Synergy Lashes Out

American Wiccan

Image used under Creative Commons license from Flickr user Robotskirts.

“Let’s come to our senses everyone, this witch hunt is turning into a circus.” – Goody Simpson

Once again setting aside the ridiculously high number (6.1), this is now the third week in a row that IGN’s Simpsons review has been downright harsh.  Not only did they think Cletus was overused, but they hated on the Wiccan storyline almost without exception.  There’s no doubt in my mind that this isn’t going to be a permanent trend, but it still makes my job easier and as a profoundly lazy person I appreciate that.  I scrubbed out what synergy I did find, but there wasn’t all that much. 


November 30, 2009 – "Rednecks and Broomsticks" started out with potential one of the longest and most pointless scenes ever, but that was lost after the first eight minutes or so only a taste of what was to come. What was left was a Lisa-heavy episode about Wiccans with a smidge of Homer and moonshine thrown in. Though there were some was one standout moments, the episode as a whole was lacking.

The most fun to be had came early on. Leaving "The Snowed Inn" early to beat the traffic after a ski weekend, the Simpson family ran into traffic anyway. This led to a an endlessly repetitive but funny bit with the kids playing "Bonk It!" the world’s most annoying game. After a number a funny gags it went on much too long, Homer smashes the game with his foot, causing some of the bits to get lodged under the brake pedal. This turned into the Simpson car careening off the road, sliding across a frozen lake, hitting Bambi (Yes!) and launching the fawn into the next county. Had I been drinking something, it would have come shooting out of my mouth in a spit take when I saw that last, very funny visual.

Everybody’s favorite slack-jawed yokel, Cletus, saved the entire family from sinking into the frozen lake. To help kill time the The episode then gave off a Deliverance vibe, or at the very least, something along the lines of Misery. But instead of taking that direction, which would’ve made what they were doing consistent, the tale took a much friendlier turn. Cletus invited Homer to partake in some moonshine with the locals, while the kids played grenade snowman bowling and hide-and-seek, instead of, you know, leaving.  Homer’s expertise with the moonshine ("It’s got a rich mash base, and a sense of danger.") included a Sideways referencing montage that was entertaining also killed time, even without having seen all of Sideways. But the hillbilly jokes could only go so far. I love Cletus in the small, quick bits that made him famous, but feel whenever he gets extended screen time, the jokes work less and less.

Meanwhile, the game of hide-and-seek resulted in Lisa getting lost in the woods at night, for some reason. It’s here she stumbles across a Wiccan ceremony being performed by three never-before-seen teen girls. Lisa was frightened at first, but began to considered joining the group after they apparently caused Mrs. Ms. Hoover* to get sick, helping Lisa get out of doing her pipe cleaner art project, which for some other reason she had not done. The Wiccan storyline as a whole was almost entirely laugh free. Plus it’s vampires that are all the rage now. Witches are so 1996.

The last half of the episode had the three girls arrested and put on trial, twice (apparently once didn’t eat enough clock). Per Kent Brockman, this would be Springfield’s "first witch trial in 12 years." One of the girls — Stacy Deathsatan, I think — was voiced by Neve Campbell. Get it? She was in The Craft, and now, 13 years later, she has the free time to do underwhelming voice work for an established primetime animated series. There was no logic put forth for arresting the girls; it just seemed to happen to have it happen.

The episode did get a little more clever a bare minimum of coherent storytelling as it tied in the moonshine storyline with the witches causing half the town to go blind. Turns out it was the moonshine spilled into the drinking water that was the actual culprit. In the end, for all the small bits the worked — Moleman operating on himself, Moe and the angry mob — "Rednecks and Broomsticks" was just too bland to be worthwhile.

*This is the second time since I’ve been doing these that IGN has identified Miss Hoover as Mrs. Hoover.  I know that might seem minor, but half of her character is that she’s single and doesn’t want to be. 

1 Response to “Synergy Lashes Out”

  1. 2 December 2009 at 7:54 pm

    IGN’s turning against The Simpsons? Kinda reminds me of the bit in “Bart Gets Hit by a Car” when Burns finishes his phony testimony, and even Smithers is glaring at him.

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