444. The Great Wife Hope

The Great Wife Hope(originally aired October 11, 2009)
It’s finally here, the last episode. As I mentioned at the very beginning, my departure of the series came not with a bang, but a whimper. The show just didn’t interest me anymore, and it’s episodes like these, and the many seasons prior, that explain why. The template for this one seems to be lifted from “Itchy & Scratchy & Marge;” Marge is outraged by a media outlet affecting her children and protests against it. Except that episode actually had points to make about glorified TV violence, censorship, stifling creativity… this one is really about nothing. The subject of Marge’s scorn is basically MMA fighting, via the cleverly titled Ultimate Punch Kick and Choke Championship. She raises a stink about it, but in such on-the-nose dialogue that makes her out to look like an idiot (“Call me a killjoy, but I think that because this is not to my taste, no one else should be able to enjoy it.”) When she calls out the creator of the sport, he agrees he’ll shut down his company, if she can best him in a fight in the ring.

So, that’s the episode: Marge has to train for the fight, the fight happens, Marge wins. That’s all that happens. These plots are so goddamn thin; we used to get shows so, so, so much meatier than this watered-down imitation gruel. The ending is so predictable too, where Marge’s motherly instincts kick in when Bart jumps in to fight the guy, and she kicks his ass. Yawn. There’s really not much left with this one to mention, it barely even registers. And that’s exactly what happened when I watched it. I was busy so I had it playing in the background while I was doing some work. Then later in the day, I had forgotten what had happened in the episode. Sundays at 8pm used to be an event, now they were like this time-tested obligation that I was shackled to. All the excuses evaporated away by the simple fact that I just wasn’t entertained anymore. So that was it, I just thought, “Y’know, I think I’m done here.” And that was it. And now, this is it: the last Simpsons I ever watched first run.

Tidbits and Quotes
– The jokes come slow and obvious: Homer relishing at one of the fighter’s self-inflicted pain, then he pokes his eye with a straw! Lenny and Carl comment about how homoerotic the sport is! Marge is thankful Homer isn’t there to see Bart’s fight, and we pan over to see him chanting with the other kids! Then there’s the whole runner with Nelson’s dream of being an event planner… whatever the fuck that was about.
– Marge and the other women with the protest signs really echoes “Itchy & Scratchy & Marge,” but again, without any of the meaning or satire. Moe’s “Bring Back Wagon Train” sign is truly missed.
– Marge’s training is just one boring set piece after another. We get a return from Akira, who we haven’t seen in a while, and she bouts with Burns for no reason, just another outlet for the pathetic old man to become even more sad and nonthreatening.
– Really unpleasant joke where Krusty cavalierly admits he’s been seeing Sideshow Mel’s wife for eleven years and wants to dump her. It feels so hateful and disturbing…
– Marge is about to enter the ring and possibly get the shit beaten out of her, but brainiac Lisa astutely recognizes a word of encouragement from Bart is actually a haiku. Sure, why not?
– Homer waves the American and Canadian flags for some reason when Marge gets her groove back… whatever. Thank God I’m done with this garbage… almost.

Bonus episodes coming soon, then a wrap-up.

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19 responses to “444. The Great Wife Hope

  1. Wow, it’s pretty much over. This has been a great ride, and hats off to you for committing to your intended goal.

    As I said on the entry for the bonus suggestions, hope you give those episodes the full review treatment rather than quick-reviewing them all in one post.

  2. I’ve never felt the need to comment on your blog before, but I’ve been reading it every day and it’s been just awesome. I had to jump in here to let you know just how much I’ve appreciated it.

    I don’t use the word ‘hero’ lightly, but you are the greatest hero in American history.

  3. Long time reader, first time commenter.

    What a ride this blog has been, reading your thoughts on a show that starts off on a good pace, reaches its heights only to come crashing down to bitter disappointment. I’ll be looking forward to the three bonus episodes and your future work. Thanks, Mike.

  4. Good on you for making it this far, Mike. It’s been a pleasure reading this blog 🙂

  5. You did it! =D It’s been a long journey and I applaud you for keeping at it, considering how tiresome these Jean-era episodes are.

    “When she calls out the creator of the sport, he agrees he’ll shut down his company, if she can best him in a fight in the ring.”

    Oh man, I completely forgot about this crazily stupid plot point. A man is willing to shut down his entire organization just because a disgruntled mother beats him in a fight? Is MMA in the Simpsons universe run by Team Rocket?

  6. Oh god, this episode. Yeah, I can see why you quit here. This one is down right dreadful.

    This episode to you is what Season 24’s “Adventures in Baby Getting” was for me. That episode is the one that made me stop watching this show as each episode aired. I finally just watched the following episode off Hulu about two weeks ago and it was still pretty bad (albeit, not as bad as Baby Getting).

    Of course, it wasn’t until I started watching older episodes this past summer that I really realized how terrible the show has gotten. I wonder what the show would have been like had Al jean left around Season 17. Would it still have been completely lifeless? Or would it had gained its full momentum back outside of a few good episodes sprinkled within?

  7. Great job Mike reviewing the later seasons of basically a show about nothing (kinda like Seinfeld, would love to see you do a blog on that btw, two show’s which defined the 90’s for me and many others, even though I was a child and pre teen back then) This blog can be summed up in one word: Epic.

  8. Excelsior to you, Mike – you made it through! And what a lousy, forgettable episode to go out on. Another one of those episodes where I feel like they based the whole thing on one stupid flimsy idea (Marge as an MMA fighter, isn’t that wacky?) and then went through whatever convolutions they needed to in order to get there.

    Though I have to admit, Lisa knocking out Bart with one punch made me laugh.

    • What Jeff C. said – thanks Mike. I’ve not seen half of the more recent episodes and hopefully never will but have enjoyed your writing about them.

  9. Congratulations, you made it to the end! Like everyone else, I’ve enjoyed following along, and I’m sorta bummed out that you’re done. But I’d be even more bummed if you had to suffer through the entire remainder of Zombie Simpsons. It really is awful!

  10. Thanks for this blog! It’s been a ton of fun to read.

    I remember that first run I had gotten bored around season 13 and stopped watching new Simpsons for a while. This is the one I tuned back in on. I remember just being confused as to what I just saw. This was in no way the Simpsons I had been used to seeing.

  11. Hey, Mike, you should review Lisa Goes Gaga. I heard that episode was incredibly terrible. You should also review the new Christmas/Future episode.

  12. I’ve greatly enjoyed reading your blog, Mike, even when we’ve disagreed. You’ve given me insights into episodes (not to mention pointing out plot holes) that I hadn’t considered before, and I never got an obnoxious, snooty vibe from your blog that I have seen from some Simpsons fans, even during your bashing. Thanks for giving me a link to follow for the last few months!

  13. Great job Mike, this has been really really fantastic.
    What a truly lifeless show The Simpsons now is.

  14. Congratulations on achieving your 444 episode goal and this will no doubt be an interesting read for future stumblers and I can’t wait to see your thoughts on the bonus episodes.

  15. Also, review Springfield Elementary Musical, Angry Dad: The Movie, Future of Holidays Passed, and The Greatest Story Ever D’oh.

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