Why does this episode receive so much praise? I do admit that its message is subliminally clever, but the execution is nothing that special. The same major problem I had with El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Homer applies here - it models itself after a genre that does not translate smoothly into the Simpsons. I'm all for references to pop culture, but all the allusions to the 1920's, from the Charleston soundtrack, to the brisk narrator, to the mafia, feel very contrived and offer rather little in terms of humor. Rex Banner really isn't that interesting a character, either. Even though the plot and writing are generally well-done, the lack of memorable jokes causes this to feel like just another Simpsons episode, rather than a true classic like Marge vs. the Monorail. It's all just very good, but not fantastic and certainly not deserving of its widespread acclaim.
i'm not convinced that any of those examples are contrived. or, i'm unsure as to what you mean by contrived. contrived within the episode or within the series? and i'm not convinced that the episode genre does not translate smoothly into the simpsons. these sound like sweeping statements. any chance that you can elaborate?
Well, the first major problem is that the writers are trying very hard to essentially turn Moe's Tavern into a hopping 1920's speakeasy through storytelling technique. I personally find this angle awkward, since the present setting is 70 years later and Moe's was never realistically popular beforehand except when it served the Flaming Moe. Moe's was always a glum, desolate, and mean-spirited place, not a recreational hot spot as portrayed here. It feels like the writers are overplaying the bar's influence just for the sake of likening the episode to the 1920's. It takes the story out of the show's realistic context and turns it into a blatant charade.
As for Rex Banner, he looks and acts completely like someone displaced from his original time period, entirely a product of this episode's narration style. He's just there as an old fashioned crime sleuth and doesn't offer any humorous interaction with the town. His character in itself is not bad in any way, it's just that it so obviously feels like he's merely used to reinforce this episode's 1920's theme, thereby detracting from his genuine credibility in the show. In an actual 1920's setting, Banner would seem more natural and thus a lot more entertaining, but here, his appearance and manner of speech are too incongruent with the Simpsons style for me to enjoy the character.
In sum, I find this episode contrived because it's forced to maneuver around a wide time gap in order to narrate from a certain angle. Full-out movie parodies like Cape Feare and Marge on the Lam worked because they never bent the very nature of Springfield and therefore felt more organic. Here, the writers are trying to turn the show into something that it's not. The hokey vintage elements of the 1920's clash poorly with the light, wacky environment of Springfield, leaving the finished product sterile and fairly humorless.
Exactly why the HD seasons are completely in and over their heads. Deliberate explanations are passed aside, and instead the rules are flipped upside down just for a lame joke, i.e., Moe being ugly because an elephant stepped on him, Helen Lovejoy once being a man, etc. Just because it's a cartoon doesn't give the writers the excuse to go so haywire over continuity that the viewer can hardly even connect with the show's universe anymore.Haven't you learned by now that continuity on The Simpsons is completely worthless, only to be used when the writers feel like it?
Well, do you disagree with the notion of "stunt" episodes in general (e.g. "22 Short Films", "Spin-Off Showcase") or is it just this particular episode that you don't like?
Well, the first major problem is that the writers are trying very hard to essentially turn Moe's Tavern into a hopping 1920's speakeasy through storytelling technique. I personally find this angle awkward, since the present setting is 70 years later and Moe's was never realistically popular beforehand except when it served the Flaming Moe. Moe's was always a glum, desolate, and mean-spirited place, not a recreational hot spot as portrayed here.
An episode like The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase works okay as a stunt because the show and characters actually fit the specific angle the writers take. The three shorts there are homages to old, cheesy television classics right to the bone, just with Simpsons characters.
But in every case, the characters still very much feel like themselves and thus have ample room to be funny. Chief Wiggum is still a quack crime stopper, and so the genre they set him in fits him perfectly. Grampa as a love tester is super high concept, but it suits his usual bumbling grandfather persona perfectly, and he's used to his full comedic advantage by trying to help the always socially lacking Moe Syzlak land a date.
With Homer vs. the Eighteenth Amendment, the 1920's theme does not fit the characters or show's usual style of comedy and thus leaves the episode with few laughs. Sometimes, taking a different angle can be fresh and humorous, but to work, it needs to exploit the show's setting and characters to their fullest. This episode focuses heavily on the genre it's trying to represent, but this unfortunately limits its opportunities for good interactive or character-based humor.
i'm not convinced that you can be ok with one stunt, but not ok with another. especially when the stunt you're not ok with is far more toned down than the other. if a short is a dead on homage but just with simpsons characters, then that sounds to me as if it couldn't possibly fit into the simpsons universe any less. it certainly seems to me as if a moderate transformation of moe's is more in line with the simpsons universe than the simpsons being outside the 4th wall, as in the spinoff showcase.
I don't really take issue with Homer as the beer baron. Frankly, even Moe isn't out of character; it's his bar that's redone for the worse. It's just that the episode itself mostly emphasizes the 1920's theme itself, not how the jokes that come out of the characters as a result of the approach the writers take, as was the case in the Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase. The humor seems to come primarily from likening Springfield to a town during the roaring 20's, which means turning Moe's into a speakeasy and focusing on a character (Rex Banner) who seems heavily out of place in the Simpsons environment. It's not funny to me because it seems like a forced attempt at satire rather than a creative context that provokes humor naturally. Some stunts work because they set up a humorous situation right from the start; others, such as this, do not fare as well because the writers need to really stretch the situation to find any good opportunities. I can enjoy Chief Wiggum's New Orleans excursion, Grampa's portrayal as a love tester, and the Simpsons variety hour because the parodies themselves work in smooth conjunction with the characters' funny personalities. This episode does not achieve the same for me.Nebuchanezzar said:then, what exactly are the OOC moments in the 18th amendment episode? how does homer operating as a beer baron not fit his prior persona (or what have you), and then, are you necessarily offended by any episode that adds a dimension to a character? lisa the vegetarian for instance, or a milhouse divided, or hurricane neddy.