Fox Animation Week 20 Reviews (The Simpsons, Family Guy, Bob’s Burgers, Bless the Harts, The Great North)

The Simpsons – “Burger Kings” Review

Episode summary (spoilers): After Mr. Burns goes to the hospital after eating red meat, he decides to invest in the plant-based meat business. Lisa’s so happy and thinks that he’s finally doing something good, but she finds something out that’s even worse.

Meanwhile, Marge invests in stocks and is worried when she starts making more money. Weird, but okay.

My thoughts: I’m glad Matt Selman will be the new showrunner for The Simpsons because Al Jean has proven once again that he needs to step down and just remain an executive producer. What is this first of all? It’s just a bunch of non-sense jokes inserted to fill the runtime. I laughed once and I smiled once. The only joke I laughed at was the Stranger Things reference. And I smiled at the “LGBTQ BLT” burger announcement at Krusty Burger. Then again, I realized it was written by the same guy who did the terrible, in my opinion, 700th episode, “Manger Things”, and it manages to be even worse. Now, keep in mind this is just my opinion. If you liked these episodes, good for you, and I respect your opinion. Nothing wrong with you and nothing wrong with me. We just have different tastes and expectations.

The characterization is so, so bad in this episode. In “Manger Things”, Maude was so out of character it literally pissed me off. This time Mr. Burns actually cares what people think of him? And then Lisa thinks Mr. Burns is a good guy once she takes a bite of his plant-based burger? I don’t get any of this. And this season, Krusty has just insanely unfunny now. Every joke about him nowadays is about he introduces a new product that fails miserably. Then, he starts to cry. It wasn’t funny the first time and it never will be. I also find it super irritating that Bart still worships Krusty despite what a shitty person he is, and Bart knows this deep in his heart. I guess the only okay part was when Lisa finds out that Mr. Burns is destroying endangered plants to make his burgers, Homer decides to tell the customers that using puns. They were fine I guess.

Marge investing in stocks was just there. But why does she get sad when she starts making money instead of losing it? That’s just weird to me. There’s no punchline to any of these jokes. They’re all just out of place jokes that don’t do anything to make the episode funny or interesting. “Burger Kings” is such a poor episode of the show. I really did not like it. It was so boring, the story was predictable and uninteresting, and the characters were out of place. Hopefully the final four episodes don’t reach this level. While “Manger Things” was bad as well, at least it had a coherent plot. I don’t know what this is. This might be the worst episode in the season for me because the others at least had some jokes or coherent plot, while in this one I barely smiled.

Overall score: 2/10

Family Guy – “Who’s Brian Now?” Review

Episode summary (spoilers): After Brian gets lost in the woods and is rescued by an animal shelter, he discovers that he has a microchip claiming he belonged to a rich family before he met the Griffins, so he decides to leave the Griffins. But things don’t end up the way Brian wants.

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. And no, don’t tell me Family Guy doesn’t need a plot, because the earlier seasons provided a good balance of plot and jokes. If you go back to the first four or five seasons, you can see there was still a clear, coherent storyline in each episode, and the writers still managed to make room for funny cutaways and jokes.

This episode itself provides a few funny moments, like Peter drawing a cartoon rocket for himself to go to space, and then forgetting to draw himself food, so he starves in space, Stewie telling Chris “cool hwip” to the point where he goes crazy, and Seth MacFarlane being honest about Ted 2, but that’s not enough to save it from disappointment. The rest of the jokes weren’t funny to me. If I can’t remember it, then it wasn’t funny. Also, the Robert Logia joke is really unfunny. Please stop that.

The problem with “Who’s Brian Now?” is the plot direction. It’s a bunch of non-sense gags for the first half of the episode, before it gets into the actual plot itself. Then, when Brian actually goes back to his old family, they treat him like dirt. They refuse to let him sit at the table. They make him eat dog food. And he can’t sleep on the bed. It doesn’t surprise me that Brian hates dog food, because he’s so used to eating whatever the Griffins eat. Then he decides to go back to the Griffins and it ends. You see how predictable and lame the plot is?

“Who’s Brian Now?” is such a wasted episode. The premise provided by Fox sounded like it could be good, but it’s wasted for unfunny nonsense for the first half, that it doesn’t have time to develop into a good and interesting plot, with the only saving grace being a few funny jokes. This is another typical modern Family Guy episode I guess, and this is why I don’t really have hope for the show anymore. At least with The Simpsons, I like Matt Selman’s episodes for the most part; but Family Guy, can be a very mixed bag, most of it being misses. I honestly should stop reviewing this show but this was just so, so disappointing apart from a few jokes, that I just had to talk about it!

Overall score: 4/10

Bob’s Burgers – “Fingers-loose” Review

Episode summary (spoilers): The open house for Wagstaff school is in 2 days, and Mr. Frond suspects something fishy going on with the students. So he assigns Tina to crack down the case. When Tina discovers the fishy stuff, however, she becomes obsessed with it. Will she snitch to Mr. Frond or enjoy her time in the spotlight?

Meanwhile, Teddy asks Bob and Linda to help him sneak food into the movies, but when Linda tells him he should use his armpits, he decides to forget it.

My thoughts: Bob’s Burgers proves that after 11 seasons, you can still be fresh as ever. Not to mention this show is already super consistent in how good it is. Unlike Family Guy and The Simpsons, I can see why this was renewed for two more seasons, and I support it.

I really enjoyed the film-noir aspect of this episode, with Tina as the narrator. It brings a kind of speakeasy vibe to it and the jazzy soundtrack was great. I actually really enjoyed this one because of how fresh and creative it was, while also being funny! A good thing about this episode was that it doesn’t rely on Tina’s worst character traits to deliver a good episode. Last episode really proved that it doesn’t work, and it never will. But using Tina’s best characterization always brings a good episode.

I also really loved that we got to see a lot of the other kids, like Alex, Courtney, Rudy, and even Millie, sigh. Millie’s middle finger to Mr. Frond was really funny to me, but I still dislike Millie a lot as a character. I also liked the callbacks and continuity from previous episodes, like the armpit hairnets, Kathleen, and Tina being a hall monitor. I especially love how Tina broke the rules at the end as an apology to her siblings for luring Mr. Frond here, but it was creative that Gene did it at the end. I’m glad even the superintendent loved it. Why ban the fingers? They’re harmless fun.

The B-plot was fine. It didn’t overstay its welcome but I didn’t find it really funny either, with the exception that Gene eats food off Linda’s armpits. I can see why some people think it’s gross, but Gene is gross, so it fits with his character. As for other funny moments, one of my favorites was when Gene allowed Tina to give him nuggets in the bathtub, but because she “ratted them out”, he wouldn’t talk to her. It’s just so funny when someone gets mad at you but then still wants you to be there with them. I don’t know why. I just really thought it was funny.

“Fingers-loose” is a great, creative, and interesting episode of Bob’s Burgers and only further proves my point that this show can still be fresh and consistently good 200 episodes in. Plus, the writers are sister-duo Lizzie and Wendy Molyneux, and they’re some of my favorite Bob’s Burgers writers, not to mention they also have The Great North too! I can’t wait for the final five episodes of the season, plus 45 more!

Overall score: 8.5/10

Bless the Harts – “Hot Tub-tation” Review

Episode summary (spoilers): While doing construction at a mansion, the owner gives Wayne an old hot tub, which Wayne gifts Jenny for their anniversary. However, Wayne starts to have parties everyday in the hot tub, to the point where he misses their date night at an Australian steakhouse. Jenny’s real mad, but can Wayne prove he’s really sorry?

Meanwhile, Betty gets banned from a department store after complaining too much to the store clerk, Julian. So she disguises herself with the alias Rhonda Whiterspoon to attend sales. But she starts enjoying Julian’s company to the point where she can’t hold this Roger Smith-alias forever.

My thoughts: Unfortunately, Bless the Harts is coming to a close with its second and final season, as the Fox network has opted not to order anymore episodes of the show due to underperforming in the ratings against the other shows on Fox Sunday nights. However, there are still seven more episodes left, plus this one, that need to be burned off, for a total of thirty-four episodes. Bless the Harts is survived by veterans The Simpsons, Family Guy, and Bob’s Burgers, all of which have been renewed up to the 2023 season, and newcomers Duncanville, The Great North, and Housebroken. Joining them next season in late-spring 2022, likely summer, is an upcoming show from Rick and Morty co-creator Dan Harmon.

That being said, there’s no need to give up now. There are still more episodes of the show that deserve to be seen as much as the earlier ones this season. This episode was enjoyable enough. The Hot Tub plot wasn’t great though. It felt like a more mundane version of the hot tub episode of American Dad! It’s nice to see the callbacks to the snakeheads and Wayne be a big shot but it wasn’t that funny. I felt bad for Jenny when Wayne got caught up with the party life to the point where he forgot about their anniversary dinner. This episode kinda changes it up a bit. Usually it’s Wayne who gets upset at Jenny for going to far. This time, we get to see Jenny get upset at Wayne. It’s a different side of Jenny because it proves that she can be wild and have a good time, but she also has a good balance of life in general, and knows when it’s time to have fun and when not to. I honestly liked her new hairstyle. They even get their happy ending when Wayne sells the hot tub. I’m glad Jenny didn’t stay mad at Wayne because deep down she really loves him.

The subplot was the stronger part in my opinion. Betty got some good character development in this episode by learning from Julian. After noticing how the older woman (her name is Bethany) complaining frustrated Julian, Betty was able to see how he really felt. She couldn’t see that when she was complaining, so it made her a more compassionate and kinder person. While reverting to her crazy self would have been fine too, I was happy with how it ended. She was unbanned and even took home a lesson along the way.

“Hot Tub-tation” is an enjoyable episode of Bless the Harts even if it ranks lower than most of the second season. The main drawback preventing it from getting a high score is that I just didn’t think it was that funny. However, I do like the ideas behind temptation and addictions. They were nice to watch. It’s a more reserved episode of the show that certainly feels a little more like King of the Hill, which it is kinda influenced from, but different enough to make it not a copy-paste. Still though, enjoyable enough is nice, especially after last week’s weaker outing.

Overall score: 7/10

The Great North – “Keep Beef-lievin’ Adventure” Review

Episode summary (spoilers): Moon is out exploring the forest at night when he sees some big footsteps. He thinks it’s Bigfoot, so he sets a trap. But when the trap is activated, it turns out that Honeybee’s brother Jerry, shows up to visit. He then decides he wants to move to Alaska too, but realizes that it’s not for him after hanging out with his sister.

Moon continues to see if Bigfoot is real but then when Debbie and his friends tease him over it, he then starts to pretend it doesn’t exist. Beef sees him throw away his childhood memories. Can Beef help Moon believe again?

My thoughts: After a 3 week hiatus, it’s good to be back to watching new episodes of The Great North this week and next week, before the show takes another 3 week hiatus. And I have to say, I really enjoyed this one. I really like that we finally get an episode focused on Moon, since he’s the last of the family to get emphasis. Judy’s the main character. Wolf and Honeybee get focus in “Avocado Barter Adventure”. Ham gets focus in “Pride & Prejudance Adventure”. And Beef gets focus in “Romantic Meat-Based Adventure”. Now it’s just Moon, and we finally got one! We know the least about him and having the focus be on him and his childhood beliefs was great.

First of all, the entire premise of the episode is well done. I’ll start with the subplot. When Jerry comes for a visit, Honeybee tells Wolf he always wants to copy her, but it doesn’t work out. Honeybee then tells Jerry that it’s okay to not have the same interests, but they’re family no matter what. Younger siblings tend to want to follow their older’s interests, but it’s important to realize that it isn’t for them as well.

Having the focus being on the nature of kids growing up was such a relatable and sweet idea. When Moon asks his friends about the bigfoot club, his friends tell him they did that when they were nine and now they are ten. In just a span of time, interests can change; but it’s important to not let go of your past because others are doing it too. Moon then goes to say that Bigfoot doesn’t exist, which gets the entire town upset at him. Then he throws away his memories in the trash.

Beef’s point in his song where silly things like monsters, aliens, and even Bigfoot, are what can keep someone emotionally secure, sane, and safe while going through the toughness of adulthood. As Moon grows up, he will start to let go of these things, but it’s a good moral to never stop believing just because. The great thing about Beef is that he emphasizes a lot about a man, but also be a father who’s available to his kids. He mentions a lot of things that affected his life in the song, such as his divorce. The theme that the imaginary, silly things are okay to have in your heart is well executed and I loved how the two plots tied together in the end with Jerry dressing as Bigfoot. It’s a sweet ending that hones in on the theme of growing up, not just for Moon, but also for Jerry. Both plots tie in the message of growing up in a very sweet tone that could get you if you can relate to it.

One funny thing that isn’t really on-topic was that when Moon was sad that he could not find Bigfoot, Beef asks, “That’s an awful long face, son. You sure you’re not part horse?” The funny thing is that Moon’s voice actress Aparna Nancherla, voiced Hollyhock in Bojack Horseman, so Bojack viewers might get a chuckle out of this. I’m sure it was a coincidence but it was sure noticeable. Also, to be honest, I’m not a fan of Debbie. I think she’s a little annoying.

“Keep Beef-lievin’ Adventure” is a fantastic episode that hones in the message of growing up, while also being funny at the same time. The sitcom’s emphasis on family is what really makes it different from the other shows on the block, which seemed to have forgotten the message. I’m sad Jerry might not be part of the family because he won’t be in next week’s outing, but he should be. His pizza surprise thing was so silly and sweet.

Overall score: 9.5/10