America's Most Animated Family

by Tom Shales
Washington Post Staff Writer

The Washington Post, Thursday, September 24, 1992, pp. C1, C9. TV Previews

From: (J.D. Baldwin)
Subject: Review of Kamp Krusty and Streetcar Named Marge
Date: 29 Sep 92 15:36:55 GMT
The following is a review I lifted from a recent Washington Post. It contains a few entertaining details about what we can expect this week. Sorry it took me so long to get around to this.

"A Streetcar Named Marge" sounds like it's headed for the pantheon of the greats, along with I&S&M and Flaming Moe's. I expect to laugh particularly hard at Maggie's day care arrangements.

A few editorial comments by me are in brackets. Enjoy.

Amazing, isn't it? Those darn Simpsons don't look one minute older than they did a year ago. That's one of the great things about "The Simpsons." The cast never ages. [Clearly he has forgotten the TU shorts. --jd]

The show also has escaped the kind of budget-cutting and belt-tightening that has made so many of the new season's series and TV movies look cheap and chintzy. On "The Simpsons," they don't have to stint on special effects or extras or car crashes. They just draw them.

Tune in early enough for tonight's season premiere, at 8 on Channel 5, and you'll see some big, big stars make cameo appearances during the opening credits. [??? --jd] The show gets off to a good start and about 30 minutes later comes to a good stop.

It's the best series on Fox and still one of the best family sitcoms on television.

To judge from the first two episodes of the new season, the folks behind this brilliant cartoon haven't run out of ideas or inspirations. In the season premiere, written by David M. Stern, Bart Simpson and sister Lisa overthrow the tyrannical rulers of a summer camp so bleak even Franz Kafka would find it depressing.

The second episode (Oct. 1), written by Jeff Martin, is even better and more resonant. Marge Simpson lands the role of Blanche DuBois in a musical version of "A Streetcar Named Desire" staged by a local theater group. Guest voice Jon Lovitz plays flamboyant director Llewellyn Sinclair, who brags he's directed three plays and has had three heart attacks, a sure sign of genius.

"I just don't see what's so bad about Stanley," Marge tells Sinclair as she tries to get into the role. Years of marriage to the loutish Homer have somewhat warped her view. Good neighbor Ned Flanders, playing Stanley, gets to sing, "Stella, Stella, can't you hear me yella?" And the entire cast joins in on the finale, a rousing hand-clapper called "You Can Always Depend on the Kindness of Strangers."

No, Tennessee Williams will not be spinning in his grave. He will be laughing along with everyone else.

What's especially admirable about "The Simpsons" is the way satiric asides are tucked into every corner. In the season premiere, Krusty the Klown, Bart's favorite idiotic TV personality, beckons children to his Kamp Krusty with a TV commercial promising fat kids that they'll get to take part in "an exclusive program of diet and ridicule."

Krusty figures in the second episode as well. Baby Maggie pulls the string of a talking Krusty doll and hears it say, "If I break, buy a new one!" She's been salted away in the Ayn Rand School for Tots [!!--jd], and its Nietzschean matron has done the unthinkable: taken away Maggie's precious pacifier.

Maggie liberates the pacifier and those of her fellow babies while the theme music to "The Great Escape" plays on the soundtrack. A short time later, Alfred Hitchcock makes a cameo appearance, following a reference to "The Birds." Homer, at the play, does what Joseph Cotten did at the opera in "Citizen Kane."

The only complaint that might be leveled at the first two shows of the new season is that there's no sign of Montgomery Burns, the hilariously evil overlord of the nuclear power plant where Homer works. We can only hope he'll return soon.

With "The Cosby Show" gone, there's no longer much problem deciding what to watch at 8 p.m. Thursdays [I never had a problem, myself--jd]. In fact, when it comes to fiendishly funny and fast-moving domestic sitcoms, "The Simpsons" has little competition on any night of the week. As they begin their fourth season, Matt Groening's lovable, durable characters still seem capable of delights and surprises. They're a family to be valued, any way you look at them.

[Any typos are mine, not the Post's. --jd]

Search The Simpsons Archive:    Search Help

[ FAQs, Guides & Lists | Capsules | Upcoming | Miscellaneous | News | Contacts & Links | Home ]

Last updated on May 7, 1998 by Jouni Paakkinen (