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CyanideFishbone

CyanideFishbone reviews Cartoons (Currently: Simpsons Season 12)

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Hey guys, CyanideFishbone here! I've been stressed with school recently and some psychological problems but this week is the best I've felt in a long time and I wanted to get started with a little project where I review cartoon episodes, mostly specific seasons time to time when I've really got the time; I don't plan to go too in depth, it'll mostly be kind of short reviews but I'm starting with Season 10 of The Simpsons. Season 10 may seem like a weird choice, but it's because this is what people regard as the first "meh" season of the show. Some people DO regard 9 as the first meh, but i'm in the boat that that season had enough fantastic episodes like The City Of New York vs. Homer Simpson, The Cartridge Family, Trash Of The Titans, Natural Born Kissers and a few others to consider it the first meh season of the show in my eyes. 

 

And in Season 10, a lot of.... changes were happening. And not really for the better. Main thing was the change in show runner during Season 9; a guy named Mike Scully became the show runner during this time. A lot of fans point him as the reason for the show's decline in quality, and I'm sure he's a good guy, but, yeah, I'm not a huge fan of his Simpsons. The show lost all it's heart, something that made it stand out and became more of a zany cartoon with the purpose of making you laugh and a lot of his episodes were horribly paced, and just too goddamn absurd for a show grounded in reality. Sure there was absurdity in early episodes, such as Bart getting a pet elephant, Bart being forced to be kicked in the butt with a giant boot by the Australian government after being indicted for fraud in Australia, and a good number of others but the show just became so unrealistically strange and absurd that it just lost the show's original satirical feel. Among things like Homer becoming more of an asshole than a dimwitted everyman who gets roped into crazy situations, the show... changed a lot. Anyway, the first entry should be out sometime this weekend, probably tonight. 

Edited by CyanideFishbone
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"Lard Of The Dance"

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Written by: Jane O'Brien

First aired: August 23rd, 1998

 

So here we are with this season review's first entry. In this episode, Lisa struggles to fit in when a new, older, more mature girl named Alex becomes popular with her friends, while Homer and Bart decide to start selling grease.

 

With the fact that this is a Spongebob forum, I kind of had Greasy Buffoons in the back of my head the entire time I watched this episode, an episode of Spongebob I'm not particularly fond of with a similar premise as the episode's Homer and Bart plot. To my surprise, this episode is actually pretty damn good, especially from the standards of this season (I'm mostly going in blind, I've seen a couple of Season 10 episodes, and the one's I've seen will have an * next to their episode name). There's a lot of great gags in this episode, from Milhouse trying to get Lisa while going back to school shopping to his appearances later in the episode, Marge singing to Lisa trying to cheer her up, the dressing room gag when Lisa and Alex are at the mall, and some of the gags with Bart and Homer are alright. This is an episode where I actually prefer the Lisa A-plot to Homer and Bart's B-plot. I tolerate Lisa more than others and think she's a pretty good character, and while the theme of Lisa not being able to relate to her classmates is a theme that has been brought up in the Simpsons several times, it's looked at a very interesting angle that a lot of people face around Lisa's age; should we really pretend to grow up or have fun with our last couple years as kids? Also, Alex is voiced by Lisa Kudrow, and I don't know much about her but it's a celebrity guest star (some of the worst guest stars in Simpsons history are around this period in the show's history, I'm looking at you Kill The Alligator and Run) but her voice fits with her character as someone who knows nothing about Lisa Kudrow and she puts a pretty good effort in her role. You've seen enough of me gush about the Lisa plot and how much I enjoy it, so what about the Homer and Bart subplot? It's.... good. It's not really that great, it's amusing in some sections like the Krusty Burger scene, but Lisa's plot, the stronger of the two plots really takes the forefront and I'm glad it does because it's definitely the most interesting of the two. If I had to give some complaints, the ending goes a bit into the absurd category and Homer's a little bit of Jerkass Homer, but it's never to jarring. A very solid start to the season.

I will be rating the episodes on this scale: 

10: Fantastic

9-8: Pretty good

7-4: Meh

4-0: SCUMSONS (I know it's unoriginal but man do I want to call it that)

This episode gets a good 9/10 from me, I enjoyed it that much. It's got a fantastic A plot with a bit of heart, something the show lacked in recent episodes at the time, a good guest star, but is brought back a little bit by it's only okay B plot. Something weird to note is this episode, for when seasons of the Simpsons start, has a REALLY early air date (most seasons usually air late September/early October), but it was so it could be a lead in for the early premieres of That 70's Show and Holding The Baby.

Edited by Edward Elric
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"The Wizard Of Evergreen Terrace"

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Written by: John Swartzwelder

First aired: September 20th, 1998

Synopsis: When Homer realizes that he's halfway through his life and he believes he hasn't accomplished anything, he begins to admire Thomas Edison and wants to become an inventor.

 

Guys, I think Lard Of The Dance got my hopes up too high because I was pretty let down by this episode. This is a pretty weak episode, I'm not gonna lie. It was a very dull episode, and it's got some problems. I don't get why it's so dull because the idea of Homer becoming an inventor is an alright one, but there's a decent amount of things I dislike about this episode. Let's get the good out of the way; the jokes when Homer introduces his inventions to the family are really funny (especially the "Everybody's Okay" alarm and the makeup gun), and Bart's "Hey dad, heard you swearing. Mind if I join? Crap, boobs, crap!" along with Marge's "You've got it set to whore!" are some really funny quotes, but outside of that there's just not much to like. The biggest draw to this episode is that Homer is so goddamn obnoxious in this episode. Homer is a complete smug asshole for most of this episode who acts like a middle school age psuedo-intellectual mixed with a kid finding out about something and shoving it down everyone's throats. I get that Homer dips into these behaviors time to time which is fine because it makes sense for the kind of character he is to dip into these actions time to time, but it's just not charming at all in this way and reminds me of something like a kid annoying the ones around him with some thing they just got into. Other than that, man I don't have much to say. It's a slow plot that meanders from point to point without a lot. It's just, man, it's just so forgettable. I don't think my life would change at all if I never saw this episode again in my life. Also, this episode starts a bit of a "theme" with this season, where "Homer becomes X profession/type of person!" which continues through out the next couple of seasons. Granted we've had a lot of that in the past, but it got very prevalent around this time in the show's history.

 

I think this one deserves a good 6/10. It's pretty forgettable, but aside from Jerkass Homer, harmless. Let's hope good from Bart The Mother.

Edited by MLG Vanilluxe
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"Bart The Mother"

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Written by: David X. Cohen

First aired: September 27th, 1998

 

Synopsis: When Nelson successfully persuades Bart to shoot a bird with a BB gun, Bart kills the bird, angering Marge, and raises it's eggs out of guilt, which the eggs actually hatch into lizards.

 

So you guys all know I wasn't a fan of The Wizard Of Evergreen Terrace, so what do I think about this episode? It's...... good? It's a good episode, but this episode suffers from one giant flaw; this episode is so goddamn similar to Marge Be Not Proud from Season 7 and traces on pretty much all the same themes it does. It's the same kind of deal. Bart does something bad, Marge gets angry at him because of it and doesn't see Bart as a kid anymore, Bart does something really sweet, Marge loves him again. Except in this episode, while Marge and Bart made up right at the end of Marge Be Not Proud, they make up around halfway through and the rest is Bart, Marge and Lisa visiting the asshole bird watchers of Springfield who try to kill the lizards while Bart doesn't want them killed. It's just like Marge Be Not Proud 2.0., and because I've seen that episode a lot and I like it quite a bit, it just feels a lot lamer the second time around. There's some good gags, the basement gag was funny the first 2 times and stopped being funny after that, and the scene at the amusement park/fun center is kind of amusing, but everything Bart The Mother does, Marge Be Not Proud does better. There's none of the heart crushing ending when Bart apologizes, there's no great quotes like "MARGE? IS LISA AT CAMP GRANADA?" or "Shoplifting is a victimless crime, like punching someone in the dark!", it's all just the same but lamer. That's all I can describe about it. Another thing I don't get which is super nitpicky, but why would a ticket prize center sell a BB gun? Granted I don't know much of the process of how to get a BB gun in the US, but it just seems weird that a BB gun would be sold there. One last thing to note about this episode is this was Phil Hartman's last appearance on the Simpsons, which he does Troy McClure, and as usual, the Troy McClure scene is great.

 

I'll give this one another 6/10. It's harmless, but suffers from being too samey as Marge Not Be Proud, but there isn't much wrong with the episode when you take that episode out of the equation. 

Edited by MLG Vanilluxe
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5 hours ago, Wumbo said:

don't mind me i'm just reserving a seat for the kidney trouble review :sbgrin:

Not gonna lie, I’m kind of looking forward to reviewing that one. I’ve honestly never seen it, but I’ve heard all about it. It’s gonna be an experience. 

Edited by CyanideFishbone
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"Treehouse Of Horror IX"

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Written by: David X. Cohen, Larry Doyle, Donick Cary

First aired: October 25th, 1998

 

So here we are at this season's annual Treehouse Of Horror episode! Treehouse Of Horror episodes tend to be some of the best episodes of each season of the Simpsons, so how does this one hold up? Well, here's how I'm gonna review it. I'll review each of the 3 shorts, give them individual scores, point out my favorite in doing so, and then judge the episode as a whole. Let's go!

"Hell Toupee"- In this short, Snake is arrested and given the electric chair, and Homer takes his wig, and his wig slowly takes over Homer and convinces him to kill the witnesses when he was arrested ending in him trying to kill Bart (who obviously ends up fine), who was a witness when Snake was arrested. It's a weird concept for a Treehouse Of Horror, but man, this is a pretty great short. It's incredibly insane, absurd and weird, but it WORKS here because it's a Treehouse Of Horror episode, so it's not canon and can be as weird as it damn pleases. There's some good gags but most of the enjoyment comes from just how absurd it is. I think Snake's a funny character and the jokes are well done here with Homer switching from his normal self to Snake and no one really batting an eye, and during the culmination of Snake Homer trying to kill Bart, it reaches it's climax and I had a smile on my face the entire time because of just how high energy it is (this one is never too graphic, and all violence is super cartoonish). If I had to nitpick a bit, it's that the opening's pretty slow (but the gag about Chief Wiggum being confused about who the low life in the Kwik-E-Mart is, Snake or Moe (Moe was also present) is pretty funny and is a highlight of the opening) but the high energy of the latter half makes it well worth it. It's pretty dang good, especially as the first skit, and it's nice to see after two weak episodes before. It gets a good 8/10 for me, just because the opening's a little slow.

"The Terror Of Tiny Toon"- In this short, Bart and Lisa get trapped in the Itchy and Scratchy Halloween Special, and Homer has the remote, slightly controlling them in the cartoon while Itchy and Scratchy try to kill them. I'll be honest, guys, this short is fantastic. It takes Hell Toupee's high energy and cranks it to 11. It's cartoony, violent, and I had a smile on my face the entire time. It's really creative with all that's going on in the cartoon, and the fact that when Homer enters the cartoon shortly he enters as Poochy is an awesome call back, and on top of that it's really clever.  There isn't much to say about it besides that it's funny, fast paced, clever, and creative. It even has some great dialogue-based gags at the start with Marge trying to convince Bart and Lisa to trick-or-treat with her and Maggie, the gag about Krusty saying "I want to suck" and forgetting to follow it with "your blood" is pretty funny, and Homer as a hobo is short and doesn't outstay it's welcome, and it's funny because it doesn't outstay it's welcome for long. It's just so much goddamn fun, and because of that, it deserves a 10/10. Yeah, first one of this season. If I had to nitpick a little, it's that it seems weird that Homer would have plutonium in his toolbox, but it doesn't bother me too much because it's Treehouse of Horror. There's also a part where Homer changes channels and Bart and Lisa end up in a cooking show for a short amount of time, which is a cool visual gag.

"Starship Poopers"- In this short, when Maggie grows a big first baby tooth and she grows tentacles , Marge reveals to Homer that Maggie is her and Kang's child. This is a weird idea, and not really in the good way..... this short is really goddamn weak. All I laughed at was when they went on Jerry Springer, which is just such a weird place to take the plot (I know what Jerry Springer is, but watching it 20 years later the fact they go on the show just makes it seem dated) and the joke where everything is bleeped out on the show is mildly funny, but outside of that, man, there's just nothing really in this short. Another thing is Kang and Kodos saying at the end that they're gonna destroy all politicians in Washington just makes me think of Citizen Kang from Treehouse of Horror VII from Season 7, a short that's 10 times better than this one. It seems people like this one alright, but man, I just don't. It's so weak. Nothing really pissed me off in it though, so for that, I give it a light 5/10. Just for how boring and weak it is, it's definitely on the line of Scumsons.

OVERALL THOUGHTS- It's a bit weird to watch a Treehouse of Horror in March but man, this is a pretty decent series of shorts, compared to the past two mediocre episodes. While Starship Poopers is really weak, Hell Toupee and The Terror Of Tiny Toon really make up for their shortcomings. It's no Treehouse Of Horror VII, VI, or V, but it's a pretty good Treehouse Of Horror. This gets an 8/10 from me, two points reduced for Starship Poopers. Man, that's a weak segment.

Edited by MLG Vanilluxe
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8 minutes ago, Wumbo said:

"Hell Toupee" might be one of the best puns in the show's history.

I agree. I just don't get how anyone could dislike a pun like that.

Edited by CyanideFishbone

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"When You Dish Upon A Star"

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Written by: Richard Appel

First aired: November 8th, 1998

 

Synopsis: When Homer discovers Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin's secret house in Springfield, they become friends, only for their friendship to be ruined when Homer lets the word spread of their secret home.

 

Ooooooh boy, this episode's a doozy. I can't even begin with this episode. I can't even tell if it's genius or ironic that this episode has a parasailing segment in it and it's what causes Homer to discover Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin's house, because jumping the shark is the perfect way to put this episode (I know the Fonz was on waterskis, but Homer was parasailing and eh, it's close enough). Let's get some of the positives out of the way. The scene where Homer lands in bed with the two is decently funny, and that's.... really it. The scene where Homer reveals the secret to Moe is alright because it makes sense for Homer to break the word free because of the pressure, but this episode has flaw after goddamn flaw. The opening referencing 60's cartoons feels so forced, and opening on Homer's weird Yogi Bear inspired dream feels forced and out of place. Homer twists his neck for a gag that just feels out of place and is never referenced again. After Homer stop being friends with Kim and Alec, Homer leaves their house saddened, only for MOE to persuade the townsfolk to throw rocks at Homer. I could understand this kind of behavior from Moe to pretty much anyone else, but Homer? We all know Moe isn't the best person, and has taken advantage of Homer multiple times, but it just feels a little excessive. Most of the time when Moe manipulates Homer it's for Moe's gain, but not here. It feels out of place. This whole goddamn episode feels out of place. Homer gets weirdly mean spirited to his family after Kim and Alec stop being his friend. Oh yeah Ron Howard is his friend too, because.... celebrities? I don't know, but Ron Howard just feels out of place. He just kind of shows up to hang out with Kim and Alec, is there for a little bit, and just kind of is there with Kim and Alec in their later scenes. Anyway, back on track, Homer lashes out at his family. Okay, it makes sense for a character like Homer to do this, then apologize because making huge mistakes and having to clean them up is a major part of Homer's character and dynamic. But to lash out at his family for not being celebrities, and then there's no apology, nothing, nope, nothing. 

What else makes me angry is that when word breaks loose, the show had a great opportunity to do satire on how the public blindly praises celebrities, as a show like The Simpsons would do. Instead, they're just there. There's no joke, no point, nothing. The joke is that "Haha, look at these people obsessed with celebrities!", and it feels like it's all built to make a point, or Homer to denounce them at the court scene, but no, not really. Homer makes a stupid comment about how they're always going to be famous. And Homer's derailment doesn't stop there. He literally goes out of his way to taunt Kim, Alec, and Ron, stealing Kim's underwear and putting it up in his shitty RV celebrity museum.... I wouldn't bring this up if Kim didn't literally say that they should get Homer when he drives away near the end of the episode because he has her underwear, which just feels weak. The driving force should be that Homer exposed their lives,  but okay. I feel like my words are stumbling on each other, and I'm ranting and raving, but I can't believe just how derailed this episode is. 

 

Fuck this episode. Here's our first Scumsons. 3/10. It's all just so weak and gets disgustingly mean spirited toward the end. Now, I'm fine with "mean spirited" stuff (I fucking love shows like South Park, and I hate using that phrase because I think it's definition has really been distorted and lost all meaning from people like Mr. Enter), but the mean spirited stuff doesn't feel welcome because it twists a character who usually does bad/awful things, but feels bad about it and apologizes. That is a vital part of Homer. But here, his actions exceed his past bad behaviors and become worse, and there's no redemption or anything. And the celebrity roles feel pretty forced, but I can let that slide because i don't know if Howard, Basinger or Baldwin came to the show, and if they did, I mean, the show probably built a plot around them anyway. I don't know. I'm rambling because I hate how out of place everything is in this episode, and it's even made worse by a mean spirited second half.

 

One last thing. Since Disney bought Fox, you've probably seen this photo around the internet: 

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Yeah, that's from this episode's ending, when Ron Howard pitches Homer's film, and gets a film deal, which just feels even more out of place and weird for an ending that could normally be used for a redemption for Homer (I don't want it to make it sound like i'm saying that's the biggest problem with this episode, it's not, the bigger problem is that Homer's character is derailed for no real reason, the episode is filled with weak/forced plot points, and the jokes and gags are lackluster and literally stem from "Hey look celebrities!")

Edited by MLG Vanilluxe
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"D'oh-in' In The Wind"*

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Written by: Donick Cary

First aired: November 15th, 1998

 

Synopsis: When Homer realizes he doesn't know his middle name, Abe says he should try the hippie commune where Homer's mom would visit. When Homer finds what he's looking for, he decides to stay to become a hippie after catching up with his mom's hippie friends, Seth (voiced by Martin Mull) and Munchie (voiced by George Carlin), who produce juice.

 

So yeah, first episode with an asterik. The truth is I've seen little of this season before, and there's 2 episodes I keep going back to because of how much I like them, and most of the others I've only seen once, thought they were okay, and never went back to them until now. This episode falls into the latter category, but man, upon rewatching this episode, holy shit, this episode is awesome. Imagine When You Dish Upon A Star as a really disgusting medicine, and this episode is the drink of water you take to wash that taste out of your mouth. There's so much to like in this episode. The nod to Homer's mom is a nice one, and it's nice to see she's brought up again. There's tons of great gags in this episode. Homer gleefully saying he'll shoot himself when him and his dad are about to go to the commune, the Woodstock sequence is pretty funny, and the scene where they go out into town has some funny moments, and the tripping moment is decently funny (especially Groundskeeper Willie making out with a rake, it's done just long enough where it isn't creepy or uncomfortable), but man, this episode has a twist ending that's pretty damn funny. The biggest thing I like about this episode is it's atmosphere. They play a lot of popular rock songs from the 60's in this episode and all it does is help add to this episode's atmosphere. Seth and Munchie are entertaining, Mull and Carlin do a great job, and I really like the juxtaposition of Homer and their lifestyles. Homer is irresponsible, laid back and fun loving, while Seth and Munchie are responsible, laid back and fun loving. Jerkass Homer is kept to a good minimum here, and while he doesn't completely fix the problem he put upon Seth and Munchie, he tries his best and it's nice to see he has good intentions. It's nice to see Homer try to fix his problems, although not successful, as juxtaposed to the piece of shit that is When You Dish Upon A Star. It's a solid episode with some really great gags, great new characters, and a great hippie atmosphere and feel to it that makes it feel like one of it's kind (Weekend at Burnsie's did the same a few seasons later, and that's an episode I like as much as this one)

 

It may seem excessive to do so, but fuck it, 10/10. I just can't think of much wrong with this episode. It's not super amazing, but it's very solid. I'm definitely going to keep coming back to this one.

Edited by MLG Vanilluxe
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What I find really, really disappointing about "Dish" is that celebrity guest stars on The Simpsons were frequently taken down a peg and made to look like fools, all for the purposes of comedy and satire. Here. they are treated with the kiddiest of kid gloves, which is neither funny nor interesting. It's just "hey, look at these celebrities we have on our show". The show seems to fawn over the celebrities as much as Springfield's citizens do.

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17 hours ago, Wumbo said:

What I find really, really disappointing about "Dish" is that celebrity guest stars on The Simpsons were frequently taken down a peg and made to look like fools, all for the purposes of comedy and satire. Here. they are treated with the kiddiest of kid gloves, which is neither funny nor interesting. It's just "hey, look at these celebrities we have on our show". The show seems to fawn over the celebrities as much as Springfield's citizens do.

That was a point I really wanted to bring up in my review, but I couldn't because I couldn't phrase it right and I know I'd seem hypocritical because I was going to juxtapose it to Homerpalooza from Season 7, which is one of my favorite episodes in the series, and that episode relies heavily on celebrities. Most of the time when celebrities were on the show the show would make playful jabs at them; look at all the lines like Bart saying "Making teenagers depressed is like shootin' fish in a barrel" as a reaction to The Smashing Pumpkins in that episode. In When You Dish Upon A Star, there's just none of that. It's so "hey look celebrities!" and it just feels dirty that the show treats celebrities how the citizens of Springfield do, when in any earlier episode the citizens would've been parodied to make a point on how our society blindly praises celebrities.

 

And that's a good point. Most of the times when celebrities play themselves on the show, they're almost always meant to look, as you said, like fools, and usually do things that they'd never do in real life for comedy, and satire. Look at Sonic Youth trying to steal food from Peter Frampton's cooler, Cypress Hill asking for The London Symphony Orchestra to play Insane In The Brain, and Billy Corgan actually being nice to people (Okay, last one's a joke, but you get my point). In When You Dish Upon A Star, they're just portrayed as normal celebrities and it just takes out all the fun of the celebrity roles in the Simpsons past. It feels like they just want celebrity voices so they can increase their ratings with "Hey look! Alec Baldwin's going to be in this episode of The Simpsons!" and it works. The reason it doesn't work as well now than it did in 1998 was the Simpsons was still massively popular back then, and now, we look back on the show as one of the biggest pop culture icons of the 90's and most just forget that the show is still making new episodes because people moved on. Let me just say this: When has anyone gotten up and started talking about the new episodes of The Simpsons? Not really at all. Granted there was all the gimmicky stuff like the episode where "Homer would finally leave Marge!" and when they did the 3 minute live thing where they answered phone calls, but those generated minor news buzz because the show's quality has dwindled and people have moved on. 

Edited by CyanideFishbone
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"Lisa Gets An "A""*

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Written by: Ian Maxtone-Graham

First aired: November 22nd, 1998

 

Synopsis: After Lisa gets a cold and plays and becomes addicted to one of Bart's video games to pass the time, she forgets to study for a test and ends up cheating and getting an above average grade, but becomes extremely guilty to the opposition of Principal Skinner because Lisa's grade gives Springfield Elementary a basic assistance grant. Meanwhile, Homer buys a lobster from a grocery store with the intention of fattening it up and then eating it, but ends up keeping it as a pet.

 

So here's our second episode with an asterik. You know how in my review of D'oh-in' In The Wind that there are 2 episodes I keep coming back to? This is one of them. This episode can best be described as Lard Of The Dance with it's problem fixed; a great Lisa A-plot, but instead of a weak Homer B-plot, I'd say the episode's B-plot rivals the A-plot. Homer buying a live lobster with the intention of fattening it up but in turn keeping it as a pet is very much Season 6-7 esque Homer antics, and man, it steals the goddamn show here. Every moment with Homer and the lobster (named Pinchy) is super memorable, and most of them are just flat out really goddamn funny (Homer pouring table salt in the tank after Lisa says lobsters need salt, him playing with Pinchy in a kiddie pool, and the close up of Pinchy from Marge's perspective are my favorites), culminating in an ending of Marge finally cooking Pinchy and Homer eating him while grossly sobbing that is goddamn hilarious. But that's enough of why the B-plot is so great. The A-plot is pretty goddamn great too. The idea of Lisa cheating is a very interesting one, and I'm glad they went for a comedy approach with it because if they went through a realistic approach I just think we'd have Marge Be Not Proud 3.0: Lisa Edition. I'd say this episode is most famous for being the source of Ralph's classic catchphrase "Hello, Supernintendo Chalmers!", but man, there are tons of great jokes from this episode's A-plot (I've already stated just why the B-plot is so damn memorable and funny), I like Nelson calling his stolen answers "study aides", Bart saying to Lisa's opposition of going in the boy's bathroom that "There's nothing in here you didn't see when Dad boycotted pants", Superintendent Chalmers saying that Springfield Elementary was the worst school in Missouri until they moved it to Springfield is pretty funny, the ice cream puns from the grocery store are pretty funny, man, it's just so many great jokes, one after another. There's a reason I keep coming back to this episode, it's that damn good. It's a very solid episode with some of the best jokes all season so far, and some very memorable jokes,  but nothing is quite as memorable as Pinchy. R.I.P. Pinchy. Another thing worth mentioning with this episode as at the scene at the grocery store, the mom and her son that bought Bonestorm when Bart decided to shoplift from Marge Be Not Proud (crazy, right?) are there, as well as the gun store owner from The Cartridge Family from Season 9 being the guy who sells Homer the lobster.

 

There's a reason I keep coming back to this episode, and why it deserves a 10/10. The jokes are memorable, the A and B plots are very well written and memorable, and it takes a unique concept and does it's best with it, and does a great job with it.

 

One last thing. Near the start of this episode, when the family leaves church and Bart says he's starving, he asks Marge if the family can go Catholic so they can have "communion wafers and booze", and Marge responds "No, we're not going Catholic. Three children is enough, thank you.". This joke really pissed off the Catholic League, a civil rights group, and it's president at the time, Bill Donohue, sent a letter to Fox asking why the joke was included in the episode. Thomas Chavez, Fox's manager for broadcast standards and practices wrote back. Here's an excerpt:

"In your letter you questioned an exchange in dialogue between Bart and his mother, Marge. Because Bart is starving, he suggests they convert to Catholicism since he is aware communion wafers and wine are dispensed in the Catholic ceremony. Just like other children that are not knowledgeable, Bart sees the wafer merely as food and wine as a forbidden drink. Because many families wait to eat after they have attended Church, it is not atypical that a child would pose a question such as this unknowingly. The writers chose not to have Marge respond to Bart’s ridiculous desire to satisfy his hunger with the Sacrament but rather, elected to have Marge respond by stating why she would not be comfortable converting to Catholicism. Her views regarding birth control are obviously contrary to the Catholic Church's belief. While Marge's response may be perceived as short and curt, it also conveys the impression that one's choice of religion is based on more than the religion's rituals."

The Catholic League did not accept Chavez's apology, and ever since then, the whole conflict just kind of... went away. It's a weird note to consider with this episode. 

 

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And here we are, @Wumbo.

"Homer Simpson In: Kidney Trouble"

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Written by: John Swartzwelder

First aired: December 6th, 1998

 

Synopsis: When Grandpa's kidneys explode, he is in need of a donor, but Homer begins to have second thoughts right before the operation.

 

Ooooh boy. Let's talk about the relationship between Homer and his father in the show's history. It has been stated numerous times in this show's history, at this point, that Homer and his dad have never had the best relationship. There's been episodes about it, like Grandpa vs. Sexual Inadequacy from Season 6, and their relationship was a major plot point in Season 7's emotional rollercoaster Mother Simpson. Have you ever wanted to see Homer literally INTENTIONALLY cause his father to be on the verge of death, be acknowledged of this, agree to save his life, and then try not to take his life, and Grandpa's life is only changed after Homer ends up in critical condition, and Doctor Hibbert takes one of Homer's kidneys and gives it to Grandpa? Well, this episode's for the like one person in the universe that wanted that. This episode is ridiculously mean spirited, and I know that's a phrase I don't like to use, but it's the best way to put this episode. This episode's just... nasty. Anyway, there's like one or two positives in this episode. The "prostitute" joke at the ghost town is kinda funny, the "largest toilet" gag is kind of funny, and that's really it. Let's talk about the episode's pacing. At the start of this episode, the family visits this ghost town tourist attraction place. This part takes up almost ONE THIRD of the episode, and none of the plot is moved along. This is one of two major problems I have with Mike Scully's Simpsons that are present in this episode. The episodes take so long to start with these segments. It's seen in a lot of other episodes, that I'll probably bring up along the way (most of the episodes I've seen with this problem are Seasons 11/12), and it just feels forced because the writers want to make jokes about a tourist attraction like this. That's fine, if you were to build a MAJORITY OF THE PLOT around this tourist trap. Here, it serves no purpose to move the plot along besides making these gags that are super hit or miss, mostly miss, and just feels out of place with the rest of the episode's narrative, because it's NEVER REFERENCED again and just feels like a part from another episode. The plot actually starts 7 minutes in. I wouldn't mind it if the segment was like 3 minutes long, or it moved the plot along, but it does neither here and feels pretty much entirely pointless. I've got more problems with it's pacing, but more on that later.

And on the way back, Grandpa consistently says that he has to use the bathroom, and is literally SCREAMING, and it's not really funny because Homer just continuously ignores him. Normally this kind of scene would go that Grandpa would scream to use the bathroom, and Homer would reluctantly pull over, which would be perfectly in Homer's character, but this is what causes the episode's conflict. Grandpa's kidneys have exploded because of Homer's actions. Marge is rightfully furious at him, and surprisingly, he actually decides to give one of his kidneys. Okay, whatever. Not much happens until the surgery starts, but the scenes inbetween are short, so I can't complain about them. Anyway, when the surgery starts, Homer, who's fully realized what he's done to his father, jumps out the window...... and becomes a crew member on a ship to avoid giving his kidneys to Grandpa, while still feeling guilty. This plot choice is just so fucking out of nowhere, that it doesn't even feel hilariously out of place or random. It's just there. It happens, and it moves on. It's jarring how out of place it is, and this is another problem I have with Mike Scully's Simpsons. These random plot elements are thrown in like this and just feel lame and forced, as well as extremely out of place. And there's not really a point of any of it. There's a scene where some people on this ship ridicule Homer for his decision while it's CLEAR he feels guilty about it, and it just feels like in any other story this would be the scene where Homer is convinced that he's made a mistake and wants to fix it. The people on the ship throw him off because of how he's being a jerk, and he washes up on the shore like he's been knocked out for a day or two, destroys a father and son's sandcastle, not out of anger or anything, he just kinda destroys it.. It's just a weird scene.

Anyway, Homer reluctantly goes back, and jumps out of the window again. This just makes the entire ship scene feel pointless. I get that he's chickening out because it's a hard decision, but in a plot like this, wouldn't Homer begin to have second thoughts right after saying he'll be a donor? Anyway, after that, Homer... gets crushed by a car, which like the ship stuff, is a completely random plot decision and feels out of place, and Homer ends up in critical condition, and his kidney is given up when he was asleep, Grandpa is fine, and he realizes his wrong doings and what not and the show has the fucking AUDACITY to pull a "how sweet!" type of scene after fucking all of this, which again, just feels forced to try to get sympathy out of an audience and a lame attempt for the show to be the emotional powerhouse it used to be.

 

This episode is fucking awful. This episode gets a 2/10. This episode twists Homer's character too much to make him a complete asshole, he just kind of learns his lesson in the end and the show pulls a forced emotional moment, and it's all tied together with out of place plot choices, and slow pacing. It's a lot of what's wrong with Scully's Simpsons in my book and why a lot of fans dislike it; forced emotional moments, overly cartoony plot elements (like Homer being crushed by a car), and poor pacing amongst forced and way too out there plot elements. Fuck this episode. This is a true Scumsons.

Edited by MLG Vanilluxe
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I recently went through a rundown of the Simpsons seasons 1 through 10 and gave each a rating. "Kidney Trouble" was the first, and only, episode in all these seasons to receive a 0/10 from me. That bad. Any attempt at humour from this one takes a backseat to the rancid plot. There is just so much to hate about this story. It feels like a direct middle finger to the audience, and really, truly makes me wonder how much Scully understood The Simpsons in the first place.

Lisa Gets an "A" has always flown under the radar for me but it's solid enough. Lol at the Catholic League getting all in a tizzy though. 

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19 hours ago, Wumbo said:

I recently went through a rundown of the Simpsons seasons 1 through 10 and gave each a rating. "Kidney Trouble" was the first, and only, episode in all these seasons to receive a 0/10 from me. That bad. Any attempt at humour from this one takes a backseat to the rancid plot. There is just so much to hate about this story. It feels like a direct middle finger to the audience, and really, truly makes me wonder how much Scully understood The Simpsons in the first place.

Lisa Gets an "A" has always flown under the radar for me but it's solid enough. Lol at the Catholic League getting all in a tizzy though. 

Man, I should've given at a 1/10. 0/10 for me is just like "Worst episode of the series, I want to die after watching this tier" while Kidney Trouble leaves me feeling dirty and pissed. The humor fell completely flat, it has plot elements that feel way to surreal and out of place, and awful pacing. And that's not even getting into how fucking nasty the main plot is and how awful it is, and yeah, it feels like such a middle finger because at the end the show wants us to be like "Aww Homer is so sweet" despite that he literally WOULD kill his father and be aware of this if he wasn't crushed by a damn car. It deserves to be with Saddlesore Galactica and Kill The Alligator And Run as some of the worst episodes of the show (Not gonna lie, I might review Season 11 because I'm having a lot of fun reviewing these episodes)

 

I like Lisa Gets an A more than most I feel. It mostly gets brought up because of that amazing B plot, but I like the A plot a lot. That's probably because I like most Lisa episodes. And yeah, I seriously don't think Scully got the Simpsons very well. It just lost all it's emotion and realism, and those were two things that made the show the pop culture icon it is. I think it was perfectly summarized this way by an op-ed in Slate by video game critic Chris Suellentrop: "Episodes that once would have ended with Homer and Marge bicycling into the sunset now end with Homer blowing a tranquilizer dart in Marge's neck. The show's still funny, but it hasn't been touching in years". 

 

BTW do you have this rundown anywhere? I'd love to read it!

Edited by CyanideFishbone
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Got it saved on my computer. It's just ratings rather than reviews, but here ya go! It's colour coded and chronological by rating, and italics represent the Bottom 3 of a season and bold the Top 3. I also added in a few newer episodes I watched recently.

Spoiler

 

0/10: Homer Simpson in: Kidney Trouble

Moe Goes from Rags to Riches

1/10: Make Room for Lisa

2/10: Monty Can't Buy Me Love

3/10: Another Simpsons Clip Show

Maximum Homerdrive

Moe Letter Blues

4/10: Homer's Night Out

Bart's Dog Gets an F

Lisa's Date with Density

When You Dish Upon a Star

5/10: There's No Disgrace Like Home

Dead Putting Society

The Twisted World of Marge Simpson

Homer's Phobia

All Singing, All Dancing

The Trouble with Trillions

Bart the Mother

Viva Ned Flanders

Sunday, Cruddy Sunday

All's Fair in Oven War

6/10: Bart the Genius

Homer's Odyssey

The Crepes of Wrath

Dancin' Homer

The War of The Simpsons

Homer Defined

Treehouse of Horror II

So It's Come to This: A Simpsons Clip Show

Homerpalooza

Hurricane Neddy

The Canine Mutiny

The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase

Realty Bites

Miracle on Evergreen Terrace

Bart Carny

This Little Wiggy

Trash of the Titans

Marge Simpson in: "Screaming Yellow Honkers"

Eeny Teeny Maya Moe

7/10: The Telltale Head

Bart Gets Hit by a Car

Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk

Homer the Heretic

Brother from the Same Planet

Marge in Chains

The Last Temptation of Homer

Bart Gets an Elephant

Lady Bouvier's Lover

Two Dozen and One Greyhounds

Bart on the Road

The Homer They Fall

Burns, Baby Burns

My Sister, My Sitter

The Secret War of Lisa Simpson

The Principal and the Pauper

Bart Star

The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilons

Lost Our Lisa

Lisa Gets an "A"

Homer to the Max

Mom and Pop Art

Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo

8/10: Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire

Bart the General

The Call of The Simpsons

Treehouse of Horror

Bart vs. Thanksgiving

One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish

Homer vs. Lisa and the 8th Commandment

Principal Charming

Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?

Old Money

Brush with Greatness

Blood Feud

When Flanders Failed

Bart the Murderer

Lisa's Pony

Radio Bart

Homer Alone

Colonel Homer

The Otto Show

Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?

Kamp Krusty

Lisa the Beauty Queen

Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie

Marge Gets a Job

The Front

Whacking Day

Krusty Gets Kancelled

Bart's Inner Child

Boy-Scoutz n the Hood

$pringfield

Bart Gets Famous

Homer and Apu

Secrets of a Successful Marriage

Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy

Bart's Comet

Homer vs. Patty and Selma

A Star is Burns

The Springfield Connection

Team Homer

Two Bad Neighbors

Bart the Fink

Treehouse of Horror VII

Bart After Dark

The Old Man and the Lisa

Lisa's Sax

Treehouse of Horror VIII

The Cartridge Family

Lisa the Skeptic

The Last Temptation of Krust

Dumbbell Indemnity

Lard of the Dance

The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace

Treehouse of Horror IX

D'oh-in' in the Wind

Mayored to the Mob

I'm with Cupid

Simpsons Bible Stories

The Old Man and the "C" Student

Days of Wine and D'oh'ses

9/10: Krusty Gets Busted

Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish

Three Men and a Comic Book

Saturdays of Thunder

Flaming Moe's

Lisa the Greek

Separate Vocations

Bart's Friend Falls in Love

A Streetcar Named Marge

Treehouse of Horror III

Mr. Plow

Duffless

Treehouse of Horror IV

Marge on the Lam

Homer the Vigilante

Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy

The Boy Who Knew Too Much

Lisa's Rival

Itchy & Scratchy Land

Sideshow Bob Roberts

Bart's Girlfriend

Fear of Flying

Homie the Clown

Bart vs. Australia

Round Springfield

Lemon of Troy

Radioactive Man

Bart Sells His Soul

Lisa the Vegetarian

Scenes from the Class Struggle in Springfield

Lisa the Iconoclast

The Day the Violence Died

A Fish Called Selma

Much Apu About Nothing

Summer of 4 ft. 2

Mountain of Madness

Brother from Another Series

Homer vs. The Eighteenth Amendment

Grade School Confidential

The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson

The Joy of Sect

Lisa the Simpson

Simpson Tide

Girly Edition

Natural Born Kissers

They Saved Lisa's Brain

10/10: Moaning Lisa

Life on the Fast Lane

Some Enchanted Evening

Bart Gets an F

Simpson and Delilah

Bart the Daredevil

Itchy & Scratchy & Marge

The Way We Was

Lisa's Substitute

Stark Raving Dad

Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington

Like Father Like Clown

I Married Marge

Bart the Lover

Homer at the Bat

Dog of Death

Black Widower

New Kid on the Block

Lisa's First Word

Homer's Triple Bypass

Marge vs. The Monorail

Selma's Choice

I Love Lisa

Last Exit to Springfield

Homer's Barbershop Quartet

Cape Feare

Homer Goes to College

Rosebud

Deep Space Homer

Homer Loves Flanders

Burns' Heir

Sweet Seymour Skinner's Baadasssss Song

Bart of Darkness

Treehouse of Horror V

Lisa on Ice

Homer Badman

Homer the Great

And Maggie Makes Three

Lisa's Wedding

The PTA Disbands

Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part One)

Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part Two)

Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily

Treehouse of Horror VI

King-Size Homer

Mother Simpson

Sideshow Bob's Last Gleaming

The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular

Marge Be Not Proud

Homer the Smithers

22 Short Films About Springfield

Raging Abe Simpson and His Grumbling Grandson in "The Curse of the Flying Hellfish"

You Only Move Twice

A Milhouse Divided

El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer

The Springfield Files

Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious

The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show

In Marge We Trust

Homer's Enemy

Das Bus

King of the Hill

Wild Barts Can't Be Broken

 

 

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"Mayored To The Mob"*

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Written by: Ron Hauge

First aired: December 20th, 1998

 

Synopsis: Homer gets hired as Mayor Quimby's bodyguard, and Homer discovers that the mayor has been taking bribes from Fat Tony. When Quimby stops taking deals from him, Fat Tony threatens to kill Mayor Quimby.

 

Mark Hamill guest stars in this episode. And that's the first thing you need to know, because goddamn, his scenes are hilarious. Him trying to sell Sprint while the nerds at the convention get angry, him on stage at the dinner theater, it's all hilarious and extremely memorable. And after the abysmal Homer Simpson In: Kidney Trouble, this episode's pretty good. I really can't say a lot about this episode because it's just a solid story. The jokes are good. The joke with Comic Book Guy and the girl at the convention is funny, Mayor Quimby saying "Rats? You promised me dogs or higher!" is really memorable, the nerds rebelling at Mark Hamill not talking about Star Wars is funny, just the whole convention scene is funny. But the episode's good jokes don't just stop there. The bodyguard stunt camp's pretty funny, the ending is a great recalling of what caused Homer to become a bodyguard. The episode fixes a major pacing problem I had with Kidney Trouble in that nothing feels too insane or out of place, and the episode doesn't take one third for the conflict to set in, it takes around 5 minutes which is a pretty normal time for the conflict to start with this show. I can't say much more, it's just a solid episode with a really memorable guest star. Something weird is that Uter is wearing a Futurama shirt to promote the show which came out around 4 months after this episode aired. It's a cool little detail in a very solid episode. It is another "Homer becomes X job/profession" episode, but it's funny, has a good plot, and is just a solid episode. It deserves a good 8/10. There's nothing spectacular, but it's a pretty good episode that washes Kidney Trouble's taste out of my mouth.

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"Viva Ned Flanders"*

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Written by: David M. Stern

First aired: January 10th, 1999

 

Synopsis: When Homer realizes Ned is 60 and has never lived life to the fullest, Ned asks Homer for help, and Homer takes Ned to Las Vegas where they become drunk after a night at a casino and marry two cocktail waitresses while drunk.

 

First things first to note is that this episode was nominated for an Emmy, and honestly, that's so weird because I just don't know what to think about this episode. This is a different kind of Simpsons episode. First things first, what makes this episode "different" in my book, and what is this episode's biggest flaw (another flaw I have is it's about halfway through the episode when they actually get to Las Vegas, but I can let that slide) is there's not really any good jokes in this episode. The opening with Don Rickles is decently funny, so is the ending where Homer and Ned walk into the Nevada sunset, but other than that, there's not really any jokes. There's a few gags that are chuckle worthy, but other than that, not really. And it sucks because this plot has a lot of comedic potential. Homer and Ned going on a vacation at Ned's request in ending up landing in trouble is a plot with tons of comedic potential, and none of it's really used. However, that leads into this episode's major plus; it is just entertaining to watch these two banter. The ending scene is great at it, them starting to gamble is entertaining, and them trying to get out of the mess they made while drunk is entertaining. I really don't care for these cocktail waitresses too. I don't hate them, but they just kind of feel there, so I don't really mind them so I'm able to let that slide. Seeing Las Vegas in The Simpsons is also nice, and the scenes before they go to Las Vegas are pretty alright. My favorite part of this episode is the brief chase scene with Viva Las Vegas. I think the animation's great and they should've made it just a little longer. The scene where they get cornered trying to leave's alright too, even though for some reason Boomhauer from King Of The Hill.... is there. Look, seeing Hank and his family was funny in Bart Star because it made sense for them to be there for a brief gag, but there's not really a reason for him to be there and it just feels weird. Granted I've never watched King Of The Hill really even though I've been meaning to, but it just feels weird. Also the band The Moody Blues are in this episode, and they're also just kind of...... there. Also, to help round this out another plus is that this episode has a lot of awesome continuity, which is that Burns's Casino from $pringfield is in the start and some of the workers from Burns's Casino are seen at the casino in Las Vegas. Something to note is that the writer of this episode, who has wrote a couple episodes since around Season 2/3, David Stern, went on to create Ugly Americans, if anyone remembers that show. I've never seen it, but there seems to be a bit of a cult following for it. Overall, I want to be nice and give this episode a light 7/10. It's better than our 6/10's so far, but I don't know, it's just not really funny. Even some of the most emotional episodes of the series like 'Round Springfield, And Maggie Makes Three, and Marge Be Not Proud had good jokes, and while this episode doesn't try to be emotional, it just feels kind of weird to watch a non-emotional Simpsons episode that just isn't funny, but Ned and Homer's banter is entertaining enough.

Edited by MLG Vanilluxe

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