Monday, January 14, 2013

Episode 10: A Test Before Trying

Okay for those of you who wondered what I was complaining about in the animation from last week's episode, it was the ketchup on the guy's face. It seemed like there was a keyframe issue on the layering of the ketchup and mustard. It didn't match up well when the guy was laughing and if you look at his wrinkles, it's quite noticeable. I brought that up because it's one of the many reasons I hate the computer animation, it allows them to be completely lazy, just add a new layer onto the animation and hope it syncs up with the layer below it as opposed to drawing each frame guaranteeing that it looks fluid. But you know what? My knowledge of animation is next to nothing so I might be nitpicking, but give the video another shot and see it from that perspective.

Anyways, we have an episode where a Simpson child can be responsible for raising standardized test scores for Springfield Elementary... gee that sounds totally original. You know what? Originality flew out the window with dignity and respect years ago, at this point it's simply trying to avoid screwing up what they have today, so let's see how bad they fail today.

Opening sequence: 2:27 Dear God that dragged, an opening sequence should not be more than 10% of your run time. I hate couch gags like these simply because they miss the point of the short "Simpsons find a creative way to sit on couch" gag

The episode begins with Kent Brockman reporting about Mr. Burns making his annual rate hike announcement as Brockman decides to narrate everything that's going on when Burns reaches the podium (SHOW, don't tell. First scene and you screw up so badly). So at the press conference (With all of what appears to be less than 50 random people... why bother mentioning it on the news if there isn't even going to be a cameraman there to report it. Oh right, bringing logic here again, proceed) so Burns announces that he'll decide the increase by choosing an accountant with a random percentage on their back with a system, by releasing the hounds on them (Okay I did find this joke to be amusing, kudos). So the dogs pick 17% and Burns gets rid of everyone by releasing gas on them (Okay, curve ball. Not bad, making up for lost ground by that long-ass couch gag). So after a few scenes of people cutting back on electricity, we cut to school where the faculty has a meeting where Chalmers informs them that not all the schools can stay open and there will be standardized tests to determine which will remain open with the lowest scoring school closing forever (You know, considering how piss poor other episodes do at informing the audience what the hell we should be focusing on, I do have to give credit to this episode so far. Granted there have been the stupid joke here and there, but so far, it's okay).
Confound these writers, they've driven me to smoke
So Homer goes to the dump to drop off the electronics as he finds a parking meter and decides to take it home (*Sigh* I had such high hopes for the episode, now we've got a combination of Lisa Gets an A and Lisa's Date With Density). So the test proctors arrive to the school (All menacing and such, geeze, talk about overboard) where we then see the students taking the test that's accompanied by the theme from Halloween (Again, way too overboard for this right now). So the main proctor (Does she have a name?) tells Skinner and Chalmers that their school had the worst scores in the state and they're basically screwed (Oh and I also don't care for her voice at all. Really bland and uninspired to me). So the school gets shut down, uninteresting jokes are made (Even Lisa cannot escape this) and Bart reveals that he never took the test and Lisa realizes that he can take the test and alter the average (Well that would require the testers to even allow Bart to take the test and even if they did, as a person whose taken multiple courses in statistics, the weight of the hundreds of students would only allow a difference of average about plus/minus 0.006% which seems unlikely unless the writers can pull stuff out of their asses, oh wait...)
Willie: No, FOX does not own the rights to Schindler's List so we're not sorting you guys that way
Bart is allowed to take the test the next day and Skinner bargains with Bart to try to do well (Well if canon has taught me anything, Bart studying his ass off for a test to prevent him from repeating the fourth grade was almost a failure so of course the writers will forget completely about that). So Homer begins his dumb scheme with a montage of him placing the meter around town and collecting money from suckers (Oh goody, montage...). So the next day, Bart prepares to take the test as he reveals to Skinner that he's not ready. Bart then convinces Skinner to give him some more time, so Skinner pulls the fire alarm. We resume Homer's subplot where he watches the news at the exact time where Brockman is reporting about a rogue parking meter (Oh and the title of the story is "Meter Madoff". How long have you been holding that pun in?)  Oh by the way, Channel 6 news now has no problem paying the electric bill nor does anyone else for that matter... it's like they wrote that plot but forgot about it 5 minutes in, but that would be silly. So we see Bart slacking off some more and Lisa berates him for it (Again, I refer to Bart Gets an F for proof that Bart can be motivated to study and try his best).
You see this is what happens when you try too hard to make something look imperfect
So Bart has a dream where because of his failure, everyone becomes really dumb and Springfield is horrible, as he wakes up, he informs Lisa that he wants to pass the test and he needs her help (Well considering this is the first time he's expressed said interest, I'm going to call bull). After a pointless scene between Marge and the proctor (Seriously, why was that scene even included?) we see Homer dragging the meter around until Wiggum attempts to arrest him. Homer escapes, bad dick joke, and the meter gets destroyed thus ending the boring subplot (YAY!) So we cut back to Bart studying at 3 in the morning as Lisa gives him a bit of advice (Okay, another joke I have to give credit for). So Marge asks Homer about the quarters and she forces him to toss them into a wishing well... Why is Homer so okay with this? Who wrote this tripe? So Bart takes the test as the last question is answered by a bug in his shirt (Oh I forgot to mention this, Bart missed the test because he was messing with this bug, I didn't mention it because their attempt to tie it into the plot is so contrived and stupid). Bart passes causing the average to rise (Must be cartoon statistics) ad the bug circles the globe to the Superman theme (Just because you HAVE the license to the theme doesn't mean you need to use it). So the episode ends with some attempt at connecting Marge with the proctor again (Again, pointless), the playground being happy and joyful as Skinner is miserable in his broken down office and a dumb joke question about stealing a parking meter. Oh and apparently this episode was dedicated to Huell Howser.

Final Thoughts: To be honest I don't exactly know what to make of this episode. Sure it had some good moments, but it also was plagued with the normal Zombie Simpsons problems as well, it's a mixed bagged episode. Honestly this episode was better than I thought it'd be, but as you know, my expectations are rather low. It didn't really feel like it dragged too much as looking back, outside of the opening sequence, the flow was rather decent. I guess in short, by Zombie Simpsons standards, it's above average, but in terms of Simpsons standards, it's forgettable and mediocre.


  1. Wow, you are a pompous retard.

    1. You know something? I don't make trash, I burn it.

    2. I prefer the term "disabled" as retard is very politically incorrect

  2. So sad about the 3 comment here(You 3 are sick) the episode to me it's another good episode as always There's also lot of meaning because Marge is played by Julie Kavner who played Brenda Morgenstern on Rhoda and The Proctor was played by Valerie Harper aka Rhoda(So Brenda and Rhoda together again) the ending made me cry because who knows how long Valerie Harper will still be around