A Spectacular and Unwatched Catastrophe

Chalkboard - Lisa Goes Gaga

“What the hell was that?” – Krusty the Klown

Give Zombie Simpsons credit, when they embarrass themselves for a pop star, they really embarrass themselves for a pop star.  From start to finish, “Lisa Goes Gaga” relentlessly displayed the pitiful imagination and mediocre craftsmanship behind Zombie Simpsons.  In an episode where they outright tell the audience, right up front in an opening narration, that they’re discarding the usual rules and that weird and strange things are going to happen, just about the only weird and strange things that they managed to conjure were a lot of Lady Gaga outfits. 

Unfortunately for them, dresses made of birds and fire spitting bras will not fill an entire twenty minutes of screen time.  They had to fill in the moments when they weren’t expecting us to laugh because Lady Gaga did something weird with empty and pointless scenes like the school awards, Flanders showing up to converse with Gaga and then disappearing, Marge’s weird behavior at the kitchen table (where she apparently lost the ability to let someone touch her and then quickly regained it), the flash mob, and Homer tossing Lisa around like an hourglass for no reason other than it took up a lot of time. 

On top of all that, what little plot and story that did manage to exist between the Gaga fluffing and the filler didn’t make any sense and crashed into itself several times.  Take, for example, the reaction of the townspeople to Gaga.  When she arrives, they’re head over heels in love with her.  Then, for no reason we see, they cheer that she’s sad as she’s leaving.  Oh, and there were songs, but the less said about those the better.

Somewhere in all that mess, Lisa moped around for a while before she felt better, but we didn’t really know why she felt better until she explicitly exposited it – twice.  The first one:

Lisa: Dad, thank you.  Like always, the fact that I could tune you out without fearing that I’d miss out on something gave me the time to take stock and realize how ungrateful I have been.  Which means, I’ve got a train to catch.

Sure enough, Lisa then catches a train, at which point we get explicit exposition #2:

Lisa: Gaga!
Gaga: Lisa?  Why are you here?
Lisa: To thank you.
Gaga: For what?
Lisa: Look at me!  You did help me, by allowing me to inappropriately focus eight years of rage and rejection on you.  It was like a great sneeze.  And now I can say what’s good about me.

That is appallingly bad writing.  It basically boils down to this:

Gaga: Why are you here.
Lisa: Let me tell you.
Gaga: Okay, I’ll ask again.
Lisa: Now I’ll tell you.

Fortunately for Lady Gaga, Zombie Simpsons isn’t relevant enough to damage her pop culture standing, but that was weird, dumb, unfunny, and boring, even by their standards. 

Anyway, the numbers are in, and Gaga did them no good.  Just 4.79 million people tuned in for that hacktacular exercise in misbegotten pop culture references and inane self help statements.  That’s good for #4 on the all time least watched list, and leaves Season 23 with an average viewership of just 6.13 million people, by far the lowest ever.  Here’s the last five years of Zombie Simpsons:

Season 19 – 8.26 Million
Season 20 – 7.12 Million
Season 21 – 7.13 Million
Season 22 – 7.10 Million
Season 23 – 6.13 Million

At the time, Season 19 was easily the lowest rated ever, and then Seasons 20-22 were even worse.  But Season 23 is a down a whopping 14% just from Season 22.  This does set the bar low for Season 24 to avoid being the third consecutive least watched season ever, but tripping over low bars has become something of a specialty for Zombie Simpsons. 

39 Responses to “A Spectacular and Unwatched Catastrophe”

  1. 1 FireFlower
    21 May 2012 at 5:48 pm

    Wow…that Gaga ratings stunt failed big time. It is time they realize nobody cares about The Simpsons anymore.

  2. 2 generalsherman67
    21 May 2012 at 6:09 pm

    Hilariously bad ratings.

    I will say, though, I’m looking forward to this Maggie short. It’s not going to have any (well, much) dialouge, which should give it an instant edge over the show itself.

    • 3 Stan
      21 May 2012 at 8:55 pm

      thats them kinda sayin “we screwed up gaga big time let’s get even with some shorts of maggie since you’ll go watch that ice age 4 movie anyway”.

      too bad i only watch those on dvd =)

  3. 4 Thrillho
    21 May 2012 at 6:41 pm

    Even the classic Simpsons don’t approve:

    I do love how all the promotion for the 500th episode and this piece of crap didn’t help it in the long run. If it is renewed for another cycle after Season 25, all hope is lost.

  4. 5 Truth Teller
    21 May 2012 at 9:52 pm

    Best episode ever

  5. 8 mmmfreegoo
    21 May 2012 at 10:08 pm

    you know, I haven’t watched a full new episode since around season 12, but out of sheer morbid curiosity I thought I’d check this one out.

    Wow. I knew the show had fallen off seriously anyway (and because I check round here and Mike’s blog almost every day) but seriously.. I can’t believe what I’m watching.

    Actually maybe I can, I saw the Ke$ha intro, and the live action Katy Perry outro, but they were merely brief (actual time wise) segments that I had to endure.

    So far, I am at the 12 minute mark of this steaming pile of shit,

    Gaga’s train made an inexplicable stop at an airport when just before they seemed to be outside Springfield, Wiggum sounds identical so Moe, Homer span Lisa round like Captain Wacky because he is Captain Wacky, Gaga does this cringe inducing singing vision shit, and virtually every joke has fallen flat.

    I mean seriously, what the fuck is going on? As in, I know that this show is terrible nowadays, but I honestly am confused as to what this is. Maybe my senility is creeping in at 31.

    Fuck you Zombie Simpsons and die.

  6. 10 Snaked
    21 May 2012 at 10:18 pm

    I’m looking forward to a guest appearance by Kim Kardashian eventually cause nothing beats an Armenian girl who got famous by video taping herself gettin’ some from a Black man! (sarcastic)

  7. 13 FireFlower
    21 May 2012 at 10:27 pm

    Here’s an idea: how about Nicki Minaj aka Black Lady Gaga being on the show next season?

    • 22 May 2012 at 12:26 am

      the only problem (and this would go with kim kardashian also) would be that her ass would take up every frame, so there’d be no room for plot or characters or jokes, just one big ass for 22 minutes.

      actually, that doesn’t sound so bad…

  8. 15 mmmfreegoo
    21 May 2012 at 10:30 pm

    its over, its finally over. 22 minutes I’ll never get back.

  9. 16 Stan
    21 May 2012 at 10:49 pm

    I’ll try (in vain?) to explain why to me this is the best episode so far:

    1) They at least tried to do something or go somewhere with their guest star. Set aside the fact that it’s a pop star with cultural bindings far off from whatever the show used to stand for, they did more than just cram her in like Kesha and Perry to have a couple lines about her butt.

    2) The number of attempts at jokes was short of actually amusing. Once again, maybe it’s because we’re talking Gaga, but besides her kissing Marge, her conversing with Flanders and Homer flipping Lisa (with her skirt not falling down for some reason), there was not a single jerkass sequence or the one they screwed up for going on too long. So in terms of structure, for once they didn’t try to kill time the utter way they usually do.

    3) There was some kind of a sequenced storytelling, for once not feeling like it’s mid-episode by the end and then wrapping up out of a sudden with something completely stupid. When Gaga was at the concern, you just knew she’d end up with Lisa, and when this happened, you just knew Gaga would mess up Lisa’s mind. Of course it’s not meant to be watched unless you’re drunk or bored (or both) and nothing else’s on, but seeing how a zombie tried to pry his cage open can sometimes be funny.

    After all, what do you keep expecting? Let this shit play on and once it hits below 2 million viewers FOX will cancel it. Just wait and see.

    • 22 May 2012 at 12:25 am

      Heheh, this reminds me of why I defend BATMAN AND ROBIN (in fact, I think it’s better than BATMAN BEGINS, though it’s not better than THE DARK KNIGHT). You can tell they tried really really hard to do the right thing with this shit, and it ALMOST reaches so-bad-it’s-good… what a season finale!

      • 18 Stan
        22 May 2012 at 2:31 am

        Argh, don’t get me started on Clooney as Batman. It came the same year Austin Powers did, so I often feel they interchanged roles or something lol

    • 19 Huh? What?
      22 May 2012 at 1:03 pm

      “(with her skirt not falling down for some reason)”

      Are you saying you WANTED to see it fall down? You sick fucking weirdo.

  10. 22 May 2012 at 12:20 am

    While it’s hilarious the ratings keep going down, and that they didn’t improve much at all despite all the hype, aren’t there more and more people every year who just watch the episodes online, downloading or streaming them or whatever? I haven’t done any research, but I’m sure almost all television ratings for long running shows go down pretty consistently… yeah, it’s hard to believe, but there are people who are JUST NOW discovering torrents and whatnot. Honestly though, if computers didn’t exist and the only way to see the show would be to watch it via initial airing on FOX, I doubt they’d be much higher. I wonder what random syndication numbers look like?

    Also, I’m not really an expert on pop stars from the past 5 years, but wasn’t Katy Perry the one with the flamethrowing/fireworks/whatever bra and NOT Lady Gaga, as depicted in this episode? Or do they both have, uh, metal fire bras, for some stupid reason?

    Anyway, thank god this season’s over. Worst. Seaso… ah, you know.

    • 21 Dan S.
      22 May 2012 at 2:12 am

      The ratings aren’t great but it seems they are right in line with the rest of animation domination, and not too far off the rest of the network shows for the night.

    • 22 Stan
      22 May 2012 at 2:29 am

      Network execs are stupid because what they do is to count all those who tuned in, at 8 PM on Sunday, at exact same time number of people who actually sat through the whole episode and didn’t change the channel, unless on commercials. These are prime-time ratings. I have to say I strongly agree with Charlie’s mention of the fact that those teevee cueballs don’t get yet the cultural importance the internet now exercises over other medias, and especially the whole torrent ripping thing. They just don’t dig it. Facts that Homerstar Runner, or Salad Fingers, or whatever gets more comments per year than they get viewership per season is, according to them, due to the fact that whatever gets viewed more is actually better material. They are that stupid, yes.

      They do, however, acknowledge the existence of internet as a promo media, for all those little vids they think they would turn viral because people watch TV, not vice versa. And it works because whoever can cram them in their Facebook or Twitter profiles and generate viewership, but not “lulz”. So as soon as the opportunity shows up, those folks prefer having a show’s characters use internet and mobile apps not out of regularity, but rather simply because they look “hipper” that way. Moderniiiiize, man!

  11. 23 forbidden_donut
    22 May 2012 at 2:22 am

    Skinner actually outing Lisa as the most unpopular student in front of the entire student body has to be one of the most hacky contrivances yet. Why would a principal do that? How does that make any sense to the character?

    I recently watched the 14th season episode Bart vs Lisa vs the 3rd Grade, and in that episode, Skinner does out Bart in front of the other students for failing a grade, but only because he’s pissed at Bart for embarrassing Lisa in front of everyone; before, he was planning to tell Bart in private. And in this episode, he’s the one humiliating Lisa. It’s like, even by the standards of early Zombie Simpsons, the show is getting more and more half-assed.

  12. 24 Guy Incognito
    22 May 2012 at 2:41 am

    I’d rather see a full series of Worker and Parasite than watch the crap the writers are currently pulling out there asses.

  13. 29 Jule Gres
    22 May 2012 at 8:22 am

    Honestly, the worst thing about this episode wasn’t Lady Gaga (not a fan of hers by the way). She seemed to have fun with herself at least. The biggest problem was Lisa, and the entire plot revolving around Lisa. Not only was the premise stupid, everyone acted completely out of character. The Lisa of old Simpsons wouldn’t fake praise for herself, or care so much about message boards. Homer and Marge would not be such knowingly neglectful parents. Layers upon layers of contrived stupidity everywhere. Also, there were at least four blatant Apple product placements.

    • 30 Stan
      22 May 2012 at 11:34 am

      Compare that to Lisa in “Bart of Darkness”, wanting to be popular among the kids and actually accepting popularity. First of all, it’s not in the school context because that does not help. Second, she goes popular only because Bart is off the hook, not because of some award of some sort given to her all of a sudden (I’d compare that with the time she got an F in gym, but did anyone around her really care?). And most of all, third, the conflict does not get resolved by some advice on Gaga’s side, or something happening so that the others change their attitude, no. It concludes with Lisa freaking out at Gaga, who didn’t do much but to try to help in her own way, and then suddenly becoming less self-centered than before. Has Lisa ever even been a self-centered character? Where did that shit seriously come from?I guess the only morale there is that you have to be yourself, but I did not see a single person in the show even mildly acting like someone else for the sake of plot establishment (other than some characters going zombie on each other, of course).

  14. 31 Guy Incognito
    22 May 2012 at 10:41 am

    Strange how after watching this shit all I’m wondering is why is Comic Book Guy wipeing his tear with issue 1 of Action Comics? I thought he’d be the kind of person who would keep it wrapped up in mint condition. Also the scene where Moe gets hit by a train is the most depressing thing they’ve ever done. He’s gone from an often annoyed barkeep to a pittyful, suicidal one joke jab piece of ectoplasm. Is it even supposed to be funny? I didn’t think this show could get worse from Season 11 – 13 but it just keeps getting worse and worse. I don’t even feel like I’m watching Zombie Simpsons anymore, I feel as though I’m staring into the lifeless corspe of everything The Simpsons would have never been in it’s golden era.

    • 32 akumatafur
      22 May 2012 at 1:51 pm

      “…. all I’m wondering is why is Comic Book Guy wipeing his tear with issue 1 of Action Comics? I thought he’d be the kind of person who would keep it wrapped up in mint condition.”

      The writters must have spent up the whole night writting that joke.

      “I don’t even feel like I’m watching Zombie Simpsons anymore”

      I NEVER watched ZS, but started a while ago after discovering this blog. Blame´s on you, Charlie!

      • 33 Guy Incognito
        22 May 2012 at 2:23 pm

        I give it at least one chance every 2 seasons or so. I also really doubt they spent any time on any jokes.

  15. 34 Anonymous
    22 May 2012 at 12:23 pm

    What’s a zombie of a zombie called? I think the show has reached that point. We’re now getting to the point where people are looking back on season 13 episodes like Bart vs. Lisa vs. the 3rd Grade wistfully.

    I’m quite glad the show didn’t see a bump in ratings simply for a stupid celebrity appearance. They tried to artificially jack up the ratings by including Lady Gaga, and they failed miserably. The lesson; never try.

  16. 35 akumatafur
    22 May 2012 at 2:00 pm

    Next Stop: SPRINGFIELD
    “The little town who can´t and won´t”
    (Sad Blinky)
    Ok, that sign got me. Can´t beat “FLIM SPRINGFIELD”, but it got a smirk from me.
    F***k the Gaga Express, though.

  17. 37 Senior Ding Dong
    24 May 2012 at 8:44 am

    Was anyone else as amused/annoyed at the #gagakissesmarge that popped up on the screen at the exact second that it happened? Right, like it was such a fresh and shocking event that everyone had to run to their phones to tweet about it. All it made me do was want to tweet #patheticsimpsonsbegsforrelevance.

    • 38 Patrick
      24 May 2012 at 10:17 am

      according to crazy noises it was added by the fux network as some people on the discussion were confused by it

  18. 39 Anonymous
    25 May 2012 at 5:36 am

    The old Simpsons would berate Lady Gaga for being the vacuous piece of cultural trash that she is. Zombie simpsons givers her a 22 minute advertisement

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