The Simpsons Season 12 (2000) – TV Review

It’s clear as we head into the new millennium, and the third different decade ‘The Simpsons’ has been on air, that the show is no longer the fresh and groundbreaking thing it once was. However, that doesn’t stop it from being enjoyable.

The episode where the children are trapped in the school with Skinner, and Homer and Ned set out to rescue them, features some really great character moments and dynamics that make it a fun Christmas episode.

The episode in which Homer has a pencil removed from his brain and is suddenly smart isn’t the funniest episode, but it’s one that stuck with my for a long time for some reason, most likely as it provides some good Homer/Lisa moments.

“Bye, Bye, Nerdie” is a real stand out episode for me. The dual storylines involve Homer on a mission to baby proof everything in the ‘American Home’ and Lisa on a mission to understand the cause of bullying. The high concept of Lisa’s story cleverly compares with the silly and simply premise of Homer’s and plenty of great jokes and funny moments occur here, especially relating to Homer.

Rating = 3.5/5

Harry Hill’s World of TV (2020) – TV Review

For many people of my generation, a real TV highlight from our childhood was the absurd and hilarious ‘Harry Hill’s TV Burp’ where the comedian would use clips of the previous weeks TV and turn them into hilarious sketches or alter the context with a funny voice over.

That show was perfected marketed at kids, with grown ups also being able to enjoy too. However, that show has been off the air for a long time now and recently the BBC decided that they would swoop and bring Hill back to what he does best.

‘World of TV’ is a six part show where each episode focuses on a particular type of TV show (Home Improvement, Cooking, Crime etc) and Harry then runs us through that genre right from its beginning and how it has developed over the years.

Hill picks his narrative to joke about and then the remarkable archive team find simply unbelievable amounts of footage that back it and create comedy gold.

It really does feel like a more sophisticated version of ‘TV Burp’ that still maintains Hill’s often childish and always hilarious humour. He is the king of funny voiceovers.

This is one of the most light-hearted, well made and simply best TV shows of the year. Superb from Harry Hill and team.

Rating = 4.5/5

The Simpsons Season 11 (1999) – TV Review

The golden years are definitely over now and we are in a new era of ‘The Simpsons’ but that doesn’t necessarily mean the show has started a real down hill trajectory, it just means it no longer lives up to the ‘best ever on TV’ levels of some of the past seasons.

The opening episode is not a laugh riot (and certainly feels weird with everything we know about Mel Gibson) but it’s packed full of film and pop culture references that I personally appreciated and found it an enjoyable start to the season.

“Alone again, Natura-Diddly” is a strangely mournful and yet unnecessary episode where Maude Flanders is killed off and the episode focuses on Ned struggling to find someone else to love. It could’ve better explored his loss and how it effected his faith, so I feel this episode was a missed opportunity.

The meta finale “Behind the Laughter” is a strange choice as the finale of the season but it is a really fun and well made episode, completely turning the show on its head and giving the writers and voice actors the chance to really have fun.

Rating = 3.5/5

I Hate Suzie (2020) – TV Review

2020 has been a tough year for everyone in so many ways, but one of the positives of spending much more time at home has been the chance to watch more of the superb content on TV.

The best and most groundbreaking show of 2020 so far has been Michaela Coel’s ‘I May Destroy You’, and ‘I Hate Suzie’ feels like a perfect companion piece. They are both hilarious, dark, upsetting, sexual, and riveting dramas that defy almost every stereotype you would expect and provide unmissable viewing.

Created by Lucy Prebble and Billie Piper, reuniting again after the superb and equally boundary pushing ‘The Secret Diary of a Call Girl’, the story of ‘I Hate Suzie’ follows Suzie (Billie Piper), a former child pop star and now an actress, who has her life thrown upside down when naked photos leak online of her, and even worse, it is very clearly another man and not her husband that is alongside her in them.

This storyline feels not only personal to Piper who was a young pop star in the public eye that then became an actress, but also ripped from the headlines as recent years have seen terrible nude photo leaks for many actresses, most famously the 2014 incident that effected dozens of stars, most notably Jennifer Lawrence. The public and media reactions to this is often to blame the people themselves rather than those who have invaded their privacy, and this show really explores that in all its complexities.

The first episode builds up an almost unbearable tension as Suzie learns of these leaks and tries to stop her life from falling apart whilst also maintaining a calm public persona, and some visually stunning and instantly iconic TV ensues. There are a lot of twists and turns throughout the series so I will not go into too much plot detail, but the way the story unfolds is constantly fresh and never what you would expect.

Episode 4, titled ‘Shame’, is one of the most unique and simply best episodes of TV this year. The whole episode is centred around a troubled Suzie trying to masturbate, but instead of the traditional ‘few minutes and move on scene’, we get a cerebral look into her psyche and desires, specifically at this tumultuous time in her life. The story flows off in all sorts of random ways, featuring multiple bizarre sexual fantasies, dark childhood flashbacks, and even imaginary conversations with her assistant.

It is so clear this is a story being told by women, and this episodes represents that perfectly, as the often frustrating stop/start journey towards pleasure for a woman is shown realistically as opposed to the usual ‘have a woman do it like a man’ method we usually see. “You know what I call it when you cry after? A french wank” is how a character refers to it, in one of the funniest lines of the year.

The show not only deals with sex, hacking, the media, the entertainment industry, and family, but it also really looks at female friendship, specifically through the lens of Suzie and Naomi (Leila Farzad). Naomi is Suzie’s manager and best friend who does everything for her, but Farzad is essentially a co-lead as her story also has its own separate strands that eventually lead back to Suzie and we look at the power dynamics and dependencies that creep into friendships.

This show isn’t interested in ‘strong women’ or being role models, but it is interested in exploring truths and complexities. It is funny, it is shocking, it is dark, it is sexy, and it is quite simply one of the best TV shows of 2020.

Rating = 4.5/5

72nd Emmy Awards – Winners

This years Emmy Awards was always going to be very different, as it was delayed and then done virtually due to the Corona Virus pandemic.

However, the awards themselves were incredibly straight forward and mostly as we expected with three (mostly deserving) shows sweeping across the board. I thought it was great to see how ‘Watchmen’ deserving got its rewards and the best moment of the night was the incredible Zendaya becoming the youngest ever best actress winner.

The full winners of the major awards are below, and if you compare these to my predictions just before the ceremony, I managed to get 10/16 which is a solid effort I think.

Most Major Wins – Schitt’s Creek – 5

OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES –

Win – Succession

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES –

Win – Jeremy Strong – Succession

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES –

Win – Zendaya!!! – Euphoria

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES –

Win – Billy Crudup – The Morning Show

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES –

Win – Julia Garner – Ozark

OUTSTANDING TELEVISION MOVIE –

Win – Bad Education

OUTSTANDING LIMITED SERIES –

Win – Watchmen

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE –

Win – Mark Ruffalo – I Know This Much Is True

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE –

Win – Regina King – Watchmen

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE –

Win – Yahya Abdul-Mateen II – Watchmen

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE –

Win – Uzo Aduba – Mrs. America

OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES –

Win – Schitt’s Creek

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES –

Win – Eugene Levy – Schitt’s Creek

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES –

Win – Catherine O’Hara – Schitt’s Creek

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES –

Win – Dan Levy – Schitt’s Creek

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES –

Win – Annie Murphy – Schitt’s Creek

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