The Simpsons Season 24 Premiere Review “Moonshine River”

Fall 2012 The Simpsons Season 24 Premiere Moonshine River

I’m not going to mince words here. “Moonshine River” is a mess of a Simpsons episode. The plot rapidly switches focus from act to act, but, unlike in its more successful cousins, none of the individual stories here satisfactorily merged into each other, or even led to a satisfying conclusion themselves.

The couch gag is overly long, and unless I’m missing some reference (and please, tell me if I am) lacks any kind of punchline. The first act, centering around a car race and bike race, is packed with small jokes, but most of them were hit and miss for me, and it only leads to Bart chasing after a number of ex-girlfriends, which becomes the main point of the episode.

Bart’s one who got away ends up being a heretofore unknown spawn of Cletus, who’s escaped to New York. She’s played by Zooey Deschanel, and while I appreciate a guest star playing an actual character instead of a Simpsonized version of themselves, it still feels like a big fat nothing. And she sings a song, because of course she does, because apparently Zooey Deschanel is not contractually allowed to make an appearance unless she gets a musical number. It’s terribly boring.

What most disappointed me about this episode, however, was the sideplot Lisa and Marge were relegated to. It came out of nowhere, with no establishment in the episode before they arrived in NYC, and a barely existent conclusion.

To be honest, I think I’m only harping on all this plot stuff because not too many of the gags hit me. There were funny parts, to be sure; “Scab Calloway and his non-union band” got me, as did Homer’s comment about their ancestor, Fievel. But it simply wasn’t at the level I know The Simpsons can achieve A more solid amount of laughs, and the flimsiness of the story wouldn’t have stuck out so much to me. Let’s just hope that The Simpsons, going forward, picks back up at least a little, and that this isn’t an indicator of the overall quality of the 24th season.

  • Sdasa

    boy, talk about a mess of a review. what kind of an episode would you want to see? A guy going out on a space expedition who, overlooking all the zillion other tasks one in his situation would have to take care of, is going to argue with his mom for all he’s worth to convince her to let him move in with his girlfriend? If you do, switch to the other channel. Moreover, you can’t possibly know and, hence, judge whether the couch gag is too long, if you don’t know what it’s telling you.

  • Larry Bryan

    I don’t understand why no one is considering the fact that they only had 4 days to create this episode in the form that we saw it last night.  I’m sure they must have had a season premiere prepared already, but since Andy Williams obviously didn’t give them advance notice of his passing, I’m sure they had to make major modifications and additions to end up with the tribute episode that you’re reviewing.  I don’t believe this episode should be held to the same standard as episodes for which they’ve prepared months in advance.  This is a thank you and goodbye to an artist that had a great reference in “Bart on the Road”.  Just as you wouldn’t critique a eulogy at a funeral, I believe that this episode would be better served by evaluating the feelings evoked through musical and written references rather than tearing it apart for not being a masterpiece of cohesive writing.

    • shane

      This wasnt a tribute episode to andy williams , they had a dedication at the end credits, yes because the title is a play on his famous song, and as you said he is refrenced in the roadtrip episode…. but simpsons episodes take months to produce…. this whole adbomination of an episode was ready to go well before andy passed

      • Ctepet

        There’s an obvious Breakfast at Tiffany’s theme, with Mary paralleling Holly Golightly.

  • shane

    With the reviews below it seems the apologists are out again to try and defend another awful episode. The simpsons glory days are well over and each new episode is a nail in the coffin. 

  • William Mooney

    I’ve been a fan since day one. This was horrible.

  • Why wont they cancel it ?? surely they’ve made enough money by now 

  • Marshall Stack

    There is really only one reason they keep making more episodes – enough people still like it to ensure it’s profitable. I got seven or eight great laughs from this episode, which is seven or eight more than I get almost anything else. Lots of incredible shows are doing really incredible things right now, but nothing touches The Simpsons for sharpness, even in these many episodes where the plots is weak. 

  • Harry Blauberg

    The unknown spawn of Cletus is Mary Spuckler, which appeared before in the 
    episode S19E17 ‘Apocalypse Cow’, and was played by Zooey Deschanel. 
    Apart from this fact which was missing in the review, I totally agree, that
    most of the gags weren’t funny and the sub-plot was senseless. 
    I mean, where’s the sharpness of ‘Homer vs. New York’? An episode like that
    with a focus on today would be something I would appreciate. But ínstead, 
    like that later episode featuring ‘Angry Dad’, they seem to have forgotten 
    to do satire and how to build upon previous characters and events.

  • Sam

    I got 4 minutes in and stopped watching. It was really bad.