Behind Us Forever: Walking Big & Tall

Trash of the Titans8

“Well, this man doesn’t crawl, he stands tall!  That rhymes, Marge, and you know it rhymes.  Admit it!” – Homer Simpson

Another week, another structurally messy, weirdly lifeless, exposition heavy, joke lite episode of Zombie Simpsons.  They open with a flashback to “30 years ago” when Hans Moleman was mayor and all the current adults were kids.  They sing a crappy song, have a montage, sing it some more, then Bart and Lisa are commissioned to write a new song.  After all that, Marge sends Homer to a support group for people to lose weight, but he ends up at a support group for people who don’t want to lose weight.  Wacky hijinks ensue, each one more fully explained to the audience than the last.  It ends with a montage of Homer gaining and losing weight.  If you haven’t watched it, you’re not alone.

– The couch gag was, uh, kinda weird.

– So the gag here in the past is that everyone had more hair?

– Also, this song is really bad.

– And now we’re in multi-city song montage because this was supposed to be funny.

– Got to our pointless, nonsensical self-voice celebrity early this week.  And they were nice enough to introduce him in their usually lazy manner: he appears from nowhere, then someone shouts his name to let us all know who he is.  This time it was Otto, “Pharell Williams!”.  Thanks, Otto.

– And he’s gone, riding backwards out of town on a horse.  Well, at least that didn’t take too long.

– The weird reminiscence about “Stark Raving Dad” was kinda strange.

– Montage!

– But this montage got interrupted by Homer asking Bart what he was doing and Bart replying that he was writing a song.  Well done, Zombie Simpsons, usually you don’t have explicit exposition in the middle of a dialogue free montage.

– And they ended it with more needless explaining: “We did it, we wrote an awesome song!”

– The new song is also bad, and they had Bart and Lisa’s instruments disappear for no reason.

– So the song ends, and everyone stands up and claps.  Homer is stuck in his seat, tries to get out, and can’t.  Just in case, though, Exposition Marge says “Homer, it’s a standing ovation, get up.”  They really can’t help themselves.

– And now Homer is flinging a bench of seats around and tossing people across the room.  Also, there is screaming and exposition as Homer yells, “Stop fearing me!”.

– It just keeps going!  Homer: “Can’t you say something to help me feel better?”/Marge: “I’m sorry, but I can’t.”

– Marge just pulled a pamphlet from her hair.

– Homer is asking Comic Book Guy about the fat pride group.  Nice of them to explain things before we see them.  Otherwise we might be confused.

– “Now repeat after me”, there’s a phrase this episode could’ve done without.

– Guh, “I’ve always wanted to blindly follow somebody, and I think you just might be the guy”.

– Homer just got home and explained what we just heard him say.  Now they’re expositing the exposition.  If the universe collapses in on itself today, this may be why.

– Homer and Marge are “arguing” in the living room by restating what happened and telling us how they feel.

– Homer is listing fat insults at Moe’s.  It goes on for a quite some time, and while there are a couple that are okay, it’s mostly the kind of list that a show that hasn’t been phoning things in for over a decade would prune a bit, you know?  Here it’s just filler.

– Chief Wiggum is getting arrested and tased by Lou for some reason.

– Marge just bailed Homer out and restated the plot again.  It’d been almost a minute since that happened, so it was getting hard to remember.

– After the commercial break, Bart and Lisa asked Marge what’s wrong, and she recounted what we just saw.

– And then Bart replies that he and Lisa have learned that they can solve any problem through song.  They know that the script notes aren’t supposed to be recorded as dialogue, right?

– Bart and Lisa wrote a song again, so Marge introduced it by telling us about what we were about to see.

– And that got dropped like a rock, so Marge and Homer are now rehashing the story for the eleventh time or so.

– Homer’s giving a eulogy.  Sadly, it’s not for the series.

– And we end on Homer and Marge walking home and, you guessed it, talking about what just happened again.  Then there’s a montage of Homer’s body changing a bunch of times before we get to the future where Bart is Robocop.  No, I am not making that up.

Anyway, the numbers are in, and they are smoking crater level bad.  Last night, just 2.85 million people wondered whether Zombie Simpsons was trying to affirm or mock fat people.  That is the lowest number at 8:00pm ever, and second lowest all time behind only last year’s “Diggs”, which was broadcast at 7:30 and had 2.65 million viewers.

Granted, the Grammys were apparently on last night (I was kinda surprised they still bother to broadcast those), but that is a seriously bad number.  Just how bad is it?  Well, 60 Minutes, which exists primarily to frighten old people, did better among 18-49 year-olds than Zombie Simpsons.  That’s about as bad as it gets.

37 Responses to “Behind Us Forever: Walking Big & Tall”

  1. 1 FireFlower
    9 February 2015 at 1:19 pm

    I did not watch it. I am glad to see that many many others did not bother with it as well.

    They need three more seasons to beat Gunsmoke’s epsiode count…but with ratings that bad maybe they will end after after next season….but I doubt it.

  2. 3 A wizard did it
    9 February 2015 at 2:07 pm

    “Then there’s a montage of Homer’s body changing a bunch of times before we get to the future where Bart is Robocop.  No, I am not making that up.”

    Next episode on Season 54 of “The Sampsons”, Hamer gets a work at Springfield’s Nuclear Power Plant, Bort is the new Robocop, Lise comes back to 1989 and interferes with the events that led the family to adopt Santa’s Little Helper, Maggie is promoted to second grade and Marge marries Abe Simpson. Meanwhile, Burns has an identity crisis and becomes a writer of a sitcom.

  3. 6 Joe H
    9 February 2015 at 2:58 pm

    The obvious comparison here is King Size Homer. Not so much Homer getting fatter, but they’re certainly retreading the same themes of being content with one’s own body image. Except of course with none of the satire or with of the earlier episode.

    As for the songs, both were rather bad. Thought they’d put at least a little effort into the new song, but it’s obvious they just phoned it in with little more than classic references.

    Speaking of references, kinda sad that it also leeches off of a direct reference to Stark Raving Dad, which had a song infinitely more memorable.

    • 7 Victor Dang
      9 February 2015 at 4:01 pm

      Not quite… that episode was more about Homer abusing the disability system for his own gains, and then seeing how much detriment it had on his relationship with Marge. Still plenty of fat jokes to go around (and how! Classic cruel Simpsons, just the way I like it)

      And I’d like to imagine that the songs were bad intentionally, but we all know it’s the other way around.

  4. 8 Stan
    9 February 2015 at 3:31 pm

    What surprises me is that they had Pharell Williams last night, and still practically nobody gave a fuck or two. Last year they had Dan Radcliffe and it was the same thing. C’mon, this is popular among mid-2000s teenagers, Harry Potter, latino trap music and shit gospel. Acapellas and whatnot. It really surprises me that they still don’t care, because I’m seeing so many fat chicks bouncing around in the bus to that shit nowadays…

    • 9 Sarah J
      10 February 2015 at 12:20 am

      Eh, a guest star has to be a pretty big one to actually attract viewers. ZS has a guest star every episode, and rarely does anything interesting with them, so the novelty is lost on viewers. Lady Gaga might’ve brought viewers with her appearance, but she was a much bigger star at the time and she was actually prominently featured in the episode, so entertainment sites actually had something to write about. By ZS standards, that episode wasn’t too bad, but that isn’t saying much. (by normal TV standards, it still sucked and had a lot of problems) Kind of best of the worst type of thing. And really, the ONLY reason I say that is because it’s one of the few ZS episodes to actually use its guest stars. She plays a major role in the story, unlike most ZS guest stars who just pop in, introduce themselves, say a few lines and leave.

  5. 10 Victor Dang
    9 February 2015 at 3:55 pm

    Welp, I was right, they screwed this up once again! I was thinking of criticizing the Hans Moleman thing in the beginning, but what’s the point? It’s like criticizing a pile of melted ice cream for not being solid. Criticize all you want, but it ain’t turnin’ back.

    Also, didn’t they already do some kind of “fat pride” thing in the early-10s of Seasons or so? http://i.imgur.com/tLkNghE.png Even back then it already sounded wretched. Looks like they’ve run out of good ideas to recycle and are starting to reuse the bad ones! Yikes!

    Anyways, this episode already sounds like an unstructural mess from your description, so can’t wait to see how you C&C this, Charlie.

  6. 9 February 2015 at 7:33 pm

    Not commenting on the episode itself (didn’t watch it, probably wasn’t too good based on the BHF here), but those ratings… whoa. You know, I was thinking that the “gimmick” episodes earlier this season would be enough to protect Season 26 from the top of the “lowest-rated season” list… not so sure about that now.

    At this point, I’ll be amazed if ZS makes it past season 27.

    • 12 Disenchanted Viewer
      9 February 2015 at 9:25 pm

      I wish you were right, but every winter football revitalizes ratings. Next winter episodes after big matches will rate >3.0 in the demo again.
      Season ratings are going definitely down, but slowly and they sell episodes overseas to almost all the countries in the world, and then the merchandising…
      I’m convinced that only the death of a key person on the show could stop it.

      • 13 Sarah J
        10 February 2015 at 1:22 am

        At this point, I don’t even think death will stop the show. If a key voice actor died and got replaced, the only people who would care enough to stop watching are hardcore fans, who have stopped long ago anyway.

        If the show does get cancelled any time soon, I would imagine that the network would start looking into sequel series, reboots, or spinoffs, as a way to continue the franchise and merchandise.

        • 14 torbiecat
          10 February 2015 at 8:56 pm

          I’m starting to feel much of the same way, and I’m wondering if the people who state that Fox is essentially trying to make “The Simpsons” into a property similar to Looney Tunes are onto something. If they’re correct, we can only hope that if any future animation comes from this, hopefully what is produced is good.

          • 15 Sarah J
            12 February 2015 at 12:10 am

            It could be the only way to keep the franchise alive if it doesn’t remain popular overseas. Even if the show had good writers, the premise doesn’t allow for getting too crazy with stories (though ZS is slowly slipping into this, possibly due to Family Guy influence) so it was bound to get repetitive. And if it’s done right (not that I trust the network to do it right, but The Simpsons has had so much influence that I bet the project could attract great writers) it could revitalize the franchise. At the very least, it’s a better idea than running the show into the ground.

            Personally I always thought that a spinoff based on the school and its staff could be pretty funny. Granted, I had that idea before the death of Marcia Wallace, and the show really wouldn’t be as funny without Edna.

            • 16 torbiecat
              14 February 2015 at 5:09 pm

              Yeah, Mrs. Krabappel really added a lot of personality to Springfield Elementary. My mom, who was a grade school teacher for thirty-one years, really liked her a lot, too.

  7. 17 Disenchanted Viewer
    10 February 2015 at 12:25 am

    I was struck by the ‘Stark Raving Dad’ reference.
    It’s completely wrong. The “mental patient who thought he was Michael Jackson” wasn’t a mental patient: he was at the mental hospital voluntarily, he could get in and out at his will. And he didn’t think he was Michael Jackson: he said his name was Leon Kompowski. He was using that voice because it was helping him and other people. And he was friendly and helping with Homer, so it made complete sense that Homer hosted him for the night. It wasn’t because of “simpler time”.
    This is not the first time the writers attack an old episode IIRC, and in this case it doesn’t make any sense. At least Al Jean should know the episodes he wrote. This tells us much about his contribution in the old days.
    My impression is that the writers realize how crappy is the stuff they are producing and criticizing old episodes they try to make people think there’s not that much difference between this crap and the classic stuff. I think it’s pathetic.

    • 18 Stan
      10 February 2015 at 2:10 am

      Jean doesn’t care.
      Btw I thought Kompowski was just a guy helping other cuckoos there, so that they were dressing him like one by simple caution. And Michael Jackson is an eternity beyond Pharrell Williams.

    • 19 Joe H
      10 February 2015 at 7:48 pm

      That did bug me. The Jackson character wasn’t “crazy” by any stretch and was nothing but a positive influence.

      Homer calling it a “simpler time” is most ironic because current ZS is far more simple-minded on the same subject matter (ie “Diggs”)

      • 20 torbiecat
        10 February 2015 at 8:59 pm

        While I wouldn’t say that “The Simpsons” depiction of mental illness and related issues was sterling, Zombie Simpsons’ take on the matter is rather appalling and short-sighted (much like so much else that they depict).

  8. 21 Brad M
    10 February 2015 at 6:23 pm

    How many continuity errors did they manage to squeeze into that “30 years ago” flashback scene? I noticed they showed Ned Flanders as a young child, even though another episode established his current age as 60.

    • 10 February 2015 at 7:12 pm

      That whole thing about being in his ’50s and having lifestyle-related youthfulness was most likely a throwaway joke, at least according to the show’s current writers, or an early ZS joke itself. In either case it’s probably in the same vein as Hans Moleman being 30 years old due to alcoholism.

      • 23 Stan
        10 February 2015 at 8:45 pm

        30 years yoooooung.

      • 24 torbiecat
        10 February 2015 at 9:32 pm

        Hadn’t there been other instances aside from this episode since “Viva Ned Flanders” that spat in its face regarding Flanders being in his sixties? Frankly, I find the idea that Ned is a couple decades older than Homer to be a bit stupid myself.

    • 25 Laura Powers
      12 February 2015 at 12:51 pm

      I noticed young Manjula in the crowd too. yikes.

    • 16 February 2015 at 7:31 pm

      I noticed Apu’s mom (I think) was in Springfield 30 years ago. As time passes she’s replaced with Manjula. Maybe it wasn’t supposed to be Apu’s mom, but some random Hindu lady that got reincarnated as Manjula?

  9. 27 Patty Cash
    11 February 2015 at 2:28 am

    [QUOTE]Just how bad is it? Well, 60 Minutes, which exists primarily to frighten old people, did better among 18-49 year-olds than Zombie Simpsons. That’s about as bad as it gets.[/QUOTE]

    Well, it’s about to get worse. Next week, it’s going against the Oscars and Saturday Night Live’s 40th Anniversary Special (two other TV shows/specials that have been institutions and have their share of problems in quality). It’ll be lucky if it cracks 2.50.

  10. 12 February 2015 at 8:45 am

    Pretty great post. I simply stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to mention that I have truly enjoyed browsing your blog
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  11. 16 February 2015 at 7:37 pm

    The identical song being used for multiple cities plot is based on a real thing. I heard a story about it on NPR a while ago. (I think the show was Radio Lab, but I’m not sure)

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