? Oh right, after the movie. Bart and Shuana go to the food court as squeaky voice teen works there and- OH GOD MY EARS! Dan, buddy, pal, you just CANNOT do that voice anymore, I mean this is a really common theme and besides horrid writing, the voice actors are just losing their ability to do certain voices. Dan struggles with Quimby and SVT, Kavner hasn't done Grandma Bouvier in a long while and seems to struggle with Patty and Selma, and even in this episode, Marge's voice just seems off. I haven't really talked about this because it wasn't this frequent, before it was just a character every third episode or so, but of recent, it seems to be multiple characters per episode. Sorry, got off track again, back to the food court. After Bart tries to convince Shauna to stop flirting with other men, Shauna and Bart engage in dialogue that can only be described as "Somewhat worse than Attack of the Clones love dialogue." Yeah I know I bitch about this constantly, but that's the thing, the writers keep thinking that unnatural dialogue is funny for some reason when in reality it isn't. They will never understand it because they keep getting paid to do what they do now, when a person gets rewarded for sloth, they have no reason to change.
Oh Homer, you can't carry that. You're too weak. Ha-ha-ha-ha-I'm getting to old for this
Oh and now he can summon drinks at will... anything is possible when you're a walking pratfall
Anyways, Homer approaches Bart for the sake of being a set piece as the treadmill crushes him, and then he happens to grab a convenient cup to drink from as he's being crushed (Effort put into jokes?! Why bot- oh screw it, you get the point). So after Jimbo insists that Bart has to take Shauna out again (Does Jimbo have no other friends?) we see Homer walking on the treadmill as Lisa points out that he can stream old TV shows on his treadmill, and after a flurry of bad recall jokes, he decides to watch "Stranded". Okay I want to address this, Lost has been off the air for over two years so of course, this is not topical. I've seen some people argue "Well it's not supposed to be topical, that's the joke" here's the ultimate flaw with that argument: They don't treat it that way. They honestly treat it like he's watching an ongoing television show, so the idea of "It's not supposed to be topical" is a BS argument. Two things they COULD have done to make this joke better:
  1. Treat it like it really is where Homer approaches his friends and tells them "Hey guys, I just found the best show out there: Stranded" and everyone just looks at him like "Where have YOU been these past 8 years?"
  2. Actually MAKE FUN of the problems with Lost with original jokes. Instead of actually putting effort in, they just said basically what everyone else said back in 2010. Here's the problem: it's 2012. Seriously, basically any joke they make about Lost here can just be slapped on a Slowpoke meme and it would be funnier (They aren't be ironic, they're being serious).
It was so nice of them to remind me of their 'hilarious' jokes like "Alaska Nebraska" and "Thicker than Waters"
Although, I think putting their own show within the show violates the 4th Wall Treaty of '05
But again, what do I know? I'm not the paid writer here, I'm just a college student pretending to be an internet critic. Later, we see Bart and Shauna at a beauty salon as Shauna steals some perfume only to be caught. Bart takes the fall seeing as Jimbo would kill him if he didn't and after he gets detained, he somehow causes an explosion in mall security and escapes... I guess Michael Bay decided to direct this particular episode. After Shauna and Bart escape, they hide in an abandoned store where Shauna decides to thanks Bart for taking the fall. Oh well I guess it will be something like a kiss on the cheek, a hug, some money, maybe a kiss on the lips at worst or- WHAT THE FUCKING HELL?! ...BART IS TEN YEARS OLD!!! WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE?! ...I'm going to go take a 5 hour shower and then try to cleanse my soul by reading the Jon Benet Ramsey case (Hey don't judge me, it's less creepy in comparison). Anyways after that-*Gag* sorry we see Bart at the table as they 'hilariously' give Bart food resembling boobs and throw around boob-jokes with so much dramatic irony (How is it that the cupcakes scene from Duffless is FAR less creepy despite what I know about what those cupcakes symbolize?) I'm sorry, but I can't let this go because THEY won't let it go, it was such a horrible scene and they try to play it for laughs, when in reality that's like trying to find humor in a guy burning to death.
Two completely different ideas, same imagery. Although one is FAR less disturbing and much funnier
Of course, laced in that horrendous scene includes Bart saying "Doesn't anyone here realize I'm only ten years old?" I would say this is ironic, EXCEPT for the fact that in later scenes, Bart's personality alters from "10-year old kid" to "17 year old boyfriend" with no real explanation, so just mark it up as unintentional irony and inconsistent writing. Dear God, I've spent over a paragraph just talking about that ONE joke, but really it deserves so much worse when I get to it at the "In-depth Analysis" of this episode. Anyways, Homer goes downstairs to "exercise" as Grampa tells Marge he's most likely lying because he's been a liar ever since he was a kid (Uh animators? You DO know he had hair back then, right? He wasn't like Charlie Brown.). So after some more filler involving Not-Lost, Marge finds out and she forces him to return the treadmill since he isn't properly using it. Oh by the way, Homer is now REALLY invested in this show's mysteries for some reason, again I refer back to what I said before in solution 1. This just isn't funny, it's boring. So we see Bart at school (With a blanket around him, oh ha-ha making fun of traumatized victims is hilarious. I think I'll go make fun of the war veteran with PTSD) as Bart tries to convince Shauna to find someone better than Jimbo... hello bipolar Bart, I have some pills that will help keep you consistent throughout the rest of the episode. Oh, you don't want them, okay then, be my guest. So after another scene of Homer watching Not-Lost (GO BUY LOST ON DVD! GO BUY LOST ON DVD! Sorry I don't know what came over me, but I have a sudden urge to go watch Lost) we get a montage of Bart and Shauna hanging out together as they do things like a teenage couple (Uh, yeah... what was that line about anyone remembering that Bart is 10? Because the writers sure as hell forgot that). I mean, it's hard for them to have character consistency from episode to episode, but to lose character consistency WITHIN THE EPISODE?! Go back to basic writing!
Bart: Doesn't anyone realize I'm only 10 years old?!
However, Jimbo finds out and Bart distracts him long enough to escape like the little kid he is... fuck it I give up. So Bart runs home as somehow the bullies get there first and wait for him to get home. Now of course, Bart, being a 10 year old has the right to be scared and thinking about himself right now as- ah screw it, he acts like a teenage boy with raging hormones when Shauna arrives. If you'll excuse me, I have a thick book that needs to meet my forehead. Anyways, Bart decides to hide and he asks Comic Book Guy for safe haven. However, this is all for naught as he informs the bullies that Bart and Shauna are there, but Shauna starts to troll text him and they escape. Oh and the bullies NEVER show up at the comic book store, but stay at the Simpsons residence THE WHOLE TIME! Say it with me now; that scene was: A waste of time. We cut back home as Homer is having a Not-Lost discussion group (Like I said, the writers take this concept WAY too serious and act like he's watching an ongoing series) the end result is that Homer and Marge get into another pointless fight (Oh I forgot to mention they've already gotten into 2 pointless fights before over Homer's obsession with Not-Lost. So why didn't I bring them up? Because they were pointless). I mean Homer flat out tells Marge that their marriage is in trouble ALL BECAUSE SHE SPOILED A SHOW THAT WAS TAKEN OFF THE AIR 5 YEARS AGO! I honestly have nothing here, and it's made worse when we get to the resolution as it's less satisfying than the resolution of Lost (No that's not an exaggeration, that's the truth).
Thank you all for helping to pad out this utterly pointless subplot
So because the bullies never left the residence, Shauna and Bart are somehow in the treehouse waiting for the right time to sneak out (I can't explain this, you COULD argue they left for the comic book store, but that's just speculative. Especially considering WHY they would go in the treehouse if the bullies left. Why not go inside the house and lock Bart's room? Ugh, the more logic I try to apply, the more my brain hurts). So Lisa appears out of nowhere to be a condescending bitch to Bart as she says she'll help them, but it's all for naught as Jimbo gets up there anyways (Are you sensing a pattern with these pointless scenes?) Lisa says that Shauna should decide what's best for herself (Yeah Lisa claims to have been watching from a distance, but I call bullshit). So Shauna decides to pick neither as apparently that's the end of that plot (Okay Jimbo hangs Bart upside-down but really, what a waste of ink). Homer goes to bed angry at Marge as apparently Marge decorated the bedroom with an island theme...Okay, time for problems
  1. Homer was so obsessed with a show that it almost ruined his marriage so MARGE has to apologize?! BULL FUCKING SHIT!!! This is another case of the writers thinking that Homer can do no wrong. NO WRITERS! Homer was in the wrong, I will not feel bad for him. He wasted money on a treadmill and then almost lost his wife
  2. How the hell could Marge afford all this?! Suspension of disbelief can only go so far, and I ran out of it in act 1.
Marge: I felt so bad for telling you to stop obsessing over a TV show that's been off the air for years
that I decided to sell a kidney to afford this decor just for you.
So yeah, because of all this, they make up... what a load. The episode truly ends with a zoom out shot (With a few clever sight gags) as we see a cat in a litter box (Oh ha-ha-ha-ha-ha Uuuugggghhhhh)

Final Verdict: This episode SUCKED, not only was it a piss-poor recreation of New Kid on the Block, but it was just horrible in it's execution as a whole. The plot between Bart and Shauna was drained of emotion and uninteresting while the subplot took itself WAY too seriously and had nothing to back itself. While there were a handful of decent jokes and the couch gag was the highlight of the episode, the episode was extremely weak relying on it being memorable for two things: the couch gag and Bart getting flashed... FUCK!!! OW MY EYES!!!

Final Grade: 1.6/10 Just miserable schlock, but honestly, what do you expect from these guys?


  1. Who is Shauna? You said her name in the review but I don't think the writers bothered to mention her name. I assume she's a character from some other episode I don't know about. Also the writers should just get it over with and start calling things they reference by their real name instead of making horribly unfunny "parody" names.

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