View Poll Results: How would you rate A Test Before Trying?

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  • 5/5: Bart Gets an F

    11 10.89%
  • 4/5: Bart's Dog Gets an F

    42 41.58%
  • 3/5: This episode gets an C

    32 31.68%
  • 2/5: This episode gets an D

    11 10.89%
  • 1/5: This episode gets an F

    5 4.95%
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Thread: Rate and Review: A Test Before Trying (RABF03)



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  1. #1
    Vote Jerkass Homer 2015! Jerkass Homer's Avatar
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    Rate and Review: A Test Before Trying (RABF03)

    January 13th 2013: "When Springfield Elementary is threatened with closure because of low standardized test scores, the fate of the school rests on one student who missed the test, and who must raise the average above the minimum threshold: Bart Simpson. Meanwhile, Homer finds a parking meter at a local dump, and starts deploying it around Springfield to fleece unwitting parkers of their quarters".

    Discuss!

  2. #2
    Food-Crazed Maniac Oh, that's raspberry!'s Avatar
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    If I got the episode I was gonna make very similar poll options actually so don't feel bad @homer the stonecutter

    Oh, and for future reference I deleted all earlier posts as rate and review threads should be as empty as possible until after airing. If you want to speculate on how the episode will be someone should make a preview and speculation thread.

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  4. #3
    "went to pick up cigarettes" Tubbb!'s Avatar
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    ACT ONE:
    ( A long opening... are they making up for another short episode? )
    "Sometimes Y, the story of a vowel that goes both ways..."
    Right into a plausible story at the start, and nothing crazy going on? This is really starting off like a classic-era episode. Imma scared.

    ACT TWO:
    "We tried to have ourselves accredited as an art school, but none of us could draw the pirate."
    "I have an aunt named 'Hope.' Perhaps you'd like to kill her as well!"
    No complaints yet! The B-story is funny, the A-story is entertaining... I'll be damned. Is this feeling what I used to call "enjoyment?"

    ACT THREE:
    LOL! "Evil Skinner" is his mother!
    Loved the whole "falling asleep" gag.
    Laughed at the proctor's response to "You've been an educator for a while, haven't you?"
    I will admit the episode is starting to stall out by the end of this act, but that always seems to happen during act three.

    ACT FOUR:
    The resolution to the B-story was a little blunt...
    Huh... they brought back the fact that Skinner could see his house from the principal's office, and it's the classic era depiction of the house!

    A good episode, but it faltered a bit at the end... so, 4/5.
    Quote Originally Posted by SpeedwaySquad View Post
    You liked this episode, I didn't. There's no need to get so worked up about it.
    "In Rand McNally, they wear hats on their feet and hamburgers eat people!"
    "Oh, I've wasted my life."

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  6. #4
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    Not too bad, as I laughed more than I did in last week's episode. However, I don't feel comfortable giving it more than a 3/5.

  7. #5
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    No highs, no lows....3/5.

    Back to my drawing.


    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.


  8. #6
    Hired Goon
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    Act One:

    So far, nothing spectacular, but not boring either. The only part I didn't care too much for was Lunchlady Doris talking about baking her husband into a pie. That joke ranks up there with the Jerk-Off joke from last season, as well as the urine drinking joke from last week. Blech.

    Act Two:

    All right, now we're picking up. Homer's parking meter subplot, although it felt a little Scullyish, provided some entertainment. My only complaint was Bart's out of character panicky behavior, but that got saved a little by his fantasy of the school being destroyed. Possibly Bart's most in-character moment in a while.

    Act Three:

    Meh, it's gone downhill again. It's so dull, I barely remember it at all and I just watched it. (I do these reviews during commercial breaks.) Also, Homer's parking meter subplot ended at this point? Well, it did lead to that "punctuation" joke in the news, so I guess it was time.

    Act Four:

    Ehh, who cares? There was never any real conflict, so the ending didn't feel earned. Also, the Valierie Harper/Julie Kavner interactions felt forced, like they just wanted a reunion.

    Overall:

    A boring, but inoffensive episode - which is what made up most of this dismal season.

    I'll give it a 3/5 (C+)
    My Simpsons Season Rankings:
    6 > 7 > 3 > 5 > 8 > 4 > 2 > 1 > 9 > 15 > 13 > 14 > 10 > 16 > 12 > 11 > 22 > 21 > 17 > 25 > 24 > 18 > 26 > 20 > 19 > 23

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  9. #7
    is nevermore Kid Moe's Avatar
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    There is only one word that can describe this episode: WOW! This episode completely blew away all of my expectations and was really funny (again, last week's episode, some of the jokes reminded me of the classic era). The main plot was really good. Again, like in "Bart Gets A F", you actually do feel what Bart is going through, and that there really is something at stake here. Also, seeing the classic era depiction of Skinner's house was awesome.

    The subplot was also really good. It's been a while since a newer episode has had a subplot that I really enjoyed, but this subplot was just perfect. I mean, Homer did these kinds of things all the time in the classic era where he'd find stuff and use them for his own personal gain, so to see that part of his character return was just great.

    All in all, a great episode and the best of the season. A solid 5/5


  10. #8
    Αdministrator Sam's Avatar
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    It was good in that weird sort of season 21-now way. C+.
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  12. #9
    Food-Crazed Maniac Oh, that's raspberry!'s Avatar
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    The couch gag went on too long so I thought the episode was gonna be short, but it actually seemed to drag on though I didn't mind. Had elements of several episodes as is common, but it was still pretty enjoyable. The first act was the weakest as I didn't care too much for the Mr. Burns setup(I did like him holding on to the podium against the breeze though.) I enjoyed the use of the Halloween music for the one montage and we had some fun jokes involving some of the students. Skinner mentioning how everyone failed to draw the pirate gave me the biggest laugh but I liked the reference to the Psycho house and his mom as his devil. Bart's dream was fun but the Popeye reference was just random. I liked the look of this one. The blackout at Channel 6 and the eye coloring on Krusty/Brockman looked cool. Several interesting camera angles in this one especially with the head on shots between Bart and Lisa during that bedroom scene. The shot of the kids playing while Bart looks on near the end looked really nice and the bug time waste and call back were good.

    Homer's subplot was fun if random and I liked the Great Raymondo cameo during the montage and Homer underwater, but the wishing well ending was kinda meh, though I did like the question afterthought that felt reminiscent of the whole vocabulary enhancer end card from Bart's Friend Falls in Love. Pretty good stuff, 3.5 rounded up.


  13. #10
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    I really liked it. Half way through the episode I realized that this probably could have probably been released during the classic era and be considered a decent episode, not brilliant, but good. For today's standards, it's great.

    I always love the kids at school stories, and this one is no different. I remember teachers talking to us about how important standardized tests were for the state of the school.

    4.5 rounded up to 5.
    Lifelong Simpsons fan.


  14. #11
    "went to pick up cigarettes" Tubbb!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oh, that's raspberry! View Post
    Bart's dream was fun but the Popeye reference was just random.
    Who else is going to be a spinach farmer in the dreams of a 10 year old? I guess it could have also been a bunch of Willies....
    LOL! A bunch of willies.

    I agree with you 100% on everything else though.


  15. #12
    Fails at masonry Financial Panther's Avatar
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    Damn couch gags...WHY DO THEY HAVE TO BE SO FUCKING LONG?! That pisses me off so much. How hard can it be to just come up with a quick little joke? Anyway, on to the episode...

    This was good, but too many jokes toward the beginning were ruined by over-explanation. For example, "Chicken Pete Pie" would've been mildly funny had Chalmers (who, by the way, is appearing WAY, WAY too much. What was the last episode he wasn't in? It's like the writers can't use Skinner on his own anymore.) not ruined it by questioning Doris about what she said. Bart playing with the bug was also dragged out. I was screaming out loud for that scene to end already.

    But then the episode found its footing. We had two cohesive plots that developed, and the jokes became more consistent and funny. The Sherri/Terri joke was pretty good, but the Agnes as the devil joke was easily the best of the episode. The episode had some suspense to it; the scene with all the kids taking the test was very nicely done. I liked Bart and Lisa's conversations, and he was characterized well here.

    The B-plot was one of the better ones we've had this season. Nothing too deep in it, but it provided a little bit of humor. (But do parking meters even exist anymore? That seemed a little unbelievabe.)

    This was a good episode, but the poor jokes at the beginning keep it from getting top marks. 4/5.

  16. #13
    Food-Crazed Maniac Oh, that's raspberry!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tubb! View Post
    Who else is going to be a spinach farmer in the dreams of a 10 year old?

    I agree with you 100% on everything else though.
    It even being a spinach farm seemed random, unless it was mentioned earlier and I already forgot.

  17. #14
    "went to pick up cigarettes" Tubbb!'s Avatar
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    The sign on the school indicated that it had been turned into a spinach farm.

  18. #15
    Food-Crazed Maniac Oh, that's raspberry!'s Avatar
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    Ah, I missed that. I noticed the later Lisa's brother one though.

  19. #16
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    We had here a really long intro. So I thought the episode was going to be a little short in the kind of "The D'oh-cial Network", but ultimately we are entitled to two stories fairly complete and both enjoyable to watch. I think they are both still at the same level despite that I have a slight preference for the main story with Bart who must pass the test. Neither story is excellent, but none has disappointed me and I am very pleased with the episode. "A" story can be thought "How the test was won" or to "Bart Gets an F", but the atmosphere is different and it is not the same thing or the same situation so I still find this last quite original. "B" story is very original, we never had a story like this before and what I like is that although it is the story B, it is well developed and concludes well. I can also say there are a lot of gags in both story. Finally, an episode that is really not bad and this makes season 24 season much better than seasons 22 and 23 so far! I give a rating of 3,5/5 (4 in the poll) to this episode.
    My Simpsons Season 26 Ratings/Reviews:
    Clown in the Dumps : 1/5 / The Wreck of the Relationship : 3,5/5 / Super Franchise Me : 3/5 / Simpson Horror Show XXV : 2,75/5

  20. #17


    I didn't like this one too much. It just seemed that with two promising plots, things could have been better.

    After a very long couch gag, which was kind of funny but not deserving of how long it took, we start off with the plot point which admittedly wasn't completely throw-away since it set up the story, but it still seemed like things could have moved quicker. Homer finding the parking meter and the school being in financial trouble both could have just happened without all that set-up. The main story has a fun premise: The school is dependent on Bart getting a good score to stay in business, and they could have gotten some really funny payoff from this, like the school has to bend over backward to try and get Bart ready, with Bart taking advantage of the situation and walking all over the staff and Skinner. Instead, the plot felt very lightweight. It didn't seem like they were taking advantage of the premise, with Bart's indifference towards studying not being all that funny and not feeling like anything new either. Then, because of a flimsy nightmare sequence he suddenly has the drive to study and wants to save the school. They don't even go very far with this idea either, since all it takes is a couple hours of studying, a quick pointer from Lisa, and a Deus Ex Machina bug to make everything right. They didn't take the initial premise very far, they didn't take Bart trying to study and do better very far, it all just feels very dull. As for the leader of the standardized test exams, she felt like a wasted opportunity too. Her voice wasn't all that distinctive (sorry Valerie Harper), her character was really bland and forgettable, and considering how she gets those scenes with Marge on the side, I can't help but feel the writers had intended to make her a more fleshed out character, but ran out of time, or just didn't have an idea for what to do with her. It seemed awkward and strange that we kept getting scenes with her even though I had absolutely no connection to the character.

    Homer's subplot unfortunately wasn't much better. Again, sounds like a funny and silly premise: Homer gets money on the side by using a portable parking meter. The problem is, it really doesn't go any further than this initial premise, and the jokes to go with it weren't that great either. Homer makes some money with the parking meter, then he makes some more, then they try to raise the stakes by showing the police are on his trail, but we don't get much real tension or any sense of severity. Then, out of nowhere, Wiggum comes upon Homer, again with no real build-up and the whole thing just ends far too fast. As for the resolution of what happened to the money, it would have been funny to see Marge using that money to bribe the standardized test worker, or using the money in some way to resolve the electricity situation, but it just ends. So is there anything that great about this episode? Well, I suppose that not doing enough with the premises is not the same as not doing anything at all, or doing something offensive or stupid with it. And overall, this episode did not do anything that bad, it just seemed like with those starting points, this had potential to be a great episode, but it wasn't.

    I give this episode a 2/5. I'm starting to fall into a funk with this season. I was actually enjoying it earlier this year around the Halloween episode, but this is starting to become a drudge.
    When I grow up I'm going to Bovine University

  21. #18


    Is this Joel Cohen's final episode? Maybe I'm crazy, but I thought I read that somewhere...

  22. #19
    Nintendo Dance Party! ManiacalRoboKiller's Avatar
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    This episode gets a 4/5 from me really funny and am I the only one who liked the couch gag? I thought it was pretty funny. Ahh feels good to have another good episode this season. So that makes 4 of the episodes from this season pretty good.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bart Flimpson's Dracula View Post
    Like Seth MacFarlane's addiction to creating terrible new shows, Matt Groening has a problem with concluding a show. He needs therapy.


  23. #20
    Stonecutter Lance.Uppercut's Avatar
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    I kind of liked this one. Can't really put my finger on why, seeing as the couch gag could've been accomplished in half the time. The ep had some cute moments, but the most noticeable element was the superior voice direction. It really makes a difference here, as Homer is not at all over the top and Marge is nearly on-point. Marge's conversation at the end with the proctor was kind of cute, and I kind of liked Skinner in this one also. It felt kind of classic-y, borrowing elements from some greats like "Bart Gets an F", "Lisa Gets an A" and featuring a variant on the B-plot from "Milhouse Doesn't Live Here Anymore". I was almost nearly perhaps kind of just about to be convinced that Bart gave a flying crap about his school.

  24. #21
    Nintendo Dance Party! ManiacalRoboKiller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lance.Uppercut View Post
    I kind of liked this one. Can't really put my finger on why, seeing as the couch gag could've been accomplished in half the time. The ep had some cute moments, but the most noticeable element was the superior voice direction. It really makes a difference here, as Homer is not at all over the top and Marge is nearly on-point. Marge's conversation at the end with the proctor was kind of cute, and I kind of liked Skinner in this one also. It felt kind of classic-y, borrowing elements from some greats like "Bart Gets an F", "Lisa Gets an A" and featuring a variant on the B-plot from "Milhouse Doesn't Live Here Anymore". I was almost nearly perhaps kind of just about to be convinced that Bart gave a flying crap about his school.
    Yeah I noticed that too! All of the voice work was pretty spot on. No one sounded off. Especially Harry's characters! Which frankly Harry has been just going through the motions and half-assing it these past couple episodes.

  25. #22
    loves chimney stacks Frightened Inmate No. 2's Avatar
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    I haven't seen this one yet, but I have noticed much better voice acting this season versus last season.
    Harry and Nancy have sounded off sometimes, but most of them are good consistently. Even Julie is actually good.
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  26. #23
    Αdministrator Sam's Avatar
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    Harry has been bad for a long time and you know it. He sounds nothing like the old Burns or Smithers.

  27. #24
    loves chimney stacks Frightened Inmate No. 2's Avatar
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    Yeah, Harry is definitely the worst one.

  28. #25
    Nintendo Dance Party! ManiacalRoboKiller's Avatar
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    That's what i'm saying Burns has been very whispery lately for the past couple episodes but this one he seemed better than usual as Burns and Brockman.

  29. #26


    Horrible Episode.1/5
    Only thing I laughed was at bits of Homer's Sub-Plot and when Willie told Nelson he was going to Arkham Elementary School and then the bus blew out


  30. #27
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    Pretty decent. Actually laughed a few times. This seemed like a Season 10-11 episode. 4/5.
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  31. #28


    I dunno Nancy as Bart is worse then Harry at his roles.
    Nancy as Bart almost sounds like a friggin girl nowadays.Bart doesnt have that rebellious brat tone anymore


  32. #29
    Hired Goon
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    Quote Originally Posted by Financial Panther View Post

    For example, "Chicken Pete Pie" would've been mildly funny had Chalmers (who, by the way, is appearing WAY, WAY too much. What was the last episode he wasn't in? It's like the writers can't use Skinner on his own anymore.) not ruined it by questioning Doris about what she said.
    I didn't find that joke funny at all. I liked Doris better when she was a bored lunch lady who smoked and gave dry quips. Having her made into a deranged maniac who killed people and baked them into pies totally ruined her.

    Then again, replacing Tress as her voice actor ruined that character as well.


  33. #30
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    Watchin' as I do this.

    - HAHA oh my god, that couch gag was shit.

    - The first act's over. What the fuck did I just watch. What just happened? Why was the Halloween theme playing? How is this entertainment?

    - "This student filled in everything but the ovals". Ha.

    - Oh boy! A Ned Flanders appearance! TO THE NED FLANDERS BLOG.

    http://nedflandersfan.wordpress.com/

    - No. NO. They did not use David Bowie's "changes" for a montage in this fucking awful parking meter plot. Oh my god. They made the song a pun. THEY MADE THE SONG A PUN.

    - "It's hopeless. I can't make up for ten years of goofing off in one day". That's what I've been thinking the entire episode. Why does everyone think his test is going to make a difference?

    - So does Chief Wiggum not know who Homer is now or something? Wiggum spent the whole episode looking for him, even reporting about the investigation on television, but Homer gets away because... he drove off? Sooo... that's it?

    - What the fuck is this ending? Bart passes by ONE POINT (because a bug lands on the correct circle...?) and the school is saved? That was enough to save the school?

    - I'm sure this scene was planned out properly:

    Wrecking ball operator: (Yelling out from inside his machine) Is this Wilson Elementary?!
    Skinner: (quietly) no
    Wrecking ball operator: Sorry!

    - Man, there was like, nothing to comment about in this episode. Nothing happened. What bland, forgettable tripe.

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