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Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Simpsons "MoneyBART"

     Last Sunday, FOX's The Simpsons faced controversy over their opening credits.  For a show that is still good, but is far part it's days of reigning supreme, the attention certainly can't hurt.  The anger arose over the end of the opening sequence, wherin was depicted a maximum security FOX studio, presumably in Asia, where slaves toiled over animating The Simpsons in squallid and dangerous conditions.  The scene then went lower into the factory, where kittens were tossed into a woodchipper to create filling for stuffed Bart (Nancy Cartwright) dolls, and a unicorn, chained to a wall, was used to punch holes in Simpsons DVDs.  It was dark and depressing, more so than most Simpsons openings.  But it was also pretty funny.  It was created by international graffiti artist 'Banksy', whose tag also appears in the Springfield portion of the song.

     And then what followed was a normal episode.  Lisa (Yeardley Smith), concerned that she wasn't being enough of an overachiever to earn her way into an Ivy league school, decided she needed more extracurriculars.  After a disasterous attempt at fencing with Maggie, she senses an opporunity when Flanders (Harry Shearer) quits as Bart's baseball team's manager.  At first she is horrible, since she knows nothing about baseball.  But then she learns how to apply mathematics and statistics, and ends up being an awesome manager.  However, Bart, no longer having fun, rebels, and gets thrown off the team immediately after scoring a game-winning home run.  Eventually the siblings make up.

     There was no edge to anything that followed, and so, a controversy was wasted.  The team reacted pretty passively about Bart and Lisa's struggle for power.  No one seemed to care one way or another about the game and what was going on besides the two main characters.  Their parents were barely involved.  There was no great subplot.  I was amused at the time, but as soon as I started to analyze it, realized that there wasn't really anything there to speak of.

     The Simpsons was once the most talked about animated show around.  Now, over a decade after South Park and Seth MacFarlane joined the arena, it seems tame by comparison.  I hate to say it, but it may be time to let Bart, Lisa, and the rest retire in peace.  The show continues Sunday nights at 8pm, including tonight, on FOX.

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