Can you please add me to the episode nomination list? I want to get involved with the Episode Club again, this was a lot of fun last year.
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Can you please add me to the episode nomination list? I want to get involved with the Episode Club again, this was a lot of fun last year.
All right, since Wiggs is a no-show, which episode will it be, Nauru?
I received a message from Nauru who will nominate sometime tonight.
I felt it was time for another post-classic episode but one that at least garners a fairly positive reputation. So with that, let's go with...
To view various lists about my Simpsons opinions, click the link below.
With its story clearly inspired by the 1993 film Indecent Proposal, pitched by Jim Brooks, written by Tim Long and directed by Lauren MacMullan, Season 13's Half-Decent Proposal finds Homer and Marge being offered a million dollars if Marge agrees to spend the weekend with Artie Ziff, who remains obsessed with her even after becoming an internet billionaire. But we begin the episode with a nice little sequence involving Comic Book Guy's devotion to Jar Jar. We enter the Simpson home to discover Marge isn't getting much sleep these days because of Homer's snoring. It gets so bad that Marge can't properly function as a wife and mother. Cheers to the animation crew in this first act for successfully making Marge look so very exhausted. Homer and Marge seek an operation to help his condition, but realize they cannot afford it. While staying with her sisters for the night an e-mail is sent to Artie Ziff declaring Marge's enduring passion for the man, who takes it a little too seriously as we end act 1.
Although you can't really tell by this picture, Artie's obsession with Marge allows for a beautifully disturbing piece of animation.
Artie arrives as we begin act 2. He takes the family out via helicopter and makes his titular offer. The key difference here of course is sex is not being discussed, merely a chance for Marge to see what she missed out on by marrying Homer. Still, the thought disgusts Marge who leaves with Homer immediately, minus the kids. As time goes on however Homer's problem is getting worse, as he has actually somehow begun to snore while awake. I absolutely love the animation here of Homer snoring through his mouth and eyelids:
Homer and Marge eventually accept Artie's offer, but Homer lays some ground rules. We are given a fine M*A*S*H parody complete with a distraught Homer:
Everything seems to be going alright until the guys at Moe's make Homer rethink his decision. It doesn't take long for him to leave the bar running in pursuit of Marge. Speaking of Marge, Artie has managed to recreate their Senior Prom. Many of our beloved Springfieldians are decked out in appropriate 70s attire giving us some very nice character designs. I particularly enjoyed Edna K's, as well as Professor Frink. Marge is touched by Artie's thoughtfulness, but assures him that she will never leave her husband. At this point his true nature begins to show as he forcefully kisses her. A spying Homer sees this, but is unaware of the circumstances. He leaves worrying that he'll never be born as we end act 2.
Marge takes care of the little nerd in act 3, but comes home to find the scene from The Simpsons Movie, only reversed. Seriously I was pretty surprised when I first saw this scene after watching the movie as it is nearly identical to the one there, only with Homer having made the tape. He informs her he saw her and Artie and has decided to leave forever. Lenny goes with him, having nothing better to do, and they get jobs on an oil rig in West Springfield. I really like some of the character designs here such as the guy with the hook head. We also get some nice Lenny/Carl relationship humor throughout this episode, the best perhaps being Mount Carlmore:
The family learns an approximate location of where Homer is and Marge thinks of a way to find him: Artie's helicopter. I really enjoyed Grampa's reference to Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder here. They track down Homer and Lenny, who find themselves in peril thanks to some bad luck involving ants. Artie convinces Homer that Marge only has eyes for him, and Carl's presence is more than enough for Lenny as they escape death just in time. Homer and Marge don't get the money Artie offered, but he does manage to make a new invention which negates Homer's snoring, and suggests something far more nefarious, as we end the episode.
Overall I really liked this one and it is definitely one of Season 13's highlights. John Lovitz is always great on the show and here is no exception. I love his singing in this episode, as well as his near end declaration of being Artie Ziff. The story, while not original, is interesting enough and flows at a solid pace throughout. I have never actually seen Indecent Proposal but it never stopped me from enjoying the episode. We have several solid gags including the ones mentioned above. The animation is solid and the audio commentary for the episode hints that director Lauren MacMullan may have been asking for too much. I'll leave that to Zartok though if he wants to comment.
Interestingly enough the chalkboard gag for this one seems to be a reference to Butterfingers, the candy bar which appears at least twice this season, once through deleted scene. At the time Bart had been dropped from the candy bar. Homer's behavior may seem extreme, and the third act in West Springfield may be a turn off to some, but I really liked it. This entire episode's overall feel just comes off as quite naturally funny to me. Something else I wanted to mention is I liked all the scenes we got of Marge here showing off some skin in bed. It never gets to the point of her being completely nude as in several classic era episodes, but it was definitely effective at showing her beauty(when she isn't looking haggard because of Homer's snoring) and just really a nice touch. Overall an episode I really like, and one I continue to enjoy after multiple viewings. If I had to grade it right now I'd probably say 4.5/5 rounded up to a 5 on a poll.
PS: I never noticed it until recently but Homer and Marge's High School principal is in quite a few more episodes of the show than I remembered. He has a little cameo here as well during the prom scene.
PPS: I forgot to mention it but Dan Castellaneta claims in the audio commentary that he came up with the design for Artie Ziff and Al Jean says Sam Simon named him. I'm not sure but I watched The Way We Was with commentary around a month or so ago and I think David Silverman says he designed the character. Maybe he just failed to give Dan credit? Regardless just something I wanted to point out.
Last edited by Oh, that's raspberry!; 07-22-2011 at 10:08 PM.
Nice and interesting choice (oh, and good early review, raspberry); it will be fun to give this one a rewatch. By the way, can someone update the thread title?
Thanks Zone! Only a mod can update the title, but if you somehow ever don't know what episode is currently up for discussion just check the first post of the thread as I always have the current episode in bold.
And just so you know I live on the East Coast so my review was written on Saturday and is therefor not early in the sense that I wrote it before then, but it was written rather early after the choice was made, I just had nothing better to do.
Ah, Half-Decent Proposal. One of the episodes I had in my mind to select myself.
Well, it IS the best S13 episode imo. Exceptionally well-drawn scenes, good choice of accompanying music and a script with humour and heart.
It reminds me of the O&W period.
Bringing back Artie Ziff as an internet-millionaire is inspired.
And it turns out he's still obsessed by Marge (his Marge-shrine is as beautiful as it is disturbing) meanwhile not getting why she would prefer someone like Homer over him.
So he uses his money, buys himself some time to show her the life she could have led and also tries to recapture the past by doing over the prom.
Even Dondelinger was willing to play along again. (really keeping up with continuity here, writers... something that sadly got lost during 'That 90s Show' and weirdly came back in 'Take My Life Please')
I still wonder why they did not reuse 'close to you' during the Prom-reenactment, but the number used here also recaptivates the nostalgic feeling that reminds us of 'The Way We Was'.
When Homer decides to leave we kinda get a mirror-version from a scene constructed many years later in The Simpsons Movie, in this version Homer on tape and Marge watching though. (and without the amount of pathos)
So Homer leaves, Lenny tags along and we get instrumental music and a scene referencing to Midnight Cowboy. (a reference more subtle than in Futurama's 'Brannigan Begin Again')
Of course the status-quo recovers in the end and Marge and Homer make up, but you don't get a soothing ending with sweet dreams, because Artie is not gonna let Marge go that easily.
So feel creeped out as you know he's still watching (foreshadowing his return in a later episode, the inferior 'The Ziff Who Came to Dinner') while the screen jumps to ending credits.
Imo this episode is Lovitz's biggest Simpsons-accomplishment.
But if you think it's his performance as Llewellyn Sinclair, well I can live with that also.
Last edited by cinco; 07-23-2011 at 05:10 AM.
Iíve been following this thread for quite a while now without participating but these discussions are so interesting I canít help myself but join you guys and give you my own opinion on the episodes of your choice. I must say the choice of the episodes is always very good.
Iíve just finished rewatching Half-Decent Proposal with my season thirteen DVD box set. I forgot how good this episode actually was. In my opinion it isnít in the top episodes of the season but it is easily in the first 10 episodes of the season.
Let me start of with the character Artie Ziff. He was a very interesting character in Season 2 and his comeback in this episode is quite strong in my opinion. I didnít really like him when he came back in Season 15 (probably because I feel that his personality isnít deep enough to become the main character of more than two episodes on the show). Artie Ziff has a way of annoying me in each episode (all he thinks about is kissing Marge and making money). In this episode he lies to Marge because hadnít he said that he wouldnít touch her or try to kiss her during the weekend. Iím glad the character hasnít come back to the show in Seasons 15+. The writers must have noticed that you couldnít really do much at all with Artie Ziff opposed to Sideshow Bob.
I also want to point out that the writers had a couple of good references to Season 11. First of all, there is that scene where Abe walks through the living room and asks Marge, Lisa and Bart if Homer bowled a 300. Marge responds by saying that was a year and a half ago. Second of all there is that scene at the end of the episode where you see Homer holding a Funzo doll. I liked those small, subtle references because they were good and I hadnít particularly noticed them before.
There were a few very good jokes that made me laugh in this episode. I like the way Patty spices things up a little in Margeís e-mail:
ďDear Hottie! I wanna sex you up! You love slave, Marge.Ē
The other joke I really liked was when Homer defends his actions to the barflies:
ďI didnít sell her! I just rented herÖ to an old boyfriend.Ē
However, I think what really impresses me the most in this episode is the ending. The drawings of the desert are absolutely amazing (the colors, the shadowing). Itís mind boggling in my opinion but you guys may not have been too impressed with this ending, I donít know.
I like the whole idea of having Lenny and Homer leave their respective lives (sort of giving up. And I laughed hard when Carl came out of the bathroom at Moeís and asked, ďWhat did I miss?Ē). I also found that the scene where Homer looks out of the bus and seeís all of those cactusís in the form of Marge was a brilliant idea!
Travelled the world and the seven seas. I am watching you through a camera!
Directed by Lauren MacMullan, assistant director Ray Persi, with animation by Paul Wee, Luis Escobar, John Gebhart, Francis Dinglasan, John Achenbach, Drew McPhail, and Lauren's favorite animator Colin Heck, among others.
Luis Escobar animates the 'squeaking spring symphony' bedroom sequence.
Lew also does the sequence at Moes where Homer decides to leave town with Lenny.
The scene where Lenny and Homer apply to be oilers is animated by Paul Wee.
Paul also animates the scene where Homer reads Artie the riot act after negotiating their deal, and I think he does the counterfit money rant, too.
John Achenbach handles the part where Homer attempts to eat unguarded breakfasts.
"Unguarded breakfasts. The sweetest taboo."
Achenbach also does the morning after scene with Homer snoring while he's awake.
Francis Dinglasan does animation all accross the episode. Most notably, the first bedroom scenes, and Homer's video.
Jon Gebhart animates some scenes of the oil rig burning down, I think.
Have to watch again
As for the episode, I haven't watched it for a while but I can recall it being one of the funniest at the time. lenny was great in this one
Last edited by HMS pinafore; 07-25-2011 at 05:46 AM.
So, firstly, this is an episode with a nice feel to it. The colouring is nice throughout the episode, there are some laughs in there, and an interesting plot as Artie Ziff returns to the show.
To start us off we have a nice little relationship flaw as Homer keeps Marge awake with his constant snoring - quite a relatable topic for many wives, I'm sure. The breakfast scene is rather unfunny, and reminded me rather of Homer Alone, but the first act slides along nicely from here, building the story nicely, along with plenty of laughs. I regard 'Nookie in New York' to be a classic era quality parody, and Patty & Selma are suitably obnoxious whilst remaining seemingly genuine (despite Patty's rather forceful manner, which is not out of character in itself) in their attempts to convince Marge to re-establish contact with Artie.
I get the feeling that the episode was slightly too short on time for the writers to explore the effect Artie had on Homer and Marge's relationship as much as perhaps we would've liked, but Homer's reaction is well-handled, although by this point he had developed a fairly predictable reaction when faced with troubles at home. Despite this I still enjoyed the dialogue in Moe's Bar. Artie's desire to re-live the prom was also slightly strange, as one would assume he'd have moved on, although generally his portrayal as an unfulfilled and slightly crazed man despite his corporate success is done well, though Marge adopts perhaps a slightly overly-amicable manner towards Artie at one point. Despite one or two exaggerations Homer is still quite likeable here, a surprise after Scully's impact on the character in the preceding seasons, and even a little more reminiscent of the softer Homer from Jean's previous showrunning stint alongside Mike Reiss.
I found the 'unguarded breakfasts' line to be quite funny, and Marge's meeting with Artie after his helicopter descent is suitably awkward - in fact, as Raspberry noted the expressions and animation are very sharp in this episode, and combined with a plot that feels genuine rather than a vehicle for certain gags or story ideas there is plenty to make this episode feel classic. Even though there are some slightly cringeworthy late-Jean era style jokes ('Oh, no! If Marge marries Artie, I'll never be born!', 'West Springfield is three times the size of Texas', the Baron) the general quality of humour is surprisingly high in this episode. The manner in which the storyline is executed perhaps slips a little as the episode progresses, and certain aspects of Artie's rather conceited character are played on too much, but even the final scenes are quite tasteful, with a great slapstick-style scene as Homer and Lenny accidentally ignite the oil well.
Lines I found particularly amusing were the aforementioned 'unguarded breakfasts' line, and 'Let's approach with caution!', and Lenny & Carl were amusing as always, two characters that can bring laughs in any era of the show.
I like the whole premise of Artie's return and despite a few poor gags this is a good episode. And it's nice to be back with you in the Weekly Episode Club.
Last edited by Company Picnic; 07-24-2011 at 06:00 AM.
I'll try to get to my review later today, but one comment on the "If Marge marries Artie, I'll never be born" line. I actually really like that line. Homer is obviously confusing this whole situation with the prom in Back to the Future. You could argue it makes Homer a little too stupid to actually believe that, but I think it goes back to how impressionable he is when it comes to movies.
Last edited by Nauru-1; 07-24-2011 at 08:02 AM.
There's no hurry at all, but when someone gets the chance, can they please add me in the list as well. I've posted my opinion on this episode a little bit higher on this page. Thanks.