The Simpsons Season 24 Review “Dark Knight Court”

What, exactly, am I supposed to say here, if I liked one half of an episode, and really didn’t like the other? It’s a pattern emerging in The Simpsons that I’m none too happy about. “Dark Knight Court” (I’m always in favor of a punny title) gives us two separate cartoony scenarios, but one fell flat to me, and the other was… well, I’m not going to say it was great, but it was pleasant, and it kept my attention, and even if I didn’t necessarily laugh out loud, I enjoyed watching it.

Let’s start with the bad: Mr. Burns as Fruit Bat Man was all just a little too corny for me to handle. And the fact that Smithers kept enlisting the help of Springfield residents, including Homer, and then we never saw the repercussions of that, felt a little lazy. Obviously, I can’t expect the show to provide a realistic portrayal of such a ridiculous situation, but maybe just one or two mentions around the dinner table about Homer buying some useless gadget with the money, or something. The story just felt too big for Springfield, too over the top. It’s telling that the funniest part of the whole thing was Groundskeeper Willy, and the rare flash to him out of context, bedding the lunch lady.

The other side of the episode, meanwhile, was also very silly, but less large, and focused pretty closely on the world of the school, which is often a strong setting for The Simpsons to take one. Sure, it’s weird that Janet Reno showed up, but the fact that they justified it with a game of chess by mail, which was also my favorite joke of the episode, made it work, and didn’t distract from the core of the thing, which was about Lisa and Bart. And maybe, in the end, that’s why it worked better than the Burns story; The Simpsons is at its best when it doesn’t stray too far from its roots as a take on the family sitcom, and the Batman parody in “Dark Knight Court” just didn’t hit that mark for me.

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