Everything from Sacha Baron Cohen's aggressive tour guide to the jokes and the storyline in general didn't work this week. I'm not sure if it's because the writer, Kevin Curran, was trying too hard not to offend Muslims, Jews or Christians, but he wound up wringing every bit of humor out of the episode.
Normally, at least one or two jokes can hit, even in a bad episode of 'The Simpsons,' but this one actually got painful to continue sitting through.
The opening and closing segments of this episode, which only tangentially had anything to do with the real plot of the episode, reminded me a lot of the old Warner Bros. shorts where they would take a look into a speculative future based on 1940s ideals and values. This interlude was every bit as fun as those, and I found myself disappointed when it ended as a video shown in Mrs. Krabappel's class that even she didn't understand.
Once we got into the meat of the episode, it actually touched on an issue that's pretty serious for most parents: what happens when the two of you disagree on how to deal with a child disciplinary issue.
(S21E10) Touted as the 450th episode of the series, this episode was a Krusty-centric episode. Billed as part of The Simpsons 20th anniversary celebration, "Once Upon a Time in Springfield" was followed by Morgan Spurlock's hour-long Simpsons special, meaning that 75% of FOX's prime-time Sunday night lineup this week Matt Groening, instead of Seth MacFarlane; only The Cleveland Show made the cut.
This week also featured the return of Anne Hathaway, playing the character of Princess Penelope, a sudden co-host to Krusty's television show in an attempt to appeal to a wider demographic. As you can imagine, a character inspired by the Disney Princesses line can't sit well with Krusty's core (Bart and Milhouse) type of audience.
The bulk of the episode dealt with Bart learning that there was a prankster before him, and one who was even his superior. So of course, Bart seeks out this 19-year old malcontent to learn from the master and come back stronger and better than ever. Too bad, as Lisa is so quick to point out, they're both still losers.
Maybe it was that we finally got to see Mr. Burns again; he was always my favorite. Yes, he only had a bit part, and in fact the part of maniacal boss was played by Carl instead of Burns, but his presence set up the stories of the entire episode. I'll go so far as to say everything about that episode worked, from Marge's sexy calendar to Ned Flander's role in the final moments.
Even the brief encounters with Bart at school fed the main story, and were handled perfectly. This is what The Simpsons is capable of, and despite a few moments that were a bit more crass than I recall the Simpsons of yore being, it was classic Simpsons all over again.
I'm not a fan of Ultimate Fighting, though I think that other people should be able to watch it, if they're so inclined. But it is an all too common stance among watchdog groups, including mothers, sympathetic school officials and the clergy, as Nelson so kindly pointed out. Of course, this has been going on for years, but it was still a clever enough send-up of the problem.
Maybe it's because I don't find Marge to be one of the funnier characters on the show and this episode focused on her, so there weren't as many funny moments in the main storylines. Luckily, there were plenty of side characters and moments to spotlight.
In fact, Jackson is probably one of the many creative minds who helped the show and its characters move into more musical territory and become an even deeper part of global pop culture. When you're a king, you have all sorts of powers, so you might as well use them for the good of your kingdom.
That's why when I become king, I will order all television networks to play nothing but Top Gear and Robot Chicken and that episode of Married...With Children where Al meets a stripper named Rocki Mountains. Anyone who tries to stop me will be thrown into a cell without the benefit of trial and forced to watch reruns of Cop Rock and AfterMASH until their eyes stop working and/or melt right out of their skull. Whadaya gonna do about it? I'm the frigging king!
I can vividly remember a time when The Simpsons was the hot new show that every parent had to keep away from their kids or Child Protective Services would show up and take them away. So every time I see the newest thing that The Simpsons are on this week, I can feel myself aging.
I love The Simpsons. It has been my all time favorite show as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end, amen. So I have to have the coolest Simpsons stuff. But every time I see Bart on a TV shirt, I can feel my hair turning gray and thinner.
But now they have either grown too powerful or have completely lost whatever grip they had left on reality, which wasn't a whole hell of a lot to begin with. They have recruited a cartoon character.
Bart Simpson's voice appeared in a phone recording advertising a Scientologist gathering in Hollywood that was clearly voiced by Nancy Cartwright. Of course, the audio found its way to the Internet. 20th Century Fox has been scrambling to pull it off every corner of YouTube ever since Perez Hilton broke the story and Fox made him remove it. You can hear it here before Fox spoils the fun for the rest of us.
(S19E20) "Applause is an addiction, like heroin or checking your e-mail." -- Sideshow Mel
Well, another season of The Simpsons has come to an end. As with the last few seasons some stuff was good, some was okay, and the rest should have gone back to the Writers' Room for further revision ("Treehouse of Horror", anyone?). Most of the weak stuff landed in the first half of the season for some reason -- maybe everyone was tired from the completion of The Simpsons Movie. The second half picked up steam, thanks to some solid episodes featuring Lisa and Bart.
Luckily, The Simpsons ended on a strong note with the Lisa-centric season finale. Once again going back to the on-going theme of how success can corrupt Lisa, we were treated to an episode featuring her turn to work with the famous Krusty the Clown. I say 'her turn' because older brother Bart had worked for Krusty in the past. And, like Bart, Lisa usurped Krusty's fame to become the star of the show.
You would think Krusty would have learned his lesson.
I went to Universal Studios in Hollywood on Saturday for the revealing of The Simpsons Ride. Celebs walked the "yellow" carpet. The mayor welcomed the crowds and led the countdown. A human cannonball was shot into the air. And a yellow sheet dropped to reveal a 32-foot Krusty the Clown face at the entrance to the attraction.
Despite the launch being for The Simpsons, there were hardly any members of the cast there on the yellow carpet. Kelsey Grammer (Sideshow Bob) was there along with creator Matt Groening and producer James L. Brooks but no other voice talents were anywhere to be found. See who I talked to and read more about the ride unveiling after the jump.
(S19E17) "Sorry, Lise. I can't be a vegetarian. I love the taste of death." -- Bart Simpson
Another Bart-centric episode, which means another decent installment of The Simpsons. It's unfortunate that these types of episodes couldn't have been dispersed more evenly throughout the season. This would have made for a less Homer-centric run of shows during the first half of the year -- something that many fans (or maybe just me) were expressing concern about.
(S19E15) "I'm not a nerd. I'm a jock who's too cool for sports." -- Bart Simpson
From the outside, the Family Simpson comprises a group of people who go from one wacky adventure to another. Yet, when you go beneath their four-fingered exteriors, each member of the family is actually fighting their own little battle. For Bart it's the fight against the establishment; for Marge it's finding order withing the disorder of her life; for Maggie it's getting through an entire day on one pacifier; and for Homer it is the philosophical dilemma of whether or not death brings forth life or life brings on death. That, or just trying to get between breakfast and lunch without starving to death...it really depends on the day.
(S19E14) "Oh boy, dinnertime! The perfect break between work and drunk." -- Homer J. Simpson
Before I get to the review as a whole for this week's installment of The Simpsons I want to talk about one of the most disturbing scenes that has ever graced this program. It involves Homer, who is breaking his one millionth diet or something. In one scene he's shown entering a room of a sleazy motel with what looks like another woman. Turns out it's just a rack of meat (I think it was lamb, I couldn't hear Homer) dripping in its own juices. He then goes about treating the meat like a lover, sucking on the juices, caressing it, and even bringing it to the shower with him. I was in total agreement with the host of Sneakers -- the fictitious television show that was a parody of the real-life show Cheaters -- when he asked the guys in the control truck to turn the hidden cameras off. Brrr!
Other than that, this was a pretty good episode.
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