September 26th, 2011
03:03 PM ET
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!)
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.
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