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Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge

Game: Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty’s Revenge
Start Date: May 29th, 2017
End Date: June 15th, 2017
Videos: 8

The dynamic duo has returned, but this is definitely not the latest adventure the classic bear and bird team-up has had. In between their two N64 outings, Gruntilda and her minions were up to no good, even when Grunty was buried under a massive boulder. And now, before the events of Tooie unfold, the colorful cast returns for another mini-adventure on the GBA handheld. It’s the least Rareware could do, you know, considering the next console installment wasn’t going to be on any Nintendo system.

I wanted to do something short before getting into the marathon that will end up being Advance Wars: Dual Strike, and when I was looking through my pile of short projects to do, this was one that caught my eye. It had been awhile since I did Tooie, and who knows when I was going to get my hands on *sigh* Nuts & Bolts. This was a game I found enjoyable, albeit, not as enjoyable as the amazing games that preceded it. Still though, I think it’s worth checking out!

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SlimKirby Central - May 2017

Hello everybody, SlimKirby here, and welcome to May 2017’s episode of SlimKirby Central!

I know SlimKirby Central has been very “weird” this year, for lack of a better term, but I did tell you guys I would have a written update this for month, and even though it’s a little late, I’m still making sure I pull through with it. I don’t have a lot to update you guys on either, which is perfect for a written update anyway, so I’m going to go ahead and get this thing rolling!

First and foremost, work on the 10th Year Anniversary has started and has actually been off to a great start so far! I, alongside 13 other Star Warriors, have been going through projects from the last four years of my channel and pulling moments for the clip show I plan to make. There’s still a lot of work to be done, but considering less than a month ago I had no idea of where to start or begin, I’ll take any sort of progress. I’m also going to work under the principle of, “If it doesn’t get done by the July 4th deadline, it’s not a big deal, as long as it’s somewhere near my anniversary.” I’ll also have you know that the clip show will not be the only surprise for my anniversary, so prepare for a load of announcements when we get to (or closer to) the date.

Youtube has been going very well. Pokemon Trading Card Game will be wrapping up this week with a Tuesday/Thursday update, and I will be working on getting the replacement project ready in the meantime.  Dynasty Warriors 2 has a few weeks remaining before it’s done, but I estimate around 20 videos for the project’s end (it will be 20 battle videos exactly, but with the intro and an extra video as well). NES Remix will certainly be going on for a while though, especially since I don’t really have any strong idea of when it will end (since I’m going for Rainbow Stars now), but as usual, that will be continuing on for the weekend. As far as upcoming projects are concerned, one project you can look forward to starting on my channel, before the July 4th anniversary anyway, will be the next Advance Wars playthrough with Advance Wars: Dual Strike. I don’t know if that will be the project starting next week or the one replacing Dynasty Warriors 2, as it will all depend on if I can come up with another short game to do, or not. I would have loved to have Star Fox (SNES) or Zelda II prepared, but I’m still not feeling ready for those just yet (although I do want them done by the end of the year). I’m also looking to getting Mario Kart Wii and Super Mario Galaxy 2 going as well, but whether they will happen before the anniversary or not, again, I just don’t know.

So…what’s the agenda looking like at the monent? Well, looking at what I’ve said in past updates and in this update…I’ve promised Advance Wars: Dual Strike, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Sonic Adventure, and a mysterious fourth project. I’ve also announced I want to do Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, The Walkiing Dead Season 3, Mario Kart Wii, one of the Mario Party 3DS games, and potentially getting started with the Mega Man Game Boy games. Then, in this update, I announced the potential for starting Zelda II and Star Fox, and as you’ll find out in the final videos for Pokemon Trading Card Game, I’m still very much interested in returning to Pokemon Stadium as well and finish up those loose ends from several years ago. So yeah…safe to say, I have a lot on my mind at the moment, and I’m still not 100% on how the pieces will fall into place. But…you guys know how I am and you know that I eventually get things moving in a direction that works for me, so I imagine by next month I’ll have a better idea on what is exactly coming up. The only question is…will I reveal my master plan when the time comes? Probably not, but at least you know of some potential candidates now!

Moving on to Twitch, streaming has actually been going quite well as of late! Thanks to my streams, I’ve finished three games in the last 2 months; Shovel Knight, Freedom Planet, and Digimon World 1. I’ve done various The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past item randomizers and have been trying desperately to beat my 2 hour, 51 second PB (personal best) time. I’ve been going through a Pokemon Yellow Randomized Nuzlocke run. I recently started playing through Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia. And when I’ve had time and the desire to, I’ve tried doing RetroAchievements, but safe to say, that hasn’t been my focused. But yeah, streaming has been going good! As usual, I stream every Saturday night (not this Saturday, since I have a class reunion, but in general, it will be every Saturday) at 8:00 PM EDT. During the weekdays, my schedule is completely random, so be on the look-out for my Twitter posts that announce when streams are happening. Monday is usually my Link to the Past randomizer day, so that’s usually the only constant in my weekday schedule. So yeah, go to the link below if you are interested in checking out the action!

On the website, The Simpsons Retrospective I’ve been working on is about to come to a close for the end of the 1st Season! I am by no means done with doing these write-ups, but I am taking a bit of a break after I finish the final episode of the first season (which should be up later this week or next week). This break should last until after my Anniversary (again, July 4th), so I’ll get back into the “spring” of things (get it? SPRINGfield?) sometime after that date. In fact, I may try to also finish up any website loose ends I have at that point too, since there are some sections that are still lacking some data and information. These really have been a lot of fun to work on though and it’s cool to see that I’ve actually made it through an entire season!

I think that’s about all I wanted to report in on though. Again, if you’ve been keeping up with all of my mediums, then you should be pretty well informed of this stuff already, but this is for all the individuals who are kind of split up between all the different things I do, whether you are Youtube subscribers, Twitch followers, or heck, even just a random lurker who found the Simpson reviews. I like to keep updates like this to keep people informed of all the things I’ve been working on, and these probably make good time capsules as well! So yeah, I think that’s going to do it for now, so I’ll leave it at that. I’ll see you guys next month for another written update and then in July for the next video update! Later folks!

– SlimKirby

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Intro

Introduction:
The entire town of Springfield is about to be shook when a television celebrity and role model for the young is caught on tape committing a crime a the local convenience store. All eyes are looking to put the clown behind bars, with the exception of one little boy who is determined to prove the entertainer’s innocence. “Krusty gets Busted” debuted on April 22nd, 1990 and was the 12th episode aired and written for the Simpson’s first season. The chalkboard gag for this episode is “They are laughing at me, not with me,” and the couch gag features the entire family sitting on the couch, squishing and launching Maggie into the air with Marge catching her on descent (repeat).

Chips“You can emerge now from my chips. The opportunity to prove yourself a hero is long gone.”
~Apu

Plot:
Patty and Selma are coming over for dinner and plan to show the rest of the family pictures from their latest vacation, so Marge calls Homer at work to tell him to pick-up some ice cream on the way home. While at the cash register, a burglar, who looks remarkably like Krusty the Clown, holds up Apu, the owner of the Kwik-E-Mart, and scares Homer into jumping into a nearby display of potato chips. The burglar escapes, but when the police comes by to follow a police report, Homer testifies that Krusty was the individual who robbed the Kwik-E-Mart. Krusty is promptly arrested and when Bart finds out that his hero was involved in a robbery, he is completely devastated and disappointed.

The day of Krusty’s court case comes and before he enters the building, Bart tries to ask Krusty if he actually did rob the convenience store. In a very sad and defeated tone of voice, Krusty says to Bart that he didn’t commit the crime while everyone else laughs it off. He pleads “not guilty” during the trial, but due to an overwhelming amount of evidence and Homer’s testimony, Krusty is found to be guilty. During the trial, we also learn a few key details about Krusty the Clown. For one, he has a pacemaker. Two, he is completely illiterate. Finally, he has really small feet despite wearing humongous clown shoes during his television shows. Although these facts may seem irrelevant and inconsequential, they will be important later on. The entire town is happy to have the criminal locked up and celebrates by burning all of Krusty’s merchandise.

During this time, Krusty’s sidekick, Sideshow Bob (played by the remarkable Kelsey Grammer), is put in charge of Krusty’s show and manages to get a lot of kids on board with the new format (including Lisa and Maggie). His show focuses less on the patronizing humor of Krusty the Clown and more on enriching the mind and lives of children. Bart is not on board with this change and feels like Krusty might be innocent, but is not sure how and where to start in proving it. He asks Lisa for some help and they go down to the Kwik-E-Mart, the scene of the crime.

While at the Kwik-E-Mart, Lisa discovers the microwave and its warning sign, which reads “People with pacemakers should not use the microwave.” However, the footage that captured the robbery showed Krusty using the microwave to heat up a burrito. Next, she remembers that the robber was also reading a magazine, which again, Krusty would not have been able to do considering he was illiterate. At this point, it starts to look like Krusty was actually framed by someone else, and Bart knows a good place to start in asking if Krusty had any enemies; his partner, Sideshow Bob. At this point, we the viewers discover that Sideshow Bob may in fact have had something to do with the crime, as he starts to laugh maniacally behind closed doors.

Bart and Lisa go to the television studio to talk to Sideshow Bob about what they found, but they come right before a show is scheduled to start and are pushed into the audience. Bob notices Bart looking troubled and brings him on stage for a segment. During the segment, Bart brings up Krusty’s crime at the Kwik-E-Mart and cites the evidence he and Lisa found in proving that Krusty was not responsible, but Bob dismisses the evidence, telling Bart that Krusty was prone to ignoring doctors’ orders and that Krusty was admiring the pictures in the magazine he was looking at, not reading it. He then speaks to Bart and the other children saying that he knows that this ugly incident has affected a lot of people, including himself, but now that it has happened, that they should all try to move on and remember the good times. At this point, he mentions that he has “big shoes to fill,” which clicks the final piece of evidence Bart needed to prove Krusty’s innocence.

Bart remembers that Homer accidentally stepped on Krusty’s feet during the security tape, which he wouldn’t have been able to do with Krusty since his feet are much smaller. Then, looking at Sideshow Bob’s huge feet, he figures out that the Krusty who robbed the Kwik-E-Mart was actually Sideshow Bob in disguise, and when Bart slams a mallet on Bob’s feet, Bob utters very similar words (in the same tone of voice) to what he yelled at Homer during the crime. The police just so happen to be watching the show at that point and they immediately go to arrest the true criminal. Bob framed Krusty because he was tired of being Krusty’s whipping boy and the target of all of his comedic abuse and wanted to be given the spotlight for once. Bob is taken away to prison and Krusty is pardoned and released, and the police and Homer apologize to him for the misunderstanding. Krusty then gives his heartfelt thanks to Bart as he shakes his hand. Bart is given an autographed photograph of the exchange and the episode closes on him going to sleep in a room filled with Krusty merchandise.

Clown Line-up“Well, if the crime is making me laugh, they’re ALL guilty!”
– Homer Simpson

My Personal History:
This was an episode I was very familiar with, but never actually got to see until I owned the first season on DVD. I was aware of it because I had seen and witnessed all of the other Sideshow Bob episodes (at the time) and thought they were some of the most hilarious and best episodes of the entire show. Because they allude to this episode in almost every Sideshow Bob episode, it was fairly easy to know and remember the plot. I just had no idea how it actually went down until I got to see it several years later.

Krusty TrialKrusty: “I plead guilty, your Honor!”
*everyone gasps in surprise*
Krusty: “Oh, I mean not guilty. *laughs* Opening night jitters, your Honor!”

Favorite/Memorable Moments:
I’d be an absolute fool if I overlooked the performance of Kelsey Grammer as Sideshow Bob, so before I get into anything else, let’s go over that first. My god…Sideshow Bob (or at least early/golden year’s Sideshow Bob) may be one of the best characters in the entire show. I love how over the top he is, but also how cultured and sophisticated he is. And to top it all off, he also has a very good sense of humor too. A great combination like that makes for very great television, so kudos to Kelsey Grammer for the performance, but also to the writers for the casting decision and for just writing him the way he is as well. As I said, these episodes are and will always be some of my favorites, and even though this was the first and perhaps the least developed of all the Bob episodes, it’s still a treat to watch, even to this day.

I think another reason this episode is a stand-out is just because the writers got the perfect balance of humor and innovative story-telling. This episode was written as a mystery for viewers to try and solve throughout the episode’s duration. They set the mystery up, they highlighted important clues throughout the different scenes, and at the very end, or at least before Bart revealed the solution; you, the viewers, would have enough information to know, “yeah, there is something not quite right here.” And sure enough, during subsequent watches and re-watches, you’d be able to see all the clues in play and where exactly the writers intended for you to put stuff together. I will say right now, compared to other mystery episodes the Simpsons would tackle in future seasons, this is not the best use of this formula. In fact, there are times where I feel like the writers almost try to push certain clues a bit too much, but that also might be just because I’ve seen this episode so many times and pretty much had the intel before I even saw the episode from future Sideshow Bob episodes, so it’s hard to analyze this from a fresh perspective. However, after learning the main motivation of this episode and looking at how everything is woven together, you have to give credit to the writers for coming up with something unique, especially this early on in the series.

And as I mentioned, the jokes and the humor is very on point too. From the very beginning to the very end, there is just joke, after joke, after joke and it’s done in such a great way where the rest of the story doesn’t suffer from joke overload. You’re given time to breathe and think about what’s going on in the story and the jokes are there just to complement what’s going on. From Homer’s cowardly dive into the potato chips, to Krusty’s antics during court, to even Apu’s reactions when Bart and Lisa come to investigate the crime scene and he is still very much affected and traumatized by the robbery…the entire episode is just really, really funny. I think my favorite part/line from the episode is at the end when Sideshow Bob is screaming at the crowd while being taken away, “Treat children as equals! They are smarter than you think,” just making his exit as theatrical as possible and it’s just a great end to the character at this chapter of his story.

Bob Arrested“Treat kids as equals! They’re people too! They’re smarter than you think! They were smart enough to catch ME!”
~Sideshow Bob

My Review:
So I think it’s safe to say from the previous section that I really like this episode, and that is definitely true. Alongside Bart the General, Krusty Gets Busted is definitely at the top of Season 1, as far as individual episodes are concerned. It took a gamble in terms of its episode structure and put the focus on some secondary and guest characters, but integrated the main cast very well too. It was ambitious in theory, but it hit on all the right notes and did exactly what it needed to do. It had great writing, great casting, great jokes…it had everything you’d ever want from an episode of The Simpsons. In fact, the only negative I could even give this one is that it’s not as enjoyable as other Sideshow Bob episodes, but when you consider its competition…it’s really not even a fair fight to begin with.

I do wish I could have watched this episode without having prior knowledge of what Sideshow Bob will ultimately become though, because I do think having that knowledge could cheapen the overall experience of this particular episode. Granted, I still love it despite not being able to get that experience, but I’m also trying to look at these episodes from an unbiased perspective and there are individuals who don’t like having entire storylines spoiled for them. So if you are in the process of sharing The Simpsons with a friend or acquaintance of yours, make sure you at least show the Sideshow Bob saga in order if you want to go down that route. It’ll be worth every laugh as you experience some of the greatest episodes of the series (well…at least to a certain point anyway).

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Ok guys, we are almost done with Season 1. We just have one more episode to go and this particular episode is….kind of a special case. As I’ve mentioned before, the last episode of the season was actually created very early on in Season 1. It was initially planned as the beginning of The Simpsons television series but was held back for…reasons. I’ll get more into those specifics next time when we take a look at the Season 1 finale; “Some Enchanted Evening.” Until then, have a good day everybody!

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Intro

Introduction:
When Bart Simpson is starting to become too much of terror at home, the adults decide that maybe it’s time for the little hell raiser to take a little vacation to the other side of the globe. Although he is very excited about the journey, life in Paris, France for Bart Simpson is getting ready to open his eyes to a world that perhaps he never should have experienced. “The Crepes of Wrath” is the eleventh episode of The Simpsons first season. It aired on April 15th, 1990 and even though it wasn’t the last episode of the season, it was the last episode written for Season 1. The chalkboard gag for this episode is “Garlic Gum is Not Funny,” which I agree, garlic is never a good flavor for gum, and the couch gag features the entire family squeezing onto the couch and forcing Homer to get pushed off onto the ground (aka: another repeat).

 

SkinnerVisitSkinner: “I think it behooves us all to consider deportation.”
Marge: “Deportation? You mean kick Bart out of the country?”
Homer: “Eh…hear him out, Marge!”

Plot:
The episode starts at the Simpson house with the immediate revelation that Bart is having a bit of an issue with keeping things tidy. His toys and possessions are strewn all over the house and after Homer trips on Bart’s skateboard, falling down the stairs and hurting his back, Marge punishes Bart by making him clean his room. While cleaning, Bart finds a cherry bomb and decides to use it to play a prank at school. He flushes it down the toilet, causing every toilet in the school to explode, including one that happens to be in use by Principal Skinner’s mother. Principal Skinner takes Bart home and discusses with Marge and Homer a way to punish Bart for his mischievous ways; not by suspension or expulsion, but by deportation.

Principal Skinner suggests signing Bart up for the student exchange program, where he would be sent to another part of the world to learn and study in a brand new environment. In exchange, the Simpsons will take in another student from a different country. This way, Bart will have a golden opportunity to see another part of the world, while both Skinner and the Simpsons get a break from Bart’s mischief. Marge and Homer are on board and when Bart hears of the opportunity, he becomes excited as well. Principal Skinner and Homer then celebrate on being rid of the boy’s shenanigans for a few months.

Bart is sent to Paris, France to live with two very strict winemakers; Cesar and Ugolin. They live in a worn-down, dilapidated chateau, and they don’t treat Bart as a member of the family, but as a slave to their business. All of Bart’s clothes and possessions are taken by the two French men and some of them are even given to the donkey. Bart very quickly starts to hate his temporary home. Back in America, the Simpsons have opened their home to a little Albanian boy named Adil. Adil is very kind to everyone and is very helpful around the house and Homer takes an immediate shine to him, even to the point of showing more love to him than his own son. During a talk with Marge though, Homer does admit that he does miss and love Bart, he just appreciates the more loving side of Adil.

Things start to get a bit suspicious though when Adil starts asking to go with Homer to the nuclear power plant. Homer thinks Adil is just inquisitive about his work and is unaware that Adil is taking pictures to send back to his home country of Albania. It turns out Adil is actually a spy working for the Albanian government and is trying to find out top secret information from American nuclear power plant generators. However, Adil’s signal is traced by the FBI and Homer unintentionally blows Adil’s cover, leading to the prompt arrest of the young boy. Charges are not pressed on Adil as the kid is exchanged for a young American spy who was caught in Albania for a similar act of espionage.

Back in France, Bart’s living conditions do not improve and on one rainy day, he catches the winemakers adding antifreeze to their product in order to make a shipment deadline. While being sent on an errand, Bart runs into a French police officer and he tries to tell the man about his predicament, but is unable to relay his information because they don’t speak the same language. Bart starts to feel depressed that he can’t speak French despite living in the country for the past few months, but during his monologue, he realizes that he does know how to speak some French and immediately goes back to the police officer to confess everything. When Bart reveals that Cesar and Ugolin have been putting antifreeze into their wine, the two brewers are arrested and Bart becomes a hero in France. He returns home with gifts and souvenirs for the entire family as the episode comes to a close.

 

Welcome to France“Welcome to your new home. Escape is impossible. My name is Cesar, this is my nephew, Ugolin. You may find life here at the chateau hard, but if you shut up and do exactly as we say, the time will pass more quickly!”
~Cesar

My Personal History:
As usual, I didn’t get to see this episode until the Season 1 DVD came out, but when I did get around to watching it, my god, I was surprised at how depressing the episode was, at least in terms of Bart’s story. Yeah, Bart can be a bit of a hell-raiser, and sometimes you feel like the bad karma train has to start sometime, but damn, Bart definitely did not deserve what he ended up with. I’ll get more into that later though, when I’m actually reviewing the episode.

 

Adil Speech“Although, oficially, I am required to hate you, I want you to know that I do not feel it in my heart!”
~Adil Hoxha

Favorite/Memorable Moments:
When examining this episode for favorite moments, there are definitely a few things that really click with me. For one, I love how invested Homer gets in Adil being part of the family. I don’t agree with him completely shutting out Bart or making jokes about exchanging Lisa too, but I think you have to realize that when it does come to Bart, he has been testing Homer’s patience for a long while now. Being a trouble maker at home, and having to endure that trauma, even on a physical level (with him falling down the stairs and hurting his back), and then having to hear about his son’s transgressions at school, and from around the neighborhood…honestly, Homer just really wanted a break from that and he got that from Adil, even if Adil’s actions came from a place of dishonesty and deception. Then, when Homer is completely clueless and unaware of what Adil is actually doing, I think it really adds a nice bit of humor to the equation as well. I think one of my favorite lines in the whole episode is near the end when the Simpson family is saying goodbye to Adil and Homer weepingly says, “Good bye Adil, I’ll send you those civil defense plans you wanted!” showing that even after the situation was explained to the family, Homer still didn’t understand that Adil was an Albanian spy committing foreign acts of espionage for his own government. You could say it just makes Homer look like an even bigger idiot, and I would see your logic, but from an entertainment perspective, that was a great line to close that story on.

I also think it’s very clever how the writers portrayed International affairs between America and other countries. I feel like this could have been a risky episode to release because some people could watch the episode and think that Albania is trying to spy and steal information from the US and they must be a bad country because of it. However, the last scene of that story shows the FBI informing the Simpson family that Adil is not going to be locked up or imprisoned, but rather sent back to his country at the exchange of an American spy who was pretty much doing the exact thing Adil was doing, giving the message that, “yeah, he was doing something bad, but we are definitely guilty of it too, so we don’t really have room to determine what needs to be done here.” I’m not saying that’s the way all politics work or should work; clearly if nations have to resort to spying, then there is obviously something not right with that relationship and something needs to be worked out, but again, as far as this “television show” is concerned, I think it was a funny route to take. In other words, I think it did a good job of trying to avoid International controversy. I’d say the same goes along with all the France stuff too, although I feel like there was less to worry about there because the evil nature of the two winemakers had nothing to do with them being French, but with them being bad people in general.

I also think the conclusion of Bart’s story was well-done as well, albeit a bit predictable and cliche. It’s the classic formula of “living under bad circumstances,” but then coming through or learning something at the end to make it a worthwhile venture. It’s something we’ve seen a lot in television, it’s something we’ll see a lot of in this show; it will just vary in how different the routes are that take that path. I think what makes it good in this path is just the fact that it’s an end to Bart’s suffering and the end of two bad guys who are up to no good. Bart really does go through some terrible experiences, which, despite his behavior at home, is not something he or anyone should ever deserve, no matter the circumstances. I will say though, it will definitely give Bart some things to think about at home. At the very least, I would hope he would try a little harder to keep his room clean, because after three months of sleeping on the floor or in a bale of hay, he’d probably be thankful for just having a bed.

Goodbye Adil“Goodbye Adil, I’ll send you those civil defense plans you wanted!”
~Homer Simpson

My Review:
I don’t actually have a lot to say about this episode (especially compared to the last episode I looked at). Overall, I don’t think it’s a bad episode, but once again, I wouldn’t say it’s the greatest episode either. It’s got a good story with nice conflict resolution, it has a side-story that’s entertaining to watch, and seeing how this is supposed to be a Bart episode, we get some good moments and some great development with our little yellow-skinned trouble-maker. I think one of the greatest character traits of Bart that gets shown here is that despite Bart’s resume for causing trouble and making mischief, he’s actually got a very strong sense of justice and for the way the law should work. He knows that what his “host parents” are doing is wrong and doesn’t hesitate to go to the police at his first available opportunity. You could say he does it out of convenience, as he is being treated as a slave, but still, we’ll see in future episodes that when it comes to Bart Simpson, he does not let criminals get away with anything. In fact…we may have an episode OR TWO coming up that complements this  very well, but of course, I’ll get into that when it’s relevant again. Basically, what I’m trying to say here is that Bart isn’t a bad kid at all. He’s a fun-seeker and a little rebellious at times, but he does know the difference between right and wrong.

In fact, I’d almost say the lowest point of this episode is just the act of watching and witnessing Bart go through the trauma of living with his strict host parents. When watching this back, I really felt sorry for Bart and disgusted that he had to live under those conditions. I believe in being punished for something if you do something bad, or that karma is boomerang, but I don’t believe anyone should endure what Bart had to go through, regardless of past acts. It was a little hard to watch honestly, but at least those evil men got what they deserved at the end of the day and it seemed like Bart was handsomely rewarded and given reparations for the few terrible months he had to endure. And hey, Bart learned how to speak French; that’s honestly pretty cool, am I right? So yeah, overall, I’d say it was a good episode and worth a watch, even if the middle of the plot was a bit rough to get through.

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We only have two more left guys, and coming up, we have a candidate for best episode of the season, and a candidate for worst episode of the season. I’m not going to spoil too much, not to mention it seems like a lot of my opinions have changed or been modified to a rather large extent after doing these rewatches, but at the very least, it’s been a lot of fun doing these retrospectives and I’ve enjoyed it very much. I do apologize for this one going up a bit late, as I meant to post it last week, but I had a lot of work I had to get done which resulted in this getting pushed back a little. And honestly, don’t be surprised if the same happens to the next episode as well, just because I am hitting a very busy point with all of my mediums. I’m still hoping to be done with Season 1 by the end of May, so here’s to hoping that all the cards will fall into place for that to happen!

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NES Remix

Game: NES Remix
Start Date: May 6th, 2017
End Date: July 8th, 2017
Videos: 20

The NES was definitely the system that put home consoles on the map. From Super Mario Bros. to The Legend of Zelda to Punch-Out, so many classics series and classic games debuted on this magnificent platform. During the last generation and the era of the Wii U, Nintendo decided to honor the system by making a game that would revisit the old system and challenge gamers to master all the challenges those games could put out there. This game was called NES Remix!

I discovered this game pretty late into the NES Remix hype. I didn’t get any of the games until Ultimate NES Remix came out for the Nintendo 3DS. However, once I did get around to playing it, I enjoyed every moment of it and thought it would be an interesting playthrough to do for the channel. So here I am today with NES Remix for the Nintendo Wii U!

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Intro

Introduction:
Last week we had a little trouble in paradise with Marge being tempted by the advances of another man. This week, Homer will have his own little adventures in the adult world, but not without getting sent to the doghouse after the fact. I really hope this is not the start of a pattern for future problems to come for this marriage, but we should probably get started anyway. Homer’s Night Out is the 10th episode of the Simpsons 1st season and was also the tenth episode written for the series, despite being written before Life in the Fast Lane and after a future episode in the season. The chalkboard gag is “I will not call my teacher ‘Hot Cakes,’” probably a wise lesson to learn for the future, and the couch gag is a repeat from earlier in the season when the entire family sits on the couch and it completely collapses under them.

HomerApuApu: “You look familiar sir, are you on the television or something?”
Homer: “Sorry buddy, you got me confused with Fred Flintstone!”

Plot:
This episode actually has a really interesting start, as the story takes place 6 months after the beginning scene. Homer is telling Marge about his new assistant who recently made a fool out of himself at a party in front of a girl he liked. Then, the scene switches to Bart who purchases a miniature spy camera from a mail order catalog. The story then jumps ahead six months to the present day. Homer is telling Marge about a bachelor party he’s going to for his ex-assistant (now supervisor) who is about to marry the same woman he made a fool out of himself in front of. Marge is concerned that the bachelor party is actually a stag party, but Homer assures his wife that it is nothing like that. Meanwhile, after six months of waiting and pestering the female mail carrier, Bart finally receives his spy camera.

Bart proceeds to use the camera in typical kid fashion, by taking pictures of humiliating things like Marge shaving her armpits, a piece of roadkill, and even attempts to snap a shot of his own rear end. Marge announces that they will be going out to eat that night, minus Homer (since he will be at the bachelor party) at the Rusty Barnacle seafood restaurant. Little do they know, the bachelor party Homer is attending is also taking place in one of the private party rooms in the same building. The party is very boring at first, but things start to go wild when a belly-dancer known as Princess Kashmir arrives on the scene and starts to dance on the tabletops. She invites Homer to dance with her and Homer agrees, at first nervous and not really knowing what to do, but then really gets into it and finishes the dance by putting some money in her g-string underwear. During this dance, Bart stumbles away from the family, sneaks into the party room, and takes a picture of his father in act of dancing with the woman.

Bart shows the picture to his friends at school and ends up giving a copy to his two best friends. However, his two friends end up making more copies for their friends, and soon enough, everyone around town has a copy of the picture, including the church reverend, Homer’s boss Mr. Burns, and it gets posted at the gym where Marge conveniently goes to work out. Homer is unaware of the photo’s existence until an angry Marge confronts him about the picture. Homer, at a loss of what to say, gets thrown out of the house by Marge, forcing him to stay at his friend Barney’s apartment. With the exception of Marge’s response though, most of the town is very complimentary towards Homer and his bravery for dancing with a beautiful woman. Even when Mr. Burns confronts Homer about the picture, after scolding him initially for his behavior, he asks Homer for advice on how to attract members of the opposite sex. Unfortunately though, the one and only person he wants to talk about this with is the same woman who threw him out; his wife.

Homer attempts to go home the next morning to talk to Marge. Marge is open with why she is angry and tells Homer that the reason she is mad is because Homer is teaching his son a very bad lesson when it comes to how men should treat women. She wants Homer to take Bart to meet this woman so he can show Bart that Princess Kashmir is more than just a belly dancer, but also a human being with real thoughts, feelings and emotions. They ultimately track her down at a club, but while Princess Kashmir is telling Bart her story, the performance starts and Homer falls on stage. The announcer, other dancers and the entire audience recognize Homer as the man from the photograph, and he is once again encouraged to dance on stage.

Homer starts dancing yet again, but when he sees Bart watching him and smiling, he realizes that he is not doing what he promised his wife he would do and immediately stops and grabs the mic to give a speech about women. While giving his speech, Marge enters the club and listens to Homer’s words. Homer tells the entire club that women are not only people too, but also a very big part of our lives; being not only wives, but also sisters, aunts, nieces, daughters and mothers, and that we should not treat them as objects. He finishes by saying that he would rather be at home in bed with his wife sleeping than shoving money in some dancer’s underwear. The entire club applauds Homer’s speech and Marge runs on stage to reconcile with Homer. The episode fades to credits on the two kissing.

Homer thrown outHomer: “But where will I sleep?”
Marge: “My suggestion is for you to sleep in the filth you created!”
Homer: “Would a motel be okay?”

My Personal History:
I don’t have much to say here. I didn’t get to watch this episode until it came out on DVD. I was interested in seeing the plot and premise as it seemed very different from what I was used to with Simpson’s episodes, but like Life on the Fast Lane, I couldn’t really form a major opinion on it until much later on in life, when it was more relatable to me as an episode plot. It’s still not really that relatable, but more so than it was as a 14-year-old.

Mr Burns“A plant employee carrying on like an oversexed orangutan in heat! This is a family nuclear power plant Simpson. Our research indicate that 50% of our power is used by women. I will not have you offending my customers with your bawdy shenanigans!”
~Mr. Burns

Favorite/Memorable Moments:
I think the beginning part of the episode is great. I love the joke of how Homer’s assistant started out as pathetic as Homer is, but then in six-month’s time, not only did he manage to court and get engaged with the woman he was after, but he also got promoted over Homer while Homer is still just in the same place that he’s always been in. It’s also humorous to see Homer freak out about his weight twice, in the same exact fashion, when over a six month’s time period, he didn’t gain a single pound. And for Homer Simpson, with how much a food glutton he is, it’s honestly not that bad of an accomplishment. The jokes at the restaurant and bachelor party are also pretty good (especially with Bart’s exchanges with the waiter), but after that scene and the first act ends, the episode just kind of takes a very hard left turn, and unfortunately not in a great direction.

I’ll touch on what I didn’t like in the next section, as I’m mainly focusing on the stuff I liked here, but from the end of the first act to the very end of the episode, the only other thing I liked was the ending speech of Homer’s. I liked it because it was a good speech that had a great message, and even featured a little humor in it as well. There’s just something about Homer mentioning “nephews” as a female family title and then immediately retracting it when he realizes what he has said that just cracks me up every single time. But yeah, like I said, it was a good ending with a good message, but I really don’t feel like the message complimented the episode that well. And because I’m kind of getting into it now, perhaps I should move on to the next section first…

Speech“It’s about women, and how they are not mere objects with curves that make us crazy. No, they are our wives, they are our daughters, our sisters, our grandmas, our aunts, our nieces and nephews…well, not our nephews.”
~Homer Simpson

My Review:
There has always been something that has really bothered me about this episode, and after watching it today, I think I finally have my answer for why I feel like this episode kind of misses its mark. First of all, I want to stress that when it comes to women, I am very much in favor of treating them as equals, and any man who goes out of his way to treat them as objects or possessions, is absolute trash. No woman, and for that right, any human being, should be treated in that fashion, and these days I feel like we should be through with that mindset already. We are all equals, and gender and race hierarchies just should not exist. Obviously there are still some individuals who disagree, and let’s be real, there will always be sexism and discrimination regardless of how the times have changed; however, sometimes I feel like there are times when someone tries to push a fight when a battle doesn’t need to be fought, and in this case, I feel like that “someone” is this episode.

What I’m getting at; I don’t really think Homer did anything that wrong here, especially in terms of what Marge is accusing him of. Throughout the entire episode, Homer is actually pretty considerate of how he treats women. He isn’t too forward with women when he’s around them, when he tries to give Mr. Burns advice, he gives very respectful, gentlemanly advice, and you can see and feel that his speech at the end of the episode is genuine and very consistent with how he is throughout the episode. And as far as dancing with all the erotic dancers…I mean, let’s be real here…those dancers are just doing their job and Homer is not going beyond any boundaries that exist in that type of interaction. He’s not grabbing the woman, touching the woman, making any obscene gestures towards the woman…in fact, the woman herself invited Homer on top of the table to dance in the first place, so clearly she didn’t have an issue with him. If anything, she probably picked him because he was the most respectful and least obnoxious at the party, but still someone she could have fun dancing with.

Now, was Bart witnessing the act a bad thing? Sure! And having that picture float around town was probably not the best way to make Homer look like a man of love and respect either, but I’d focus less on the whole “treating women like objects” argument, and focus more on the fact that Homer probably should have just been honest with Marge from the get-go. When he got home from the party, he should have confessed to Marge that there was a dancer that he was unaware of, and that he did dance with her, but it meant nothing to him and he treated her with kindness and respect because that is what Marge would wanted from him. And yeah, he probably shouldn’t have lied and said “the party will be classy,” at the beginning of the episode either, but to his credit, he wasn’t entirely sure at that point. For those actions in particular, yeah, I can understand why Marge would be pissed, but I think she jumped on the “objects” bandwagon a bit prematurely and without enough context. She should have at least listened to Homer’s side of the story first before making any snap judgments.

As far as exotic dancers are concerned, I think there’s a fine line between acceptable behavior and unacceptable behavior. For example (and this is stuff I have been told by women, so I’m not just making this stuff up), some women like being told and shown that they are attractive. Hell, sometimes it can be a bit of motivator and confidence-booster in knowing that they have a side that people find charming. So as long as people are respectful of that, and stick to their boundaries, I don’t really see much of an issue if women are fine with that line of work. However, the moment a man starts to overreach those boundaries, then yes, there is a big problem there, and then you do get into the issue of treating women like objects, which is not ok, or acceptable by any wavelength. I just don’t feel like Homer was anywhere near that point and he gets an incredibly raw deal because of some bad coincidences.

However, this does raise the question though; was that what the writers were going for? Was the point of this episode to show that while Homer isn’t like that, there are many people who are, and those very same people kind of look at Homer like he is some kind of player or superstar, when in reality, Homer doesn’t care about any of that stuff and just wants to be at home with his wife? And because of that, that does actually give Homer’s speech at the end a little more weight, because it’s not about him apologizing for his behavior, but more trying to teach some uninformed minds about how they might be treating women. If that was the angle, I wish they would have spent a heavier focus on that, just because it seems like the episode really tries to force the idea that Homer is a bad guy when he’s really not even close to one.

This is why I can’t say I hate the episode, because it seems like there is some kind of ulterior motive involved with the writing that just doesn’t come out the way I think it should. It really is like Life in the Fast Lane in a lot of respects, but the only difference is, I feel like the writing was a little better in that episode as opposed to this one. Life in the Fast Lane just made me a little uneasy. This episode makes me feel a little less uneasy, but a bit more
frustrated. Frustrated at Homer being misunderstood until the end and frustrated at the way Marge was acting towards her husband. Again, I’m not saying Marge was wrong by being angry, I just think she was wrong by being dismissive and not talking to her husband first, much like in the same way Homer was wrong by not talking honestly to his wife about the party in question.

I feel like I’m being incredibly redundant by this point, so I’ll try to wrap it up here. The episode does have some good jokes and some good merits. I just think the middle acts should have been differently focused and differently structured. It’s almost like it should have been two separate episodes; one episode focused on Marge finding out about the party Homer lied about and then them trying to reconcile, and an entirely, unrelated episode involving the topic of “treating women like objects,” where Homer is the voice of reason at the end. By having these two plots condensed into one, it kind of messes with what should be the main focus here and tries to resolve both conflicts at once, when Marge and Homer’s issue is a much different one entirely. It’s definitely not one of the worst episodes of all time, but it is probably in the bottom tier of episodes from Season 1, at least in my opinion.

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Do we really only have three episodes left of Season 1? I think we do! Thankfully this one didn’t take too long to write, even though I felt like I rambled on like mad at the end there. Sometimes it can be really difficult to talk about this kind of stuff, just because of the world we live in and with the many different viewpoints that can exist out there. Especially when it comes to topics about gender, race and all of those other things that could be seen as controversial viewpoints. I don’t “think” my viewpoints are controversial, as I am someone who tries to see things from all angles before I make my own opinion, but being a white male, I don’t exactly have the same experiences that others would have either. I personally see the world as a place where we all exist and we all deserve the same rights and freedoms (unless we lose those freedoms by doing something stupid like committing a felony or something), so there is no reason to discriminate or treat others that they are less than another. But I digress, I’m sure you don’t see me as a sexist or racist, so I’ll leave it at that and leave it alone until it’s relevant again (which knowing this series, will probably be sooner than you think). I’ll see you guys next week (hopefully) for another retrospective!

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Intro

Introduction:
It’s always awkward and uncomfortable to witness a husband and wife fighting, but the old saying goes that whenever a couple stops talking and acknowledging each other; that’s when you need to start being concerned. Even though Marge and Homer seem to have a very stable relationship, we’re about to get a double dose of marital problems with the next TWO episodes. I guess it had to happen sooner or later in the series, so may as well get them out of the way now. “Life on the Fast Lane” aired on March 18th, 1990 and was the ninth episode to air in The Simpsons first season, even though it was the 11th episode written for the show. Also, like “Bart the General” (and the first episode, if you want to get technical), there is no chalkboard or couch gag.

BallHomer: “Beauty! Isn’t she?”
Marge: “It’s hard for me to judge, since I’ve never bowled in my life!”
Homer: “Well if you don’t want it, I know someone who does!”
Marge: *murmurs*

Plot:
Very early one morning, Bart, Lisa and Maggie are cooking breakfast for Marge because it is her birthday and they want to give her a surprise. After the surprise is delivered, Homer is shocked, not only by the surprise, but also the fact that he forgot it was his wife’s birthday and doesn’t have a gift for her yet. He sneaks (unsuccessfully) out of the house to get one, but in classic Homer fashion, ends up at a sports store instead and buys a bowling ball with his name engraved on it. That night, the entire family and Marge’s sisters go out to dinner at a fancy restaurant where Marge receives all of her gifts. Homer’s gift is the last one to be opened and Marge is completely appalled when the box opens and a bowling ball with Homer’s name on it, drops out; very appropriately on top of the cake as well.

Marge is angry at Homer for thinking only of himself and ruining her birthday. Homer suggests he takes the ball back and get her something else, but in her anger, she decides to keep the ball and go bowling by herself. Marge has no idea what she’s doing at the bowling alley, but her actions (and looks) catch the eye of local bowling professional and womanizer, Jacques, who is immediately smitten with Marge and is desperate to spend as much time with her as possible. He offers to give Marge bowling lessons and she accepts, oblivious to Jacques’s intentions. Marge’s skill improves tremendously and Jacques continues to get closer to her.

At home, while Marge is not present, Homer decides to pick up the slack and spends a lot of time with the kids. Whenever Marge and Homer are both around, however, they don’t talk very much and become very distant from each other. Marge seems to be having a lot of fun at the bowling alley and Homer doesn’t want to make her angry by telling her that he misses her and that he wants her to be home. Marge also insists on returning to the bowling alley on a regular basis to continue to getting lessons from Jacques. She becomes very aware of Jacques’s interest in her, and although she does try to shrug off his advances, she enjoys the extra attention from him. Jacques even gives her a bowling glove with her name embroidered on it, which she immediately loves because for once, it was a gift given to and intended for her.

This “fling” continues on for a few days and Homer’s mood worsens into a silent depression. Marge is also feeling the burden of her actions and time away from home by giving the children extra-large lunches and being extra kind and loving to them due to her guilt of being away from them. Lisa and Bart start to pick up on these signs, but are unable to figure out what to do or say to their parents, so they watch from the sidelines, worried about what will happen to their mom and dad’s marriage. Meanwhile, Jacques finally manages to get a brunch date with Marge outside of the bowling alley, and during the meal, Jacques asks if Marge would like to meet him at his apartment. Upon realization that Jacques is asking her for an affair, Marge faints and daydreams about what will happen if she goes to see Jacques. When she comes to, she asks him, “Is Thursday okay?”

When Homer finds the bowling glove, he is convinced that he has lost Marge forever, but on Thursday morning, he walks into the kitchen to say one last thing to his wife. Although he isn’t completely sure about what to say, he tells his wife that he loves the way she makes peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. He remarks that with other sandwiches, the jelly always drips out of the bread onto the guy’s fingers, but with Marge, the jelly always manages to stay inside where it is supposed to. He says, “I don’t know how you do it…you have some sort of gift I guess. I’ve always thought so. I’ve just never mentioned it.” He ends his discussion by saying that it was time to tell her how he feels about her, because he doesn’t believe in keeping his feelings bottled up, essentially confirming to Marge that he does love and care about her. Homer leaves for work while Marge is still stunned in silence about this revelation.

Marge starts to drive to Jacques’s apartment, but along the way, she starts seeing a lot of happy couples together, reminding her of her own marriage with Homer. She stops the car at an intersection; one road leading to Jacques’s apartment complex, and the other leading to the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant. She now must make her decision to stay with her husband or to officially have an affair. The scene cuts to the power plant where Marge, in fact, chooses to stay with her husband and stop meeting with Jacques. Homer is absolutely shocked and surprised to see his wife, and he responds by embracing her and then telling his co-workers, “I’m off to the backseat of my car with the woman I love, and I won’t be back for 10 minutes!” Ending the episode on an incredibly sweet and heartfelt moment between the two spouses.

Cop JokeJacques: “I bet you don’t know how to make a five-seven-ten split, do you Marge?”
Marge: “No”
Jacques: “But first of all, you yell, ‘The eighth pin is a cop!'”

My Personal History:
Like most of Season 1, I didn’t catch this one until it came out on DVD, but after reading a summary of this episode in an episode guide novelization, I was really curious about how this one would resonate with me, mainly because I was so surprised to see such an “adult” storyline in a show that was aimed for family viewing. I’ll get more into my thoughts in a small bit, but that was definitely my first impressions upon reading about it and eventually watching it when I did have the capability to. I think I also saw the summation of this episode as it was shown in the second clip show plot, “Another Simpsons Clip Show,” before I saw the actual episode in full.

BrunchMarge: “What’s brunch?”
Jacques: “It’s not quite breakfast and it’s not quite lunch, but you get a slice of cantaloupe at the end. You don’t get completely what you would at breakfast, but you get a good meal!”

Favorite/Memorable Moments:
Albert Brooks is back again for another eccentric role, this time in the form of Jacques, the French bowling teacher. I have to say; I absolutely hate and love this character, but both for pretty much the same reason. I can’t freaking stand that he’s trying to put the moves on a married woman, but at the same time, his performance is absolutely brilliant in doing so. Its over-the-top and all of his jokes and reactions are just so on point and hilarious that I can’t help but let out a small chuckle when listening to his performance. It’s a case of; you really hate what he’s doing, but at the same time, you’re supposed to hate him because he is trying to break up the marriage of two main characters, so by making him over-the-top, you’re at least having a little more fun with the character and making light of something that will not, by any means, change the dynamic of the family, and by extension, the show in general. I think my favorite joke involving him, and probably my favorite joke of the episode, is when Helen Lovejoy discovers Marge with Jacques at the diner, and when Helen leaves, Jacques tells a very uncomfortable Marge, “Your friend is lovely, let us hope something runs over her,” to make Marge laugh and calm down from the fear of being caught spending time with a man who isn’t her husband. I also really like when he is giving Marge a lesson and then he just randomly shouts “FOUR ONION RINGS!” when Marge mentions she is hungry, just because of how out-of-nowhere it is.

Aside from the comedic voice acting of Albert Brooks though, there isn’t really that much else that I found outstanding here. I really like the ending of the episode with Marge and Homer’s reconciliation, and all the stuff that Homer tells Marge in the kitchen on that fateful morning, but only because they are sweet moments that I’m a sap for, and not necessarily because I think it brings the story together (which I’ll be getting into in the next section). Homer started the episode out badly by thinking of himself and only himself, but he really did bring it together by the end of the episode. He did the ONE thing I always tell people to do when they come to me for relationship advice; speak from the heart. Lying out of your ass, or covering up your mistakes with gifts and other fabrications will only get you so far. If you make a mistake, own up to it, and show (or tell) your significant other how you feel.  Homer spent the entire episode in self-pity because he knows he upset his wife and he knows that she’s having a good time without him. Then, it finally hits him that if he doesn’t show his wife how much he cares about her and loves her, he’s going to lose her, and that’s when he confronts her and tells her how much he means to her and how special he thinks she is. That was probably one of the most personal compliments he (and anybody for that matter) has ever given to Marge, and that’s what finally showed her that he does care and that she would be losing the most genuine and heartfelt man she had ever met if she let herself have the affair. Because, while Jacques was a flirt and said very romantic and forward things to Marge, they never really put Marge in a place of comfort, which you could clearly see in her actions and dismissals of Jacques’s advances throughout the episode. If Marge was set on going for it with Jacques and leaving her family behind, we would have seen a much different story here. She didn’t love Jacques at all, she just enjoyed the attention she got from him. When Homer started giving her that attention, in his own personal way, she knew the choice was easy. Because of that, I think the ending was very well done and very well-written.

10 Minutes“Tell the boss I’m going to the backseat of my car with the woman I love, and I won’t be back for ten minutes!”
~Homer Simpson

My Review:
I am going to be honest here; I have not been looking forward to taking a look at or reviewing this episode. As per usual, I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad episode by any means. In fact, for an adult-oriented story line, I think the writing is actually really good here and there are some really great performances in the episode as well (most notably Albert Brooks (Jacques) and his chemistry with Julie Kavner (Marge)). I just feel like, for the viewers, this one will be a very hit or miss episode. The individuals who will most likely understand what’s going on here are adults and people who are and have been in serious relationships. For a kid, or someone who hasn’t had that relationship experience, a lot of the morals and lessons may not connect right away and a lot of the value I think this episode contains, may fall flat to the wrong audiences. Heck, as a young pre-teen and early teenager, when I first saw this episode, I never would have seen this episode in the same light that I would today, now that I have fifteen years on my younger self and have been in a serious relationship where topics of this nature have emerged. Also, I find for episodes of this nature, where the the main married couple experience issues and then a strange man/woman come into the picture and try to mess up that foundation further…they can be a really uncomfortable experience at times depending on how they’re handled, and I think that remains true for the Simpson family as well. Which…it’s understandable, especially now, considering the two have been married on the show for more than twenty-five years now.

Also, I feel like the children’s sub-plot shouldn’t have been used in the episode at all. I feel like the inclusion of Lisa figuring out that her parents are having problems, and trying to get Bart to come to terms with her same realization, almost kind of distract the viewers of this episode from what should be the main focus; Homer and Marge. In fact, when Bart is so worried that something bad will happen, he tells his dad to “not say anything, because he might make it worse,” which happens to be the absolute worst advice he could give in that particular scenario. In fact, the very next scene is when Homer opens up his heart to Marge and tells her how he feels; which ultimately saves the marriage in the long run. It just kind of feels like the children were unintentionally working against the plot here, and with how the episode wraps up, it almost made their plight feel pointless, because they didn’t do anything to help the story get to its conclusion. I would have much rather seen another scene with Marge and Jacques getting closer, or an extended scene with Homer and Marge where Homer apologizes for his actions in the beginning act, because while he did touch Marge with his words near the end, he never technically apologized for his selfishness.

I also find it extremely odd with how easily Marge agrees to see Jacques at his apartment. During their entire time together, Marge was always uncomfortable with Jacques’s advances, and even though she went along with them a few times, she still never really got “charmed” by him. In fact, during the brunch before Jacques even asked about his apartment, she was still really put off by his forwardness and tried to deflect any compliment he gave to her. I suppose this reluctance was because of her guiltiness, since she was being charmed by the man, but again, it’s hard to say just because I feel like it could have been explored a bit more, you know, instead of the alternative and what we got in the form of the children’s side of the story. I really hate to bring that up again, but it’s a major point for why this episode really bugs me. I get that the children were included to show the gravity of the situation at home with Homer and Marge’s marriage on the rocks, with Marge feeling guilty and the need to overcompensate for her absence and with Homer sinking into a deep depression. If someone is able to pick up on that, then sure, it works pretty well, but otherwise, it just seems kind of…there for the sake being there. There’s just so much that needs to be implied for the story to flow together flawlessly and I feel that it takes a few watches for someone to completely understand what’s going on here and to actually feel the gravity of the situation. Otherwise, it would be a back and forth tennis match of “Why is Homer not doing anything?” and “Why is Marge doing this?”

Once you have those things figured out though, the episode is honestly a good watch and an insightful take on this particular subject matter. What can happen to a woman when a new man starts paying more attention to and being more romantic to her than her own husband? When a marriage is in danger, how will both parties act, and what will they do to make things right, if anything at all? Is it really possible to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich where none of the jelly drips out of the sides of the bread? That last one is still a mystery to me, but as far as Homer and Marge go, I think they will be okay…for now. Unfortunately, I think we have a long road to go in getting all of their issues sorted out, especially once we get to the later years of the show (if we even do). But as far as our next examination of their marriage is concerned…well, let’s just say we have a few roadblocks coming up, starting with the next episode. For now though, I’m going to leave it at that and sign-off on “Life on the Fast Lane,” so thanks for reading everyone and I’ll talk to you guys next time.

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It is good to be back! Sorry this took a bit longer than I initially planned, but admittedly, I did just return from a week-long vacation and I had a lot of loose ends I needed to take care of first. There were also a lot of things I wanted to add into this write-up after I finished my first draft, just because this is a very complex episode. Anyway, from the look of things, it should not be too hard of an endeavor to finish up the rest of Season 1, with only four episodes remaining (even if I only really like one of them), so I’m going to do my best to make this a weekly update for the next month, and once I finish the remaining episodes, I can start planning when Season 2 will start. It probably won’t start right away, since I am about to start a big project/endeavor for my Youtube channel, but once that is taken care of, I am definitely excited to see this series go even further. So thanks to all of you for your continued reading and patience for these reviews. It means a lot to me!

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Dynasty Warriors 2

Game: Dynasty Warriors 2
Start Date: April 18th, 2017
End Date: June 16th, 2017
Videos: 22

Ancient China; a land at constant war and strife as various dynasties and ruling families try to take the land for themselves and their own desires. Each empire with their own unique strengths and powerful warriors at their disposal. This series puts you in control of these warriors as you fight for superiority on the battlefield; pitting yourself against hundreds and hundreds of warriors. It may seem impossible, but welcome to the hack and slash genre, where all you need is just one powerful fighter, and then you can watch the KO count rise.

So I’ve been mentioning that I’m a huge fan of the Dynasty Warriors series for years now, but I’ve never actually LPed any of the games. Normally my answer for that is because as much as I would love to do the series, the amount of content I would like to cover is just beyond what I would normally expect to be watchable as a Let’s Play project. With that being said though, Dynasty Warriors 2 is probably a good start just because of how barebones, repetitious and unrewarding it is. Because of that, it will make future grinding redundant and unnecessary, meaning I can do a simple level run through and leave it at that. But once this project is done, I’ll need to figure out what I’m going to do about Dynasty Warriors 3, because THAT will be quite the grind…

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Pokemon Trading Card Game

Game: Pokemon Trading Card Game
Start Date: March 21st, 2017
End Date: May 25th, 2017
Videos: 27

Pokemon fever was running wild during the Late 90’s and with an anime and video game gaining popularity…naturally a trading card game was needed to further capitalize on it’s domination. And with a new card game, why not have a video game iteration of the card game as well? Sounds like a swell idea to me!

This was a game that I’ve owned for the longest time, but was never able to complete it until recent years (thanks to the encouragement of Puddle Plains HD). I’m happy to show this game in full, because it’s honestly a lot of fun once you have a grasp on how to play it effectively. Let the card memes begin!

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Intro

Introduction:
If I had to pick the most iconic episodes of Season 1, or rather, the episodes I feel like are the most well-known of the season, I’d probably have to give my vote to the Christmas episode and the episode we will be looking at today; The Telltale Head. In this episode, we will live (or relive) through one of Bart’s most notorious pranks in the show’s history. How will it all go down? Let’s find out! The Telltale Head aired on February 25th, 1990 and was the seventh episode written for the show, and the eighth one to air in the Simpsons first season. It’s kind of odd when you look at that fact, considering this episode was written before the previous episode, but it aired afterwards. I guess something must have held up this episode up or something. The chalkboard gag for this episode is, “I did not see Elvis,” and the couch gag is actually a repeat of the couch gag that showed in “Bart the Genius,” where Bart is sent flying into the air, coming down in front of the television screen while it’s showing the producer credits.

Pulled a Few BonersHomer: “You know, Bart, when I was your age, I pulled a few boners. But I think you’ll find out that people are pretty decent if you give them half…”
Townspeople: “Look! There it is! The Head! KILL HIM!”

Plot:
This episode actually starts with what will ultimately be the conclusion of this story. Bart and Homer are walking down a sidewalk at night while Homer is trying to console Bart. Apparently Bart has done something very bad and it’s very apparent that they have the head of a stone statue in their possession. Before Homer gets very far with his talk, a mob shows up and starts to chase them through town. They ultimately get surrounded, but before the mob can rip them apart, Bart decides to explain why they have the head of the town’s founder, Jebediah Springfield, and starts telling his story of the events that led to this moment.

The story starts with The Simpson family attending church on a Sunday morning. The kids attend Sunday school and the adults listen to a sermon given by Reverend Lovejoy. Although the church scene doesn’t really have much to do with the rest of the episode, it’s good for a few laughs as the kids continually stress out the Sunday school instructor with way too many questions that she doesn’t know the answer to. And then Homer, who is listening to the football game broadcast on a radio, starts celebrating when his team makes a last-second push to win the game, not realizing that his shouts of jubilation are heard through the entire church and interrupt the reverend’s prayer; which incredibly humiliates Marge. On the way home, Bart sees that the new Space Mutants movie is playing at the movie theater and he asks to see it, but Marge refuses, saying the movie is too violent. Bart gets the money to see the movie anyway from Homer after lying to him and so he skateboards to the theater.

When he arrives, he runs into Jimbo Jones and his friends Dolph and Kearney; three older kids who are known for having a bad reputation at school for being troublemakers. They ask Bart if he wants to sneak into the movie without paying and Bart reluctantly accepts. The four kids eventually get thrown out of the movies and then they proceed to go around town causing mischief. They steal goods from the convenience store and then they start throwing rocks at a statue of the town founder; Jebediah Springfield. Bart knows that what the kids are doing is wrong, but he goes along with it anyway because they start to accept Bart and think he is cool for hanging with them. They then lay down in the middle of a field and start looking at the clouds, remarking how certain clouds look like different things. Bart notices a cloud that looks like the Jebediah Springfrield statue, but without the head, and when he tells the others about it, they start remarking that it would be cool if someone did cut the head off of the statue. Bart has enough and tells Jimbo and his friends to stop, but then they start making fun of Bart for defending the town founder, and telling him to leave in the process.

Bart decides that he wants to cut the head off the statue, but before he does, he asks his father how important it is to be popular. Homer, completely unaware of the reason Bart is asking the question for, tells Bart that being popular is the most important thing in the world and that he should do anything (shy of killing someone) to be popular. Because of this, Bart goes out during the night to cut off the statue’s head. However, once the deed has been done, Bart starts to realize that there is no going back and thinks that he may have made a mistake.

The next day, the entire town is in an outrage about the missing statue’s head, including the Simpson family, but they are completely unaware that Bart is vandal. Bart hides and takes the head to show to Jimbo and the other guys, but before he can show it, the bullies remark that if they find out who cut off the head, that they would beat the person up. When Bart brings up the discussion from the other day, they claim that it was only “cloud-talk” and that they would never actually disrespect the statue of the person who founded the town and killed a bear with their bare hands. Bart continues to feel the guilt throughout the rest of the episode and at his lowest point, he decides to finally come clean. He shows the head to his family and explains that the only reason why he did it was because he got the impression that being popular was the most important thing in the world. Homer realizes that he gave Bart that thought and decides that both he and Bart must come clean to the authorities.

The scene from the beginning of the episode continues and Bart apologizes for doing what he did and is willing to take responsibility for his actions. The entire town decides that Bart has suffered enough and that he truly feels badly for what he has done, so they accept his apology on the condition that he puts the head back on. Bart heroically takes the head and puts it back on the statue, absolving him of any guilt and bad feelings he had prior. The entire town celebrates the restoration of the town founder’s statue while Homer and Bart leave; Homer remarking that Bart did a good job, but that lynch mobs are never usually this nice and Bart should consider himself lucky.

Cloud TalkBart: “But guys, come on, don’t you remember history class? Jebediah once killed a bear with his bare hands.”
Dolph: “Oh, sorry…”
Kearney: “We forgot how much you loved Jebediah Springfield…”
Jimbo: “Yeah, he’s your boyfriend! Beat it Simpson! Man…I thought you were cool…”

My Personal History:
If there was ever an episode this season that I watched before the DVD boxset came out (at least that I know of), this would probably be the only episode that would meet that criteria. This is an episode I will always remember and never forget, just because of how familiar it is in the Simpsons mainstream. I’m not sure if I would call it one of my favorites because of that, but I do know that many people I’ve talked to about The Simpsons have seen it, or at the very least, know of its plot of how Bart decapitated the head of the town founder’s statue. I guess you could say it’s a “classic” episode.

TalkBart: “So like, sometimes you could do stuff that you think is pretty bad so other kids will like you?”
Homer: “You aren’t talking about killing anyone are you?”
Bart: “No…”
Homer: “ARE YOU?”
Bart: NO!”
Homer: “Then run along you little scamp!”

Favorite/Memorable Moments:
I have to say, this episode doesn’t really have a whole lot of jokes involved with it. Sure, there are some funny moments in the opening act with Homer acting up in church and the children in Sunday school incessantly asking the most out-there questions for the instructor, but this is definitely a plot that is driven by emotion more than humor for sure; especially in the second and third acts. If I had to pick my favorite joke, it would probably be the very last line in the episode where Homer tells Bart, “Good going son! But remember; most lynch mobs are not this nice!” Not only is it poking fun at how easily the conflict wrapped up, but it’s also a very nice warning to Bart as well, as Homer seems pretty confident that something like this could happen again, so Bart should watch what he does from now on.

This story is a very clear parody (especially when you consider the name of the episode) of “The Telltale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe. Much like the character in the poem, Bart is living with the guilt of something bad he did, and he is constantly reminded of that guilt in the disappointment of all the townspeople and by the sound of the statue’s head talking to him; continuing to eat away at his conscious the longer and longer the prank goes on. Although The Simpsons will be known for making references and parodies throughout the entire span of the show’s history, I feel like this is the first big one, or at least the first one I recognize that focuses on an entire episode as opposed to a small scene. In fact, the episode also makes a reference (one of many over the show’s history) to The Godfather when Bart wakes up and finds the head of the statue in bed with him (a nod to “finding a horse head in your bed”). I’m sure I will definitely miss out on references as we move forward, so if there ever is a reference I don’t call attention to, and you feel like it’s noteworthy, feel free to do so by leaving a comment on this and all future posts. I don’t claim for this series to be an extensive encyclopedia to all things Simpsons; this is more so just my take and analyses of the episodes, so please keep that in mind.

Lynch Mobs“Good going son! But remember, most lynch mobs aren’t this nice…”
~Homer Simpson

My Review:
Much like “Bart the Genius,” this is a very a “lesson-learned” storyline, where we follow supposed bad-boy Bart Simpson, watch as he does something bad, and then starts to regret what he has done and seeing how the guilt affects him and how he decides to make amends for his actions. Unlike Bart the Genius though, I feel like this episode does a much better job of showing that Bart has learned his lesson; mainly because we didn’t really see the ramifications for Bart’s actions in the prior episode. In this episode, Bart is almost lynched by an angry mob, and the guilt he had for his prank was hitting him really hard as well. In fact, as soon as Bart cut off the head, he remarked, “What have I done?” so you can see Bart was already trying to fight against what he knew was wrong, which I do like to see in Bart’s character development. He’s not a bad kid by any means, he’s just impressionable and is trying to find his way, and sometimes during that journey, you will make mistakes. The key is learning from those mistakes.

So on the whole, I do think this is a very good episode and I can see why it is hailed as a classic Season 1 episode by many Simpsons’ fans. However, it’s hard for me to say that I like this episode better than other Season 1 episodes like Bart the General and another episode we will be seeing in a few weeks. I think it’s just because I’ve seen this episode so many times and have been familiar with the basic storyline for it, that maybe it has just lost its novelty for me. It would still probably rank as Top 5 for the season most certainly…just not in my highest tier. But yeah, that will do it for The Telltale Head, so thanks to everyone for reading, I’ll see you all next time, and remember…if someone talks about cutting off the head of your town founder’s statue, make sure it’s not just ‘cloud-talk’ before turning them into the authorities.

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All right, we are done with yet another episode, but before we move on to the next one, I would like to take this opportunity to remind you guys that I will be on vacation, so there will not be any posts of this series next week, and probably the following week either (and if it is the following week, it will be later in the week once I’m on schedule again). I’m honestly amazed I have made it to this point already, as I honestly figured I would be further behind, but I have to say that this series has struck a chord with me and I can see this continuing on for a really long time. We only have 5 episodes of the first season remaining and I’m itching to see how they will go. However, first thing is first…I need my annual vacation relaxation before I do anything else. Catch you guys later!

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