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

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Scullyfied Simpsons: "Mayored To The Mob" (Season 10, Episode 9)

 

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Those potatoes aren’t from Idaho!

 

Airdate: December 20th, 1998

Synopsis: A trip to the Bi-Mon-Sci-Fi-Con goes horribly wrong when Mark Hamill doesn’t talk about Star Wars at his panel. With a riot breaking out, and Mark and the Mayor’s lives threatened, Homer barges through the nerds and rescues the duo. Quimby promptly fires his old bodyguards and replaces them with Homer. This, however, leads to trouble when Homer winds up discovering that a deal with the Mafia to send low-quality milk to schoolchildren went too well (read, the Mafia was using rat’s milk.)With the ring busted, Fat Tony threatens Quimby’s life.

Review: OK… Homer gets another job. Over the previous eight episodes, he’s been a grease jockey, an inventor, a personal assistant, a hippie, and a coward on the Ship of Lost Souls (although that last one only lasted mere minutes before he got thrown out.) So, why did the writers give him another job? I think, in reality, Mark Hamill just walked by Ron Hauge at some restaurant in LA, Hauge thought of an episode where Homer and Mark met up, and before you know it, Homer’s a bodyguard.

Anyway, this episode was better than “Kidney Trouble”. Then again, a test pattern would’ve been better than “Kidney Trouble”. Continue reading

Scullyfied Simpsons: "Bart the Mother" (Season 10, Episode 3)

Now to figure out which one is Chirpy Boy and Bart Jr. The madness! THE MADNESS!
Airdate: September 27th, 1998

Synopsis: Bart kills a bird, raises it’s babies, and it turns out it wasn’t the bird’s babies that he was raising.

More specifically, Bart defies his mother by hanging out with Nelson, who just acquired a BB gun at an arcade. One false move, and not only is a bird dead, but Marge finds out and decides to give up on trying to interact with him. Feeling utter guilt, Bart decides to raise the eggs as his own… and lizards wind up hatching.

Review: Ah, ZZZZZZ… oh, sorry, where was I? Oh, yeah, this episode. A pretty blasé, boring half hour… well, the first two acts, anyway. The third act, I don’t know what happened.

The first part of the episode is so boring, that I don’t think I’m gonna go in depth here. This might be my shortest review since I don’t even know when.

Basically, the first two acts are “Marge Be Not Proud”… but with BB guns and birds instead of video game theft and christmas. I think the use of Nelson was an attempt to show how bad first impressions can be, except that, it actually makes sense that Marge wouldn’t be a fan of Bart hanging out with Nelson. That, and at least “Marge Be Not Proud” actually used subtle emotions, instead of the dramatic over-explaining in this episode… as if the audience were too stupid to know that Marge was fed up.

What a sea change.

Not only that, but I think the character traits explored have been handled better in previous episodes. Marge’s over-protective, somewhat hypocritical principles were already touched upon in “Itchy and Scratchy and Marge”. Bart’s own self-doubt was already hit upon in “Bart Gets an F”, and his relationship with his mother, “Marge Be Not Proud”. All of these episodes handled those conflicts in more complex, interesting ways.

The moments after Marge gives up are definitely better – not that much, but still. Bart, feeling guilt, raises the bird for himself. While I don’t think Bart feeling a certain level of guilt is out of character (I refer you to “Sweet Seymour Skinner’s Baadasssss Song”, and his guilt over getting Skinner fired), here, it goes a bit too over the top, and thus, feels a bit out of character for him. Or maybe the episode’s boring-ness got to me. That, and it did give us a gold Troy McClure film strip… unfortunately, it would be the last ever. (See below.)

Now, the third act is actually pretty decent. As wacky a twist it was, the reveal of the lizards actually added some strange sense of life into this episode. Plus, having Bart try to defend his lizards actually creates an interesting parallel. In the end, I think that “Bart the Mother” was trying to put Bart in Marge’s shoes – that he will still defend what, to an extent, are his children, even if they give people some hell.

Oh, and I did like the twist on environmental balance. The lizards were an invasive species who were killing off other animals. To an extent, this provides the question – is it part of the circle of life? Are we really doing harm by leaving these animals/reptiles be? As far as I know, this environmental analysis was unintentional, much like the ending to “Trash of the Titans”, another episode that I have mixed feelings for. Kinda cool that we aren’t in the anvil dropping zone yet, that the writers can still do subtle social commentary.

Too bad this episode wasn’t that memorable.

Let’s just wrap it up here – it’s a rather boring episode. Sadly, I think it could’ve been sweet if it didn’t take a path that was far too similar to “Marge Be Not Proud”, and syphon the comedy from that episode. Analyzing Bart isn’t a bad thing, but they’ve done it quite a bit better. (Take a look at “Bart Gets an F”, or “Bart Sells His Soul”.) It passes, but that’s more because nothing in this episode really offended me.

Tidbits:

  • Interestingly, Nancy Cartwright has cited this as among her most-loved episodes, because of the soul searching. Not gonna bash her opinion… just disagree with her.
  • This was the last episode written by David Cohen before he left to create Futurama with Matt Groening. Interesting that around the same time Futurama premiered, The Simpsons began its fall from grace.
  • On a more somber note, as I alluded to above, this was also the last episode to feature Phil Hartman – this time, in the aforementioned Troy McClure film strip. For those unaware, on May 28th, 1998, Hartman’s wife shot him three times before turning the gun on herself. A coroner’s report suggested that she was under the influence of drugs. It was a shocking and grisly end, and silenced one of the greatest comics of the 80s and 90s. Out of tribute, the writers decided to silence their characters. For that, I give Mike Scully respect. Similar props to Al Jean, for keeping it up with Hartman’s characters.
Favorite Scene: The Troy McClure script. You will be missed, Phil.
Least Favorite Scene: Marge turning her back on Bart was done far better in “Marge Be Not Proud”, mainly because of subtlety.
Zaniness Factor: 2.5. Lizards? Really?
Jerkass Homer Meter: 1.5 – mainly for getting beaten up at the batting cage. Granted, I did like the lightbulb gags.
Score: 5.5

Scullyfied Simpsons: "The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace" (Season 10, Episode 2)

Airdate: September 20th, 1998

Synopsis: Reaching a midlife crisis, Homer becomes despondent on life. After a projector breaks down, Homer rhetorically asks “who invented this thing?” Lisa responds, and Homer has a new goal – be the new Thomas Edison. He becomes obsessed with the man… and, when it turns out that Edison invented something that Homer seemed to invent – a chair with an extra set of legs on hinges – Captain Wacky becomes hellbent on destroying Edison’s chair.

Review: Sounds like a Scullyfied Simpsons. Ain’t been reviewed onto nigh for two months.

Tsk, tsk, tsk – trouble a brewin!

Homer’s sorta pitiful life is the centerpiece of the greatest Simpsons episodes. Even when he is involved in something landmark (such as going into space), there’s this tinge in the writing that he got there by the thinnest of margins (aka, Barney going insane and falling off the top of a mattress factory). Despite this, he almost always maintained a love for the simple things you’d expect a 40-year old to love – TV, Duff, all that jazz.

Indeed, deconstructing his simple life by putting him in a midlife crisis seems like tough ground to tread. It doesn’t seem like Homer would be the one to encounter that, but I’d be willing to excuse that somewhat as a deconstruction of what his life has been.

Then Lisa brings up Thomas Edison, and the episode becomes… a tad bit more haphazard.

Look, Homer trying to invent something doesn’t seem like a bad idea… it’s just that it was done before. Can you say, “The Homer”?

For those unaware, in “Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou”, Homer’s half-brother, Herb, is the founder and head of a floundering car company. After meeting Homer, he starts to believe/realize his fellow suits are trying to imitate the Japanese and European car makers, and commissions Homer to invent “the American car.” The end result?

The Car Built For Homer
“Whatever Homer wants… Homer gets….”

It cost $82,000 – far beyond the means of the average American, yet even those that could afford it probably wouldn’t touch the car with a 39.5′ pole. Worse, because it was promoted as the flagship/comeback car of the company, Powell Motors loses whatever credibility it had, is bankrupted, and Herb winds up taking residence under a bridge. It was realistic, had a coherent plot, and more than just two-dimensional, satirizing the auto industry and the perceptions of the “average American”.

Admittedly, though, the inventions that Homer considers could be taken as a satire on just how insane companies would go in attempts to make lives “simpler”, when in reality, their inventions would add more complications to their life.

If you watch The Simpsons for satire, it’s not bad.

However, as I mentioned in my discussion for “Oh, Brother”, this show used to do a damn good job at balancing both. Here, the writer decided to focus more on the satire rather than the character, and the end result is somewhat empty. In my opinion, to make a strong script, you need strong characters… and this episode doesn’t really have that.

Here… Homer exposits about Thomas Edison’s life, which seems unlike him; manages to comprehend complex math problems, and other stuff that seems unlike him. Jokes like “Women will like what I tell them to like” are a good satire on the seemingly sexist viewpoint on the marketing industry, but coming out of Homer, it makes him look more disturbingly misogynistic than ever before. (Didn’t the writers expose Homer as not especially misogynistic in “Homer Badman”?)

As for the rest of the characters, Marge is reduced to something of a doormat. Ignoring Homer’s wacky desire of the week, she seems to go a tiny bit soft with Homer when it comes with his stupid – if not outright dangerous – inventions. Remember, she told Homer to “shut up” over lack of theatre etiquette in “Colonel Homer”, so this seems somewhat regressive.

Bart, meanwhile, seems to act as a mere assistant in Homer’s schemes. While I don’t mind the idea, here, the execution is very dry – there’s little to bounce off each other. If I can recall, I did sorta like the season 17 episode “We’re on the Road to D’oh-where”, and it was probably because it had Homer and Bart bounce off of each other, and not have Bart serve as a mere sidekick to Homer. Granted, I haven’t watched the episode in a few years, but maybe I’ll check it out one of these days.

As for the plot… it’s pretty much just an excuse for “Homer acts like an idiot” jokes. The pacing is off, the twist at the end came out of left field, and the second act seems a bit vapid.

There’s more I could talk about, but in the end, this is an episode that I have mixed feeling over. It has decent satire, but I feel like it could’ve been better with character exploration – or at least, consistent characterization. Here… not so much.

Tidbits:

  • Personally, I found that getting William Daniels – the voice of KITT himself – to be a bad sign as far as character. It makes Homer out to be the centre of the universe, or something to that effect. Homer is supposed to be just this working class guy who occasionally got into strange situations (such as going into space), and who managed to get a realistic response from everybody. Getting KITT reneges on that in a sense.
  • This was also written by John Swartzwelder, well known for his relative reclusiveness amongst the writers. He actually wrote some of the most critically acclaimed episodes of the show – “Rosebud”, “Homer at the Bat”, and all that. He penned “The Cartridge Family”, which was known for it’s relatively neutral stance on Gun Control (Swartzwelder is a conservative, and pro Gun Rights). However, in 1994, he was allowed to submit his drafts from his home, what with the backlash against smoking. Thus, some have speculated that this gave the writers and showrunners free-reign to manipulate the scripts.
  • This was also the first episode to premiere in the 1998-99 season itself – the season that gave us Futurama and Family Guy. Some have speculated that the show’s shift into zanier territory was motivated by Family Guy. The timing, though, leads me to disagree somewhat.
Favorite Scene: Admittedly, I loved the scene with Homer at the school library. I don’t really know how Homer got into the school – although that might be because I live in world with stricter school security – but I liked his explanation on why he wasn’t at the public library. “There was some… unpleasantness. I can never go back.”
Least Favorite Scene: KITT’s appearance, for the reasons above.
Zaniness Factor: 1.5 – the half point is for the Homer’s attempt to destroy Edison’s stuff.
Jerkass Homer Meter: 3 – was waffling between a 2.5 and a 3, but then I remembered just how boneheaded his inventions were, and the fact that the writers made KITT himself celebrate him, and bumped it up.
Score: 6 – mainly for the satire. Character… not so much.

Red Dwarf Review: Series X, Episode 5: "Dear Dave"

Airdate: 1 November, 2012

Synopsis: Lister’s having one of those days where he mopes around about being the last human alive. To interrupt his sadness, he realizes that two vending machines are fighting for his affections. Making matters worse? He gets a letter from the past, telling him that he may have sired a kid. Meanwhile, Rimmer is threatened with demotion by the ship’s on-board computer (not Holly, sadly) for failure to perform duties, putting him on par with Lister. He realizes that he’ll be able to avoid being put on equal footing if he can convince the computer that Lister’s nuts, thus giving him an excuse as to why he didn’t perform.

Review: Let’s get this off the bat – this is the weakest episode of Red Dwarf X. The reason? It seems like they wanted to siphon elements from Series I and II, yet forgot what made those series… quirky in the first place.

Here’s the deal- Lister has been the victim of both cheating accusations from vending machines, while realizing that his ex-girlfriend cheated on him, yet he still might have sired the kid inside of her. Remove the vending machines for a second. That is as stock a sitcom plot as you can possibly get. Engaging? Not in the slightest.

What’s worse is that the “remembering the ex-girlfriend” plot was used in Series II’s “Thanks for the Memory”. “TFTM” is one of my all-time favorite Red Dwarf episodes, because it gave some insight into the characters of Lister and Rimmer, the tragedies the two faced. That, and we actually saw Lister’s former girlfriend, giving us an emotional connection. It’s brilliant. Seeing elements of that episode used in a stock sitcom plot? Tragic.

That’s just the largest of the ways this episode apes from the earlier series. Let’s have a list!

  • Rimmer tries to maintain his position of power over Lister? Inverse of “Balance of Power”.
  • Post arrives alerting a character of bad news? “Better Than Life”. (Oh, and also “The Last Day”.)
  • Lister moping over the fact that he’s the last human alive? “Timeslides”.
  • Rimmer has no idea about women? “Parallel Universe”.
  • Lister mistaken for robosexual by Rimmer? “Polymorph”.
  • Lister needs to know about his children? “Ouroboros”. Yes, that failure of an episode.
    • Lister realizes that he might have a child? Again, “Parallel Universe”.
  • Ambiguous ending? “Out of Time”.
What made those episodes work was the soul, the creativity in those plots. Even “Ouroboros”, as bad as it was, was at least an attempt to shake up the status quo. It failed miserably, but still. There, they tried. This episode? Doug could’ve removed the vending machine, and shipped it as a spec script for Two and a Half Men. Nobody would’ve noticed the smegging difference.
Is there anything good I can say about this episode? Well, the gags worked, for the most part. They petered out by the time Lister takes one of the vending machines around the corner. Still, even the chrades scene was decent. While it did give off some Series VII vibes, it at least was funny. Curse thee, giant worms!
What a shame. After a solid, if not overly spectacular, first four episodes, we get this mediocre mess. I’ll pass it, if only because this episode didn’t really infuriate me as much as “Krytie TV” and “Pete” did. That, and it actually made me laugh more than thrice. Oh, and it was made in a week, pretty much, so I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt.
Tidbits:
  • Speaking of Series VII, this episode was a replacement for a two-parter that would’ve seen Kochanski re-enter the picture. Ah, at least “The Beginning” looks promising.
  • The toilet paper joke? Damn, that ran on just a bit too long.
  • Oh, and one more positive? The acting is pretty damn good. I still question the french accent used for one of the vending machines. Why?
Favorite Scene: The chrades scene. Like a Series VII gag, but better.
Least Favorite Scene: The mail scene. Too similar to “Better Than Life”.
Score: 5.5

Scullyfied Simpsons: Season 9, Episode 18: "This Little Wiggy"

Airdate: March 22nd, 1998

Synopsis: After noticing that Ralph is constantly bulled due to his “off” character, Marge arranges a meetup between Ralph and Bart, much to the latter’s chagrin. As Bart realizes the power his father lords as the chief of police, such as having the master key, Bart begins to use Ralph to break into various places, like a toy store, a bakery, and a local jail.

Review: If ever I were to pick the best “valentines day” episode of any show ever, it would probably have to be “I Love Lisa”. Not only does it have a simple yet compelling story between the ditzy yet soft-hearted Ralph and the intellectual yet occasionally aloof Lisa, but it also showcased that Ralph was more than just a prop character, a “kid in the back”. He was a loner, ostracized because of his ditzy behavior, yet was an utter savant when it came to the stage. It’s probably my favorite “holiday” episode of The Simpsons by quite a margin. If ever you need proof that the classic seasons of The Simpsons were able to craft some of the most fantastic characters in TV history, watch that episode.

I bring that episode up because, again, Ralph is the center of an episode revolved around him. You can feel the difference in the two episodes. One gives him natural character development that pulls at almost every emotion imaginable, whilst not being overly sappy. The other tries too hard to be funny, and as a result, it seems to reserve its characters to joke fodder. Continue reading

Red Dwarf Review: Series VI, Episode 4: "Emohawk: Polymorph II"

Airdate: 28 October 1993.

“Curse you, magic beans!”
“Oh, stop blaming the beans!”
The Simpsons: “Homer the Vigilante”

Synopsis: Rimmer’s emergency drill for the Starbug crew (posting a record time of 1:17:30) proves ironic, as the crew are intercepted by a Space Corps enforcement vessel. Threatened with death for theft of derelicts, the shuttle is hammered by missiles. Starbug manages to flee, but manages to crash land in an ocean on the moon, putting out the flames before they reach the fuel tanks. Nobody is injured, but most of Starbug’s contents are damaged by either fire, flood, impact damage, or Cat’s desire to never hear Lister play guitar again. Auto-repair can fix most of the ship, but they have to trade with the Kinotawawi, the local GELFs, to get a new Oxy-Gen unit, so that they can breathe in space.

In return for the unit, Lister must marry the daughter of the Chief of the Kinotawawi, who Lister doesn’t find too attractive. He plans to slip out in the middle of the night, but is forced to flee due to various circumstances involving the honeymoon. (“CHANGE OF PLAN! LEG IT!!!!”) Cheated by this maneuver, the Chief sends out one of his Emohawks- domesticated Polymorphs- to attack. It slips aboard Starbug and begins to attack, knocking down Cat’s cool and making him the Duke of Dork himself, while at the same time, dragging out Rimmer’s snideness and bringing out the Space Corps hero himself. If you don’t know who these two are yet, watch Series IV and V again.

Review: This time, we get three sequels in one. And not just an “aping plot elements” type sequel – no, no. This time, this is pretty much three direct sequels in one here. The tragic part? The potential here is squandered, and it comes close to denting the memory of three of the greatest Red Dwarf episodes of all time.

First, the obvious. This episode is clearly a direct sequel to “Polymorph”. For those that need a refresher… click on the link. The difference? There, the Polymorph was given enough development and plot time to get the basics; the Polymorph simply drained the most negative aspects of everybody and everything it hit. Since it hit four of the most screwed-up people ever, it managed to make them into even more deranged people. Here, it’s target is unclear. Does it ape personality aspects, or certain emotions? And why does it produce physical changes? I’ll go with “it’s a different evolution”, except it was said to be merely a trained Polymorph. Rule of funny? Maybe, but in a show as well crafted as Red Dwarf, it’s just a bit frustrating.

Second, they bring back two characters who have no business being here.

  • We have Duane Dibbley, who I praised in my “Back to Reality” review as one of the reasons why I consider that to be Red Dwarf’s magnum opus. Most of Duane’s humor came on how he was stunned to learn that he was merely playing somebody as cool as The Cat. It’s a deep character moment: once Duane realizes that he’s really worthless, once the rest of the crew turn to suicide, he not only jumps in, but recommends the most efficient way of doing so. Here? He’s just a vehicle for geek jokes. No depth.
  • Ace Rimmer, from the epic “Dimension Jump”, gets a little better treatment. A lot of Ace’s comedy came from the fact that he was so unlike Rimmer; he’s brave, selfless, friendly, and well-rounded. I can see where they were going with bring in Ace here: he’s what Rimmer thinks Ace is. Why? Well, his plan is just risky: suck the Emohawk out into space, leading to certain death, but to “spare” Duane, he’s going to kill him beforehand. I just hope that’s the case. Alternate theory; they forgot how to write for Ace, but brought him “back” because, well, Ace+Duane+Polymorph=PROFIT!
The rest isn’t top-notch Red Dwarf, either. I would’ve loved to see an episode dealing with the Space Corps law enforcement. It may have aped from “Justice”… but I liked “Justice” due to it’s focus on character which, barring the last two episodes, this series seems to have put on the back burner. Here, most of the episode is sitcom-based humor (although I like the ambiguity of the Space Corps Directive joke).
This also brings me to another aspect that really didn’t please me; this is an episode that goes through plot points as quickly as a modern Simpsons episode. The shuttle is intercepted by law enforcement, causing the crew to crash land, causing them to trade with the GELFs, causing Lister to flee an arranged marriage, causing an Emohawk to board the ship, leading to comedy between Ace and Duane… it’s almost disjointed. Every plotline starts out decently enough, but the jokes become repetitive as time goes on.
A good chunk of the comedy that works holds up on its own merits. However, a sizeable chunk is held up mainly by the acting merits. I doubt jokes like “CHANGE OF PLAN” or “DUANE DIBBLEY” would be as funny as they are without the acting chops of Craig, Chris, Danny, and Robert here.
Overall, not really a good episode. It passes based on acting, the comedy that works, and the potential. The problem here is that a lot of the potential is shamefully wasted, and it almost drags down two fantastic characters.
Tidbits:
  • The set for the GELF scenes was actually to be used for the aborted TV show Covington Cross. Chances are, this allowed Grant/Naylor to use more explosive special effects.
    • Either way, the cash saved didn’t go to another Ace wig. The original toupee was unavailable. Thus, he got a replacement… a cheaper replacement.
  • The guy who played the GELF chief, Ainsley Harriot, not only became a celebrity chef, but also hosted a comic special for Red Dwarf’s 10th anniversary where the characters tried to cook.
  • Steven Wicknam played the GELF bride. He would later get a bit of a “promotion”-type deal in the show; 19 years later, he was brought back to be the chief of another GELF tribe in Series X’s “Entangled”.
  • Strangest thing about this episode? I now have a fear of cafeteria-sized bean cans.
Favorite Scene: I personally felt that the GELF scene worked the best.
Least Favorite Scene: I’ll just say that Duane’s behavior here brought me down.
Score: 5.5

Scullyfied Simpsons: Season 9, Episode 11: "All Singing, All Dancing"

Airdate: 4 January, 1998

Synopsis: Homer claims to hate musicals, revealing his disdain after renting a musical that Homer thought was a Clint Eastwood western. The rest of the Simpsons note the irony of this, stating the mere fact that the family (and the entire town) tend to break into song on a semi-regular basis. Meanwhile, Snake tries his hand at robbery… and reveals his distaste for musicals.

Review: This will be a short one; it’s meh. It’s a clip show; what more do you expect? I’m not really going to go into depth here, though.

First, let’s get this out of the way; the clips themselves are sublime. The first eight seasons of the show featured some damn good music. My favorite would have to be a tie between “In the Garden of Eden” from “Bart Sells His Soul” and “We Do” from “Homer the Great”.

Now the original material. It starts out great: “Paint Your Wagon” was pretty damn funny. However, by the start of the second act, it runs low on gas. While most of the characters are, well, in character, for some reason, I just can’t see Snake backing off as easily as he does. Maybe it was an attempt at character development. Maybe they just realized they needed something to keep the plot moving. Who knows?

It’s also worth noting that not even the writers wanted to do this episode; the ending makes this pretty clear. Worth noting that this episode came out shortly after the release of the CD Songs in the Key of Springfield. Thus, I blame FOX executives for the dryness of this episode.

That’s really how to sum it up: it’s just a largely forgettable episode. I’ll give it a pass, but only because it wasn’t as nonsensical as “Miracle on Evergreen Terrace”, and it reminded me of more entertaining episodes. If you want to watch a good clip show, watch “So It’s Come To This: A Simpsons Clip Show”, “Another Simpsons Clip Show”, and “The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular”.

Tidbits: Just two.

  • At the end, a shotgun is fired during the credits. Two blasts are heard on one occasion. Said occasion is when Phil Hartman’s name comes up. Five months and change after this episode aired, Hartman’s wife shot him dead before turning the gun on himself.
  • David Mirkin was credited as the executive producer. For once, Mike Scully is absolved of blame.

Favorite Moment: “Gonna paint your wagon, gonna paint it good…” SING ALONG!

Least Favorite Moment: Snake leaves because he figures that the family would not make good hostages… because they sing. Just seems a bit off for him.

Zaniness Factor: 1.5, mainly for the singing.

Jerkass Homer Meter: 1. (That’s a first, I think).

Score: 5.5.

Gravity Falls Review, Season 1, Episode 9: The Time Traveler’s Pig.

Airdate: August 24th, 2012.

AAAAHHHHH!!!! PETE’S BACK!!!

Synopsis (Spoilers): During a funfair, Dipper tries to win a stuffed animal-thing for Wendy. Dipper, however, can’t throw, causing Wendy to have a black eye. A series of events manages to have Wendy go out with Robbie. Meanwhile, Mabel wins a pet pig. Also, a time traveler called Blendin Bladin leaves his time machine (tape measure) laying down. Dipper and Mabel use it to try and get the stuffed animal for Wendy. After many failures, Dipper manages to get the stuffed animal… at the expense of Waddles.

Mabel and Dipper get into a fight, and begin to mess around with time. They wind up in the present, where Mabel is in a severe funk over losing a pig. Dipper resets things back to the way they were before, Wendy goes out with Robbie, Mabel gets a pet pig, and Blendin goes to jail.

Review: Be warned. This is going to be long, and may cause all 2 of my readers to chuck tomatoes at me. Because…

God. I. Hate. This. Stupid. Episode.

Never expected somebody who likes science-fiction to say that he hates an episode that revolves around science-fiction and time travel, huh? Well, not in this case. Continue reading