Oh Hell, Let’s Move the Town Again

Chalkboard - At Long Last Leave

“Homer, that’s your solution to everything, to move under the sea.  It’s not going to happen!” – Marge Simpson
“Not with that attitude.” – Homer Simpson

Give Zombie Simpsons credit for consistency, for the 500th episode they served up a perfectly banal rendition of their usual hacktacular schlock.  They recycled two old ideas (family leaves Springfield, rebuild the town), had an illogical, meaningless and irrelevant celebrity voicing himself, and left plot threads hanging all over the place.  No real reason is given for why the town suddenly decides they miss the Simpsons, nothing about the “Outlands” makes sense, either as a post-apocalyptic environment or as a modern “off the grid” community, and what few jokes there were leaned heavily on Homer getting hurt and bizarre asides.  To top it all off, they had a lot of filler in the form of an ultra long couch gag, a second opening in the middle of the episode, and a bunch of set pieces that dragged on interminably (e.g. Wiggum and the cat thing, parading the family out of town).

For examples of all of these problems we need look no further than the sudden u-turn the episode took after its clock killing “The Outlands” opening.  They had just reached their destination, but after talking to the wildly out of place Julian Assange for no reason, Marge says she misses Springfield and then – wham – they’re back in Springfield.  The first scene is them already in the heart of the city before they decamp for a couple of quick stops at the Lard Lad sign, the Bowlarama, and their house.  None of these are related in the least aside from being in Springfield. 

To get them back out of Springfield (after the bullies mysteriously disappear from the house), they essentially rerun the earlier scene from the town hall.  This one occurs at night and six minutes deeper into the episode, but basically nothing has happened in that time other than some disjointed set pieces.  Compounding the problem, there isn’t anything in the second expulsion that even so much as hints at, much less actually sets up, the eventual ending where – for no discernable reason – the rest of the town decides that they all want out of Springfield. 

Apart from the couch gag and the passive aggressive title card at the end (and, for the record, I’ve been outside several times already today) there wasn’t much in the way of celebratory fireworks here.  Abandoning the town to build a shanty one a few miles down the road sounds epic, until you remember that in just the last few years they’ve had Springfield fenced off from immigrants, descend into chaos from Lisa’s social network, and irradiated by a nuclear bomb.  Abandoning or destroying Springfield is unexceptional these days.

Anyway, the numbers are in and they are wretched, despite all the hype.  Last night just 5.79 million viewers wondered why this thing hadn’t ended hundreds of episodes ago.  That’s an improvement from last week’s nadir, but it’s still embarrassingly low and continues to sink Season 23’s overall viewer average. 

32 Responses to “Oh Hell, Let’s Move the Town Again”

  1. 1 Derp
    20 February 2012 at 3:31 pm

    They shouldn’t have gone half in. Either ignore the milestone (built on the backs of writers that have long left the series) or fully acknowledge it. Don’t just fill it up with a couch gag and an episode where the Simpsons are town-famous.

    I can’t wait for some compare-and-contrast on this.

  2. 2 Stan
    20 February 2012 at 4:03 pm

    Here’s my two cents:

    – Apu banner slogan. Clever.
    – Sideshow Bob’s cameo. Here’s to an actual guest star!
    – “I’m sick of watching fox”. Clever, yet captain obvious kicked in.
    – Homer’s head after it exits the turbine.

    – Couch gag. Was there one? And all this montage… just to show Homer choking Bart? Really?
    – The Outlands into. Even worse. Less funny than the Thompsons one, and more time-devouring.
    – Homer and Marge acting as Burns and Smithers. Yeah, okay, it could pass for funny, but.. where did they get the clothes? And where do their original clothes suddenly come from? Transforming matter?
    – Lenny’s name is Lenford? Or am I just that deaf to Bart saying “Leonard”?
    – Skinner punchball? Wow he sunk low… or maybe it’s the REAL Skinner from the original series?
    – Assange bit was just awful. Wondering if he actually wants popularity or repulsion instead?
    – That message at the end perfectly describes the mood for the whole episode: “we know we’re perfect, we don’t give a shit if you think otherwise, we’ll still air the show”. Prob is, nobody really cares. They won’t get as much talk as they think they would. People will just watch them less.

    In all, another opportunity to worthily end the show ruined. This website lives on =)

  3. 20 February 2012 at 4:41 pm

    You would think the 500th episode of just about anything would be pretty memorable. Yet there was nothing memorable about last night. Might as well have been the 423rd episode. The only thing close to a memorable Homerism was his line about “sick of watching fox”. There was a time when you we’d have a hard time deciding which line was the best of the night, now we’re lucky if we get one.

    • 20 February 2012 at 4:50 pm

      In fact, that’s the defining characteristic of any zombie simpsons episode: they’re all utterly forgettable. Sometimes I don’t even remember what the previous weeks episode was, let alone an episode from last season. I can’t pinpoint the exact moment, but somewhere after or around season 10, all the seasons just started to blend together. Like one big blur of mediocrity. If you took all the season 14 episodes and switched them with season 20, I wouldn’t know the difference. Whereas the first 8 seasons all had their own unique feel. You know a season 1, 4, or 7 when you see it. But once you get past 12 it get’s more and more difficult.

      • 8 Stan
        20 February 2012 at 5:00 pm

        Actually, I won’t agree. Switching Season 14 episodes with Season 20 will show a difference, as Season 20 is much more “zombier”, for example in terms of character appearance-disappearance, or of sluggishly unfunny Homer jokes (either he’s hurt, says something stupid, or both at the same time). Maybe it’s just me, but those things that were simply boring in Seasons 11-20, got somewhat annoying by Season 21, as in you just want to FF when it happens.

    • 9 Frank
      21 February 2012 at 4:54 pm

      I for one am sick of these make-fun-of-fox jokes. It was funny 6 years ago. Now it’s pretty dull. OK, we get it – you’re making fun of the hand that feeds you! You’re so bold and daring!

  4. 10 Cyberen
    20 February 2012 at 5:00 pm

    I will not celebrate meaningless milestones

  5. 11 sourbelly
    20 February 2012 at 9:37 pm

    Oh sure, Sunday’s episode was pointless crap, and the ratings sucked. But just wait until the whole Nedna thing kicks in! /sarcasm/

  6. 12 Thrillho
    20 February 2012 at 9:48 pm

    As I said before, the couch gag might have been palatable if that sort of thing hadn’t been done before, but there was already a video on YouTube before that:

    Not a whole lot of funny in this episode, but I did laugh at the “Jerk Off” can if only because I’m not used to hearing that phrase on network television. (Then again, I don’t watch a lot of network television.)

  7. 13 Chris
    21 February 2012 at 2:09 am

    Existing simply for the sake of existing is no reason to celebrate. I could give a shit what episode number something is. Off the top of my head, two of my personal favorite episodes are Lisa’s Rival and A Milhouse Divided. I have no idea what episode number they are, they’re just damn good episodes. 500th episode, yippee! Unfortunately I stopped caring about new episodes before the show even hit its halfway mark. The fact that the show now has more (probably way more) bad episodes than good ones will never stop pissing me off. Grandpa will be deep in the cold, cold ground before he recognizes Missourah and I’ll be deep in the cold, cold ground before I recognize anything past season 10 (and even that one I’ll give up for 50 cents).

  8. 15 Patrick
    21 February 2012 at 7:15 am

    Okay I watched it now and WHAT…THE…FUCK? none of that even made any damn sense at all…? and seriously what the hell was up with the ending too…? so what in future episodes we’ll see them in the outland version of rebuilt springfield or will they just magically appear in the real springfield next week??? :/ and the opening was just… youtube did it… and the youtube timelapsing of it was much easier to watch than quick blinks of old couch gags and lastly did you see in ALL the crowd scenes it was just auxiliary characters in all the backgrounds, no generic other people nestled here and there…. you know what that tears it fuck watching this crapfest anymore i’ll just rely on this site for info on new eps. as they are better written than the crapfest excuse called new episodes! ARGH RANT OVER!

    • 16 Stan
      21 February 2012 at 10:54 am

      “so what in future episodes we’ll see them in the outland version of rebuilt springfield or will they just magically appear in the real springfield next week??? :/ ”

      Take a wild guess =)

  9. 21 February 2012 at 9:58 am

    I thought the couch gag was funny as hell. A futur Classic! Homer riding the quad-bike was hilarious as well…

    I like how the people in Springfield think that the Simpsons suck but as soon as they are gone they miss them soo much… Hmmmm what could that refer too?

    CU haters,

    • 18 Stan
      21 February 2012 at 10:54 am

      Ever wondered how would people in Springfield ever KNOW of the Simpsons? Being given the fact that no characters age in the show (only their voices do), give or take a year, becoming a celebrity just like that is but a djinn’s wish.

      Besides, how in the name of fuck can you “banish” someone from a city for them being “jerks”? That’s just crudely ridiculous.

      • 21 February 2012 at 11:21 am

        You are right. But then again what story would you make up? I mean season 1 – 6 they spoke about real problemes of real middle class american people, like how the children’s schools suck, how bart doesn’t care about his grades, how men are jerks with their wifes, how wifes cheat on their spouses etc… Real themes you know, but after a while they have to bring more outlandish ideas and stories. Sure they can do a story about say bart getting thrown out of school or Marge treatening Homer to leave him, but then you would say that they already did that.

        I think the simpsons has moved from being about the fuc*ed up normal american middle class family is to how fuc*ed up America is.

        The authors of this site seem to not get it.

        Off course they also changed the style of the cartoon, they have to, it’s called “get with the time dude”!

        It’s realling telling what you read sometimes on online stream site, what younger people write about the old school episodes ala “Bart gets a F.”. The younger people call them “boring”, “not funny”, etc… What made sense to us back in the 90’s, isn’t going to mobilize masses anymore. In a time with youtube streaming and iPhone, “Bart gets a F.” doesnt cut it anymore.

        So don’t be an old fart and appreciate the simpsons as long as they are (financially) able to make them. You can still watch the old seasons or simply shut off the TV if it bores you and go and read a, say, Tolstoy book. ;)The Simpsons will never be how they used to be 20 years ago!! ;)

        My mother tongue is not english, I am sorry for my mistakes.


        • 20 Stan
          21 February 2012 at 11:55 am

          For starters, no one’s asking the show to keep drastically producing itself into oblivion. As much as everything they would re-run happens to sprout from their old ideas which were either undeveloped furthermore than cutaway gags, or shoddy b-plots somehow inserted into good episodes, this show has come to an end. Watching it shit out unexplainable fantasy crap is worse than watching it die, be it with or without dignity.

          Furthermore, what you compare today’s show to is called a “classic”. Your comment is as ridiculous as saying that Beethoven can’t compare to Wolfgang Gartner. You can’t compare them just because the latter one remixed one of the former one’s melodies. However in an appropriate context, both are oddly listenable. Only difference is – whomever listens to Gartner might tolerate Beethoven, but not vice versa.

          So in all, your argument is as shallow as it appears, and whatever you bring up to defend your point of view was already ground over thousand times in previous comments, as to if you’re a half-wit moron, bothering to understand why would someone else not like that show is a dead end, my friend.

          • 21 February 2012 at 12:02 pm

            You know what? You are right. This show sucks and we should continue to watch it just to say that it sucks and how bad it is.

            Well well, at least I have a life and I don’t feel the need to insult strangers on the internet.


        • 24 swarmingwithmagicrobots
          21 February 2012 at 8:50 pm

          They didn’t have to come up with more outlandish ideas and stories. They could have had a little integrity and decided to end the show when the characters had been mined for all they were worth and the writers were out of ideas.

          But instead they decided, screw inegrity, let’s see how far we can run this sucker into the ground in the name of a steady paycheck. So here we are roughly 300 episodes later, and The Simpons has become possibly the worst clusterfuck in television history so far. And I’m including shows that were canceled after 1 episode in that assessment(seriously, at least they could cohrently string scenes together and keep track of what characters were where at any given time).

          We may live in the time of Youtube streaming and iPhones, but which episodes of The Simpsons are relevent today? Which ones still have cultural impact? The ones from more than a decade ago, from back when the show was smart as a whip, funny as hell, and touching on real subjects. Now it’s an incompetently crafted random blur of wacky cartoon zaniness apropos of nothing, treated even among its own remaining fans as a forgettable 20 minute distraction of sound and motion.

          You want me to appreciate that? Sorry, no. The only thing I can appreciate about this sad washout is its cancellation, which finally doesn’t look like it’s that far off.

          • 22 February 2012 at 6:24 am

            Okay fair enough, but a big corporation doesn’t care about bringing culture&intelligence to the world.(basic economics here) Sometimes making money can coincide with beauty&creativity for the masses, but mostly it doesn’t. As long as people continue to watch it, they will produce it, and they don’t give a shit about “how it is not as clever as it once was”.

            The author of this site doesn’t get that. Yes the Simpsons are not how they used to be, we get it, they are making money, yes we know, that’s the way it is, no need to spend his/her time writing about it on some blog.

            I just watch Simpsons and another stupid European TV show to get entertained, I don’t expect TV to be intelligent,(I don’t have a TV, only a laptop) I have books and University courses and the the opera and theater for that.

            I am not used to post on the big internet, I was just appalled by this blog, by the time the author seems to put in this futile enterprise that serves no one. I , contrary to the author of this webpage, know that my messages will have 0 impact whatsoever. The 500th episode made fun of this kind of thinking, that should make a couple of you think. ;)


            • 22 February 2012 at 8:42 pm

              While at first glance, the authors of this site DO seem a bit TOO harsh in their assessment of some episodes, even I am surprised at how often they DO compliment bits here or there (mostly sign gags, a line or two). I think painting them as closeminded is a bit much… It’s just the problem of comparing the best show ever to the worst show ever. I mean, of course the blog is going to be negative. Imagine falling in love with the greatest girl of all time and then she ruins your life. And continues to ruin it. That’s Zombie Simpsons. I think the comments/criticisms here are usually right on, even if I am a bit more forgiving of ZS than most on here. I DO still laugh a few times an episode and am USUALLY entertained, but they really should have just made a new show altogether past season 10 because it doesn’t really have anything to do WITH a show called “The Simpsons”. There’s basically NOTHING that’s the same as it used to be. But it’s not like “oh, it changed with the times.” It was that it was a show assembled by and built in and made for a certain time, and that time has pasted. The new team — who 90% of had NOTHING to do with ANY of the golden episodes — are trying to both rape the old, good episodes… and add their own sense of A.D.D/short-attention-span makes-no-sense lowest-common-denominator bullshit with it.

              To be frank, you might find this blog insulting and too harsh. But the ZOMBIE creators have been insulting fans of the Simpsons for a lot longer, and a lot worse, by continuing their bullshit.

        • 22 February 2012 at 8:36 pm

          While you make a lot of great points, the fact is that the vast majority of fans (who have been fans from the beginning) usually cite problems far beyond something like “eh, the stories don’t work — or don’t appeal to me — anymore.” Jokes used to be spewn forth in every line, episode structure and character interaction MADE SENSE, and obviously there’s way more complaints but… I agree that it’s hard to talk about THIS version of the show without comparing the golden years and people might be a LITTLE easier on this show if it didn’t have the same name of something that was (is still, actually — in the past tense, though) godhead. But eh. Either way, even if it was called “Not the Simpsons” and had completely different characters/settings, the show would still suck. And hell, the only good parts of the show nowadays are usually nostalgic references. What does THAT tell you?

    • 28 Anonymous
      21 February 2012 at 2:40 pm

      FOX Network?

  10. 29 tinaun
    21 February 2012 at 10:08 am

    You know, a quote from reddit summarizes my feelings perfectly.

    “I remember when the 200th episode came out. I was excited to watch it, but I haven’t really watched many new episodes since.”

  11. 30 I am the lizard queen
    29 February 2012 at 8:22 am

    I agree that The Simpsons has been zombifying rapidly since season 12 (I’m sure ratings graphs would verify this!), but this season I’m noticing simply “terrible” decline into…unspeakably abominable.

    That Moe/dishcloth episode was the height of pointless, and really rammed home the “WTF” nature of The Simpsons these days. (Every episode from this season has been nearly as bad, but that episode really took the cake) I wanted to cry after seeing it. Or punch a wall. I couldn’t even tell you what the hell happened in it. It was so forgettable, nonsensical and so phoned in that I wasn’t even interested to see how it ended. Yeah, I know, I take this show way too seriously. (Clearly. Seeing as how I still continue to watch it even though it sucks. I can’t help myself. It’s like watching a car crash)

    More than anything, I felt sad after watching this episode. There’s no hope…can’t the powers that be stop flogging this long dead horse? This episode was so recycled it was ridiculous. I can’t believe they had the gall to desicrate the “Thompsons” gag…for “The Outlands”?!…a concept which, as you said, makes no sense at all.

    I’m tired of seeing characters I love ruined…let The Simpsons die in peace!

  12. 31 I am the lizard queen
    29 February 2012 at 8:31 am

    Basically, if “The Simpsons” – the way it is NOW – was a new concept , I don’t think it would make the air.
    (Then again, The Cleveland Show somehow made it to television, so I could be wrong) Even if Zombie Simpsons did make the air, I can’t imagine it would be popular. It doesn’t do anything exceptional, it isn’t clever, it wouldn’t touch people’s hearts. Plus, it’s above all a comedy for Christ’s sake, and I haven’t laughed during an episode for a very long time.

    In contrast, I could throw on any random episode from, say, season 4, and it would be impossible for me NOT to laugh.

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