Rate & Review: Season 33

How was season 33?

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ᴛʜɪs sᴘᴀᴄᴇ ɪs ᴘᴏɪɴᴛʟᴇss
Jun 29, 2021
Another year, another Season of The Simpsons flown by.

Since their inception in 1989, two years after The Tracey Ullman shorts, The Simpsons have endured as the longest animated sitcom and TV series of all time, reaching now as many as 728 episodes (with already another 22 coming in Season 34, making it a whopping 750!). But to most people, The Simpsons of today are way past their prime and nothing would ever be considered as good as the first 9 Seasons. However, since Season 31, The Simpsons have been on a slight upswing and have been met with a more positive reception from fans recently.

The 22 (or, 21, as this Season, much like Seasons 28 & 31 - contains a 2-Parter) Episodes of Season 33 are as follows:
1. The Star of the Backstage
2. Bart's in Jail!
3. Treehouse of Horror XXXII (Treehouse of Horror 32)
4. The Wayz We Were
5. Lisa's Belly
6 & 7. A Serious Flanders (Part 1 & Part 2)
8. Portrait of a Lackey on Fire
9. Mothers and Other Strangers
10. A Made Maggie
11. The Longest Marge
12. Pixelated and Afraid
13. Boyz N the Highlands
14. You Won't Believe What This Episode Is About – Act Three Will Shock You!
15. Bart the Cool Kid
16. Pretty Whittle Liar
17. The Sound of Bleeding Gums
18. My Octopus and a Teacher
19. Girls Just Shauna Have Fun
20. Marge the Meanie
21. Meat is Murder
22. Poorhouse Rock

That being said, this thread is created for people to express their opinions on Season 33. What did you think of the latest Simpsons Season? Is it a solid improvement over the previous Seasons or did it not meet your expectations?

Previous Seasons' Rate & Review Threads:

It's been a really crazy season in my honest opinion, I don't wanna know why though. 3/5
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I think this was the best season since 22. I wouldn’t call any episode a total failure, and you could really see Selman’s work shine through. There were some great plots in the season, although many episodes were fairly light in the laughs department. Overall, it surpassed my wildest expectations and has turned me into a certified Selman stan.
Not seen poorhouse rock but from what I have seen? Lisa's belly was the only decent episode. At least the only one if the bar isn't sufficiently lowered. The rest was either forgettable or just trash. And anything I've heard about P.R. tells me it's not gonna redeem anything either.
This is one of the best seasons in the modern Simpsons era. There have been so many great stories and great new characters. Pixelated and Afraid is my favorite in season 33 because it has a great love story between Homer and Marge which was needed since there are too many Marriage Crisis episode.

4/5 stars
It would seem that The Simpsons are slowly starting to come back to life. Obviously, it's no start of a new renaissance, but the shittiness seems to be diminishing -- slowly, but surely. Once The Disney+ era happened - since Season 31, most of the episodes from that Season I still found mediocre, though it seemed to be a solid uptick compared to, say, Seasons 28 & 30. The upswing has slowly been continuing through Season 32, and now with Season 33, it would seem we have reached the point where it is no longer fair to address the loveable yellow-skinned family as "Zombie Simpsons" or "Modern Simpsons". And why is that?

The answer is quite simple: Matt Selman.

Matt Selman is no newbie to The Simpsons community. Matt Selman is someone who has been with The Simpsons' crew for quite a while... As far back as Season 9, writing the finale Natural Born Kissers - which was easily a winner in my book. Since Season 23 where he decided to give it his own spin of trying to be a showrunner, nearly every episode under his tenure has passed with flying colors. The Book Job, The Day the Earth Stood Cool, Steal This Episode, Halloween of Horror, There Will Be Buds... you get the picture. Everyone had been hoping good ol' Al Jeany would finally step aside and pass the torch on to Selman, and now with Selman sitting at the top of the throne, how is his reign as showrunner coming along?

Well, suffice to say - Selman is easily someone who the show needed. Newer directions, more grounded characterizations, realistic stories, fresher ideas, it seemed like Selman was someone who was definitely studying the previous methods of other showrunners. We have episodes that resemble Mirkin (A Serious Flanders, Boyz 'N' the Highlands), Oakley & Weinstein (Pixelated & Afraid) and even Scully (Act 3 Will Shock You!). Sure, not all the episodes manage to stick the landing (The Longest Marge, Bart the Cool Kid, My Octopus & A Teacher) and that's ok, even the earlier showrunners had their weaker spots. It's really a pleasant surprise to have a showrunner who is really committed to his craft and is showing actual investment.

So what were the highlights and the lows of the Season? For one, Jeff Westbrook, usually considered the worst writer of the series so far (especially a shock given his Futurama episodes were knockouts) finally writes a great episode, Tim Long's streak of good episodes continues, first-time writers Nick Dahan & Juliet Kaufman swoop in with great and relatable knockout episodes in today's society (Getting scammed and being insecure about your weight), we have a Marge/Homer only episode which further establishes their relationship (and is not a marriage crisis episode, thankfully!) and possibly the closest callback to the good ol' Nelson/Bart/Martin interaction episodes.

However, obviously the biggest praise has to go to the 2-parter, A Serious Flanders, which felt like an episode that unfortunately came 25 years too late. A thriller that contained the perfect amount of suspense, strong characterization for Homer & Ned, fantastic villains and lots of blood, very reminiscent of Mirkin. Much like, say, Bart's Comet or Who Shot Mr. Burns? I wouldn't mind if episodes like these would've been made into full movies. Another shout-out has to go to Pixelated & Afraid: As mentioned, instead of the usual Homer & Marge marriage crisis episodes, we finally get an episode we haven't seen in so long - an episode which further establishes Homer & Marge's love towards each other, why they were a couple, and why they were meant to be a couple in the first place. It's an episode that while may not be in the same reigns as, say, I Married Marge or The Way We Was, everything about the episode, from their interactions to the jokes and the sweetness between them really makes your heart warm. On top of also having gorgeous, serene sceneries in the last 3 minutes accompanied by quiet, peaceful music, this is an episode that deserves to be lauded as one of the greatest episodes to come out of the HD era.

So yes, there are a lot of things to compliment regarding Selman's outputs. TL;DR - Refreshing ideas, relatable moments, variety of content, great stories and memorable guest stars, even if some of the episodes aren't the best or most praiseworthy. First-time writers impress, Tim Long continues to write good episodes and Jeff Westbrook finally has written a great episode this season likewise.

And that's why, Season 33 is easily the best Simpsons' Season since Season 23.

But unfortunately, the issue that still permeates, much like with all previous Seasons is Al Jean. Jean continues to either retcon past stories (Mothers & Other Strangers) or continue stories that had perfectly ended (The Wayz We Were) and they really are an insult to everyone who had been stuck with the series for this long. And not to mention we had another incredibly boring Treehouse of Horror episode. While he did better in the 2nd half, I can't deny it's high time he retired. He had been the showrunner for more than anyone else - for over 2 decades at this point, and that's why -- it's time for him to pack up.

Another issue I hear people complaining about is how nearly every episode never uses the trademark Simpsons opening sequence' anymore. I am very indifferent to this argument as it gives more time to flesh out the plot & characters further, but I do also think that maybe no less than 2-3 episodes should at least have them, just to really keep The Simpsons' spirit alive no matter if Matt Selman or Al Jean showrun them. (And a Fun Fact for all youse out there who crave for the openings: Seasons 11 & 12 had every episode have the opening sequence in full. No skipping anything.)

Once again, just like how I did it with Season 32 - I will be splitting this Season into 2 categories: The Jean episodes and the Selman episodes, as, again, you can't compare apples & oranges. Comparing Jean & Selman is like comparing fast food & healthy food.

The Star of the Backstage: 6/10
Bart's in Jail!: 8/10
Lisa's Belly: 8/10
A Serious Flanders: 20/20 (#40 overall, included with Part 2)
Portrait of a Lackey on Fire: 7/10
The Longest Marge: 6/10
Pixelated & Afraid: 10/10
Boyz 'N' The Highlands: 8/10
You Won't Believe What This Episode Is About – ACT 3 WILL SHOCK YOU!: 6/10
Bart The Cool Kid: 5/10
My Octopus & A Teacher: 5/10
Girls Just Shauna Have Fun: 9/10
Meat Is Murder: 7/10
Poorhouse Rock: 9/10

Average: 7.6

Treehouse of Horror XXXII: 4/10 (This Side of Parasite: 3/10 | Nightmare on Elm Tree: 7/10 | Dead Ringer: 3/10)
The Wayz We Were: 3/10
Mothers & Other Strangers: 5/10
A Made Maggie: 5/10
Pretty Whittle Liar: 7/10
The Sound of Bleeding Gums: 6/10
Marge The Meanie: 7/10

Average: 5.3

So what is there to say? This is, at the very least, the best Simpsons Season since 23. Selman is someone who The Simpsons really needed. Of course, given the quality of the show is irreparable at this point, he at least as trying to breathe some life back into it. And given his performance this Season, things could only get better from here...


Overall: 7/10

(EDIT: Changed my score for Pixelated & Afraid from a 9/10 to a 10/10.)

inb4 selman is reading this and is considering adding openings next season
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I thoroughly enjoyed 3/4 of episodes this season. There's numerous episodes from this season that I'll revisit in future viewings. I think a majority of episodes that entertained me and that I appreciated sat around the 3.5/4 rating. Pixelated & Afraid was a standout for me.
Overall Thoughts, Part I:

Season 33 of The Simpsons is indeed, an interesting Season, with many people highlighting its the next best Season, however, I feel differently.

While I do agree that "Serious Flanders" & "Pixelated and Afraid" are the Season's main hitters, other episodes like "Portrait of a Lackey on Fire" & "Lisa's Belly" I don't think so. As for the misses, there were a good few, along with some rather boring & forgettable episodes too. Of course, there were some episodes that I surprisingly liked in their too like "My Octopus and a Teacher", "Lisa's Belly" & "Girls Just Shauna Have Fun".

I have talked about all if not majotiry of the episodes in their individual threads already, but there are things I do want to talk about regarding the Season overall, but first, I will share my rankings, I will give short summaries to each ranking:

My Season 33 Ranking from Worst to Best:
22. Mothers and Other Strangers (2/10, Hate): A Retcon to one of few Simpsons Story Arcs
21. The Sound of Bleeding Gums (3/10, Bad): Missed Opportunities and an annoying Lisa
20. The Wayz We Were (4/10, Dislike): Missed Opportunities, could of been better of A & B plots were switched around

19. A Made Maggie (4/10, Dislike): Not a fan of Fat Tony been the Godfather, especially after "Moe Baby Blues" set up Moe been the better babysitter
18. The Longest Marge (4/10, Dislike): Kind of a pointless sports episode, the guest character was one dimensional, also, I don't think Mr Burns was used well at all in this episode.
17. The Star of the Backstage (5/10, Mixed): Funny moments, but Marge's singing felt off
16. Meat is Murder (6/10, Meh): Lost interest half way through, the most boring episode of the Season imo

15. Marge the Meanie (6/10, Meh): Very boring
14. Pretty Whittle Liar (6/10, Meh): Completely pointless, missed opportunity regarding the B Plot
13. Bart's in Jail (6/10, Meh): This episode was just plain uninteresting, also, misleading title as it wasn't really a Bart episode

12. Treehouse of Horror XXXII (6/10, Meh): Boring, espicially compared to Season 32's Treehouse of Horror
11. Boys N the Highlands (7/10, Okay): I did like that we learned more about Martin, but the rest of it was boring, and the Lisa B Plot was kind of pointless imo
10. Lisa's Belly (8/10, Like): Aside from the episode title, its a good episode. The B Plot felt rather forgettable thou.

9. Girls Just Shauna Have Fun (8/10, Like): Surprisingly liked this episode (Given its Shauna Chalmers), the B Plot was okay thou.
8. Portrait of a Lackey on Fire (8/10, Like): I liked how it shows Waylon's relationship. Honestly don't remember why its an 8, it doesn't feel like a 9 or 10 episode, doesn't feel like a 7 episode either.
7. You Won't Believe What This Episode is About - Act Three Will Shock You (9/10, Love)
6. My Octopus and a Teacher (9/10, Love): Surprisingly enjoyed this episode, only negative is the water fountain scene
5. Poorhouse Rock (9/10, Love): A rather enjoyable episode, but I do have some personal nitpicks.
4. Bart the Cool Kid (9/10, Love): Enjoyable episode, good guest star, but not a 10 due to Mike Wiegman, Shauna & the end joke

3. A Serious Flanders Part 2 (10/10, Best): While its not as great as Part 1, its still a rather fun episode
2. Pixelated and Afraid (10/10, Best): Best Marge & Homer Episode in Modern Simpsons
1. A Serious Flanders Part 1 (10/10, Best): One of the best episodes of Modern Simpsons

Interesting Trends:

Something I have noticed with this Season in particular during this Season is the lack of an Opening Theme, as it is absent for majority of the episode. There have been episodes before that didn't have the Opening Theme, but this Season was just rather noticeable. Honestly, as someone who loves listening to Opening Themes in most episodes and wouldn't skip them (unless they were bad or I just wanted to get to watching the episode). However, it isn't The Simpsons I have noticed this trend, as I have noticed it in other shows too (mainly The Owl House & Amphibia).

Another, nice trend I've noticed mainly due to hearing people talk about it, is the relationship of Marge & Homer, and how it is portrayed to be a very positive & healthy relationship throughout the Season. I do hope this means we are done with "Marriage Crisis episodes", but I don't have my hopes high on that one.

Use of the wider Simpsons cast of recurring characters:

This is yet another trend I have noticed, mainly due to people talking about it here in this server, and its the lack of the wider cast of recurring Simpsons characters been used, and it is something that I have noticed myself too, so, I decided to do some statiscial research and decided to find how many episodes each character appeared in.

Looking at the character appearances on Wikisimpsons, there is a noticeable absense of recurring Simpsons characters, at least the speaking ones. While Apu & Manjula haven't spoking since at least Season 26, characters like Quimby (who actually appeared in this Season's Treehouse of Horror, which I forgot) have appeared in the background but haven't had any speaking lines. Other characters I don't remember having speaking lines include Bumblebee Man, Disco Stu, Gil Gunderson, Eddie, Agnes and Otto.

We got some surprise reappearances, mainly from Greta Wolfcastle who also appeared in the Treehouse of Horror, and Maya aswell. Ruth Powers also had a speaking line in the same episode Maya appeared, but it was rather, underwhelming. Out of the recurring cast, I think Helen got a LOT of love this Season, which was nice to see. We saw her potential controlling nature towards Jessica Lovejoy, her "Karen" instincts & her marriage problems with Reverend Lovejoy. Ralph was okay this Season, although the only joke from him I remember was in the episode "Pretty Whittle Liar", same goes for Milhouse in "Lisa's Belly", at least Milhouse wasn't creepy in this episode, from what I could remember at least. Martin Prince is another character that I feel got some love in this Season.

Nelson, I don't think did much this Season, same goes for Ned (outside of the Serious Flanders Two-Parter), Moe, Barney, Lenny, Carl & Chief Wiggum.

When it comes to the character focus episodes, they were rather lacking this season. Serious Flanders is really the only good non-Simpson family focused episodes. The Brandine one was boring, the Moe one was bad, while the Smithers & Shauna ones were alright.

Of course, there are the Elementary School Kids, which once again, are all very underused this Season. Honestly, outside of the Treehouse of Horror, the only really good usage of the Elementary School Kids was the Couch Gag in "Poorhouse Rock". I will talk more about this in the next section.

Bart & Lisa's Friends:

I'm probably going to be the one guy who talks about this constantly on this site, but Bart & Lisa seriously needs to have a consistent friend group. While Bart does have one, I don't think its a consistent one, especially with Nelson been more on Frenemy terms with Bart, and I don't really consider Martin & Ralph to be part of that said friend group.

While for Bart, I would rather stick to the classic duo of Lewis & Richard, given they were part of his friend group during the classic era, Lisa on the other hand, oh boy.

First, I wanted to talk about something I noticed the other day and was going to talk about, but I decided to leave it till now, and I instead pasted it onto a Sticky Notes to post it now.

During the party Marge holds for Waylon & Michael in the episode "Portrait of a Lackey on Fire", Janey is seen twice at the party, at first during the establishing shot alongside Martin (who's hair is incorrectly white), Milhouse, Bart, Nelson, Maggie & Lisa as they watch Waylon's puppy run around SLH and the second when cheering for Michael & Waylon during their speech from the Treehouse.

I have talked about lack of Lisa's friends before on this forum, and how I find it really annoying. This episode seems to be one of few instances in Modern Simpsons where its possible Lisa has friends. The reason why I bring this up is that I feel like by given Lisa friends, or having her reconnect with old friends (mainly Janey, Allison and maybe Sherri & Terri), there is more story potential there. I also bring it up again mainly due to the episodes "Lisa's Belly" & "Pretty Whittle Liar" where it is implied Lisa doesn't have friends.

While I won't say anything regarding the former, as the episode revolves more around Lisa's relationship with Marge compared to the Elementary School, the latter has to do with Lisa hiding her intelligence and how Allison, a character established way back in Season 6 to be on the same intellectual level as Lisa thus a rival for Lisa. (btw, that's the end of what I put on the Sticky Notes).

Continuing with the last paragraph, "Pretty Whittle Liar" seems to imply Allison isn't part of that squad, and seems to have turned into a reckless student. According to the book, "The 20 Types of People You Meet in Elementary School", Lisa refers to her as the "The Femme Phenom", and while I don't know what that means exactly in the context of the book, it could lead to interesting story potential.

And the friend groups doesn't really end with the recurring characters like Janey, Allison & Lewis, but guest characters like Alex Whitney, Bashir bin Laden, Isabel Gutierrez, Tumi, Sam Monroe & Donny. I could easily see Bashir & Donny fitting in with Bart's friend group, and the same goes for Isabel, Tumi & Sam (we already know Alex would be good friends with Allison, Janey, Sherri & Terri thanks to "Lard of the Dance". I should stop soon so I don't go into a deeper discussion, but I do hope the crew of The Simpsons thinks about this.

Also, the episodes "My Octopus and Teacher" & "Poorhouse Rock" also implies that Bart & Lisa have other friends too. We see Janey part of Lisa's nature documentary group in the former, while in the latter, we see Sherri, Terri, Janey & Wendell seemingly been on good terms with the two siblings.

Overall Ranking:

If I were to rank Season 33, it would probably be between Seasons 11 & 31, while there are good episodes that I enjoyed, there are other nitpicks I have in this Season that makes it an Okay season in my books.
If it's anything like the piss-poor usage the twins got, I don't think I wanna see Allison back, myself. THOH in particular was such an intentionaly missed opportunity, they were absolutely perfect for the role of the spooky ring girl(s) themselves. And also the bit was in really poor taste considering Russi. I can't even imagine them treating someone like Edna like that, or Troy.

I mean thanksgiving of horror was bad enough but I could at least buy that it wasn't on purpose, no excuse like that this time. Just intentionally malicious and made their later attempts to be "uwu heartwarming" fall flat. Pixelated and Afraid especially just made me wanna retch. The best-written poetry means nothing if the one making it is awful.

Hell, they won't even do that to Shauna even though her original VA's alive, and as a vapid, mean phoneaholic teen she'd have been the perfect opening kill. But that wouldn't satisfy the staff's spitefulness, I guess. Nor would they want to do anything remotely bad to their child-predator waifu.

So if that's what awaits anyone else like Allison? Then leave her in the background. Same with the others. The past few seasons have taught me that there's 100% such thing as "worse than nothing"

Also Stu did get some lines. Serious Flanders and Portrait of a Lackey on fire.
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See, now here's the thing - most of the lower half of the episodes you rated actually are done by Al Jean as showrunner, while your upper half episodes are Selman-showrun episodes. You can't really put both of them in the same boat.
I can't really see the differences between the two honestly, apologies
If it's anything like the piss-poor usage the twins got, I don't think I wanna see Allison back, myself. THOH in particular was such an intentionaly missed opportunity, they were absolutely perfect for the role of the spooky ring girl(s) themselves. And also the bit was in really poor taste considering Russi. I can't even imagine them treating someone like Edna like that, or Troy.

I mean thanksgiving of horror was bad enough but I could at least buy that it wasn't on purpose, no excuse like that this time. Just intentionally malicious and made their later attempts to be "uwu heartwarming" fall flat. Pixelated and Afraid especially just made me wanna retch. The best-written poetry means nothing if the one making it is awful.

Hell, they won't even do that to Shauna even though her original VA's alive, and as a vapid, mean phoneaholic teen she'd have been the perfect opening kill. But that wouldn't satisfy the staff's spitefulness, I guess. Nor would they want to do anything remotely bad to their child-predator waifu.

So if that's what awaits anyone else like Allison? Then leave her in the background. Same with the others. The past few seasons have taught me that there's 100% such thing as "worse than nothing"

Also Stu did get some lines. Serious Flanders and Portrait of a Lackey on fire.
You have a valid point there, if Allison were to be used, they could very easily ruin her character. The same could be said for Laura Powers and even Samantha Stanky.

Also, I forgot Stu had lines in Serious Flanders & Portrait of a Lackey on Fire, thanks for reminding me.
I'll explain to you the clear differences between Jean & Selman if you can't notice them. Here are 3.

1) The obvious - every Jean episode has a couch gag (Poorhouse Rock was a Selman episode, but it had a special couch gag so that doesn't count).
2) Jean episodes tend to either focus on lesser characters (Maya, Cletus & Brandine Spuckler) and also provide retcon stories (Marge the Meanie, Mothers & Other Strangers).
3) Selman episodes focus more on the feelings between the Simpson family and more interesting topics in today's society. They also have better use of secondary characters. Pixelated & Afraid should at least remind you of a Season 7 episode because of its grounded nature.
tbf wasn't like Selman eps from this season and last didn't go retconning stuff either. Including from Selman's own episodes. And also tend to focus on lesser-to-outright-undeserving characters outside of the main fam.

Thinking about it, I think the only realy definite positive I have for the season is Bill Cipher cameo'ing. And that's because he came from something else I liked so, not a very high bar at all.

... I mean, if we had a THOH that was a weirdmageddon-special bookended/narrated by Bill, I'd be up for that. They've already done "fargo but with Simpsons characters" and same with succession. GF would at least have a consistent tone with The Simpsons.
Also said "lesser" which, if we're factoring in last season then Sarah qualifies as that since she's extremely tertiary. Assuming this is "Selman vs Jean" as a whole and not just in the context of this season.
I didn't say "who don't deserve it". When I said lesser characters - it was more in which characters never really had pivotal or significant roles. What did Maya contribute to in The Wayz We Were? Absolutely nothing. What did Cletus & Brandine contribute to in Pretty Whittle Liar? Nothing (albeit a good story). Sarah Wiggum actually had a VERY significant role in Uncut Femmes. I am talking about episode which actually have more interesting themes which keep you on the edge of your seat or episodes which feel very grounded in storytelling. That's why Shauna to me wasn't a lesser character. She contributed to Lisa having another friend. Or Sarah Wiggum from last Season.
TOP of seasons 33 episodes, in my view with comments from R&R threads.

Note: All below marks are made just after the futher watchings. In the future, when I'll reestimate the whole season again, but with my traditional out of 100 marks, the opinions may change. Don't judge too strictly.😉

  1. Pixelated and Afraid - 5/5 from 4.5/5 - This one definitely was interesting to watch. Not as I had imagined, but still. Beautiful in all way episode
  2. Poorhouse Rock - 5/5 from 4.5/5 - What an amazing episode! What an amazing down-to-earth (even too down) story! And not sure it's about the song… Strong story part overcovered all the minor imperfections
  3. A Serious Flanders (Part 1) - 4/5 from 4.5/5 - The episode is great, but for some reason I was too nitpick and felt some drawbacks, which just don't make me put the highest mark.
  4. Boyz N the Highlands - 4/5 from 4.2/5 - It was more… heavy than I thought.
  5. Lisa's Belly - 4/5 - If no poor sub-plot, I'd give the highest mark
  6. A Serious Flanders (Part 2) - 4/5 - I'd give 5/5 only for chapter 6, but 4 & 5 didn't impressed me much, sadly.
  7. The Star of the Backstage - a little less, but 4/5 - The best season premiere (by first feelings) in 4 years, but The Serfsons (other Oliver/Selman season premiere) was a way better.
  8. Mothers and Others Strangers - 4/5 from 3.5/5 - For me, it's the best Jean's HD solo effort
  9. Bart the Cool Kid - 4/5 from 3.5/5 - The episode was really well-written. Interesting and nice episode, but, unfortunally, not bright
  10. Marge the Meanie - 4/5 from strong 3.5/5 - No boring at all) I liked most of pranks Despite FG-ish it was a really good entertaining episode
  11. Portrait of a Lackey on Fire - 4/5 from 3.5/5 - I certainly underrated the episode. It wasn't bad at all.
  12. Girls Just Shauna Have Fun - 3/5 from strong 3.5/5 - I can't join their prasing the episode. The episode is "average": not great, but not bad or weak at all.
  13. Pretty Whittle Liar - 3/5 from strong 3.5/5 - Comparing to what I really had expected, it surprised me in a good way
  14. My Octopus and a Teacher - 3/5 from 3.3/5 - As I said I was the most anticipated for this episode in the season. 4 for Lisa's plot and 2.5 for Bart's.
  15. Treehouse of Horror XXXII - Whatever way I count my early marks (include/not-include "Barti", took only "full-length" segments...), but, in summary, the episode gets from me 3/5 to 3.5/5
  16. The Wayz We Were - strong 3/5 - Moe's story wasn't SO good (it's good, anyway), the traffic jam wasn't ENOUGH enjoyable, and another Al Jean episode is... his the best episode in QABF cycle. It isn't bad, at least
  17. You Won't Believe What This Episode Is About – Act Three Will Shock You! - 3/5 - Act 3 REALLY SHOCKED ME… by its low level. I really anticipated for the story, but fear it will be forgetten… to the best. It will be remembered for it's silly long title only
  18. Bart's in Jail! - nearly 3/5 - Really ambiguous episode, which hasn't the still state. Meh is the best word
  19. The Sound of Bleeding Gums - 3/5 from 2.7/5 - Silly jokes and moments are needless sometimes
  20. The Longest Marge - 3/5 from strong 2.5/5 - The episode was quite mash up
  21. A Made Maggie - 2/5 from 2.5/5 - This episode wasn't bad. It was… mediocre, I guess - too much exceed Jean's moments + no straight general direct, but some moments were still cute.
  22. Meat Is Murder - 2/5 from 2.3/5 - Maybe, I had thought I knew enough about Successions without watching it to watch this episode, but, anyway it was a mash up of Successions parody with weak Simpsons episode.
Season average: 3.466/5 or approximately 74.32/100 by my scale.

This is actually the 1st time I'm joining with all in progress to review the season. And it was a great opportunity. In days I'm going to return here with deep general analysis of the season.
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Season 33 is the first season with a musical premiere ("The Star of the Backstage") and a musical finale ("Poorhouse Rock"). It started with a Marge-centric musical episode and ended with a Bart-centric musical episode.
I find it not very good because of the musical they put on (The Star of the Backstage)

I feel like their pushing this too far, and that they should quit while they're ahead.
1. Pixelated & Afraid: 5/5
2.A Serious Flanders Part 1 & 2: 4/5
3.Poorhouse Rock: 4/5
4.Boyz N the Highland: 4/5
5.Mothers and Other Strangers: 4/5
6.Bart The Cool Kid: 4/5
7.Marge the Meanie: 4/5
8.Lisa's Belly: 4/5
9.My Octopus and a Teacher: 4/5
10.You Won't Believe What This Episode Is About – Act Three Will Shock You!: 3/5
11.Pretty Whittle Liar: 3/5
12.The Star of the Backstage: 3/5
13.The Longest Marge: 3/5
14.Bart's in Jail!: 3/5
15.Portrait of a Lackey on Fire: 3/5
16.A Made Maggie: 3/5
17.Girls Just Shauna Have Fun: 3/5
18.Treehouse of Horror XXXII: 2/5
19.The Sound of Bleeding Gums: 2/5
20.Meat is Murder: 2/5
The Wayz We Were: To be viewed
Season 33 Review


A year ago, I dared to dream that season 33 might be the best season of The Simpsons in many years. With Al Jean ceding the majority of his showrunning duties to Matt Selman, there was potential for the show to deliver greater quality and consistency than any other post-classic season to date. The most pertinent question was whether or not Selman could maintain his relatively successful track record with a significantly higher workload. Would he buckle under the strain?

Well, the season has finished airing and we can now appraise it in full.

So, did season 33 fulfil its promise?

For me, the answer is a confident yes. I believe this has been the best HD season and, arguably, the best season of the show period in 24 years. It has certainly been the most consistently enjoyable and satisfying for me to watch since season 9 and I'm positively thrilled to say that. Having re-watched it in its entirety, I feel assured that my scores accurately reflect my opinions. That means my aggregate score rounds out at 3.6, eclipsing my previous frontrunner (season 15), which scores 3.5.

Let’s break things down by showrunner:

Al Jean’s Season

The divide in quality between Al Jean and Matt Selman remains as stark as ever. The former ran 7 episodes this season (only two of which I scored higher than 3), averaging a score of just 2.7. These were middling for the most part, squandering some of the season’s more interesting and fruitful ideas. This is my current ranking of and opinion on the Jean episodes this season:
  1. Pretty Whittle Liar – A surprisingly solid effort given its focus on the Spucklers. I think Joel H. Cohen wrote an atypically strong script that effectively humanised Cletus and Brandine for the first time since, well, ever. I found the character humour to be decent and the animation noticeably expressive. Even Homer and Marge’s subplot delivered some great moments, elevating what would otherwise have been extremely trite material (I especially loved the ending). The subplot was pointless filler, but it had barely any screen time so it wasn't a big deal. I don't think this needed to do more than it did and, casting aside anti-Spuckler/anti-Cohen/anti-Jean bias, I think it more or less hit its quality ceiling.

  2. Marge the Meanie – An episode with strong ideas that fell short of exploring them to the extent they demanded. The reveal that Marge was once a troublemaker was a genuinely good one, adding dimension to her character in a way that was consistent with who she is and even lined up with glimpses of a mischievous side we've seen over the years. Kudos to Amram and the team for not making this inexplicable, revisionist and/or out-of-character.

    Unfortunately, her ensuing bond with Bart lacked sufficient depth. Their pranks targeted perpetrators of inequities and injustices, revealing the presence of a strong moral component in what drives them. The episode got tantalisingly close to exploring this and other ideas in more detail with respect to their characters, but didn't really bother in the end which was a missed opportunity.

    The subplot was similarly shallow, failing to raise let alone answer questions about what Homer actually wants to pass down to his kids. It was very surface level stuff and one can't help thinking a lot more could have been mined from the premise. It was also odd to me that Homer and especially Lisa were seemingly unbothered by the revelation that Marge was once a troublemaker.

    Despite a myriad of pleasant interactions and moments, there simply wasn't enough meat on the bone and the episode struggled to rise above 'Jean-isms' (Family Guy-style cutaway gags, stilted dialogue, haphazard editing, and shallow treatment of its subject).

  3. Mothers and Other Strangers – This had a few great moments and elements, but it's difficult to look past the glaring continuity issues (of which there were several). Jean made some inexplicable choices here, honouring some tenets of the established backstory while flagrantly ignoring and rewriting others. I’m not a stickler for strict or rigid adherence to continuity in The Simpsons (the show has always played fast and loose with its history and floating timeline), but the changes were arbitrary, unnecessary and jarring. Was there really any need for Homer to learn the truth about what happened to Mona or even encounter her at all for this story to work? Jean has a decent'ish track record as a writer, but this was sabotaged by these and other irksome anachronisms.

  4. A Made Maggie – A poor man’s Moe’s Baby Blues. The Maggie and Fat Tony pairing was a fairly interesting one with some cute moments interspersed throughout, but not much happened and the whole thing never quite took off. Despite some reasonably good character humour (I chuckled at a few of the mob-related jokes), the results were fairly languid and forgettable.

  5. The Sound of Bleeding Gums – Some good intentions, but the episode cannot (and does not) succeed on those alone. The overall execution was listless which is unfortunate because the show's first proper representation of deafness deserved better. There’s no excuse for this given the amount of painstaking effort that went into episodes like A Serious Flanders, Pixelated and Afraid and others from this season alone. Lisa was also unpalatable – her attempts to help Monk came across as obnoxiously meddlesome and she was routinely self-absorbed and self-important (even when apologising for being those things). I like the their arcs in theory, but the lack of modesty and energy in the writing sabotaged both, leaving me feeling quite empty and cold.

  6. Treehouse of Horror XXXII – Awful, but that’s been part and parcel of Jean Halloween specials for two decades (aside from some intermittent and noteworthy exceptions). The Barti and Poetic Interlude segments were passable, but everything else was complete shit which is a shame because Nightmare on Elm Street and Dead Ringer had ideas that could have worked 20+ years ago.

  7. The Wayz We Were – Not as overtly bad as THOH XXXII, but certainly the most disappointing episode of the season. Maya was stripped of her agency and many of her more distinctive traits. Her keen intellect, quirky humour, strong ideals, and underlying neuroses were virtually non-existent. This was immensely underwhelming if only because season 20’s Eeny Teeny Maya Moe was (and still is) one of the show’s best HD episodes. We got no insight into why she suddenly wanted Moe back and why she no longer seemed to care that he wasn't able to look past her stature. This was an episode that actually aggravated me so it’s at the bottom of my list. Maya has yet to reappear, but I hope she (and her relationship with Moe) is put to better use in the future.
Matt Selman’s Season – The First Half

Matt Selman was several orders of magnitude more successful. Counting A Serious Flanders as a single entry, he ran 14 episodes (eclipsing his previous record of 10) and averaged an impressive score of 4.1. His output during the first half of the season was exemplary, consisting of ambitious and experimental episodes that played around with tone and genre with less focus on comedy in favour of drama played straight.

Pixelated and Afraid reigns supreme as the best episode the show has produced since at least Halloween of Horror and quite possibly the end of the classic era in terms of its overall emotional resonance. Its success was predicated on an uncompromising realism and honesty, and it will almost certainly stand as one of the all-time greatest Homer and Marge stories with some of the most beautiful moments of the entire series.

Coming in second is A Serious Flanders with its ambitious send-up of Fargo and prestige TV. I was thoroughly engrossed in the tone and drama of the story which, in addition to featuring the best use of Ned in many years, was superbly paced and animated. Of the three two-parters to air since season 28, this was well and truly the best.

Bart’s in Jail and Lisa’s Belly were also entertaining and satisfying despite being a ‘Public Service Announcement’ and ‘Afterschool Special’ respectively. Personally, I don't need this show to be transgressive (or even that funny) anymore; I'm primarily invested in the characters, their arcs, and the little of kernels of truth they provide. Both had competent stories with themes and theses that resonated with me (particularly the latter).

That leaves The Star of the Backstage and Portrait of a Lackey on Fire, both of which were strong outings. The former was the best premiere since season 9, boasting great direction and some terrific musical numbers (A Delicate Approach being my highlight) along with a good character arc for Marge. The latter was enjoyable for its straightforward and tactful exploration of Smithers as a gay man with an ending that hit just the right note of sweetness and closure.

The only stumble from Selman in the first half was an uncharacteristically weak script penned by the usually reliable Brian Kelley. The Longest Marge is arguably Kelley's worst contribution to the show, though I admit my lack of familiarity with and appreciation for football could be getting in the way.

Matt Selman’s Season – The Second Half

Selman and the team didn’t quite reach the same heights during the second half of the season, but they continued to produce character-driven episodes of consistently good to great quality. My Octopus and a Teacher and Girls Just Shauna Have Fun were the best of them. The former was a sincere and grounded examination of childhood fancies, featuring an excellent guest performance and stunning animation to boot. The latter saw the best use of Shauna and the best work from Jeff Westbrook to date (it’s no coincidence that his three best episodes have been run by Selman).

Poorhouse Rock was a superlative finale (indeed, all but one in the last 5 years have been knockouts which has been a welcome trend to observe). It was decent if unremarkable until the musical sequence launched it into the stratosphere. The music and choreography was of the highest order, boasting some of the most scathing and incisive socio-political commentary the show has delivered in two decades. The satire might have been heavy-handed and overly didactic, but the relentless and remorseless mockery of our society more than made up for it, echoing the counter-cultural and subversive spirit of the show’s golden age. I think it’s the best script credited solely to Tim Long, surpassing even Half-Decent Proposal.

Bart the Cool Kid grew on me with a re-watch once I was able to look past the modern pop-culture references (which were initially off-putting, but fairly tolerable on subsequent viewings) and the Mike Wegman cameo (which wasn’t as egregious as his first stint). It definitely brings past episodes (such as Homerpalooza) to mind, but the elements were sufficiently reconfigured and I think the interpersonal stuff at the core of the story (along with its overall flow) worked well.

Boyz N the Highlands was decent enough, but fell short of Dan Vebber’s usual high standards. It was a tad messy, lacking careful consideration and development to truly sell the idea that Martin is buckling under the pressure of his parents. The episode was more interested in shock value than putting the necessary stepping stones in place, resulting in a lingering sense of opacity and dissonance about who Martin really is. How much of what we’ve seen over the years has been an accurate reflection of his interests, hobbies, and motivations? What does he actually want? Kudos to Grey Delisle though, whose performance as Martin in this episode was truly excellent.

That leaves two episodes, both of which were varying degrees of flawed. The worst of the two, You Won’t Believe What This Episode is About – Act Three Will Shock You, was an unfocused mess with an odd blend of Selman, Jean and Scully characteristics. The satire was also impotent and cowardly, paying lip service to various aspects of current outrage and clickbait culture without committing to any particular argument or point of view. The episode played things safe with a laundry list of easy observations and references, all of which skirted around the edges of the issue without cohering into an incisive message. For me, there needed to be a much stronger and clearer thesis underpinning the commentary in the episode.

Finally, I feel ambivalent about Meat is Murder. Having never seen Succession, I’m not qualified to judge or comment on the efficacy of the parody. Then again, I’ve never seen Fargo before and was able to appreciate A Serious Flanders. The difference with this episode is that it was too specific, failing to translate into the Simpsons universe and alienating the viewer. A Serious Flanders was more accessible, using recognisable tropes to couch its references. Additionally, the sudden reveal that Lisa and Grampa have a special bond felt forced (and overly exposited). Grampa himself also felt more like a background character in his own story (up until his role in the resolution at least) as Lisa and the Redfield family took centre stage. I credit the episode for its dense plotting, use of Krusty, and interesting final twist, but a broader pastiche and a stronger character core might have enhanced it.

General Observations

A few extra things about the season I want to point out and draw attention to:
  1. The HD animation was the best it’s ever been this season. Multiple episodes looked drop dead gorgeous and the characters were at their most expressive since the classic era.

  2. Homer was exceptional from start to finish. Truly, I don’t think the character has been this good since season 8. From trying to be a good dad (Lisa’s Belly; My Octopus and a Teacher) and a decent husband (Pixelated and Afraid; Pretty Whittle Liars) to expressing relatable anxieties (Mothers and Other Strangers; Bart the Cool Kid; Marge the Meanie; Poorhouse Rock) and helping others (The Wayz We Were; Portrait of a Lackey on Fire), Homer was consistently well-intentioned and lovable while still being characteristically lazy, selfish, and bumbling.

    Even his less admirable moments (i.e. being a jerk to Grampa in Bart’s in Jail and screwing over Ned in A Serious Flanders) were tamer than usual and backed by strong motivations followed by acts of genuine repentance. Homer was at his weakest in Act Three Will Shock You during which his obstinacy and clumsiness was ratcheted up for the sake of the plot. Even then, he was a far cry from the obnoxious and destructive individual we’ve seen over the years. Homer was far less pervasive and more restrained this season without losing sight of his defining fundamental traits. I couldn’t be more thrilled with that.

  3. There was no shortage of ‘dysfunctional family’ material this season, but it was significantly more balanced relative to the depressing depictions we've seen at times over the past two decades. I’ve always found it uncomfortable when the show insinuates that the Simpsons are a broken and abusive family. They have their issues, sure, but they ultimately love and care for each other and this season demonstrated that on multiple occasions. Homer and Marge in particular have had a very healthy relationship with nary a fight and a complete absence of contrived marital conflicts. This has made the show feel more sanitised than ever, but I’m not opposed to such a shift given the pros far outweigh the cons.

  4. Lisa dominated the season (especially the second half) with decidedly mixed results. I usually roll my eyes at Lisa critics (whose arguments are often reductive and gendered), but I cannot deny that the writing has been inconsistent. Her best outing was Lisa’s Belly followed closely by My Octopus and a Teacher and Girls Just Shauna Have Fun, the writing for which found a good balance between her precocious intellect, neurotic tendencies, desire for kinship, and 8 year-old inclinations. I think all three episodes portrayed her in positive and thoughtful ways, reigning in her more objectionable characteristics.

    Her remaining roles varied wildly from adequate (Pixelated and Afraid; Marge the Meanie) and nondescript (Pretty Whittle Liars) to questionable (Boyz N the Highlands; Meat is Murder) and irksome (Treehouse of Horror XXXII; The Sound of Bleeding Gums). I’m ambivalent about her subplot in Boyz N the Highlands; the idea wasn't a bad one, but the show simply cannot convince me that Lisa is an overlooked middle child. I also found her forcefulness a bit exasperating (offset, at least, by Homer and Marge’s patience and willingness to satiate her). If she had been dialled down a bit, I might have been more entertained and convinced by the idea, but I can't help seeing it as a distraction from the infinitely more interesting main plot.

  5. The UAB production cycle introduced the concept of a ‘co-runner’ for Selman episodes. It remains to be seen how this new trend creates permutations in the style and direction of the show, but the early results are interesting and encouraging. Omine’s influence on the two episodes she co-ran (Pixelated and Afraid; My Octopus and a Teacher) is especially apparent. If nothing else, it ostensibly offsets Selman’s increased workload so, if it allows him to maintain his consistency, I’m all for it.
Looking Ahead to Season 34

Given the success of this season, I have high hopes for the next one. Selman will continue running just as many (if not slightly more) episodes and that fills me with cautious optimism. I’m under no illusion that Selman is perfect or that most of his episodes hold a candle to the classic era, but I’m undeniably partial to his modern take on the show and I enjoy his episodes more often than not.

I’m most excited for Treehouse of Horror XXXIII which will be his inaugural Halloween special and the first since XIII where each segment will be credited to a different writer. Selman has well and truly earned this opportunity after the success of Halloween of Horror and Thanksgiving of Horror.

In addition, I’m eagerly anticipating more episodes written/co-run by Carolyn Omine whose work in recent times has been superlative. I’ve also got my eye on upcoming Selman-run episodes written by Cesar Mazariegos (Not It), Dan Vebber (Step Brother from the Same Planet), and Dan Greaney (Lisa the Boy Scout). I’m particularly intrigued by the latter following the recent tantalising tease from our very own @Roger Myers III.


Am I a shameless Selman apologist? Have I erroneously convinced myself that this season was better than it was? Will I look back on this in the near or distant future and faceplam at the silliness of the praise I've bestowed? My opinions and viewpoints are in a constant state of flux – receptive to new insights and discoveries – so that’s certainly possible. I’ll be the first to admit I might be wrong. I might re-evaluate this season some day and change my mind, seeing it for what it is.

Not today though.

Season 33 is the crown jewel of post-Scully Simpsons. It’s not a return to classic-era quality by any stretch of the imagination (such a feat is impossible and exists only in our dreams), but the show is no longer resting on its laurels under Matt Selman and there have been some admirable attempts to restore its liveliness without trying (and inevitably failing) to recapture its glory days.

The Simpsons is a very different show now, but one that is starting to step out of its own shadow and grow in confidence with a new(ish) identity. It works and it means something again. That's the single greatest compliment I can give it and, if the show continues to maintain this standard for a little while longer, I will more than happily tune in for it.

See you all in September!
  1. The Star of the Backstage - 4.5/5
  2. Bart's in Jail - 4/5
  3. Treehouse of Horror XXXII - 1.5/5
  4. The Wayz We Were - 2/5
  5. Lisa's Belly - 5/5
  6. A Serious Flanders - 5/5
  7. Portrait of a Lackey on Fire - 4/5
  8. Mothers and Other Strangers - 2.5/5
  9. A Made Maggie - 3/5
  10. The Longest Marge - 2/5
  11. Pixelated and Afraid - 6/5
  12. Boyz N the Highlands - 3.5/5
  13. You Won't Believe What This Episode is About - Act Three Will Shock You! - 2/5
  14. Bart the Cool Kid - 4/5
  15. Pretty Whittle Liar - 4/5
  16. The Sound of Bleeding Gums - 2.5/5
  17. My Octopus and a Teacher - 5/5
  18. Girls Just Shauna Have Fun - 5/5
  19. Marge the Meanie - 3.5/5
  20. Meat is Murder - 2.5/5
  21. Poorhouse Rock - 5/5
Season Score - 3.64 / B
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Superb review, B-Boy. You explained basically everything, stripping down all the pros and cons of both Selman & Jean, pointing how all the characters were developed and the stories. I didn't want to make mine that big because I just am not really a fan of writing overly long messages to make it look like I'm just writing one big essay, but I enjoyed reading it from start to finish.

So regarding only Selman-run episodes, would you say this is at least as good as, say, Season 8?
I loved this season, but it doesn't hold a candle to season 8 (or even 9). The quality ceiling of those episodes is much, much higher than anything produced today. Only Pixelated and Afraid would crack my top 50 of all time. Like I said, it's a very different show so there's no use comparing it to season 8. It's all relative, y'know?
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Damn, that was some lengthy review and analysis of the season, @B-Boy. Great job (and you nailed a lot of things well, such as the differences between the Jean & the Selman halves).

I don't think I'll ever be able ro reach up to that kind of quality and extensive writing (in spite of my lengthy write-up reivews), but it will be fun to share my own collected throughts on the season, its episodes & and the good and the bad (as I have done with the recent modern seasons in the past). I think it has certainly been an thoroughly interesting season, probably the standout to me since 29 at least. Some of the previous seasons have been fine, but the consistency here was noteable.
I don't think I'll ever be able ro reach up to that kind of quality and extensive writing (in spite of my lengthy write-up reivews)
Thanks for your kind words, but don't sell yourself short! I've always greatly enjoyed your write-ups. :)
You Selman apologist.

All jokes aside, very neat analysis. I've yet to seen the last couple of episodes but I'm indeed confident that it's among the strongest outputs of the past few years if you accept that the show today is obviously different from the show as it was two decades ago. Not sure about the consistency (remains fairly uneven), but when it hits, man, does it hit. 3 (2 ?) episodes I would give the highest note (again, by modern standards), it didn't happen since God knows how long.
I’m most excited for Treehouse of Horror XXXIII which will be his inaugural Halloween special and the first since XII where each segment will be credited to a different writer.
XIII also had multiple writers. (Marc Wilmore, Brian Kelley & Kevin Curran). XIV was the first to only have 1.
As I promised, my deep generic analysis on last season. And don't worry, I may give "dry numbered" analysis in future too;) It has some similarities with my past view on season 32

WARRING I CAN BE WRONG with some things, and probably later change my mind completely

We can be sure, this season proved the long-time tradition of "odd-numbered are better than even-numbered". In season 33, at last, we saw again the tryings of the staff to support the show some quality.

Marge the alcoholic
Start with the least thing I was worried.😅 In some episodes Marge was portraited as drinking loved. Sure it isn't 18 century, and nowadays every woman, every mother - every person has the right to drink whatever.😂🍻🍷🥃🍸:marge: However I paid attention to Marge's case because it ruined her as character too much. Marge the lovable mother with her essential sceptical "Mrr" is much better, IMHO

Retcons and stupid forgetting the important
While we're used to Selman's "canon curving" to open characters, to tell new story - as usual worked or no for that or other viewer. However, Al Jean in this way surprised me. And you guess what I am talking about - about his-written script Morhers and Other Strangers, where iconic (even according to Al himself) episode Mother Simpson was… not forgotten at all vice versa there was same notes, but gotten far away. Also, should mention here Marge the Meanie and Pretty Whittle Liar, where working with past story did work for episode.

In my view, the general level of comedy and fun was decreased, making some episodes more boring and forgettable. Especially it applies to major Selman episodes. Maybe is it just me?

5 segments in THOH
Let never repeat that:(:rolleyes: The format was interesting, and made close 100th segment (in upcoming one), but NO!

All about Eve Matt Selman showrunner co-runner
First about classic fight - Jean vs. Selman. Must decrlare (and repeat myself) in UABF-cycle the former understood the simple thing - better to do less count of episodes, but the best from them. If only it worked always 😌
However, now all became more complicated. In addition to writer's, director's, showrunner's Crazy Cat Lady's names we got a new, hidden, one - co-showrunner, who took responsibilities and involve from essential "Selman-runned" credit. Straight example: we got golden Selman/Vebber duo, but with Tim Long co-run Boyz N Highlands had been different for sure like, to said, Bart the Bad Guy.

All these modern terms
The staff learnt what TikTok is😂👍. If seriously, social networking slightly was integrated into episodes and even was important part of story development. Is it good for the show? Sure, but it could be done much earlier (not like South Park level of actuality, but still).

Revision of secondary characters
Last year I colored this section in green, but now I asked myself: is it really needed to explore or add new details to every secondary character for the aim of "being fresh"? The answer is sure, yes, maybe, I don't know, whatever!😶

Writer and Directors
Most of writers/directors increased their abilities in my eyes. So, congratulations.🥳

Social commentary
Obscene with your weight/look, economy falling, same-sex relationships, inclusiveness, Internet scams - the show delivers topics, which are common in real life. That's great tendency:thumbsup:

Experiments and format-benders
The Star of Backstage, A Serious Flanders, Poorhouse Rock, Pixelated snd Afraid… being honest, caused mix reactions in people (that's normal everyone who's not a jerk has own opinion). But all they (episodes) definitely showed big staff's effort to keep The Simpsons as phenomenon… even just for big fans.

Let name it Justified expectations (I put low/high expectations on episode in my preview, and that was right): Pixelated and Afraid and A Made Maggie

The biggest Surprise (in good way) for me is Portrait of a Lackey on Fire

The biggest Surprise (in a bad way) for me is The Sound of Bleeding Gums

My personal favourites, despite how I put them in my "rating", but I felt something to these episodes after just first watching:
«The Star of the Backstage»
«Lisa's Belly»
«A Serious Flanders» (part 1)
«Pixelated and Afraid»
«My Octopus and a Teacher»
«Poorhouse Rock»

And something personal (you can just miss)

Ability to connect with staff more
In second half of season I transfer all my reviews from NHC to my Twitter page with obligate tagging the staff (HONEST REVIEW if that was discovering for you, my pleasure:D). That isn't for ass-kissing or vice versa bullying them for new Simpsons. No, I just put my honest (never tire to underline it) opinion, and let them know the opinion of ordinary fans - us. (Though it's unnecessary, cause we know for sure they read NHC)

Native language
Initially I planned to watch this season with all, with English subtitles in original language. However, just before season premiere I discovered great news about translation in Ukrainian language. You wouldn't feel, how it is cool😃. Then the WAR… and I've already used to original English on Monday evening (to distract myself), but later Ukrainian translation returned. Still super cool feelings during watching the season.🥲

P.S. It was hard and fun to write this post. I spent a half of a day on it)
1. The Star of the Backstage - 1.5/5
2. Bart's in Jail! - 2.5/5
3. Treehouse of Horror XXXII - 2/5
4. The Wayz We Were - 1.5/5
5. Lisa's Belly - 0/5*
6 & 7. A Serious Flanders - 0/5*
8. Portrait of a Lackey on Fire - 2.5/5
9. Mothers and Other Strangers - 1.5/5
10. A Made Maggie - 2.5/5
11. The Longest Marge - 2/5
12. Pixelated and Afraid - .5/5*
13. Boyz N the Highlands - 2.5/5
14. You Won't Believe What This Episode Is About – Act Three Will Shock You! - 0/5
15. Bart the Cool Kid - 0/5
16. Pretty Whittle Liar - 2.5/5
17. The Sound of Bleeding Gums - 2/5
18. My Octopus and a Teacher - 1.5/5
19. Girls Just Shauna Have Fun - 2.5/5
20. Marge the Meanie - 3/5
21. Meat is Murder - 1/5
22. Poorhouse Rock - 2/5

*Was too soft on these episodes initially.

Highlights: Marge the Meanie and Pretty Whittle Liars
Honorable mentions: Bart's in Jail! (only until the hallucination scene), A Made Maggie and Boyz N the Highlands (main plot only)

Low points: Pixelated and Afraid, A Serious Flanders, Act Three Will Shock You!, Bart the Cool Kid and Lisa's Belly
(Dis)honorable mentions: Meat is Murder (not even an episode of The Simpsons) and Mothers and Other Strangers (fuck continuity!)

While most people saw this season as the show continuing to go through a supposed "Renaissance", I viewed it as the show continuing to go through the decline that it's been in since at least 31. When compared to last season though I will say this was a slight improvement... But only in that there are two or three more episodes that I feel are worth rewatching compared to there only being one from 32 (which also counts as "Episode I thought was decent, but nobody else did"). So it's more like "It was better... But by like only 5%!".

Ironically, most of the episodes we got weren't really any better or worse than what was being cranked out five years ago. But even with that said, I can say with a straight face that I'd much rather rewatch 28 (a pretty weak season) all over again than 90% of this season's episodes (including the "Best") even once.

At the current rate the show is going with it continuing to just churn out episodes that at best are truly mediocre with maybe one OK episode for five or six, then at this point I only see myself continuing to be fully consistent with the show for another season to a season and a half at most before just calling it quits like I've already done with some of it's fellow contemporaries like FG and AD!.
Not sure about the consistency (remains fairly uneven), but when it hits, man, does it hit. 3 (2 ?) episodes I would give the highest note (again, by modern standards), it didn't happen since God knows how long.

You have to consider that when I mentioned consistency, I was more thinking along the lines of the season being consistently decent (at least in my own opinion), with most of the episodes leveling around an average/middling average grade (so not traditicuonal consistency in the sense of there being a lot of well above average episodes, mind you).

I see I gave a surprisingly low number of low grades and four or five episodes garnered above average grades, with a bunch of them being pretty solid (for modern season standards, as none of the modern episodes can measure up to those good ol' classic seasons) and a few actually being surprisingly great (including at least one episode that was one of the best of the entire HD era) so for what we got here, it was flawed for sure but overall surprisingly good.