This is it. You've nailed it. I walked away from Not It yesterday feeling vaguely dissatisfied and I couldn't quite pinpoint the reason why. However, after reading Mike Amato's review and now yours, I've realised this meta commentary is exactly the fundamental problem I was sensing. I couldn't get fully invested because nothing felt internally real - quite the opposite of A Serious Flanders. It was indeed like watching a slightly more competent, focused and efforted Jean episode than a Selman one. I mean, sure, this kind of clunky dialogue and overly self-aware writing still pops up in Selman episodes, but not to this extent. Bizarre and disappointing to say the least.nothing guts the mood and leaves no space for character than stuffing every motherloving line of dialogue with blunt references and wiseguy exposition on the tropes of whatever story they're doing. The way every Loser says what "type" of character they are, the way they exposit about the 27 years, the way they joke on the implausibility of the poem, the way they feel the need to have Krusto say THATS RIGHT FEEL THE TENSION at the beginning. Tommyknockers! Thats a thing I recognize by the guy who did the other thing I recognize! Nods are fine and classic THOHs have them but they've become a crutch, its no longer a little gag tucked away, its the substitute for actual parody. The story wants to be taken seriously yet at every turn is nudging in you the ribs going "eh? get it?". Immersion isn't even an option in a modern Simpsons send-up because they spend so much time reminding you they're sending it up they forget to fucking send it up! They point, raise an eyebrow, and forget to actually say anything. It's all just so weirdly condescending too, they point out the silliness bluntly without actually writing jokes, its CinemaSins disguised as a television script, and it compounds by making nothing feel internally real, everyone is in a story and nothing matters, yet they still mostly follow the source beats to the end, as if it should and must matter, but I can't buy it. I don't think they do this because they loathe the material or even think they're smarter than it, I just think it's all they got. It's the same as its been for a long long time, Selman may be giving the show some spirit and creativity in places but here it just felt like it always does, like Jean never shared his captain's chair in the first place.