A Season Best and an All Time Worst

Chalkboard - Ned 'N Edna's Blend

“Like one out of every nine Americans, I’m left handed.  And, let me tell you, it ain’t all peaches and cream.  Your writing gets smeared, Lord help you if you want to drive a standard transmission.” – Ned Flanders

I have two good things to say about “Ned ‘N Edna’s Blend”.  First, we dodged the “storytelling episode” bullet.  When they were backstage at the beginning talking about why they didn’t do Lenny’s story, I thought for sure we were in for four short, equally dull segments, but it turned out that they went with the less annoying single, long dull story.  Second, this exchange from the Left Gifted Bi-Dexterous and Transhanded community scene was one of the best things they’ve done all season:

Flanders: We’re trying to decide on the theme for our Left Is Right parade.
Left Handed Woman:  Our Scissors, Ourselves!
Left Handed Man:  How ’bout Death to Righties.
Left Handed Woman:  We have to live among them.
Left Handed Man:  To live among them is to die!  Are you even left handed?

They over explained it and kept the scene going a bit too long, but that argument is a genuinely excellent parody.  Plus, “Fete Accompli” and “A Day to Pay Full Price” were well above average sign humor.  I don’t say this often, but, well done, Zombie Simpsons. 

Unfortunately, those brief moments were surrounded on all sides by the usual array of aggravating and careless problems.  Need a character in a scene? Have them walk right up and announce their presence (there’s Homer and Bart through the window, there’s Helen, Luann and Bernice in the wedding shop, there’s Bart and the window again).  Want to cram in a personal conversation or three?  Have characters argue and reconcile in public with a total disregard for where they’re supposed to be (Ned and Edna at the party, Homer and Marge in their kitchen, Ned and Edna again in front of the school).  Feel like explaining your jokes even as you make them?  Have each punchline carefully pre-chewed for ease of audience digestion (Flanders with the chip clips, the recitation of what goes on at the liberal college, pretty much everything Homer says about playing Jesus).  And, let’s not forget that the main story involved a lot of weird, out of character behavior and bizarre plot twists. 

Zombie Simpsons has a habit of ignoring the history and characteristics of people, but asking us to believe that Ned Flanders (widower) and Edna Krabappel (divorcee) are unaware that marriages aren’t perfect was bad even for them.  Flanders and Krabappel having problems with their relationship?  Fine.  Flanders and Krabappel not seeing eye to eye on Rod and Todd?  No problem.  Flanders being unaware that couples argue?  Wha?  And how on Earth did Krabappel pull the kids out of a school without Flanders knowing about it?  All to often these characters and their actions are barely recognizable as human. 

Anyway, the numbers are in and they are the worst ever.  Last night’s meandering pastiche of marital woe and wonder was ceremoniously endured by just four million people.  (TV by the Numbers has it exactly at a flat 4.00 million.)  That is far and away the lowest number of all time, displacing “The Daughter Also Rises” from earlier this season in the coveted #1 spot.  Eight of the ten least watched episodes are now from Season 23 (numbers are millions of viewers):

#1    23-21    4.00    Ned ‘N Edna’s Blend
#2    23-13    4.33    The Daughter Also Rises
#3    23-20    4.75    The Spy Who Learned Me
#4    23-18    4.86    Beware My Cheating Bart
#5    23-16    4.96    How I Wet Your Mother
#6    23-19    5.00    A Totally Fun Thing That Bart Will Never Do Again
#6    22-18    5.00    The Great Simpsina
#8    23-10    5.11    Politically Inept, With Homer Simpson
#8    21-11    5.11    Million Dollar Maybe
#10  23-12    5.12    Moe Goes from Rags to Riches

Presumably Lady Gaga will give them a boost next week, but it would take a viewership of 26 million just to haul Season 23’s average viewership (currently 6.20 million) up to the level of Season 22, and that ain’t gonna happen. 

17 Responses to “A Season Best and an All Time Worst”

  1. 1 Non-Existent Man
    14 May 2012 at 2:15 pm

    An entirely crappy season for one good exchange? Not even worth the Earth it resides apon in ones opinion.

  2. 2 Dan S.
    14 May 2012 at 2:43 pm

    Im going to disagree that the LGBT was an example of good parody. It doesn’t seem to do more than make a very surface level attack on what amounts to a stereotypical view of how minority groups think. It seems that they just sat there and came up with left handed words that could fit into the LGBT acronym and made some weak jokes. To me its no better than “no Atheist blood please” just some very basic humor that make me think the writers patrol a lot of atheist v. religion internet forums.

    • 3 lennyburnham
      14 May 2012 at 4:15 pm

      Yeah, I agree that I didn’t like the LGBT humor. It felt really lazy, especially stuff like “pre-op trans-handed.”

      It would be nice if Lady Gaga could influence them to have some better LGBT humor, but it doesn’t seem likely.

      • 4 Dan S.
        14 May 2012 at 4:34 pm

        I just didnt understand how this could be considered good parody, by the usually spot on writers here. How is what is being said, subversive or getting to the root of an issue here. From my limited understanding of LGBT they don’t seem to be harboring any us vs. them attitudes. The views of the left handed people seem to just be a very shallow amalgamation of “angry activists.” The sentiments seem more inline with stereotypical looks at black panthers or black Islamist groups of sorts but still not pointing out any flaws in these groups but simply replacing them with Simpsons characters. Usually this kind of thing is derided here I was surprised to see it getting high marks.

        • 5 lennyburnham
          14 May 2012 at 5:02 pm

          Yeah, I was surprised, but after reading this post I was able to see the case for stuff like “Are you even left-handed?” being insightful, but it definitely didn’t strike me that way on the first watch. It was just a little too shallow to seem relevant to the community, but I also see how it is nice and interesting to see a show focusing on stuff within the LGBT community instead of just straight people reacting to it, even if it’s in a very shallow context like this one.

          • 6 Stan
            15 May 2012 at 1:06 pm

            I’d say the “LGBT” joke itself, with Edna taking on that “wtf” look, and then Flanders explaining it with no relation to gays and lesbians as if left-handed is the only thing LGBT stands for. That alone made me smile. I’d say whatever followed was just filler on a level no more innovative than Homer being hurt.

      • 7 Charlie Sweatpants
        14 May 2012 at 6:19 pm

        “The views of the left handed people seem to just be a very shallow amalgamation of “angry activists.””

        That’s pretty much what it is, but I don’t think it’s shallow at all. The exchange I quoted above has the constant war between gradualists who want to fit in and the more radical types, questioning someone’s place in the group, and the overwrought squabbles that accompany such things. (And all in just four lines.) It’s not a piece of comedy for the ages or anything, but it’s mocking the self importance of activists rather than their cause.

        I was thinking of the “pre-op” thing when I said they kept going a little too long, but “Are you even left handed?” has actually crept back into my thoughts and cracked me up a couple of times today. I’m not sure when the last time something from Zombie Simpsons did that, but it’s been a while.

        Most of the episode is just awful though.

  3. 8 Derp
    14 May 2012 at 5:24 pm

    This is the result of the whole Nedna drama; a marital crisis episode. What a waste of time.

    It doesn’t seem to have paid off, dipping tantalizingly close to below 4 million. Still, least ever watched is still quite a title.

  4. 14 May 2012 at 7:41 pm

    Thanks for actually pointing out some good moments in this episode. I thought I was alone in thinking this episode actually had a decent scene or two. I also liked the guy who was a post-op leftie.

    All in all, so far, this season has enough good lines and moments to fill about a quarter of a regular episode. You could edit all the best parts and probably get a decent 5 minutes of humor. In 20+ episodes. Still better than last season…

    • 14 May 2012 at 7:44 pm

      But, hey, only 4 million viewers? Yikes. That’s really really bad. I wonder if Fox regrets renewing them till season 25 now…

      • 15 May 2012 at 1:50 am

        Nah, the show merely existing is almost a commercial to sell the past seasons DVDs.

      • 12 baconkong
        15 May 2012 at 11:26 pm

        It’s still their second best performing show on Sunday nights, isn’t it? I mean, I don’t know if the cost of the show justifies keeping it, but I guess Zombies simply refuse to die.

    • 13 Stan
      15 May 2012 at 1:09 pm

      I thought of it just being plain nonsense. How can you be operated right-handed to left? What does that even mean? It’s no more decent than Family Guy cramming in a puma just so Peter can get mauled or soemthing. Completely random. And random humor is, well… poor.

      • 15 May 2012 at 6:07 pm

        I mean, I agree it’s ridiculous but it is amusing to meto think of a guy getting some insane surgery to become a “leftie”, clearly just to fit in with an “elite” group of other lefties.

  5. 15 Stan
    15 May 2012 at 1:16 pm

    Well, the more I read the rating, the more I’m guess the show will end by Season 25. It’s fair because so far we know there will be a 24th season, and 25 is kind of a round-up number, so there is a good chance they will still end it with dignity, like I wrote earlier.

    As for the episode, just not remembering Flanders is 60 years old is a big plothole, too big to be filled with jokes and retcon obliviousness. Therefore no wonder the consistency sucked so much. Yes, I know, getting Ned together with Edna is the biggest storyline accomplishment they even done since… Maude’s death? Can’t think of anything more important coming later as to actually be remembered not to hit status quo afterwards. But yeah, it is big, but still, if they thought they’d be gathering 6-7 million with this, they thought wrong. Hell, even if they’d killed Burns in an episode, they’d barely get past 5 million today. And this time, there will be no Moe to quit after the third act (what a cheap-ass fourth wall breaker btw).

    P.S. Could someone explain to me the punchline in “Fete Accompli”? I didn’t get it.

    • 16 Charlie Sweatpants
      15 May 2012 at 3:53 pm

      “P.S. Could someone explain to me the punchline in “Fete Accompli”? I didn’t get it.”

      It’s a double pun, “fete” is just a fancy word for “party” and it’s a play on “fait accompli”, meaning something that’s already done.

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