Saturday, December 9, 2017
When did the Simpsons get bad? Part 4
Since I was trying for peak Simpsons last time, I decided to find a low point to start with this time.
Bart-Mangled Banner is the lowest rated non-clip show episode on imdb of the first fifteen seasons of the show. In the episode, Bart accidentally moons the American flag, and the town overreacts. In the aftermath, Marge and Lisa also criticize blind patriotism, which leads to the family going to jail under the show’s version of The Patriot Act.
The poorly written one star reviews on imdb called this a “Pro-American” episode. Even if I agreed with that assessment, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The episode, however, is clearly a commentary on the unquestioning patriotism of the time. Granted, it’s not all that nuanced in its commentary, but it’s got its moments. Bart gives his most sincere apology that I can think of in the series, and Marge’s statement about America not being perfect was actually fairly subversive for the time.
On the other hand, the fact that it was subversive “for the time” dates the episode. It’s definitely not a timeless classic.
Favorite Quote: "Lord give us the courage to worship the American Flag."
“Fraudcast News” on the other hand is a classic. Lisa starts her own newspaper just as Mr. Burns buys all media outlets in town. This leads to a classic Lisa versus Mr. Burns battle complete with an awkward conversation about popular music. Eventually, after Lisa seemingly loses, Homer and basically everyone in Springfield start their own little independent papers.
The first time I saw this episode in high school, the ending made me cry. I cry at a lot of media, but I can’t think of any other Simpsons episodes did this(maybe the movie?). Unlike the previous episode, the David and Goliath struggle of this episode is timeless and inspiring. In addition, the support Lisa gets from Bart, Skinner, and Homer when she’s at her lowest shows that these people care about each other. A lesser show wouldn’t have these inspiring relationships. Honestly, I was shocked to find that a classic episode like this was at the end of season 15.
Favorite Quote: "Instead of one big shot controlling all the media, now there's a thousand freaks Xeroxing their worthless opinions."
Season 16 starts with a Treehouse of Horror episode. I skipped it since the Halloween episodes have pretty much always been solid. The next episode, “All’s Fair in Oven War,” misses the mark a bit. Homer and Marge spend 2 years and $100,000 remodeling their kitchen, which makes Marge a better cook for some reason. She enters a TV cooking competition, and after her competitors all cheat, adds baby ear medicine to all of their dishes. Lisa finds out and confronts Marge and you know the rest…
Favorite Quote: I don’t remember a single line from this episode. Normally, I would look up a quote to at least fill the spot, but this was just a bad episode... not worth it...
I remember being entertained by this episode, but I don’t remember any of the jokes. I’m also sure there was a b-plot that I’m forgetting. Maybe season 16 is when the show got bad? I’ll have more next time!