'The Simpsons' not quite like 'The Simpsons'
September 26th, 2011
03:03 PM ET

'The Simpsons' not quite like 'The Simpsons'

No opening scene couch gag? No Itchy and Scratchy?

More importantly, what is happening to “The Simpsons”?

For those of us who have seen the show through its peak seasons, last night’s season 23 premiere, “The Falcon and the D’Ohman” was slightly disappointing.

To start with, we get a reminder off the top about the fate of “NEDNA” from last season. Ned Flanders and Edna Krabappel were on the verge of starting or ending their relationship in the finale, and it was up to the audience to vote “Yay” or “Nay.” (I voted “Yay.” Ned needs some love!)

But that was the only time there was a direct reference to the relationship. It looks like the producers and writers either got bored with it or didn’t feel it was important enough for the premiere. Hopefully it will be the subject at some point in the season. (Update: NEDNA are official! After the broadcast, Ned made a prepared statement saying, "New Girl in my life is simply adorkable! That's how we all have to talk on Fox now." Thanks to a commenter for pointing it out.)

The episode starts with a musical number by Homer about working at the plant. He then meets Wayne, a sullen security guard (voiced by Kiefer Sutherland) who refuses to fist bump Homer. Sutherland is certainly a talented voice actor, but unfortunately, there was nothing funny about his lines or his character. (Then again, there isn't much funny about Jack Bauer, either.)

Soon enough, we learn about Wayne’s past as a government agent through a series of flashbacks, and eventually Wayne becomes part of the family.

There were a lot of light laughs in this episode, like when Wayne walks through the Ukrainian part of Springfield (Tsarbucks, anyone?). Pop culture references like the Taiwanese animation of the robbery were hilarious. I was disappointed, though, to see that Marge's daydream about being on “Top Chef” didn't become a side story.

But in the end, I was still left hoping that this episode is not a reflection of the season to come. Change can be a good thing, but sometimes a long-running show needs to go back to its roots to see what worked then and how to evolve that formula to make it work now.


soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. SuperVegitoFAN

    What simpsons is doing is renewing itself... michael jackson jokes wont work the guy is dead... they have to make fun about the current culture, and those that cannot acknowledge that im gonna call old people, because its, apparently, scientifically proven that when men reach the 40ties the abillity to learn and enjoy new stuff is ddisappearing/disappeared...

    April 7, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Dave Nielsen

    I was definitely not in favor of Nedna. First Ned bangs that celebrity chick, and now he's involved with Edna? Not really in keeping with his ultra-religious beliefs that he used to stick to. Killing off Maud was a real mistake. The show already sucked by then, of course, that was just the then-new-low that led to where we are today.

    December 14, 2011 at 3:10 am | Report abuse |
  3. Mike Coates

    Ugh! The Simpsons has not been a decent program since Season 8. It's so sad to see what the Simpsons has become since then - a caricature of itself.

    October 9, 2011 at 1:19 am | Report abuse |
  4. Ben Coates

    Ugh! The Simpsons has not been a decent program since Season 8, though I agree other programs like Two and a Half Men and Family Guy are vastly overrated. It's so sad to see what the Simpsons has become since then - a caricature of itself.

    October 9, 2011 at 1:18 am | Report abuse |
  5. Nick

    Still one of the best shows on television. Crap like Two and a Half Men and even Family Guy can't compare to the ingenuity this show continues to offer year after year. Some people don't like the direction it's taken, and that's fine, but no other show in history has done what the Simpsons have, and I say, more power to them.

    October 2, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Simpsonsfan1

    The Simpsons is the best show ever period i survived with no cablce thaanks to the many seasons i was able to get from my local libary the show doesnt mean to be funny every freaking moment their producers try to make a point in many episodes read between the lines people. Simpsons will always be number 1 in my book

    September 27, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  7. mrskool

    shame on all you ingrates. The Simpsons is still fun after all these years. It wasnt the BEST opening season but its better than most of the crap on TV so give it a break and wait for more good shows and good laughs to come and be grateful to have them ! :)

    September 27, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  8. p300

    EAT MY SHORTS!!!

    September 27, 2011 at 1:30 am | Report abuse |
  9. So bad

    Bow out gracefully - last nights episode was awful !

    September 26, 2011 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Anomic Office Drone

    I love The Simpsons. That said, 15 seasons was more than enough, and we're on season 23. Aside from one or two good jokes per episode, the show has become a complete mess.

    September 26, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
  11. KJ

    Maybe they should ask Seth Macfarlane for suggestions lol

    September 26, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  12. El Filosofo

    The Simpsons suck big time now, after 1999 it went downhill. The best episodes are when Conan O'brian used to work there. Family Guy is way way better than the Simpsons nowadays. The Simpsons need to get cancelled. Family Guy is the best and I hope it will be the best for many many years to come.

    September 26, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Anne Ominous

    Are you even giving the new episodes a chance? Or do you just automatically deem them as "sucking" before you watch it?

    Either way, you're missing out on some B+ Comedy. Not quite the A it used to be, but you're treating B+ like F-!

    September 26, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  14. DL

    Watching the Simpsons now is like watching my childhood get violated. I watched the show for its first 8 seasons. After that it became an empty shell. Sometimes I still watch out of curiousity, and have decided that every crummy episode is an insult to the true spirit and genius that was the Simpsons.

    September 26, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • El Filosofo

      I feel exactly the same. It is a shame what they have done to the Simpsons

      September 26, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  15. TheThinker

    The Simpsons is still a mildly amusing show. While it has definitely lost its edginess, it is far better than 98% of the trash on TV nowadays. South Park is definitely funnier, has more pop, and is about the only socially relevant show on TV.
    Just sayin.

    September 26, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Omar

    >>>But that was the only time there was a direct reference to the relationship.

    Other than the three other times it was referenced, once when Ned was chatting and they were playing around the subject, the second when they SHOWED NED AND EDNA IN BED TOGETHER, and the third at the end WHEN THEY DISCUSSED IT FOR A GOOD MINUTE OR TWO. Exactly how direct a reference do you NEED?

    and if you watched a media screener, those went out with a specific mention that the resolution would not be included in them, so you're either not paying attention or you're not paying attention. one of the two.

    September 26, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • uruzone

      THANK YOU, Omar. This idiot probably watched about 7 minutes of the episode and decided to write his review. You saved me the frustration of having to write the response you wrote!

      September 26, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Superhiro

    Agree, this show hasn't been funny for ages. Pretty much anything past season 7 is pretty weak.

    September 26, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Kev

    Show is still funny. They are about 5 years ahead of themselves. Mel Gibson Episode is hilarious. You are cranky.

    September 26, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Steve Mumford

    This former great show has sucked forever now. I would point to the terrible Mel Gibson or Ron Howard Episodes but it may be even be before that. I have no idea how the keeps getting renewed.

    September 26, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Ribelin2000

    "The Simpsons" should've been cancelled YEARS ago.

    September 26, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Steve Mumford

    This former great show has sucked forever now. I would point to the terrible Mel Gibson or Ron Episodes but it may be even be before that. I have no idea how the keeps getting renewed.

    September 26, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  22. be quiet

    "The episode starts sans with a musical number..."

    sans with? Try again.

    September 26, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |

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