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The Simpsons

The Simpsons is an animated comedy about a family in the fictional town of Springfield. The family is made up of selfish father Homer, fretting mother Marge, precocious daughter Lisa, rebellious son Bart and silent daughter Maggie. FOX 1989-???


Episode 16 - A Midsummer’s Nice Dream

14 March 2011

Credit FOX

Synopsis: Cheech and Chong return to their hometown Springfield to begin a live tour. But Chong has grown tired of performing the same old scenes and storms off mid-show. Homer fills in and so the Cheech and Chunk tour is born. Chong meanwhile recruits Principal Skinner to work with to prove how daring a comedian he can be. Marge discovers that the Crazy Cat Lady is a hoarder and decides to help clear her house.

The Good: Nothing much.

The Bad: This felt like a commercial for Cheech and Chong more than a fun take on their lives. I think the writers of The Simpsons understandably feel like they have run out of stories to tell after twenty years. This season began (2201) with a similar episode giving the Flight of the Conchords an extended commercial and it feels like the writers are just bringing in people they like to fill out empty episodes.

If you are going to make that work though then we need an education as to who Cheech and Chong are or why we should care about their conflict. This isn't like Mel Gibson (1101) where the average viewer will instantly understand the tone and context of the story. I have no idea whether Cheech and Chong actually had creative differences in real life and I didn't feel the writing was making jokes that actually fit or satirised who they are.

Instead it all felt utterly predictable and dull as Homer stepped in only to become disillusioned when he discovered that Cheech was nothing like his stage persona anymore. The Principal Skinner angle seemed to last for one scene before being dropped making the whole conflict feel very flimsy.

Similarly we got zero details in the Crazy Cat Lady story. We got no sense of why she began hoarding in the first place. I felt this was crying out for a flashback to explain that. I did like in principle the concept that a Simpsons character would go through a transformation before slowly sliding back into who they were but this was not remotely detailed enough. It wasn't difficult to imagine Marge becoming a hoarder. She is after all very thrifty and a natural housewife who would make use of old things. But as usual there was no time given for this to develop, she just became a hoarder in one scene and that was it.

Best Joke: Chief Wiggum begins asking Lou to confiscate him some Cheech and Chong merchandise and food while outside the auditorium:
CW: "Also confiscate me a T-shirt...triple XL."
Lou: "I thought you said double XL was a real wake-up call."
CW: "That was for pants!"

The Bottom Line: If you love Cheech and Chong maybe this was fun but otherwise it was a waste of time.



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