Monday, October 1, 2012

Episode 1: Moonshine River

So great to be back, right? Right? With such a horrible episode to end last year's debacle of a season (Sans an episode or two) it's safe to assume that standards will be lower for this season. So what better way to open up a season than remind us of how many girlfriends our 10 year old boy has had over the 23 years and how few of them were before season 10. Woo... So let's truly begin.

Opening sequence: 1:26 (Nice reference to the short, but it felt too long for my taste)

The episode begins with the Springfield Grand Prix (Because they have that now, shut up). Not really much to say here, it's just rather boring and filled with meh jokes (The audience in the bleachers reminds me of an early Family Guy joke, maybe I'm just making connections that aren't there). So while the race is going on, we see Homer trying to drive through a gap in the race when suddenly a bike race is going on behind the family...the hell? You know what, I don't regret making the Family Guy comparison, this show has as much linearity as an oval. So later, we see a Ball for the after race where Milhouse and Lisa are dancing which prompts Bart to make fun of Lisa for liking Milhouse. Lisa replies that at least she has a date... let's see, how many times have I mentioned that the writers think Bart and Lisa are teenagers instead of children, oh right, TOO FUCKING MANY! The dialogue doesn't disprove my case either, it's stilted for two children (Brother and sister mind you) under 10 to be saying. I know I've said this before and I know some think "Well it's just fiction" but one of the drawing points of The Simpsons was the fact that it could challenge the boundary between fiction and reality. You knew the setting didn't exist, but the scenarios were played out like in real life. That mixture hasn't existed for years and as it goes on, and as it continues, the problems are harder to mask. Anyways, to retaliate, Bart turns around and suddenly Edna appears for Bart to dance with, I must say, Springfield must be loaded with inter-dimensional portals, because people appear out of thin air so quickly.
Bart: Wait a minute, this isn't how I had you two dance in my fanfiction
Lisa sees through the thinner than plastic wrap getup and says she's with someone that likes her and this is becoming very boring very quickly. At this point I'm just praying that the show gets hijacked by the ghost of Charlie Chaplin. I know it's not going to happen, but I have better odds betting on that happening  than this being a good episode. So Lisa zings Bart by saying all of Bart's girlfriends leave him once they get to know him for a week or so (Paging Jessica Lovejoy who actually liked Bart for being Bart. You there Jessica? Jessica? Bueller?) But in all seriousness, why is Lisa being such a bitch right now? Oh right, because the writers will never get her character and they just don't care. So after Bart realizes Lisa might be right, Edna disappears and suddenly Moe and a blow-up doll appear next to Bart to say she was right. You might be asking "But didn't Moe get hit by a train in the last episode?" Oh please, you were actually expecting that joke to be something more than a cheap throw-away? You stupid fools.
Bart: Hey aren't you supposed to be dead?
Moe: Eh, different writers
Bart: ...Tim wrote Lisa Goes Gaga as well
Moe: ...#*($
So after a painful second blowup doll joke (Ow my side) Bart goes through his box of junk and finds pictures conveniently taken of him and some girl as he laments about how his relationship don't last long (Bullshit! The first picture shows Jessica Lovejoy, that actually lasted some time. How do you screw that up?) So Homer comes by (Saying he'll be taking a popcorn bath... remember when Homer's acts were actually funny instead of random?) and starts to give Bart useless advice about how being rejected is hard for his age and pretends to drunk dial someone (This joke isn't funny, so it has to be used again within 30 seconds). Oh by the way, am I the only one who thinks the animation on the phone just doesn't match the rest of the room? The phone looks close to classic, while the room feels HD. It was the same problem as the Peanuts Halloween sketch, it's just jarring and not pretty to look at. So as Bart leaves (With a horrible looking door perspective, seriously there's something wrong with Bart's wall according to the door) Homer drunks dials Bart (Of course >.<). Bart goes on a mission to track down ex girlfriends, we begin with that girl nobody remembers from that episode that aired in season 20, followed by the girl from Little Big Girl (Although why she's with Jimbo is beyond me, isn't the father from Norway or something?) followed by the girl from prison, followed by that bi-polar bitch nobody liked. Notice how none of those girls I mentioned were from the Classic years, gee I wonder why, it's almost like the staff doesn't want to acknowledge the good years of this show.
Look at how interesting each set piece is, oh wait those are girls...
Bart's hunt ends with him looking for Mary Spuckler, the daughter of Cletus. So Bart asks Cletus where she is and he says she ran off, on the way out however, Bart gets a lead from another child that she went to New York City as he exits the scene by sitting in a truck that drifts into a pond... ha-ha-ha? So after Bart watches a tape of him and Mary together he begs Marge to go to New York City (Didn't he get roped into an engaged marriage with her and begged to get out of it? Wait, why do I know more about this shit than the writers who wrote this shit? AND WHY DO I CARE?!). So reasonable, Marge says they can't afford to go and Homer declares his hatred of the city. However, Bart says that now his two least favorite buildings are no longer there, Old Penn Station and Chase Stadium... I just have one thing to say; SCREW, YOU, WRITERS! There were many ways you could've made a Twin Towers joke, but this was disgusting and not funny. So Homer decides to have a flashback of when they last went to NY, but instead it's just a reference to The Sweet Smell of Success (See Selma's Choice for how to do an incorrect flashback). However, Homer and Marge decide to go to NY by swapping houses, however, the NYers go to Flander's house (Okay a bit funny) where they go on for too long (And joke ruined). So in NYC, we see some "Hilarious" sign jokes that the writers must have spent 30 seconds thinking of (Again, changing a letter does not a good parody make).
Homer: Well thank God NYC is such a nice, crime-free place. Wouldn't want to make fun of something that doesn't exist
So after the only decent joke in the episode (BURN IT WITH FIRE!) we get a callback to the Khlav Kalash  guy and now he owns a huge corner Khlav Kalash restaurant (I guess he wasn't immune to "Hollywood Simpson Syndrome" either). So the family splits up with Homer and Bart searching for Mary while Lisa and Marge seek out NY culture (Gee, does that sound familiar?). So after Homer and Bart take a cab, we see no response from the apartment that Bart was sent to. After Homer gives a long winded unfunny bit, we see a young rich girl approach Bart asking what he's doing. After a bit of chit chat, she reveals herself to be Mary and Bart's shocked that she's so high class. She reveals that she has a job that's not steady and she's ashamed of, a writer of SNL (Eh, I'd be more embarrassed if I was a writer of this episode). So we cut to Marge and Lisa as unfunny jokes about Broadway are spewed out... CUT! Cut the scene, that was pointless and unfunny, okay let's take it from the top people. We then cut back to Mary and Bart as Homer randomly gets hit by and air conditioner... I guess they really needed to shoehorn in that "Homer getting hurt=funny" scene somehow. So Mary tells Bart to meet her later as Homer comes over with ice cream but ends up trying to strangle Bart, but ends up strangling a lamp post. Now if you didn't think that was funny, don't worry, the writers decide to hammer it in more by having a cameraman randomly shooting the scene while Homer says "Hilarious" stuff.
Believe it or not, this is the ONLY scene involving crime in the City... *Sigh* I miss the days of Homer getting mugged after simply turning a corner.
So after an awful "NY has no crime" joke (Again, the season 9 episode was so much better) Bart and Mary talk about stuff with each point leading to a bad joke. So Mary decides to tell Bart about her life in a song... and it's so bland. I can't even make fun of it for being bad, it's just uninteresting. So after the song ends, Cletus randomly appears to take Mary back. So we see Marge and Lisa go to see a Shakespeare play but it gets delayed because the actors quit. However, since Lisa is a master director (Just roll with it) she gets amateurs to play the roles and the play goes off without a hitch. However, Lisa and Marge get attacked by the NY SWAT team by a giant hose (Okay, admittedly another decent joke, however, it's rather sad how quickly I was able to summarize that series of events, it was just so boring). So Cletus tells Mary she's coming home, but she excuses herself and take Bart with her, they then go to the train station where Mary leaves and tells Bart she'll miss him. So when Cletus asks Bart where Mary went (Along with a horrible hillbilly joke from Homer) Bart says no and they all decide to go back to Springfield. The episode ends with Cletus giving Bart a photo of Mary as Lisa is upset with the reviews of her play... da fuc? However, during the credits, the family asks for requests for a couch gag (They're running out of ideas I tells ya) and Homer says there was a stunt double who got hit with an AC unit (BS, it happens every week, to the writers, Homer is Gumby)

Final Verdict: This episode was very boring and unappealing. Granted there weren't many terrible moments, there wasn't anything to really make this episode stand out on its own either. The jokes were very meh with maybe a handful being decent, the pacing was actually atrocious, yeah I know I never mentioned it in the review, but this episode seemed to have too much going on while having nothing happen. The main plot is basically onscreen for about 5 minutes and the opening takes way too long to establish which girl Bart is going after. In the end, it's what would happen if the writers wrote The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson. Oh and no more "Final Grades" they're too inconsistent and often will not truly reflect how I feel about episodes compared to each other.

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