Round 122: Bart the Fink vs. Guess Who’s Coming to Criticize Dinner?

Round 122: 3F12 vs. AABF21.

3F12: “Bart the Fink” (Season 7 / February 11, 1996)
Written by John Swartzwelder
Directed by Jim Reardon
Showrunners: Bill Oakley & Josh Weinstein

Krusty the Clown down in the gutters

Very funny episode. From that great haunted house fake-out, to bankers in gorilla suits, to Sydney Greenstreet, and, my favorite, Bob Newhart’s speech at Krusty’s funeral.

No complaints about this one, but not too much that makes me think it will be a stand-out performer in this here tournament. Seeing Bart and Lisa go off on one of their little investigations is always fun, but there are better examples of that in other episodes, I think. We’ll see.

  • Are you missing Mad About You right now?

AABF21: “Guess Who’s Coming to Criticize Dinner?” (Season 11 / October 24, 1999)
Written by Al Jean
Directed by Nancy Kruse
Showrunner: Mike Scully

AABF21 Guess Who's Coming to Criticize Dinner?

It’s so interesting to me that I react so positively to episodes penned by the duo of Al Jean and Mike Reiss, like “Stark Raving Dad,” “Lisa’s Pony,” “Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala-D’oh!-cious,” but have a much harder time with those by Jean alone. It would be tempting to attest this solely to Reiss’ writing, or even to the balance he brings to their scripts, but I can’t know if that’s true. After all, it’s not just Jean’s solo work in the later seasons I don’t respond to the same way I do with episodes from the first seven or eight years, and the qualities I love are present in most, if not all of the earlier episodes, not just the ones Reiss was involved in.

My main issue with the episode is, once again, that there is not much that makes it distinctly The Simpsons: “Peter Griffin becomes a food critic; Brian helps him write reviews.” That’s about it.

The winner: 3F12, “Bart the Fink.”

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Round 112: In the Name of the Grandfather vs. Beyond Blunderdome

Round 112: LABF11 vs. AABF23.

LABF11: “In the Name of the Grandfather” (Season 20 / March 22, 2009)

Written by Matt Marshall
Directed by Ralph Sosa
Showrunner: Al Jean

The Simpsons flopping about like fish out of water

Symbolism!

I guess I must have at one point thought this episode wasn’t entirely terrible, because somehow it ended up here in this tournament. Oh, well.


AABF23: “Beyond Blunderdome” (Season 11 / September 26, 1999)
Written by Mike Scully
Directed by Steven Dean Moore
Showrunner: Mike Scully

The Simpsons AABF23 Beyond Blunderdome

I watched the first act. Then I turned it off because I remembered a) the rest of the episode and b) that I will have to (attempt to) watch it again, since…

The “winner”: AABF23, “Beyond Blunderdome.”