Synergy Outdoes Itself

“It’s times like this that I’m thankful Dad has little to no interest in almost everything I do.” – Lisa Simpson

Compared with the Fox Network, IGN is a tiny dingleberry on Rupert Murdoch’s ass, so I expect some sycophancy.  But this week’s IGN Simpsons review is truly a stunner.  Not only does it ignore the B plot completely (again), but it uses the word “wretchedly” in reference to something other than the show.  Bravo.  

As per usual, I’ve edited the synergy right out of it.  Enjoy:

April 27, 2009 – It’s surprising that The Simpsons has never used the title “Father Knows Worst” before this, after all, they’ve been doing episodes like this for a long time. Homer is not known for his competent parenting, and but this episode seems like a very easy pun didn’t involve ‘parenting’ so much as it did ‘wacky shenanigans’. But no. It’s taken 20 seasons to come across an episode where “Father Knows Worst” would fit. And it’s funny, because in this episode, Homer was actually making things better… to a point.

The path taken in the opening minutes to reach the main plot were delightfully odd and very funny was, sadly, a preview of the thoughtless pratfalls in store. The “truth in boardwalking law” offered up a number of great mediocre lines that were still better than what was to come as Homer, Bart and Lisa strolled along the Springfield Squidport. “Fried dough! America’s worst legal food! Never leaves your body!” and “Shoot an oversized basketball into an undersized hoop! It’s impossible!” were my favorites undercooked, but not inherently retarded. Also at the Squidport, Then, because being even mildly clever is antithetical to Zombie Simpsons, Homer goes on a kabob binge, which mistakenly stupidly included a fire kabob torch. Bart made things worse kept this going a while longer by offering up lighter fluid instead of water, which led to a tacked on, Mario style, fireball laden ‘action’ sequence. This led to Homer’s taste buds being burned off and replaced by new, highly sensitive taste buds, for some reason.

There was nothing Homer could eat without being wretchedly overwhelmed, until he discovered elementary school cafeteria food, for some other reason. So Springfield Elementary’s cafeteria became Homer’s new hang out, becuase . . . yeah. While there he met some kid named Noah and his mother, a self-described “helicopter parent” who hovers around her child to make sure he does well. Having explained the joke before even trying to use it, the writers had Homer took take to the idea, especially after seeing the Bart was a loser and that Lisa had no friends Bart and Lisa act exactly as they always do, and began interfering with filling the pair’s school lives with wacky antics even the Family Guy Manatees would be ashamed of.

At first, this was working This went immediately to shit. He was able to help Bart decide on a balsa wood project for class by expositing needlessly on some posters, and he was able to make Lisa popular with the snobby girls of her class, because we said so. For Lisa, Homer got the book “Chicks With Cliques” to learn all the latest techniques for getting into a clique. The strategies — Unsults, Envytations, Hate Hugs — were kinda funny when they were in ‘Mean Girls’ five years ago, and altogether too close to reality. Then, to drive home the point that once Zombie Simpsons thinks it has found something funny it will cram it into any situation no matter how inapplicable, Tthe Toledo Takeback sent Moe running away in tears.

Bart, too, was enjoying the positive effects of playing an ineffective straight man to Homer’s meddling. Even after his father accidentally trashed their model of Westminster Abbey for no reason other than time induced plot resolution, Bart nearly won the contest because his most resembled a project completed with no help from the parent.  (I’m Idaho.)  But even with victory close at hand, Bart, completely out of character, had to admit what was happening and ask that all the parents give their children some space, because Zombie Simpsons thought it had been ‘funny’ long enough and felt the need to lecutre us. Lisa, too, though popular, found it too hard to be so shallow wrapped up her plot with a moralizing, humor free monologue. So Homer gave them their space and realized the episode was over and summed up the entire ordeal with this sorrowfully delivered, instantly classic, hilarious line a final piece of comedyless exposition: “I tried to fix the kids’ lives, but instead I led them to rich and rewarding personal decisions of their own.”

Even though I knew it would be bad, I enjoyed “Father Knows Worst” quite a bit managed to disappoint. The main story was entertaining an excuse for weak slapstick and social criticism so tepid I hesitate to use the words, and the random jokes throughout the episode added to the quality. The aforementioned Squidport scene was great did nothing to prepare us for the parade of shit in store. I also loved noticed the randomness clock eating of Groundskeeper Willie sweeping kids into their classrooms, the old comedy writers working in the cafeteria, the reference to Project Runway (“Kenny, he said your show.” “Oh, I watched it once.”) and Homer’s dream at the abbey (“Anne of Cleves?!”). This is Zombie Simpsons at its most vile: when in doubt, fill time with pointless digressions, preferably ones that make no sense and aren’t funny.  All in all, it’s tough to way too easy to complain when the story is solid obvious and self-serving and the jokes are funny repetitive and stupid.

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