Ah, the dreaded clip shows. Networks used to demand they be produced quite often — every few seasons, usually — but today’s world of TV on DVD and online streaming has rendered the sitcom clip show all but obsolete. (The Office did one not too long ago, but that’s the only clip show it has done, as far as I know.) Clip shows, in the eyes of network executives, are fantastic, since they don’t cost much to produce and provide an easy opportunity for viewers who haven’t been watching from the start to catch up on what they have been missing. Dedicated viewers, on the other hand, loathe clip shows with a passion — to them, clip shows are an insult and a complete waste of time.
Four clip show episodes were produced during the first eleven seasons of The Simpsons, and while none of them achieved classic status, two were handled about as well as can be expected. Season nine’s “All Singing, All Dancing” is one of the two that were not. In fact, of the 248 episodes produced for The Simpsons‘ first eleven seasons, this is the only one I find genuinely irritating. This particular clip show focuses on the songs that have appeared throughout the series, and while they have picked an excellent set of songs that never get old, the framing device that allows for them to be showed is appallingly weak. The Paint Your Wagon parody is kind of inspired, though I haven’t seen the actual movie, so I can’t really judge. (Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef appear as they do in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly though, which is cool.)
Everything with Snake holding the family at gunpoint for singing, however, is ridiculous, stupid, and annoying. Watching the songs again is a blast, for sure, but I’d rather watch the episodes that originally featured them or listen to them on the two excellent Simpsons’ soundtracks that feature music from the first nine seasons, Songs in the Key of Springfield (1997) and Go Simpsonic with the Simpsons (1999). All nine of the tunes featured in this episode — and the “Paint Your Wagon” song too for that matter — appear on those two soundtracks, which are essential listening for any Simpsons fan. As for “All Singing, All Dancing,” it’s just about worthless, aside from the Paint Your Wagon sequence at the beginning, which is okay, but is by no means great.
Not much to post here, since most of the episode time is clips from previous episodes.
LEE MARVIN (singing): Gonna paint your wagon. Gonna paint it fine. Gonna use oil-based paint, ’cause the wood is pine!
BART (singing): I hate to dance, and prance, and sing. That’s really more of a Milhouse thing!
HOMER: Ugh, I knew I should have shut that window.
MARGE: We got the popcorn! Did you get Waiting to Exhale?
HOMER: Well, they put us on the Waiting to Exhale waiting list, but they said don’t hold yer breath.
LISA: Did you get Emma? Did you get Emma? Didja, didja, didja, huh?
HOMER: Whoa, whoa. Calm down, little lady. Take it easy, take it easy, heh, heh. No.
MARGE: What did you get?
HOMER: Something very close, exactly along those lines. A Clint Eastwood-Lee Marvin shoot ’em-up Western!
BART: So prepare yourself for the bloody mayhem and unholy carnage of Joshua Logan’s Paint Your Wagon.
HOMER: With blood, I bet!
MAN: Hey, that’s a pretty sorry-lookin’ wagon you got there, mister.
OUTLAW: I reckon it could use a… coat of paint.
MAN (calling out happily): Well, what are we waitin’ for?
OUTLAW and MAN (singing): Gonna paint our wagon. Gonna paint it good. We ain’t braggin’. We’re gonna coat that wood!
HOMER: They’re singing! They’re singing, Marge! Why aren’t they killing each other?
BART: Yeah, their guns are right there!
HOMER: Wait, wait, wait! Here comes Lee Marvin! Thank God! He’s always drunk and violent!
HOMER: Oh, why did they have to screw up a perfectly serviceable wagon story with all that fruity singing?
MARGE: I thought it was toe-tapping fun.
HOMER: Singing is the lowest form of communication.
MARGE: Homer, you sing all the time.
HOMER: No, I don’t. I hate to rhyme.
(Music swells as the family starts to sing.)
LISA: You like musicals…don’t you Dad?
HOMER: No, I don’t. I think they’re bad! They’re fake, and phony, and totally wrong!
BART: Wake up, Dad, you’re singing a song!
HOMER: I wouldn’t, I couldn’t, I hate that stuff!
MARGE: Now, Homer, listen, I’ve had enough! In our family videos, we have plainly seen, you’re a singing, dancing, entertainment machine.
HOMER (singing): All right, Marge! You’ve convinced me there are more terrible things than music comedies where everyone sings!
LISA (singing): There is something worse!
BART (singing): And it really does blow!
SIMPSONS (singing): When a long-running series does a cheesy clip show!
(Confetti and streamers fall from above, and a banner is lowered, reading, “The Simpsons Clip Show #4 ‘5F24′”)
Odds and Ends
Songs featured (in order):
- “Baby on Board” from “Homer’s Barbershop Quartet” (Season 5, Episode 1) [9F21]
- “We Put the Spring in Springfield” from “Bart After Dark” (Season 8, Episode 5) [4F06]
- “Springfield, Springfield” from “Boy-Scoutz ‘n the Hood” (Season 5, Episode 8) [1F06]
- “Who Needs the Kwik-E-Mart?” from “Homer and Apu” (Season 5, Episode 13) [1F10]
- “Send in the Clowns” from “Krusty Gets Kancelled” (Season 4, Episode 22) [9F19]
- “See My Vest” from “Two Dozen and One Greyhounds” (Season 6, Episode 20) [2F18]
- “The Monorail Song” from “Marge vs. the Monorail” (Season 4, Episode 12) [9F10]
- “In the Garden of Eden” from “Bart Sells His Soul” (Season 7, Episode 4) [3F02]
- “We Do” from “Homer the Great” (Season 6, Episode 12) [2F09]