Behind Us Forever: The Kids Are All Fight

And Maggie Makes Three15

“It all began about two years ago before Maggie was even born.  Bart, you were Lisa’s age, and Lisa, you were the age Bart was several years ago.” – Homer Simpson

As it has doddered along these last few years, Zombie Simpsons has started to turn to flash forward episodes a bit more often where Bart and Lisa are adults with kids of their own.  For “The Kids Are All Fight”, they went the other way, going backwards to some indeterminate time a few years ago when Bart was four and Lisa was two.  The story, which was even more incoherent than usual, involved little Bart and Lisa escaping the house and going on a wacky adventure that consisted of a series of disconnected scenes.

– And we are off to a poor start with Moe telling us out loud that he doesn’t know how to work his cash register.

– Homer found an old roll of film in his jacket, and then Carl appeared out of nowhere to tell Homer that he can’t get film developed anymore.

– It’s okay, now they’re developing it in the bar, which leads to the whole family being at Moe’s, where the expository dialogue flows like water.

– After a brief montage showing old pictures of Bart and Lisa fighting, we get one of those adorable in-episode retcons so Marge can scold Homer for not stepping in while he took the photos.

– As an example of why this show can’t write a decent joke anymore, I present their attempt to make fun of the Planet of The Apes movies, in its bloated entirety:

Marge:  Well, it’s quite a story, a story of a special bond between a brother and a sister.
Bart:  I’d say our story’s a tragedy, like the Planet of the Apes.  The tragedy being they can never stop making them!
Marge:  Hey, come on, the first and eighth movies were pretty darn good.

It has nothing to do with what’s going on, involves Bart speaking two sentences, one of which is an explanation of the other, and then Marge finally getting to a punchline that is itself buried in the middle of another overly long sentence.  Whether or not you think that’s funny is up to you, but that mass of words never would’ve made it past the first draft of an actual Simpsons script.

– Flashback Bart and Lisa are now clubbing each other with books while Marge looks on helplessly.

– Oops, we’re back at Moe’s in the present now, where the family describes a time they went to Kwik-E-Mart.  Mmm, tell don’t show.

– Yet another example of how messy these scripts are: after once again telling us (for about the sixth time in three minutes) that Bart and Lisa were always fighting, Marge says, “That’s why we never developed that roll.”  Not only is this line completely unnecessary (the scene ends right after it) but it contradicts the fact that we just saw Homer pull this forgotten roll from his suit.  I don’t care about inter-episode continuity, and I recognize that intra-episode continuity is too much for Zombie Simpsons, but these two things didn’t even have a commercial break in between them.

– And we’re back in the past, where Bart is in the clown bed.

– They just went to slow motion and played Also Sprach Zarathustra while Homer went in to strangle Bart.  Was that supposed to be the first time that happened?  Who knows?  They had Bart smash a lamp over Homer’s head right after.  Hey, ate some time at least, right?

– Guh, this is bad:

Marge: Homer, I just the worst dream.  I lost one of the kids at the World’s Fair.
Homer:  It’s okay, which one?
Marge: Brisbane, ’88.
Homer:  Oh, that’s so horrible, baby!
Marge:  I know.  I know.

Again, you have one punchline (and not a particularly strong one, if you ask me) buried amid line after line of setup and whatever it is you call it when your joke goes on for two more lines after your weak punchline.

– Now they’re at the expository counselor’s office.

– Hey, Grandma Flanders is back, only now she’s less senile and her voice is less scratchy.  Is stuff like this and the clown bed supposed to be fan service or is it just filler?

– Now she’s babysitting and screaming.  So . . . filler.

– And speaking of filler, Marge and Homer are apparently getting dressed for brunch (and having an expository conversation about what they’re doing, Marge even informed us when she zipped up her dress).  Keep in mind they’re showing us this after the scene where Grandma Flanders looked to have been babysitting for quite some time already.  Did they put these in the episode in the wrong order, or did nobody care?

– And now Grandma Flanders is dead.  So . . . definitely filler.

– Homer and Marge stayed home to screw, so, naturally, Homer had to recap what we just saw, “My favorite kind of weekend morning, a sexy snuggle while our rotten kids are someone else’s problem.”  Homer then cackles maniacally for 10-15 seconds.

– Now Bart is riding through traffic on a big wheeler.  Jebus, I’m bored.

– Aaaaand we’re back to hopping around in the story.  Apparently, Homer and Marge did go to brunch, and now they’ve discovered that Bart and Lisa are gone.  This is chronologically confusing and sloppy even by student film standards.

– Apparently, Gil is being hired by Wiggum now.  There is yelling.

– Bart was arguing with the bullies, but then Lisa showed up even after we saw Bart drive away in front of another car.  Oof, this is a mess, none of these scenes go together at all.

– I’m zoning out now.  Bart and Lisa are at the retirement home.

– Homer just shot a pizza.  Then there was exposition.

– More random scenes are happening.  I’m done.

– And we end on a weirdly out of place Seinfeld musical beat while Hibbert talks to the Flandereses, which is itself ended by Lisa, back in the present, saying, “You’ve had three natural endings already.”  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: they know these episodes are slapdash and pathetic, they just don’t care.

Anyway, the numbers are in and they remain at historic lows.   On Sunday, just 3.30 million viewers wished they were watching “Lisa’s First Word”.  That is up ever so slightly from last week’s 3.23, but still good for #6 on the all time least watched list.  There are three episodes to go, and barring a major surge in viewership, Season 26 is going to easily eclipse Season 25’s record as the least watched ever.

53 Responses to “Behind Us Forever: The Kids Are All Fight”

  1. 1 Vivian Wallace
    28 April 2015 at 1:47 pm

    Just how big of a viewership surge are we talking here? Unless there’s a sports telecast, the numbers are going to continue to hover at the 3 million mark. It could sink lower if the show changes time slots or if there’s news of the show not getting renewed.

    Oh, and FXX had a Sunday night marathon of Classic Simpsons (and some zombie, but it was the season 16 episode where Lisa puts a restraining order on Bart while Homer works at a cheap knock-off of Wal-Mart, which is good, if only for the Gary Busey appearance on that video on stalking and restraining orders) that centered on Bart and Lisa’s sibling rivalry. Sadly, Lisa’s First Word wasn’t included, but it is better than watching this.

  2. 28 April 2015 at 4:24 pm

    This reminded me of how bad the show is at writing its kid characters these days. 2-year-old Lisa is barely any different from 8-year-old Lisa. Compare that to “Lisa’s Sax,” where Lisa was smarter than her peers at 3 but still felt like a real 3-year-old. Also:

    “The president at the time was our current president.”

    Yes, thank you for reminding me that this show has been on long enough to have had flashback shows from three different decades now. Also, the Simpsons must have been the only family under 60 that didn’t have a digital camera in 2009.

    • 3 Tom S. Fox
      28 April 2015 at 9:27 pm

      She didn’t say “The president at the time was our current president.” but “The president of back then was the president.” It was a joke about how they couldn’t date the flashback. This is made all the more clear by the equally tautological next sentence, “The popular music of those times was all the rage.”

      And even if she had said, “The president at the time was our current president,” what would that have to do with the show spanning three decades?

      Look, I’m all for criticizing Zombie Simpsons, but don’t look like a total retard while doing so!

  3. 5 Anonymous
    28 April 2015 at 4:26 pm

    All fight and no play makes Moe a Moe Moe.

    • 6 Anonymous
      28 April 2015 at 4:37 pm

      Hiya, Homer!

      • 7 Stan
        28 April 2015 at 7:05 pm


        • 8 Monty Python Forever
          29 April 2015 at 1:28 am

          “Must kill Moe, whee!”
          “You’ll be back, and you’ll back, and you!” “Moe, of course I’ll be back: If you didn’t close, I’d never leave!”
          “You went to another bar?” “Moe, I was 50 miles away!” “O, Homer.”
          “Ice your family and I’ll give you a beer!”
          “I’ll show you who’s the sociopath!”
          “I’m more of a well-wisher, in that I don’t wish you any specific harm.”
          “You see, the secret ingredient is simple, ordinary children’s cough syrup!”
          “I’m taking your picture off of Mount Lushmore, and your favorite song out of the jukebox!” “It’s Raining Men?”
          “Oh geez, there’s always a line!”
          “I’ve got to hide the things I “borrowed” from Moe!” “Borrowed?” “All right, stole!”
          “I’m phasing out the games: People tend to drink less when they’re having fun.”
          “Please take the basket off my head, kid: The oil is burning my scalp.”
          “Nice hole, nice soul, eh? Thanks, professor!”

          • 9 Stan
            29 April 2015 at 3:52 am

            “So that’s what that noise means!”

          • 11 Bleeding Gums Murphy
            29 April 2015 at 9:29 am

            The well wisher line isn’t from El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer? Or am I wrong?

            One of the best lines in the episode, along with Marge’s “Space coyote?”

            • 12 Belle O'Donna
              29 April 2015 at 3:18 pm

              The well-wisher line was from El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer when Homer tries to find his soulmate at Moe’s.

              And my favorite line from the episode is when Bart and Lisa see Homer’s shadow reflected in the sky and Lisa thinks it’s either Homer or “Batman has let himself go.”

              And I like the DVD commentary part where they said that now that Johnny Cash is dead, the part where Homer is speaking to the Space Coyote (voiced by Cash) from Heaven is like he’s talking to Cash instead.

  4. 13 Joe H
    28 April 2015 at 5:26 pm

    This was almost painful to sit through without turning it off. Literally nothing happens until the kids run away. I didn’t even catch the sloppy continuity with what Homer & Marge were suppose to be doing, possibly due to the shock of how bland and forgettable they made Grandma Flanders.

    Also episodes like this constantly referring to Bart as an idiot continues to bug me, which clashes severely with episodes like Lisa’s First Word, where he was just a brat that did dangerous stuff for kicks and enjoyed tormenting Homer. Now he’s just Homer Jr, a “loveable” retard.

    Also, it is pretty obvious they didn’t bother to make Bart or Lisa act like 2-3 year olds. Just peewee versions of their current selves.

  5. 28 April 2015 at 6:20 pm

    This just goes to show you that you shouldn’t treat forms of entertainment like they’re religion. You’ll wind up disappointed that the essence of its ‘church’ has been lost over time.

  6. 16 Stan
    28 April 2015 at 7:07 pm

    Pardon my Russian, but here’s one tiny nitpick: when Marge said “That’s why we never developed that film”, she doesn’t mean that this IS the reason they didn’t. She’s just supporting the story of Homer forgetting to develop it as in it was too saddening to do so. Like a bad memory.
    As for the rest – right on.
    The Planet of the Apes joke felt like eavesdropping on Seth MacFartlane through a vent duct.

    • 17 Vivian Wallace
      28 April 2015 at 7:36 pm

      I thought the Simpsons writers go through MacFarlane’s trash for ideas…unless it got locked again. At the very least, they use a specialty MadLibs for screenwriters.

      (on a serious tip: Do they make MadLibs based on The Simpsons?)

      • 18 Stan
        28 April 2015 at 7:42 pm

        I imagine them substituting “anus” and “douchebag” in Seth’s script with “” and “”.

        • 19 Stan
          28 April 2015 at 8:47 pm

          Lolwut? Chevrons don’t work here?..
          I meant [10 seconds of exposition] in the first case and [20 seconds of filler] in the second.

  7. 20 ecco6t9
    28 April 2015 at 7:40 pm

    I guess the one chuckable joke was Kirk being distracted by the cartoons as well.

  8. 28 April 2015 at 8:05 pm

    If you round it out it’s only 3 Million viewers and boy, is the Simpsons canon ever messed up as Grandma Flanders was still alive when Bart and Lisa were at their normal ages, now their younger and she’s dead?

    Great recap btw.

    • 22 Stan
      28 April 2015 at 8:23 pm

      You’re mistaken. GF only appeared in a flashback in “Lisa’s First Word”, where she didn’t die while Marge was giving birth to Lisa. So in this case, it’s logical that she would still be alive two years later (although much less senile for some reason).
      But that, of course, doesn’t excuse ZS for being ZS the slightest.

    • 24 Brad M
      28 April 2015 at 8:24 pm

      When was she ever shown as being alive in the present?

  9. 25 Brad M
    28 April 2015 at 8:29 pm

    One of the dumbest things about this episode, apart from the kids not acting their ages, was how it ended with the kids being catapulted all the way from the tire fire to the Simpson house, completely unharmed. I can’t think of any true Simpsons episode that used “cartoon physics” so flagrantly.

  10. 26 Stan
    28 April 2015 at 10:50 pm

    Apparently, in ZS, every old person dies silently, like Krusty’s dad and Grandma Flanders. What a whiff!

  11. 33 A.J.Smith
    29 April 2015 at 5:01 am

    Hmm. The Simpsons are now doing flashbacks to a time when Dead Homer Society already existed.

  12. 29 April 2015 at 6:19 am

    “they know these episodes are slapdash and pathetic, they just don’t care.”

    That’s why the “if we point out our flaws, we don’t need to fix them” comments on this parody Simpsons Movie “leaked” script ring so true.

    • 35 torbiecat
      29 April 2015 at 9:58 am

      What’s this about a parody script? I don’t think I’ve seen it before.

      • 36 Belle O'Donna
        29 April 2015 at 1:52 pm

        Look up “SomethingAwful.com + leaked Simpsons movie script”.

        • 37 torbiecat
          29 April 2015 at 3:05 pm

          Ah, thanks! (I used to visit Something Awful quite a bit, but I hadn’t done that much as of late.)

          • 38 Belle O'Donna
            29 April 2015 at 3:13 pm

            Same here, but that’s because, much like The Simpsons, it was funny for a while, then became really tired and lame — plus I found funnier alternatives.

            • 39 Cute... but evil
              29 April 2015 at 11:51 pm

              Would you mind sharing those funnier alternatives with us?

              I used to like Something Awful back in the day too, but I haven’t been there in ages.

              • 40 Vivian Wallace
                30 April 2015 at 8:27 am

                Off the top of my head, I know McSweeney’s Internet Tendency is good for some laughs. Kinda dry, but if you like the older Simpsons humor (and, if you don’t, what’s wrong with you?), then this is perfect.

  13. 41 kj
    29 April 2015 at 10:16 am

    Sounds dreadful!
    I caught an episode of (new-ish) ZS last night on Sky 1, not only does the style of animation resemble Family Guy, but it kept focusing back on the building they were in (some kids funzone), similar to what FG does with the Drunken Clam. How long have they been zombie clones? I haven’t gotten this far before as all we had was Channel 4.

    • 42 Belle O'Donna
      29 April 2015 at 1:34 pm

      “How long have they been zombie clones?” If you mean in writing quality, then the general consensus is season 11 (though some do cite season 10 or earlier [as early as seasons 8 or 9]).

      If you mean animation-wise (and I think you do), then it was full-time starting in season 14, when they switched from 2D traditional to digital ink and paint (and the high-def episodes came on after the movie — somewhere between seasons 19 and 21).

      • 43 Bleeding Gums Murphy
        29 April 2015 at 7:18 pm

        Despite Season 8 having a few unwatchable episodes (and “The Principal and the Pauper” being from the Season 8 production run), I would put the full beginning of the Zombie era at Season 9.

        The HD era started with Season 20’s production run. So… somewhere at the middle of Season 20, because the leftover episodes from Season 19 were in standard definition. Which is kinda sad they didn’t even bother trying to fix the problem with the big amount of leftovers they have at the beginning of each new season.

        • 44 Belle O'Donna
          29 April 2015 at 7:46 pm

          So I am right when I say that The Simpsons’ best years were between seasons 3 to 8 (seasons one and two do have some great moments and episodes, but I don’t care much for them because everything seemed like a rough draft version of itself. For comparison, “Futurama” was only a rough draft version of itself for the first nine episodes [up until “Hell Is Other Robots”]).

          • 45 Bleeding Gums Murphy
            30 April 2015 at 12:24 pm

            Season 2 was a great season. It may not have the biggest laughs per jokes ratio, but every episode is awesome and well written and full of memorable scenes. The only issue I have is with “Two Cars on Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish”, because at nearly the end of the episode Marge somehow magically found the three eyed fish (Blinky was supposed to be in Mr. Burns’ hands, remember his appearance on TV with the actor portraying Charles Darwin), but that’s it. It’s true that Season 3 happened to be an even better season, but calling Season 2 a “rough draft” is a little harsh.

            I know I’m repeating myself, because I have a recent conversation here with regular DHS user torbiecat about this topic, but I would rather prefer watching a Season 2 episode (with its crude animation, poorly preserver master tapes and slightly different voices) rather than a Season 7 episode. And Season 7 is still part of the classic era for any Simpsons fan, and it is, for the most part clean of zombie issues (“Marge Be Not Proud” is the biggest exception, with “The Day the Violence Died” and “Team Homer” being on a far distant second/third place), even although nearly every episode slightly disappoints me in one way or another.

            And Season 8 is, you know, mediocre for the most part, so I wouldn’t put it on the “best years” category.

            • 46 Stan
              30 April 2015 at 4:02 pm

              Wait… who says it was Binky? We saw Binky alive and well in many later cameos. Marge could’ve just fished out another mutated fish and cooked it. Huh? HUH?!
              Zombie seasons have had decent episodes pop up until pretty much 2010, when they just started releasing plain shit into air and not give fucks about it. If you take the time around season 14-15, some episodes could still entertain of a Sunday night. Sure, it was a one time thing, but their Futurama episode wasn’t that bad for instance (especially compared to the awful last year’s crossover I had to smoke weed beforehand). Even if you go as late as season 19, you can’t say “Eternal Moonshine of The Simpson Mind” was THAT bad. It was meh, but it surely didn’t go overhill into wanting to switch the channel.
              Now past Season 21-22, that’s REALLY fucking bad… You just, you can’t air THAT! C’mon.

  14. 47 Stan
    29 April 2015 at 5:13 pm

    I always thought Homer said “seven years ago”, not “several years ago”, with the joke being that he bragged on three sentences instead of just saying “It all began seven years ago”. With Bart being 9 and Lisa 7 in the beginning of the show, it could’ve worked.

    • 48 Stan
      29 April 2015 at 8:29 pm

      Oh shit, I just realized that whole quote was from another episode whatsoever… Arghhh fuck where’s my Wednesday booze?!?

      • 30 April 2015 at 6:30 am

        Ask Matt Groening, that slob drinks.booze and does pot, he doesn’t even draw the Simpsons, uses Asian animators and hates all Irish. Him.and FOX suck balls. I would tweak his beard if I could.

        • 50 Stan
          30 April 2015 at 10:20 am

          Groening is a six-edge-star 5000-year-old nation representative who made lot of cash big time out of a bunch of rabbits and an idea. You can’t hate him. He’s ‘fukken’ rich just for that.
          Jean and company, on the other hand, are all douches. And some of them even admit it.

          • 51 Anonymous
            30 April 2015 at 8:10 pm

            I thought he was an old drunk who made humans out of his rabbit characters to pay off his gambling debts, which is kinda true, because if it wasn’t for Matt Groening redrawing his Life in Hell pitch, then we’d be complaining about how Life in Hell is a zombie shell of its former self and this blog would be called Dead Bongo Society.

            • 52 Stan
              30 April 2015 at 8:42 pm

              Life in Hell would never have made it past 3-4 seasons because people want to laugh at cartoon copies of themselves, not some anthropomorphic critters. Look at what happened to The Cleveland Show, and they only had one talking bear.

              • 53 Anonymous
                1 May 2015 at 12:01 am

                Good point, but considering that FOX was scrambling for a hit show, I could see Life in Hell being on early 1990s FOX — and promptly getting screwed over for being too smart like The Critic.

                Yeah, you’re right. The Simpsons would have been a better fit.

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