Burning Down the Treehouse: Some Idiot Reviews Ninety THOH Segments in Thirty Days

tyler

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#59

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this thoh may have a little goodwill from me right now but you're gonna need more than that to try and make another zombie segment that's even fit to scrub the wounds of the exemplary original. to this outing's credit, it less feels like 28 days later in yellowface and more like again, a broader parody of the zombie genre as it has developed. the hallmarks of nu-zombie flicks are evident, the desaturated colors, the contamination angle, more aggressive zombies, and more emphasis on survival horror in a post-apocalyptic fashion. we've even got bart as our antidote plot device, all the tropes are in order and help us get from point a to point b with little fuss, it's a much less flatlined take on modern movies because there's indication someone has actually studied the damn things this time.

sadly, all that tone from the last segment is largely absent, most jokes feel detached from the premise and stakes don't seem to too heavily affect our characters. the best joke in the episode is the creative impetus, krusty's transparently nightmarish new burgers rendering people basically undead, it was only a matter of time before krusty's irresponsible business running would cause another horror, and this time its massive, but then you have bart, knowing full well these burgers have caused essentially the apocalypse, skittering down to a dilapidated krusty burger to scrounge up himself a tainted burger as well, and that moreso sets the tone for how this segment can't decide how seriously to take itself. another instance of jean and crew maybe not quite getting how irreverence in these segments works, you can fight the tone for comedy but you can't just shrug off all the details like they don't matter, that kinda hurts the effort. a more bearable modarn movie based segment than many, but still severely impaired by its execution and rather thin story.
 

tyler

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#60

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first off, castellaneta has him some pipes damn, and i don't just mean the ones pierced through homer's flesh. credit where it's due, alot of conceptualizing went into this one, what with the melding of the sweeney todd esque horror-musical framework with the actual presence of stage to give it a meta flavor. making this a moe story seems like the right call too, while sweeney todd as a story has been around a long time it seems safe to wager this segment is leaning on the tim burton adaptation a couple years prior, and moe parallels the equal servings of unenviable tragic figures with sociopathic tendencies or unnerving visages that burton so delights in, and moe may be closer on the average day to teetering towards the behavior in his halloween segment than any other. so alot of the setup is solid, but i think they overexerted themselves with this one, which in fairness is a better sin to commit than the usual all-encompassing shrug.

alot of the meta stuff makes this feel too light, i enjoy the structure of the two floor set and how it's presented in the full stage shots but the jokes about moe filling stage time or audience commentary, i'm not so sure. i can't be entirely unfair to it, it's basically the flintstones christmas carol gimmick and i enjoy that movie quite a bit. i think the biggest issue is, naturally, not enough tonal difference between these moments. moe's actions are deplorable, but i don't feel they cranked up his own active role enough to make it sufficiently creepy, and as it goes it gets less and less so. there's some quality musical style direction, fancy angles, spotlighting and such early on that feel fitting and immersive (as much as such a meta affair allows anyway) but quickly dwindles into cheaper and stupider territory, i guess just making marge a massive dope and pulling elongated gay joke song numbers aint my idea of gathering the tension.

the gay number is the last beerpipe in the gut really, which is funny because castellaneta's singing also makes it the only tolerable one. moe and marge trading off vocals does not a particularly rousing musical experience make. the weird thing really is that moe is just too close to his normal self, imagine the true disturbia you could uproot from a moe led horror musical spoof where you take his seedy gremlin ways and crank them up. for all its gussying up it's moe business as usual, all the creativity much like the last segment sitting at the fringes. i have a feeling i'll be missing those fringes nonetheless.
 

tyler

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#61

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well lookie here, another segment with its fun on the fringes, only this one begins to exemplify the stunning egregious corner cutting of the hd era. you'd think the simpsons has to hit a bottom at some point but here in the advent of its second decade we are seeing fresh and astonishing failures. first though, the concept here, because i genuinely like it and its bypassed promise is a perfect exhibit a. we tackle not quite horror but surreal and supernatural forces in yet another unexplored way for the series, that of jumanji and its onslaught of board games come to life. even the most dull off-brand board games surely become a whole new treat when macro-sized and tossed all about springfield, imagine the fun hijinks of bart and milhouse taking advantage of this diverse collection of setpieces, before it all goes awry and the games strike back. no really, imagine it, because it aint here.

we aren't even at inconsistent storytelling anymore, this is more like trying to sell the blurb on the back of the story as the whole book. no opportunity for an arc - which just so it is clear are often crucial to how horror works - and we immediately plunged into some mostly obvious board game gags. i do genuinely think the intrinsic visual of the milton-bradley-hasbro-mattelness of this playground is fun, giant slinkies smashing cars, barrels of monkeys runnin' around, the danger of the battleship area, there is so much potential, but beyond a complete lack of story, most jokes are just so contrived as to become the famed jean symptom of Things Happening. if bart and milhouse barely react to this incredible occurrence then obviously the likes of homer won't, but seeing him climbing and falling the chutes and ladders game ad nauseum, beyond how achingly obvious the joke is just makes the show feel more and more like disconnected skits, where characters are stuffed into any scenario desired with no explanation.

no rulebook does not, or should not anyway, mean no internal logic, you can dip into whatever land of silliness you like, but if you remove all character logic you become completely detached. all we get here is random, bloody, board gamey deaths, and it's a showcase that seems to completely misunderstand what thoh is, what horror is even, even the worst slashers have some sort of character motivation, how are these children not given stronger impetus with a giant playground of tabletop treasures come oooon. this has been happening for awhile in the thohs with moments that should and don't trigger emotional, human responses within the targets of the mayhem, but now its spread to the degree of making entire segments feel utterly random. i really wish this one was good, but all its above-average fringe creativity can't rescue it from its inert reflection of what its created. coulda been fun, but no dice.
 

tyler

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#62

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most things that can be complimented about the jean era are surface-level, thus, here's a surface-level compliment: they are still unearthing properly different horror sources to tell potentially fresh stories, in fact the last couple thohs have been a little better about picking sources that feel more creative and less eager for an easy now playing picture poke & prod (until errr uhh the next segment anyway!). dead calm is a cool choice, a platform for a psychological thriller at sea, where homer and marge's sanity and relationship could be properly tested. i guess it sorta kinda is that, but it's another heavy quote parody which feels more like a madlibs of the movie that some lunatic filled with just the word "simpsons". the parts that are original seem to be the twists, but honestly this thing gets so convoluted i lost the plot, and its intention seems to fade fast. the first few minutes are just dead calm, sexy boat times and suddenly a suspicious bloke shows up and bakes sinister pastries. ok the pastries part might be new, but most of this is deadpan retelling pretty sure, in fact its guts are stuffed with exposition, which look i know suspense flicks like this use narration and tone as tools of deceit but we don't have time for that shit and what's more, that's not what a bing bongin' parody does!

the second half does try and complicate things, what with a dolphin they presumed dead from a poison pie actually dead from a fuel leak, but then there's still poison pie so i clearly missed a detail which ironically is what happens when you state everything so plainly. i'll let that one go with benefit of the doubt, but im extremely confused by the tenuous ending. homer just randomly starts murdering folks (and a seagull with bad timing), which i suppose is meant to evoke the psychological effects of the paranoia and anxiety of dealing with their unwanted guest, but it happens outta nowhere, and in a segment that explains literally everything else, that's flabbergasting. it doesn't matter anyway because this microsecond of evil leaves homer's body as soon as marge juliets herself. it makes sense she would feel that guilt, but they shoulda really ramped this up with both of them if that's the arc. well what they shoulda done was satirize the convoluted nature of these movies and laugh at the notion they would ever be so melodramatic and make paranoid fools of homer and marge and make their mysterious third wheel totally innocent, but what they do instead is so tangled and needless it just echoes the bad tropes. leave this one out to sea.
 

tyler

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#63

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back on "wiz kids" i was tangibly annoyed, but naturally this bloodsucking segment just left me numb. the fruit hangs as low as a septuagenarian scrotum but these yahoos can barely find the tree. the joke where edward, oh sorry ugh EDMUND stops multiple vehicles wow just like in movie dolphin fins commence ta slappin, is straight up friedberg-seltzer tier, but everything else is rather meandering and pointless. i do also strongly dislike injecting lisa's soapbox tendencies into her intent for wanting to be bitten by edmund, not exclusively due to the clumsiness if not nonsense of the allegory but moreso due to how it seems to ignore the magical romance element, you want lisa to be totally wooed here but she mostly carries on as usual and the notion this is a budding relationship seems to dissipate by the time we reach the clock tower.

given all this, my diagnosis is once again, they saw the trailer. im sure they thought it real clever to cast radcliffe as the protagonist of their parallel magical youth fantasy movie ahem p a r o d y, but it's about all the ammo they got. this fortunately means no lame twilight jokes besides the bus bit but it has nearly zilch in exchange. we get dad dracula which is cute and i guess it fits the young relationship element of embarrassing parents but they lend it so much focus with no time to build lisa and edmund's whatever-it-is. then there's maybe the most telling scene, as homer and dracula search for their kids, we travel to dracula-la land hooboy, where we see a bunch of famed vampires filling the sidewalks, capping with a joke about how the count from sesame street...counts. scathing wit on these cerebral wizards, please albert don't hurt 'em.

this says so much about the cluelessness the show has about even finding a subject and making jokes. "bart simpson's dracula" was absolutely chockablock with jokes about every vampire trope in the book, and while i don't expect this segment to possess a drop of the blood in its body that one did, i expect...something? a twilight parody should be easy eatin' and they barely try, but moreso this young adult take on the vampire genre in general lends potential to analyzing the changes. even south park got this well enough to analyze how vampire culture had so changed as to become a commodity of the young teen culture, and while it was mean and often obvious because south park is still awful, at least it seemed to get the craze enough to say anything at all. jean and co. as usual don't bother. the worst segment in awhile, but again, just left me numb. such is the nature of a simpsons long ago defanged.
 

tyler

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#64

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look, i don't know what you want from me. i can only sprinkle seeds of magniloquence for so long before my cerebration celebration ceases to justify the means, i bask in the fields of pretension like each delicate blossom is my child and they must be nurtured to their fullest and most enervating form, and i endeavor to cascade new seedlings on every land no matter how impractical until i'm associatively impossible to ignore in tandem with even the most frivolous and shallow of media, but sometimes it pays to know when you're making yourself the fool by caring too much. in this segment, homer farts alot and becomes spiderman. really the greatest disgrace here is this is a real story of a real guy who suffered a stroke and penned his memoir illustrating his life after the incident, turning his life into a scary movie 5 tier skit where communication is done with flatulence seems in questionable taste to say the least. adding spiderman into the mix only makes as much sense as both pivotal plot devices being spiders, but the combination really feels like we're just blindfold pointing at movie listings now, again much like a friedberg-seltzer disaster.

this is barely even faking the form of parody, its like midnight movie leftovers, piling whatever movies you got on hand together haphazardly until it's indiscernible mush with no texture ugh i made myself nauseous don't mix all your foods we advance past baby food for a reason. this is of course the worst segment so far, but you don't need me to tell you that, because never has it been so glaring. nobody liked this, everyone responded in shock and revulsion, if the nhc which lists s29 episodes on best episodes lists and considers it healthy human behavior can pinpoint your oopsie, it's possible your oopsie is the whole thing, you oopsie'd all over the place and shipped it like it was a finished product. after a reasonable stretch of at least trying to get the direction right to find a microfuck of tone in the haystack of nothing this one is maybe as far removed from halloween as anything yet too, and didn't you already do the spiderman kiss joke in the pieman episode! yeah, it's what you know it is. you don't need my words here, but it never hurts to stoke the flames on a filthy zombie that won't die. farts aren't funny.
 

CousinMerl

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Maybe the worst Treehouse segment of them all if you ask me. You have Homer getting completely paralyzed in an goofy position after bitten by a spider, he communicates by farting & ends up being some sort of Spider-Man superhero and that's about it. The story is thin, it's dumb and idiotically juvenile & it has literally nothing to do with anything horror or Halloween related; it fails at everything. It's baffling that it got past the idea stage.
 

Financial Panther

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Agree with all except the last sentence. Farts are funny, but they’re funny because they’re unexpected. When farting is the entire segment and you try to mix it in with a semi-serious concept, that doesn’t work.
 

tyler

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#65

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its fascinating, how my old irritance with sd jean era thohs begins to ebb away not because they've fixed them but because that level of low effort is now too much effort for the series. take this innocuous entry that's about as full of life and connected together as ned's bodybagged victims, which in an earlier season would've been dexter by the series bible, but now its not entirely clear what it is as we enter this new testament. the book of jean's sixth commandment? thou shalt not thrill. heh! i am the lord thy god...more like...i am the bored, my god! got 'em. so ok i guess ned is a fair parallel for dexter, what with the belief that their inherently wicked deeds are for a righteous purpose, but beyond that it's scant. the montage showing all the misleads with ned who surely could never do such a thing is cute but runs long and we all know where it's going.

my biggest issue is how immediately our neighborino is willing to commit to being the hymn reaper - jean if you're hiring i only take pay in dogecoin, direct to my paypal please - instead of having again, an arc. in this episode we get no uh arc. get it? making bad jokes and explaining them, becoming the enemy more and more each passing segment. honestly though, even though some segments benefit from leaping quickly into their eerie events, do-gooder ned needs a little more push than this gives us. whatever though, it all unravels when we discover homer is basically pranking ned to slay his enemies with a voice modulator, which makes ned look like a dim reaper - jean seriously i will forgo all my convictions money is what buys food im a whore gimme a call - and makes homer look like a straight up sociopath.

again dark characterizations can be cool but this just feels like jerkass homer with a body count, it isnt scary its just reaaal messed up, almost as messed up as showing maude as satan's girlfriend? wife? sex slave? continuity don't need to be rigid in a show like this but shit like this feels disrespectful to the characters and unpleasant overall. but yeah, not even enough to be mad at, just another in a series of yawns that won't result in a dirt nap. hard to be annoyed when a show fights you by refusing to write. ill have to find new tactics. perhaps ill begin making shocking detailed personal threats towards the simpsons staff. that's probably cool and not against the rules. now to find where rob lazebnik lives.
 

tyler

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#66

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another outing that can barely even muster the energy to raise its pointin' finger for the obvious jokes, because these fogies would rather layer anything on top of the series to the end of telling the exact same jokes instead of anything new. it's like the magnavox odyssey, trying to sell one game as many games just by including overlays for the tv, when beneath its truly boring and unchanging. if you got that reference congrats, you're a nerd. shame on you. but yeah its the same deal, a notion of maybe if we layer this hot media over our trite trope trotting nobody will notice. i noticed! now i'm no expert on avatar, id hope to god nobody is, but there are a few themes lifted at least, such as the interspecies relationship and some worldbuilding jokes about environment, which could work in tandem with something else but are mostly pointless asides, just part of another more broad and lunkheaded alien joke barrage, kang and kodos without those names but its still them, doin their schtick, inescapable.

they do build to an action sequence with all manner of colorful creatures, which may or may not be from avatar, they look like big pokémon which is pretty much what avatar is. i guess the question with this one is did they see the movie this time? it's hard to say because avatar's tropes all became so memed so fast the movie is preceded by perception created by how it was telephoned by memes into the thing it's believed to be today, because nobody has seen avatar since 2009. so i dunno honestly. regardless, the plot being that krusty is trying to get HILARIUM to brainwash his audiences to laugh or whatever is truly yanking story ideas out of a hat.

truth be told i dunno how you even parody avatar, its inherent shallowness as a cultural item despite its grandiose stature is the whole joke, the rest is too easy or lacking context to poke fun cheaply. again, a parody so lacking in anything i can't even accurately analyze it. what should i say about tress macneille playing a loud rigelian that bart yells "YOU SAID YOU USED BIRTH CONTROL!" at? or how about the joke where bart implies she looks like his art teacher. is bart both still a kid and a soldier in this, are we even trying to establish our alt realities anymore? anyway in this segment bart, who is still a human child, fucks and impregnates an alien. upsetting.
 

tyler

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#67

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y'know i gotta say, the hd era's thoh direction while still immensely struggling in the tone department does seem to have a little more life and effort to it, even the most innocuous segments trying to boast some visual tricks or creative shots opposed to the interminable flatness of the sd jean thohs. so what happens when we get an hd era thoh segment that mostly hangs it's hopes on the excitement and creativity of the visuals? well honestly we get a decently enjoyable segment, albeit one with such a high potential quality ceiling you can't help but wonder what more could be done. about as simple an idea as they've done in awhile, springfield deals with the impossible power of a black hole, and they of course just use it like a permanent trash chute. i both enjoy this for how it trivializes this scientific marvel like a miracle cure for their personal garbage, and cant help but feel they don't get as clever as they could. moreso i wish the feeding of the black hole didn't feel so randomly accelerated at the jump where the simpsons sans lisa just decide to start discarding whatever they desire into it, a bit more arc would be nice, then get to the silly shit with the secondaries and homer being a dick and ruining everything.

i do appreciate that lisa is our straight woman on this though, rare these days to have someone aware of the consequences, but of course her words are to no avail. this is about the level these writers can work on and come out competent, though it helps this isn't any lame parody, but yeah the visuals aid a ton, what with the ominous fluttering black hole's intense gravitation sucking at people's hair and clothing, growing ever larger and increasing the visual warping as it threatens to swallow the world whole, getting more catastrophic and devouring whole buildings and soon large crowds of people. it even kills ralph, how could it be bad? the deconstruction is fun, feels a bit futurama-y with all the structures torn to their individual components and swallowed like so much spaghetti, and then we have the frankly dazzling sequence where the simpsons are traveling through a psychedelic swirl of colors in jagged, almost liquid form, as if their corporeal nature threatens to dismantle under this force and incorporate with the natural color of the universe.

even the ending is actually funny, the simpsons spat out into a new alien universe - no kang and kodos, bonus! - where these beings have taken a liking to the lame accoutrements of earthlings such as their mattress sale brochures and their incredible ZUNE. that's funny, that's actually funny, cuz you can imagine someone tossing their long-unused zune into the hole like all the other forgotten items best left to other species, but they love it, whatever it may be. not often i get to say it now so enjoy it, good segment! it reminds me why simple fun ideas so often work better than parodies they don't seem all that into, writing could of course be better but its serviceable and accelerates in a fun way, but really props to the animation department for doing their damnedest with what they got because they made this feel maybe not quite halloweeny, but at least like it was meant to stand out, like it had reason to be a segment.
 

tyler

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#68

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if the simpsons can get away with doing the same type of parody over and over can i just cut > paste my last parody review and change some key words? would it really make a difference. this is one of two found-footage thoh segments in the hd era to my knowledge, and im nearly certain they only saw the trailer this time, because big chunks of this are eaten away by sped-up timelapse footage jokes and "borrowed" sequences in the bedroom, except the demon threesome i think thats original, though i wouldn't be taking credit. once again, the simpsons' new idea of parody changes about as much as vanilla ice to under pressure i know i know topical. the tone is only set by the overhead shots because nearly every scene is too busy going schticko mode to focus on the idea of figuring out how to lampoon these extremely lampoonable movies, i guess they think using the timelapses for mundane shit equals parody, but it's hard to buy that when they still clog the pipes in the third act with heavy duty 4-ply exposition, oh joy. paranormal activity with jaundice. take it or leave it. i'm gonna leave it. these segments are draining me of descriptors, please stop doing new movies in the exact same way.
 

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I have to admit, I don't mind Unnormal Activity. I haven't seen the source material, but maybe this is a case where that actually benefits rather than detracts from the experience. I think it's quite understated which is a nice change of pace from the usual post-classic Halloween segment that tries to cram in as many characters, gags and set-pieces as humanly possible. Plus, I've always got a soft spot for anything 'found-footage'. I mean, I can't argue with your criticisms and there's very little of substance beneath the surface, but I still find it reasonably entertaining and creepy.
 

tyler

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#69

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nice. y'know i can handle that this show isn't funny anymore, i'm used to that, the bigger problem tends to be that the lazy humor is indicative of larger issues, like exposition as filler, bad and mean-spirited characterizations that make jokes broader and dumber and thus easier to write, deeply insincere feeling narratives so we cram those jokes til it's time for Tender Moment and an all-encompassing sensation that no care is given to how each moment informs the next because we gotta make jewfro jokes. none of this is new, but this segment is rampant with all of these problems, and while many many segments have drained me with their vaporware content, this is one i can finally say again after awhile that i rather hated. they smush together back to the future I and II with reasonable efficiency with bart's leapback and 1974 homer's forward, but this only bears the core problems. homer's is just telling us things that exist in the future so the bttf II prediction of far off times is lost and it amounts to nothing, and from the jump bart is positively a fountain of needless explanatory dialogue, not even backstory where efficiency is lost but shit we the viewers are seeing with the magic of our gosh damn eyeballs.

this happens throughout, when he first sees homer in 1974, when he discovers artie is his dad, we are given info we know because i honestly don't even know why. i could maybe forgive that alone even for how it turns the show into dora the explorer, but the rest is unforgivable. everything regarding homer and marge is so the opposite of lived-in its astounding, the way their alternate selves act seem too familiar with each other, rushed into butting heads like they're already married. marge yells as if she knows she might marry this ape and is frightened of that, but why would she know! everyone is written as if they're aware of this splitting timeline but it makes no sense. the same happens with the ending, as the two homers recruit homers from throughout history, whatever that could possibly mean, and marge sees the pathetic pile of homers and falls in love with his face realizing she should have been with him. um, why though! the events in "the way we was" that blossom their relationship don't occur in this timeline, all she saw was him strangling bart, if that brewed a deep seated subconscious fondness for homer she's a friggin sociopath.

meanwhile bart in this is just kinda unpleasant, as he fully accepts homer not being his father and gleefully enjoys the jew jokes, because artie is jewish, and that's all he ever was apparently. i get and even like bart seeing a better future without being a simpson, the cruel reality of the simpsons is there's no way to say they couldn't be happier in other opportunities, but their triumph over that is what's meaningful. bart never has a turnaround here, he has nothing to do with the resolve even though he is the impetus to the conflict. there's no story here and it's such a gimme, but i guess they'd rather let jon lovitz make weird self-aware timeline jokes, hope that worth his trip to the studio. every facet of this one makes it a bogus journey, a stunningly bad and insincere waste of its mechanics with pretty much fabricated story progression made of notions of the characters that don't exist. i know time travel antics can get tricky to keep details in line, but this is truly just filled with magical shortcuts. stick to making a black hole do funny things, actual stories are way outta your depth now.
 

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I find myself perplexed and infuriated by that segment in equal measure. On one hand, how does it even remotely qualify as a Halloween segment? There's not even any pretense of horror - no creepiness, nothing unsettling or disturbing, a complete lack of violence or anything grotesque. I've often wondered if it was developed as its own episode at one point, but got re-purposed for this. The concept is as cliched as they come, but I would have found a full episode about it mildly interesting (in the right hands, it could even have been decent). Anyway, what we get is pure low-effort nonsense. It's lower than the lowest common denominator and the ending is perhaps the laziest one yet.
 
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tyler

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#70

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consensus suggests this is one of the stronger hd era segments, and yeah i agree. not only is the aesthetic captured comprehensively with the idiosyncratically seussian style shaping the character designs, dialogue rhythms and musical bits with their ever eccentric and surreal charm, but there's actual, genuine, honest-to-god satire in this. what the fuck right? the cat in the hat is a character where more than a cursory glance his whimsy can seem irresponsible at best and manic at worst, so we crank up those tendencies as homer's fat in the hat scoops up the simpsons kids and takes them on a halloween romp full of impulsive behavior bereft of a moral compass, quickly moving from their desire for candy into his own inexplicable desire for destruction and uh murder, but it wouldnt be murder in a cartoon right? we're using mindless cartoon antics to show why such antics can lead to actual horror in the real world, and how a fellow as especially as deranged as this who is so in his cartoon world can warp that so incredibly.

the sheer dissonance of the mirrored seuss style with this lunatic in the front seat is genuinely, creatively unhinged, terrorizing the whole town and leaving the kids scarred. to punctuate this, the kids effort to escape sees them meeting the fat one more time as he declares they're stuck with him and he's their new daddy, driving up the cat in the hat's house-invading ways into downright predatory intent where his way of looking at the world flips entirely from darkly whimsical to that of an asylum patient who got outta solitary confinement. it's a nice creepy final declaration before maggie pierces him with an umbrella. what can i say, this is all well thought out and dare i say subversive. add to this the fun playful seussian rhymes and more dissonance in the musical numbers like cheery harmonies declaring the fat in the hat's name might be heard in an amber alert, and it's easy to see why people like this one. the only issue i have with the segment is the off-brand groaners like the bore-ax, but the more i think on it the less of an issue it is, and that's honestly because this gets way more right than wrong. a true rarity, probably the best segment in a long, long time.
 

tyler

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#71

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remember that classic thoh ending where burns' head is sewn onto homer's body? two things about that: the reason it's funny is because the expectation of this being some great horror is dashed by the absurd sitcom nature of these two heads having different plans, you can imagine the whole sitcom just from that bit, its perfect dissonance. also its short because that's all you need to show, any more is laboring the joke or losing it entirely. oops! evidently tired from their last segment where they had to *spooky theremin sting* write!, this segment borrows that classic thoh ending and proceeds to not get the joke and do nothing in exchange.

it's bad enough that bart gets his head cut off by his kite string and treats it like a mild inconvenience, and the plot doesn't even do away with his body so i guess they just forgot it writing hard etc, but after the sewing this really is just an extended sibling rivalry bickering sesh with bart and lisa rendering the horror inert but without any irony to the scenario, the entire plot is this and its played straight, not that they even manage a resolution besides having their heads chopped off lisa's body and sewn onto sillier bodies, because they seem to think the joke is being stuck with someone who sucks or annoys you. atop all this, given nothing to work with, the visuals cant even help this one, easily the flattest segment in ages, and one of the least substantial yet by far.
 

tyler

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#72

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yo first off the 1932 movie this is based off of is fucked up, there's like brutal scene descriptions near the ending stretch. pairing the ugliness both surface and beneath of this movie with the freakishness of springfield's denizens should be able to make for an entertainingly uncomfortable few minutes, but unfortunately the end result is as castrated as hercules in the original edited out ending. seriously at least read up on this movie shit is wild. the circus attraction designs of our springfeldians are fine but they strike me too tame, when the point is to make them grotesque and unsightly to offset their nature. lotta stories paralleling surface and inner beauty/ugliness in the 30s btw. as for the story, well it's pretty much an echo only without the parts that really emphasize the actual freaks part where cleopatra - played here by marge - fears being a freak when she is accepted for marrying one of them, unbeknownst to them for his money and with intent to kill him. marge is drained of this ulterior motive however, leaving all the deceit to homer instead, which again if you're just gonna tell the story all over again don't miss the details that make it what it is.

all the freak stuff becomes so glossed over, marge does accept them immediately which is a change but to no real purpose but to lead further towards homer's fate. this just loses all the hierarchy stuff and leaving the only villain to be one of the freaks scrapes away the layer about beauty and ugliness and all that jazz. in the original, cleopatra's deeds are met with vengeance by turning her into an especially horrifying freak. here they just do it to strongman homer, already a freak! why even pick this obscure movie if you have no intention of getting the details right, let alone commenting on the source which is so old there's gotta be hundreds of ways to subvert the themes of its narrative with modern assessments (a little person is one of the main character freaks in the movie, alot has changed since!), or to at least play up its grotesque elements as proper homage. as it stands its really just another dressup segment trying desperately to be something else, but only trying by being so obscure and weird it hopes that's enough. it ain't. painfully normal, which is what happens when you chop out more story than mgm did and bank on sepia to evoke the whole tone.
 

tyler

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#73

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i'm not particularly fond of bart's character becoming more predominantly sociopathic over time, he's a troublemaker but he's still a kid and he does possess basic empathy and knows when he goes too far, but while this segment nurtures bart as if he's a literal damien child, i actually half-like this one. hell school is among the most visually halloweened setpieces we have had in quite awhile, all the warm, dark and earthy colors, jagged stalagmites everywhere, and a bevy of demon students and teachers most of which refreshingly aren't just evil versions of our regular cast, though a few are, it is pretty immersive and fills more time than you'd expect with jokes that actually involve the unique locale and its demented denizens rather than just What If Nelson But Demon, which they also do but again way less for once.

lisa's part in the story is essentially nothing, but bart's is rather inspired as he finally finds expertise in his aptitude for schoolwork when it involves coming up with good torture scenarios for criminals, massive dissections, and uh decapitating jimbo. again i don't like how peachy keen he is on flat out evil behavior but its a halloween segment ill let it slide this once, and the sentiment rings true enough, bart is a ten year old boy way more interested in the grotesque and the bizarre than y'know, math. so for its flaws i quite like this, but like i said, half-like. after a pretty good visual gag of bart and lisa escaping hell through a portal in burns' office, we are treated to a laborious stretch where they essentially batter the joke to death by having bart outright stating how hell school is a school where he can succeed. imagine the jokes we coulda had without this needless explanation.

the show finally starts telling a story with its humor again and it cant handle it. i do like the grisly scene where bart is given the option to absolutely maul his dad before graduation, i dunno why homer would say yes to this, lets just chalk it up to hes proud of his son for succeeding at all and he's an idiot. the montage preceding this has some of the bits i mentioned above and they work but i wish they didn't follow a needless scene with homer and marge talking to the skinner/chalmers hybrid demon, it's all just filler that the segment didn't at all need, everything it states was already implied. it just hurts the immersion of the segment when it becomes so thickly laid on, and its a shame because the idea is clearly solid enough on its own, and i got it without the explanation dammit! nevertheless, one of the more original and creative segments of the hd era while its allowed to be.
 

tyler

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#74

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another movie parody that removes many of the vital organs that made the original what it was thematically and thus has nothing to even parody, otherwise playing out the tamest and most obvious scenes without the context that drives them, therefore making it about nothing. by the way the absolute nards on these chucklefucks to even attempt another kubrick spoof given the inevitable comparisons, when that one essentially mastered the art of subverting the source narrative while still telling its story with such perfect mindful efficiency. this one...uh well it's more watchable than most of the parodies because they went all the way in making it look and feel like clockwork orange what with the british locale, costume design, melding of moog synth score and beethoven pieces, but it just wears the aesthetic in hopes for points.

it's basically family guy, no denying work was put in, but it's a grandiose endeavor to the end of a long-form reference. a clockwork orange is such an easy book/movie to parody too what with its utterly backwards perception of therapy and mental conditioning, but we get nothing about that, lets just do the fast forward sex scene but have homer eat alot lmfao! the ending is far and away the worst part though as they just desperately stuff kubrick references into every corner, and unlike the smooth montage in "press #", all of them are strained and none of them land. moe as alex had some potential too, but they softball it so hard. wasting the eye clamps scene on a cheap fox dig, gimme a fuckin break.
 

Financial Panther

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I’ve never seen A Clockwork Orange, and because this segment doesn’t parody and instead just makes the whole story a bunch of references, I don’t understand it at all.
 

tyler

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#75

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what greater example could there be that the simpsons doesn't even know what makes the simpsons good anymore than their complete inability to make fun of themselves? at this point it'd be shallow lip service because the show's gonna keep on a-rollin' regardless but it would be something, anything. this is such a tremendous whiff of what should've been a freebie, family guy pulled this off better, way better in fact because it knew and knows how to include itself in the joke, and the simpsons has nothing to say about itself. the opening is fine enough, marge finding frosty chocolate milkshakes sitting around and having the tv stuck on old sitcoms to illustrate their presence is cute, but we immediately botch the concept by turning the ullman simpsons ghost invasion into a micro marriage crisis SOMEhow, and instead of dealing with a ghostly threat while having some fun looking at the simpsons and how its changed we rapidly get to killin' everybody.

all we really get about the show are some quick basic observations, a twister mouth here, some catchphrases there, though even poking at "ay carumba" dont really work when they still adr in ay carumbas on the regular, maybe the show shouldnt reveal how much its stagnated after all. they also bring in marvin monroe, a nice touch but again he does nothing except get stuck in the wall because i dunno. the characterization of ullman homer being more no-nonsense is nice but we dont see alot of it, and why ullman marge would even be attracted to current homer is beyond me. why were they even haunting the place at all? like i get its their home thats the idea but they dont explore that, its dropped as soon as the marriage shit starts, and then its just suicide after suicide, riveting! after all that we end with a horrrrible schmaltzy bullshit ending that coats marge's chronic stockholm syndrome with syrupy strings. absolutely get bent. oh yeah and there's like simpsons minions. that's pretty good. seriously though, what a downright criminal waste of a good concept, a frustrating segment.
 

tyler

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#76

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obviously this specific concept couldn't be done in a regular episode, but something about a sideshow bob thoh segment can't help but feel redundant, and its narrative is based around shit we already know but with the gore knob cranked to the max. bart being cocky about his inability to be killed does make sense in a meta way given the countless failures but it robs the big moment of any thrills, it happens so fast and it's over, and bob himself is his usual jean characterization, a bit too generically villainish, touches like him saving wine for the big day are good, touches like using bart's large intestine as a scarf are not. keeping the body as a trophy im split on admittedly, it is appropriately grisly to keep his kill like a statement of triumph, but golfing into bart's decaying mouth im less sure of. here's what i do know, bob killing bart is the big hurdle that prevents his life from getting back on track, so having him attempt to become a college teacher is good, but it just leads to some lame millennial jokes about texting and swiping hahaha the kids they be on they devices.

bob realizing (well, re-re-re-realizing probably) that bart is all that gives him true purpose makes sense, his psychosis has become him, the hurdle that is bart became his only identity, so the montage of gleeful bart kills works in building on this deranged premise, but by the time we get to the simpsons family finding bart we are reminded just how little any of this is taken seriously. imagine just how creepy this one could really be, the abject horror of spotting bart's diced up body on bob's experimentation table, but it's just more bad tv showy schtick. i get that maybe my version is a little too dark for a comedy but these aren't real, let them get disturbing dangit! overall i dont hate this one as i used to but many elements are just wacky enough to hurt the potency of the premise, bob relying on bart's death to give him purpose is a perfect way to do a twisted short about bob's unceasing illness, but in tandem with everything else it weirdly still feels too light.
 

angeldeb82

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#76

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obviously this specific concept couldn't be done in a regular episode, but something about a sideshow bob thoh segment can't help but feel redundant, and its narrative is based around shit we already know but with the gore knob cranked to the max. bart being cocky about his inability to be killed does make sense in a meta way given the countless failures but it robs the big moment of any thrills, it happens so fast and it's over, and bob himself is his usual jean characterization, a bit too generically villainish, touches like him saving wine for the big day are good, touches like using bart's large intestine as a scarf are not. keeping the body as a trophy im split on admittedly, it is appropriately grisly to keep his kill like a statement of triumph, but golfing into bart's decaying mouth im less sure of. here's what i do know, bob killing bart is the big hurdle that prevents his life from getting back on track, so having him attempt to become a college teacher is good, but it just leads to some lame millennial jokes about texting and swiping hahaha the kids they be on they devices.

bob realizing (well, re-re-re-realizing probably) that bart is all that gives him true purpose makes sense, his psychosis has become him, the hurdle that is bart became his only identity, so the montage of gleeful bart kills works in building on this deranged premise, but by the time we get to the simpsons family finding bart we are reminded just how little any of this is taken seriously. imagine just how creepy this one could really be, the abject horror of spotting bart's diced up body on bob's experimentation table, but it's just more bad tv showy schtick. i get that maybe my version is a little too dark for a comedy but these aren't real, let them get disturbing dangit! overall i dont hate this one as i used to but many elements are just wacky enough to hurt the potency of the premise, bob relying on bart's death to give him purpose is a perfect way to do a twisted short about bob's unceasing illness, but in tandem with everything else it weirdly still feels too light.

Yeah, I remember seeing this and noticing the death montage reminiscent of Batman: The Brave and the Bold's "Emperor Joker!", complete with "Accidents Will Happen" by Elvis Costello and the Attractions. Pretty weird!
 

tyler

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#77

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the first time i saw this shit, i was shocked and appalled. now reviewing seventy seven segments, many of which are terrible and in the same ways, will numb your senses, but even with all that, this one still managed to fill me with befuddlement with a side order of disdain, hold the jokes. what makes this fetid hunk of waste especially putrid is just how many angles it fails on, and the spectacularly misguided ambition of it's twist. being the exhausting sjw i am, the cheap and obvious asian jokes alone would doom this one to its rightful place in the bad boy corner, not just because they're condescending and offensive but also because they're brazenly lazy, jokes recycled from decades ago. they shove a mr. sparkle billboard in the background near the beginning, and let's just succinctly say it fits perfectly. in regards to accents they don't even fully commit, some characters have none and some have uh really ill-advised imitations of stereotypical asian cadences. sprinkle in some seppuku jokes and other condescending prods at japanese culture and you've got yourself a world class stinker.

that's the first issue. then we have homerzilla himself. one can't help but think of "king homer" and how even though it isn't among the more clever classic segments it used its details to tell a full story and made homer's king kong pretty dopey and useless to good comedic effect. homer has changed enough now that him being godzilla is close to his rampant chaos but that doesn't make this any more interesting, the rampaging is so aimless and 1:1 besides him uh yo-yoing planes i guess that it's no wonder the segment takes such a sharp left turn. now parodying the original godzilla is a fool's errand and you won't find much new to say, not that they try, so maybe this turn could've worked, but hoo boy, hoo and also boy. first they jab at the cheapness of the original, which is a lame shot anyway but if this was the joke couldn't they have made it feel that way? mostly the og gojira bits don't feel at all like the old aesthetic they're trying to poke fun at. then it becomes a crack at how absurd the movie industry is with its obsession over remake culture. this is valid territory for satire but we have some problems.

why show us the original at all to this degree first off, it makes it hard to buy that they came up with this whole thing at once when the gojira part is so aimless it feels like a dead end needing an exploit, then we have them seemingly making fun of the absurdity of remaking such an old cheap movie like...godzilla is a pretty massive brand? lampooning remake crazes is legitimate but this implies that godzilla couldn't make money, and if it faltered maybe its because we americans suck at and dont understand godzilla. anyway this is followed by some quick jokes about i think the 2014 godzilla but maybe the 1998 one too, jabbing at product placement and pointless exposition *coughpotfuckinkettlecough*. then the movie fails and nobody sees it, which again, remake culture does sell that's the issue, this attempt to make buffoons of the executives just loses its thread by emphasizing the wrong parts. golly, what an aimless and hopeless and boundlessly confused collection of seconds of tv, every decade it tackles a near total misfire. most worst thoh segments fail for the typical reasons, the ones i belabor over and over, but this one really is just a tremendously unique botch job. it fails well beyond being a bad halloween segment or a bad simpsons story, this segment radiates with comprehensive, wall-to-wall failure.
 

tyler

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#78

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this has probably happened before but i noticed on this thoh xxvi viewing that the bob segment lasted til the 10 minute range, so these latter two segments got throttled. thank god so there's no more "homerzilla" to endure, but it also explains the dead air of this segment. another children's book estimation of the source, this one so undefined it just kinda drifts aimlessly, as lisa and milhouse exercise their increasingly inconsistent powers in mundane scenarios, before milhouse goes "mad with power" per lisa's exposition, which amounts to doing random shit like making a ball of springfielders and raising statues of himself from the ground, and giving apu multiple arms because as said, no consistency to their powers. the original movie uses its power narrative to illustrate someone who feels he has become superior over the weak now, so milhouse is a good choice, and they do show him counter-bullying via handy dandy nearby volcano and such, but thats isolated and most of his acts feel like magic pulled from the asses of writers hankering to call lunch.

even the visual component is inconsistent, as the found footage first person view gets a few nifty shots at first but eventually is nearly forgotten besides some static cuts which feel incongruous with the direction which just barely fits the style after the first setpiece. another way too g-rated thoh segment capped with baffling maggie antics that only add to such a feeling, let milhouse get a little fucked up and edgy, but because he's milhouse he can't commit to it anyway! involve the ever difficult lisa and milhouse relationship since they both got the powers. this ain't brilliant satire im suggestin cuz i'm no brilliant writer but its uhhhhh content ideas anything at all. this shit feels like it was written in the five minutes it takes to watch. laaaazy.
 

angeldeb82

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#78

dtexKaK_d.jpg


this has probably happened before but i noticed on this thoh xxvi viewing that the bob segment lasted til the 10 minute range, so these latter two segments got throttled. thank god so there's no more "homerzilla" to endure, but it also explains the dead air of this segment. another children's book estimation of the source, this one so undefined it just kinda drifts aimlessly, as lisa and milhouse exercise their increasingly inconsistent powers in mundane scenarios, before milhouse goes "mad with power" per lisa's exposition, which amounts to doing random shit like making a ball of springfielders and raising statues of himself from the ground, and giving apu multiple arms because as said, no consistency to their powers. the original movie uses its power narrative to illustrate someone who feels he has become superior over the weak now, so milhouse is a good choice, and they do show him counter-bullying via handy dandy nearby volcano and such, but thats isolated and most of his acts feel like magic pulled from the asses of writers hankering to call lunch.

even the visual component is inconsistent, as the found footage first person view gets a few nifty shots at first but eventually is nearly forgotten besides some static cuts which feel incongruous with the direction which just barely fits the style after the first setpiece. another way too g-rated thoh segment capped with baffling maggie antics that only add to such a feeling, let milhouse get a little fucked up and edgy, but because he's milhouse he can't commit to it anyway! involve the ever difficult lisa and milhouse relationship since they both got the powers. this ain't brilliant satire im suggestin cuz i'm no brilliant writer but its uhhhhh content ideas anything at all. this shit feels like it was written in the five minutes it takes to watch. laaaazy.

I remember that line from Kang at the end: "Just because it looks like Season Four doesn't make it Season Four!", when the alien guys are put on a 4:3 screen ratio! :D
 

B-Boy

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#75

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what greater example could there be that the simpsons doesn't even know what makes the simpsons good anymore than their complete inability to make fun of themselves? at this point it'd be shallow lip service because the show's gonna keep on a-rollin' regardless but it would be something, anything. this is such a tremendous whiff of what should've been a freebie, family guy pulled this off better, way better in fact because it knew and knows how to include itself in the joke, and the simpsons has nothing to say about itself. the opening is fine enough, marge finding frosty chocolate milkshakes sitting around and having the tv stuck on old sitcoms to illustrate their presence is cute, but we immediately botch the concept by turning the ullman simpsons ghost invasion into a micro marriage crisis SOMEhow, and instead of dealing with a ghostly threat while having some fun looking at the simpsons and how its changed we rapidly get to killin' everybody.

all we really get about the show are some quick basic observations, a twister mouth here, some catchphrases there, though even poking at "ay carumba" dont really work when they still adr in ay carumbas on the regular, maybe the show shouldnt reveal how much its stagnated after all. they also bring in marvin monroe, a nice touch but again he does nothing except get stuck in the wall because i dunno. the characterization of ullman homer being more no-nonsense is nice but we dont see alot of it, and why ullman marge would even be attracted to current homer is beyond me. why were they even haunting the place at all? like i get its their home thats the idea but they dont explore that, its dropped as soon as the marriage shit starts, and then its just suicide after suicide, riveting! after all that we end with a horrrrible schmaltzy bullshit ending that coats marge's chronic stockholm syndrome with syrupy strings. absolutely get bent. oh yeah and there's like simpsons minions. that's pretty good. seriously though, what a downright criminal waste of a good concept, a frustrating segment.

Now here's a segment that annoys the shit out of me. The Simpsons continues to demonstrate that it still has good ideas and OFF meeting their former selves is a terrific one indeed. What a great opportunity to reflect on the extraordinary longevity of the show from a different angle and through a different lens. What changes have occurred? What has stayed the same? How do the characters reconcile existing in a static universe? What is it about them and the world they inhabit that allows both to persist seemingly without end? What, if any, value or relevance does the modern incarnation have over the one from bygone days? These are just a few of many questions brimming with bucket loads of potential comedic, satiric, and thematic depth.

Yet, as Tyler rightly points out, everything is reduced to a vapid and vacuous marriage crisis story where everyone kills each other. It completely misses the point, spectacularly wastes the premise, and contemptuously disrespects both the audience and the history of the show itself. The only way I can make sense of this disaster is that it was all intentional because, y'know, any attempt to do this thing properly would invariably result in a tacit admission of how far the show has fallen. We all know that The Simpsons as a money-making institution would never do such a thing. They've done the exact opposite for many years. The only way the show can do a story like this is to pretend that it's always been this way in a perverted attempt to legitimise its continued existence. So even the Ullman version of the family is zombified and flanderised to avoid the undeniable reality that The Simpsons was once something much greater and much, much better.

What infuriates me even more is that I actually kinda sorta enjoy it still. I really like the novelty of seeing two versions of the family on screen at once and I love the reenactment of the family photograph short at the end, but neither of those two things (or the semi-accurate characterisation of Ullman Homer) even come remotely close to ultimately redeeming it. This could have been great, which makes it even more disappointing. Undoubtedly one of the biggest missed opportunities of the entire series.
 
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