“Take My Life, Please,” featured two new aspects: Hi-Def and a new Opening. Bart tells us in the blackboard that hi-def is worth every penny, but the Simpsons’ hi-def tv falls off the wall when they try to watch it.
But how’s the new opening, you ask? Fabulous. For those who miss the old one, you probably don’t even remember the old one. If you look at the original, it’s very different from what you’ve been seeing for over a decade. It’s longer. (And you may be surprised to know that not every episode even had an opening–for time’s sake, etc.)
The new opening gives us a new gag–the billboard in front of Bart’s school changes, as does Bart’s writing and the couch routine.
It’s great to see some of our current favorite characters (like the cat lady) in the opening. And Marge’s purchases at the store are updated to include tomacco and Mr. Sparkle detergent. (Maggie’s price has also been updated to reflect the amount it takes to raise an infant for a month in today’s economy.)
As far as the episode goes, “Take My Life, Please” features Homer going through an interesting mid-life (he’ll die young, we know it) crisis. Homer learns that he was supposed to be class president and believes that his life would have been superior to what he has. It’s classic Homer angst–rather than blaming his current life on his choices, he can pinpoint one decision (made by someone else).
“How the Test Was Won” had a fabulous couch gag, featuring the Simpsons as characters in classic sitcoms, showing a fine lineage (including the family sitcom’s move to the workplace/friend sitcom a la Cheers).
The episode itself was a critique of No Child Left Behind and standardized testing (the best moment is when Mrs. Krabapple teaches the students the most common test answer arrays (abbadaca, etc)).
The Simpsons has been renewed for two more seasons, which will make it the longest-running prime time series. At least once a week, I come across some blog or article that asks if The Simpsons still has it. Denise came across an idea the other day that it was the audience who has lost it, not The Simpsons. I agree–if anything’s tired, it’s us.
In other words, Simpsons, it’s us, not you. Which is why we’ll do everything we can to make this work.