Fox Animation Week 18 Reviews (The Simpsons, Family Guy, Bob’s Burgers, Bless the Harts)

Another round-up of weekly reviews from yours truly is here. No The Great North this week, so that’s why it’s obviously not here.

The Simpsons – “Uncut Femmes” Review

Episode summary (spoilers): It’s field trip day and Homer doesn’t want to chaperone, so when Carl gets Homer free tickets to see Bob Seger, Marge ends up having to chaperone the field trip, despite her having a watch party of the annual gala with her friends. She is forced to partner up with Sarah Wiggum, who was also forced to chaperone because Chief Wiggum didn’t want to (he also got a free ticket to see Bob Seger as a bribe from Smithers). While the kids are asleep, Marge and Sarah are kidnapped. When the kidnappers reveal to be friends of Sarah’s, we now learn who Sarah Wiggum really is.

However, after Wiggum reveals how they got the tickets, Seger is disgusted, and refuses to let them in. So Homer and Wiggum dedicate the rest of the episode to looking for their wives, after Ralph reveals they were kidnapped.

My thoughts: Matt Selman, you’ve done it again! You have proven why this show needs you as its new showrunner. Almost all Selman’s episodes this season have been the best ones in my opinion. “I, Carumbus” was a really funny made up story episode and “Podcast News” and “Do Pizzabots Dream of Electric Guitars” packed good social commentary on relevant topics. While this one doesn’t have any social commentary, it’s an episode that has a pretty clear direction from start to finish.

I really liked how the writers took a risk with trying out some new plotlines. We didn’t know much about Sarah in 700 episodes, but this one brings a good backstory in her life. The path is clear from start to finish except with a few minor duds. I wish the episode built more up to Lindsey Naegle being the criminal because it just felt like it was rushed. Lindsey’s been a background character for so long. I wish they would have used a different character instead for the criminal. I really enjoyed Sarah’s new characterization. I hope the writers remember to keep it that way when she reappears. I also wish we would see what happened to the recovered diamond. I just wished they gave Megan Mullally another character since Pamela Hayden should have done her voice. Homer and Chief Wiggum had some good stuff too even if they didn’t do much. The Gala watch party scenes were fine but Julio’s “What. It’s what she would have wanted” caught me off guard. Overall, the plot was well executed from start to finish with a clear path and I was interested in the whole thing.

I kind of wish Homer stopped being the selfish jerk because it’s just unfunny now. There are many better ways to start a plot, and instead they had to start with Homer being selfish over the tickets. The Fat Tony and Ralph pairing was a lot of fun in my opinion. It was funny and sweet, especially when they were getting frozen yogurt. I also enjoyed seeing Bart and Lisa dancing together before the field trip.

“Uncut Femmes” is far from the best this season, but it provides laughs, the story is cohesive and focuses a lot on the right things, and I liked that they tried something new with Sarah. It worked out pretty well in my opinion. I’d definitely revisit this episode sometime down the road. I expected this episode to suck bad but it was a lot better than I expected. Episodes like these PROVE that Matt Selman needs to be the new showrunner and that Modern Simpsons isn’t all garbage.

Overall score: 7.5/10

Family Guy – “Customer of the Week” Review

Episode summary (spoilers): Lois starts to go to a specific coffee shop everyday to cool down after stressful mornings taking care of the family. While there, she notices a “customer of the week” board and goes through desperate lengths to show her generosity. When she finds out that other people who barely go start winning the awards, she decides to plan an attack to get her way.

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.

This episode offers some laughs, but doesn’t really offer anything besides that. If I had to list some of my favorite parts, the two self-aware scenes were funny, especially the one where all of the characters voiced by Seth MacFarlane show up when Meg asks “Are we giving Seth’s voices a rest?” while nodding at her. I also really enjoyed the Stewie scene where Lois starts listing reasons why she should do better and Stewie responds after each reason that she shouldn’t. He also did this to Brian when he wanted to run for mayor in “Adam West High”. It’s a good revisit to a joke that actually worked for me.

The episode’s focus on Lois sure is good, but the plot is too mean-spirited. When Lois doesn’t get her way, she plans an all-out attack just to get there. It starts with an intentional allergy attack and then kidnapping of witnesses and people who find out about her crimes. I feel like she could have went to mental thearpy after this episode to be honest. I did somehow smile at Joe telling Lois she could finish some of her chores before going to jail, but then once Peter comes in, it ruins the joke.

“Customer of the Week” isn’t the worst of the season but it failed more than passed. That said, it’s still a passable episode in my opinion. I just wish the main plot wasn’t as mean-spirited. Probably won’t be revisiting this one unfortunately.

Overall score: 5.5/10

Bob’s Burgers – “Y Tu Tina También” Review

Episode summary (spoilers): When Tina fails her Spanish quiz, her teacher forces her to lose her break to study Spanish in the lunch lab. There, she starts to get the hots for one of the audio teachers. Meanwhile, Louise and Gene practice their throwing so they can successfully dunk Mr. Frond into the water at the school spring fair.

My thoughts: Bob’s Burgers had a similar episode title to this one back in Season 8. Unfortunately, I prefer that one much more over this. That’s not to say this episode was bad. It wasn’t. I’ll start with the good parts. I enjoyed the subplot around the water tank. Mr. Frond was really cocky about the Belcher kids sucking at the game, to the point where he would use his computer and file his taxes while they tried. That was great. I also really think Louise is a certified child genius. First, she’s able to figure out that Tina failed her quiz on purpose. Then, she manipulates the recordings with audio of her own so Tina can’t study properly. If that’s not brilliance at her age, I don’t know what world I am living in. Tina having a motivation to learn Spanish was good, but it doesn’t get so good later on.

Now to the not so good. I don’t think this episode was particularly funny. The Tina plot wasn’t funny at all. It’s a bit of a slog to go through and focuses too much on only one character trait of her’s, being obsessed with boys. Usually those plots don’t tend to work. This was done last season in “Legends of the Mall” and it didn’t work there either. Failing the quiz on purpose just to hear the boy’s voice is really creepy, in my opinion. I also didn’t really like how Tina was able to successfully throw Frond into the water successfully with one try. It just felt unnatural to me. I was worried Frond would lose his laptop from being dunked in the water but thankfully he only lost his flip phone. And I don’t need to speak about Bob and Linda’s “subplot”. It was total nothing.

“Y Tu Tina También” is fine, but it’s definitely one of the episodes on the bottom end this season. It’s not particularly funny, it lacks a good focus and it reuses a plot focused on Tina’s worst traits. That stuff has never worked and I hope the great writers can understand that going forward. I am a mega fan of Bob’s Burgers, but a mega fan also knows that not every episode in the season is going to be a hit. I was expecting Tina to get a crush on an actual boy. Maybe that would have worked out better than this. Either way, I can’t wait for the next episode, which will air after the Easter break.

Overall score: 5.5/10

Bless the Harts – “Dance Dance Resolution” Review

Episode summary (spoilers): At the Mega Lo Mart, Violet is embarrassed when Jenny starts dancing to one of her favorite songs on the store radio from Tarla J. (probably a parody of Britney Spears). But when she sees the fad the artist went through after being famous, she decides to learn her dance. This makes Jenny super happy that Violet wants to follow in her footsteps. But Jenny starts going really hardass on Violet, and she takes this obsession a little too far.

Meanwhile, Wayne thinks he isn’t appreciated enough by Betty, so he takes her to a flea market to get something she wants. While arguing, they get locked in a garage. How will they resolve their differences and get out?

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 was actually pretty enjoyable. I liked that we got focus on Violet more this episode because she barely gets any focus as is. And last week’s focus on her was good, but it was also the antithesis of her character development over the series. The plot building on the idea that Jenny and Violet are polar opposites was a good idea. I really enjoyed how uninterested Violet and David were in the song, but then suddenly started taking interest in it after a while. Jenny’s huge smile when she saw Violet dancing to her favorite song was just priceless. And it’s even funnier when she continues to squeal for 2 whole minutes because of it. My favorite part of the episode, however, has to be the scene where they reenact the music video of Tarla J. A friend on Discord said it was similar of the “Boyz 12” episode of American Dad! and I definitely would agree with them. I liked that Violet had stage fright the whole time, but in the end she decided to do it just for her mom. That was nice to watch. Honestly, the only negative about this plot was the fact that Jenny hinted that she wanted to commit suicide because Violet didn’t want to follow in her footsteps. I think that was a little too dark. I also wish Jenny could have been open to trying things Violet may have liked instead. Maybe in a future episode, that will happen.

The subplot was fine, I guess. It didn’t get good until Betty and Wayne were locked in the garage. Fun fact, according to the showrunner of Bless the Harts, it was inspired by a real story.

The subplot was fine until then. Betty isn’t the most likeable person, and many episodes of the season have proven that. However, I think she’s being mean to Wayne here for no reason and it doesn’t really do anything for me. Once they get locked in the garage, however, it gets good. When Wayne shivers without his jacket, Betty realizes that he’s a good guy who means well, and she shouldn’t take him for granted. I really liked them sharing a beer and bonding over it. It shows that Wayne really does love and care for her like a son-in-law. It was also sweet to hear her finally say “Thank you” to Wayne. He deserved that thanks.

“Dance Dance Resolution” was a definitely upturn from last week because of its laughs, focus the only the core group, and good plot direction. The episode only featured the main family, plus David. Some of the old people are the senior center have appeared as background characters before, but aside from that, this episode has the fewest number of characters. The only thing I didn’t care for was the subplot until they got locked in the garage. The show’s been on a streak of some good episodes these past few weeks. I’m just really sad that this might be the show’s final season. This show is really starting to nail its identity, and I’ve definitely been enjoying this show much more than Family Guy and The Simpsons current stuff.

Overall score: 7.5/10

And a reminder to all of you lovely readers, there will only be a new Bless the Harts this Easter, since it is an Easter-themed episode; so don’t be surprised when next week, I only review one show. Fox is airing a documentary about lions called “My Name is Malika” to fill the time taken off by the other four shows.