374. The Wettest Stories Ever Told

(originally aired April 23, 2006)
I really don’t like this trilogy episodes, they’re of absolutely no interest to me. They were mildly amusing and novel at first, retelling Bible stories and tall tales, but now it’s just like random stories that the Simpsons happen to be in. This time it’s three stories that all involve boats… okay. First is the Mayflower’s voyage to America, second the infamous mutiny on the Bounty, third is The Poseidon Adventure. It seemed like the idea with these episodes was putting our beloved characters in the roles of famous fictional or historical figures, like Milhouse as Moses or Homer as Odysseus. It doesn’t really apply in this case, it’s just going through the motions of these stories you know of, with Simpsons characters in it as they crack insufferable joke after joke. The first segment is about how Puritans talk funny and are crazy religious types, the second is Skinner vs. the kids a la “Skinner’s Sense of Snow,” and the third, I don’t even know what to make of it. The characters take the time to introduce the story and their roles within the story itself, so it couldn’t be more lazy. I can’t even pad this more than a paragraph, I feel nothing for these episodes. Just twenty minutes of white noise.

Tidbits and Quotes
– The wrap-around involves the family waiting for their meal at the Frying Dutchman, and with Captain McAlister’s lack of knowledge of sea stories, the family takes their crack at telling some. Makes sense. The trilogy format also has started becoming self-referential, which for most running gags and elements means it’s probably about time to stop doing it (“Homer, you can tell the third story. Bart will tell the second, which is usually the weakest.”) But why do that when you can run the same shit into the ground for years to come!
– Flanders is at the helm of the Mayflower, and with the joke being the crew are religious fanatics, it’s quite the feat that they made Ned even more psychotically devout, whipping himself merely for acknowledging Marge is a woman, pouring salt into the wound as he does.
– I’ve been noticing over the past few seasons, but especially in this one an abundant use of “gay,” mostly by Homer, to slight something for being effeminate. Bart and the bullies use it too; it makes more sense with them since they’re kids, but even then, that alone doesn’t work as a joke. Think back to “Lisa’s Date with Density,” and the bullies’ cutting jab at Nelson (“You kissed a girl? That is so gay!”) That’s using the slang term and making it funny. But now, calling someone gay and homosexuality in general is kind of treated as a big goof. There’s three gay “jokes” here: Homer calling the ship the “Gayflower,” the kids’ drawing of Skinner making out with a merman, and at the end with Bart saying Dolph is gay for Kearney. None of these are funny whatsoever; I’d hesitate calling it homophobic, but it just feels unnecessary and misguided.
– There’s one joke I chuckled at. Flanders goes down to the brig to find the crew drunk and gallivanting about (“Horseplay! Rough-housing! Horse-housing?!”) We see a drunken horse with a little house over him. A dumb visual gag, but it worked for what it was.
– Joke types in the three stories seem to carry over, such as the hilarious in hindsight gags. Homer mentioning how fundamentalists will rule America by the twenty-first century, Skinner’s incredulous nature about a possible mutiny (“On the Bounty?!”), and the entire first half of the third segment is literally all jokes about the ship will soon be tossed upside down.
– Similar to last episode, there’s also many jokes involving Homer’s blind ignorance toward the misfortune of others. He celebrates the new year surrounded by dozens of dead shipmates, then he kicks CBG into the water and ignores his dying plea after he had just saved his ass.

16 responses to “374. The Wettest Stories Ever Told

  1. This is one of the first episode I can’t remember whether I’ve seen. Even after consulting the Simpsons Wiki, I still don’t know if I gave up after the first act, or only read about it later, or if it really was that forgettable.

  2. Yep, I thought I’d seen every episode but not sure if I’ve seen this or not.

  3. By all logic, I should hate this episode, because I don’t like the non-THOH trilogy episodes (save for Spin-Off Showcase), and I don’t like when this show (or others) just have characters roleplaying famous figures, and it’s a REALLY flimsy framing device for three barely connected stories. Despite all these going against the episode, I get a good amount of laughs from it anyway:

    -“Stupid Flandish.”
    -Marge’s incredibly long names: Constance Prudence Chastity Goodfaith, and Marge Obedience Temperance Sexwont
    -“Oh my God, look at that hand-on-hand action.”
    -“Lord, we thank you for the many ways you show your love: the sun which bakes our lips to the point of bleeding and your hillarious idea to surround us with water that would kill us if we drank it.”
    -The aforementioned “horse-housing?!”
    -Bart confusing the North Pole with South Pole. “Boy, do I suck.” “Yeah.”
    -Lenny: “Whatever you do, don’t look down. I mean, up! I can’t take it anymore, it’s too confusing! (falls to his death)” Carl: “It’s not THAT confusing.”

    BTW, I’m not sure why the writers made the joke about the second story usually being the weakest. I definitely disagree. Look at THOH IV’s “Terror at 5½ Feet”, THOH V’s “Time and Punishment”, THOH VI’s “Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace”, THOH VIII’s “Fly vs. Fly”, THOH IX’s “The Terror of Tiny Toon”, and THOH XII’s “House of Whacks”; none of these are weak.

    Also, the protestant/prostitute joke was already done in the series about Earl Warren being called a stripper by Homer.

    • The repeated joke thing reminds me: last night Judge Me Tender was on, and Homer used the line, “They charge for parts AND labor. Pick one, !” referring to plumbers. He used the exact same line, referring to contractors, in either All’s Fair in Oven War and Don’t Fear the Roofer (can’t remember which). Somehow I doubt this was intentional.

      • Bah, All’s Fair *or* Don’t Fear the Roofer, of course. Two Season 16 episodes that begin with house repairs.

    • House of Whacks was dreadful. Granted, it probably was the best story of THoH XII, but that isn’t saying much when all three stories made the Jerry Springer segment from the year prior look like a masterpiece.

  4. The only scene I like in this episode is when they open the bathroom of the upside down ship and Homer is in there taking a dump.

    Ian, House of Whacks is one of the worst THoH stories ever.

  5. Chronologically, this is the first episode of the entire series that I’ve never seen. This was the point when I finally gave up on Season 17, and indeed all of Zombie Simpsons. Judging by the apathetic summary up there, I didn’t miss a thing.

  6. These episodes are a lot like the way they treat brands now too really.
    Instead of creating a parody of a beer or a cola or whatever they now just make a really lazy knockoff of one existing thing, like Mapple.

    The Simpson’s Spin Off Showcase did the same thing, we had a parody of crime shows, sitcoms and variety shows.
    Even if Classic Simpsons was going to do a straight up parody of a specific film or whatever there would be some kind of twist on it.
    Now it’s just re-create the thing wholesale with Simpsons in it.
    You already know how the story is going to go and the jokes almost always fall flat so like Mike says, they end up being nothing but pure white noise.

    But I think it’s obvious as time goes on that the writers don’t have enough material for one whole story over a 22 minute episode, look at all the pointless first acts or musical montages, so it’s no surprise this kind of trilogy thing pops up more and more.

  7. The only thing I enjoyed in this episode was burns upside down references in the pocidean

  8. Those jokes sound me juvenile than homophobic, but i stopped watching this crappy show by now, so what do i know?

    I also immediately thought of “You kissed a girl? That is so gay!”

  9. This episode was the first episode to air after I moved from NY to CO, so I was looking forward to revisiting this one. My god it was worse than I remembered. The stories weren’t bad, they were just boring. THey weren’t very funny, they weren’t even remotely enjoyable, they’re just there because reasons. I’m not even sure what the point of this was. Why not do three stories that have any relationship to each other from a narrative perspective? It just seems like someone watched the remake of Poseidon and said, “Hey, I want to write this into a Simpsons episode, so how about a trilogy of stories set on ships?”

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