106. Another Simpsons Clip Show

(originally aired September 25, 1994)
As the title suggests, here’s another clip show. The crew may have been harangued by the network into making these, but as we saw in “So It’s Come to This,” clip shows can be done somewhat effectively. I don’t know if they were just rushed, or dog tired from working on the other episodes, but this one felt very vacuous. I’m sure FOX loved it because it was cheap to make, but it’s pretty thin. Our wrap-around is Marge talking to the kids about love, and they all proceed to share stories of past potential romances. Marge retells her almost affair in “Life on the Fast Lane,” Homer rebutts with his almost affair in “The Last Temptation of Homer,” Lisa recalls Ralph’s obsession with her in “I Love Lisa,” Bart briefly remembers his devastation at the hands of Laura Powers in “New Kid on the Block,” and Homer effectively wraps things up with remembering he and Marge’s first kiss in “The Way We Was.”

This clip show is odd in that big chunks of it are just abbreviated re-showings of those past episodes, except when told in three or four minute intervals, don’t give you the full emotional impact of the story. I guess with any clip show, half the humor comes from our recollection of these events from past episodes, but it kind of felt wrong re-appropriating the episodes like this. But beyond that, the whole topic of the show feels so wrong, in that Marge and Homer regale their children with stories of how they almost cheated on each other, even worse that Marge went first, and Homer followed as an almost vindictive one-up. Some of the clip bits were funny, like Homer recalling kissing Flanders and Marge recalling Selma marrying Sideshow Bob, which  she immediately back pedals from, but this whole episode just feels totally naught. Even a clip show requires some effort, and this one didn’t seem to get much of any. I’d say it’s the worst clip show, but I harbor a pretty deep loathing toward the much later “Gump Roast,” but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

Tidbits and Quotes
– I remember when I’d watch this episode in syndication, the opening with Marge in bed is so unassuming, where you think it’s a regular episode, then we get to the first clip of Homer in the kiddie pool, and I’d always groan, “This episode again…” For some reason I remember it getting repeated a lot, but I may just be mis-remembering it.
– Great use of a clip with Homer throwing Marge’s book in the fire from “Dog of Death” with Marge commenting, “I knew we shouldn’t have put a fireplace in the bedroom.” There’s an idea of a clip show, where you try to construct a new episode using mostly old clips, but entirely new dialogue. It could’ve been a neat challenge.
– Nice self-referential dialogue about re-using old animation in Itchy & Scratchy, with re-used animation. I don’t much care for the Ren & Stimpy knock here though; does it mean when they would re-use openings of segments, like when Ren & Stimpy would introduced a new cartoon? They never re-used footage in the show proper like The Simpsons has done in the past. It just seemed like a cheap shot, unlike the joke in “The Front” which was spot-on.
– I like Lisa’s evaluation on the state of romance: “Romance is dead. It was acquired in a hostile takeover by Hallmark and Disney, homogenized, and sold off piece by piece.”
– Though I hate that they told each other (and the kids), I like Homer and Marge’s reactions to their respective stories. Homer, of course, is dumbfounded (“Marge, I want you to stop seeing the Jacques. You can let him down gently, but over the next couple of months I want you to break it off!”) and I like how Marge is seemingly satisfied that Mindy Simmons apparently hit the bottle pretty hard and lost her job.
– A more minute thing that annoyed me was how characters “recalled” stuff in their stories that they were not witness to. Homer’s Mindy story contained the clip of Burns and his flying monkeys, then later his memory also had Marge and Artie’s altercations in his car. They could have cut those bits out, or had Marge recall the latter bit, but I guess they had no problem with it.
– Also, we retell “Lady Bouvier’s Lover,” an episode that at the time had aired only four months earlier? Why bother?

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2 responses to “106. Another Simpsons Clip Show

  1. The clip shows, in order of quality: 138th > So It’s Come to This > All Singing > Another Simpsons Clip Show >>>>>>>>>>>>>> Gump Roast

  2. As a clip show, it’s nothing special. But it does have one of my all-time favorite DVD commentaries, wherein David Mirkin, Matt Groening, and David Silverman describe the process of making a Simpsons episode, from story pitch to broadcast. Lots of great anecdotes throughout, from old story retreats of years gone by to a group of unpleasable writers whom Groening affectionately nicknamed “the Sour Wall”.

    “And the final step…is a nerd gets on and writes ‘Worst show ever.'”

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