3 Great Simpsons Episodes from the last 15 Seasons

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THE SIMPSONS: SEASON 21

The Simpsons is a show which is clearly past its prime—the characters are more caricature than anything, the writing has gotten random and sloppy, and even the voice work seems tired and bored. But that doesn’t mean the show is completely incapable of producing great episodes, especially if you go back to the previous 15 seasons, which many fans still consider far inferior to the show’s first decade. Let’s take a look at three great episodes from the Simpsons from the last 15 years.

Season 23, Episode 496: Politically Inept
The Simpsons has been many things over the years, but “political” has not generally been one of them. The show rarely touches on the political, outside of the occasional pop culture reference. This is why Politically Inept’s success is a great surprise.

In the episode, Homer becomes involved in politics after a video of him misbehaving on a plane goes viral. Although he clearly has no idea what he’s talking about, he is promoted and exploited by various politicians and news networks for his story. Homer eventually realizes his mistake—having no idea what he’s talking about but pretending to, anyway—and withdraws from politics.

 Season 22, Episode 469: Lisa Simpson, This Isn’t Your Life
“It’s a Lisa episode” isn’t a phrase many people like to hear, especially since the character has become a walking soapbox in recent seasons. But this episode manages to avoid the typical clichés of the heavy-handed “Lisa episode” by exploring Lisa’s pressure to succeed in academics as well as her feelings about her role in her family. The episode even manages to touch on some mature issues—including Lisa feeling wanting to avoid becoming like her mother, since she believes Marge is nothing but a homemaker—while balancing them with witty jokes.

Season 12, Episode 256: Skinner’s Sense of Snow
This is an “older” new episode, but it definitely holds up as one of the better episodes from the later seasons of the show. In this episode, the children of Springfield Elementary become snowed in with Principal Skinner during a freak snowstorm. Skinner finds himself dealing with bored, demanding and out of control children as the night goes on—forcing him to go to extreme measures to keep the peace.

With its fun jokes, realistic premise and solid characterization, this is definitely a “classic” new episode of the Simpsons.


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Read Moreby wpadminComments Off on 3 Great Simpsons Episodes from the last 15 Seasons

3 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Sailor Moon

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Although only three episodes of Sailor Moon Crystal have premiered so far, the new Japanese animation show is still exceedingly popular. And with the huge fan base for the Sailor Moon franchise, this is certainly no surprise! Sailor Moon is one of the most popular Japanese cartoons in the world; but there is more to the show than meets the eye! Let’s look at three things you (probably!) don’t know about Sailor Moon.

The show’s creator, Naoko Takeuchi, felt that the animated cartoon had more of a “male dominated style” than her original comic
The animated cartoon premiered more or less alongside the original comic. But the creator of the show and author of the original comic has admitted that she feels the animated version has more of a “male perspective” on the characters and storyline than her original comic. Her belief in the importance of having a female perspective on the franchise has come up time and time again, and it is believed that it was her insistence on ensuring that Sailor Moon Crystal retained a female perspective that may have delayed its production.

There was a planned live-action/animated American version of the show in the works
Before the heavily edited, English dubbed version of the cartoon showed up in the United States, there was English “Sailor Moon” in the works. This version was an entirely new version that was half-animated, half live action, and featured a diverse cast of characters which included a character in a wheelchair. The idea was dropped when it became apparent that it was not only too expensive to film and animate an entirely new series, but potentially deviating from the original successful show too much.

There have been over 20 different Sailor Moon musicals—and they’re still running!
Sailor Moon is a huge franchise, and one of the longest running aspects of Sailor Moon have been its musicals. They first premiered in 1993 and ran for 12 straight years until 2005. They were recently revived in 2013, with a new show set to premiere in 2014, and potential future shows open in the future. Although the original musicals were loosely based on the animated show, the musicals also used original plot lines and characters to create unique stories, such as an arc that involved vampires, a resurrected Gilles de Rais, and a mandrake born of Joan of Arc’s tears.


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Read Moreby wpadminComments Off on 3 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Sailor Moon

Controversial Episodes of American Dad

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Next to Family Guy, American Dad is Seth Macfarlane’s most popular animated comedy—and for very good reason! American Dad succeeds in areas where Family Guy does not, including the ability to create an interesting, dynamic cast of characters with relatively consistent personalities and interesting lives. Although American Dad is arguably a more solidly written show than Family Guy, this does not mean it can’t be just as controversial as Macfarlane’s notoriously unpolitic ally correct Family Guy series. Let’s look at five of the most controversial episodes of American Dad to ever hit the air.

Shallow Vows

Shallow Vows has some great comedic moments, but it definitely earned its fair share of controversy due to the premise of the episode’s plot and its final resolution. In this episode, Francine questions whether or not Stan really loves her for her—or if he just loves her because she takes the extra time and effort to keep herself looking beautiful and taking care of the home. To find the answer, she “lets herself go” for several weeks and returns to Stan a much less aesthetically pleasing Francine. Stan is repulsed, but he eventually “proves” to Francine that he loves her by blinding himself, so that he can still love Francine without having to look at what he considers her hideous appearance.

If the idea that someone being ugly is enough for their spouse to need to blind themselves wasn’t controversial enough, the climax of the episode involved Stan revealing that there was a way he could restore his eyesight; Francine agrees Stan should get his eyesight back through surgery—not because he loves her even if she doesn’t spend hours a day perfecting the perfect housewife look, but because if he doesn’t, she’ll have to get a job and work instead of being a pampered stay at home wife.

Surro-Gate

In this episode, Francine agrees to be a surrogate mother for the gay couple that lives across the street from Stan and Francine. Stan, who does not believe they should be allowed to raise children, kidnaps the child and intends to give it to a “proper” household. After kidnapping the baby from a hospital, Stan finds a “proper Christian family” and intends to give the baby up before realizing that the child should be with her fathers.

Although it’s a common tactic for the show to have Stan spout out racist, homophobic or otherwise terrible opinions so that other characters can correct him and point out why he’s being ridiculous and awful, this episode still generated plenty of controversy due to the fact that gay couples are still often discriminated against by adoption agencies. Stan, at least, did learn an excellent lesson in the end: it doesn’t matter if a child grows up in a home with two fathers, two mothers, or one mother and a father; it is a parent’s love and care for their child, not the gender that matters the most in their upbringing.


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The Simpsons: Past It’s Prime?

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THE SIMPSONS: SEASON 21Fans are usually not happy when their favorite TV shows are cancelled; after all, many excellent shows are cancelled far too early usually due to issue such as poor ratings or high production costs. But there are times when TV shows might actually benefit from a cancellation; in other words, shows that have definitely gone on well past their prime.
What are the signs of a TV show gone past its prime, you might ask? Let’s look at one show that even fans will agree has gone on past its prime: The Simpsons.

The first few seasons of the Simpsons were a testament to the genius of the show. These early seasons proved that the Simpsons had something rare: the ability to be an animated family sitcom that could be comedic, dramatic, and even provide social and cultural messages through wit and humor. The Simpson family in these early seasons were quirky, but relatable: Homer was a well-meaning but bumbling father, Marge was a hard working stay-at-home mom who often worried about her kids, Lisa was an intelligent girl who found it difficult to relate to her peers, and Bart was a mischievous low-achiever who often had more heart than his family or educators gave him credit for.

The show’s decline—and most fans will agree it began to decline during season 10, at the most—can easily be seen in the current incarnations of the Simpson family. Homer is now an over-the-top, eccentric idiot who does not appear to have any real feelings for his family; Marge often goes on huge crusades and nags everyone in sight; Lisa is always on a high horse about political or social issues; and Bart has gone well past “mischievous” into “downright dangerous” at times.

The characters, and consequently the show, are now caricatures of their former selves. The current incarnation of Homer, for example, is nothing like the early-season hard working father who put up with a terrible boss and job in order to provide a good home for his family and newborn daughter, Maggie.
The Simpsons has been a very lucrative franchise for the show’s creator and the network. But with characters that are hollow shells, storylines that are so outlandish they would feel out of place in Looney Tunes, and even voice acting performances that are no longer up to par, it may be time to put The Simpsons out to pasture.


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3 Fan Theories That Answer The Question: What’s Up with the Animation in Sailor Moon Crystal?

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20140605_crystal020

Sailor Moon Crystal is the reboot anime that fans have been waiting 2 years to see; the first episode of the show had the highest ratings for streamed shows on multiple channels and its second episode received similar high ratings.

Fan reaction to the new show is mixed. A common criticism on the show is in regards to the animation—or, more particularly, the low quality animation that is present throughout each episode. Many fans have noted that the show’s animation is often sloppy, features exaggerated proportions and unrealistic body movements as well as uneven lines and coloring. But why is the animation for a show that is 2 years into production—and is only producing 2 new episodes a month—less than spectacular? Let’s look at three common fan theories floating around on the internet that address this troubling question.

Theory #1: The production company decided to use its budget for marketing

It’s no secret that the 20th Anniversary of the show has raked in some pretty hefty profits for Toei, who owns the licensing rights for the original Sailor Moon property and is behind the new Sailor Moon Crystal show. One fan theory is that Toei, instead of increasing its animation budget to ensure that the episodes are of the best quality possible, decided to use their money to reap more profits by using the money to produce more merchandise and market said merchandise.

Theory #2: The budget is diverted into too many areas

It is unknown just how big the budget for Sailor Moon Crystal really is. Some fans are speculating that the budget for the new Sailor Moon anime is actually being diverted to other new Sailor Moon properties, including new merchandise created for the 20th Anniversary, new merchandise specifically for Sailor Moon Crystal, as well as the production costs of the new Sailor Moon musicals. This might explain why the budget for the animation appears to be so low, since the money Toei is using may not be exclusively reserved for the TV show.

Theory #3: The production company knows people will still watch

The most cynical theory is that Toei knows fans will watch the new Sailor Moon, even if the animation isn’t top notch. This may be true, since the show—despite many fan’s misgivings—is still getting extraordinarily high ratings.


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Read Moreby wpadminComments Off on 3 Fan Theories That Answer The Question: What’s Up with the Animation in Sailor Moon Crystal?

The Good and Bad From Episode 1 of Sailor Moon Crystal

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660px-Sailor_Moon_Crystal_-_Official_English_Subtitled_Trailer

The first episode of the long awaited Sailor Moon Crystal has finally premiered and fans are buzzing with both good, bad and mixed reviews. Sailor Moon Crystal is considered a reboot of the original Sailor Moon comic, and not a remake of the original animated series. The show premiered through various online channels, including the popular Japanese TV streaming service, NicoNico, as well as through the TV streaming service Hulu and the anime-oriented CrunchyRoll. The show premiered in its original Japanese language with various options for subtitles in almost every language, including English.

Fans have both good and bad things to say about the new anime—let’s take a look at the most common praises and complaints fans have about the new show.

The Good: The closeness to the original comic

Fans of the original comic have long noted that the original animated series added lots of filler to pad out the episode length—and possibly to give the comic author time to wrap up each story arc. This filler often added out-of-character moments and meant that new characters or certain key plot points could take many episodes to appear.

Sailor Moon Crystal, however, has gotten right to the point and at many points is sticking to the original comic panel-for-panel. Many fans have praised this decision, which means the new show  is sticking to the source material much closer than the original animated show.

The Bad: Cheap animation

The animation is the new show’s biggest sticking point. Many fans have noted that the animation looks rushed, sloppy and even cheap; there are moments where the animation looks like it was done by an amateur online group rather than one of the biggest animation companies in Japan. There are moments where proportions are extremely off and many moments where the eyes of the characters look blank and unexpressive. The producers have also included several sequences of CG animation, rather than hand-drawn, which often stick out and look out of place.

The Good: Excellent backgrounds

Although fans have many criticisms for the primary animation of the show, they have also praised the soft, delicate and watercolor-like backgrounds for the show. The backgrounds look beautifully done and much better represent the original comic style than the animation for the actual characters. In addition to the backgrounds, the eyecatches which appear throughout the show are also heavily praised.


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Read Moreby wpadminComments Off on The Good and Bad From Episode 1 of Sailor Moon Crystal

Hey, Guess What? Family Guy is Still Funny

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family-guy

It used to be easy to poke fun at one of the most controversial animated programs of all time, even when it was one of the most popular shows on TV. People do it all the time when a show or movie or popular entity becomes so big and well loved that they become the target for a lot of hate, a lot of backlash that, while perhaps being unfair, is tossed against it because well, haters gonna hate, right?

It’s happens to Family Guy all the time.

As the legendary (yes I am calling Family Guy legendary so get over it) show closes in on finishing its 12th season, it’s gaining more and more momentum and popularity and frankly, shows no sign of slowing down. Though it dipped in quality here and there over the years, like in season 8 and 9, it’s really come back hard and strong with some really creative and hilarious episodes.

To me, this is a mark of a good show.

To come on strong at the beginning of a run, have a sip in quality but then to come back again with some of the best of the entire series means they were always great to begin with. Keeping the quality high is tough for any show to maintain but for an animated series so maligned with criticism over the years and having so many episodes- they are up to 230 as of now- makes it even more impressive. Family Guy does what any comedy should do: it makes you laugh. In fact, this is the only component necessary for a comedy to work. Does it make you laugh? Good, that’s all it needs to do.

If a show wishes to make some kind of political or social statement and have a message, then fine, go for it.

They can do that if they want and I’m okay with it. But when is it a prerequisite for an animated to try to change the world with its comedy and writing? Guess what? It isn’t necessary. All a comedy has to do is be funny, end of story. I get annoyed when they attempt to be something else at the expense of their primary reason for existence.

The fact Family Guy has a fairly successful spin-off series in The Cleveland Show is evidence of its quality.

How many animated shows get a spin-off series? Sure, The Cleveland Show was recently cancelled but 4 seasons and 88 episodes is pretty damn respectable. The fact that Seth MacFarlane has another extremely successful animated program in American Dad! is evidence of his genius. After ten seasons and 171 episodes on Fox, TBS will continue to air more brand new American Dad! episodes next year.

MacFarlane is the reigning king of animation for Prime Time television as we speak.

He’s branching out into live action films and if Ted is any indication, he’s got a heck of a life of success ahead of him in that world. Ted, with a budget of a mere 50 million, made eleven times this amount at the box office! It was critically acclaimed and blew the doors off of everyone’s expectations.

Family Guy is still funny, even after all these years.

Some how, some way, they have found a way to keep the show interesting and stimulating after all these years and all these episodes. They have stayed true to what made them funny and great at the beginning but have found a way to dig deeper into the mythology of the antics and escapades of Peter Griffin and his family as they live and work and breath in the fictional city of Quahog. They also do all this without being all uppity and judgmental or condescending towards their audience. They don’t have to; all they have to do is make us laugh and they win.


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Still Running TV Shows That Are Way past Their Prime

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THE SIMPSONS: SEASON 21

Let’s face it—just because a show is still running doesn’t mean it’s still good. And unfortunately, it seems that the longer a show is on the air, the more likely it is that it will go past its prime. Writers often struggle to come up with new plotlines season after season, or rely on gimmicks to try to inject some new life into a show that has gone stale—usually to no avail. While these shows still have their glimmers of goodness, for the most part, they’ve now gone way past their prime.

The Vampire Diaries

The Vampire Diaries showed up when the trend of teens and vampires was at an all-time high, and the show—which deviated heavily from the novels it was based on—was actually a solid entry into the “vampire trend.” The first few seasons had plenty of wit, drama, some comedy, and of course, plenty of vampire action. But the show has gone so far down the road with constant break-ups and make-ups, turning characters into vampires, killing them off and bringing them back, shoving former main characters into the background, and generally stretching the plotlines and characterization too much from the show’s original tone and concept. While some of this is due to the show following the plotline of the novels, most of the drastic changes in characterization and ridiculously plotlines are the brainchild of the show’s writers and creative time. While the show still entertains, it no longer packs the punch it once did.

The Simpsons

The Simpsons is perhaps the most well-known animated TV show of all time. But the latest seasons of the show are nothing but a shell of the Simpsons former self: everything from the writing to the voice acting has decreased in quality and passion, leading to strings of “guest celebrity” appearances, wacky antics, and ridiculous plotlines that make even the silliest of older Simpson’s episodes seem like straight-laced dramas. Part of the problem has come from lackluster storylines as well as the alteration of character’s personalities—Homer was once a fun loving dad with quirks and is now a bumbling idiot who couldn’t tie his shows together; Lisa was once a hard working lonely little girl trying to find her place and is now a soapbox, preachy know-it-all—just to name two characters that have been altered beyond repair.


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Read Moreby wpadminComments Off on Still Running TV Shows That Are Way past Their Prime

Two Love Life Lessons to Take From South Park

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South_Park_Season_14 (1)

Take a moment to recover from the shock of this article’s title. Have you gotten your breath back? Yes, you read correctly: there are life lessons to be taken from that popular crude, crass and crazy animated series that is South Park. South Park is probably the last TV show you would expect to take any lessons from—unless they’re lessons on how to talk with a piece of Christmas poo or get elaborate revenge involving some ill-concocted chili. But there are some surprising nuggets of wisdom hidden under the fart jokes and curse words; let’s look at some surprising love-related life lessons to take from Comedy Central’s popular show South Park.

Lesson #1: It’s healthy to take breaks from relationships

South Park’s incarnation of Satan has had his share of relationship troubles. They all came to a head in a two-partner episode which featured a subplot of Satan, his new boyfriend Chris, and his ex-boyfriend Saddam Hussein. Satan felt torn between choosing Chris—who was sensitive, caring, loving and perhaps too forgiving—and Saddam, who was physically exciting but otherwise a terrible boyfriend. Satan eventually seeks advice from God, who more or less tells him that he doesn’t need to “choose” either boyfriend and can be by himself. Satan decides to take a break from relationships and work on his own life instead.The lesson? It’s good and healthy to take breaks from relationships and be independent.

Lesson #2: Having your heart broken isn’t the end of the world

Satan isn’t the only one in South Park with relationship troubles: in ‘Raisins,’ Wendy breaks up with Stan, which leaves him miserable, inconsolable, and with no other recourse than to join the Goth Kids and complain about the pointlessness of life. By contrast, when Butters’s supposed girlfriend (who is, in fact, a waitress paid to be nice to him) breaks up with him, he’s sad—but rejects the offer to join up with the Goth Kids, because he knows that life isn’t miserable, and that sadness is just as much a part of life as happiness. Without sadness, happiness wouldn’t mean as much—and there will always be time to forge new relationships.

The lesson?

Having your heart broken isn’t the worst thing in the world, and it can in fact make you stronger and more appreciative of the good times you have later on.


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Read Moreby wpadminComments Off on Two Love Life Lessons to Take From South Park

Some of the Worst Episodes of South Park

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south-park-hd-achtergronden-200578South Park is Comedy Central’s most long-running and successful comedy show. Created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, who do almost all of the voices on the show and have a hand in writing each episode, South Park chronicles the crude, crass and often wacky adventures of the citizens in the small Colorado town of South Park.
South Park has had some excellent episodes over its many seasons. Episodes which are hilarious have great social commentary and even sometimes a little bit of heart mixed along with all the crass humor. But no show is without its stinkers, and when South Park turns out a bad episode, it’s usually significantly awful. Let’s look at some of the worst episodes of South Park to hit the airwaves.

Mr. Garrison’s Fancy New…

In this episode, Mr. Garrison famously decides to get a sex change operation because he feels that he is a woman trapped in a man’s body. The episode decides to explore the concept of feeling like a different gender by going for extremes, such as having Kyle get cosmetic surgery to look like a tall, black basketball player and Kyle’s father get surgery to look like a dolphin-human hybrid. The episode is, unfortunately, just plain unfunny. None of the jokes really land and the basic premise of the show is outdated–comparing legitimate gender identity with wanting to be a dolphin just doesn’t fly.

Pip

This episode focused on the minor character of Pip, who up until this point had only been the butt of the occasional joke. This episode falls flat simply because the character is not that interesting and the concept of him being the butt of bullying and jokes for an entire episode drags on too long. In addition to this, much of the humor in the episode relies on having a good grasp of British humor and old-school British comedies, which most of the target audience of the show is likely to miss.

Ginger Cow

This is another episode where a joke that would have worked on a small scale just doesn’t work for an entire episode. The premise—that Kyle is humiliating himself publicly because otherwise Cartman will spill the beans and break peace in the Middle East—is just too ridiculous and annoying to watch for an entire episode. The payoff, or lack of payoff, makes the episode even more frustrating.


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