Scullyfied Simpsons: “The Old Man And The “C” Student” (Season 10, Episode 20)

simpsonsoldmanandthecstudent
Oh, dear! Now you’ve done it!

          “I want some taquitos!” – Jasper. No, not that one…

Airdate: April 25th, 1999

Written By: Julie Thacker

Plot: The IOC’s plan to give Springfield the 2000 Summer Olympics falls apart when Bart’s comedy routine offends the entire committee. As punishment, Skinner forces him to volunteer at the Retirement Castle. He finds the environment there overly restrictive to the elderly. Lisa, a frequent volunteer there, disagrees and argues that the environment there caters to their desires. Cue a One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest parody.

Meanwhile, Homer’s attempts at making a mascot – Springy – collapse with the Olympics bid. With an entire crate of springs to sell, he decides to embark on – guess what – a new career selling springs. It does not go well – particularly for Lenny’s eye.

Review:

Let’s be real here – the elderly aren’t treated well in The Simpsons. I mean, when this show was on all four cylinders, nobody was (“nuts and gum” was not a compliment), but man, oh, man, did the elderly get the shaft. Rather than wise and learned elders, they tended to be crotchety, senile (“I SAID FRENCH FRIES!”), dumped into decrepit retirement homes where they decline in more depressing ways than ever before… even the most successful senior in the show is not only a ruthless and heartless businessman (for now, at least), but hysterically behind the times in some areas. (“I’d like to send this letter to the Prussian consulate in Siam by aeromail. Am I too late for the 4:30 autogyro?”) It’s all about waiting out the clock until they die, which knowing The Simpsons, is a long, long, long time.

Since I compared the last Simpsons episode I reviewed to a Season 2 episode, may as well do the same here – this time with one of my favorites, “Old Money”. There, the Retirement Castle is dilapidated, everybody wants to take the elderly’s money, their families them on token trips while ignoring their interests, etc. Should somebody ever accuse The Simpsons of being weaksauce, I will throw on episodes like “Old Money” – which manages to fuse brutal social satire with a rather sweet ending – to inform them that this show once had guts.

Speaking of which, “The Old Man and the “C” Student”. Continue reading

Scullyfied Simpsons: “Mom and Pop Art” (Season 10, Episode 19)

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“Greats are always trying new things, like Michelangelo, or Shaquille O’Neil!” – Marge Simpson. Maybe I should frame this quote and send it to Al Jean.

Airdate: April 11th, 1999

Written By: Al Jean

PlotHomer’s attempts to build a backyard barbecue pit go rather awry when the parts and the instructions fall into the cement. (“Le Grill? What the hell is that?”) After his attempts to return the… barbecue, I guess… fail, it winds up crashing into the car of Astrid, a member of the local “Original Art” scene. Taking an interest in the disaster, she invites Homer to a local gallery, where Mr. Burns buys his art (to collect the royalties, presumably). Thus begins his new career as an artist.

Review:

Season 2 of The Simpsons is one of the show’s more underrated seasons. I mean, yeah, seasons 2-8 were (with one or two examples later on) sublime all around, but Season 2 is often skipped over, as far as I can see. It doesn’t seem to have the rubbery charm of 1, nor is it acclaimed like 3. It’s a shame because, in my view, Season 2 is when The Simpsons really began to kick into top gear.

Among the episodes in season 2 is “Brush With Greatness”, an episode that explores Marge’s artistic talent. The episode focuses on Marge rekindling her high-school interest in art – one that was crushed by a callous teacher. Her big challenge in rekindling her love is trying to reconcile her technique – focusing on one’s inner beauty and goodness – with a mandate to paint Mr. Burns for his new wing at the museum. It’s a fantastic episode, although I could say the same for most of Season 2.

Now, we get something of a sequel. Eight years on, and the overall tone of the show has changed dramatically. Rather than an ensemble focusing on the Simpson family as a whole, we instead get a sequel focusing on Homer’s accidental foray into absurdist modern art. So, is this episode a genuine Mr. Burns, or a quick painting of a sad clown? Continue reading

Scullyfied Simpsons: “Simpsons Bible Stories” (Season 10, Episode 18)

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From word one… word… one.

Airdate: April 4th, 1999

Holy Macaroni, another anthology episode! Twice in a season, this is the start of a decade-long trend that would have the show producing at least one extra “three-part anthology” episode every year or so… at least, it felt like it. This certainly isn’t the first one – that went to “The Simpsons Spinoff Showcase” in Season 8 – but is the first one to keep the fourth wall intact.

Between Season 10 and 19, and discounting the Treehouse of Horror there were nine “three-story” episodes – averaging out to nine per year. The trend was broken with the bizarre decision to split the third act in half – there was a “four-story” anthology in “Four Great Women and a Manicure”, but that was the last one. (Side note – I swear to god that the four-act structure was sabotage on somebody’s part to try and kill the show faster.)

With that in mind… “Simpsons Bible Stories”. Continue reading

Steven Universe Review: “Marble Madness” (Season 1B, Episode 18)

Round FIVE! Yes. Five.
This is the fight that goes on forever Because it never, ever ends!

“They just keep coming and coming!” – Pearl, as the Crystal Gems beat up the marble pictured above.

Airdate: March 5th, 2015

Written By: Joe Johnston and Jeff Liu

Plot: Steven has to balance two things going on in his life at one moment. The first, is a new book series that Connie introduces him to, The Spirit Morph Saga. He winds up being fantastically wrong when it comes to book order. The second, a series of Robonoids are crashing into the Earth. The Gems defeat them, relax, and fight another one. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Review:

Steven Universe is loved for many reasons. Some cite the animation, which is unrivaled at it’s best. Some cite the voice acting – making every single character seem even more real than before. Some cite the show’s liberal values, which have probably caused a couple of fans to ship copies of the few SU DVDs to Mar-A-Lago with rants scrawled on the box. (If anybody actually did so, those discs are probably Diet Coke coasters right now.) Some (such as myself) cite the characters – with one or two exceptions, they are all so vibrant, so sympathetic, and so full of life. And, lastly, some cite the second layer that every good piece of literature/film/TV has… a plot.

“Marble Madness” shows Steven Universe return to its plot – one of political separation, of attempts to get old territory back, and the march of history. Still, this plot is driven by its characters – in this episode, the titular one. Continue reading

Passing the Torch to WordPress

(Note – since you’re reading this on WordPress itself, you can ignore this post.)

This is my 295th post – give or take – on this silly little blog I started back in high school. And I want to let you know why I’m making a note of it.

My 300th post will be a return to Star Trek movie reviews. It will cover Generations – the first film to feature The Next Generation cast and crew, as well as the last film to feature William Shatner as Captain Jim Kirk. The film’s intent is to serve as a formal “passing of the torch” from the TOS era to the TNG era – which was getting underway with DS9 in its second season and Voyager in production.

I actually find it rather fitting that it will be the subject of my 300th post… because it will be the last review, and the penultimate post, on the Blogspot platform I’ve used for the past four years.

Over the past several months, I’ve waffled back and forth on whether or not to move The Review Nebula over to another platform – read, WordPress. After sampling it over the past few months, I’ve come to the conclusion that, while Blogspot has served me well, it’s time for a fresh coat of paint.

And yes, I am aware that I do make somewhat dramatic changes to the blog once every year or so. Whether it’s a name change, a URL change, or design alterations, I’ve tinkered with this blog to fit my desires. Consider this probably the most dramatic change this blog has ever made.

It’s right here – The Review Nebula. Check it out – and it should appear in Google searches rather soon.

Now, the Blogspot version will stay up for at least a year after the final post – partially as an archive, partially to redirect readers over, partially to serve as a bit of nostalgia. And who knows, I might make an update on Blogspot once in a while should something dramatic occur. But the time has, again, come to kiss and say goodbye.

So, what next?

For the most part, the last five posts on Blogger will be business as usual. Silly reviews, with redirects to the new version of the blog at the top. Of course, within those next five posts will be the aforementioned Generations. So, there is some sort of method to my madness.

Just a reminder – this is not the end. Just a second beginning.

Movie Review: Good Burger

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“Welcome to Good Burger, home of the Good Burger. Can I take your order?” – Ed, asking people a great philosophical question.

Premiere: July 25th, 1997

Written By: Dan Schneider

Plot: Summer vacation starts off rather poorly for Dexter (Kenan Thompson) when, upon leaving math class and campus, he crashes his mom’s car into Mr. Smiley’s his teacher’s new sedan. Without insurance. Or a drivers license. Mr. Wheat cuts a deal – Dexter can either pay for the damages or face the cops. To pay the $1900 estimate, he has to take a summer job – briefly at the newly-opened and dictatorially-run Mondo Burger, before working at the established and eccentric Good Burger. There, he works alongside Salvatore Tessio Otis, an elderly fry jockey, and strikes up a strange relationship with dimwitted Ed (Kel Mitchell). Puns ensue, especially when Dexter and Ed get caught up in the competition rat race.

Review:

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“We are talking jape of the decade. We are talking April, May, June, July, and August Fool. Yeah, that’s right. I’m reviewing Good Burger.

Yup, I’m taking on a 1997 film about burger joints, starring Kenan and Kel, with side appearances from Sinbad and Abe Vigoda. And let’s be real here, it ain’t gonna win any awards for quality writing anytime soon. Still, how does this silly little movie hold up?

Continue reading