Underage Sex Shouldn’t Be This Boring

Chalkboard - Beware My Cheating Bart

“Mom, this is a little ahead of schedule, but I need help with my love life.” – Bart Simpson
“Oh, my special little guy has a sweetheart.” – Marge Simpson
“I knew it!  Alright Bart, who’s your girlfriend?” – Lisa Simpson
“Mrs. Krabappel.” – Bart Simpson

In what I assume was an unintentional irony, early in “Beware My Cheating Bart”, the writers had Bart say, “Doesn’t anyone realize I’m only ten years old?”.  The episode certainly didn’t, and it managed to be worse than most “Bart gets a girlfriend” stories to boot.  Bart seems to vacillate between being an experienced teenage dater and a little kid, sometimes within the same scene.  One moment he’s happily going down a slide, and then next he’s getting hot and heavy with Shauna (who is herself of indeterminate teenage years).  It would be creepy if it weren’t so dull. 

However, just one oft repeated story wasn’t enough for Zombie Simpsons this week, so they also had Marge and Homer go through a marital spat.  That one got resolved in the most pointless way possible when Marge decorated herself and the bedroom in an island theme, but managed not to notice Bart and Jimbo out the clearly open window.  Again, this would’ve been creepy if it hadn’t been so boring and nonsensical. 

As for the unimaginative Lost parody “Stranded”, I was reminded of their equally insipid Inception parody from a few weeks ago.  Lost has been off the air for two years now, and everyone knew it was going to end in 2010 beforehand, which means that if you still want to parody it, you’d better come up with more than the same tired jokes (nothing makes sense, there’s no resolution, it’s all just empty plot twists) people stopped making two years ago.  The Futurama alien language plug (it reads “watch futurama thursdays at 10”) was the only thing that was even kind of clever. 

The Bill Plympton couch gag was kind of interesting, though it could’ve been half as long and gotten through pretty much the same stuff.  I suppose it’s true that this is better than the usual, but the novelty of having someone else do the opening is starting to wear off.  And speaking of wearing off, Kavner is really having a hard time doing Marge now.  She’s been kinda off for a couple of seasons, but the number of times I’ve thought to myself “wow, that really doesn’t sound like Marge” has been way up since the middle of this season.  She just doesn’t have the same range she used to, which makes it really tough to put much feeling into anything. 

Anyway, the numbers are in and they are absolutely atrocious.  Just 4.86 million viewers briefly lost all interest in sex last night.  That’s the second lowest of all time, displacing “How I Wet Your Mother” in that spot.  Four of the five least watched episodes ever are now from Season 23, and the average viewership this year is below 6.5 million.  Season 22’s was 7.10 million, and there are still at least three episodes to go.  Presumably Lady Gaga will give them a boost at the end of the year (and I’m not looking forward to putting Reading Digest together that week), but even her fame isn’t going to be enough to rescue that average.

18 Responses to “Underage Sex Shouldn’t Be This Boring”

  1. 1 jazzmanjazzman
    16 April 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Methinks this weeks compare and contrast will involve the episode the other girl Laura from that old simpsons episode.

  2. 3 Stan
    16 April 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Lost parody was weak, but I’d attribute it to the fact they have once again 2 years of interval between the time they concieve an episode and when they produce it. That is kind of lame because the writers think they got at something that is fresh and recent, but when it gets on TV, the whole thing looks like a fat kid at a marathon who did his best but still came last.

    As for Marge’s voice, like pointed previously, personally I don’t hear that much of a difference. I guess it’s hard to get since her voice is very raspy, therefore pitching down shouldn’t change much. Maybe I attribute it to the fact that the show’s been on the air for so long I’m stuck with the impression that she grew older… Maybe not. Nonetheless it’s not as painful to hear as Shearer trying to do Smithers or Otto, or Castellaneta pitching his Quimby.

    As for the couch gag, ok, maybe this guy is famous. But I remember the earlier seasons when they got squashed by a giant foot, or when it was clearly the work of some other cartoonish. They just put his name in the credits. I mean, two minute long couch gag and his signature – wow someone must’a bought his spot in the show. At least that was my first impression when I saw it. It’s still disgusting though, and didn’t require that much stalling.

  3. 16 April 2012 at 4:01 pm

    was i the only one more than a little disturbed by bart seeing his first boob?! that coupled with the subsequent titular themed meal had me thrown

  4. 16 April 2012 at 7:14 pm

    “Unintentional irony”??? Good Lord, sometimes it really is frustrating reading these things. Go round convincing yourself that everyone who now works on The Simpsons is an idiot if you want, but you best be careful that you don’t look like a fool when doing so. Those jokes could not have been any more obvious. The stopping to go down the slide three (i think) times whilst running away, the “doesn’t anybody realise I’m 10 years old” stuff. I don’t now how you can assume there was anything “unintentional” about what is a very obvious series of self-deprecating jokes of a sort that the writers have been trotting out to excuse any number of absurdities for as far back as I remember. I broadly agree with most of what you folks say, but this reads like someone who has written the review before seeing the show, then tries desperately to make what ACTUALLY happened fit after the fact. Which, again, is fine, but it doesn’t do much for your argument about how dumb and lazy and what not The Simpsons has become when you’re completely misreading poke-in-the-eye-obvious jokes like those – again, it makes it read like you’ve not really been paying attention, and if you haven’t, I don’t see why you feel qualified to soapbox the way you do about individual episodes in such detail.

    • 9 Charlie Sweatpants
      17 April 2012 at 8:57 pm

      I understand what you’re saying, but I stand by “what I assume was an unintentional irony” in the first sentence. And believe me, in no way shape or form do I think the people writing the show are idiots. Quite the opposite, I think most of them are very smart.

      The question in my mind (hence, “assume”) is whether or not they care enough to notice things like “Doesn’t anyone realize I’m only ten years old?”. They rarely connect scenes together, and when they do it tends to be blatant (talking right to screen, attention grabbing musical cues). So I’m leery of the idea that Bart’s line in the kitchen was intentional commentary on the implausibility of the rest of the plot. It’s certainly possible, but there is so little care put into these scripts (just one example: https://deadhomersociety.wordpress.com/2011/05/12/the-michael-bay-ethos-of-zombie-simpsons/) that I have my doubts.

      I could be wrong (and who knows what changes happened during editing, animation, rewrites, etcetera), and maybe my view of this is the minority opinion. But having studiously watched the last four seasons of this show, I don’t think Bart’s line or the slide were intentionally self aware.

  5. 16 April 2012 at 7:22 pm

    Also, the fact that Lost ended ages ago was clearly a massive part of the joke. It wasn’t the writers’ attempting to be on the pulse and missing by five or six years. The plot is about Homer discovering that the whole series is now streaming online, years after everyone else had already seen it, and is (presumably) funny for fans of that show because they have all known for some time that no, none of those things were ever cleared up. Homer has missed the show, and the endless debate about all that malarkey (those jokes that everyone stopped making two years ago that were mentioned in the main post). There’s the joke. It’s not a particularly good one, but neither it is “lol Lost was, like, totally random.”

  6. 12 Anonymous
    16 April 2012 at 10:43 pm

    Does anyone else remember that Shauna appeared before, in Season 20’s The Good, the Sad and the Drugly (ironically, another Bart-in-love episode)? I’m getting sick of one-shot characters being elevated to recurring roles for no reason. It’s worked when they had a little bit of personality, i.e. Captain McCallister or Cletus, but starting around Cookie Kwan or so, it’s all gone horribly downhill. My personal least favorite is Julio.

  7. 16 FireFlower
    17 April 2012 at 11:02 am

    Yes. I remember Shauna from the the Season 20 episode. I am surpised the writers remembered her too.

  8. 17 Frank
    17 April 2012 at 1:52 pm

    Wasn’t Shauna also in the episode where Ned becomes a Big-Brother-type figure when that British guy installs all those cameras all over Springfield which ends up being a reality show for the Queen?

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