Author Topic: The Worst Simpsons Episode Ever...  (Read 3829 times)

Offline max_cady

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The Worst Simpsons Episode Ever...
« on: August 23, 2012, 08:26:31 am »


I wasn't too sure how to put this topic into the proper context, because anything I write here might sound like the rants of an angry SOB (which is true). Lately I've grown pretty jaded of animated sitcoms, I could rant for hours about how I felt like an abused house-wife watching Family Guy for years and growing ever more tired of The Cleveland Brown Show, but for this case, I'm just going to talk about The Simpsons.

There are a lot of stinkers in that show, the worst one, IMHO, is "No Loan, Again Naturally."

A few years back, when they had writers who actually gave a hoot, the plot and the overall themes would've been treated with more care. The plot summary goes something like this... (spoilers if you haven't seen the episode yet)[spoiler]Homer throws his annual Mardi Gras parade for all the town in his backyard, at the expense of overcharging his mortage loan. And naturally The Simpsons find themselves in a pickle when they get a foreclosure letter. Just as their house is about to get sold, Ned, being the eternal good samaritan decides to buy the house back and act as their land lord. As first things start OK, but then they start taking advantage of Ned since he's a good fixer. Ned starts igonring 'em and The Simpsons go out of their way to smear their neighbour on live TV. Ned finally loses it and decides to evict them. They end up sleeping in the homeless shelter. So while Ned is showing the house to a nice couple, he's overcome with guilt and has a change of heart and welcomes back his favourite neighbours. And all is well that ends well...   
[/spoiler]

Where to begin with this clusterf*** of horrible writing, the first things that comes out of my mind is how the characters are written, it feels like they were bitten by the same bug that affects the family in Family Guy:
-They act out of character;
-Marge in this episode flips-flops between being non-chalant to an all-out enabler as if she has absolutely no plan and no idea what to do, even though, she's always been portrayed as been resourceful and the glue that holds everything together, her brain is unplugged for 99% of this episode;
-Lisa Simpson and Bart Simpson, the former which I've grown to despise, also provide nothing and are merely there for background filler, no proactivity, no initative, nothing. This makes the other episodes where Homer breaks Lisa's heart and he has to make up for it in less than 20 minutes seem almost unreal;
-There is no character ark or growth, Homer and his family behave the same way when they start and when they end, they are act like careless jerks and are still jerks in the end, but the moral is that Ned is the one that has to accept that;
-The whole foreclosure angle was intended for TV execs to sell us on the notion that "Hey, we feel your pain and thus we will splatter tales of depressing real estate meltdown stories.", well, thank you and up yours, because if that was the whole point, then the premise for this episode was terribly undercooked;

Again, guys I know this is a cartoon, but in a sense it's part of the culture and people may not like what I have to say, but deep down, what you watch or hear shapes your thoughts, the same goes with children's cartoons, where the always obvious "Oh, it's for kids!" meme which is nothing but lowering the standards for what's acceptable, especially if the cartoon is littered with terrible moral messages.

Well, that's my piece, what is your personal worst Simpsons episode?

Offline Nameless 24

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Re: The Worst Simpsons Episode Ever...
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2012, 08:48:31 am »
I still love The Simpsons despite apparently not being "as great as Family Guy", which I despise to this day, and I don't think they have lowered themselves to that POS just yet.

I would say the "Who Shot Mr.Burns" was the worst episode from memory...as the writers started to put Maggie with a gun most of the time after that episode (be it a fake one or a real one), and I felt like the surrealism went a little too far in that episode.

I mean, I know the Simpsons uses some strange surrealism in their episodes and I have seen some strange things during the years where it's going to borderline Looney Tunes (which I like for being the way it is), but I guess the Maggie with the whole gun thing created a monster if you will...even in The Simpsons Movie, where Maggie saves Homer and Bart (where the hell is Marge in all this!?!), which I felt was not only anti-climatic, but made me think that Marge is probably the worse mother taking care of her baby ever! (she's not a role model, but she used to be so over protective of Maggie...so when I saw Maggie in the ending of that film...I was disappointed).

So yeah, Who Shot Mr.Burns effectively ruined the Simpsons Movie for me, despite the "Baby with a gun" being original in terms of ideas.
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Offline Barry the Nomad

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Re: The Worst Simpsons Episode Ever...
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2012, 09:33:23 am »
I don't want to get TOO into Simpsons discussion, mainly because I already do that under the name of Captain Squid over at nohomers.net

However I will say that despite the decline in quality (and what does anybody expect from a show in its 23rd, going on 24th season???) there are a few fantastic episodes each season as well as a number of good ones and a number of forgettable or bad ones.

I will say that I disagree with you, Max, on No Loan, Again Naturally. I actually like that one. I don't place it in the fantastic category, but I do think it's pretty good. I wasn't a fan of the first act, but I liked Homer having to live under Ned's rule and taking advantage of Ned's niceness. I thought this was a decent followup episode to Homer Loves Flanders.

I guess I can't hate on this episode because it does a lot of things that I like: it keeps the story in Springfield, it confines the cast to regulars, it doesn't rely on guest stars, it tries something new in terms of the usual workings of the town (Ned landlording over the Simpsons). So in the end, not a GREAT episode, but far from "worst ever". I'd rate it a 6/10 in terms of post season 15 standards.

Oops, look, I'm writing more than I said I would. Ah well.

If you're like me, and have seen every episode from the Ullman era up to the season 23 finale (and that also includes every video game, ride, commercial, etc) then you'll know that The Simpsons worst does not include Max's choice or even Nameless 24's choice, which I'm sorry to tell you is a very very good episode. Yes, Who Shot Mr. Burns is wacky, but it is essentially The Simpsons skewering the sitcom convention of a two parter season finale cliffhanger. Maggie being the shooter was surreal because it was intended to be. I can't hate the writers for being subversive and turning the murder mystery on its ear. In fact, I applaud them for Who Shot Mr. Burns.

Worst episode(s)? Are you ready?

The Greatest Story Ever D'ohed from season 21.

There is so much wrong with this episode that it hurts. Worst vacation episode. Worst use of a potentially great guest star (Sasha Baron Cohen). Jerkass Homer returns (jerkass Homer is "rude, insensitive, crude, and just plain moronic", seasons 12-14 were Homer at his worst in terms of characterization). Nearly every joke falls flat (even the worst Simpsons episodes in terms of plot have great gags, this episode did not have any of that).
NoHomer.net deems it one of the worst episodes of all time: http://www.nohomers.net/showthread.php?86280-Rate-and-Review-quot-The-Greatest-Story-Ever-D-ohed-quot-(MABF10)

But my vote also goes to...

Moe Goes from Rags to Riches from season 23.

Now I love me a format bender when it comes to The Simpsons. Season 23's The Book Job was great fun, as was Holidays of Future Passed (in fact those are both some of the best recent episodes and I def recommend them). Sadly, Moe Goes from Rags to Riches falls flatter than flat. It just sucks so badly. Again, a great guest star is ruined by an awful character: Jeremy Irons plays Moe's talking bar rag. Now don't get me wrong, this concept COULD be good! Perhaps the episode deals with Moe's beginnings as a bartender and how his bar rag ended up being largely responsible for his nominal success in starting and maintaing a business. Better yet, perhaps there is a sweet moment at the end where the bar rag leads to Moe meeting a woman or something.

NOPE.

The bar rag is a piece of a medieval French tapestry. We get a flashback that has modern Simpsons characters in a period setting. Now don't get me wrong (again), I enjoy the episodes that throw Simpsons characters into the roles of classic literature. But here it makes no sense. This is, supposedly, real history in the Simpsons universe. Then why are there doppelgängers of modern characters existing several hundred years ago in France? It makes no sense.

Next, more history is glossed over with the rag existing in all these amazing events, eventually ending up in the hands of a yeti (WHAT?) who gives it to its son Moe (WHAT!?!). Again, another historical buttfuck. No, Moe is not a human, he is the son of a yeti. Now I like me my wacky gags, but when they are at the expense of a character's backstory, then its better not to do them. It's not funny, it's stupid. I'd much prefer a winder into Moe's childhood as a human with human parents than a gag about a yeti giving Moe a rag from a past version of Marge. It almost reads like a fanfic.

The only bits that are *slighty* good are the modern day bit of Marge washing Moe's rag for that "aww!" moment and the b-story of Bart and Milhouse having a falling out. Problem is, the b-story has zero connection to Moe's rag story. Why have a B-plot to an A-plot about a talking bar rag that is in itself flashing back to other stories that in effect are C-plots?

Overall, it's a mess. An unfunny, stupid mess. Worst of all, the concept COULD have been decent. Like I said, the origin of Moe's Tavern. Right there is a cool story. Instead, it's a cluster of shit with an unrelated childhood spat on the side.

---

Having written all that, I have to say that I am looking forward to seasons 24 & 25. Not sure if the series will continue beyond that, but there are a few good looking eps to come.

Roger Meyers Jr, the son of the creator of Itchy & Scratchy, is said to have his own episode. Also, Homer buys a ride from a closing Itchy & Scratchy land and sticks it in the backyard. Sounds wacky, and I love callbacks to episodes I enjoyed (I&S Land). There is also a touching Homer/Santa's Little Helper episode to come. Hope it's a tearjerker. The next Treehouse of Horror promises a Back to the Future style spoof on the classic moment when Homer met Marge. Sort of a "What if?" story of if Marge married Artie Ziff. There also looks to be an arc this season in which Bart finally decides on a girlfriend, which could put an end to the "Bart gets a new girlfriend" episodes.

Offline max_cady

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Re: The Worst Simpsons Episode Ever...
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2012, 05:18:47 pm »
After reading your post, I sat back and watched a ton of episodes from season 20 to season 23.
I have to say that for some odd reason, I saw season 23 as oddly charming in a way...

[spoiler]Ned Flanders and Edna got secretly married was one of the major "improvements". The episode with Bart where he wants to take a cruise and fakes a doomsday scenario to keep everyone on board. The episode where Jeremy Irons plays an old rag was... just wasted.[/spoiler]

Getting back to the "Savings and Groan" episode, I think my major gripe is when a weekly cartoon sitcom tries to awkwardly crowbar a message in. Maybe it's just me... but I've seen it done to death on a lot of cartoons.

Offline Barry the Nomad

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Re: The Worst Simpsons Episode Ever...
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2012, 08:44:31 am »
Season 23 was a step up for sure. Like you said, some really nice character moments and furthering of certain characters stories.

[spoiler]In fact I'd say throughout the series, Flanders losing his wife and Edna and Skinner's on-again-off-again romance were two of the larger multiple season spanning character arcs. So it is actually quite fitting that Ned (who lost his wife Maude in season 11) and Edna (who hooked up with Skinner in season 8, was proposed to by him in season 14 and nearly marries him before breaking it off in season 15) end up together. Both characters had and lost somebody special to them, Ned though an accident and Edna through Skinner's own failings as a man, and both characters oddly suit each other. Edna needs a strong man with morals and good intentions who will stick by her, Ned needs a strong woman who isn't afraid to push her husband outside his safe zone (which has become increasingly more ultra-conservative since the death of Maude). So yeah, the "Nedna" thing is one of the best things to happen in the series since the movie.[/spoiler]

Also, there has been an increase in sweet sentimental episodes, no doubt helped by the fact that the show itself is old enough to get sentimental about. "Holidays of Futre Passed" was one of the sweetest episodes in years, and "A Totally Fun Thing That Bart Will Never Do Again" had a wacky premise, but a sweet ending as well.

I'm looking forward to Sunday's episode, "Adventures in Baby-Getting", where Marge starts to think about having a fourth child.

Offline max_cady

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Re: The Worst Simpsons Episode Ever...
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2012, 03:08:08 pm »
Ok, I'm looking foward to seeing that.

Another issue that I had brought up, [spoiler] I've been re-watching The Simpons's older seasons, Season 10 is quite interesting. I was nagging a while ago about how Marge was pretty much an enabler. But I guess that's just how her character is written in an episode sometimes. Because she was just as much as a pushover in these early (if you can call season 10 "early") seasons as she is now in a handful of episodes from season 20 onwards.
[/spoiler]

Some things I've never been fond of...
[spoiler]
I agree, Moe's backstory is so unclear that he feels like a Family Guy character right now. I've always been kinda iffy with Skinner, I remember the days he used to have flashbacks over his time on Vietnam, only to de-evolve into a bizarre man-child. Flanders was also one of those characters that after Maude died, the writers seem to have gone out their way to make him into the most outlandish christian stereotype like ever...[/spoiler]