Fox Animation Week 16 Reviews (The Simpsons, Family Guy, Bob’s Burgers, Bless the Harts, The Great North)

The Simpsons – “Do Pizzabots Dream of Electric Guitars” Review

Episode summary (spoilers): After telling his family about the memory of his job as a teenager managing animatronic robots at a pizza parlor, Homer decides to reunite the pizza robots, as the pizza parlor was shut down for drug trafficking and the owner (Gil) was arrested. Seeing Homer not acting like himself, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Moe decide to find the pizza robots to make Homer happy. Lisa and Bart get the list of who the robots were sold to from Gil, and they, plus Marge and Moe, each split up to get a pizza robot. However, J.J. Abrams (who voices himself) is in Springfield and buys the last pizza robot. His goal is to get them together for his latest movie project. Will Homer’s dream come true?

My thoughts: Matt Selman made a tweet earlier this week stating that nothing is canon in The Simpsons universe, and honestly I’m down to believe that because of how the show is designed. At its core, The Simpsons is a sitcom, so everything is really a “what if” situation. And this week’s doesn’t do anything different than what Selman stated. It’s a good one. And it’s not because Mike Price wrote it. I’ll admit, knowing that this was his episode got me looking more forward to it than others, but it’s the writing itself that sold me for the most part. F is for Family is a great Netflix original series. And Bill Burr and Mike Price are BIG on flashback scenes, so using the experience with them in FIFF and putting them into The Simpsons was a nice addition.

The entire flashback scene is a great backstory showing how Homer started his love for the pizza robots. It’s nice to see him succeed at something, and have fun while doing it. When it goes back to the present, it wastes no time getting to the main point. The montage of Homer doing silly stuff was pretty funny. Moe coming in after was just random and I had to just laugh because of that. I liked when Lisa and Bart went into Abram’s production building and Lisa started speaking like she was cool.

The only thing I didn’t really care for was the twist. It just felt weird and out of place. Abrams just takes all of the pizza robots away without even asking or even offering Homer money for them. I feel there could have been a better way to execute it.

But the ending to the episode was pretty nice. Abe and Homer get a hate-like bond which is kind of amusing when Homer said “I hate you, dad”. I also liked seeing the band back together. Even though they’re in a different place now, his dream sort of did come true.

I haven’t been too fond of recent Simpsons episodes, but this one is easily one of my favorites of the season. It’s funny, the story structure is solid, and it kept me interested the whole time. Many people are upset because they thought it broke continuity, but if you are a true fan, you wouldn’t be too upset. Just sit back and enjoy the episode. You won’t regret it.

Overall score: 7.5/10

Family Guy – “The Marrying Kind” Review

Episode summary (spoilers): After seeing Mort marry another woman, Stewie wants to have a wife to spend time with, so he orders a wife from Ukraine. To spend time with her, Stewie gets a job at Enterprise. But when Brian checks in on Stewie and only finds his wife in the room, guess what he does?

Meanwhile, after staying in New Orleans for Mort’s wedding, Chris and Peter get addicted to breakfast buffets. When they go back to Quahog, they hit up every hotel to eat at their buffet.

My thoughts: Family Guy‘s nineteenth season has been mostly miss and is proof the show might never bounce back. While it may never get to season 12 lows, I think this season might be the second or third worst in the series. It’s just not funny, the cutaway jokes are terrible, and the plots are incoherent and unfocused.

However, this one wasn’t too bad. The setup was pretty solid, although I didn’t care too much for the song. I liked how the setup then split the two plots. As for the subplot, I enjoyed seeing Chris and Peter splurge at the free breakfast buffets. I didn’t like the ending to it though, as Chris goes to jail for 15 years just for stealing food. I didn’t like a lot of the random jokes in this episode, like the agent killing the two Finnish men at the buffet, or the squirrel next to the very redundant hotel sign. None of that stuff has ever been funny. I’m not sure why they continue to do that.

The Stewie plot was pretty good until the writers decided they had to have Brian bang the wife because that’s his character. I’m just really tired of Brian revolving around that single character trait. It’s not funny or even remotely interesting. It does have a nice compromise by the end, but the wife decides to leave Stewie so it’s not really a compromise is it. The cutaways don’t work here either, like Peter trying to get into a kids party wasn’t funny. One joke that I did like was Meg yelling at Lois that she understood what she said and broke the plate too. I thought that was pretty funny.

“The Marrying Kind” was a lot better than I expected it to be. I thought the Stewie plot would be downright terrible but it wasn’t so bad. Modern Family Guy isn’t famous for tackling plot but I was surprised how well structured the two plots were of this episode. The only problem is that it lacks laughs as I barely laughed at any of the jokes. It’s not one of the worst this season, but it’s far from the best too.

Overall score: 5.5/10

Bob’s Burgers – “Mr. Lonely Farts” Review

Episode summary (spoilers): Bob needs to get a new vent, so Teddy and Louise help him pick it up, while Linda and Tina go to get new sneakers for Tina. But, each of them thinks the other took Gene with them, and guess who’s home alone!

My thoughts: Bob’s Burgers take on the Home Alone franchise turns out to be pretty solid. I was quite worried that this episode would focus WAY too much on Gene, because I find many of the Gene-centric episodes to be less enjoyable, like “Mommy Boy” and “Diarrhea of a Poopy Kid”. I think the episode did focus on “Gene dislikes being home alone” way too much, as it didn’t start to get good until he locked himself in the basement. I read someone else’s comments on Reddit and they said that Gene seems like he would be someone who would enjoy being alone and running around the house. His weird conversations with Ken are detailed and silly and I really enjoyed his song.

Bob’s plot was pretty short but enjoyable. I like seeing Bob and Teddy episodes and this is no exception. I liked how Louise and Teddy stole kitchen utensils. The jokes about people on the Internet being murderers was really funny and I also liked Louise’s sassy jokes towards her dad. This plot was pretty fun but a bit too short.

Linda and Tina getting shoes was decent. The store seemed very accurate even to the point of showing the beat up boxes, dirty floors, and poor lighting. Seeing them pretend to be different people in the shoes while they tried them on was amusing, and when they offered to help the store employee clean up the mess they made, they even walked away with a small discount, which was nice.

Overall this was a pretty enjoyable episode. My only problem with it was how much they leaned into how much Gene dislikes being home alone, as it wasn’t really anything interesting until he ends up locking himself in the basement. That being said, I had fun watching this, and you will too.

Overall score: 7.5/10

Bless the Harts – “Trollin’ with the Homies” Review

Episode summary (spoilers): Fed up with Betty staying at home doing nothing, Jenny and Wayne pressure Betty to get a job. But she ends up getting a job at the Last Supper and ends up being really bad at it. Wayne cooks up the ultimate scheme to get Betty out of there, but Betty’s pretty sly and it’s a game of cat and mouse going forward.

Meanwhile, Violet and David are worried that people won’t think of them as “cool” if they don’t add an inferior third friend to their group. They “recruit” a boy named Parker (guest voiced by Jack McBrayer) but soon he begins inviting other friends to the group. Can Violet and David maintain their superiority?

My thoughts: Bless the Harts continues to grow and define itself with another fun episode and I found all aspects of it to be enjoyable. The show has become very consistent and probably is one of the most enjoyable shows on the block right now. It’s too bad the show is likely to be cancelled though, and I would be really sad to see it go if it is.

The main plot with Betty and Jenny is similar to last week’s with their feud being the main highlight. I enjoyed seeing Betty being silly and suggestive at her job, while also sucking at it. I liked seeing Wayne and Jenny spend date night together. A lot of the recent episodes besides “Mega Lo 2” haven’t focused too much on their romantic life, so that was nice to see. Wayne’s complex Yelp personality was really silly and fun, and his story was dramatic in a hilarious way. I also was shocked that he claimed his job was the only thing keeping him from killing himself. While I’m sure he was joking, there could be something we don’t know about him yet and this may suggest that.

I’m surprised Betty has a bunch of trucker contacts in her diary and yet she still can’t hang out with people her age, which was really the only inconsistency I had. When she was hanging out alone at the senior center, I don’t know why she wouldn’t just hang out with her trucker friends. It didn’t really make sense to me.

One thing I enjoy about Betty now is that the writers seem to now know what they want to do with her character. Another reviewer I watch on YouTube said that the writers were trying too hard with her in the first season and now her behaviors come off as more natural with the plot. With season 1 in “Trash Twins” she doesn’t start her insane behaviors until she gets attacked first, but now, with the last few episodes, she’s now willing to take the first shot, and it seems more natural to her character to do that. One thing that I’ve noticed, and some of my friends on Discord have too, in this show that makes it different from other sitcoms is that Betty’s life would be really boring without conflict and Jenny and Betty need conflict to keep things fun and entertaining, but they still love each other despite how annoying they might think the other is.

The subplot was pretty good too. I liked seeing the two friends try to get out there and “recruit” another friend. Parker was pretty cool and he proved he doesn’t need Violet and David to have a lot of friends, as by the end, Violet and David are “removed” from his friend group. I liked seeing the change from David and Violet being his “superior” to him being theirs after seeing how sociable he is compared to them.

And trying to make Betty happy by making it a “family night” was pretty sweet. I digged that. Bless the Harts has really improved this season and it’s very consistent in quality. I wouldn’t say this is 10/10 TV, but you’ll have a good time with this one as well. It’s funny, it’s fast paced, and the story is really interesting. It’s one of the better episodes this season.

Overall score: 8.5/10

The Great North – “Pride & Prejudance Adventure” Review

Episode summary (spoilers): Judy’s got the cute stuff for Crispin, a boy who works at the Lone Moose Mall across from her job. But when Ham drops her off at the mall, Crispin seems to take notice to Ham. Judy asks Crispin out and he kinda agrees. Throughout the episode, Crispin continues to show an interest in Ham instead, but will Judy get the hint that he’s not interested in her?

Meanwhile, Beef’s brother, Brian, pays a visit, but when Beef joins his client dinner, he ruins it with his fishing stories. Beef worries him and his brother are growing apart.

My thoughts: The Great North continues to prove that it can be different than Bob’s Burgers while still retaining the good things about the show. I don’t understand a lot of the criticisms to the show because most of them are “It’s not the same as Bob’s.” Maybe because it doesn’t have to be and it shouldn’t be. It’s definitely its own show. The Great North‘s main focus is Judy Tobin, and she’s easily a more interesting character than another new teen on the Fox animation lineup, Duncan Harris. The Great North is more representable of teenage life than Duncanville, and it’s not even trying to be. I just find that really weird, but it’s one of the things I enjoy about it. And unlike Duncanville and Bless the Harts, this show continues to hit right out of the gate, with only one episode being in the “not great” range. “Avocado Barter Adventure” proved to me this show has a lot of potential to be really good, and this episode only strengthens my argument.

The Alaskan sibling bond between Ham and Judy is a lot of fun. They play off each other very well, as Ham is the more calm to Judy’s wild. While the plotline could be cringe to some, it’s very representable to teenage life. There are many teens that just can’t take a hint that the other party is not interested in them, and this episode does is incredibly well. There were a ton of giveaways from our end, such as the class notes, the wiping of the napkin at lunch, and Crispin even takes Ham in his snowmobile and leaves Judy in the dust. But we have to think back to when we were teens. If we’re interested in someone, that doesn’t mean they’ll be interested back. It’s very relatable to see Judy go through this phase, because for some of us it has happened.

And while the “twist” with Ham and Crispin kissing while Judy goes to the bathroom was a little bit predictable, the delivery of it was not. I liked seeing Judy get upset and sad at the same time. Her imaginary talk with Thomas Wintersbone was really nice. I liked how she finally comes to realize that the theme of the dance shouldn’t be about his death, but rather how it should be for anyone and anyone they like. I did like seeing that Thomas was actually gay. That was not expected. And Leslie Jordan does a good voice performance. A bit of a tangent, I already watch Leslie Jordan in Call Me Kat every week and while I don’t think that show is as good as this one, like not even a contest, he’s still one of my favorite parts of that show. This show does a great job with the characters opening up about their emotions, such as Judy opening up to the imaginary Thomas about her feelings; and it’s one of my favorite things about it so far. I’m glad Judy was able to finally realize that Ham and Crispin were meant to be, and it was really sweet to see her move on and let her brother be happy.

I also really enjoy how the writers continue to think beyond what current television is thinking. It’s the first primetime animated sitcom to feature a main LGBT character, and it acts like its a normal thing. That is very nice to see. Even though I am not LGBT, I support it and I hope they make Crispin and Ham a thing. It’s a bold and different move from other shows, and it’s great to see that. It’s also good that Ham isn’t only defined by his sexuality. In other sitcoms like Family Guy, they tend to make being LGBT part of the joke. Bruce is a perfect example of this. From the way he talks to the way he acts, it just screams like it’s the only definition of his character. While Ham is openly gay, it’s clear the writers know that’s not entirely his character, as he enjoys doing a lot of other things. I’m interested to see where Judy’s love life leads into next, as she gets a happy ending as well getting to dance with another single boy.

The subplot was pretty enjoyable too. It can be hard to see your siblings and cousins grow up and then start to distance themselves from you in terms of hobbies and interests. It was sweet seeing Beef do anything to try to relate to his brother, to the point where he helps him sell hot tubs by the end. Their conversation about why Brian needed to go be something more was very moving. One thing I’ve noticed about The Great North that’s different from Bob’s Burgers is that the characters are more open to expressing their feelings than the Belchers. It’s really nice to see them open up that makes it a lot different than the other shows on the block. It’s just really nice to see another family in adult animation joining the Belchers, the Tillermans (Central Park), and the Harts in having loving families at its core. A lot of sitcoms over the years think having dysfunction is the key to success, but Bob’s Burgers has definitely proved us wrong with that. Not every sitcom is the same.

Another thing I enjoy about this episode is the continuity. Judy has had interest in Crispin in the pilot, and it resumes here. She even mentions that she wasn’t interested in Steven Huang (the previous boy she kissed in “Romantic Meat-Based Adventure”). While it is a network sitcom and as such follows the episodic rules, there are little continuity nods that I enjoy and it shows that the animators and writers pay a lot of attention to details. Bob’s Burgers dived into continuity last week by bringing back the Wheelie mammoth, but to be honest, this show feels a lot less sitcom than Bob’s simply because it uses its continuity to drive plot.

“Pride & Prejudice Adventure” not only has two interesting plots that focus on real-life issues, but it’s also one of the funniest episodes in the show and one of the sweetest. The only thing I had an issue with was that the twist in Act 2 is pretty predictable, but the delivery of the episode is excellent. I don’t care if you spoil an episode to me. It’s not gonna change my view on it. Rather I care a lot more about how the episode is delivered. Like with Bless the Harts’ Black Friday episodes, you know where they’re heading by act 2, but it’s how they get there that make them so good.

This episode is easily one of my favorites in the show so far, and might even be my favorite episode actually. It will probably only get better with a rewatch. This is an easy recommendation to any person who isn’t sold on the show quite yet, and it only strengthens my point with the potential this show has. Keep it up, Great North writers, as you have my seal of approval for one of the best sitcoms of the 2020s!

Overall score: 9.5/10