The Simpsons on Reflection Part IV: Season 2

Sorry this entry’s taken so long to do, but it’s not like you want to plough through classic Simpsons at breakneck speed… it needs to be savoured.

We’re currently in between seasons 2 and 3. The former is certainly a step up from season 1 in many respects – the animation is much better and the characters are far more established. Humour-wise, it follows on nicely, but as I pointed out in my last Simpsons entry, the jokes in the first series are remarkably good (you just have to put certain things aside), so there was little room for improvement. Actually, on the whole, I found that the season 2 episodes were LESS joke-packed than those in season 1. But then, you have to remember there are nearly twice as many episodes in this series, and season 2 had some pretty big shoes to fill… big shoes to fill.

I think some of the more enjoyable episodes in this segment were those that I hadn’t liked that much on viewing at the age of 10: Two Cars in Every Garage, Three Eyes on Every Fish, Bart Gets Hit by a Car, and Simpson and Delilah. You might argue that lower expectations caused me to enjoy these ones more, but it seems more likely that I “get” aspects of these episodes that I didn’t before. I remember Bart Gets Hit by a Car confused me no end when I was younger: I genuinely didn’t understand why Bart was wrapped up in bandages one minute and then fine the next. I saw it a fair few times, too – it was one that we’d elected to tape when it was on. But “compensation culture” is still among us (at risk of losing marks for context again, this episode may be more relevant to Britain now than it was in 1991), and I have a renewed appreciation for this episode. Likewise, electoral campaigns haven’t changed, and Simpson and Delilah covers human superficiality in a non-clichéd and hilarious way (of the 3 episodes I’ve picked out, I particularly enjoyed this one – Harvey Fierstein is one of the best guest voices to ever appear on The Simpsons, and I know I’m not the only one that thinks that).

Conversely, some of the episodes that I remember liking a lot didn’t do much for me this time round. My other half proclaimed at the end of Dancin’ Homer that it wasn’t a great episode, I exclaimed that he didn’t know what he was talking about…. But that was based on loving this episode as a youth, and I realised that I’d actually laughed very little on this viewing. The same can be said for Dead Putting Society (though Homer’s annoyance at the lawn mowing forfeit, or rather, the fact that Flanders is enjoying it, had me in stitches), and Bart vs Thanksgiving. Arguably, I’m segregating more child-oriented episodes from those more suitable for the adult audience of The Simpsons. It is a family show, after all, and it successfully appeals to the mature and the younger audience… without simply throwing the odd (unfunny) innuendo in there like a run-of-the-mill Dreamworks animation.

I’m judging season 2 on VERY high standards here, of course. It’s not as though the highlighted episodes are bad (and to define bad, we need only look 10 years down the line), it would just be a boring entry without offering at least some critique.

Now that’s out of the way, I particularly enjoyed the following episodes:

Simpson and Delilah, for reasons highlighted above

Bart the Daredevil, because the ambulance crash will NEVER get old. This is an example of when physical comedy (something Zombie Simpsons heavily relies on) can be brilliant. It’s perfectly timed, and though Homer falling down a cliff twice could be annoying and used as a time killing device, it’s still short and simple (on the second incident, we only hear his cries for a few seconds… though the first clip show says otherwise).

Itchy & Scratchy & Marge, though another fuzzy VHS tape favourite of mine that had previously been viewed innumerable times, always deserves a mention: “I will never watch your show, buy any of your products… or brake if I see you crossing the street.”/”Make it a pie, pies are easier to draw.”

Principal Charming, for Homer’s analysis of his friends and co-workers as potential partners for Selma

Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?: If Harvey Fierstein as Karl is the best guest voice, then Danny DeVito as Herbert Powell is a close second, “I’m just silent because of the emotion involved.”

Bart’s Dog Gets an F, for Homer’s self-assured assertion to the neighbour that it could not possibly be his dog swimming in her pool, because he’s looking at him right… “D’OH!”

Brush with Greatness, for the Mount Splashmore counterpart alone.

Lisa’s Substitute, “Just because I don’t care, doesn’t mean I don’t understand.”

War of the Simpsons, for the marriage counselling scenes.

Blood Feud, for this screenshot:

I’d never looked at this properly before, even though it’s on screen, on its own, for a few seconds. I absolutely love it – it’s so melodramatic. I particularly like the wholesome way the recipient of the important letter is clutching a bowl of soup. Homer and Bart’s attempts to recall the letter are very humorous, too, and the wrap-up “it’s just a bunch of stuff that happened” is just great. Indeed, it is just a bunch of stuff, but it’s logical at least. No comment, Zombie Simpsons.

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One Response to “The Simpsons on Reflection Part IV: Season 2”

  1. […] other news, Kokairu posted her Season 2 roundup.  All I’ll say is that, if you’re in an old enough post office, a mural like the one from […]

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