Behind Us Forever: You Don’t Have to Live Like a Referee

Chalkboard - You Don't Have to Live Like a Referee

“I guess some people never change.  Or, they quickly change, and then quickly change back.” – Homer Simpson

Zombie Simpsons has enough systemic and repetitive problems that I would never try to identify one that really breaks it, but the way that none of the characters ever act like themselves is especially annoying.  Gaping plot holes, weak and joke free dialogue, lazy product parodies, characters appearing out of nowhere, these are all problems.  But when they take characters we all know and love and have them act like versions of themselves that have suffered personality altering brain injuries it really drives home just how different this show is from The Simpsons.

Just in this episode we see Skinner completely unable to run a school assembly, Marge be rude to strangers, Lisa easily fall to pieces, and Homer be athletic, overly sensitive, strangely smart, and competent.  I’m not sure who these people are supposed to be anymore.  Each and every one of them can act wildly differently depending on what specific scene they’re in, which means that almost no matter what they do it’s too random to be funny or interesting.  Security camera footage has better character consistency and development.

– Regular old, time killing Zombie Simpsons couch gag.  Feh.  Can we dig up Charles Schulz and have him do one?

– It’s not a big deal or anything, but real Skinner would never have put up with the kids shouting things from the stands while he’s talking.

– I was bored with the Lincoln-Douglas scene.  Then there was a mechanical backboard arm that looks like it should be in Futurama, and now I really just want it to end.

– Ooh, a joke about Subway Jared.  Timely.

– Watching incompetent Skinner flail about is really painful.  Not as bad as happy, incompetent Burns, but very bad.

– A Jerkass Homer montage, that’s what this episode really needed.

– So the contest wrapped itself up just as stupidly as it began with there being a tie.  I’m sure glad we spent a bunch of time on getting it set up.

– FIFA isn’t exactly hard to mock, but Zombie Simpsons managed to botch it with its usual methods of expository jokes and senseless scenes.  Well done.

– This scene in the airplane with the Marge’s tablet has it all: takes too long, joke free, and makes no sense.

– Ugh, if they’re going to repeat the joke from “Marge vs. The Monorail” where the whole town is empty and Snake robs it with Luxembourg, they could have at least made a Luxembourg-ish Snake.  Now it’s not just a direct repeat, it’s a nonsensical direct repeat.

– Homer has wandered out of a restaurant because the plot was getting bored with itself.

– The gangsters talking about just having “two very good ways” with money and guns was almost funny.

– Onto our second montage nice and quick.

– “Dad, is it hard for you to turn these bribes down?” – Thanks, exposition Bart.

– If they did these scenes where they try to be ironically detached about how cheap their plot turns are once or twice per season, that’d be one thing.  But they do this every damned week.  Bart and Homer might as well be looking directly at the camera to explain what’s going on.

– “Where are you going?”, Homer then describes exactly what he’s gonna do.

– Hey, here’s Lisa, whom we haven’t seen for the last ten minutes or so, to help wrap things up.

– And now we’re treated to a minute of them telling us exactly how they feel.

– Here’s Marge to protect Homer from the gangsters.  Where did she come from?  Did she know what was going on?  It’s best not to ask.

– And now that guy’s mother is there.  Plot conflict resolved!

– Despite all the drawn out scenes, they still came in way, way short, so we got treated to the family taking a random trip down the Amazon to see Krusty.  Yeesh.

Anyway, the ratings are in and they are just as bad this week as they’ve been since they came back with that double episode at the beginning of March.  Last night just 3.94 million viewers wished they were watching a 0-0 tie between Mexico and Portugal.  That’s almost identical to last week’s 3.93 and is good for fifth place on the all time least watched list.

This week’s historically terrible number has also pushed Season 25’s average total viewership to a mere 5.45 million viewers, which puts it just below Season 24’s 5.47 average.  I don’t feel like looking it up or anything, but my strong suspicion is that this is the earliest (just 16 episodes in) that any season has claimed that title.  Barring a miracle, Season 25 will continue the Zombie Simpson tradition of being the least watched season ever.  The only real question now is how low it will sink.  I doubt it’ll go below 5 million, but they are really hitting bottom this spring, so anything is possible.

24 Responses to “Behind Us Forever: You Don’t Have to Live Like a Referee”

  1. 1 Stan
    31 March 2014 at 6:27 pm

    At this point even going below 5 million recorded in May won’t save Season 26 from running. Unless one of the main voices has a misfortune of… you know. Why can’t there be any other way to properly end ZS is beyond me.

  2. 2 Joe H
    31 March 2014 at 7:27 pm

    The beginning of the last act had the stupidest bit of exposition where the gangsters randomly state that they know that Homer became a referee because of a school contest and they also know that Homer was Lisa’s last minute replacement.

    The only reason that line is there is to pander to those that only turned on the episode during the last act, but it makes no sense whatsoever why the gangsters would know this. Come on!

    Homer’s character is a complete 180 from the last episode while Marge practically transformed into Homer. Consistency is definitely not this show’s strong suit. Yet we still get a self-pitying, crying Nelson. Guess he didn’t die after all.

  3. 3 FireFlower
    31 March 2014 at 7:42 pm

    Blame in it on Lisa is a much better and funnier episode. It even had a logical reason for the family going to Brazil!

    • 4 Rob K.
      31 March 2014 at 9:25 pm

      Great point FF.

    • 5 Stan
      31 March 2014 at 10:36 pm

      Were it ever otherwise, I’d be surprised.

      I remember two years or so ago, when I suddenly started watching Seasons 14-15, don’t know why, I was all like “Damn, these are good!” I didn’t watch any single-digit seasons for at least 5 years (unless on occasion), and a plunge ten years prior into the show really felt like you were missing something before.

  4. 6 Jeff
    31 March 2014 at 10:23 pm

    At least Lisa remembered that she’d once owned a horse, unlike last week.

  5. 1 April 2014 at 12:16 am

    ‘You don’t have to LIVE like a referee’, ahem 😳

  6. 1 April 2014 at 1:16 am

    I though the newspaper articles were the funniest part of the episode myself, if you have the patience to pause to read them.

  7. 17 Dick Steele
    1 April 2014 at 2:17 am

    ya ever look at reviews like this and wonder if you are seeing the same episode? :

  8. 23 John Hugar
    2 April 2014 at 2:05 am

    The title was the funniest thing about this one – although I’m a pretty big Tom Petty fan, so there could be some bias there.

    Would also point out that even though How I Spent My Strummer Vacation is a ZS episode, Petty’s bit is still funnier than anything here – “See that drunk girl walkin’ down the street/she’s worried about the quality of public schools!”

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