The Simpsons: Season 28 Premiere Review

Share.

“Our desperate plea is non-negotiable!”

Warning: Full spoilers for the episode below. The Simpsons’ 27th season season reminded us that the show can still entertain and even find find moments of greatness this far removed from its golden age. However, that was only after kicking off the season with a particularly weak and unsatisfying premiere.

Maybe it’s going to become an annual tradition to start off poorly and work up from there? At this point I’m hoping that’ll be the case. “Monty Burns’ Fleeing Circus” wasn’t as offensively bad at last year’s “Every Man’s Dream,” but it did feature this long-running animated sitcom as its most bland and uninspired. As is too often the case with this series, “Monty Burns’ Fleeing Circus” took a solid initial premise and failed to do anything memorable with it.

In this case, the town of Springfield faced its greatest catastrophe since it was trapped underneath a giant dome for a few months. A poorly conceived replacement for the iconic Lard Lad statue resulted in the town’s complete and utter destruction. How do Springfield’s citizens respond to this crisis?

Can the town rise from the ashes? The answer, as it turned out, is that Mister Burns was there to flip a switch and immediately return life to normal. So instead of an episode focused on a post-apocalyptic Springfield or the construction of an all-new, all-different Springfield, we got a silly little story about Mr.

Burns staging a vaudeville variety show as his repayment for bailing out the town. Okay… that still might have worked. Undoubtedly, some of the show’s best moments have involved peering back across the decades to see how a young Montgomery Burns became the cold-hearted, incredibly frail creature he is today.

But “Rosebud” this wasn’t. Instead, viewers were treated to a half-baked conflict where Burns struggled to deal with a fear of being laughed at. Apparently the whole reason he’s been such a grump all this time is that he carries the lingering trauma of losing his pants on stage and being laughed at by the audience.

The family resemblance in unmistakable.

The family resemblance in unmistakable.

And somehow his mother (voiced here by Amy Schumer) factors into that, too? I’m not really sure what the point of her inclusion was. It was a surprisingly small, thankless part for Schumer.

She also seemed a little out of place, with no attempt made to affect an early 20th Century accent or sound like she might be the mother of the man destined to become Springfield’s oldest, most eccentric resident. And it was a fairly creepy role, given that Mrs. Burns spent most of her limited screen time licking her son’s face.

That probably explains the adult Burns’ dysfunction more than anythign else. All told, Schumer’s was not one of the show’s more memorable guest voices. This storyline did little for any of the characters involved.

Mr. Burns didn’t benefit much from this latest glimpse into his past. His character arc was simple to a fault.

As for Lisa, how many times have we seen her attach herself to another adult and nag them until their problems have been solved? Even the variety show itself was surprisingly bland. About the only performance that stood out was Ralph’s noodle trick, and it turned out that wasn’t even his actual performance.

As Mr. Burns’ dilemma was unfolding, Homer faced a struggle of his own when he realized that it was his responsibility as safety inspector to keep his fellow employees from tearing the power plant apart in Mr. Burns’ absence.

If hardly the first storyline to revolve around Homer’s efforts to be a more responsible worker, this still offered some decent potential to shake up the episode. The problem with the power planet subplot, though, is that there wasn’t much room to explore Homer’s efforts to wrangle his co-workers. No sooner did he try than the episode reached its climax and the irradiated popcorn bags began exploding.

As with most dull, disappointing episodes like this, there were at least a handful of funny moments to break up the general tedium. Ralph was dependably entertaining this week. Apart from the aforementioned noodle trick, his “That’s all, folks!” near the end was amusing.

Then there was Ned bonding with the ghost of Maude, only to be immediately confronted with the jealous ghost of Edna Krabappel-Flanders. I’m happy to see that the writers aren’t afraid to use Mrs. K in small ways following the death of voice actress Marcia Wallace.

Also, there was Principal Skinner encouraging his students to interact with the strange recruiter wandering the halls of Springfield Elementary. But sadly, these were only brief moments in an otherwise forgettable episode.
[embedded content]

Before wrapping up, it’s worth noting that this episode opened with an Adventure Time-themed couch gag. It was cleverly done, and I appreciated that it wasn’t as pointlessly elaborate as some of the couch gags that have stretched past the two-minute mark. Best of all, Adventure Time creator Pendleton Ward stopped by to sing a parody version of his show’s theme song.

If only the actual episode measured up to its opening sequence. The Verdict The Simpsons was far from in top form as it kicked off its 28th Season this week. “Monty Burns’ Fleeing Circus” opened with a strong premise and quickly discarded it in favor of a bland examination of Mr.

Burns’ psychological problems and Homer’s efforts to be a better employee.

Other than a fun opening couch gag and a few amusing moments along the way, there was little about this premiere worth remembering.

We can only hope that, like Season 27, this season has nowhere to go but up from this point.

Editors’ Choice

->

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *