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Season 14 Reviews

Here are the reviews of all the Season 14 episodes I wrote as they aired (2002-2003).

Treehouse of Horror XII

Send In The Clones - I loved this story, it was definitely the best THOH segment in recent years. The progression of the story was really good, as was the appearance of the early Homer and Peter from Family Guy. The simultaneous stranglings and d'ohs were probably my favorite part, just because it made me roar with laughter! 10/10

The Fright to Creep and Scare Harms - What a let down. After such a great segment comes this, partly recycled, disjointed, unfunny, nonsensical storyline. For me it was too similar to The Monkey's Paw story from THOH II. The story made no sense whatsoever, and had no funny moments. 3/10

The Island of Dr. Hibbert - This was weird, but a funny kind of weird. No particular jokes stand out in my mind, but I just remember laughing at all the different animals, like 'Disco Shrew'. 7/10

It's really difficult to judge this episode overall, because there was such a contrast between the stories. The first segment was by far the best, the last was okay, but the middle one was poor.

Rating: 7/10

How I Spent My Strummer Vacation

Another good episode. The first few minutes were hilarious, Homer drunk (and trying to get drunk) is always good. Then Homer tries to drive home, even though he's thrown his keys down the drain. I was expecting him to realize sooner or later, but he didn't.

Anyway, next we have a lovely scene of Homer being nice to his family (makes a change!) - but it doesn't last long, as he is on TV, telling a taxi driver that he hates his family for crushing his dreams. So Marge packs him off to Rock 'n Roll Fantasy Camp. Everything here was funny, such as Homer swinging his guitar above his head, taking some dodgy pills, and the 'writing lyrics' bit, around the campfire.

Homer's dream comes to an end, so Mick & co tell Homer he can go on stage, but he ends up only being a roadie. The episode ends nicely as well, with Homer dropping the kids off at school in the devil car thing. The whole episode progresses well from start to finish.

Rating: 9/10

Bart Vs. Lisa Vs. The Third Grade

This episode was okay. Overall, it was a bit disappointing. There were several funny moments, but there was no spark to the episode - it just plodded along. It felt like the writers couldn't be bothered.

The funny moments which stick out in my mind are the opening; the bit when Bart and Lisa's desks were clamped together; and Bart's new flag. The twist in the episode, where Bart and Lisa are discovered in the forest by the hillbillies was strange, but worked in this episode.

The ending, though, did not work. In fact, the episode did not really have an ending: Milhouse says, "The status quo? Aye Carumba!" and then Skinner calls him sad. The end. The episode has funny moments, but it does not really go anywhere.

Rating: 7/10

Large Marge

Hmm... I'm in two minds about this episode. In one sense, it was funny and the plot progressed well, even incorporating a sub-plot. But in another way, the episode was lame, smutty, and it had a feeble story line.

I guess I had better explain myself. The main storyline: Marge mistakenly gets breast implants. As soon as you hear this, you start to wonder if they are running out of (good) ideas. You think that the episode could be good if done properly. But there were some terrible jokes about breasts in this episode. Homer calling them "the twins," as if they were part of the family is one such example.

But then at the other end of the scales, we have some good jokes, and a decent sub-plot, which gets incorporated back into the main storyline at the end of the episode. It was also good to see the return of Stampy, Bart's elephant. And Krusty, of course, he's always good. I can't think of a bad Krusty episode ever.

Well, the episode gets a decent mark, but I still think the writers can do better.

Rating: 7/10

Helter Shelter

Another pretty average episode. It does start well, but the plot is very disjointed. We go from Homer getting injured at work a couple of seconds into the episode (loved the suddenness of it), to the family winning skybox tickets, to Lisa getting a hockey stick from a player, to termites invading the house, to the family being part of a reality TV show. And if that didn't stir you the episode has a very strange third act, not uncommon these days.

In fact, the episode starts off with a very funny few seconds, then goes sharply downhill, then picks up in the middle sections, but as soon as the TV producers are stuck for ideas for the TV show, the episode gets worse again, as if the writers are stuck for ideas.

There were some funny moments, but most of these didn't come until the second act. Good bits included the auditions, the confession room, the bullies wishing they had Bart's outfit, and the television show the family watch at the very end.

Rating: 6/10

The Great Louse Detective

Finally, an episode worthy of a review! The Great Louse Detective starts off well, and just keeps getting better and better. What I found very surprising is that it was good despite being yet another Sideshow Bob episode (the eighth, in fact). A big pat on the back to the writers for this one.

Okay, to start: Marge vacuuming. Scenes with Marge in are never funny unless they refer to housework or her strange habits. Anyway, the Simpsons get invited to a spa weekend and after some funny scenes, such as the woman sinking into Homer's back, someone tries to murder Homer. After another funny scene with Wiggum, Sideshow Bob is released into the care of the Simpsons' home to help Homer find the killer. From here on the episode gets funnier and funnier.

The best bits included the dummy that everybody tried to kill, Moe and the pickle jar, and Sideshow Bob reminiscing with Apu. I thought ending and flashback bit was a great twist, and the ending of the episode with Bob singing was good. Definitely a great episode all round.

Rating: 9½/10

Special Edna

This episode was really good, it had a decent and well-though-out plot line, the episode progressed well, and there was some great character development.

Theoretically, this is an episode I should hate, because I'm really starting to get sick of the permanent continuity changes the writers seem to think are funny, like Barney giving up alcohol, and Lisa becoming a Buddha. But this worked. The Skinner-Krebappel thing has been going on for several Seasons now, and was started when the show was at its finest. This is probably part of the reason why I found this episode believable.

The main focus of the episode, of course, was Skinner and Krebappel's relationship, and Skinner's spinelessness with his mother. But the Simpsons family shined, too, even though only Bart had a major part in the episode. Homer was funny for once. The references to Disney World and the other parks in Orlando were really funny, such as the Efcot Center and the electric car scene. I was on holiday in Orlando recently which is why I found this so funny, I think.

I didn't get the scene over the credits, where Homer started singing about pie then walked out off halfway through, it just seemed strange to me. The episode had a good ending, there was no need to spoil it with this. Overall, though, this was a top class episode, although we always seem to get a few great episodes (that aren't holdovers) at the beginning of the Season, and it doesn't last long. I hope this time it does.

Rating: 9/10

Strong Arms of the Ma

Well, this was a strange episode. It wasn't unfunny, but it seemed like one of those "we're running out of storylines" from the writers. In essence, it had the same plot as King of the Hill, where Homer works out. But this time it's Marge, and it leads to steroid abuse.

The opening scenes were really good. Nice to see a return of the Eye On Springfield credits. There was some great stuff going on at the sale as well. I liked the Tetris parody, and then Homer realizing that he wouldn't be able to fit in the car, so having to be carried home by McBain (who we never see in movies anymore).

Well, we soon get into the main storyline. Marge is mugged and develops agoraphobia, so she moves into the basement. She starts using the weights which Homer bought at the sale earlier, so she can get even with her attacker. Pretty much every thing that went on in the basement was good, however, I think the fight scene with her attacker went on for way too long.

From here to the end, the episode is pretty average - there were no great laughs, but it was okay. I think it was because it was an episode revolving around Marge, and the ending was all about Marge. Marge isn't generally a funny character, she's best when she has a smaller role, or when she does strange things. For example, one episode she really had a thing for potatoes. Overall, though, this was a solid episode, with enough laughs to keep me happy.

Rating: 8/10

Pray Anything

I'd have to say this is good for a new episode. Not great, but there was nothing wrong with it, so it gets a good review. I liked the storyline, it seemed quite fresh and original.

It started well, and in fact got better as the episode progressed. I can't remember any "laugh out loud" moments, but there were many good jokes such as when we heard Homer screaming for ages as he was falling - then we see that he has only fallen a few feet. Also the scene at Barney's Bowlarama was good.

Flanders was pretty good in this episode. In fact, Homer was funny too, which is rare these days for an episode revolving around him.

Something I didn't like was the way some things were not explained or turns in the story did not come to anything. For example, when the flood started, Ned took the "Noah's arc" thing with the animals, but then we did not hear of it again. And Reverend Lovejoy seemed to appear out of nowhere, in a helicopter, without any explanation.

But, overall this episode was good, one I'd readily watch again.

Rating: 9/10

The Dad Who Knew Too Little

Another average episode. There were some funny things about it, and some not so funny. We start with yet another birthday for Lisa - the third and counting. Most of this was funny, however, it shocked me when Lisa said "buy me the friggin' book". Although this isn't swearing as such, it's not the kind of thing a Simpsons character would say, especially Lisa. The writers have done this a lot recently - with comments about the wiener being the strongest muscle in the body, and the word penis used several times. It's not proper Simpsons humor.

Anyway, to get into the storyline, Homer hires a detective to find out stuff about Lisa. Thinking about it, all of this was funny right up until Homer and Lisa went on the run. That's when it became a little boring. There were very few jokes in this bit. I did like when Homer was on the phone to Marge, though.

Overall, a good episode, but could have been a lot better.

Rating: 7/10

A Star is Born Again

I found this episode boring. It was just another continuation in the "Ned Flanders' wife is dead" saga. The idea and storyline were in essence good, but the episode just fell flat for some reason. There was a whole lot about Ned & sex, which was important to the storyline, but not funny. They could've slipped in a few jokes, but they didn't.

I liked the appearance of the Leftorium, which we haven't seen for a few years. It's a while since I saw this one, so I don't remember everything about it. As I said, it was an average episode, a little boring.

Rating 6/10

Barting Over

Here we are: the 300th episode! This was a good solid episode, with many laughs, but personally, I don't think it had that 'spark' that it should have.

There were a few things in the episodes I didn't like. One was the genie/monster thing that rose up behind Lisa when she read some words from a book. That's a Treehouse of Horror joke, not a regular Simpsons joke. Another was more swearing, but I guess it's normal of The Simpsons now.

The third, and this really bugs me, is the worthless appearance of guest stars. Tony Hawk was an okay guest star, as he actually had a part to play in the episode. But having Blink 182 appear and say one line each was utterly pointless - they added nothing to the episode. In fact, it probably would have been funnier if it had been just a general rock band, because the lines would have made fun of all rock stars, rather than just Blink 182.

And fourth, Homer and Tony Hawk freezing in mid-air and fighting with their skateboards was a breach of one of Matt Groening's core rules for The Simpsons - which is that characters do not walk on air, the show is supposed to follow real life as closely as possible.

Apart from these, the episode was good. It was hardly a classic, but it's good to see that the show can be funny after 14 years - it's still the best television show in the world!

Rating: 8/10

Mr. Spritz Goes To Washington

Not bad, but I don't think it was up to scratch for a Krusty episode. Every other episode revolving around Krusty the Clown has been hilarious, this was a bit of a let down. Having said that, it was a good episode, with plenty of laughs, just not enough for my liking.

The basic plot was good as was the opening with the planes flying overhead. The first scene with Krusty was funny, but after that the episode plodded along with a few jokes here and there. Most of them, of course, were at the government's expense, which is fine in small doses, but some gags felt like they were there just for the sake of being there.

Overall, a good episode, but could have been better.

Rating: 8/10

C. E. D'oh

Another great episode! Season 14 has been of a much better standard than previous Seasons, we've had more better quality episodes, and fewer poor ones. The storyline to C. E. D'oh was partially reused - Mr. Burns has lost the power plant more than once before, but this time Homer takes over. This obviously leads to some very funny moments.

I loved the "chain of command" poster - Homer was below the inanimate carbon rod. It's good to see more sight gags in newer episodes, they have been sparse lately. I also liked Burns trying to brick up his monument, and the opening few scenes were funny too.

Then to finish, every goes back to normal - for the 305th time, apparently. It's funny because in the UK, this episode was the second one broadcast after Barting Over, so it should have been 302nd (but actually 304th). This episode is definitely one of the best of the Season so far.

Rating: 9½/10

'Scuse Me While I Miss the Sky

Yet another good episode! This Season has definitely turned things around for The Simpsons, there haven't been any really bad episodes. A couple have come close, but nothing as bad as The Lastest Gun in the West from last year.

Okay to get back to the episode - great! I loved the appearance of Eric Idle as the documentary maker, he was hilarious. It's good to see a guest star not playing themselves, I am getting tired of them. Also it was good to see a strong subplot in an episode. In fact, the subplot (Bart stealing Fat Tony's hood ornament) was funnier than the main plot, which always works well for some reason. I think it's because they don't drag out the subplot, there's just enough for it to be funny but not boring.

Since I saw this episode over two weeks ago, I can't remember all the actual jokes, I just remember the episode being funny. One thing that sticks out in my mind is the documentary at the end of the episode, it was funny.

Rating: 8/10

Three Gays of the Condo

Much better than I expected. I thought the "Homer might be gay" synopsis sounded a bit tacky in my opinion, but the episode worked well. The jigsaw opening worked well, I liked Carl's comment that Homer's done all the fun stuff.

Homer find's Marge's note that they would not work as a couple. The flashback scenes here were cool, and this whole section led nicely into the main plot. The "gay neighborhood" was funny, as was the inevitable Smithers scene. I'm glad they didn't over use Smithers in this episode, he's much more funny with shorter gay references.

Then Homer moves in with two gay guys. Pretty much all of this last act was great, especially Weird Al Yankovic's song for Homer. I also liked the way homer got on so well with his two new friends. Smithers' appearance was funny, too. All in all, a good episode.

Rating: 9/10

Dude, Where's My Ranch?

Heh heh, what a great episode! I was laughing all the way through this one, quite a rarity for newer episodes. In fact, it's quite rare for some older episodes to laugh as much as I did for this one!

First we start with a good opener - the Simpsons singing Christmas carols; plenty of funny moments here, especially the lawyer with his "Cease & Desist" thing. Then we move onto the most hilarious part of the episode - Homer singing about how much he hates Flanders. I was laughing out loud for at least five minutes here! The guest star wasn't a bad one in this part as well.

Then a quick plot change - I'm not to fond of these usually, but the way it was introduced (the family all pitching in to do the washing up) was great. Homer's "take one" line was good, as was Maggie in the cupboard - in fact Maggie had some great bits throughout the entire episode.

We have two storylines which intertwined beautifully and were both funny, the way it should be, and a mark of classic Simpsons writing. The last minute or so was not as funny as it could have been, but that didn't matter - the episode had been so amazing, any ending would have been good. I really can't get over how excellent this episode was, truly a classic!

Rating: 10/10! Best of the Season!

Old Yeller Belly

I thought this one was pretty good, but not as good as I was expecting. I'd heard a lot of great things about this episode.

Definitely an episode worth watching, though. It was good to see and episode involving Santa's Little Helper again, there have been very few. Dog of Death was a great episode, but I didn't like The Canine Mutiny. This one was in between.

The opening was excellent - Bart and his friends behaving childish... because they are children. I think the writers forget this sometimes. Although I didn't get why Nelson and Database were there, seem like opposites to me. Would have been good to see Lewis or Richard instead (Bart's friends from Season 1 and 2).

The grand opening of the new treehouse was funny, as was Homer jumping out thinking there was a net. The main story seemed to drag on a bit, though. It was good, but I felt there were not enough jokes, it was all "establishing the storyline".

Rating: 8/10

Brake My Wife, Please

Overall, this was decent, with plenty of funny moments. However, I felt that the whole episode was really disjointed. It seemed to switch from one storyline to another - we had the aquarium visit, Bart going to hospital, Homer getting a cell phone then loads of accessories for the car, then losing his license, then discovering the joy of walking, then being run over, and then finally the main plot about Marge hating Homer. It was just too much. Normally, separate storylines are okay if they link into the main story or they are referred back to again at the end, but it didn't happen in this episode.

Apart from this, the episode was okay. There were plenty of good moments, especially the opening scene at the aquarium. The occurrence of a song - two songs in fact - was great as well. If the episode was a little less disjointed and had focused on the main story more, it would have been a lot better.

Rating: 8/10

The Bart of War

To be honest, I didn't like this episode. There just weren't many funny moments. The introduction story, Bart & Milhouse in Flanders house, took up way too much time - the whole of the first act - and it wasn't that funny.

Then the main story wasn't a lot better. The characters which appeared did not fit either - since when has Bart been friends with Database and Ralph? Database appeared in Old Yeller Belly, too. He was a one-time character who has been over used in the last few years. And I don't see why Nelson would want to be in the group, either. Milhouse's group wasn't a lot better - Martin was okay, but why would Jimbo be in his group? I think the bullies are becoming too soft.

All this bugged me really, because it just seemed they wrote in these characters because they have been popular in the past. In this situation, however, it didn't work.

Rating: 5/10

Moe Baby Blues

Episodes with Moe are usually good, and this one was no exception. However, it could have been better. The first part with the flower opening was pretty good, and led nicely into Moe catching Maggie and being dubbed a hero. The ending was also good - the mafia are always excellent when they appear.

However, the scenes in the middle where Moe baby-sits Maggie seemed very long and drawn-out to me (excuse the pun). They just got boring. There were some funny moments - I liked the references to the Godfather movies - but overall, this episode was missing a spark.

Rating: 7/10