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I just didn't think the plot was any more contrived than that from the classic era.Ok I kinda feel like David Mirkin like in the commentaries, laboriously explaining obvious jokes, but that's just because it annoys me when people throw out an incredibly lazy inferences like 'well there was unrealism/wackiness in the classic era and you didn't mind it there'. As the above example shows, those so-called contrivances were well-written, and was used to comedic effect far beyond the novelty of something unrealistic being on screen, which is far more than can be said for 99% of tonight's episode. So y'know, that's a complete non-starter of an argument.
In fact, I was rather impressed how much the plot justified itself. The episode showed why Bart wanted to go on the cruise, and answered how a family of modest means would pay for it. Rather that than winning a prize and Lisa proclaiming "The Simpsons are going on a cruise".
I didn't have a problem with the cruise exceeding expectations. It's not that much of a stretch, and I thought it was a much more interesting angle that the obvious one of it being crap and disappointing.
Really, my only problem was that the fake virus plot was a bit too silly and Scully-era-esque.
I think the recent episodes with Matt Selman as show-runner are the best episodes in over a decade. The dialogue isn't as sharp as the glory days, but the visual gags have returned and the plots are grounded, coherent and interesting. They aren't always going for the cheap, obvious gags either, and there isn't needless unfunny wackiness.
Better than I thought The Simpsons could possibly be in Season 23.
Last edited by brandnewhalo; 04-30-2012 at 02:03 AM.
On paper, if you read the description, it would appear 'equal', but the execution of your examples was far superior and surrounded with much more clever comedy. Even the Krusty Burger Oil rig was even admitted to be a bullshit "mistake" in the episode. IMO, this episode didn't have any great humor to cover the BS...it just seemed like a bunch of stuff happened in cold, calculated, unfunny, flat-as-Kansas way.
You're right, on paper it wasn't, but everything else surrounding the execution of the plot, characters and gags made the episode so much better. When tonight's episode and any other modern episode, lacks all three in those areas, the hokeyness has nothing to hide behind.I just didn't think the plot was any more contrived than that from the classic era.
Well, ya'know if you stay positive and forget about trivial things like "proper characterization," "Satire," and "emotional depth" watching new Simpsons episodes can be a seemingly enjoyable lie.
"One of the keys to life is having a sense of proportion, knowing how long to sit at a restaurant after you've eaten, or how long you should go on vacation — if you go to Hawaii for a month on vacation, I guarantee you that by the end you'll hate it. So it's the same with a TV show, you want to do a certain amount of it, so that when people look back on it and they love it. I could have easily done the show for one or two or three more years, but it would have changed the way people look back at it. I think I made the right decision. Because people like the show now even more than they did in the 1990s, because it didn't get worn out." -- Jerry Seinfeld
I'm kind of in the middle about this one. I kinda agree with most of the points Rango made but I still think the episode had a lot of good things going for it and more creativity than usual. If this were a Futurama episode the contrivances would probably be more forgiven but I usually think of the Simpsons as more realistic.
To sum up I thought the episode was pretty good until the song scene (included), but after Bart's prank it got a little too wacky , even though the message at the end was cute. I don't mind whether it was telegraphed to the audience or not, South Park and again Futurama do these things and nobody complains. It was a nice message and it fitted with the theme of the episode.
Also I quite liked Steve Coogan's character.
So...3,5/5 or something like that.
My Simpsons homage!
Hi, Friz here.
I quite enjoyed this episode. I liked the ending and the soliloquies joke. I also have noticed that in all Matt Selman EP episodes, there's a lot more freeze frame gags. It's as if he wants to reward the audience or something, instead of berating them by explaining the joke.
Anyway, 3/5. Because, I enjoyed it, but it still had Modern Simpson problems.
I agree with almost all your points, but you mention things that are good in the episode: the initial montage, the song scene, the flash foward, cute scenes with the family having fun on the cruise, I'd add Steve Coogan's character in general and yeah, the ending, while it happened on a wacky circumstance I thought it quite worked.
I don't even mind the cruisers abandoning OFF in Antarctica..though yeah, they could have give them more clothes or something, but I didn't like Bart's plan, it was difficult to come up with something believable but it was pretty lazy. I'm also a little tired of this "zombie city" scenario that they seem to like too much after The Simpsons Movie. I'd rather prefer people just being worried about their future instead of the cruise becoming a sort of Mad Max civilization all of the sudden.
A little more development for Lisa's new friends would have been cute too, I guess.
First part (+ beginning of the cruise) : Excellent
Second part : Boring!
Last part (Antarctica) : Pretty decent.
Overall : 4/5
4/5. Second best episode of the season. Glad to see Matt Selman is taking over (Now, can he please get rid of Al "Fface" Jean).
My Top 5 Favorite Episodes of Season 23
1. Holidays of Future Passed
2. A Totally Fun Thing That Bart Will Never Do Again
3. The Book Job
4. The Food Wife
5. Bart Stops to Smell the Roosevelts
Also, since Matt Selman was co-show runner for three of this season's episodes (so far), will he take over next season as well. Perhaps full time.
We really can't know for sure but my gut says maybe...anyway tvclub gave this a surprising A- as opposed to crushing the previous new episode which I preferred to this. Was honestly surprised and the comments in the review even seem to be agreeing with it for the most part. NoHomers and this thread is even mentioned in the comments...
Last edited by Oh, that's raspberry!; 04-30-2012 at 09:22 AM.
I think it's interesting to note the differences between Matt Selman episodes and the rest. The Selman episodes so far seem to pack in a lot more per episode than Jean eps (freeze frame gags, lack of opening for longer story, more interesting set pieces eg. the opening montage), and focus more on the family and have a point. Whilst Them Robot, for example, was just wacky shit that felt pointless, at least this had some kind of message (yeah, ok, they kind of shoved it in our face but whatever) which sort of held the episode together. This episode wasn't great by any means, but it felt more coherent and full as a whole.
Good bits: The joke with the cruise guy constantly leaning on something (quite clever), the opening montage, the bit that showed Bart doing all the stuff as if he was part of the map, (surprisingly) the bit at Antarctica, the song (it was okay), the fact it went straight in to the story, "visuals and commercial if anything undermine the thrill of the actual cruise experience" (pretty much the only time I laughed).
Bad bits: Everything with the cruise being stupid and believing Bart's prank (pretty bad), Homer (waaay too whiny), the long unfunny "Mr. Steak" conversation, Bart randomly just selling EVERYTHING (slightly unbelievable and stupid), the fact that it wasn't funny.
A unique, if unfunny and at parts incredibly stupid, episode. Marginally above "meh" territory.
Last edited by c l o n e; 04-30-2012 at 09:34 AM.
- Good opening. Short and sweet.
- The montage was obviously important in setting up Bart's feelings of frustration so while I'm not a big fan of them, OK. It was rather short as well.
- I Don't buy the idea that a 10 year old would be super-interested in a cruise, though. Especially to the point where he'd sell his possessions.
- I liked Bart's deal with the devil.
- The episode feels a lot snappier. There's not that awkward pause for laughs.
- Homer really acts like a jerk early in the episode.
- I liked the upgrade subversion of expectations. I expected to go on a couple more times.
- There were only two movie name/premise jokes!
- Wow, the movies were actually relevant?
- I really didn't need to watch Homer drink out of the water three times.
- Simpsons end up on Antarctica? Just typing that seems super strange. Really stupid turn.
- I really didn't like seeing old Bart but I'm guessing it's just a hallucination considering the circumstances and how we never see them saved.
It was better than I expected but it didn't feel like a Simpsons episode to me. The characters were interchangeable with any of the other animated series.
Well I liked it!
Probably should have voted 4/5 but I voted 5/5 as I couldn't vote for Japan over Australia
Don't make me run! I'm full of chocolate!
I changed it to a 0.5/5.
I sorta feel like this could have been stretched out as "Movie plot" material...hey, if the first Simpsons movie was baiscally about Homer's biggest fuck up EVER, then why can't the second be about Bart's most devastating prank outcome ever? At least the family would have more equal screentime what with being stuck together on a boat as well as in Antarctica.
I liked Coogan's character but DAMN that did not sound like Steve Coogan to me. I appreciate him doing something for the sake of the character, but he has such a nice voice I would have been fine if he had just gone au natural with it.
Like with the new Family Guy, it was one of my favourites of the season so far. Even better than "Beware my cheating Bart".
The opening montage
"Bart's been raptured...and his craps been craptured!"
Bart's everything sale
Lisa trying to reassure Bart that she still likes Jazz (To me that was a tongue-in-cheek way of saying "Hey...who am I to alter the status quo even a little?")
Homer's rant followed by his "I was right" gloating, and finally...the best line of the episode "OCEAN SEX RULES! GO TO HELL LAND SEX!"
Bart's little montage of fun activities
The depressed comedian
The cult yoga leader
"Drop dead fat ass!"
Homer trying to choke Bart with his numb blue hands
Only things I didn't like about this episode were the two scenes where we seen Bart on his deathbed...it was pretty depressing.
Such majestic movement.
I enjoy this episode... even If the title suggested something bigger. I wish they would focus more on the cyvilisation people on the boat created but over all it was fun episode. Plus the ending reminded me a quote from Dr. Seuss - "Don't be sad beacose it's over, be happy it happend" (or something similar)
OW! And I LOVE the joke about Bart thinking that Satan awnser his prays
I have no opinions yet because I haven't watched the episode. I saved it on my PVR so I might have time to watch later. Looking at the reviews above...lookin' pretty bad. Oh well, might as well see it anyways.
Sometimes it's enjoying the small moments that really makes you appreciate life.
Have some balloon sculptures, meanwhile:
that review and its pertinent comments so they can see how they're perceived outside of the "NoHomers bubble".
Last edited by Brad Lascelle; 04-30-2012 at 03:40 PM.
I totally agree with what Blobulle said about this episode. At first, I loved the scene where we see the whole week that Bart spent and we saw that he is so bored. Moreover, it was really weird to see a Bart depressed like this during an episode, it is far from usual. The first half of the episode is totally awesome, it's been a long time since I had not seen something like that. There was not lot of jokes during this first part, but the script was good and there was a great atmosphere. The scene where Bart dies and think this trip will be the last thing he will do great in his life is quite sad and I liked it. The only thing I did not really like in this first part is the fact that Homer and Marge lets Bart sell all the objects in his room, it's not very realistic. Where the episode starts to get worse, it was when Bart put his plan to stay on the boat to forever. It gets really annoying (especially when the captain told what to do on the boat in a situation like that and it summarizes the situation). From that moment, my rating has not ceased to decline. I would have given a 3, but in the end of the episode in Antarctica when Homer gives a lesson in life, it's pretty good and the final scene when Bart is old is also very well so I finally gave a rating of 3,25/5.
My Simpsons Season 24 Ratings/Reviews:
Moonshine River (2,25/5) / Treehouse Of Horror XXIII (3,5/5) / Adventures in Baby-Getting (3,25/5) / Gone Abie Gone (3,5/5) / Penny Wise-Guys (3/5) / A Tree Grows in Springfield (1,75/5) / The Day The Earth Stood Cool (3,75/5) / To Cur with Love (4/5) / Homer Goes to Prep School (3/5) / A Test Before Trying (3,5/5) / The Changing of the Guardian (1,25/5) / Love is a Many-Splintered Thing (2,75/5) / Hardly Kirk-ing (3,25/5) / Gorgeous Grampa (2,25/5) / Black-Eyed, Please (3,75/5) / Dark Knight Court (3/5) / Pulpit Friction (3,25/5)
Futurama - Season 7 :
The Bots and the Bees : 3,75/5 / A Farewell to Arms : 4/5 / Decision 3012 : 3,5/5 / The Thief of Baghead : 3,25/5 / Zapp Dingbat : 2/5 / The Butterjunk Effect : 2,5/5 / The Six Million Dollar Mon : 4/5 / Fun On A Bun : 3,75/5 / Free Will Hunting : 2,25/5 / Near-Death Wish : 3,75/5 / 31st Century Fox : 3,5/5 / Viva Mars Vegas : 4/5 / Naturama : 2,5/5
I must say, I was presently surprised with the quality of this episode. Rich color, nice shadows, and the story was allot better than what I've scene recently. With all the news about cruise ships tally I believe this is a perfect fit. I don't think we will ever have classic Simpson's material again but this is a step in the right direction.
This episode might be considered polarizing.
It seems to me that many of the people who hated on the episode picked on Bart's characterization, for not being bratty enough, or for being too mopey. How on Earth is that a negative aspect? They really missed the point this time.
Just like a lot of the angry reaction towards Bart to the Future, people seem to dislike Bart being written in a more realistic light. When you look at it, there's not much to the character. He's the one character in the show who's aged terribly. Bart's persona screams 1990-1991, with the whole skateboarding anti-establishment "eat-my-shorts" meme.
Put the cream aside, and see it from a simple perspective. When you write Bart as a kid in a less cartoony world, and put the Bartmania rules aside, you get something like this. There were episodes that pictured Bart's softer loser side in the past, and they all made it clear that he doesn't have much going for him in this life (Itchy and Scratchy The Movie; Lisa's Wedding..).
A Totally Fun Thing Bart will never do again seems like a pretty good premise, reasonably true to character. The difference is that Bart was actually preoccupied with his life's outcome. That's what bugs people.
As for contrivances, I don't see an issue. No more contrived than any plot in a classic episode. There's enough room to breathe in this cartoony world, to allow for a ship's crew stranding them in Antarctica.
Personally, I really enjoyed it. Not perfect, but still very entertaining. I love the fact that the family actually had a truly great time on the cruise, without pain gags for once, at least until the plot twist.
I'll give it a 4/5. The plot worked, the characters were perfect, excellent pacing, and very nice gags, and a sweet resolution. Another win for Matt Selman.
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