Reviews written by registered user
|4 reviews in total|
Before I begin, can I just ask everyone to stop with the comparisons to
Friends? They're different shows, and one shouldn't always be used to
blast the other. (Bear in mind that I love both shows.) End rant.
I've been a Seinfeld fan for many a year. And here's the thing: The show never fades. The humor never dims; the characters never lose their sharpness. A decade later, Seinfeld remains one of the best, most original sitcoms to come along, ever.
The characters are irrepressible. It's impossible to condense the descriptions of Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer into a couple of words. Played and nuanced by four very talented and extremely funny actors, this foursome always had something new to gripe about, another situation to get themselves stuck in.
Not to mention the story lines. From the identifiable minutiae of daily life to the truly wacky ideas of later seasons, Seinfeld never ran low on ideas. I constantly find myself marveling at how wonderfully the show is put together: inevitably, in each episode, all the separate plot lines for different characters intertwine somehow, creating situational irony the likes of which has never been seen.
In short, the show is not mainstream; it does not need to be heavily commercialized or pander to the lowest common denominator. It's reset the bar for every other sitcom out there, and the world has yet to see a show that can do what Seinfeld does. Congratulations to those whose sense of humor is sharp and clever enough to appreciate this incredible show!
This episode seemed to pitch from good to mediocre, but it's still one
of this season's better episodes.
The first act begins with a stamp museum being constructed behind the Simpson home. Their attempts to drive the unwanted construction away are successful - then they discover that the stamp museum will be built on the site of the cemetery and that, consequently, the cemetery will be literally built in the Simpsons' backyard. The entire setup for the main storyline is weak, and the family's visit to the stamp museum later on in the episode is fairly pointless as well.
Lisa's bedroom, somehow, is the only one that faces the cemetery. It could be merely my love of the macabre, but the scenes featuring the graveyard were exceptionally well done, with some good music to create ambiance. Lisa is afraid of the cemetery and begins sleeping in her parents' bed. After trying and failing to spend a night in Lisa's room themselves, Homer and Marge go to a child psychiatrist to try and help her. Meanwhile, Lisa goes to spend a night in the graveyard to face her fear, although she regrets it immediately. When trying to escape, she hits her head on a gravestone and falls unconscious, where she goes into a series of dreams, ending in one very similar to the book "Where The Wild Things Are" - parodied here as "The Land of the Wild Beasts". (Somehow a mention of the book was slipped in earlier in the episode.) Marge and Homer find Lisa the next morning; she has overcome her fear.
Basically, an up-and-down episode. The graveyard scenes, such as the ones with Gravedigger Billy, were well done, and there's a funny bit with Bart's poorly constructed racecar bed, but the psychiatrist visit was flimsy and there were a few awkward jokes. I wish I could vote 7.5/10.
Friends is hailed as one of the best sitcoms the '90s ever produced,
and that high regard holds true years after it ended its phenomenal
run. It is often considered a more universal show than others in its
league. On the surface, it seems typical: a few locations the
characters frequent, laugh track, situational irony. What
differentiates the show, however, is very much its core idea -
friendship against all odds. It may seem difficult to make such a
concept as funny as it became in the hands of the creators, but the
show manages with ease, even in the beginning when the group still
seemed rough around the edges.
Almost right away, Friends adapted a strongly serialized format - creating story arcs that lasted for whole seasons, at times; references to past occurrences; continuing plot lines from one episode to the next, and from season to season. Though some might find this concept too soap opera-like, the main intention is clear: it mirrors real life. The show never tried to shove morals down viewers' throats, condescend to lowbrow humour, or be drastically different (and yet just by doing this, it was different).
Throughout the show's run, even though there were points where the quality dipped just a little, the writing and setup remained razor-sharp, something unexpected due to its nature. For many of the 'milestone' episodes, the show's original creators, David Crane and Marta Kauffman, would take over writing and remind us what made the characters so endearing, real, and hilarious. And that's where the real strength lies: The ensemble cast worked seamlessly together, never missing a beat from episode to episode. On their own, they could shine; but together, they took on a new concept. Some story lines broke them off into groups of two or three, and each character had a different dynamic with every other character, creating a complexity that, again, was unexpected.
But behind all this, the show had a wonderful simplicity. The characterizations could not be broken down easily, although each one had neuroses and real-life qualities, and they were all simply trying to get through life with each other's help. Along the way, four of the six eventually paired off within the group (Monica and Chandler about halfway through; Ross and Rachel, off-and-on throughout), and it only strengthened the bonds and the humour, rather than failing miserably, as it may have done in the hands of some. To quote a recent editorial on the best TV shows ever: It claimed to be about friends, but it was really about family.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This episode was a very interesting one. It opens with a potential
storyline - Homer actually taking care of his kids for once - but then
cuts to Bart at school without a lunch. The story he tells to
discourage other kids from eating - Dark Stanley - was simple
brilliance: the old-fashioned animation, the ghostly music; all of it
enraptured me. I was quite sorry when the sequence ended.
Then, after the children have fled the school, we see the first musical number (parodying "How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria"). It took me a while to figure out that this was a parody of The Sound of Music, because the actual tunes were different than the original. The episode sags ever so slightly in the middle, but picks right up again when Cletus' kids, the ones Lisa had been tutoring, are signed to Krusty's show and Stephen Sondheim (my all-time favorite composer) makes a cameo. Bart's meeting with a psychiatrist (Meg Ryan) is almost equally memorable, although the two feel almost like separate story lines that require separate episodes to cover.
Overall, I was impressed with this episode. It was hilarious at times, with the wit and wonder of the Simpsons of old creeping back in.