Don’t say the pitcher has lost his fastball if you can’t hit the curve

What the?!?

Hang with me. There’s a logic to this.

First off,  let’s make it clear that this post is about this:

Later this evening,  season 9 of one of our favourite shows will begin. Some of us,  including me, are super excited about this.

Others,  some of which I know are among us,  feel that the show is not the same as it used to be and,  given that they didn’t like the previous seasons,  are ready to give up on the show.

To this,  I say,  “Do you also break up with your significant other just because they want to experiment with butt stuff?”

***

This week,  The Simpsons will become the longest-running scripted series in television history. Bart and Lisa are still in grade school.  Maggie is still a baby that doesn’t speak.  Marge still wears her hair high and blue.  And Homer still works at Mr. Burns’ power plant,  drinks at Moe’s, and gets in trouble.

The general Internet population has decreed that The Simpsons stopped being good many many years ago. I don’t know as I haven’t seen a new episode in years.

Why?

I thought about this recently.  Why did I stop watching The Simpsons? Why did any of us?

After some thought,  I concluded that I got tired of the same thing every week. The same setups, the same themes,  the same punchlines.

It’s like those bands where every song sounds just like the others.  If a song plays on the radio,  you instantly recognize it’s from THAT BAND because that’s their sound.

For better or for worse,  that’s who they are.  It’s difficult to change the formula if people like it.

***

It’s difficult to write.  Period.  Writing for this site has been a labour of love for me.  I do it because I love the things I write about and because the things I write about interest me.

It’s also taught me a lot about writing and being creative.  It’s hard. Like REALLY HARD.  Writing for this site has made me appreciate the writers I like and the shows I like way more than I used to.

Even though I love writing it, I find myself sometimes falling into patterns doing the AFL Beat. Patterns make things easy and they work to keep things structured,  but they can stifle creativity.  They can also become crutches.

I try to mix things up on the AFL Beat as much as I can to keep myself amused,  let alone you readers.  God help me if I had to do that for 30 years like The Simpsons.

***

This is why I really appreciate and love what the creators of Archer have done with the series.  They knew after Season 4 that the spy agency setup was getting old and it was limiting what they could do with the characters.

The show itself,  even in the first four seasons,  played around with timelines, technology,  and references in an attempt to give themselves more flexibility in storytelling. Season 5, in which they became drug smugglers in an homage to Miami Vice,  marked a clear departure from the established spy agency setting.

The creators took the characters that everyone had already fallen in love with and were familiar with and then put them in new settings,  situations,  and timelines.  They knew that in order to keep things fresh,  they couldn’t let them stay the same age, in the same city,  and in the same business.

This,  in my opinion,  was genius.

It was also,  however,  a big risk.  The vast majority of the population resists change. Specially when there doesn’t seem to be a need for it. The creators made that decision all on their own without prompting from the audience.

Season 4 was great and no one was complaining that the show had lost a step. I loved Season 5 and so did a lot of people,  but a lot of people did not. Season 6 was a bit of a return to the familiar setting of Seasons 1-4 although it seemed forced and was, undoubtedly,  caused by pressure from the network.

It was refreshing to me,  then,  that Season 7 went to Hollywood and Season 8 went to Dreamland.  Maybe it’s because I live in LA, but those are two of my favourite seasons.

Free from restrictions,  the writing felt reenergized. The animation became more sophisticated than it ever had been as the creative team was encouraged to craft new worlds and make them look amazing.

 ***

Season 9 starts today and the setting is the South Pacific circa the late 1930s. Krieger is a talking macaw,  not a scientist doctor.  Cyril is a Nazi, not a pussy accountant. Likewise,  the other characters are both themselves and not themselves.

In essence,  they are doing cosplay on a TV show. What’s wrong with that?

Are you telling me that if your significant other wanted you both to dress up and have one play sexy professor while the other plays sexy college student that desperately needs an “A” that you’re going to say no?

***

I hope you tune in tonight with an open mind.  Just because things change doesn’t mean they can’t be good.

ballsofsteelandfury

ballsofsteelandfury

International Member of the Geelong Cats and recovering Steelers fan. Likes Butts. And Balls. And Boobs. Pretty much anything that starts with the letter B. Preferably together.
ballsofsteelandfury

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Downfield MatriculatorBrockySonOfSpamLemonJelloLow Commander of the Super Soldiers Recent comment authors
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Downfield Matriculator
Downfield Matriculator

Balls’ write up made me optimistic about an all time great show and correct about how hard it is to write well consistently. So I was more than willing to give it a chance, but . . . if the pilot is any indication we are all going to be a mite disappointed. More of this and we’re going to have to make Adam Reed eat spiderwebs

Brocky

Damn balls this was great.

I only submitted 12 weeks of fantasy gods last year, and that still burned me out.

i will add one opinion on the simpsons: there was a dramiatic change in the shows tone relatively quick, and following season 10 there was a dramatic drop in the shows quality. I liked some of the “teen years” episodes, but even when I was relatively young i could see the difference. it wasn’t so much burnout as a change of its writing staff.

Regardless, sorry for my idiotic rambling.

Snake rat

SonOfSpam

Excellent. Agree wholeheartedly, and not just about whatever the butt stuff was.

Really looking forward to tonight’s show.

LemonJello
LemonJello

Setting the DVR for this, and I plan to binge/catch up on the seasons I missed.

Low Commander of the Super Soldiers

I HAVE OPINIONS!

I recently read a piece where a writer watched every single episode of the Simpsons in about a month’s time and talked about what he thought afterwards, and I think I found the issue with that a lot of other great aging shows. His main point being that around season 13, the Simpsons stopped doing anything for a laugh (sacrificing continuity, relationships, etc) and started mainly focusing on making us care about the characters and their stories. The focus of the show completely changed, and by the end of season 16, I found it to be largely unwatchable, compared to its earlier work. It’s a shell of itself; it still has the same characters and look/feel, but the outlandish, biting humor is softened substantially in order to bring reliability and/or realism to the story. I would argue that in season 6, Archer starts to make this same change, and I think turns it on hard in season 7 and beyond. It’s not the setting that is the problem, it’s the direction that the show is a comedy (with some drama) and not a drama (with some comedy).

Archer Vice is actually one of my favorite seasons of the show, because it still feels like earlier Archer. Well, that, and the new setting still allowed for the show to have stand alone episodes, which was not the case in season 7 (with the exception of the Barry episode) and is completely gone in season 8. I am really hoping that season 9 won’t have this massive overarching (pardon the pun!) plot and will allow for the team to just get up to jungle hijinks without consequence of where it’s going next, but I don’t expect that to be the case.

I’ll still be watching. Although, I will admit I am a lot more excited about this coming back tonight:

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BrettFavresColonoscopy

Any tips on how to get IFC without paying?

Low Commander of the Super Soldiers

None from me. I am still paying for cable until May 11th, and then am switching to Hulu TV, which I believe has IFC included.

Brocky

Great points commander.

Game Time Decision
Game Time Decision

fuck my crappy Canadian cable package, it’s not on for me, and I have Fx, Fxx and Fxxx and not on any.

litre_cola

Same. Howevah reddit will have a stream

Game Time Decision
Game Time Decision

Link?

And when is showtime?

Beerguyrob

Pedro Cerrano agrees.

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BrettFavresColonoscopy

Archer: Vice was good. Archer: Dreamland not so much. Archer as Rip Riley makes me nervous. I will obviously watch and hope that it’s the equivalent of Sexy Hamburglar Cosplay rather than Sexy Grimace Cosplay.

nomonkeyfun

Be careful with the dressing up if you want to pretend you are in the late 30’s.

If your S/O wants to do kinky Indiana Jones stuff, make sure you do her(phrasing)
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and not her
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BrettFavresColonoscopy

Teenage BFC’s penis disagrees.

nomonkeyfun

I’d rather sleep with someone who can drink me under the table than a Nazi that already slept with my Dad. But, you do you.

Beerguyrob

I’m just relieved neither of you mentioned Short Round.

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Brick Meathook
Brick Meathook

Hey Mister Ed never got old and every episode was just pure gold. Although is there anything as funny as a talking horse? Oh my goodness did I get a chuckle out of that! The horse could talk! Can you imagine that? The horse could fucking talk.

LemonJello
LemonJello

Mr.Ed, care to comment?
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blaxabbath

Good TAEK.

I got into Archer after it’d been on a few seasons. While I do appreciate their branching out with the Archer Vice, etc storylines, it just didn’t interest me and I got away from the show (I think I binged the LA one when I was in bed sick one weekend and probably slept through most of it). So I do agree that producing anything is always difficult after the first few season and I do give props to the Archer team for being creative. What I do not — again, personal taste — applaud is the standard jokes just being in a different setting when they do these themed seasons. Bart Simpsons delivering his signature ‘Aye Caramba!’ line in a Knights of the Roundtable storyline doesn’t make the gag any more fresh. Again though, creating is hard and I don’t fault the writers for trying.

I was a fan of Brooklyn Nine-Nine for the first few years. It seemed to take the conventional “we’ve made it” approach for a season where, just as with every single other sitcom, they’d have storylines where a character is hooked on energy drinks or someone forgot an anniversary/birthday/etc or we get to “Meet the Parents”. But they seems to have turned and gone the Archer route (not as extreme as changing the settings but incorporating significant season-long story arcs) and that has, in my opinion, reinvigorated a show that looked to have been losing its shine.

So, yeah, even if Archer: Jungle isn’t as good as the early seasons, it’s still probably better than anything from the studios at ESPN.