Simpsons 05/16 - Alcatraz


I am not sure whether to stick this here or in Great Debates, but did the episode reflect any truths for you personally, or was it a bunch of claptrap?

I will say that looking down from above (as in North of you, not as in implied superiority), it seemed apt. APT! (Thanks Lisa for my favourite Simpsons quote).


Overall it made some good points and had some funny lines. But some of it was a bit over the top. I think they could have been more effective if they used more subtlety.

Better episode than most this year. Over the top a little.

IMHO, Simpsons is at its worst when it’s trying to Make A Point. I don’t watch The Simpsons for insightful social commentary, and this episode was a good example why.

Although I tended to agree with most of the points made in the ep it just wasn’t that funny. I’m glad to see sharp politically oriented satire that originates from the left ANYTIME, but it wasn’t all that … funny. And God, those Republicans are funny nowadays.

I didn’t think they were trying to make a point, just being silly. I do think it was probably the weirdest episode I’ve even seen.

I agree that it may have been a bit over the top, but not by too much.

I also agree that it’s not the funniest episode I’ve ever seen, either.

But, I believe it was a long time in coming and am glad they made their point.

The point made was wonderful, it just completely lacked any subtlety. I think they’ve succumbed to the South Park “beat us over the head with a sledgehammer” strategy. And the opening - what the hell was that? The idea of drug-addicts stealing hypodermic needles might be funny if the situation that led to the needles being there were at all plausible, but it wasn’t. It was completely surrealistic. Irony only works if it’s based on a situation that either does or might actually exist.

Although I did like the joke about swimming to Oakland because they couldn’t afford to swim to San Francisco.

I thought it was pretty heavy-handed, as their social commentary-type episodes usually are. The “Homer gets a gun” one and the illegal immigration one being others that immediately spring to mind. They’re better when the commentary is in throw-away lines.

They were somewhat heavyhanded and not as funny as they could have been, but maybe that was just the situation.

We live in Oakland, so that was our favorite part, too.

I am not one of those new Simpson bashers. In fact I enjoy most of the new episodes, but this one I thought was bad.

I appreciate the point that they were making and I even agree with them.

But my issue is that the episode was not funny. Not once did I laugh. Not once.

Can’t go wrong with an Oakland joke.


I think that, regardless of cost, I’d still rather swim to SF instead of Oakland.

They should leave Making A Point ™ to South Park, which usually somehow manages to be both preachy and funny at the same time. The Simpsons…not so much.

My thoughts pretty much echoed Smeghead’s.

And if they were trying to Make A Point, they didn’t do so very well: since it was so unrealistic (even by Simpsons standards) and over-the-top, it’s easy to dismiss by anyone who isn’t already on board.

As for how on-target it was, I honestly don’t know. I don’t know how much of the jingoism, hyperpatriotism, and intolerance of criticism of America that was portrayed is reflected by reality. I personally haven’t seen much. And there doesn’t seem to be any shortage of U.S. criticism; this Simpson’s ep was hardly a lone voice crying in the wilderness.

I thought it was very funny! And considering the turnaround time on Simpson’s episodes, they would have been “lone voices crying in the wilderness” while they were producing it. Especially considering they were making it for Fox.

It really did seem low in the joke ratio department, esp. given how easy the target is. And the show just “ended”. A definite “That’s it?” kind of feeling.

My fave: the reference to “The Goverment Can Do What It Wants Act.”

One thing interesting about this season is how many of the shows should have come out earlier. This one should have been released at least a half year ago. The George Lucas one is years out-of-date. Etc.

There’s something uneven going on in the production schedule.

You know, I’ve been thinking about this, and I feel like it goes beyond this one episode, and really could be a valid criticism of the show in general. Remember back in its prime, when they would do the Halloween specials where all of a sudden the Simpson’s world became unrealistic? They would offer some premise as to why it was that way, such as the family taking turns telling ghost stories, etc. It was funny because some crazy thing would happen, like Homer building a time-machine out of the toaster, or dolphins ruling the world, or space-aliens inhabiting the bodies of Clinton and Dole, but you always knew that next week, you would be back in the normal Simpsons world, which at least had some semblance of reality.

But now they aren’t even bothering with any sort of premise as to why surrealistic things happen. They just do whenever they feel like it. So it has no effect anymore. To me that’s just lazy writing - don’t bother with plausibility at all, just make a crazy Simpsons world where anything can happen.

Or maybe it’s just that the completely off-the-wall gags were always throw-aways before, and now they seem to be making the whole plot off-the-wall.

Really? You aren’t seeing any of that in the U.S. today? I sure am.

For The Simpsons, this episode was way over the top. In fact, it made me wonder if the writers, knowing the series is an overflowing cashbox for Fox, were trying to see how often they could bite the right-hand that feeds it (i.e., News Corp and Murdoch). I figured that if Fox did call them on it, they could merely argue that the lampoon of the Republicans and hyper-patriotism was so unsubtle and heavy-handed that it was meant as a satire of liberal hysteria and overreaction to the policies of the Bush administation.