The Simpsons Season 34 - Episode 12
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The thirty-fourth season of the American animated television series The Simpsons premiered on Fox on September 25, 2022. The season will consist of twenty-two episodes. The series was later renewed for seasons 35 and 36 on January 26, 2023.
The season was announced on March 3, 2021, when it was revealed that The Simpsons had been renewed for its thirty-third and thirty-fourth. The season is the first in which two Treehouse of Horror episodes are aired in a single season: a single 20-minute parody of the 2017 supernatural horror film It, followed by the traditional anthology episode the following week.
After the show's annual hiatus, The Simpsons season 34, episode 12 returned with a tribute to Chris Ledesma. The Simpsons has been on the air for almost thirty-five years. With 34 seasons and over 700 episodes, The Simpsons is one of the longest-running shows in television history. As such, few professionals can say that they worked on every episode of the show.
However, the late Chris Ledesma can claim that incredible achievement. Ledesma was the music editor for The Simpsons from seasons 1 to 33. Since the Golden Age of The Simpsons, Ledesma's work was instrumental in shaping the sound of the series, as the music editor crafted the unique musical accompaniment that defined the tone of The Simpsons. Unfortunately, Ledesma's worsening health led the music editor to leave his duties to Jake Schaefer in season 34. However, Ledesma was still credited throughout season 34 (including a darkly humorous Treehouse of Horror name tag).
As well as editing the music of The Simpsons, Ledesma also maintained the blog Simpsons Music 500. He was nominated for a Golden Reel award for his work on The Simpsons season 10, episode 11, "Wild Barts Can't Be Broken," an underrated outing that saw the kids of Springfield take revenge on their elders by exposing their shameful secrets. Ledesma worked on The Simpsons since its oldest, earliest episodes and was remembered by producer Matt Selman as "a sweet, goofy guy with a giant heart." Former showrunner Al Jean called Ledesma a "wonderful, hard-working, very talented man who will be missed by all he knew."
However, Ledesma's career was not limited to his inimitable contributions to The Simpsons. The music editor also worked on dozens of TV movies and shows in the same capacity and provided music editing for the theatrical film Dudley Do-Right, Blast from the Past, Dracula: Dead and Loving It, and Robin Hood: Men In Tights. In The Simpsons season 34, episode 6, "Treehouse of Horror XXXIII," the industry veteran was credited as "Chris' One Last Time' Ledesma," a nod to his then-recent health troubles. He passed away in December 2022.
While The Simpsons season 34 changed the show's opening credits numerous times, the "In Loving Memory" tribute to Ledesma was the first post-credits dedication seen in the season so far. The tribute saw an animated version of Ledesma leading the Simpson children in a couch-bound mini-symphony, conducting as Bart played the triangle, Maggie played the tambourine, and Lisa played her trademark saxophone. The brief dedication was a fitting tribute to an under-recognized music editor whose work helped to shape The Simpsons throughout its long run and whose contributions to the series will be missed after his untimely passing.
The Simpsons has been around for three decades now, spawning over 700 episodes and one theatrical movie (Homer voice: one theatrical movie so far!). It wasn't an easy task considering how many there were to choose from, but these 34 episodes are essential viewing for anyone who enjoys hanging out in Springfield, USA.
"Homer the Great" is a classic, absurdist Simpsons episode of the type only the inimitable John Swartzwelder could write. When Homer discovers that Lenny and Carl are members of a secret society known as the Stonecutters, he winds up joining and bumbling his way into becoming their fabled Chosen One. Power goes to Homer's head, of course, and the ensuing rise and fall of Springfield's new god-king is a real hoot. Plus, this episode gets bonus points for its great use of guest star Patrick Stewart and having one of the show's catchiest original songs in "We Do."
Like the series as a whole, the annual Treehouse of Horror specials peaked fairly early on, back when the emphasis was more on spooky fun than parodying the hot movie franchises of the moment. The sixth special still ranks among the best of the bunch, particularly thanks to its hilarious slasher movie spoof "Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace." This is also the episode that gave us Homer Cubed, a then-groundbreaking segment that dragged Homer kicking and screaming into 3D.
Thanks to the perpetually sliding timeline of The Simpsons, the series has given us many conflicting accounts of what life was like when Homer and Marge were younger and learning the ropes of being parents. This episode ranks as the best of that particular formula. It springs from a simple question - "Why are there no baby pictures of Maggie in the house?" - and uses it as a springboard for a surprisingly heartfelt look at Maggie's origins and Homer's brief stint as a bowling alley employee. As cynical as The Simpsons can be, this episode truly wears its heart on its sleeve.
In this episode, Lisa learned the same lesson Batman would come to understand in The Dark Knight - sometimes you need to let a city have its heroes, even if the reality doesn't actually measure up to the ideal. "Lisa the Iconoclast" is one of the stronger episodes to focus on Lisa's moral dilemma of the day. Here she makes it her mission to force Springfield to realize the truth about its beloved founder, Jebediah Springfield, only to once again find herself a town pariah. As with a lot of great Lisa-driven episodes, the focus is as much on Homer and the conflict between following his whims and wanting to live up to Lisa's expectations. A memorable guest performance from Donald Sutherland is the icing on the cake in this episode.
While The Simpsons was still honing its voice in Season 2, this unusually dramatic episode offered a glimpse of the golden period that was to come for the series. Here Homer confronts his own mortality in a very real and immediate way, fearing he's just ingested a poisonous blowfish and has only one day left to live. The result could have been overly sentimental and melodramatic, but this episode toes the line between humor and tragedy easily enough. The scenes of Homer bidding farewell to his family and confronting his imminent demise show an unusually human side of a character who so often comes across as a self-centered, even sociopathic jerk.
At the same time, this episode ends on an appropriately sly note. One minute, Homer is celebrating his second lease on life and promising to live every day to the fullest, the next he's stretched out on the couch with a half-eaten bag of pork rinds.
This episode introduced fans to Moana Simpson (voiced by Glenn Close), Homer's long-lost mother who's spent the last several decades on the lam after running afoul of a (slightly) younger Mr. Burns. The ensuing family reunion is a lot of fun, from Homer's childish plays at attention to Lisa finally discovering a family member she can look up to. But ultimately, Moana realized she couldn't outrun her past, and that's where this episode finds its enduring appeal. Homer and Moana's tearful goodbye ranks among the most emotional moments of the show. It's basically The Simpsons' answer to Futurama's "The Luck of the Fryrish."
One of our favorite animated sitcom tropes is the episode where a character goes to extreme lengths to get out of having to perform an annoying task. "King-Size Homer" sees Homer transform into a 300-pound caricature of himself in order to get out of Mr. Burns' mandatory exercise program and enjoy the pleasures of working from home. But when nuclear meltdown looms, Homer has to race against the clock and his own, uncooperative body in order to save the day.
Nothing illustrates just how ridiculous and unprecedented The Simpsons' multi-decade run is than episodes like "Lisa's Wedding." This episode flashes forward to what was then the far-flung, futuristic landscape of 2010 to explore what Springfield looks like 15 years in the future. Apart from the presence of Jetsons-style hover cars and Bart being gainfully employed, not much had changed.
The 2010 humor alone would have been enough to make this episode succeed, but it also hinges on a romance between Lisa and her handsome, wealthy British suitor, Hugh (Mandy Patinkin). As much as Lisa may be embarrassed by her family, she can't bring herself to marry a man who won't accept them for who they are. Even though the whole future storyline is just a glorified "What if?" scenario, it serves as one of the more poignant looks at the love between Lisa and Homer.
We're cheating a bit on this one by technically including two episodes, it's true. To date, "Who Shot Mr. Burns?" remains the only two-part storyline the show has ever tackled. And it was a gleeful parody of the infamous "Who Shot J.R.?" storyline on the 1980's soap opera Dallas.
The first episode closed out Season 6, as Mr. Burns managed to piss off just about every resident of Springfield by stealing oil, blocking out the sun, firing Smithers and still, through it all, never remembering Homer's name. The episode ended on a cliffhanger, with Burns shot and dozens of Springfielders as potential culprits. Season 7 continued the drama as Chief Wiggum investigated the crime and Lisa raced to clear her father's name before he actually killed his boss.
This was the first major tragedy to strike the Flanders clan since Ned's brush with financial ruin in Season 1. It upset his comfortable, squeaky-clean world and allowed for an extended character arc to play out over the course of many seasons as Ned adjusted to the single-parent lifestyle and started dating again. It was one of several cases where a key twist has given an old character new life on this show. 781b155fdc