…And so, with Treehouse of Horror VIII, we have entered the Scully Era.
While this era was loathed for many a reason, there are two focal points that caused the most ire. Those two will now be indicated in their own “meters”, so to speak.
The first is the zaniness factor.
|Yes, I know that this is not from the Scully Era. This is a parody of Twin Peaks… which managed to be less insane than Scully-Era Simpsons. Yes. I said that.
Starting in season 9, episodes would often take over the top twists, play it up for as much drama as possible, and make few aversions or twists to the ensuing clichés. Sometimes, they might joke around with how zany the episodes are, but in the end, episodes would go from, among other things:
- Homer joins the navy and launches a second cold war.
- Homer and Snake have a high-speed car chase.
- Homer and Marge have to run around town after being caught in scandal.
- Homer’s idiocy causes the town to overflow with garbage, causing them to move.
- Homer moves to his old farm and grows “tomacco”.
- A biker fights Homer in a sword-style fight… with bikes.
- Homer gets into a car chase with Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin.
- Homer winds up in the middle of a movie controversy including Mel Gibson.
- Homer (notice a theme here) and Bart have to run away from murderous Jockey Elves.
- I am not making this last point up.
Therefore, the episodes will be scored in wackiness in the following factor.
- Your run of the mill Simpsons Episode, grounded in reality, maybe a hint of silliness.
- More silly than the run-of the mill episode, but would not seem too out of place in an earlier era.
- Quite silly and zany, with slapstick the act of the hour. A bit far from reality.
- Over the top and beyond any normal sense of reality.
- I’m sorry, I must’ve thrown on Twin Peaks, or Ren and Stimpy– oh, wait, this is the Simpsons?
The second point that fans complain about is Jerkass Homer.
|This was a throwaway gag from season 4.
Homer, in this new incarnation, often got into the aforementioned zany situations, most of whom involved him getting a second job. That’s not too bad, right?
Well, Homer was also transformed into somebody who was overtly self-confident in his own antics. Again, not too bad, right. Well, in this era, Homer…
- Refuses to get rid of his gun, to Marge’s chagrin.
- Sells out Kim Bassinger and Alec Baldwin
- Leaves his father to die from kidney failure twice
- Sells out the trucking industry
- Beats up the Japanese Emperor
- Gets Ned in trouble in Vegas
- Gives his daughter ulcers
- Callously uses techniques he learned in bodyguard school on his family
- Trashes Mr. Burns’s Mansion
- Deflects criticism about his role in Maude’s death
- Attempts to blow up town hall and kill many a citizen over area codes.
- Again, not kidding about that one. To many, that scene symbolizes how far the character fell.
- Don’t get me started on “Kill the Alligator and Run”.
That’s just the short list. Let’s make a list of all the times Homer learned a lesson or got punished at an appropriate level for his actions.
- He got deposed as sanitation commissioner….
And that’s about it. Might I also add that Homer wound up meeting every celebrity on the face of the planet, just so they could praise each other (Homer as the “common man” with “common ideas”, and the celebrities for the good they did.)
This new Homer was a borderline indestructible demigod, a Mary Sue for Mike Scully’s insane fantasies. (Dude, you’re living in Hollywood). And yes. I just said that Homer was a Mary Sue. Writers, if you are reading this, Homer is on the same level as a fanfiction original character. Pat yourselves on the back!
He was like Wesley Crusher from Star Trek: The Next Generation… except Wesley was evolved into a somewhat likable character. Homer went the other way.
So, we must line up our scale.
- What you would see in the classic era. The everyman who just wanted food and TV. Just an average joe who did not care about celebrities.
- Some jerkass qualities, but nothing to make the character grating. Maybe got involved with a celebrity, but that’s it.
- The average for the Scully era. He’s quite insane, and goes on adventures with celebrities. This is the area where you start to tell him to cram it.
- Very much Jerkass-y. He’s cruel, abusive, would be placed in an asylum in the real world, and gets praised to the dickens by celebrities.
- Congratulations, writers. You have made the Sixth Doctor sane in comparison.
Get ready! Or be afraid. Whatever floats your boat.