“I’d like to play me latest chart-toppah. It’s called, ‘Me Fans Are Stupid Pigs.'” – Dream Bart, “The Otto Show”. Who knew he would nail a Simpsons writer just eight years later?
Airdate: February 6th, 2000.
Written By: Tim Long
Plot: Springfield Elementary’s Concert Band comes in second place at the county fair, beaten by Ogdenville Elementary, who have recovered well enough from their Lyle Lanley Monorail related debacle to perform “Stars and Stripes Forever” with glow sticks! While Lisa is ornery about the failure, more pressing issues take precedent.
You see, Bart and Homer come across a trick-performing horse that is abandoned at the fair by his deadbeat and abusive owner. Rescuing him from destruction, the two decide to race him to pay the bills. Initial failures lead to the duo trying to remarket the horse, and soon, Bart and Homer become the team to beat. This results in the ire of the other jockeys, who kidnap Homer and reveal themselves to secretly be undergrown-dwelling elves.
The jockeys are elves.
There are Jockey Elves in The Simpsons.
Who all live in a fiberglass tree and threaten to eat people’s brains.
No, I was not written under the influence of a controlled substance while watching this episode.
This review has been five years in the making.
The Simpsons has been on the air as a television series twenty-nine years this December, sending out 639 episodes as of the publication of this post. With such a vast variety of episodes, there are bound to be both high points and low points, no matter what you make of the later seasons. Because while most of my favorite blogs despair about the current state of the series, the truth is that there are plenty of people who still like the new seasons. Opinions, indeed, have ranged from “this show is permanently dead” to “the show has rebounded” to “the show did decline, but it’s still pretty damn good” to “AL JEAN FOR PRESIDENT!” So unlike what you would expect from The Review Nebula and Dead Homer Society, Simpsons fandom is rather diverse in opinion. And you know what? If you like contemporary Simpsons, that’s cool. I disagree with you, but… that’s cool.
That said, if one speaks broadly, one can ascertain certain trends in episodic opinion. And with that in mind, I think I can safely say that no episode of The Simpsons is loathed more viscerally than “Saddlesore Galactica”.
Yes, “Kidney Trouble” is widely disliked for transforming Homer into an odious figure, but fans have provided arguments trying to excuse his cowardice (even though I personally disagree with said arguments). “Homer Vs. Dignity” gained a lot of hate for the infamous “Panda Scene”, but there’s still debate over what occurred there, as well. “No Good Read Goes Unpunished” does have a lot of people that agree with its message. And while “Lisa Goes Gaga” is universally despised, there is no denying by that point, most of the show’s fans had thrown their hands up and either accepted that an episode like that was bound to happen, or quit the show in despair long before it aired.
“Saddlesore Galactica” is often cited as a certain threshold for the series. Many fans often poll it as the show’s event horizon – the moment when they realized that the show’s decline was irreversible. At the very least, it is almost universally described as the show’s most outlandish episode.
So… why do I agree with them? And to what extent? Continue reading