Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Who wouldn't want a huge statue of Mischa Barton?*

If you were in the UK over the past couple of weeks and near a TV, you probably saw the spots for Ricky Gervais' episode of The Simpsons. Over and over and over again. It worked for the ratings, and reviewers by and large liked it (although The Guardian seemed to think it was the first time they'd handled reality TV - so "Helter Shelter" and "A Star Is Torn" don't count? - and the clueless Daily Star claimed that he was the first guest star to be asked back, a fact which will certainly come as a surprise to Albert Brooks, Kelsey Grammer, Danny DeVito, Glenn Close, Susan Sarandon, David Crosby, Alec Baldwin, Joe Mantegna, Stephen Hawking, Jon Lovitz, Adam West, Thomas Pynchon, Tom Clancy, Dave Thomas and Eric Idle. Not to mention the late Barry White and Phil Hartman), but as usual there were plenty of people claiming it was the Worst. Episode. Ever since the last one to be named Worst. Episode. Ever. Which seems to be an auto-response in some cases.
Now, I'll admit the show isn't what it was in the golden age, but erosion affects everything in the end if it lasts long enough, and it's still a long way from being shit. (Yes, it is.) And the current season's run is certainly better than even that of a couple of years ago; we're unlikely to see the heights of the classics again, and what we've got now is still more deserving of repeat viewing than, say, One On One. But we were talking about The Simpsons?
Away from the mountains of promotion that seems to greet any US show Gervais appears on (his episode of Alias received more hype than the entire series on all the channels it's been shown on), the episode itself was better around the edges than with the main plot - the Fox Network tour and the end credit ramble yes, the whole Wife Swap business not really (plus Gervais isn't really an actor) . To be honest, there have been better episodes this season, but there have also been worse (like "Seemingly Never-Ending Story" and "My Fair Willie" respectively)...but he does swipe Mel Gibson's crown as the Guest Star Who Most Took Over An Episode, even though this is preferable to "Beyond Blunderdome."
And two more things; uk.media.tv.misc imbecile Dom Robinson wondered why they didn't replace "Donald Trump" with "Alan Sugar" in the dubbing (Sir Alan Sugar hosts the British version of The Apprentice, complete with "You're fired" - too bad The Donald didn't manage to copyright it), and I still hate that live-action opening.

Five Episodes Worse Than "Homer Simpson, This Is Your Wife": I could just have filled this with episodes written by John Frink & Don Payne, but I found some others.

"Future-Drama." Worst. Emmy-Nominated Episode. Ever. Not a patch on "Lisa's Wedding" or even "Bart To The Future."

"Homer Vs. Dignity." Low point: Homer being raped by a panda.
"Lisa the Simpson." Imagine if the the-Simpson-women-are-brilliant-the-men-are-jerks ending was the other way around. Not very funny I expect (well, it is a Lisa episode), but not funny and offensive... (Incidentally, has anyone noticed that Cletus and Brandine have yet to have their own episode?)
"Blame It On Lisa." Not a Lisa episode, but the most painful of their "The Simpsons are going to..." episodes. And yes, that does include "Simpson Safari."

"The Lastest Gun In The West." Impossible to believe this came from the pen of John Swartzwelder.

*During the ride through the Fox Network lot, Homer ignores the warnings of Dan Castellaneta ("Of The Tracey Ullman Show") to keep firmly inside the cart and smashes his head against Mischa Barton. To be precise, against a giant statue of Mischa erected in her honour on the lot. (Though if they were going to build one, you'd think it would be of Simon Cowell. Then again, who wants to sleep with him?)

1 comment:

The Archivist said...

Nice title. Except you don't mention Mischa at all. (She might have been mentioned in the article, but I don't know because I can't get to it.)

That's a problem with naming something the Best or Worst Ever. It probably is - at that point in time. But as time passes, new heights or lows are reached.

Of that list, I can only clearly recall seeing Lisa the Simpson.