***SPOILER ALERT! THIS EPISODE/REVIEW CONTAINS A CHARACTER DEATH***
Note: In October last year, producer Al Jean hyped that a major character would die this season. Unrelated was the passing of Marcia Wallace (who played Edna Krabappel), which was acknowledged twice last season. The chalkboard gag refers to this mystery death (and is quite distasteful for Bart to write).
Season 26, Episode 1
Original US Air Date: September 28, 2014
US Viewership: 8,530,000
Chalkboard gag: “Unfortunately it’s not my dad”
Couch gag: A surrealist animation by Don Hertzfeldt (It’s Such a Beautiful Day, Rejected)
Plot: Krusty does some soul-searching after the death of his father. In the B-plot, Lisa is worried that Homer will die, and tries to intervene.
Thoughts on the show:
• As with modern Simpsons, it’s more interesting than funny, and more ‘heh’ than actually laughing. Krusty -as always- is able to provide more jokes than the average episode.
• I’d class Rabbi Krustofski (Jackie Mason) as a special guest star, and not a “major character”, appearing in a total of 10 episodes, generally only doing a few lines in one scene. So his death is rather inconsequential. He can always come back in flashback/thought-bubble form and have the same role.
• Did you know? Jackie Mason is a son in a line of Rabbis, breaking tradition by becoming an entertainer, just like Krusty.
• Jeff Ross and Sarah Silverman guest star as celebrity roasters. They do an acceptable job but the Simpsons’ U-rated comedy doesn’t leave much wiggle-room.
• The episode is replete with cameos (Kelsey Grammer, David Hyde Pierce, Maurice LaMarche, and impersonating Rodney Dangerfield) and are more ‘look at that’ than anything else.
• Lisa’s sub-plot is nothing (I did like how it stemmed from the main story, as opposed to being a completely separate plot). The most interesting thing about it is this associated trivia – in Season 3, Marge is worried about Homer’s health/weight (and buys him a subliminal hypnosis tape, is sent the wrong one, which increases his vocabulary instead), a much funnier episode!
• It’s nice to see Bart looking out for his hero.
• Both stories wrap up in a heart-warming fashion, I’m sure we’ll revisit both down the line (Homer’s unfitness is a deep well for jokes, and Krusty might become more generous).
Krusty “How can they say I’m past my prime? Me! The voice of Ovaltine.”
Krusty “Hippocampus? Isn’t that another word for the university of Mississippi?!”
Side-Show Mel drunkly confronts Side-Show Bob “SOOOO! this is the BOB whose comedic genius I could never live up to?! Believe me, all of us have thought about killing him.”
Homer “Why you little! I’ll show you who’s a Flabbi! (he starts pushing Bart’s head into his stomach) All muscle! In Minnesota I’d be a Super-model!”
Overall: For modern Simpsons, it’s actually decent enough, but as everything from the last 13+ seasons, I wouldn’t recommend!