Monday, May 28, 2012

Season 23 Review

Another year, another 20 some episodes of mediocrity and laziness. It included the best of times (Holidays of Future Passed) the worst of times (Lisa Goes Gaga) and a bunch of other 21 minuted animated wastelands not worthy of our memory. This season to me at least was worse than last year's because despite it having better highs than last season, it had WAY lower lows. Really there's nothing I could say here that I didn't say about 22 times these past few months, but I'll try my best. So without further ado, let's begin

Bottom 10 episodes:

10. Beware my Cheating Bart
  • I just imagine in my head the writers telling each other that Bart's not 10, but actually 16. It's the only way this hacktacular episode could be considered the least bit funny. Between a stupid as all hell "Bart gets a girlfriend" plot (Which has happened 6 times in the past 6 seasons as opposed to twice in the first 6) and a failed attempt at topical humor with Lost, this episode deserves its spot here at the bottom.
Bart: I am totally 10

9.  A Totally Fun Thing That Bart Will Never do Again
  • What's this? A story where Bart's on a cruise and everything goes to hell so the cruise turns into a dystopia? How could this go wrong? Well it did, and I still don't know how you could make a concept like that boring. To top that all off, the episode's last act puts the family in Antarctica of all places and apparently Bart learns some sort of lesson about living in the moment rather than seeking it, but the lesson is so forced that, like The Scorpion's Tale, it feels more awkward than it does meaningful.
And they all died of hypothermia. The End

8. Exit Through the Kwik-E-Mart
  • Yes exit through the Kwik-E-Mart... but first we'd have to enter it. It's one thing to have a parody title about a guy who you have a hard on for (Seriously staff, just because he gave you attention with that fake controversy doesn't mean you have to suck his dick every three episodes). But it's another to have a title about something, and then have only THREE scenes of that plot in the entire episode. But even if one could forgive that type of laziness, the main plot is a fake parody of street art where Bart (The little Gary Stu he is) spray paints his message of Homer being an idiot all over town and this calls the attention of 4 artists who appear just to say their names (Okay one does appear later, but the reasoning is such bullshit, it doesn't make a difference).
That's some pretty good craftsmanship from an amateur 

7. The Spy Who Learned Me
  • I almost considered just listing this purely for how pathetically animated it was. But then I realized that it could have been animated by geniuses and it still would end up here. I already pointed out the logic errors in my full review, so I'll just skim over why it sucks. The James Bond jokes had no originality and even when they tried to do a parody movie, they screwed up by putting in awkward humor. Instead of just exaggerating certain elements, they put in slapstick type comedy and played the rest straight. But that was just the movie, for the Bond parody, "James Bont" in You Only Move Twice was funnier in his one scene than the entirety of this episode.
The name's Bont, James Bont

6. Replaceable You
  • Because apparently getting cast members of Glee is so popular (I don't know) the show decided to tip it's hat and do it again. And like the first time, the result SUCKED. So Jane Lynch was Homer's assistant Roz, and good God she was dull. Her only personality trait was that she didn't like being touched... and that's it. The episode was just a bunch of piss-poor topical jokes and dragged on for what felt like an hour. The subplot was horrendous as well with robots that had no rules that some how lead to an evil corporation that turned them evil, until they were good, and then turned evil again... for some reason.
Please stay out of this! PLEASE!

5. The D'oh-Cial Network
  • Title is very lazy? Check. Movie they are parodying is over two years old yet it's supposed to be a topical parody? Check. The parody itself is just inserting the family in the roles of the main characters of said story thus eliminating the idea of it being a parody? Oh Modern Simpsons, you never fail to disappoint me in just how pathetic you can be. Let's just somehow forgive the fact that the main plot didn't begin until the 9 and a half minute mark and instead talk about its back-ass logic here. So Lisa feels that she has no friends and to solve that she makes her own social network despite the fact that Facebook existed in episodes before and after this episode. In fact, the very next episode referenced Facebook. This is what happens when the writers create a parody and then forget the rules of how said parody works (I'm looking at you Ranier Schwarzenegger, er I mean Arnold Wolfcastle). 
And now I will log onto Facebook to- oh wait I meant... screw it Facebook is better

4. Treehouse of Horror XXII
  • This is what happens when you make a Halloween special with nothing remotely Halloween about it. None of the stories they "Parodied" had anything to do with Halloween or horror in general. The closest thing was the Dexter parody, and it was about as bloody as a church service. I've seen more gory stories involving a guy getting a paper cut. But for the moment, we'll forgive the fact that there were far bloodier episodes later in the season. The only time this actually resembled a THOH was the obligatory Kang and Kodos cameo. Remove them and this would be nothing more than a mediocre anthology episode with horrible dated parodies.
The bloodiest scene in this episode... where's the blood?

3. Politically Inept with Homer Simpson
  • Let's see a Glenn Beck parody in 2012 when his show ran from 2009 to 2011? Sounds like the perfect time for a satire of that. I had a conversation recently with a few friends and I pointed this out and followed it up with the idea that they should drop the idea that they are topical since their parodies are about 2 years date when they air. They try so hard to be South Park in their topical jokes, but they don't have the production schedule to poke fun of something a week after it happens. And besides, this episode was just unfunny and uninteresting and failed to even make fun of politics at all.
I AM AWESOME RIGHT?!

2. Moe goes from Rags to Riches
  • Mix one half boring with one half lack of focus with one half unfunny and 3 halves padding and this would be the result. Nobody cared about Moe's bar rag (Next season I hear how Maggie got her pacifier... oh wait they get them at the Safeway for $1.95... Thank God for retconning) but even the story couldn't follow its own continuity. For example, one scene has the tapestry record history, but that gets dropped about 3 scenes later (Excuse me for not being precise). The jokes in this are terrible like Comic Book Guy randomly passing by Mount Everest in a hot air balloon just so he could say his line, Moe's parent being a yeti, Wiggum's entire scene, etc. The point still remains that this was a terrible episode and it's not even interesting enough to be in the "So bad it's good" territory.
Least interesting character ever

1. Lisa Goes Gaga
  • Okay let's face it, who DIDN'T see this one coming? The promotions for this one were reminiscent of trailers for The Three Stooges movie and promotions for last season's finale (Edna and Ned get togehter), except while those two examples surpassed the low expectations, Lisa Goes Gaga was worse than we could have imagined. A 30 minute promotion for a mega celebrity with generic songs and even more generic jokes (P.S. Moshi Monsters made the common "Lady Googoo" joke back in October 2011)(Edit: Actually their name was "Baby Googoo", still it was a terrible scene for the sake of a joke). This was just a terrible episode about an emo Lisa learning nothing, a celebrity appearing just for the sake of "Hey we got 'X' take that internet!"
Did we mention we have Lady Gaga? We have Lady Gaga!


Top 5 Highlights:

5. Brian Kelley didn't show up this season
  • Okay I'm cheating with 5 here, but when I stopped and looked at the candidates, I couldn't justify putting them on this list. You could argue they were the "Least terrible" but even that's questionable at best for me. Also, one could argue that "Al Jean stepped down" could make this as well, it's not like Matt Selman is any better, so it's like trading a rotten tomato for a dead skunk. So instead, I'm going to celebrate the fact that this talentless hack had no episodes this year and judging by the change in showrunners, he's gone for good

4. Them Robots
  • Not really good, but not terrible either. The best way I could describe this episode would be to say that it's like having your foot stepped on. Initially it's painful, but you'll get over it sooner rather than later and it'll be like nothing happened. The episode had a somewhat interesting premise, but stumbled upon its own rules and logic. There were a few 'decent' jokes and some potential, hell I thought it'd be far worse than what it really was. But in the end, it's just another 'meh' episode.
Homer: Hmm... a character with more personality than me

3. Bart Stops to Smell the Roosevelts
  • While not spectacular, this episode was possibly the least painful one left. So Bart learning outside of class has already been done (Much better) but I could see where they were going with this. Unfortunately this episode, like a lot of others was just held back by bad writing and backwards logic (Nelson has no problem with getting rid of Chalmers, but in the next scene he works with Bart to get him back, what?). A few decent jokes plus not terrible equals #3 on my list.
Chalmers: I still hate you all

2. The Book Job
  • I think I was MUCH harsher on this episode than it deserved to be when I first watched it. Keep in mind, I just had to suffer through Replacable You and The Food wife in addition to having standards raised by my video review of Bart vs Thanksgiving. This was a no-win situation for the episode. But after watching it again, it was better than I gave it credit for and Neil Gaiman seemed to try his hardest to make it good. I still think they took the whole "This is how books are made" premise too serious and it could have been done better. While I'm a bit ashamed they only had one Twilight joke, I guess less is more because I could see that joke ending up being beaten like a dead horse. I personally don't mind it, but in terms of the rest of the season, it's pretty damn good.
Come on Lisa, just sell what little soul you have left to make this decent

1. Holidays of Future Passed
  • I am willing to go out on a limb here and say this is arguably the 3rd best Christmas episode of this show's entirety and the 2nd best future episode. Seriously, I was about ready to hate this episode because I just saw the premise and thought it'd be just like every other episode they fucked up. I finished it pleasantly surprised. The jokes made me laugh more than any other episode this season, the pacing was much better than any other episode as the padding felt minimal compared to the others. This is the only episode I recommend to anyone who quit watching this show years ago because while it's not on Classic Simpsons quality, it's one notch under it in my opinion. If it wasn't for this episode, I would say this was the worst season the show has ever had.
Lisa: I'll let you in on a secret. This episode will actually be decent

Reasons why episodes did not make the cut (For either list)
  • The Falcon and The D'ohman
    • Lackluster cameo from Sutherland playing Jack Bauer, horrible flashbacks (Especially the training one), boring villain who doesn't show up until the 16 minute mark. However, it's not bad enough to reach the bottom 10
  • The Food Wife
    • No discernible connection with reality plus it being more of a commercial for foodies rather than a satire prevents this from being top 5.
  • The Man in the Blue Flannel Pants
    • Bullshit setup and taking itself way too serious on the parts that should be satirized combined with the main plot being boring and the subplot being utterly forgettable (Seriously, I forgot this even had a subplot until I looked this back up) makes this a middle of the pack episode
  • The Ten-Per-Cent Solution
    • Bullshit setup (Yeah the family just happens to run into an old agent of Krusty's) combined with a bipolar guest star and in the end nothing happened won't get many points from me
  • The Daughter Also Rises
    • I really wanted to put this in the bottom 10. Unfortunately, I ran out of spots by the time I got to this one and couldn't justify swapping one of the others out with this. Consider this one to be #11 on the bottom 10.
  • At Long Last Leave
    • You mad writers? 500 episodes and only 200 of them are good. Most shows on TV nowadays has a good relationship with their audience, The Simpsons on the other hand has nothing but contempt for theirs. The episode itself was very lackluster and contrived (Writer 1: Hey how do we achieve status quo? Writer 2: We should move the entire town to the new town and then never mention it again. Writer 1: Brilliant!) and to top it all off, the staff told everyone they can go fuck themselves. Oh how your ratings would plummet
  • How I Wet Your Mother
    • I keep hearing people say this was one of the best of the season. To me, I don't see it. Maybe it's because the episodes around it were so lackluster this looked like gold. But to me it's just Inception as played by The Simpsons and nothing more.
  • Ned 'N Edna's Secret Blend
    • Not as bad as I thought it would be, but boring as a snail race and a bunch of non-jokes made this outside looking in on the top 5
So at this point last year I mentioned how many montages, guest stars and guest stars voiced themselves here. Not the case this year, I will flat out admit, I got lazy and did not bother with a montage count because honestly, there's no point. You know how repetitive it is, I know how repetitive it is, why hammer the point in any further? Point is they had a lot of guest stars (Which Price insisted were essential) and a lot of them voiced themselves. The only one that comes to mind right now that I enjoyed was Neil Gaiman's guest spot. Partially due to the fact that they did not treat him like a God, Moe held him at knife point multiple times and one of his last lines makes it sound like he's a thief for all of his books. 

Ratings hit an all time low:
While ratings don't tell the ENTIRE story of whether a show is good or not (Internet streaming, Youtube, outsider sites, etc) seeing this show almost get cancelled for being unprofitable, only to get renewed for another two years to then bring in the worst ratings for a season and secure the 5 least watched episodes were all from this season just brings a smile to my face. The Season Finale ratings more or less told FOX that they made a HUGE mistake in renewing this show. So much promotional material was made, such a huge guest star with an equally huge fanbase, and all it counted for was 4.8 million viewers and 5th least watched of all time. I'm more than willing to bet that an executive at FOX kicked a dog when he saw the ratings. Not only did The Simpsons fail to win their own timeslot that night, but Family Guy had over 5 million viewers later that night which follows the trend that The Simpsons beats out Family Guy between September to February and from March onwards, it's reversed. The final average for this show ended up being 6.14 Million, which is down by just under 1 million of the 7.10 million average of season 22.

Final Verdict: This season was terrible. While the Christmas episode was perhaps the best episode in several years, it had really low lows. The theme for season 23 seemed to be "The Simpsons live in Hollywood" because there were so many episode where the family seemed to have luxuries they shouldn't be able to afford and just so much detachment from reality. The writing followed the same ol' "We don't give a shit" the writers have been giving since season 17. The jokes were mostly terrible with a lot of them either being explained or just awkward dialogue. I'd say this was worse than last year's but not the worst all time. Still looking at you season 20.

Final Score: 1.4/10 Just avoid this, even the riffability isn't worth it

5 comments:

  1. I agree with you. Just one thing:
    "The Season Finale ratings more or less told FOX that they made a HUGE mistake in renewing this show". Yeah, maybe in USA, The Simpsons is not a hit, but in the rest of the world, the series is still making a lot of money. For example, here in Latin America, The Simpsons is still a huge hit (being sindicated to a lot of networks with similar ratings), and Family Guy (like American Dad and The Cleveland show) was moved to FX because of the low ratings. So, I don't think that FOX is losing A LOT OF MONEY... Family Guy is a hit just in USA...
    Well, that. Good blog! (Sorry for my bad english).

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  2. When rethinking some of these episodes, it seemed the Simpson was begging for attention, not commanding it like they used to.

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  3. Here's why Lisa Goes Gaga was so bad:

    - Gratuitous overuse of Lady Gaga. I hate it when the Simpsons under-uses guest stars (Ken Burns, Mario Batali, etc.) but Gaga was far over-used here, which was even worse. More plot could've been added in lieu of some of those Gaga scenes.
    - Bart reveals Lisa as the Truth Teller, so what's next? He's used as a background character for the most part. In previous seasons, Bart would've sacrificed his popularity for his sister or made her life even worse, adding salt to the wounds. Instead, he acted indifferent, neutral, Switzerland, totally useless to the plot.
    - Y'know, it would've been nice to make Lisa remain the least popular kid in school going forward. Heck, that's where those writers want to take her anyway! Instead, she returns to being the same old Lisa - unpopular, yes, but not a total outcast. Three words to describe the ending - DEUS EX MACHINA. Hire Lady Gaga to play your school, and solve all your bully problems by being a good Little Monster and jamming onstage with Ms. Germanotta herself! Riiiiight.
    - This was simply Moaning Lisa remade for the modern Simpsons universe, with a trendy pop star in place of the late Ron Taylor's late Bleeding Gums Murphy.

    Still, I think Moe Goes from Rags to Riches was worse. Yeti Szyslak? Gimme a break! Worse than the jockey/elves from Saddlesore Galactica. Bottom line - TIM LONG MUST GO. Granted, he wrote some good episodes in the past (e.g. New Kids on the Blecch) but he's worn out his welcome.

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  4. I have to completely disagree on you with the entire season. This season was by far the best season since 19. Yes, I do agree that it had a lot of bad episodes, but that was because the episodes were just boring more than bad. And what is wrong with them parodying a movie or show (in Glen Beck's case) that is over a year old? Big deal. They did a parody of King Kong 60 years after it came out, and no one complained then. It seems like you are just nitpicking just for the hell of nitpicking. Honestly, sure, the season is no where near as good as the golden age, but it was still well done quite a bit of the time. I personally thought the best episodes were The D'ohcial Network, Holidays of Future Past, How I Wet Your Mother (which was great because it was a parody of Inception), The Spy Who Learned Me (not as good as You Only Move Twice, but still a nice James Bond parody), and even the 500th episode was not bad.

    As for the Lady Gaga episode, as someone who does not care for her music that much, I thought it was a well done episode and the best season finale in years. They actually made use of her instead of throw her in for a quick cameo and that was it.

    Like I said, I agree there were a lot of meh episodes, but you make the season sound worse than it really was. You give it a 1.4/10, I give it a 5/10.

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    Replies
    1. The difference between king kong and glen beck is, king kong was a classic I doubt people will still give a shit about Glen Beck in 20 years.

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