Hello, it’s me, the BC. It has been a long time coming but today we’re going to talk about Season 8 of the popular animated series The Simpsons.
I remember when I started covering this show over a year ago and read somewhere that Season 8 is where the show started to go downhill. Whilst I understand this viewpoint I personally disagree, not that there aren’t problems with this season. So come with me on a magical tour which I like to call The Simpsons Season 8 tour.
THE MEH COLLECTION
The Homer They Fall really stunk! A good Simpsons episode always has a great opening to get the plot going but unfortunately in this one the opening is just so uninteresting. Bart gets this high tech belt thing and the bullies take it off him. Then Homer challenges their dads and they beat him up, but when he doesn’t fall over right away they give up and this kicks off the main plot. How riveting. The gimmick is Homer can’t box so they just have him stand there until his opponent gets tired and that works until an actual heavyweight champion comes in. Long story short, not a very interesting premise and the gimmick gets old faster than you can say oatmeal.
Another worthless episode is Brother From Another Series. This episode tried to refresh the Sideshow Bob formula, but it was a complete waste of time. I have never seen Frasier and I get why they wanted to do this, but that doesn’t make a good episode. Sideshow Bob becoming a good guy and having him team up with Bart is a great idea, but it was really poorly executed. It also has a terrible ending with Chief Wiggum arresting Bob for no other reason than he thinks he should go back to jail for simply being near an evil plot. This episode should have been the sendoff for Bob instead of just another Sideshow Bob episode.
I’ll mention a few more as there is a bit of an improvement. The Old Man and Lisa is another okay episode although it’s opening takes a while to build to anything interesting. Lisa and Mr Burns make an interesting pair, but the story goes exactly where you think it’s going to go and there’s your average Simpsons episode. Even the other Simpsons family members could see where this was going but Lisa couldn’t? Last episode, My Sister, My Sitter – I did like Lisa babysitting the Flanders kids and Homer and Marge’s night at the port but the main focus with Bart being a complete nuisance to his little sister felt like nails on a chalkboard.
Probably the most noteworthy episode of this season is Homer’s Phobia. This is the one that dives head first into the homosexuality side of The Simpsons, which explains why this episode got an Emmy. This episode was alright, there are some good gags, the stuff with Homer and Bart wasn’t bad and I liked the character of John. I will admit it is a bit dated as it’s quite homophobic and times have changed since 1997.
Bart After Dark is a very well known episode that I don’t like as much as I did when I was kid. The opening is great with Lisa and Marge getting a poor deal at the endangered seal beach. It starts to go downhill for me when Homer unknowingly forces Bart to work at the Burlesque house. The episode is just dull and boring. I didn’t really care that Marge threatened to tear down the joint, but I did like the ending being decided over who can give the best musical number. (Musical Numbers are normally the saving grace of any episode on this show.)
Let’s talk about the specials. We’ll start with this year’s Treehouse of Horror and it’s another okay one. We’re just going to focus on the last segment as it’s just fantastic! I have no interest in politics, but I always enjoy watching it being made fun of and that’s why I adore Citizen Kang. Kang and Kodos disguise themselves as the candidates running for US President. It’s a hilarious jab at the two party system and the ending is just amazing!
The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase is something, I guess. Again there was only one good short and that’s Chief Wiggum P.I. As I said back in Season 4 a spin-off based on the Springfield cops would be comedy gold. I would also love to see a show about Chief Wiggum P.I is a spin-off I would definitely watch. The Love-Matic Grampa is okay, but it felt like a sitcom from the 1960’s. Don’t get me started on the last spin-off.
THE ALL-STAR LINE-UP
Homer’s Enemy is a very noteworthy episode but I just love it so much that I’m putting it here. It’s fun to analyse the themes this episode tackles. Frank Grimes (played brilliantly by Hank Azaria) is the perfect adversary for Homer. Grimes is easily the most normal character on the entire show, who has the worst possible luck. He’s a great contrast to Homer who has achieved everything he ever wanted, simply by being lazy and ignorant. It’s known as one of the darkest episodes because of how alone Grimes is in his quest to expose Homer in a town full of oblivious people. It’s really funny too and the subplot with Bart owning an abandoned factory reinforces the cruel reality of Frank’s world. Looking back on it, I think they really should have retired Bob and had Frank Grimes take over as the recurring antagonist.
Another episode that’ll make you think is The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show. It may be obvious why I favoured this episode, as cartoons are pretty much my life. It’s great commentary on dying TV shows and on the desperate out of touch producers behind them. Poochie and even the meta character Roy is a very good parody on characters like Scrappy Doo and The Great Gazoo. It is perfectly paced all the way through and Poochie makes a great exit.
There are two dating themed episodes and both were interesting. Although I prefer the romance between Skinner and Mrs Krabappel, as grownups hooking up will always be more interesting than kids, Lisa’s Date with Density is the better episode. It has a great opening that nicely moves into the main plot. It also has a hilarious subplot with Homer scamming the town with the auto dialer. The main plot is also interesting with Lisa trying to change Nelson for the better, it almost works until he reverts back to his old ways. The entire supporting cast are very well utilised, especially Milhouse as this season kicks off his sad crush on Lisa.
The three episodes that I chose as my favourites are great reminders of why we love these characters. Hurricane Neddy is a good look at Flanders as it’s the episode where he finally snaps. The build up to this moment is just amazing. El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer (The Mysterious Voyage of Homer) is a good look at Homer and Marge’s marriage. Homer’s hallucination sequence is beautifully animated and Johnny Cash provides one of the best guest star performances in the series.
Last episode Simpsonscalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious is not only a great parody of Mary Poppins, but also a great look at The Simpsons family. You’ve got the fun songs and even Shary Bobbins can’t change The Simpsons.
To wrap this up, I enjoyed Season 8. Another solid season of this show. It’s also probably the most unique season too that introduces a lot very distinguishable episodes and some iconic new characters. Hopefully Season 9 doesn’t mess it all up.
Season Rating: 8/10
25. The Homer They Fall
24. Burns, Baby Burns
23. Brother From Another Series
22. The Secret War of Lisa Simpson
21. The Old Man and the Lisa
20. My Sister, My Sitter
19. In Marge We Trust
18. The Twisted World of Marge Simpson
17. Bart After Dark
16. Homer vs. The Eighteenth Amendment
15. The Canine Mutiny
14. Homer’s Phobia
13. The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase
12. Treehouse of Horror VII
11. Mountain of Madness
10. You Only Move Twice
9. Grade School Confidential
8. Lisa’s Date With Density
7. A Milhouse Divided
6. The Springfield Files
5. Homer’s Enemy
4. The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show
3. Simpsonscalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious
2. El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer (The Mysterious Voyage of Homer)
1. Hurricane Neddy