Crazy Noises: The Mansion Family

The Mansion Family1

“You won a Grammy.” – Lisa Simpson
“I mean an award that’s worth winning.” – Homer Simpson
“LEGAL DISCLAIMER:  Mr. Simpson’s opinions do not reflect those of the producers, who don’t consider the Grammy an award at all.” – Subtitle Crawl

For the fourth summer in a row, we here at the Dead Homer Society will be spending some time discussing twelve year old Simpsons episodes.  This year we’re doing Season 11.  Why Season 11?  Because we’ve done Seasons 8, 9 and 10 already, and it’s time to take an unflinching look at the end of the show.  Since Skype and podcasts didn’t exist in 1999, and we want to discuss these episodes the way the internet intended, we’re sticking with the UTF-8 world of chat rooms and instant messaging.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (sadly enough, not on “drowning”).

Today’s episode is 1112, “The Mansion Family”.  Yesterday was 1111, “Faith Off”.

[Note: Dave couldn’t make it this week, Mad Jon and I are jealous he didn’t have to watch these.]

Charlie Sweatpants: This episode is just wretched beyond belief.

Mad Jon: This is pretty bad. I liked a few lines but other than that, I got nothing positive to say.

Charlie Sweatpants: It features pretty much everything I hate about Zombie Simpsons, and that was before I remembered that they had Britney Spears(!) on when she was at the peak of her peak.

  Trendy, self voiced celebrities are just awful in general, and this one they didn’t even write any jokes for her, just normal dialogue.

Mad Jon: There were lots of Zombie issues here. Most notably for me were the constant, CONSTANT Jerkass Homer things (I made a big list actually), and the fact that there were only 5 or 6 characters used in the entire episode.

Charlie Sweatpants: That must be a long list.

Mad Jon: If it were a quotation, I would have to use block quotes:

Drags statue out of award show, Saws his workstation in half for no reason, gets ripped up in the auto dresser, puts his ass through a painting while pretending to be a billionaire, drives the lawn mower through the house, idiot at dinner, swirls the liquor on the ground, swirls more on Lisa and everything else then passes out drunk, makes long distance call to Thailand, throws blowout party because he is leaving tomorrow, steals Burns’ boat, gets into stupid fight with pirates and their parrots, also argues with Coast Guard, and is at peace with his friends drowning, sobs because he is no billionaire, faces no repercussions for losing a multi-million dollar yacht

Also, I think this episode uses Lenny’s name more than any other episode ever.

Charlie Sweatpants: There is Marge being worried about Lenny at the beginning of "Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder".

But the Jerkass Homer quotient here is tediously high. It’s also one of my least favorite kinds because Marge and Lisa get dragged along to basically alternate between not stopping him and not caring.

The low comes when Burns decides to let Homer be the house sitter. Not only is it dumb, weak, nice Burns (which always sucks), but the stupidity of it all makes them basically admit that even they think Burns remembers Homer’s antics now.

Mad Jon: Oh, I refer to that scene as the softball moment.

Charlie Sweatpants: The day when you have to stop playing baseball and start playing softball?

Mad Jon: No, it is because Burns lobs the scene over the plate so Homer can spend the rest of the episode being Zombie Homer.

Charlie Sweatpants: Ah. He does that.

Mad Jon: It makes sense in my head, although not so much when I read what I’ve typed.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, Homer spends the rest of the episode bouncing around Burns’ house and boat, so I’d say it’s fair to say that Burns gave him a nice fat one here.

It doesn’t make sense, and half the episode is just Homer being a dick in various wealthy locations, but if you like seeing Homer scream and wail, then you’ve just seen a towering home run.

Mad Jon: It was very much bipolar Zombie Homer

And most everyone else spends the rest of the episode not being themselves.

Charlie Sweatpants: Pretty much.

  Marge and Lisa, in particular, seem to alternately look the other way and then yell at Homer for trashing Burns Manor.

They don’t make any sense as characters here. They just sort of orbit Homer. Though I suppose that’s true of everyone.

Mad Jon: Especially Lenny, Carl, Moe, Grandpa, Krusty, and the others that DROWNED in the net at the end.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, the drowning thing has always been a lowlight. Like, we know this isn’t serious, but what the fuck?

Mad Jon: A tad too nuts for me.

Charlie Sweatpants: Indeed. Like "Faith Off", the ending skips and jumps so many times that I’m not even sure what I’m watching by the end.

  I mean, Marge tells us that Burns will be home tomorrow, and in the scene after that, he has his first exam with the doctor. That is remarkably shitty editing.

Mad Jon: The scene continuity was indeed lacking.

I did enjoy the scene at the doctors with the Pope and Castro.

Charlie Sweatpants: The Castro thing seemed to be stretching it, but it was okay.

I like the pirate captain saying that "for liability purposes" the ocean will kill them.

Mad Jon: However, the good lines were very few and far between. So that sucked.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, there are a few, but this one is mostly herky-jerky weirdness and Homer fighting pirates and a bunch of other stuff.

  Like Homer wailing over the end credits, which would’ve been funny if it hadn’t gone all the way to the damned Gracie logo.

  That shit got old fast.

Mad Jon: Yep. I wasn’t a huge fan of the wailing over the credits. Mainly because of how it got there.

Homer is depressed, even though he just cost his boss more money than he will ever make in his career and still faces no consequences. Then he starts crying about not being a billionaire, and then it is over.

Charlie Sweatpants: It’s Jerkass Homer.

Mad Jon: Oh, I know.

Charlie Sweatpants: He isn’t funny and is an asshole.

Mad Jon: I know that too.

Charlie Sweatpants: Anything else here?

Mad Jon: Nothing worth pointing out.

It is all crap, and I don’t like to pick through crap in that much detail.

Charlie Sweatpants: Even if it’s sloppy as hell getting there, Homer describing the MLB retransmit ship ("or so the legend goes") is kinda amusing.

Mad Jon: I was already broken by that point.

Charlie Sweatpants: Not worth picking through the crap, of course, but still gets a little smile.

Okay, I say let’s retreat to hidden blogger island and never speak of this again.

Mad Jon: Can we gamble there?

Charlie Sweatpants: Sure.

Mad Jon: Ok then. But I get to be the one with more parrots on his shoulder.

Charlie Sweatpants: Fine. You deal with the bird shit.

11 Responses to “Crazy Noises: The Mansion Family”

  1. 1 ilmozart
    26 July 2012 at 1:30 pm

    The one thing this episode gave us though is Homer’s phone call to Thailand:
    Hello, Thailand? How’s everything on your end? Uh, huh. That’s some language you got there. And you talk like that 24/7, huh?

    He’s a jerk in this episode but I find that bit pretty funny.

  2. 2 D.N.
    26 July 2012 at 7:29 pm

    I know I’ve seen this episode more than once, maybe a few times, but I can barely remember anything about it. I do remember that Homer wailing over the end credits about everyone being richer than him was pretty tedious.

  3. 3 Thrillho
    26 July 2012 at 9:25 pm

    I do love that Grammy joke which I always use (along with the one from Homer’s Barbershop Quartet) when talking about the worthlessness of the awards show. Everything else about this episode: bleh.

  4. 4 Chris
    27 July 2012 at 11:19 am

    This episode is super quotable in my opinion

  5. 5 Dan S.
    27 July 2012 at 12:39 pm

    I’m curious to know how all of you felt about season 10 and 11 when they first aired. Looking at them today it is unmistakable that the quality had declined horribly, but at the time of first airing when I was in eighth grade I don’t remember talking about how bad they were or even noticing until about season 12. I chalk most of that up to being relatively young, but I wouldn’t mind reading an article about a look back to how you felt about the show as it was in its decline.

    • 6 Anonymous
      27 July 2012 at 12:45 pm

      I was born during the Tracy Ullman years and I remember 9 being significantly worse than 8… though I loved 8 at the time, which is no longer true. As you said, it was easier to see by season 12, but I don’t remember my exact feelings from season to season at the time.

    • 7 Thrillho
      27 July 2012 at 1:26 pm

      I was in third grade during 10 and fourth grade during 11, but I liked them at the time they were airing. Honestly, I don’t think I started feeling the show wasn’t as good until about Season 15. Not long after, I started watching Seasons 10-15 again and found they weren’t as good as I remembered with many instances of me asking “Really? I liked this?”

      • 8 Dan S.
        27 July 2012 at 3:19 pm

        Yea, I can remember specifically talking about “The Mansion Family” the Monday after it aired, as far as I can remember me and my friends liked it, and quoted all the lines we thought were funny. I don’t think I really developed a critical eye until much later because I also remember liking Home Improvement which looking back at some episodes on You Tube, is a horrible show. Also, Getting the DVD’s recently after not watching any episodes for years made me realize how much of the jokes in the earlier episodes I just didnt understand. I wasn’t very politically aware or well read at the ages when I was watching the Simpsons on TV. It’s interesting to look back and realize how much of the show I was a huge fan of I just didnt understand.

        • 9 Kevin
          29 July 2012 at 7:25 pm

          Home Improvement is a very good example of the family sitcoms that were so prevalent at the time, and which the Simpsons viciously mocked. That was a particularly formulaic one–every episode followed the exact same template. Tim says/does something sexist, Jill gets mad, neighbor Wilson explains why Tim was wrong via some obscure anecdote, Tim repeats the anecdote to Jill but screws it up, Jill and Tim make up.

          However I think the “Tool Time” segments hold up remarkably well. They’re a very good parody of the “fix-em-up” TV shows like This Old House, and while most people consider Tim Allen a no-talent hack, I think he is actually very good at the physical comedy. Tim’s performance, and that guy who played his assistant Al did a great job with the deadpan delivery too.

    • 10 Kevin
      29 July 2012 at 7:18 pm

      I watched it from the Tracy Ullman years, and for me it was so obvious (and heartbreaking) that the show was declining. In season 5 I started becoming aware of the fact that all shows inevitably declined, and started feeling scared because I knew there was no way they could keep up this level of quality forever. I specifically remember watching season 6’s Itchy & Scratchy Land, laughing my ass off, and thinking, “They’ve still got it!”

      Season 7, I started to feel like things had declined slightly from that peak–the good jokes were as funny as ever, but there were also slow patches where I wasn’t constantly cracking up. I don’t quite agree with the site’s opinion of “Marge Be Not Proud,” but I did think that episode, along with a few others, showed signs that the storytelling was getting a little sloppy. But it was still funny enough that it never bothered me much.

      In Seasons 8 and 9 the decline was becoming more obvious. There were still some very funny parts here and there, but where before they had been packing every episode with hilarious jokes, they were becoming less dense and more hit or miss. I felt like they were often taking the characters in directions that didn’t fit, copying ideas from other sources, and stretching out stories that were very thin. “The Principal and the Pauper” was the first time I ever felt like an episode had been bad, and this site sums up why more or less perfectly.

      Seasons 10 and 11, I was still saying that while the show was nowhere near as good as it used to be, it was still better than almost everything else on TV. But it got harder and harder to say that. By season 12 I stopped saying this at all, and gradually stopped watching the show.

      You know that part in “Behind the Laughter” where Homer says “this will be the last season”? I remember watching it and kind of hoping that this meant the show would be over.

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