A show out of ideas teams up with a show out of episodes.
Whereas The Simpsons and Family Guy crossover episode earlier this year mirrored its double billing with a double length running time, Simpsorama is a brisk 20 minute jaunt which whilst is certainly funny, simply doesn’t have enough time to become anything more meaningful than an interesting footnote in each show’s history.
When Bart throws a snot filled sandwich (mmm, snot sandwich) into a time capsule along with Milhouse’s lucky rabbit foot, he unwittingly creates an army of Bart/Bunny Gremlins which wreak havoc in the 31st century, meaning Bender is sent back from the future to kill Homer and ensure that the the Gremlins were never created.
Whilst the initial half of the episode is a laugh a minute – “Even God hates jazz!” – it peters out towards the end with there simply being too many characters getting their moment crammed into to the 20 minutes, meaning the final act is a little rushed. Zoidberg puts it best:
“Looks like everyone gets a time to say something. This concludes my time.”
It’s a shame, because Futurama and The Simpsons have a lot in common, and are perhaps better suited to a crossover than The Simpsons/Family Guy were. The animation style is similar, as is the writing style, and the characters have a great deal in common. Whilst The Simpsons Guy crossover was jarring at times – particularly seeing the less “politically correct” characters Stewie and Peter interacting with Bart and Homer – the characters from these two shows are a good fit, and just feel right.
As was the case with The Simpsons Guy, Homer is placed front and centre, with Simpsorama’s greatest strengths coming from his interactions with Bender. The pairing is exceptional from the off, providing the biggest laughs and the sweetest moments.
“You’re the only guy I know with less hair than me.”
Whereas The Simpsons Guy sourced a significant amount of its jokes from pointing out and poking fun at the similarities between the two shows, Simpsorama keeps this to a minimum with a handful of well placed “inside jokes”. This for me is its biggest victory over the Family Guy/The Simpsons crossover – the humour comes less from cheeky jokes, with two shows slyly mocking one another, and more from well written character moments.
Ultimately, there is just not enough meat on the bones of the episode to elevate Simpsorama into classic territory. 20 minutes is simply not enough time for two shows with rich histories to both be given their full service, and nor really was 40 minutes enough time for The Simpsons Guy (though I would say it was certainly more successful in doing so, in no small part due to the extra time allotted).
I suppose that in the end we have to take it for what it is – one more (final?) chance to see the wonderful characters of Futurama gracing the small screen again. A chance for a Kang and Kodos bombshell*. And a chance to see Homer and Bender become soul mates**.
If this is farewell to Futurama, it’s been a pleasure.
Short and sweet, however unfortunately too succinct to allow these two great shows the breathing room to fully explore the colourful cast of characters beyond a fleeting and all too brief story.
Rating (out of 5):
* So apparently the deep voiced aliens Kang and Kodos are in fact female, and are in a relationship together. Who would’ve thunk it?!
** Bender and Homer’s final scene together is truly heartbreaking.
Click here for a my The Simpsons Guy Review.