Simpson\'s Spectacular Countdown Part 2

Mike’s Soapbox- This is a little segment I’m going to start to get a thing or two off my chest before jumping into reviews. If these mindless indulgences into self-expression bore you and you just want to get into the heart of the review, then by all means scroll down. Okay, everyone who wants to be here’s still with me? Good. First some quick recommendations- Go see Shaun of the Dead. I saw it in a sneak preview screening Friday, and it was fantastic. Second, if you’ve got the Trio Channel, give Spaced a chance. It’s on every weeknight, two episodes from 10:00-11:00. Its a sitcom from the makers of Shaun from a few years back. I’m sure some of the Brit members know a lot more about the show then I do, but as a guy who just saw the first two episodes last night, I can tell you it’s a very intelligent, fresh show, and as far as I know, no DVD release is planned for the U.S..

Secondly, I’d like to ask a question. This has been bugging me for the past couple days, and maybe someone can give me a good answer- What’s the point of handing out awards if your going to chase your winners off the stage. I mentioned in my review of The Surreal Life my anger over what was done to Jeffrey Wright. But it wasn’t just him. It was everyone who didn’t have the last name Pacino or Stritch. I realize that ABC wanted the awards the end at 11:00 P.M. sharp, but it makes me wonder, why even have them on your network in the first place, if you want to chop them up. Give them to a network that doesn’t mind showing a full four to five hour presentation. Rambling speeches are a part of the ceremony. These people won, now it’s their turn to speak. And if there going to rush winners off the stage, why make it clear to the audience at home. Give everyone little headphones or something. Blasting the music makes the awards look unprofessional. This years Emmy’s was an absolute debacle. With Shandling hosting, and most of the jokes falling flat, the production came off as amateurish. I use to love award shows. I watched all of them with my mother for years, and now there’s not a decent one left. Or is there? What award shows are there that are worth watching? Maybe there’s one out there that you can talk me into seeing. I’d appreciate it, or any feedback for that matter. It’s the only way I know any of this actually exists.

Oh and one more thing. Happy birthday to my best friend and shelter (in more ways than one), Christine. I choo choo choose you.

End of Mike’s Soapbox.

Now, let’s get into the countdown. Last week I began top seven Simpson countdown, in which I reveal my top seven favorite episodes, one week after another, until we reach number one, just before the new season starts and I begin reviewing those episodes.

Last week I announced number seven, which was the episode “A Star is Burns. This week I’ve got number six which is”¦”¦

“I Am Furious Yellow” Originally aired April 28th 2002, season 13.

The gist of it- At career day, Bart is inspired by an internet cartoonist’s speech, and starts his own cartoon, “Anger Dad” based on Homer. Bart gets Homer angry to inspire new comics, but the stress is getting to Homer until he rages violently. Turns out that Bart making Homer angry is actually a good thing.

Favorite Moments- The interaction between Comic Book Guy and Stan Lee is some great stuff. “You can’t even turn into Bill Bixby”. The internet stock jokes, Bin Laden in a blender, the traps Bart sets for Homer, the speech the internet guy gives, and that awesome mark-out moment of seeing Homer turn into the Hulk. That scene alone made up for whatever it was Ang Lee tried to put up on the silver screen. A Radioactive poodle? Yeah, that’s a fearsome super-villain.

What flat out sucked- This one doesn’t hold up to multiple airings as much as some of the others, as some of the jokes are stretched out. Non-comic fans will catch most of the references, but they won’t mean as much to them. There are funnier episodes, but the geek in me made me choose this. So blame him.

Thoughts- Stan Lee is such a sport, and the image of him as an insane, pathetic, madman is one that fits him well. Watching him jam the Thing toy into Ralp’s Batmobile pretty much sums up the level of sanity for a guy whose last claims to fame were the laughable series Stripperella and the forgettable Just Imagine line of comics.

MVC (most valuable character) award- The Comic Book Guy, my overall favorite character on this show. As a huge fan of comics, I can recall many a moment where I have either seen guys like this, or have been a guy like this myself. I always look forward to his various cameos, as he can instantly enrich any episode he’s in. A Monty Python quote, or a sarcastic jab from him can elevate a good episode into a great one. This episode is no exception. And in the spirit of the Comic Book Guy, this weeks shortlist is for the top three worst episodes ever. Just cause I love the show means I have to like every episode. These three episodes are ones that I would never recommend to anyone or watch again.

3. “Life in the Fast Lane”- You know, I just don’t get it. TV Guide included this in it’s top twenty-five episodes, and clips of it have been shown in Simpsons clip shows. There’s nothing funny in this episode at all, (outside of Bart’s Connie Chung calendar purchase for Marge) and the usually brilliant Albert Brooks isn’t given much to do as the seductive bowling instructor Jacques. I hate this episode now as much as I did back then, and I skip it whenever its in syndication. I expect at least a few laughs from each episode, even the first ones.

2. “Worst Episode Ever”- I’ve already professed my love of the Comic Book Guy, but that’s only as a supporting character. I want to see him headline a show as much as I want to see Jason Alexander playing a sportswriter on CBS. This episode was such a huge letdown. The pairing of him with Agnes worked for the first minute, but creepiness of it outlasted the comedy in it. I should’ve listened to the title.

1. This was tough. There’s a lot more to choose from then you think. “Gump Roast” and “Bart to the Future” instantly come to mind, but I’m going to go with “Take the Alligator and Run”. The Simpson family come to Florida, where there’s so much to joke about, and we get this travesty? A beloved alligator? A cameo with Kid Rock? What makes this episode even worse is that it was written by John Swartzwelder, whose one of the more reliable writers, producing at least one classic or near classic a season. I think season eleven as a whole was rather awful, with only a few shining gems, like “Behind the Laughter.

Let me know what your worst episodes are. I’ll be back next week with number five of my top seven. See you then.

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