All Exposition All the Time

Chalkboard - How I Wet Your Mother

“Eww.” – Lisa Simpson

Near the beginning of The Great Muppet Caper, Diana Rigg, playing wealthy fashion designer Lady Holiday, tells Miss Piggy all about her ne’er-do-well brother and the giant diamond that will be central to the plot.  Miss Piggy then asks Rigg why she’s telling her all that stuff.  Rigg’s response should be carved into the walls of studios, film schools, and wherever they’re producing Zombie Simpsons these days:

It’s plot exposition.  It has to go somewhere.

Indeed it does, but “somewhere” is not “everywhere”, a distinction that was lost on “How I Wet Your Mother”.  About two thirds of the way through the episode, I stopped even trying to keep track of the verbal duds that were competing for being the longest, most literal, and most unnecessary pieces of clunky exposition.  Some of the contenders include Marge saying “This might be a clue, what’s in that coffin could be behind your nighttime whoopsies”, Homer declaring “It’s the land of my innermost thoughts and fondest desires”, and the one-two punch of Frink’s “You see, I have invented a device that allows you to enter someone else’s dreams and explore their subconscious”, to which Marge responds, “So we can go inside Homer’s sleeping mind and find out why he’s wetting the bed?”.  Inception, which this episode so incompetently copied, is seven times as long and makes more sense, and I don’t think it had half this many explanations.

Of course, the exposition was only the most glaring problem because it was in pretty much every scene.  There were plenty of other head shaking “whoopsies” ranging from small to huge.  There was the fact that Burns clearly sees Homer leaving the office with stolen supplies before declaring him the only one who didn’t steal.  There was the bizarre way Marge didn’t notice Homer was wetting the bed.  There were several instances of characters appear and disappearing, and all of those took place outside of those interminable dream sequences.  The less said about Frink coming flying out of the sky the better.

It wasn’t all bad.  They do seem to have picked up their game in terms of background and sign humor of late (the putty in the supply closet was nice), and there was some far above average animation in Homer’s dream utopia.  I even liked the extended callback to the Tracey Ullman shorts, though it’s always more bitter than sweet when the thing they do best is inadvertently reminding everyone of when the show was good.  But ultimately, this was talking bar rag redux.  By pretending that it’s Halloween all the time, they can give themselves enough space to add in a nice piece of trimming here and there, but the main elements of the episode are all dumb, tired, and shoddy. 

Anyway, the numbers are in, and they are wet the bed embarrassing.  Last night’s satire free Inception remake was slumbered through by a mere 4.96 million viewers.  That’s the second lowest number of all time, leading only last month’s “The Daughter Also Rises”.  Overall, they’re off more than 15% from this time last season, which was itself chock full of historic lows.  Just a few years ago it was notable when they dropped below six million viewers, now that would be a good night for them.  Us internet die-hards notwithstanding, the general viewing public has very clearly stopped caring in the least about new episodes of Zombie Simpsons.

19 Responses to “All Exposition All the Time”

  1. 12 March 2012 at 1:48 pm

    This is going to be the most overrated ZS episode in a long time because everyone’s forgetting about the entire episode and are saying it’s awesome due to the Ullman short and Mona’s scenes.

    • 12 March 2012 at 4:34 pm

      Those scenes weren’t my favorite part by any means. I actually thought the first 5 minutes or so had more laughs than anything in 5 years. I’d kinda already forgotten about the Ullman part by the time I had originally wrote my thoughts on the episode.

  2. 4 Anonymous
    12 March 2012 at 2:02 pm

    Frink randomly flies out of the sky then instantly diagnoses Marge’s problem. Luckily, Normal Stu walks by just at that moment to verify his claims. Great.

  3. 5 Bea Simmons' Rotting Corpse
    12 March 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Actually Inception was all about explaining and expositional dialogue, which made it a weak movie to me. When you closely parody a movie that’s constantly explaining what it’s about, you’ll end up with the same mess

    • 12 March 2012 at 4:36 pm

      I thought Inception was surprisingly awesome — though maybe I’m just giving Nolan a pass since I like Following and Memento so much — but I thught the needlessly long action sequences at the end is what brought it down. That and the overbearing soundtrack which made everything seem like it was in climax (also see: Dark Knight).

      Anyway… certainly a weird choice of a movie to parody.

  4. 7 J. Doe
    12 March 2012 at 2:21 pm

    You know what I find funny? While there was all this exposition, there were scenes like Lisa knowing how “Dream-within a dream” rules work or Marge knowing how the totems work. It was never explained how they knew those things. If a person never watched Inception, those scenes would not make sense.

  5. 8 Stan
    12 March 2012 at 10:44 pm

    It’s not hard to parody Inception. It’s hard to parody it and stay at least mildly funny. There were tons of material to make fun of actually: the spinning top joke (which they only worked through halfway at the end), the dream construction/break-up weirdness without the need to shove in tremendous amounts of food, beer and Flanders disembowelment, that shameful Ellen Page performance… Heck, they could’ve even put up Dicaprio’s “We need to go deeper” meme, since they still occasionally pummel the iphone shitand hence (probably) know what an internet meme is.

    Instead of all this, instead of a shot at actual parody, they did their typical brainless routine of copying whatever they could and inserting it all into an episode in which Homer has to find out why he keeps wetting the bed (imagery included). That’s fucking awesome, chaps, now how about you drop the show? Not gonna happen, eh? Aw crud.

  6. 12 March 2012 at 11:10 pm

    The thing that annoys me most is their insistence on working things like cell phones and even Twitter into the show. It’s just embarrassing.

    • 10 Patrick
      13 March 2012 at 9:09 am

      Agreed I mean back in the 90’s they didn’t constantly shove in Sega’s and SNES’s in the show all the time, infact i don’t even think that the show even mentioned them once.

      • 11 Thrillho
        13 March 2012 at 9:15 am

        Yeah, though we do get Homer playing a Game Boy in A Streetcar Named Marge and appearances by Mario, Luigi, Sonic, and Donkey Kong in Marge Be Not Proud. I think that’s as close as we got.

        • 12 Scorpio
          13 March 2012 at 9:19 am

          Hello Super Nintendo Chalmers

        • 13 Patrick
          13 March 2012 at 11:40 am

          Oh yes those appearances :D but like I said they weren’t rammed into as many episodes as they could.

        • 14 Stan
          13 March 2012 at 12:11 pm

          It’s not quite the same thing, actually. Whenever they showed Sonic back then is like showing Angry birds today. But the cellphone chat thing is really bugging me, so what, ppl rite li3k dis ja, banged from season to season it stops being funny.

          They should really switch to internet memes if they want to keep their audience. Do a FFFUUUUUU once in a while could come out funny.

          • 15 Patrick
            13 March 2012 at 10:41 pm

            Another problem with the text messages were that for homer to show them like that it would appeared to be sent to him from the same person/number if that was multiple people he would either have to scroll through using the * and # keys or keep pressing back and going down to the next message. Cell phone inaccuracies have happened in ZS before which is quite disturbing considering how hip and up-to-date the show wants to be but fails in the process.

          • 16 Thrillho
            18 March 2012 at 3:46 pm

            Pfft. Simpsons did that before it was a meme (sort of):

            And I would advise against inovking memes. Those date worse than anything else.

  7. 13 March 2012 at 10:14 am

    This one was about Homer bed-wetting??? Ew indeed. DMY Homer. DMY.

  8. 18 Cyberen
    13 March 2012 at 1:38 pm

    If you’re going to do a Compare & Contrast, perhaps compare this to El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer (The Mysterious Voyage of Homer). They both have dreamlike symbolism serving a plot.

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