What, no return trip to the Box Factory? No Conan cameo?
Did they pick up the same Mad Libs book that Schwartzwelder did 15 years ago and just fill in Lisa's name instead of Bart's?
A far different angle to the plot, yes, but still a rushed, incoherent mess with a meaningless B-story and few laughs. Bleh. King of the Hill was only 100 times better tonight. With more average-to-bleh seasons than great ones at this point, someone just kill this thing already and give the money to Mike Judge for more awesome.
Eh, it's almost a relief to me that they're stealing old plots now. At least this way they can get through an entire episode with only one main plot. Otherwise they just break the whole thing into unrelated segments, or put in a bunch of songs, or both.
This episode was pretty weak, but overall this was the best Simpsons season in years. Maybe the writers were actually serious when they said so much time was being spent on the movie.
“How is it that I am a good actor? What I do is I... pretend to be the person I’m portraying. You’re confused. Case in point: in Lord of the Rings, Peter Jackson comes to me and says ‘I would like you to be Gandalf the Wizard,’ and I said ‘You are aware that I am not really a wizard?’ and Peter Jackson said ‘I would like you to use your acting skills to portray a wizard for the duration of the show.’ So I said ‘Okay’ and then I said to myself ‘Mmm.. How do I do that?’ And this is what I did: I imagined that I was a wizard, and then I pretended, and acted, in that way on the stage. How did I know what to say? The words were written down for me in a script. How did I know where to stand? People told me where to stand." -- Sir Ian McKellen, Extras
If any good came from this episode, it's that we got a really good character moment for Sideshow Mel, something I didn't think previously possible. Other than that, though, this felt like a waste.
However, in the grand scheme, I do agree that this has been the best Simpsons season in a long while. The clunkers REALLY clunked this time around ("That 90's Show"), but the majority of the episodes have been winners.
My DVR kicked in AFTER the episode started, so I didn't get to see if the kick-ass couch gag streak continued. Moe tossing the giant E and having it land on the old peoples' Scrabble board was easily the funniest thing I've seen all night.