Fox Animation Week 21 Reviews (The Simpsons, Family Guy, Bob’s Burgers, Bless the Harts, The Great North)

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The Simpsons – “Panic in the Streets of Springfield” Review

Episode summary (spoilers): Lisa discovers the world of streaming music and discovers a band that she likes very reminiscent of the British band The Smiths. After accidentally eating meet at the school cafeteria, she starts to become so obsessed where the lead signer becomes her best friend. She starts rebelling against her family and even steals her father’s credit card and runs away to a music festival.

On the side, Homer gets a truck to show that he’s a man after Dr. Hibbert says he has a lack of testosterone. That’s pretty much it.

My thoughts: Morrissey clearly did not react well to this episode. Neither did I, but for different reasons. While Morrissey didn’t dig the episode because of how it depicted him as a racist who eats meat, I didn’t dig it because I found it pretty boring. To be fair though, Morrissey has gotten a lot of controversy for his extreme practices. I’m not surprised he didn’t like it. The episode literally made fun of him without using his real name.

First of all, this is easily one of Matt Selman’s weaker episodes this season. I didn’t find it very funny or even remotely interesting. The Homer plot was just nothing. Although I did like how the two plots came together at the end with the family using Homer’s truck to find Lisa.

Lisa’s part was not that good. There have been a lot of episodes about her depression and sadness but this one didn’t just land. Lisa’s new design was great though. I really liked it. The rest just isn’t funny or memorable. Lisa was just really mean to people in this episode, especially Dewey Largo. There were no consequences she faced either, other than her going to the principals. She literally stole a credit card and gets no punishment for it.

That being said there are some redeeming moments. I like the lesson that Lisa shouldn’t idolize everyone because they may not be who they seem. And the imaginary friend was okay too, thanks to a great guest voice by Benedict Cumberbatch, because it’s all in Lisa’s mind rather than a real person who influences her. It might just be that The Great North and Bless the Harts both use the imaginary friend trope in creative and interesting ways, but I didn’t mind the imaginary friend. The Marge scenes at the end were nice too.

That’s pretty much it to be honest. I think I’ll probably forgot it happened in a few weeks. It’s not very memorable or interesting, especially given Matt Selman’s great track record with episodes.

Overall score: 4.5/10

Family Guy – “The Young Parent Trap” Review

Episode summary (spoilers): After a group of younger parents notice Peter and Lois at Stewie’s preschool, they invite them to hang out with them. This leaves Meg and Chris at home alone, so they pretend to be another couple to get back at Peter and Lois.

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.

And this is another one of those episodes that make me question why I still watch this show every week. The entire episode was just a millennial joke machine and like one of ten of them landed for me. The treatment business got a smile out of me, especially when it turns out Meg secretly operated a business behind Chris’ back. I also got a good chuckle when Stewie asks the 6-year old boy questions. The cutaway with the African man running and repeating a Peter Griffin in season 2 was somewhat amusing.

But it’s not just the unfunny jokes that are the problem. The plot is also one of the problems. It felt very incoherent and inconsistent. Most of it seemed like a bunch of gags that were somehow connected. Now keep in mind, this was written by the same person who did “Better Off Meg”, so I had really low hopes for this episode going in; I’m sorry, I just really did not like that episode. In my opinion, it’s one of the worst the show has ever done. But I do consider this episode an improvement because it didn’t actively piss me off like that one did.

That’s still not a high bar to cover though because the episode is probably one of the worst I’ve seen since “And Then There’s Fraud”. Family Guy has been on a decent run of episodes with “The Marrying Kind”, “PeTerminator”, and even “Customer of the Week” being at least tolerable; but this ends the streak and hope I had. I hope the final three episodes of the season are at least watchable for me, because this wasn’t it.

Overall score: 3/10

Bob’s Burgers – “Some Kind of Fender Benderful” Review

Episode summary (spoilers): It’s a normal day at the Belcher restaurant, but Bob decides to move his car out back. But behold, the enemy of all drivers, the car accident, strikes Bob. Bob ends up in a minor 4-car accident. The others try to get their stories out before the police arrive, but Bob finds himself unaware if he used his turn signal or not. Two of the drivers then form an alliance. Will Bob come out on top? Or will he be taken down and put at fault?

My thoughts: Kelvin Yu has co-written some of the best episodes of Bob’s Burgers, such as “Glued, Where’s My Bob?” and “Bob Actually”, and those episodes are so, so good! They are considered must-see TV, in my opinion. But with him on board and the wonderful producers and team, you’d think this would be a success, right? Well, as much as I love the show and its writing and production team, I’m afraid that not every episode is going to be a hit. That doesn’t make me lose respect for the team at all because I think they’re all amazing at their jobs and I’d never be able to do what they do. I just think they tried something that just didn’t land for me per say. And that’s okay.

I’ll start off with the positives, cause why not? Teddy was the huge selling point of this episode. I love how he offered advice to Bob about car accidents and police officers. It’s nice seeing Teddy help Bob, considering how much he’s a regular at his restaurant, and may even be his best friend, see “Friends with Burger-fits”. The kids have some amusing lines too.

However, considering the strong track record the show has brought us, this was rather weak by this show’s standards. First off, I didn’t find it very funny. Second, Bob didn’t even start getting stressed or angry like he would in the older seasons. There was a lot more the writers could have explored and I just felt it didn’t land because of how “mundane” it felt at times. Their personalities here feel rather calm and boring. I think that took away from my enjoyment. It’s natural to feel frustrated and stressed during a minor car accident, let alone a major one. The ending was pretty sad too. It kinda felt like “Family Fracas”, where Bob didn’t really even deserve to lose out on the accident, yet he still decides to take the blame because the clown lady would lose her job? “Romancing the Beef” and “Die Card, or Card Trying” had the Belchers win despite the challenges. Why couldn’t this?

It’s not a bad episode per say. I think it is definitely watchable. But for this show’s standards, it’s pretty disappointing. It will probably be one of the weaker ones this season for sure in my book. Last week’s was such a creative and unique setup for the show and it definitely grew on me with a rewatch. I hope the final four episodes bring something big to the table, since the only really hard hitter this season was episode 200. Either way, I will still love the show no matter what!

Overall score: 6/10

Bless the Harts – “Hoot ‘N Haw” Review

Episode summary (spoilers): Wayne discovers his property is a bit larger than he thought it was. Unfortunately, his mee-maw and their clan move in to his land. Wayne wants them out, but the Hart women want them to stay as guests. Jenny is able to discover why his mee-maw moved in, but ends up making the situation worse than it already is when the mee-maw’s ex-husband challenges Wayne to a duel to the death.

Meanwhile, Violet has to search for Wayne’s Uncle Tommy after he runs off into the woods. Tommy proves hard to find, so to find him, she’s gotta think and act like him.

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 six 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.

And while I will miss the show, I do not want to watch this episode again. I was actually really looking forward to this episode because I wanted to know more about Wayne’s family and what they’re like. Unfortunately, the potential to know them more is wasted on southern hick jokes for the most part. And they were all obnoxious and unfunny. The episode starts off okay with Jenny and Wayne learning that Wayne has extra land and I liked them trying to fight skunks. Honestly, that should have been the main plot and I would have enjoyed it a lot more.

Emily Spivey teased that Wayne would get shot this season back in September of 2020. I was really excited for that because it was bold, daring, and different. However, her tease ends up being a total fake, as Wayne fakes a shot with barbeque sauce as blood to get his mee-maw and the clan out of his land. There was so much they could have done with that storyline that could have went to waste. The duel part would have been way more interesting if it Wayne was actually shot. I will say something good though.

However, a positive I liked was Betty’s conversation with the mee-maw about Wayne being a good man. She talks about how he met a girl and stopped talking to her, and that girl ended up being Jenny. I’m glad she at least knows Wayne is happy with Jenny.

The subplot saves it from being a fully poor episode. Seeing Violet go out on her own with a little bit of screen time was great. Her creative thinking and wilderness skills were my favorite part of the entire episode. Seeing her go crazy and thinking and acting like him was pretty funny to watch. In the end, I’m glad Uncle Tommy cares that Violet went out to look for him. I thought Uncle Tommy was obnoxious in his first appearance in season 1, but I definitely like him a lot more in this week’s episode. He wasn’t obnoxious or annoying like he was in “Trash Twins”. The subplot definitely exceeded my expectations because of how funny and creative it got.

While I am sad to see the show leave after this season, “Hoot ‘N Haw” is easily the season’s weakest episode. I said it was “Easter’s” but Easter’s provided a good subplot with a creative heist that was just ruined short by the ending. This episode was a mess from start to finish. I’m sorry, I wanted adventure and excitement. Instead, I got obnoxious and boring.

Overall score: 5/10

The Great North – “Tusk in the Wind Adventure” Review

Episode summary (spoilers): When Beef and Wolf find out their idol, Tusk Johnson, is in town, they pay him a visit. Unfortunately, Beef learns Tusk’s true colors when he invites them to stay with the Tobins for a bit. Beef gets fed up and kicks Tusk out. Wolf finds out and gets upset and decides to join Tusk’s new show, but ends up near-death on the first day. Will Beef save the day?

Meanwhile, the other Tobin family members get addicted to their mom’s old videotapes of dramas, including a soap opera named Dynasty. Once they see what living outside Alaska is like, they dream of going there, and refuse to talk about anything else.

My thoughts: The Great North, like this week’s The Simpsons, tackles the theme of meeting your idols and heroes, but it’s definitely much better. There’s plenty of great jokes in the episode and it’s interesting and fun from start to finish. Like Central Park, the show continues to have a strong debut season, already exceeding the quality that Bob’s Burgers first started. I didn’t really care for season 1 of Bob’s Burgers, and I’m glad the production team is learning from their mistakes to bring a quality debut season for both Central and North.

The subplot was pretty short but it was entertaining. I think it doesn’t overstay its welcome and it’s nice it stayed short because the A-plot was some great focus that would have been lost if this had dragged. It was so funny to see the Tobins become obsessed with a super-old drama series and it felt actually real because many of us have been staying at home for a little more than a year now because of you know what. And that has brought people to binge many shows and movies, old and new, as they stay stuck at home. I love the box of movies the family keeps. It seems like they bring a lot of memories.

Now let’s get to the juicy stuff, the A-plot. Wolf and Beef, like Ham and Judy, play each other off really well because while they are similar in many ways, they’re also different in the same amount of ways. Beef has more masculine qualities such as waking up early, doing hard labor, and going on adventures, but he’s also emotionally insecure due to his wife leaving him. Meanwhile, Wolf is goofy, loves movies, and going on adventures. Beef is very aware of his son and continues to support him to the best of his abilities. Wolf may be slow, but he proves that he can do almost every task his father does. I liked Beef standing up to Tusk after seeing that he is a danger to his son. It was very sweet to see a father care for his elder son. It proves family is there no matter what. I like the message of that, especially when Wolf apologizes to Beef for the “fight” earlier at the restaurant when he found out his father lied to him about Tusk.

I’ll list a few really funny moments. My favorite was when Beef and Wolf were squealing when they saw Tusk in person. Just seeing them squeal and laugh back and forth made me laugh too. The “Sidekick Dan” lines were also really funny and it was even funnier when Tusk reveals that he stole his wife too. Legit, I did not expect that. I also really got a good laugh of the Tobins immediately being obsessed with the Dynasty seasons, and it was so sweet to see that Beef bought the rest of the DVDs for the series so they could finish it.

I’m a little sad though because this was legit the only good episode of the week, and it’s not even close. This was sweet, funny, and interesting. The other four shows really disappointed me tonight, so it’s nice to see The Great North continue to be strong through all of this. I think this is a show I will really come to love in its second season. Everything about season 1 is pretty good, and very strong for a debut season. It only has me wondering what the quality of season 2 will be like. I think it will be a lot better than Bless the Harts‘ second season and I really hope so. This show really exceeded my expectations and it’s sad that people aren’t digging it. It’s not for everyone I suppose. Don’t cancel this show after season 2, Fox. I’ll actually be really, really sad and mad. Minty Lewis and sister-duo Lizzie and Wendy Molyneux brought us something special that actually brings us back to the older days when sitcoms emphasized family and relationships. I cannot have this show taken away from me.

Overall score: 8.5/10