Season 7 of The Simpsons is another year of the Simpsons with equally great to average episodes. So let’s look at them, shall we.
Let’s start this show with the premiere episode Who Shot Mr Burns (Part 2) where the whole episode is solving the mystery of last season’s cliffhanger. I think I prefer this episode over the previous one as it’s a very entertaining parody of Dallas’s Who Shot JR? I really enjoyed all the scenes with Chief Wiggum and his guys trying to solve this big mystery. It’s very entertaining and the reveal of who shot Mr Burns is most unexpected and really awesome. I remember I actually watched Part 2 first when I was kid, I don’t know why but I think if you did watch this first you’ll still be very entertained without having the context and still feel the same excitement watching the two episodes out of order. But you should still watch Part 1 as together they make an entertaining hour of television.
Last time I mentioned that Season 6 was somewhat the start of the Simpsons downfall, and I still stand by that comment, but I think this season may have been a bit of an improvement over that season as I found there were way more outstanding episodes than last season and less really average episodes. The dark days are coming though which is something I can faintly see glaring at me through the dark tunnel that’s to come. But for now let’s talk about what this season has to offer as I think it’s another solid season with interesting premises and some episodes that I feel make a huge impact on the show and enrich these already great characters.
After the premiere we have Radioactive Man which I found very entertaining as it’s a fun jab at the movie industry. Some ambitious movie directors come to Springfield to film their superhero movie and all the kids are excited to be able to audition to play Radioactive Man’s sidekick. One of my favourite scenes in this episode is the audition for Fallout Boy as they’re not really looking for a kid that can act but more for someone that looks the part. It’s also very quotable like Rainier Wolfcastle’s ‘Up and at them’ and ‘My eyes! The goggles do nothing’. After that you’ve got Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Dooley where Homer and Marge are called out for being bad parents and the kids have to live with the Flanders. This is a great premise but I don’t really agree with the show calling Marge out as a bad parent but I’m prepared to overlook that.
Then you’ve got Bart Sells His Soul where it features another great quote from Lovejoy ‘This sounds like Rock and or Roll’. (I wish I did this much earlier I should have made a list of great quotes from the show, but you know that’s when the best ideas come up.) This one is about Bart selling his soul to Milhouse and immediately regretting it as he starts to feel incomplete without it. It’s a good character piece for Bart which you’ll notice alot of this season and that includes the next episode, Lisa the Vegetarian. This episode has Lisa becoming a vegetarian and she tries to make everyone else become a vegetarian too. But she learns from the guest stars of the episode Linda and Paul McCartney that she shouldn’t force people to share her beliefs. I don’t think it’s as great as the previous episodes but it’s still pretty good. This episode is mostly noteworthy because Lisa remains a vegetarian after this episode which was Paul McCartney’s request. This annoys me as they’re basically saying everything before this episode didn’t leave any impact on the characters. I know that’s mostly because of the non-continuous format of the show but if this is the first permanent change in seven seasons then that doesn’t really say much for how this show treats character development and change.
Let’s move on to Treehouse of Horror VI which is probably the weakest one so far. The first one with the advertisement giants was alright, the best one is the Nightmare on Elm Street parody which features some of the best quotes, like Lisa says ‘Bart, the next time we fall asleep, we could die’ then Grampa says ‘Heh, Welcome to my World’ before he falls asleep. The last has Homer entering the third dimension – it’s just okay and the 3D animation isn’t that bad, I just wish they spent more time with Homer in our world. King-Size Homer is another one of my all-time favourites as it’s just really funny. After that is Mother Simpson which I found had way more impact than Lisa the Vegetarian as we finally meet Homer’s mother, played amazingly by Glenn Close. It’s very entertaining with Grampa and Chief Wiggum being the highlight but it’s also touching and it does a good job of expanding Homer, Lisa and Mr Burns with the introduction of this new character.
From here is where the season begins to dip with Sideshow Bob’s Last Gleaming. This is the third year in a row featuring this character and the novelty is already starting to wear off. I like Sideshow Bob but every episode he’s in, he becomes more and more of an easy crazy punching bag. I was considering mentioning that the writers are running out of uses for the character last season but it feels even more prominent this season, where his evil plan is to get rid of TV by threatening to blow up Springfield. (Does anyone remember his motives from Season 1?) It’s still not a bad episode but there are only so many times I can see a Sideshow Bob episode. After that is The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular which is basically another clip-show episode but this one is kind of unique where they show previously un-aired clips from the show and alternate endings to Who Shot Mr Burns which is pretty cool, although it’s value diminishes very quickly so it’s only worth one watch. It’s also kind of weird that Troy McClure is talking about the behind the scenes of the show that he’s a part of.
After that we have my favourite episode of this season Marge Be Not Proud where it’s Christmas time. (It wasn’t my intention to release this near Christmas, I swear.) This one is my favourite because it’s the one that I connected to the most. What Bart goes through in this episode I completely identified with. (Except shoplifting never really came to mind when I was a kid!) It’s very entertaining, with an amazing guest performance from Lawrence Tierney as the gruff security guard. The third act with the big rift between Bart and Marge really hit home for me and god damn Simpsons you’re on a roll with these touching endings. Stop making me feel stuff, it’s not cool!
Let’s move on to Bart the Fink where Bart accidentally exposes Krusty for tax fraud which results in him losing everything and then faking his own death. (Sorry, spoilers, but not really.) Krusty is very much like Sideshow Bob where his episodes all feel the same as he has a problem to deal with and the Simpsons children help him overcome it. Krusty is better when he’s not the focus like in Bart Gets Famous as a good example. It’s not a bad episode but it’s entirely pointless. Some better episodes include A Fish Called Selma where one of Phil Hartman’s characters finally gets the main spotlight. Troy McClure gets married to Selma which is quite an unexpected pairing. A pretty entertaining episode and after that is Bart on the Road. It’s got a great set-up with Skinner making the kids go to work with their parents and Bart ends up at the DMV where Patty and Selma say ‘Sometimes we don’t let the line move at all. We call those week days’. After that Bart and the boys go on a road trip and we have a nice bonding subplot with Homer and Lisa, a pretty damn entertaining episode.
After that we have the most unique episode of the season – 22 Short Films Around Springfield where the episode features multiple skits from some of our favourite characters whilst on bizarre adventures. The writing in this episode is on point as all the skits are different from each other and they show the characters in unique situations. The only downside with an episode like this is that there are obvious amazing ones and also some very weak ones. A good example of a weak one would be Cletus’s short which I felt could have been cut altogether. But there are tons of great moments like Apu going to a party in the span of five minutes and it ending with a great line from Hans Moleman. The Pulp Fiction inspired scenes with Wiggum and Snake were also really great. But the best skit by far is Skinner and Superintendent Chalmers’s short, where Chalmers comes over to Skinner’s house and Skinner has to outright lie about his weird behavior. Like serving up the infamous Steamed Hams even though they’re clearly grilled and saying the fire inside his house is just an aurora borealis, just perfect, I can only imagine how much fun it would have been to write this episode.
The last great episode of this season is the one with the ridiculously long title The Curse of the Flying Hellfish. Where we learn that Grampa’s stories aren’t all made up after all. (Though I still find that hard to believe.) In this one we learn that back in WWII Grampa and his unit found some valuable paintings and agreed that whoever was the last alive would get all the paintings and of course it ends up being just Grampa and Mr Burns. I liked this one so much because it’s like a good parody on the action adventure genre, most notably the Indiana Jones movies. With Bart and Grampa being our heroes trying to find the hidden secret treasure while being trailed by our main villain and having a kick ass final showdown. While also having the Simpsons charm and humour in between the fun adventure parts, I highly recommend it.
The few last episodes I will mention are Homerpalooza which has Homer realizing he’s out of touch with music, so he decides to go the famous music festival Lollapalooza to try and reconnect with the young people (which ironically this episode is also out of date). Homer becomes a freak for the festival which immediately reminds me of Dancin’ Homer because I honestly don’t see a side character of a freak show getting more attention than the musicians that you pay to see. The final episode of the season is Summer of 4 ft 2 where Lisa decides to do a 180 and be cool and hip so she can appease the hip and cool 90’s kids. (They are almost similar to today’s kids.) I can’t help it but this reminds of one of my favourite episodes Separate Vocations where Lisa took a full 360 degree turn but in that one it was a much darker turn. This one isn’t that bad, the best parts of this episode is whenever they focused on Homer or Milhouse or Marge and I didn’t like Bart at all in this one as he was such a pain.
Well that’s the end of another season and I’m starting to feel a bit fatigued, saying the same stuff every month so luckily Season 8 is a bit of a controversial season so hopefully that’ll spice things up because my life isn’t spicy enough.
Until next time, The Blog Complainer, signing out.
Season Rating: 9/10
25. Scenes from the Class Struggle in Springfield
24. The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular
23. Bart the Fink
22. Two Bad Neighbours
21. Much Apu About Nothing
20. Sideshow Bob’s Last Gleaming
18. Summer of 4 ft 2
17. Bart on the Road
16. Lisa the Vegetarian
15. The Day the Violence Died
14. A Fish Called Selma
13. Homer the Smithers
12. Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Dooley
11. Treehouse of Horror VI
10. Team Homer
9. Lisa the Iconoclast
8. Bart Sells His Soul
7. Radioactive Man
6. Mother Simpson
5. King-Size Homer
4. 22 Short Films Around Springfield
3. Who Shot Mr Burns (Part Two)
2. Raging Abe Simpson and His Grumbling Grandson in “The Curse of the Flying Hellfish“
1. Marge Be Not Proud