Discussion officially moves to the Season 9 episode "This Little Wiggy" as we enter Saturday on the East Coast.
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Discussion officially moves to the Season 9 episode "This Little Wiggy" as we enter Saturday on the East Coast.
Well, I watched the episode and I really do not have a lot to say about it.
I know I was excited the first time for a new Ralph-centred episode after 'I Love Lisa', but the exploration of Bart and Ralph seemed rather dull compared with the exploration of Lisa and Ralph in the mentioned S4-episode. We get an enjoyable setup in the museum and we get a disturbing ending with the Irish leprechaun and inbetween we get Ralph being the cliched spacecadet he became somewhere after season 4.
It was nice to see the endearing attitude from Wiggum towards his son though, totally accepting the way he is. (although he's not the smartest of the bunch either) And for some reason I always smile when he announces his arrival at home with "it's me, chief Wiggum". So for the rest... the scene at the toystore feels sincere and childlike and it is the feel-good moment of the episode. This makes watching the bullying afterwards a bit sad/almost painful. It's an eye-opener for Bart though. As much as he wants to be part of the gang... he ain't, he'll never be. It didn't work out in 'The Telltale Head' and yet again stealing something to impress the bullies only leaves him with more trouble. The violator who turned victim only wins over the casual audience and of course they're gonna cheer for him and Ralph when they decide to enter forbidden territory to retrieve the key. Although I'm sure Ralph's bravery is mostly ignorance and not a rise above his capacities as in 'I Love Lisa'.
So final thoughts... it's an episode directed more towards the kids' part of the Simpsons' audience and if you can accept that, you can have some enjoyment out of it.
I've watched this episode numerous times and I have to say that it's a very decent Ralph Wiggum episode; it's not the disaster it's made out to be but Bart and Wiggum do seem to make an enjoyable couple, there are a couple of scenes which seem sincere, childlike and appropriate and the plot was one of the better ones for the Scully era.
All in all, a good episode. I'm going to write a review of this later on.
The Falcon and the D'ohman (4.5/10) Bart Stops to Smell the Roosevelts (4.0/10) Treehouse of Horror XXII (1.0/10) Replacable You (3.5/10) The Food Wife (4.0/10) The Book Job (8.0/10) The Man in the Blue Flannel Pants (4.0/10) The Ten-Per-Cent Solution (4.5/10) Holidays of Future Passed (8.5/10) Politically Inept, With Homer Simpson (3.5/10) The D'oh-cial Network (2.5/10) Moe Goes From Rags to Riches (1.5/10) The Daughter Also Rises (5.0/10) At Long Last Leave (2.5/10) Exit Through the Kwik-E-Mart (1.0/10) How I Wet Your Mother (4.0/10) Them, Robot (3.0/10) Beware My Cheating Bart (5.0/10) A Totally Fun Thing That Bart Will Never Do Again (3.0/10) The Spy Who Learned Me (3.5/10) Ned 'N' Edna's Blend (5.5/10) Lisa Goes Gaga (1.0/10)
This Little Wiggy
Written by Dan Greaney and directed by Neil Affleck, "This Little Wiggy" is one of those early Scully Era episodes that still feels much like an episode from earlier years in that it has charm and tells a fun and funny story. As a Ralph tale it is his most involved episode since "I Love Lisa" about 5 years earlier, except here we focus on the character's relationship with Bart instead. Ralph is an interesting character for several reasons. First, he was never created to even be a Wiggum, rather this decision was made later on. Also, he appears to be one of those one-liner characters with nothing else to show that somehow managed to become incredibly popular. At the same time he has shown in the past to be more than just a "special" little boy, at least when the plot demands it. He's a strangely endearing character to many, even now. I love Matt Groening's depiction of him as basically a little Homer. Enough of this though, on to the episode itself.
We begin at school where Bart's class is being greeted by a special visitor, a Robbie the Robot-esque contraption which Bart takes little interest in. We're given two very funny thought bubble gags also reminiscent of the show's earlier times with Milhouse and Nelson. Eventually the robot goes crazy and naturally decides to attack Principal Skinner. We cut to the Simpsons family going to the Knowledgeum, where they are greeted by Troy McClure. We're given several fairly funny gags here, perhaps the best being Homer's ride. Eventually Bart finds Ralph Wiggum in the Mars area and quickly crashes off of his makeshift skateboard because of him. We're given our first appearance by the bullies, who include Nelson here. I only point this out because it comes off as feeling rather different to anyone who's familiar with the current show. I don't think Nelson's been apart of the other bullies' gang for the past 5 years at least. Strangely, I think I actually prefer Nelson as a friend over a foe. Anyway they bully the boys and Marge feels bad for young Ralph. Chief Wiggum sticks up for his son and comes off rather sweetly and we're given several fine gags from Ralph, particularly Marge touching his special area. The next day Marge informs Bart that he must spend the day with young Ralph. Bart is naturally horrified as we end act 1.
Bart and Ralph play around the house a little during act 2. Nothing of much note here except the first mention of the rocket which will become important later on. While outside they again meet the bullies before arriving at Ralph's house. We're given another reference here, this time to a malevolent leprechaun, which will also pay off later. Inside they go through the Chief's closet and are eventually discovered by him. He gives them some free riot gear but is mainly there for our new plot element: the police master key. I really like this entire scene as it comes off as fairly natural and interesting. Bart being unable to stop his drooling at the though of what he could do with the key is a really great gag which both manages to be disturbing and fun, while also showing he clearly takes after Homer.
Speaking of Homer, he really isn't given much too do here, but we do get a sweet scene involving Marge and him trying out different answering machine messages. Bart sleeps over Ralph's so they can steal the master key and use it at night. Two great gags here include the night light and Bart purposely badgering Chief Wiggum with the broom. The boy's break into a toy store and have some fun. My favorite gag here is them building a giant Lego brick out of smaller Lego pieces. They run into the bullies for a third time but Bart shows off the key and they go to an old abandoned prison. Ralph is frightened but Bart demands he go anyway as we end act 2.
In act 3 Bart finally sticks up for Ralph but Nelson screws them into having to go into the prison as the bullies go off to pick huckleberries. Ralph shows some bravery while inside and the two boys inadvertently reactivate the prison's electric chair after 30 years. Everything seems fine until the next day they discover the Mayor is going to re-open the prison and "simulate" being electrocuted as a demonstration against potential criminals. This whole scene is just fantastic in that it clearly knows how ridiculous it is, but goes with it anyway. In future Scully episodes this idea doesn't really work but it does here for some reason. With Lisa's help the boys manage to let Mr. Burns know the chair is active who shuts off the power just in time. This scene has one of my all time favorite Burns lines:
"Smithers, there's a rocket in my pocket!"
The episode ends with the family cheering Ralph as a hero. When Lisa protests Bart persuades her to let Ralph have this one. His job done, Ralph decides to burn them all as we end the episode. I could see why many people might not like this episode as there are several cheats and hints at what the Scully era would eventually become, but it works fine for me. There are several classic one liners and it just comes off as a fun and overall enjoyable episode. Ralph is made more intelligent than normal for the sake of the plot, while at other times reverting back to his normal form, but the character is very fun to watch anyway so it doesn't bother me. Solid 4/5, perhaps even a bit higher.
'BURN 'EM ALL!"
Last edited by Oh, that's raspberry!; 07-04-2011 at 09:44 PM.
Surprisingly, when I first got my season 9 DVD, and first watched this episode, it stuck out like a sore thumb. It was the first episode of not only season 9, but the series, that bored me. Back when I got season 9, The Simpsons was still my favorite show, so for an episode to bore me… it just made it unique. I don’t know what about it made it boring. Ralph, at least in the first 10-11 seasons, is one of my favorite characters. In this episode though Ralph did not have many humorous parts, aside from maybe the leprechaun, which to me is not as great as people made it seem, and give or take a couple other parts. The plot of Bart being forced to hang out with Ralph is good enough because of how different the two boys are.
I really liked when Ralph and Bart were hitting up the town with the keys they stole from Chief Wiggum. Boys being boys, eh? This had some good, funny parts. The toy store for instance. Also, for humor I really liked: Ralph being too scared of the dark and so Wiggum shined that big light on both of them, “I’m not allowed to go in the deep end”, Wiggle Puppy, “He‘s going to smell like hot dogs!”… there are some nice gags here and there.
As for plot, like I said the concept of Bart and Ralph hanging out with each other is good enough. I liked Bart not wanting to until he found out Ralph’s dad has a key to the city that can open any doors. Bart and Ralph inadvertently leaving the chair strapped in was good because they obviously needed a way to prolong the episode. I liked Lisa thinking of a way to save the Mayor, and then everybody congratulating Ralph. It shows they do appreciate him for being here. The leprechaun randomly showing up was kind of stupid and kind of ruined the ending, but oh well.
I don’t know why I originally did not like this episode a lot. It’s a nice breath of fresh air since Homer is not the main star and there aren’t any guest stars to ruin the feel of it (Besides a brief Troy McClure appearance, but there’s no way I’d ever dislike an appearance by Phil Hartman). One of the better episodes from season 9 I think. 4/5 is my final score. As for I Love Lisa, this episode doesn’t come close to that episode’s quality. Ralph’s appearance in the play is better than anything he does in this episode. This is still a good episode, but compared to I Love Lisa (his other prominent role), this does not come close.
I'm not sure it is even fair to compare this to I Love Lisa though considering just how much different they are. But I suppose if you wanted to you could probably use the two as a microcosm for the different episode styles that make up the Jean/Reiss and Scully Eras actually. If I weren't so lazy I'd do it myself but it is actually a very interesting thought. Good review Percy!
cinco also compared the two. the only reason i did was because they both feature ralph prominently, something that isn't done a lot. i know stylistically both episodes are different of course, but i think the comparison still works. at least a little imo. and thanks, i tried harder with this review
Last edited by Jesse Pinkman; 07-02-2011 at 09:43 PM.
Oh I know Percy, and even I mentioned "I Love Lisa" in my review, but the two episodes are very different in tone, humor style, characterization, just so much. In fact now that I think of it you might be able to compare them with Season 19's "E Pluribus Wiggum" to showcase the styles of and differences between the Jean/Reiss, Scully, and Late Jean Eras. Although "E Pluribus Wiggum" is probably a stretch for its era as it really isn't that representative of the late Jean Era as a whole like how the other two episodes so perfectly are representative of their respective eras. Rather it is basically just an episode mostly about political satire during the 2008 election. But that episode's discussion should remain for another day I suppose, when more time has elapsed. Just a thought....
yea, they're different in pretty much everything. my problem (for lack of a better word) is whenever i see episodes have something in common (marriage crisis, 'homer gets a job', or something like having a secondary/recurring character in the spotlight), i tend to always compare them in one way or another, even if what they have in common is small and totally different in the episodes, like in this case. in I love Lisa, Ralph was in the spotlight, but it was of course vastly different then it was done here, yet i still personally find them comparable, even if others might not.
I know what you mean and tend to do the same things with certain episodes and "This Little Wiggy" and "I Love Lisa" actually are definitely comparable because as you said they both center on Ralph. I just meant that comparing them in quality seems almost unfair considering the eras they come from. In fact, whereas "I Love Lisa" is just one of many very good episodes of the Jean/Reiss Era, I'm almost tempted to argue that "This Little Wiggy" is one of the best episodes of the Scully Era. Or if not quite best than certainly one of the most enjoyable/watchable....
yea, i agree with Little Wiggy being one of the best of scully's seasons. it's one of the only ones where:
A. Homer is not the main star or a jerkass (although i don't know really if he was one in this season, at least compared to s10+
B. no unneeded guest star
C. no random/wacky third act
it just flows together really nicely.
i love lisa is infinitely better than Little Wiggy and probably in my top 5/10 episodes of the series (if i did lists), but i would not be at all surprised if there was someone here (or multiple people) who think LW is better
Directed by Neil Affleck, animation by Sarge Morton, assistant director Chris Clements, Ben Lane, Ray Persi, Luke Gray, Julius Preite, and Noel Cox. This is one of those gangbang episodes where you get a bunch of animators who draw the same way; in this case, Mort, Clements, and Ben. I'll try to tell them apart in a later post. I can't do it now; it's getting late, and I'm burnt.
Ray Persi's fine linework shows up in several places around the episode. He a number of scenes where Marge forces Bart to play with Ralph.
Rayray does the answering machine bit in the episode, as well.
Then, when Bart melts the wedding cake piece with the 'play chair', and the elderly prison guard.
Rayray also does most the scenes of Mayor Quimby with the electric chair, the ones on TV in particular.
Luke Gray does a couple scenes, too.
Ralph commenting on Bart's toys, gets several stuck to him, and the rocket introduction.
He also does the finale, with everyone cheering for Ralph in the living room. Even Lisa comes around!
Luke may also have animated the classroom robot scenes at the beginning, too.
Good stuff as usual zartok! Is it me or do the points in Lisa's hair seem too long or wide or something in that last pic?
Wow the love this episode is getting is beyond me. It's a pretty generic Scully outing. The gags are really boring and the dynamic that Bart and Ralph share in pretty thin along with the plot. Also there isn't really anything added to any character and they basically fucked Ralph's character. As he turned from a nice yet dim witted kid to full blown mentally deranged(burn things blah) But I never really cared about Ralph and maybe that's why I just can't grasp why this episode is regarded well as well as I Love Lisa. Lastly the ending of this episode is just terrible. I'll go into further detail later.
On the other hand, the ending does suck, and the episode helped destroy Ralph's character.
Overall, I would say that it's at least a little better than a "generic Scully outing".
'This Little Wiggy', an early Scully-era episode directed by Neil Affleck and written by Dan Greaney, is the second episode to be centered around the oddball character Ralph Wiggum and it deals about about how Bart is forced by Marge to become his friend because she thinks he's such a lonely little boy with a very vivid imagination and later on, as Bart is hanging out with Ralph, he sets his eyes on Ralph's father's, Chief Clancy Wiggum's, master key which can open every lock in Springfield. The first episode with Ralph in a main role, season four's 'I Love Lisa', has become something of a classic in the Simpsons fan community and while this episode isn't really of the same overall quality as that one, it is an all round good episode with a nice plot and some fun jokes and gags.
Being an episode from the ninth season, the animation is naturally a lot better and more effectful than it was during the early seasons. For this particular episode they used a lot of shadows for several scenes, mostly the ones in the latter half of the second act and the third act such as the bit where Bart and Ralph sneaks down the corridor to get the master key (their shadows on the wall), and there's even some nice lightning effects in a few places (all of these adds some points to the episode). I also liked the views seen through the video camera that the bullies uses as they drive around during their supposed crime spree; it's a nice addition to the episode. The characterizations here are all right and there's nothing about them I particularily doesn't like; I like Homer's goofy and childish qualities, Bart's resentment to and later conflicted feelings about Ralph and how the latter is depicted, Simple minded, nice and, as said, with a vivid imagination; I know that some complain about the leprechaun parts and says how it makes him look like a hallucinating psychotic freak, but I'd like to think those parts just shows how big his imagination is, seeing as he has a pyromaniac leprechaun as an imaginary friend (another thing I liked was that they didn't dumb him down so much). There are no new characters voiced by guest stars in this episode, but Troy McClure (voiced asusual by the late Phil Hartman) makes a brief and fun apperance on the introductionary screen at the Knowledgeum, greeting the visitors who have come to visit the place.
Speaking about the humor, the episode has as said before a bunch of really funny bits of humor; the kids cheering as the robot strangles Skinner, "While you're enjoying our Hall of Wonders, your car will unfortunately be subject to repeated break-ins""What'd he say?, what about my car?", Bart wrecking Frink's computer invention ("The hard drive is crashing at an alarming speed!"), Homer sawing a round hole from under the floor of Bart's room and briefly peering up from it before lowering himself down again as he notices Marge, Chief Wiggum having trouble getting up the stairs and then injures his back as he tries to show off as he rolls into the room with his gun ready, the phone message scene with Homer and Marge (I like how Homer continues singing in the background as Marge speaks with Bart), Ralph being scared even though the intensly sharp 'night light' is on, the elderly guard at the abandoned prison ("Why do I always shout first?, just gives them a chance to run away; well, I'm an idiot." is such a great line), the "rocket in my pocket" joke with Mr. Burns and the somewhat dark and wacky leprechaun bit right at the end (yeah, I actually think that part is funny).
The climax of the episode of course involves the electric chair Bart and Ralph forgot to switch off as they ran out of the abandoned penitentiary and the next day, the mayor is having a reopening ceremony there, strapping himself to the chair to demonstrate to the public in that it's still in 'off' mode, not knowing the chair's power is actually on. How it all plays out is done really well; the mayor prepares his stunt as Bart wonders what they should do, Ralph suggests Bart that Lisa "is a good thinker" and gets her to help them by sending a rocket with an accompanying note about the fact that the chair's power is on to the penitentiary, but it instead ends up in Burns' pocket, whereupon he reads it and surprisinly enough, turns off the penitentiary's power off because according to him, it had gotten free electricity for thirty years. This of course saves the mayor and Ralph is cheered on by the Simpson family. I like how that despite them failing to send the note to the penitentiary, they still manage to get the message out and get the penitentiary's power to be cut; it's crazy and kinda random but it works really well in the episode. I have no problem with the last bit with the imaginary leprechaun telling Ralph to burn the house down because I think it's a funny ending and it's nothing I take too seriously (and I doubt that Ralph actually set the house on fire in the end).
Overall, I think this episode succeeds in what it sets out to do; entertain people and get them to laugh a bit. It is of course no masterpiece but I still think it's pretty good and to the honest, save for a few moments as the abeformentioned ending with the imaginary leprechaun speaking to Ralph, I think this episode could have fit in pretty well in one of Oakley & Weinstein's seasons seeing as while it's a Scully episode, it has the qualities of an O&W episode and that's something, at least in my opinion so all in all, it's definitely a rather solid outing from the ninth season.
So am I the only one who enjoys that leprechaun? Maybe because I first saw this at around 10 but it still gets me every time. I guess you could argue it as an example of the Scully wackiness that would destroy much of Seasons 11 and 12, but the entire episode just feels fairly realistic to that point and clearly Ralph alone can see it that it never bothered me at all. You really don't get sweet endings in the Scully era though regardless, but I enjoyed this disturbing one.
(I'd like to think he's there to show just how vivid and wacky Ralph's mind is, but I don't think he's some psycho kid just for imagining a pyromaniac leprechaun).
I did.....admittedly after reading Darren's and posting my reply though
EDIT: And I actually agree when you say it feels like it could've come from an earlier era with a change or two.
Last edited by Oh, that's raspberry!; 07-03-2011 at 11:50 AM.
My review will be up tomorrow but I'll say now that I also don't mind the leprechaun at the end, it's rather strange and quite creepy at the same time (It is essentially a young boy being told to commit a crime by a vision or trip he has in his mind) But I think it's quite a funny gag and defiantly doesn't ruin the episode for me anyway (I may have disliked it more if it was not mentioned earlier in the episode but as it was, it made more 'sense')
i didn't mind the mention of the leprechaun, but it appearing at the end was kinda stupid i thought. it's funnier (IMO) to have Ralph think there's a leprechaun, as opposed to there actually being one the audience sees
Also, as an aside why do people(myself included at times) always seem to use fuck as an empowerer in these modern times? The actual definition of the word involves sex correct? Yet for some reason calling something "fucking" bad, somehow makes it worse than just being bad? I only bring this up here because you used it Darren, but it is something I always find odd, even though I do it myself from time to time. Obviously off topic though....
I didn't say the ending ruined the episode. It ruined a ending that could've been sweet(a very rare thing in the Scully era) and it just put a cap on a shitty episode to begin with. Once again humor will be subjective as always but how is it really a funny gag? It's just lost on me. I guess seeing a leprechaun telling a kid to burn things is what most people find funny.
Also Zombies why not just post your review in this thread?
I think you might be examining it too seriously if all you see is really a leprechaun just telling a kid to burn things I mean even in the Scully Era the show is a comedy. The performance by Dan is very well done, first sweet then homicidal in the span of 2 seconds. The fact that it was setup, but in passing enough to where you're allowed to forget about it but then it shows up anyway comes off as nice, and aside from that the pure absurdity of it, combined with it being something we'd actually kinda expect from Ralph, along with the disturbingly serious way it plays out at the very end is just great. I also love Ralph's blank stare and nod. That said, I could understand why people might not like it. I suppose it is a rather dark joke when taken literally to be sure, but its so quick I really don't dwell on the negative and we know Ralph isn't gonna burn anything anyway. On the commentary they actually say it was going to end sweetish, but the leprechaun was added post-animatic. I guess it could be seen as a minor example of wackiness Scully would really screw over the audience with later like Jockey Elves or Surf's Up, but it just never came off as bad to me like those and, as I said, makes me laugh consistently.
I wouldn't say seeing a homicidal leprechaun is something we'd expect from Ralph. It just steps over the line for me whatever. Obviously the show is a comedy in the Scully era I just find 95% of the Scully era extremely unfunny and that seems to be the only defense of the era is that you can find little moments in the episodes that make you laugh despite the obvious wreck of characterizations and emotional heart.
I probably wouldn't go as high as 95% but I am also very critical of the Scully Era, but to me this is a good episode regardless. I'm not gonna defend the era as a whole but there are episodes that are funny throughout, and I'd say this is one.
yeah, the show in the Scully era is a comedy, too bad it is rarely funny
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