Like most Simpsons fans, I too have come to grips with the fact that new episodes of this show will never match the brilliance of the early seasons. Even the best episodes of the past five to eight years don’t compare to even the mediocre of the first eight or nine years. I’m not sure what it is that’s missing. I still like the characters and there are moments where I still laugh out but if you ask me to remember what happened in an episode 10 minutes after it ended, I’d be hard pressed to answer you correctly. I think it has to do with looking at an episode as a whole package and seeing it generally not hold together.
Yet here I am watching as we go into the 19th season. Now I haven’t seen the movie yet. I know, I know – what kind of Simpsons fan hasn’t seen the movie? I don’t know how I missed it but I just did. The truth is that I don’t go to many movies. I have young kids and when my wife and I go out the last thing I want to spend babysitting money on is to go see a movie, especially when movies come to video in 3 months and where I have a decent home theatre system. I promise to see it soon.
Now for tonight’s season premiere, Homer saves Mr. Burns life, (again!!) and as a reward gets whisked away on his private jet to Chicago for deep dish pizza and to see other fine Chicago sites. On the plane he is serenaded by Lionel Ritchie who’s rendition of Say You, Beer Me was in my opinion far better than the original. After his night of adventure, Homer doesn’t want to return to normal life and hires a life coach (Stephen Colbert) to show him how to improve his life so he can be on his own private plane again.
With this fun set up, I’d like to say that from here hilarity ensued but I can’t. Loser Homer turning into confident Bowling Alley Homer by wearing his bowling shoes everywhere (including in bed with Marge) may be well in line with the Simpsons mythology but I just couldn’t stop thinking that I’ve seen this before (maybe Mr. Plow meets Homer’s Perfect Game). Same with Homer lying about his new job. I mean how many more new ways can they come up with for Homer to quit for a position that doesn’t work out and still be funny and original when you know he’ll end up back at the plant by the end of the 1/2 hour.
Still, it’s not for the situations that we like The Simpsons, it’s the satire and there just wasn’t any in this episode. Even the one-off jokes just weren’t that funny. Unlike most shows on my roster, however, no matter how many bad episodes in a row there are of The Simpsons I still have no intention of dropping it from my viewing schedule. Call it habit (I’ve been watching since the first or second season) or call it hope. If I wasn’t writing this review and trying to watch with a critical eye, I would enjoy the show, despite not remembering what happened.
Avi’s Episode Rating: C+