Monday, May 15, 2006

The Simpsons (spoilers ahoy!)

The bloggysphere has weighed in on the Evolution version of the Simpsons, and opinion is divided.

I confess that I've stopped watching new episodes of the Simpsons. The show has lost its zazz, the jokes feel leaden and the animation seems to be of lower quality. All those flaws were apparent in last night's episode.

GouldThe concept was decent, and 10 years ago, the Simpsons team would have done great things with it. While at the Natural History Museum, Ned Flanders is exposed to evolution, where he's shocked and appalled. Rushing to Rev. Lovejoy, he insists that they fight for creationism in the schools. Principal Skinner caves in, and Lisa is outraged. She falls in line with the God v. Darwin framing of the issue, and only through Marge's timely reading of the Origin of Species is Lisa saved. Good thing Homer is good at acting simian!

The cynical attitude of the religious leaders pushing creationism was accurate but underutilized. The framing of the issue as one book (Genesis) versus another book (the Origin) was annoying. The denouement was uninspired.

The episode in which Stephen Jay Gould helps Lisa explore a supposed fossil angel was much better, and not just because it had Gould. Heck, even Billy Dembski said it was "very clever." The trial in which Lisa is charged but science is put on trial was better constructed and funnier, and the setup was more original.