After a week off due to the premiere of 24: Redemption, The Simpsons returned to the airwaves with an episode that featured more than a few references to the Fox network's most infamous counter terrorism programming. No, not Fox News. 24! That's right. It seems as though Fox must be really scared their viewers have forgotten about Jack Bauer and all he's done for this great nation after his year and a half absence from the network. So, where else to find better advertising than in the shows you currently do have on your network?
I should be fair and note that episodes of The Simpsons are written months in advance of their actual airdate. I really believe it's that delay which might be affecting the viewer reception of the show's social satire. No matter how funny or good the material is, the message can seem one step behind.
And that's what this episode was to me. Some good laughs and, after some incredibly uneven plotting recently, a solid A-Z storyline for both an A and B story. However, for the most part I found myself thinking it was no more than a mish mash of storylines and jokes that seemed like they should've have been used half a decade ago. But I didn't find the humor stale. Classic television critic, huh? Flip flopping. But I'm really not.
I think I can best explain what I mean by using the episode's couch gag as an example. The family returns home to find Bart in the living room with a chalkboard writing "I will not bring the chalkboard home." It's funny, right? Seems like it should have been done years ago, yes? There! That's what I mean.
The episode featured Homer and Lisa learning valuable lessons. Lisa was taught about responsibility by Mapple CEO Steve Mobs (a parody of Apple Computers and its CEO, Steve Jobs). Homer once again flirted with xenophobia, but this time it was in a post 9/11 America. It's not 2003, right?
Let's see what TV Guide had to say about this episode...
Lisa gets a Mypod at the Springfield Mall, and Homer becomes suspicious of Bart's new Muslim friend, Bashir.
Yep, that just about covers it.
How about this for one more 24 connection... Shohreh Aghdashloo, the voice of Bashir's mother Mina, was featured heavily as a Muslim extremist with a softer side in the 4th season of the show.
After being fairly hard on the show, I shall spend the rest of the blog flip flopping and talking about what I liked...
-The comment on the mall's commercialism was really spot-on. "Meet Dr. King"
-A great parody of the infamous 1984 Super Bowl Apple commercial. One I didn't see coming even after Steve Mobs made his appearance as Big Brother.
-Groundkeeper Willie believes movies to be real.
-Bart's shock at there being a "different" religion than his own...despite the fact that his own sister is a Buddhist, his hero is a (lapsed) Jew and his friendly neighborhood convenience store clerk is Hindu.
-Kearney loving the fact that Bashir is both a name and a set of instructions — Bash Here.
-Itchy and Scratchy's first appearance of the season... I liked the idea of the cat moving into the new millennium with the Mypod. I didn't care so much for the actual episode of the cat and mouse cartoon.
-Dan Castelleneta's version of Genie from Aladdin, a role he played in a daily syndicated TV series version of that Disney film in the mid-90's.
-Lisa's $1200 bill for 1212 songs.
-Homer opting not to warn Patty and Selma about "the bomb" as well as choosing beer over Hans Moleman's life.
-Yardley Smith's terrific delivery of "Think Differently."
Before anyone gets too crazy on the boards, I hope you see where I'm coming from. The episode had a consistently even story and there were some great jokes. I'm very happy with this episode in regard to these two things. However, I guess I just feel the idea of Homer grappling with his thoughts on the Muslim faith would have made a much larger statement in years past.
I am looking forward to next week's episode which I believe is the last before a holiday hiatus. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
See you then!
After a week off due to the premiere of 24: Redemption
, The Simpsons
returned to the airwaves with an episode that featured more than a few references to the Fox network's most infamous counter terrorism programming. No, not Fox News. 24
! That's right. It seems as though Fox must be really scared their viewers have forgotten about Jack Bauer and all he's done for this great nation after his year and a half absence from the network. So, where else to find better advertising than in the shows you currently do have on your network?