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The Simpsons: Midnight Towboy

by Richard Keller, posted Oct 7th 2007 10:30PM

Homer Simpson(S19E03) Shut the hell up, you damn ass whore! -- Bart

Three episodes of The Simpsons down. Time for an extensive, in-depth analysis of the nineteenth season so far.

Not bad.

Honestly, I wasn't expecting an earth-shattering change in the show after The Simpsons Movie premiered this summer. What has come down the pike since late September has been entertaining and provided a good solid laugh or two. However, I do have one concern and an observation about our favorite yellow-headed patriarch. If I've piqued your interest then jump ahead. If not, then enjoy this floating Homer head. Enjoy it as you get sleepy . . . sleepy. Now, You Will Jump To The Next Page And Laugh Everytime I Say Flooblegee!

My concern first. I'm beginning to feel that the producers are using guest voices a bit too much, and not utilizing them when they do. Over the last three weeks we have had four separate guest voices: Lionel Richie, Stephen Colbert, Maya Rudolph and, this week, Matt Dillon. Other than Richie, who was really a walk-on role, none of the other voices were really used well.

Take for example Matt Dillon's voice. In this week's episode Matt voiced Louie, a tow-truck driver from the town of Guidopolis (which seems to be past Odgenville. Mark that on you Google Maps). Louie's big scene was during the first act of the episode, and that was about it until somewhere between the second and third acts. True, he had some good lines during the first act, especially when he told Homer that he would rip his head off, vomit in his body cavity, then stuff the head back down into Homer's body if he ever came looking for a tow job in Guidopolis; however, there wasn't much to the character after that.

Is it really worth it to have these stars voice characters if the writers really aren't going to do right by them? There are more than enough talented voice actors already part of The Simpsons' cast that could do a character like Louie. In fact, they've done it numerous times. Perhaps it's time to give the guest voice actors a break. Although, with Treehouse of Horror XVIII coming up in November, I'm guessing that they won't give it up anytime soon.

Now for the observation. Well, actually Bart's observation. During a conversation about Homer between Marge and the rest of the family Bart mentioned that Homer had been getting dumber each year, but he now seems to have plateaued. This surprised me because I've been saying the same thing since the season began. There have been episodes and actual whole seasons where Homer has seemed so unintelligent that he made Charlie Gordon, before he took the intelligence drugs, look smarter. This season he's sort of evened out.

Yes, he does have his moments -- the whole pledge scene (reminiscent of Animal House) in the first minute or two of the program -- but he seems to be holding his own. In this week's episode he even takes a leadership role after being kidnapped by Louie and thrown into his basement, which is full of other tow truck drivers who crossed Louie's path. I like this type of Homer. The extremely childish Homer can get on my nerves. I don't know what the writers have in store for him for the rest of the season. So, you and I will just have to wait and see.

Let me get to a quick review of this week's episode as a whole. After two weeks of one-story episodes we are now dealt with two sub-plots again. Yet, it was different this week as the sub-plots diverged from one main story, then converged again at the end of the show. Despite my feelings on multi-plot episodes in FOX animated programs (don't like them) I was actually grateful to see another person being focused on other than Homer.

In fact, the plot about Marge's attempts to get Maggie to be less clingy interested me more. I got a good chuckle at the scene where Marge was trying to find a website about Maggie's condition while Bart and Lisa were trying to tell her how to navigate. In one click she's buying a freezer all of a sudden. The representative from C.R.I.E also interested me because she seemed to complete every sentence with a word ending in -ize. Actualize was my favorite.

Other little thingys of note:

  • Maggie spells out 'I AM OK' on her building blocks after initial separation from Marge.
  • Maggie's new found independence. Clipping her own nails, putting a lock of hair into her baby book. Gosh, if my 18-month-old twins were only that adept!
  • Moe not knowing if the glass he was giving to Homer was full of paint or milk, then Homer drinking what was in the glass.
  • Lenny and Carl mentioning that things would turn out okay in a lawless society now that Homer stopped towing people. Now, how many times have the citizens of Springfield said that only to have something spontaneously burst into flame.
  • Mr. T. is in The Lion King! Man, I got to get me tickets for that show!

That's all for this week. Please take a look at the poll, as I'd like to know if you feel that the use of guest voice actors is getting to be a bit too much. Enjoy your week and talk to you next Sunday.

Do you feel that guest voice actors are being used to much this season on The Simpsons
Yeah, they really are, and they aren't being given much to work withy86 (34.7%)
I think that some of the guest actors have been used well, and others haven't121 (48.8%)
Nope, they are all been used to the best ability and I want to hear more guest voices this season25 (10.1%)
The Simpsons is still on the air? Holy S%&*16 (6.5%)

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Pete

I'm not sure why, but the exchange between Mo and Sideshow Mel is STILL making me giggle today:

Mel: "Are we going to stay here all night? I have theatre tickets!"

Mo: "Oh, you have theatre tickets, do you?"

(ripping sound)

Mo: "There, now ya got none."

And speaking of Sideshow Mel, what was with the awkward moment between he and Agnes Skinner?

Another line still on my mind was the one Homer gave to the other tow truck drivers about how 'he's the one who decides how far to take something before it's gay'...

Solid episode with more than a few goofy, LOL moments...

October 11 2007 at 12:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sarah

i feel you Pete on Bart's voice. i noticed it from the beginning of the episode.

i also thought it was funny how Moe charged Homer based on how white the paint was on his tongue. white paint is expensive.

October 08 2007 at 4:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Walt

The problem with The Simpsons is... There's too many other better episodes of The Simpsons already. It's not just that there's one or two episodes better than any of the current ones -- There's nearly 50 episodes better than any of the ones I've seen lately.

The Simpsons shows compete against themselves, and the old shows win every time.

October 08 2007 at 12:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
da9ve

I got to wondering about this new town, Guidopolis. Never been mentioned before on the show, as far as I can recall, and, really, what a klunky name. (Do I remember right that it was pronounced "guide-opolis" and not as if the "Guido" was the name Guido?) Then I remembered seeing a reference to some old game from (as I found out through the magic of Google) 1959 or thereabouts, called Guidancetown. Some sort of presumably instructive building game (or maybe just a building set a la Tinkertoys) for kids. Does anybody know anything about this game? Is this town name an obscure reference to that game?

October 08 2007 at 12:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kevjohn

I couldn't have said it any better than Oreo. Early on Homer was just a hard-working, yet exasperated dad whom we could somewhat relate. Everything he tried failed, but at least he tried. He wasn't very bright, but he did his best. Now he's so stupid and thoughtless, he's likely to trade Maggie on eBay in exchange for a crate of Duff beer.

The mose IQ points he's lost over the years, the less interesting the show has become.

October 08 2007 at 12:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
superbagman

yeah the guest voices aren't being used to full potential, but honestly...The Simpsons has always had a problem (since about season 6) with using stars just for their name. I don't like it, but I still like the show.

October 08 2007 at 10:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Shawn

i also noticed that bart's voice is different. but it's nothing major.

October 08 2007 at 8:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Shail

You forgot about Homer crying over spilled milk. I personally thought that was hilarious.

October 08 2007 at 6:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Pete

In my opinion, Homer IS the show. The show got much better (way, way, way, way back when) once the producers realized this.

However, there is a recent change that is so glaring to me that I don't know if I can watch anymore--Bart's voice. It's thin and high-pitched. There's none of the bite it used to have. Has Nancy Cartwright lost it?

October 08 2007 at 1:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
beanspants1

Homer actually has not gotten stupider over the years. The first season had the episode where Bart went to France, and the Simpsons got the spy kid. Even at the end after the FBI comes in and scoops him up, Homer still doesn't realize the kid is a spy. He started out dumb.

Anyways, I agree that Matt Dillon's role was a waste, but the Maggie on the dog part was pretty good, so totally worth it. And those fake words the CRIE girl was saying remind me so much of work, I almost shot myself.


October 07 2007 at 11:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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