The Simpsons – “The Falcon and the D’ohman”

The Simpsons – “The Falcon and the D’ohman

So Kiefer Sutherland comes back again for his third guest appearance (as a third different character). I’m glad. The 24-ish intensity he brings to characters works better for comedy than drama, I think (never was a 24 viewer, though I hear some good things). Security guard Wayne joins the long list of people who have come to stay with the Simpson family during a time of hard luck. The whole “man with a troubled past” thing has become such a cliché that I liked seeing it mocked for the self-serious crap it often is. I come from the 80s, when action heroes made quips when they killed people. I’m getting sick of all this god damn angst. I was surprised that the episode didn’t parody A History of Violence more since the premise was very similar.

Last season ending with the cliff-hanger of whether or not Ned Flanders and Edna Krabappel would remain a couple (annoyingly nicknamed “Nedna”), as established in the same episode. Wisely, the season premiere spends next to no time on this development (though in actuality that probably had more to do with the production schedule). Quite frankly the idea of letting the viewers decide the fate of the couple left me a little uneasy. Isn’t that what writers are for? The show even said of the relationship “let no writer tear asunder” what the viewers had decided. I don’t know, listening to your audience isn’t as great an idea as it seems. The example I always cite for this is Lost in the third season. Fans on the internet always said “how come they never focus on any of the OTHER crash survivors besides the main cast?” (Answer: they’re the main cast. It’s a fucking television show.) To appease said malcontents, the show introduced Nikki and Paolo, two OTHER crash survivors. Fans hated them. After they revealed Nikki and Paolo’s mildly interesting back story, they killed off Nikki and Paolo to appease the very same people who were supposed to be appeased by their creation. The audience does not always know best. Now I don’t think “Nedna” will be as much of a problem for the show, but it’s just a gimmick that I don’t think will pay off in any meaningful way. Maybe I’m wrong.

The Simpsons peaked long ago but the accusations that it’s not funny anymore are stupid. It’s still funny. Sometimes it’s still extremely funny. I wouldn’t characterize tonight’s episode as extremely funny but I was entertained for a half hour, which is what I want out of my cartoons. Pop culture was mocked (were those the droogs from A Clockwork Orange or the Baseball Furies from The Warriors attacking Wayne?), silly jokes make me chuckle (“Tsarbucks”), and I enjoyed myself. The Simpsons may never (who am I kidding, WILL never) recapture the absolute brilliance that it hit in the mid-90s but it still meets my definition of good television worth watching every week.

P.S. Is Kevin Michael Richardson now a recurring cast member a la Marcia Wallace or the late Phil Hartman? I hope so. I love that dude’s voice.

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