Simpsons, Season 27, Episode 1: Every Man's Dream
If the rest of the season is like this, it's bad news.
Last thing's first. It ends with a referential joke that is mind boggling if you aren't aware of the reference. Early Simpsons episodes referenced and parodied and it wasn't necessary to even know what was being referenced or parodied to laugh. Sure, you might laugh more if you knew the reference but you'd still laugh because the Simpsons was funny.
The Simpsons excelled at referential and self-referential humor because the joke didn't live and die on the reference. The joke was funny regardless of the reference. There's this whole genre of humor that is solely referential. It's not funny on its own. Sorry. Randomly spewing a piece of TV trivia is not funny regardless of how many people put their nose in the air and laugh as their eyes dart around looking for the people who don't get it. There's nothing to get.
I GOT THE REFERENCE, THOUGH! IT WAS ALL A DREAM IN AN EPISODE OF GIRLS AND HANNAH HORVATH SAYS SOMETHING FUNNY ABOUT BROOKLYN.
The episode, surprisingly, started off good. Homer and Marge have had serious marital problems throughout the series. I did not understand the uproar over the episode before it aired because this is a tried-and-true episode formula for the Simpsons. It's not as common as a Sideshow Bob formula but it's still common throughout Simpsons' history.
There's really not too much to say about the episode other than it lacked jokes. Bart was also weirdly psychopathic. He's always been a brat, he's always been vaguely psychopathic, but I don't recall him ever trying to kill his father and have that be played up for laughs. It was bizarre. It was too over the top, even for Bart.
The drug scene wasn't super visually interesting. Homer's already had some great drug episodes (when he meets the coyote voiced by Johnny Cash, when he starts smoking medical marijuana) and this one just seemed to go through the motions. Maybe it was a deeper commentary on millenial culture - we're so boring that even our drugs produce nothing more than minute long filler in a cartoon. I doubt that, though.
The episode was cheap and used an Inception-like series of dream endings to quickly wrap up a story that should have never been unwrapped.
Hopefully this isn't a sign of the rest of the season.