The TV Guy talks adult animation
Published: Friday, October 11, 2013
Updated: Friday, October 11, 2013 02:10
owadays there just seems to be a lot of good television on the airwaves. I know I have said it before – and I will continue to say it over and over – but I only mention it because it is true. Dramas like “Mad Men” and sitcoms like “New Girl” have changed the expectations that viewers have for the content they absorb.
With that said, though, it never hurts to look back and see the status of programs that have been steadfast throughout the last five, ten and even 25 years.
In case you were unsure of what I meant, I am talking about the adult animated series, “South Park,” and “The Simpsons.” It is these two series, after all, that seem unaffected by what springs up each year. No matter what happens across the television landscape, these two series remain a constant.
So, it only makes sense, with each series a few weeks into the season, to check in on these comedy staples.
For starters, let us check in on “The Simpsons.” It seems like, for a few years now, this series has sort of fallen into a set mold that it almost never breaks out of. After 25 years of Homer and the gang, this show just is what it is.
In fact, after hundreds of episodes, it would only make sense of the cast of characters that audiences have grown to know and love become stagnant from time-to-time. Only so many times can I handle watching a straight-forward storyline of Homer screwing up, Marge exclaiming that they are through only to have Homer come back as a “changed” man, winning her back.
With that said, the first two episodes of “The Simpsons” have been solid this season. The first episode spoof of “Homeland,” entitled “Homerland,” was a little all over the place at times, especially if you had never seen “Homeland” before – like myself. To top it off, the bipolar character of guest star Kristen Wiig seemed offensive at times.
Overall, though, it was a typical episode of “The Simpsons.” To use a sports analogy, it was like hitting a single in baseball. You aren’t going to blow people away by consistently hitting them, but enough of them over time can make for a solid outing from a television show.
Personally, I think the stronger of the two episodes from this season was “Treehouse of Horror XXIV,” which is usually a great episode every year. In particular, the horrific take on the classic Dr. Seuss’s “Cat in the Hat,” which saw Homer as “The Fat in the Hat” abduct Bart, Lisa and Maggie was extremely amusing simply because the show drew the segment in a manner that made it feel as if it was straight out of a Dr. Seuss story.
One series that has been hitting home runs, or at the very least triples and doubles, is one of my personal favorites, “South Park.” Back for its 17th season, “South Park” mixed up its formula this year by removing the split-season – with seven episodes in the spring, seven in the fall – that fans had grown accustomed to a single 10-episode run in the fall.
The extra time seems to have done wonders creatively for Matt Stone and Trey Parker, as the duo has turned out extremely well put- together episodes each week since the show returned on Sept. 25 with “Let Go, Let Gov” – which, admittedly, is the weakest episode of the season.
Stone and Parker’s biggest gem, thus far, has been the episode “World War Zimmerman,” which I concede can, and will, be seen as extremely offensive to some people. But it was one of the best ways in which Stone and Parker could have handled the George Zimmerman verdict. There were several instances in which the show pointed out the hypocrisy that some felt came with the verdict.
It has me excited for the remaining seven episodes that await “South Park” fans this season, as the show seems to have returned – after a couple of years of striking out and hitting singles – to a position in which the series is actually funny, and not just churning out political commentary.
If you have any questions or comments about television, feel free to contact Adam J. Babinat on Twitter, @AdamBabinat.