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Thread: Rate & Review: "Flanders' Ladder" (XABF14)



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  1. #1
    Chatting Simpsons Since '93 Brad Lascelle's Avatar
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    Rate & Review: "Flanders' Ladder" (XABF14)



    Season 29, Episode 21
    Original Airdate: May 20, 2018
    Writer: J. Stewart Burns
    Director: Matthew Nastuk
    Showrunner: Al Jean
    Synopsis: After getting struck by lightning, Bart receives visits from ghosts, who want closure only he can provide.

    Previous R&R
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    R&R Poll Average Score: 3.59 / 5 (as of December 4th / 41 votes)
    Last edited by Brad Lascelle; 12-04-2018 at 09:35 AM.
    SEASON 30 RANKINGS
    Bart's Not Dead - 2.5/5 / Heartbreak Hotel - 1.5/5 / My Way or the Highway to Heaven - 3/5
    THOH XXIX = Intrusion of the Pod-Y Switchers - 1.5/5 / Multiplisaty - 2.5/5 / Geriatric Park - 2/5
    Baby You Can't Drive My Car - 2/5 / From Russia Without Love - 3.5/5 / Werking Mom - 3/5
    Krusty the Clown - 4/5 / Daddicus Finch - 5/5 / 'Tis the 30th Season - 2/5 / Mad About the Toy - 1.5/5
    The Girl on the Bus - 2/5 / I'm Dancing as Fat as I Can - 4.5/5 / The Clown Stays in the Picture - 1.5/5
    101 Mitigations - 3/5 / I Want You (She's So Heavy) - 1/5 / E My Sports - 3.5/5
    Bart vs. Itchy & Scratchy - 4.5/5 / Girl's in the Band - 4/5 / I'm Just a Girl Who Can't Say D'oh - 1/5
    D'oh Canada - 2.5/5 / Woo-hoo Dunnit? - 3.5/5 / Crystal Blue-Haired Persuasion - 1.5/5

  2. #2
    insert usertitle here Egg's Avatar
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    Sick timely parody of the Scary Maze Game
    ++ Lisa and Bart's underwear
    + My Porn
    ++ Tracey Ullman Homer
    umm how can the internet go out but the TV still work
    + Homer imitating horn
    ++ "Think about your possible deaths as you go to sleep"
    + "You May Have won $5000 dollars"
    End of act 1, 8/10!
    + Jesus's abs
    ++ Sherry Bobbin's song
    ++ 9 blocks, I am dead
    End of act two, only 5/10
    ++ Death montage
    Closing Thoughts:
    An average ep.
    The story was actually interesting for a change. Even if it was all just a dream. It felt more like a Treehouse of Horror than a regular episode, but all for the better.
    The jokes didn't completely measure up, but there were some good once, mostly near the beginning.
    Overall, 6/10.
    You're a dolt with the IQ of a peabrain that probably loves lowbrow sitcoms like The Big Bang Theory, Frasier and Seinfeld to not grasp the biting satire and wit of the classic 65 (Rugrats).


  3. #3
    Kinda like Jesus Financial Panther's Avatar
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    Weird episode. Not sure what to say about it. I thought the pranks at the beginning were actually pretty decent and a glimpse at a more classic version of Bart. Then he slipped into a coma, and because Lisa sort of cursed him, he had to get revenge on everyone responsible for people’s deaths. It was interesting, but overall this felt like an extended Treehouse of Horror segment. Stll, they tried something different while not resorting to a stupid gimmick, so I liked that. The episode wasn’t hilarious, but it was decent in the jokes. 4/5
    Favorite and least favorite by season
    1. Krusty Gets Busted There’s No Disgrace Like Home 2. Bart Gets an F Dead Putting Society 3. Homer at the Bat Like Father, Like Clown 4. Brother From the Same Planet Krusty Gets Kancelled 5. Cape Feare Lady Bouvier’s Lover 6. Homer Badman Another Simpsons Clip Show 7. King-Size Homer Lisa the Iconoclast 8. Homer’s Enemy El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer 9. Bart Carny The Trouble With Trillions 10. Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo Homer Simpson in: “Kidney Trouble” 11. Guess Who’s Coming to Criticize Dinner? Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder 12. HOMЯ Tennis the Menace 13. Tales From the Public Domain She of Little Faith 14. The Dad Who Knew Too Little Helter Shelter 15. I, Annoyed Grunt)-bot Bart-Mangled Banner 16. A Star is Torn On a Clear Day I Can’t See My Sister 17. My Fair Laddy Bonfire of the Manatees 18. The Haw-Hawed Couple You Kent Always Say What You Want 19. Funeral for a Fiend All About Lisa 20. Gone Maggie Gone The Good, the Sad and the Drugly 21. The Bob Next Door The Color Yellow 22. Donnie Fatso Love is a Many Strangled Thing 23. The Falcon and the D’ohman A Totally Fun Thing That Bart Will Never Do Again 24. Hardly Kirk-ing Moonshine River 25. The War of Art What to Expect When Bart’s Expecting 26. Sky Police Let’s Go Fly a Coot 27. Halloween of Horror Lisa With an ‘S’ 28. There Will Be Buds Moho House 29. Springfield Splendor Throw Grampa From the Dane


  4. #4


    WTF was that?

    First act was good but then it just went to shit.

    2/5


  5. #5
    -- Dobbie's Avatar
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    Actually caught the first two acts of this episode. First act was riddled with jokes about how modern the family is with them being nostalgic over VHS and trying to find a way to obtain Internet. Then Homer behaves like an animal again which contributes to Bart ending up in a coma. Nicely done, writers....

    It got interesting when the nightmares began: seeing all the deceased characters was interesting a bit. I was surprised by how much they remembered in truth, but it turned into some strange plot about them seeking revenge on their killers. I changed the channel due to a commercial and forgot to return to finish the episode - oh well. Some of the gags gave me a chuckle.

    For modern standards it wasn't particularly bad from what I've seen, but this isn't the kind of episode I can find myself engaged in from this show.

  6. #6
    Junior Camper jayleno's Avatar
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    That botched and painfully unfunny "parody" ending of Six Feet Under's impeccable series finale rekindled my worries about how much Al Jean is going to murder the inevitable series finale if his reign of terror as showrunner is allowed to continue until the end.

    Jebus help us.


  7. #7
    Chatting Simpsons Since '93 Brad Lascelle's Avatar
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    Perhaps he'll let Selman showrun the finale in his place... ahahahaha, as if.

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  9. #8
    Junior Camper bboynexus's Avatar
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    Does anyone else think the premise of this episode would have worked better with Homer instead? I kind of like the idea of Homer seeing the ghosts of people whose deaths he was directly or indirectly responsible for - Maude, Frank Grimes, etc. Might have been a good opportunity for Homer to have a realization about his ‘jerkass’ behavior over the years.

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  11. #9
    Kinda like Jesus Financial Panther's Avatar
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    That’s not a bad idea, actually. I think with Homer instead of Bart as the one who sees the ghosts, there might have been more of a lesson provided, at least for Homer.

    Also, they really seem to want to give Milhouse a catchphrase. He’s repeated “Everything’s coming up Milhouse!” and “Wazzzzzuuuuup!” this season.

  12. #10
    Your Neighborhood Average Joe Purpleberries's Avatar
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    I found this episode to be pretty decent. The plot with Bart being in this weird dream during a coma was mildly interesting. It felt like a 22 minute THOH segment. Bart's characterization here is definitely far better than in other episodes(I'm looking at you, No Good Read Goes Unpunished). Here, Bart is a prankster but he still has a heart. The episode also had some decent lines and gags throughout although most were clustered around the beginning. However, I wasn't a fan of the list gags. Hopefully, those don't become a regular occurrence again. My only real complaint is the Six Feet Under ending. That was pretty cringeworthy and unnecessary. The ending of the third act would've been fine for a ending. Also, what's with the death takeouts this season? Overall, it's pretty okay. 3.5/5(B)
    Last edited by Purpleberries; 05-22-2018 at 08:18 PM.
    Simpsons Season 30 Ratings: Bart's Not Dead: 3/5(B-) Heartbreak Hotel: N/A My Way or the Highway to Heaven: 3.5/5(B) THOH XXIX: 2.5/5(C+) Baby You Can't Drive My Car: 3.25/5(B/B-) From Russia with Love: 4/5(B+) Werking Mom: 3.5/5(B) Krusty the Clown: 3.5/5(B) Daddicus Finch: 5/5(A) Mad About the Toy: 3.5/5(B)



  13. #11
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    3/5 - it could have been a 4, but the "Bart's dead, no, wait, Lisa drags him back to life" ending dropped it back down.

    One of Homer's video tapes is Wedding Video / Alaska Speech - a callback to the movie (where Marge intentionally records over the wedding video).
    Other tapes: Bart's First Steps / NBA Pre-Season, Homer/Marge Personal, Wasps' Nest in Dryer, and Video of Baseball Card Collection.

    For those of you wondering, "long play" is 4-hour mode, and isn't on many later VCRs except as a playback option; the two recording options were standard (2-hour) and extended (6-hour).

    Seriously, Homer's VHS collection has nothing on mine; it's pretty much entirely episodes of The Simpsons from the middle of Season 3 (I think "Radio Bart" is the first one I have) through about 14 (when I bought a DVD recorder (yes, they existed) to replace my VCR).

  14. #12


    For those of you wondering, "long play" is 4-hour mode, and isn't on many later VCRs except as a playback option; the two recording options were standard (2-hour) and extended (6-hour).

    Seriously, Homer's VHS collection has nothing on mine; it's pretty much entirely episodes of The Simpsons from the middle of Season 3 (I think "Radio Bart" is the first one I have) through about 14 (when I bought a DVD recorder (yes, they existed) to replace my VCR).[/QUOTE]

    This explains why every blank VHS tape mentions three different speeds, while my two VCRs just have two speeds. Two hour SP and six hour SLP (which is sometimes called EP).

    I am the queen of owning "yes, they existed" VHS technology, as I have a combination VCR/ DVD recorder. One large box: two different ways to record. I have an elaborate conspiracy theory as to why there aren't any more on the market, too! http://www.nohomers.net/images/smilies/biggrin2.gif

    Back on topic: Gee, these new episodes are getting dark. It's as if the writers were inspired by that "dead bart" nonsense. Kind of glad I skipped out on this one to watch Idol.

  15. #13
    Wrote the book on flimflammin Grifty McGrift's Avatar
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    I'm not gonna be all "Simpsons references are outdated" because I really don't care, I just find it somewhat amusing that they decided to parody that maze game popup scare video that's from the mid 2000's now, in 2018.
    How are Homer throwing all those board games into the fire when he's in the other room and there were no board games next to him?
    Instead of a skeleton they decided to show Bart's base-shape design.
    The first act started out good but now everything sorta derails what with it all being a dream. Which I bet @The Egg Council Creep hated.
    I enjoyed seeing Maude again, you sorta forget she ever existed now.
    The ending with Homer dying was really good actually.
    Death montage felt like it was just there to drag out the episode and I'm sure it's only creating more continuity errors.

  16. #14
    Professional Teleporter Mícheál's Avatar
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    Well I guess this explains why it was called "Flander's Ladder."

    "I may or may not die young. I haven't decided yet."

  17. #15
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    I sorta liked the stuff with Maude (her pretending to hang herself while Millhouse was talking got a laugh out of me) and the first act was OK-ish. Other then that, Eh. I guess there are worse ways to end a season though (as the FG episode which aired an hour later proved).

    Other random thoughts:
    All the VCR stuff made me feel old considering the fact that I still use one (my VHS collection is huge, and still grows) and I'm barely in my mid-20's!
    I was surprised to see them using the clip from Alone Again, Natura-Diddily in it's original 4:3 aspect ratio considering that all the digital releases for the pre-HD episodes crop them horribly to 16:9.
    Like everyone else, I could've done without the stupid cavalcade of death montage (which I didn't even know was supposed to be a reference until viewing this thread) which was even more dragged out than the one from AD!'s OreTron Trail.

    1.5/5 just barely rounded up to a 2 for the poll.
    Family Guy Season 17 Ratings - Married... with Cancer: .5/5 Dead Dog Walking: .5/5 Pal Stewie: 3/5 Big Trouble in Little Quahog: 3.5/5 Regarding Carter: 1.5/5 Stand by Meg: 2/5 Griffin Winter Games: 2.5/5 Con Heiress: 0/5 Pawtucket Pete: 2.5/5 Hefty Shades of Gray: .5/5 Trump Guy: .5/5 Bri, Robot: .5/5 Trans-Fat: 2/5 Family Guy Lite: 1.5/5 No Giggity, No Doubt: 1.5/5 You Can't Handle the Booth: 1/5 Island Adventure: 4/5 Throw It Away: 2/5 Girl, Internetted: 1.5/5 Adam West High: 1.5/5
    American Dad! Season 15 Ratings - Fantasy Baseball: 1.5/5 I Am the Jeans: The Gina Lavetti Story: 0/5 Stan & Francine & Connie & Ted: 0/5 Rabbit Ears: 1.5/5 Jeff and the Dank Ass Weed Factory: 1/5 Lost Boys: 0/5 Shark?!: 1/5 The Long March: 2/5 The Hall Monitor and the Lunch Lady: 0/5 Wild Women Do: 2/5 An Irish Goodbye: 3/5 Stompe le Monde: 0/5 Mom Sauce: 0/5 Hamerican Dad!: TBD Demolition Daddy: TBD Pride Before the Fail: TBD Enter Stanman: TBD No Weddings and a Funeral: TBD Eight Fires: TBD The Hand That Rocks the Rogu: TBD Downtown: TBD Cheek to Cheek: A Stripper's Story: TBD

  18. #16
    Deep Frier of Shirts BlueRibbonCommittee's Avatar
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    In the dead crowd, I spotted:
    Rabbi Hyman Krustofsky
    Bleeding Gums Murphy
    Dr. Marvin Monroe
    Alice Glick (died in "Replacable You")
    Amber Simpson (died in "Jazzy and the Pussycats")
    Albert ("Walking Big and Tall")
    Shari Bobbins
    Jebediah Springfield
    Waylon Smithers, Sr. ("The Blunder Years")
    Jimmy the Squealer (When did he die?)
    The original Snowball II, Snowball III, and Snowball IV aka "Coltraine" ("I, D'oh-Bot")

    The guy with the penny rollers on his belt looks familiar too. And is that the guy from the Gunsmoke opening Maggie shot?

    I'll do Ned's wives when I have the time.


  19. #17
    Grappling with Local Oaf Beggs's Avatar
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    Not that it has any bearing on the episode itself, but the basketball fan in me enjoyed the title joke with the player dunking a ball through the O in Simpsons. It was unexpected, and I got a kick out of it.

    As for the episode itself...well, it's another one that leaves me with mixed feelings. It was an interesting concept that allowed them to bring back some deceased characters (most notably Maude Flanders), but it felt a little too morbid - probably because Family Guy's finale dealt with similar subject matter - and frankly, I was in the mood for something a bit more upbeat. There were examples of good characterisation, but also some very mean-spirited moments with Lisa's revenge and Homer forcing Bart up the ladder in the first place. There were jokes I liked, but also references that felt forced and certainly out of date. I wasn't left with the same good feeling that the better episodes this season have left me with, but it also felt like a pretty solid outing, just perhaps one that didn't appeal to me personally.

    Looking back on some specific moments, I liked the family pulling out the VCR, and Homer's comment about recording things you'll never watch again. There was certainly stuff that I recorded and watched over and over again, but I can definitely relate to recording basketball games and other things with the thought that I'd want to watch them again at some point, but never did. I guess I still do that, only it takes up much less space when it's done digitally. The board games going onto the fire was a nice throwback to Homer tossing things there in disgust in the early days, as was the nod to Homer's voice in the Ullman Shorts. Although the maze game/screamer reference is over a decade out of date, it was a very Bart-like prank to pull. Lisa getting caught up in his underwear from the hamper was some good slapstick, and well-animated I thought. The maze game aside, I also thought the technological jokes and references - refreshing in vain without an Internet connection, stealing WiFi, and so forth - were mostly still relevant and on the mark.

    The start of Bart's dream was suitably eerie, and credit the writers for finding a creative way to not only fit Maude into the episode, but reference a bunch of other dead characters as well (I guess Dr Marvin Monroe is dead again, too). It was kind of fanservice, but I did enjoy it all the same. I didn't think we'd be seeing Shary Bobbins again anytime soon, but since Maggie Roswell had a big part in the episode, they probably figured why not. Speaking of which, with the flashback to "Alone Again, Natura-Diddily", Maude ended up being voiced by both Maggie Roswell and Marcia Mitzman Gaven in this one (albeit just the scream as Maude fell, in the case of the latter). I'd have to agree that the concept might've worked better with Homer, especially with the missed opportunity of bringing back Frank Grimes and Homer perhaps having to make peace with what happened. The scene with the therapist was some decent dark humour as well, and some of Homer's moments as a ghost got a chuckle, such as his run-in with the stray cat.

    As for things I didn't really like, I think the general morbidity of the episode turned me off a little, mostly because I just wasn't in the mood for it. As I said, some of the more mean-spirited moments took away from the episode's appeal, and although the plot was creative, it still felt a little contrived, probably because some of Lisa and Dr Hibbert's lines were blatant exposition. For the most part though, I just don't think it was an episode for me.

    To that end, I don't think it's an episode I'd like to watch again and again, but it was a creative idea that was fairly well done; a solid episode, as I said. I'll give it a 3/5, but like Homer's VHS tapes, I probably won't be inclined to return to it.
    A little less Generic than before.


  20. #18
    Mmmmmmmm, floor pie
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Egg Council Creep View Post
    umm how can the internet go out but the TV still work
    The same way they worked before houses were Internet-capable - a lot of cable (and satellite, for that matter) TV systems don't depend on the Internet.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mícheál View Post
    Well I guess this explains why it was called "Flander's Ladder."

    That, and it's a reference to Jacob's Ladder (Genesis, chapter 28).

    Quote Originally Posted by SpeaksFluentCat View Post
    I am the queen of owning "yes, they existed" VHS technology, as I have a combination VCR/ DVD recorder. One large box: two different ways to record. I have an elaborate conspiracy theory as to why there aren't any more on the market, too! http://www.nohomers.net/images/smilies/biggrin2.gif
    I knew that DVD/VHS combinations existed, but never with the DVD being able to record - just a DVD player and a VHS recorder.
    Last edited by That Don Guy; 05-21-2018 at 06:41 AM.

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  22. #19
    Deep Frier of Shirts BlueRibbonCommittee's Avatar
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    From left to right, top to bottom for Ned's wives:
    Mrs. Vanderbilt (the "Why I never!" lady)
    ?
    Mayor Quimby's wife
    ?
    Luann Van Houten
    Miss Pommelhorst (guess she didn't go through with the surgery at all)
    Brandine Spuckler
    Selma
    Agnes Skinner
    Miss Berrerra ("Teenage Mutant Milk-Caused Hurdles")
    Helen Lovejoy
    Two unidentifiable women

    Bernice Hibbert
    Sarah Wiggum
    Patty Bouvier (but I thought she was a lesbian!)
    Lindsay Naegle
    Manjula Nahasapeemapetilan
    Nelson's Mother
    Miss Wyoming ("The Daughter Also Rises")
    Lunchlady Doris

    Mrs. Mackleberry
    ?
    Mrs. Zorker (Uter's mom, "Guess Who's Coming to Criticize Dinner?")
    ?
    ?
    ?
    Crazy Cat Lady
    ?
    ?
    ?
    One of the students' mothers (seen in the background a lot)

    Zelda ("The Old Man and the Key")
    ?
    Maude Flanders
    Edna Krabappel
    Marge Simpson
    (mirror)
    Shauna Chalmers (?)
    Miss Hoover

    Maya ("Eeny Teeny Maya Moe")
    ?
    Kumiko Albertson
    ?

    Three unnamed women from "The Last of the Red Hat Mamas"


  23. #20
    don't quite cover all CousinMerl's Avatar
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    I liked this episode quite a bit and found it surprisingly enjoyable and more than I expected (which wasn't a lot). The premise of Bart getting struck by lightning and falling into a coma where he dreams of how he can see and talk to ghosts due to Lisa, getting back at him for pranking her with a scary maze game and making her look like an idiot, whispering it to him as he's especially suggestible in this state and he has to help them all move on to the afterlife was one of the most interesting, creative and investing as of recently and I think they pulled it off quite well; I really liked the dark and kinda morbid atmosphere and tone & it along with the plot and the humor made for an fairly entertaining episode.

    The first act with Bart pranking Lisa, the electricity and internet of the house going out during a storm, Homer getting his old VCR and recorded tapes from storage and hooking it up until it craps out on them & his decision and attempt at stealing Ned's router with the help of Bart was good one and led nicely into the main story as Bart is electrocuted while on the ladder. As for the coma part of the episode, I liked Lisa's conflicted feelings about Bart and how it was the frame story for the coma-induced dream of Bart seeing ghosts; it felt like a Treehouse of Horror segment and I liked how it played out. Bart being pestered by ghosts, especially Maude who wants revenge on Homer, was interesting and had many enjoyable scenes and bits, many of which being more or less dark, and the last bit with Homer dying by accident and Bart dealing with his ghost was a good climax section (as for the selection of ghosts, I liked the variety of past characters). The climax and ending with waking up and Bart questioning if it's still a dream was good, but then they went too far and spoiled it with the overlong montage of the characters dying.

    The characterizations were all good; everyone felt in character (for instance, I did like Lisa showing her evil side when getting her revenge on Bart for the pranking and humiliation) and Bart himself was maybe the standout as I heavily appreciated that he was the usual mischievous prankster but also had heart. Humor wise, it wasn't hilarious but it did have some good jokes and gags, many of them appropriately dark. The animation was nice and had a few good angles (such as the high angle of Marge angrily yelling to the sky), some nice fluidity and expression (for example Lisa getting caught in Bart's underwear and struggles to get free but ends up stuck) & effects (like Homer's ghost going for the light in the sky); I think there's been some episodes since we had one that visually stood out like this (the only visual sort of thing that stood out to me something I didn't especially like was the straight reuse of the clip with Maude's death; while I liked that they didn't crop it I would have preferred a newly animated flashback, even if it would just have been brief. Just a reuse felt a little lazy.

    So overall, I think this was a pretty decently good episode; it had an ejoyable and interesting story, some good humor and emotional content, solid pacing & nice portrayals of the characters (especially Bart but also the others). At first the premise sounded like it would be better as an Treehouse story and wondered how they would do it without it feeling forced but they did it pretty well and had it make sense of sorts all to the end, which would've been a neat and funny capper, but again, there was the ending montage that went on forever (only part I outright disliked; I wish they could have found a way to extend the rest of the episode so we could have been spared from that filler). Anyway, it wasn't perfect as it never reached to it's full potential but as it is, it's not too shabby at all.

    3.5/5 rounded up to 4/5
    Last edited by CousinMerl; 05-21-2018 at 10:49 AM.


  24. #21
    Stonecutter angeldeb82's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The A.V. Club
    Hey, remember how the final sequence of Six Feet Under was a unique, sublimely devastating summation of the show’s vision of its characters’ shared human experience? Pretty great stuff. Well, imagine an animated sitcom conservatively a decade-and-a-half past its prime grafting that ending onto its own middling, inconsequential season finale (its 29th, if you’re keeping score), Sia’s “Breathe Me” and all. I don’t know what I expected going into this last episode of the season, but I genuinely didn’t expect to come away pissed off. Congrats, Simpsons. Good one.
    As I can say, The A.V. Club gave this episode a C-, which is rounded to 2/5.

    https://tv.avclub.com/the-simpsons-e...-un-1826183220

  25. #22
    Non-Simpsons scare me. Road Rage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpeaksFluentCat View Post
    For those of you wondering, "long play" is 4-hour mode, and isn't on many later VCRs except as a playback option; the two recording options were standard (2-hour) and extended (6-hour).

    Seriously, Homer's VHS collection has nothing on mine; it's pretty much entirely episodes of The Simpsons from the middle of Season 3 (I think "Radio Bart" is the first one I have) through about 14 (when I bought a DVD recorder (yes, they existed) to replace my VCR).

    This explains why every blank VHS tape mentions three different speeds, while my two VCRs just have two speeds. Two hour SP and six hour SLP (which is sometimes called EP).

    I am the queen of owning "yes, they existed" VHS technology, as I have a combination VCR/ DVD recorder. One large box: two different ways to record. I have an elaborate conspiracy theory as to why there aren't any more on the market, too! http://www.nohomers.net/images/smilies/biggrin2.gif

    Back on topic: Gee, these new episodes are getting dark. It's as if the writers were inspired by that "dead bart" nonsense. Kind of glad I skipped out on this one to watch Idol.
    My VCR just has SP and LP. It also natively supports widescreen which is nice (unfortunately I think all films on VHS in my house have been cropped to 4:3, aka full screen) but not NTSC signals. The few blank (well, they're no longer blank as such) tapes left kicking about advertise 180 minutes in SP mode but are closer to 210 minutes. I've never really used LP mode so now I'm curious about what the difference in quality is like. Probably what you'd expect for half the tape speed, thinking about it.

    Never owned a VCR/DVD two-in-one but I've seen them about. Pretty good idea, saves a plug socket, but I doubt they sold all that well since someone upgrading from VHS to DVD wouldn't buy one due to already owning a VCR, and neither would someone who is only interested in playing and/or recording to DVDs. Plus it would be more of a pain if it broke down. Does yours support copying VHS to DVD and vice-versa? That could be a handy feature.

    I also liked the televisions that would include a built-in VHS or DVD player, but I assume they were a pain to repair. I've never seen one with a built-in Blu-Ray player - maybe that says something about the direction physical releases are headed, or maybe it's because games consoles and laptops with DVD/BD playback are more common now. With that last part it sounds like I'm living ten years in the past... which I probably am. Another factor could simply be that they're trying to make televisions as slim as possible these days, and including a disc drive might not help with that. Maybe things have improved since, but super slim sets really don't help sound quality and volume.

    And yeah, there's certainly been a few dark moments recently. "Grampa" seems to have been included in this season a lot, and not necessarily in a good way. For example, I found the short scene of him flatlining whilst the rest of the family were off doing something else really out of place and uncalled for.



    Outside of Treehouse of Horror episodes I think The Simpsons should always be rather light-hearted. That's not to say some dark topics shouldn't be touched upon, but the execution should be done right. Sometimes I feel it would help if each episode's event felt like they occurred after the previous one without being completely isolated, but at the same time being made in a way so that you can watch episodes at random without missing out on any important story details. King of the Hill does this very well, for example  after Propane Boom, Luanne's hair takes several episodes to regrow and Buckley's gone for good . Maybe that's not the best example but I haven't even finished season 3 of it yet. Yes, The Simpsons has had the odd thing persisting between episodes such as Lisa becoming a vegetarian, but they feel further apart.

    I have noticed that previous episodes are being referenced a lot more often recently. One of the episodes near the end of season 29 made two references to The Simpsons Movie and this episode outright included a clip from season 11's Alone Again, Natura-Diddily. The jump from HD widescreen to SD 4:3 was a little jarring so I kind of wish they redid the animation for it, but whatever. Some things made less sense, such as the return of that giant head all the way from season 2 (sure, we've seen it since, but I'm surprised it's still around and was buoyant enough to float on water) and Bender floating about in the water too. I'm not sure these references are really what I'd like to see though, as although they are nice callbacks, they just exist and don't really change anything. It's a step in the right direction though.

    But I don't know anymore. My initial mention of the modes my VCR supports has turned into some ramble about recent Simpsons episodes and, amazingly, some of it is on-topic for this thread. Feel free to disagree with anything I said since I don't even agree with myself at this point.



    P.S. It looks like the option for including HTML in a post has disappeared from this website? Glad to see that's gone, especially as it was possible to inject JavaScript and nobody really used it anyway.

  26. #23
    Stonecutter angeldeb82's Avatar
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    I remember now. The episode is a tribute to Tom Wolfe as a "In Memoriam" bit. Oh, and the music that plays in the "death montage" is called "Breathe Me" by Sia.


  27. #24
    Proud of Being Lame Nitsy's Avatar
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    -First Minecraft, now the Scary Maze Game? They sure are ticking off the boxes of dated media. Is the Numa Numa guy going to appear in Season 30? Bart pranking Lisa was funny enough; I'm just being a dick.
    -Board game list gag was so-so. I prefer Gallipolopoly and Edna Krabbapoly.
    -What happened to all their pumpkin carving videos (including "Homer and Marge Get Dirty")?
    -"How come all our father-son activities involve getting a TV back on?" I lol'd.
    -"Babysitter in a bottle". Sadly accurate.
    -Well, this episode has taken a bizarre turn. Nice to see Maude again, though.
    -Wow, even Dr. Marvin Monroe's here. I have to say, it's a bit of a hoot to see all these "passed" characters.
    -Was not expecting to see a Season 11 flashback. This episode will go down as an outlier, that's for sure.
    -"Why isn't anyone writing these things down?" I expected him to say that, but it was still funny.
    -The sweater, of course!
    -So Bart did become chief justice after all.

    Well, this was certainly something new for The Simpsons and I can't fault them for experimenting. This is another one of those episodes that blurs the lines between THOH-style fantasy and canon (even if they do explain Bart's necromancy as a dream, parts of the final sequence seemed like we were perhaps supposed to take them as canon). The episode, while not particularly heavy on humor (as is typical with the HD era), was funny enough; I enjoyed the first act with the pranking of Lisa, the internet going down, and the VCR references. There were no overtly bad jokes either. Even though I knew what this episode was going to be about ahead of time, it was still an abrupt and somewhat disorienting turn when we go into Bart's coma. I liked seeing all these former characters (even to the point of showing a flashback from the Scully era), despite the fact that apart from Maude, the ones Bart helps are not anyone specific. I also liked the Bart/Lisa dynamic (Lisa's incredibly angry with him but still loves him) as well as the Bart/Homer dynamic when Bart begged for him to stay alive. Even if it was a dream, that was pretty touching. I'm not sure how I feel about the Six Feet Under reference at the end though. I guess it was something fun for them to imagine, but I don't really need to know how the characters die (I'm glad to see that Bart's chief justice future is apparently canon, but Lisa's scene was a cheap joke). Maybe this montage was an admission from the writers that we're truly now in the show's twilight years.

    4/5
    "Your tears say more than real evidence ever could."


  28. #25
    Stonecutter ComicBookGal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueRibbonCommittee View Post
    In the dead crowd, I spotted:
    Rabbi Hyman Krustofsky
    Bleeding Gums Murphy
    Dr. Marvin Monroe
    Alice Glick (died in "Replacable You")
    Amber Simpson (died in "Jazzy and the Pussycats")
    Albert ("Walking Big and Tall")
    Shari Bobbins
    Jebediah Springfield
    Waylon Smithers, Sr. ("The Blunder Years")
    Jimmy the Squealer (When did he die?)
    The original Snowball II, Snowball III, and Snowball IV aka "Coltraine" ("I, D'oh-Bot")

    The guy with the penny rollers on his belt looks familiar too. And is that the guy from the Gunsmoke opening Maggie shot?

    I'll do Ned's wives when I have the time.
    Penny rollers? I dont' know was the guy dressed like an ice cream man? that may have been the guy from Ice Cream of Margie with Light Blue Hair

  29. #26
    Deep Frier of Shirts BlueRibbonCommittee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ComicBookGal View Post
    Penny rollers? I dont' know was the guy dressed like an ice cream man? that may have been the guy from Ice Cream of Margie with Light Blue Hair
    Yeah, that's who I was talking about. Thanks!

  30. #27
    Your Neighborhood Average Joe Purpleberries's Avatar
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    I'm starting to worry that the unfunny list gag is going to become a regular occurrence again.

  31. #28
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    This is quite a special episode to end the season with, I liked it for most part. I got into the premise of Bart interacting with dead people while in a coma, which as some people mentioned makes this feel a bit like a Treehouse of Horror episode.

    Couch gag was pretty good and kinda hinted the no internet thing. The first act has a lot of great gags, like the Scary Maze jumpscare and Bart filming Lisa struggling to get out of Bart's underwear. Also liked how they came with VHS tapes and recorders where the kids apparently don't know their existance of... despite being around since 1987. One of the tapes was a nod to Marge's speech to Homer from the Simpsons Movie, I don't remember VHS still being a thing back then. I actually felt nostalgic when they recorded a tape to the beginning with the kids wondering what that noise was. Homer and Bart trying to steal Flanders' router had some good jokes with the ladder burrowing into the ground with Homer on it, that little discussion with the last rung and the router being presented as some sort of treasure. Homer constantly refreshing his phone and getting an ad while calling an ambulance was also some funny stuff.

    The actual plot starts out well with Bart in a coma and Lisa deciding to follow Bart's advice to prank him as she got the chance. Bart's mind had some good visuals and an abridged Itchy & Scratchy song. Good to see Maude back who has her own little plot, finally wanting to take revenge on Homer. One of the best jokes is how she reacted to Millhouses rambling and pretending that she wants to die, and then Bart scaring her away with Homer's socks. Not sure why Lisa would think that sending Millhouse to Bart is a bad thing for him. Some funny stuff at Millhouses psychiatrist who imitates him, who then turns out to be a ghost aswell. Good to see a lot of familiar faces among all the dead people, like Shary Bobbins who now hates jet engines. Its surprising that they show Maude's death scene from season 11. Maude did seem very hateful for her character, although we don't really know if she was really that nice when she was alive aswell. At least she got some justice where Homer dies in a similiar way. Apparently Homer feels more pain when he's dead then alive, and he can actually interact with the living world. Got a good chuckle when Bart bombed away Homer's passage with the T-shirt cannon, and ending back in his body as he can apparently ressurect.

    A nice ending for Bart as he gets to bond with a sad Lisa, who is also glad that Lisa took her opportunity to take advantage of Bart's situation to prank him back. They made it confusing when Bart wonders if he was really back in the real world or still in a coma. I didn't care much for all the future death scenes for most characters, like Homer's and Ned's (it didn't feel right to joke that a lot of other woman Ned married died. Its not like they wanted to write off Edna in the first place, but they had to). Surprising to see Bart becoming chief justice, though I wasn't a fan of how they did Lisa's future. Ralphs future was so random but somewhat funny.

    Its a fun episode to watch all the way trough. I like to see them experiment with episodes like these that don't usually end up as canon. They could've done a THoH segment with the same idea of Bart seeing dead people, but I think giving it a whole episode was a much better approach. This way we also get to see much more of the family like the Homer/Bart and Bart/Lisa relationships, which they have done well. The characterisation was pretty much spot on, even for Lisa who started to regret her doings once she heard that Bart could never come back from coma as she played with his mind. I'm not really sure how Maude is supposed to be portrayed, she came over as a bitch (I mean she has been dead for a while because of Homer, I guess thats gonna stick with you). I also liked Homer's portrayal in both worlds. Some of the negatives I have is the lack of humor, its mostly spread in small portions so most of the time they only get a small chuckle from me. I'd say the best jokes were the beginning jokes with the Scary Maze, Lisa struggled in Bart's underwear and later on Maude reacting behind Millhouses back that she wanted to die. The plot was nicely paced with no real cringeworthy stuff to be found. Overall a decent episode for this seasons finale.

    4/5
    Episodes rated best and worst from each season:
    1: Krusty Gets Busted/Homer's Night Out 2: The Way We Was/Bart's Dog Gets an F 3: Colonel Homer/Dog of Death 4: Marge vs. The Monorail/So It's Come to This: A Simpsons Clip Show 5: Cape Feare/Bart Gets An Elephant 6: Treehouse of Horror V/Another Simpsons Clip Show 7: Mother Simpson/Homerpalooza 8: You Only Move Twice/The Canine Mutiny 9: Lisa's Sax/The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilons 10: Lisa Gets an A/Sunday Cruddy Sunday 11: Behind The Laughter/Beyond Blunderdome 12: Trilogy of Error/The Computer Wore Menace Shoes 13: I Am Furious Yellow/Homer the Moe 14: The Dad Who Knew Too Little/Large Marge 15: The Way We Weren't/Diatribe of a Mad Housewife 16: Thank God Its Doomsday/Mommie Beerest 17: Marge's Son Poisoning/Bonfire of the Manatees 18: Marge Gamer/Revenge is Best Served Three Times 19: Treehouse of Horror XVIII/That 90's Show 20: Gone Maggie Gone/Coming To Homerica 21: O Brother, Where Bart thou?/The Devil Wears Nada 22: Homer Scissorhands/The Fool Monty 23: Holidays of Future Passed/Moe Goes From Rags To Riches 24: Adventures In Baby-Getting/Whiskey Business 25: Brick Like Me/White Christmas Blues 26: Bart's New Friend/The Musk Who Fell to Earth 27: Halloween of Horror/Every Man's Dream 28: There Will Be Buds/Moho House 29: Gone Boy/Throw Grampa from the Dane


  32. #29
    Non-Simpsons scare me. Road Rage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nitsy View Post
    -First Minecraft, now the Scary Maze Game? They sure are ticking off the boxes of dated media.
    Oh yes, that inclusion of it... it almost felt nostalgic, you know? It's been many years since I last heard that maze game mentioned.

  33. #30


    I have the Toshiba SD-R0227 DVD recorder/VCR. I think it cost about $200 back in 2007. A few years back I tried to buy another one, but all I could find was used models for exactly the same price and beyond!
    The thing is popular enough that I was able to buy a replacement remote for it through some company that actually makes the things themselves through Amazon. But to answer your question, yes you can transfer VHS to DVD and transfer DVD to VHS, provided that something wasn't copy-protected. It was marketed as being the best way to transfer important home movies to DVD, as the tiny picture of a bride and groom on the box illustrated. You can also use it tape whatever's on TV to VHS or DVD, although the DVD part was super complicated. (You had to choose between Video and VR mode, keep the same mode for the entire disc, only use DVD-R discs, and there's four different recording speeds ranging from 1 hour to 6 hours!)

    Ironically, the first thing I ever recorded onto DVD was the episode of the Simpsons where they go to "Krusty On Ice" and run into the "Christmas Grumple".
    While we're walking down VHS memory lane: my parents actually got one of the first commercials for The Simpsons on VHS. It was merely Bart's voice played over an image of The Simpsons' clouds with the series' premiere date. He said, "If you liked us on the Tracy Ullman Show, wait 'til you see our own show, coming soon". Also, the music videos for "Do The Bartman" and "Deep Deep Trouble". This shows you how old I am!

    Back on topic: With all of this talk of Simpson family VHS, I'm surprised that they didn't do a parody of the opening of ABC's "The Goldberg's", where the kid shoves a VHS into the VCR of a fuzzy analogue set. Since Disney & FOX are corporate buddies now, they would probably even have the rights to the original theme song, too. ("I'm twisted up inside, but feel the need to say...")

    Also, where are all of Bart, Lisa, and Maggie's "Happy Little Elves" tapes that they used to watch while being babysitted? Or their recalled learning DVDs? I guess they also never taped any shows Bart was on as the "I didn't do it" boy, either!



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