REVIEW: THE SIMPSONS – SEASON 30

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CAST

Dan Castellaneta (Super 8)
Julie Kavner (Dr. Dolittle)
Yeardley Smith (Dead Like Me)
Nancy Cartwright (Kim Possible)
Hank Azaria (The Smurfs)
Harry Shearer (This Is Spinal Tap)
Pamela Hayden (Recess)
Tress MacNeille (Futurama)
Russi Taylor (Babe)

The Simpsons (1989)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Emily Deschanel (Bones)
Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Rhys Darby (Yes Man)
George Segal (2012)
H. Jon Benjamin (Wet Hot Ameircan Summer)
Jon Lovitz (Happiness)
Kristen Schaal (Gravity Falls)
Tracy Morgan (Cop Out)
Maggie Roswell (Pretty In Pink)
Ksenia Solo (Lost Girl)
RuPaul (But I’m a Cheerleader)
Scott Thompson (The Kids In The Hall)
Peter Serafinowicz (The Tick)
J.K. Simmons (Justice League)
Jane Lynch (Glee)
Bryan Batt (Scream: The Series)
Patti LuPone (Witness)
Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of The Water)
Wallace Shawn (Young Sheldon)
Ken Jeong (The Hangover)
Natasha Lyonne (American Pie)
Awkwafina (Ocean’s 8)
Nicole Byer (Tuca & Bertie)
Chelsea Peretti (Game Night)
John Lithgow (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Josh Groban (The Crazy Ones)
Will Forte (The Lego Movie)
Jackie Mason (The Jerk)
Liev Schreiber (The 5th Wave)
Illeana Douglas (Ghost World)
Jenny Slate (The Secrets Life of Pets)
Werner Herzog (Jack Reacher)

The Simpsons (1989)It’s hilarious comedy, funny, and one of my all time favorite T.V shows .. The series is a satirical depiction of a middle class American lifestyle epitomized by the Simpson family, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. The show is set in the fictional town of Springfield and parodies American culture, society, television, and many aspects of the human condition. Modern Simpsons episodes are often both overstuffed and under-imagined, resulting in two indifferent, inadequately realized stories. Even though the show has dropped in creativity and in the joke department, it’s still worthy.Nancy Cartwright, Pamela Hayden, and Tress MacNeille in The Simpsons (1989)

Season 30 Highlights are…

The Simpsons (1989)

Bart’s Not Dead

Bart ends up in the hospital after taking a dare and lies about going to heaven to cover it up, but is forced to confess after Homer takes a deal with Christian producers to make a movie about the whole thing.

Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Dan Castellaneta, and Yeardley Smith in The Simpsons (1989)

Heartbreak Hotel

Marge and Homer travel to a tropical island and go on Marge’s favorite reality competition program to win a million dollars.

Yeardley Smith in The Simpsons (1989)

My Way or The Highway to Heaven

While God and St. Peter discuss who will get into heaven, the citizens of Springfield recall divine encounters.

Julie Kavner and Dan Castellaneta in The Simpsons (1989)

Baby You Can’t Drive My Car

A self-driving car company comes to Springfield, poaching all of the power plant employees with their fun work environment.

Julie Kavner and RuPaul in The Simpsons (1989)

Werking Mom

In search of a job, Marge gets one selling plastic food storage containers – as a drag queen; Lisa tries to make the world better.

The Simpsons (1989)

Mad About The Toy

Motivated by a PTSD episode Grampa had while babysitting the kids, the Simpsons take a journey to Grampa’s past as a post-WW2 toy model for plastic army men, and Abe finally faces his on confused sexuality.

The Simpsons (1989)

The Girl On The Bus

Lisa tries to live a double life when she makes a new friend and gets a taste of what it would be like to live with a more cultured family.

Hank Azaria, Julie Kavner, Dan Castellaneta, and Yeardley Smith in The Simpsons (1989)

I’m Dancing as Fat as I Can

Homer tries to make amends for binging his and Marge’s favorite show without her; Bart prepares for “Krusty’s Holiday Trample”

Wallace Shawn and Dan Castellaneta in The Simpsons (1989)

I Want You (She’s So Heavy)

When a romantic night ends in injury for Homer and Marge, Lisa turns to an unlikely source to fix their strained relationship.)

The Simpsons (1989)

E My Sports

Homer discovers a passion for coaching Bart in video game competitions; Lisa’s plan to bring Homer back to reality creates chaos.

J.K. Simmons and Yeardley Smith in The Simpsons (1989)

Girl’s in the Band

Homer works extra shifts at the plant so Lisa can play in the Capitol City Youth Philharmonic.

The Simpsons (1989)

I’m Just a Girl Who Can’t Say D’oh

Marge becomes Director of Springfield’s local theater, armed with Lisa’s script resembling “Hamilton”; Homer joins a baby class with Maggie, and takes a liking to supervisor Chloe.

Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Dan Castellaneta, Yeardley Smith, and Awkwafina in The Simpsons (1989)

D’oh Canada

Lisa is mistakenly given political asylum in Canada during a family trip to Niagara Falls.

Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Dan Castellaneta, and Yeardley Smith in The Simpsons (1989)

Crystal Blue-Haired Persuasion

Marge starts a business selling healing crystals and other New Age products to the naive mothers of Springfield when Homer’s work cuts children’s health-care benefits, leading Marge to use the crystals as a cheaper solution for Bart’s ADD.

REVIEW: THE DARK CRYSTAL: AGE OF RESISTANCE

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (2019)

Starring

Taron Egerton (Legend)
Anya Taylor-Joy (Glass)
Nathalie Emmanuel (Game of Thrones)
Donna Kimball (The Happytime Murders)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Eddie Izzard (Hannibal)
Helena Bonham Carter (Fight Club)
Caitriona Balfe (Crush)
Lena Headey (Game of Thrones)
Harris Dickinson (The Darkest Minds)
Shazad Latif (Star Trek: Discovery)
Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Belle)
Alicia Vikander (Tomb Raider)
Hannah John-Kamen (Ant-Man and The Wasp)
Natalie Dormer (Game of Thrones)
Mark Strong (Shazam)
Theo James (Divergent)
Louise Gold (Muppets Most Wanted)
Jason Isaacs (Fury)
Simon Pegg (The Boys)
Awkwafina (Ocean’s 8)
Bendedict Wong (Doctor Strange)
Harvey Fierstein (The Simpsons)
Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)
Ralph Ineson (Ready Player One)
Alice Dinnean (The Happytime Murders)
Keegan-Michael Key (Tomorrowland)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars_
Sigourney Weaver (Alien)
Bill Hader (Power Rangers)

Donna Kimball in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (2019)The Dark Crystal is a tremendous filmmaking achievement that’s only a pretty good movie. A technical marvel, undoubtedly; definitive proof that film is a collaborative medium, and a formative experience for the devoted cult that saw it when they were young and have now passed it onto their children. But also a B-, B if you’re feeling generous. Like many other big-budget genre blockbusters flying in Star Wars’ contrails during the early 1980s—David Lynch’s Dune comes to mind—it puts a fully realized, authentically unearthly realm on the screen, and then fails to give that place much in the way of a narrative.The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (2019)Another world, another time, in the age of Westeros: Netflix funds a return trip to Thra, winding the clock back to before the emergence of the heroic Jen and Kira, to an era when the elfin Gelfling and the monstrous Skeksis lived in tenuous (and, it turns out, entirely bogus) harmony. And a moment when the grand ambitions of Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Brian and Wendy Froud, David Odell, and countless others are realized in The Dark Crystal: Age Of Resistance.Victor Yerrid in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (2019)That original film is first and foremost a visual experience, and the imagery still takes precedence here: Age Of Resistance recreates Thra through further acts of practical-effects wizardry, a fantasia of forest glens, desert cliffs, underground caves, and castles both majestic and austere. The premiere episode leans into this (while also giving a good indication of the series’ pace) when it breaks from character introductions in order to send the camera corkscrewing through a glamour shot of the royal library favored by Gelfling princess Brea (Anya Taylor-Joy and Alice Dinnean—with a handful of exceptions, the principal performances are a collaboration between the puppeteers on screen and actors in the recording booth). With the elbow room of a potentially ongoing series, the writers—led by Will Matthews and Jeffrey Addiss (the duo who developed the series) and seasoned genre TV vet Javier Grillo-Marxuach—get deliberate with their opening chapters, luxuriating in palace intrigue amongst the Skeksis and the establishment of the seven fractious clans of Gelfling.The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (2019)It’s dense going, until the outlines of the heroes’ journey snaps into focus, showing the intersecting quests of the curious noble Brea, disgraced guard Rian (Taron Egerton and Neil Sterenberg), and the compassionate subterranean-dwelling Deet (Nathalie Emmanuel and Beccy Henderson). It is not coincidental that Age Of Resistance hits its hot streak once these elements are in place—and after Deet acquires a sidekick: Hup (Victor Yerrid), one of The Dark Crystal’s diminutive and gibbering creatures known as Podlings. Hup has outsize chivalric aspirations, carries a spoon he calls a sword, and generally rules.Anya Taylor-Joy in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (2019)Age Of Resistance improves on its big-screen source material by giving viewers protagonists who are worth a damn; even Egerton—whose most interesting star turns to date have been primarily interesting because they’re bolstered by the Elton John-Bernie Taupin songbook—is an improvement over The Dark Crystal’s ineffectual, underwritten Baggins stand-in, Jen. But there’s a taller hurdle to clear in the Gelfling’s humanoid appearances, which even four decades of technological advances can’t pull from the depths of the uncanny valley. (It comes down to the eyes: Deet, with saucer-sized pupils suited to underground living, looks far enough from human for this to ever be a problem.) The effectiveness of the Age Of Resistance illusion can vary depending on the number of Gelfling on screen and the varying degrees to which their faces are articulated—large group scenes and Gelfling-to-Gelfling conversations occasionally have a ring of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson to them.Nathalie Emmanuel in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (2019)Thank heavens, then, for the Skeksis. A monument to the Frouds’ gnarly aesthetics and Henson’s lack of qualms about frightening the youngest members of his audience, the villains loom large over The Dark Crystal. In Age Of Resistance, they occupy a role akin to that of the Lannisters in Game Of Thrones: deeply out-of-touch aristocrats who believe power is their birthright, and whose extravagances and squabbles account for the series’ most amusing set-pieces. (In a playful casting choice, Cersei Lannister herself, Lena Headey, voices a Gelfling leader on the show.) They chance upon a fountain of youth when Thra’s all-powerful Crystal Of Truth sucks the life out of a Gelfling, leaving behind only her essence—which is discovered to have a rejuvenating effect. This corruption of the planet’s most precious resource coincides with the experiments the Skeksis Emperor (Jason Isaacs and Dave Chapman) conducts on a glowing, purple hole in the ground—a “darkening” that is both key to the series’ political subtexts and a regally hued thread in Age Of Resistance tapestry of mythological nonsense.Hannah John-Kamen and Taron Egerton in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (2019)Here, as in later in The Dark Crystal’s chronology, the ugliness of the Skeksis’ deeds manifests physically: the craggy sculpting of the puppets’ faces, their combination of avian and reptilian features, as if situated on the evolutionary scale from velociraptor to plain old raptor. They’re treated to new textures and terrors in Age Of Resistance. Sequences depicting their indulgences in the seven deadly sins don’t stray too far from their cinematic predecessors, but the staging and satirical edge remain sharp. A spa treatment brusquely interrupted by the similarly lumpy crone Aughra (Donna Kimball and Kevin Clash) is one of the first season’s comedic highlights.Victor Yerrid, Nathalie Emmanuel, and Taron Egerton in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (2019)The Skeksis’ role in Age Of Resistance is more encore than elaboration, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s not like there’s been all that much change in the ruling class skewered by the Skeksis’ chomping, preening, condescending grotesquery. They’re perfect adversaries and an essential energy, which director Louis Letterier amps up in extreme close-ups and off-kilter camera angles. They’re creepy and campy, and the production lines up a murderers’ row of hams to handle their shrieks and whimpers: Simon Pegg, making a meal of the Chamberlain’s scheming murmurs; Mark Hamill, twisting his strangled Joker vocalizations into those of a mad Scientist; Harvey Fierstein, a choice so deliciously on the nose, it’s practically a part of the puppet’s face. Imperious turns from Isaacs and Benedict Wong make sure that the characters’ true, evil nature is never too far from mind.The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (2019)The Skeksis play the hits, but they bring some newly goopy accessories and freshly terrifying rituals, too. Bubbling, oozing pustules dot the face of The Collector (Awkwafina and Helena Smee), and the second episodes culminates in a royal-chamber sequence primed to send a new generation ducking behind the couch. A fantastical ingenuity prevails throughout Age Of Resistance: With an eye toward portraying Thra as a fully natural world, Matthews, Addiss, Grillo-Marxuach and team devised Skeksis carriages that roll across the landscape on giant pillbug wheels and a secret message etched into the geological equivalent of an Edison cylinder. Frames burst with creatures familiar and unfamiliar—each of them charmingly, refreshingly tactile.Jason Isaacs in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (2019)And this time around it’s in service of a satisfyingly told tale with resonant themes of truth and rebellion. Age Of Resistance is the best type of YA fantasy fiction, engrossing and escapist and full of hidden depths, ideal for viewers weaned on Harry Potter and The Legend Of Zelda but not quite ready for George R.R. Martin. There is a complexity at play, particularly in the arc of Seladon (Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Helena Smee), Brea’s sister whose loyalties and worldview are tested as word of the Skeksis’ treachery spreads. There are mystical MacGuffins and blind storytelling alleys littered about, but they’re far outweighed by the intrepid thrust of the Gelfling uprising and every thought of “How did they pull that off?” For decades, bands of true believers have sung the song of Thra; now, thanks to Age Of Resistance, that melody carries with the strength, distance, and richness the Dark Crystal concept has always deserved.

REVIEW: TUCA & BERTIE- SEASON 1

Tuca & Bertie (2019)

Starring

Tiffany Haddish (Night School)
Ali Wong (American Housewife)
Steven Yeun (The Walking Dead)
Nicole Byer (All About Nina)
Richard E. Grant (Logan)
John Early (Late Night)
Reggie Watts (Pitch Perfect 2)
Tig Notaro (Star Trek: Discovery
Amber Ruffin (Drunk History)
Jermaine Fowler (Robot Chicken)
Tessa Thompson (Westworld)
Awkwafina (Crazy Rich Asians)
Michelle Dockery (Downtown Abbey)
Isabella Rossellini (Death Becomes Her)
Taraji P. Henson (Hidden Figures)

Bird Town is a strange place where the trains are slithering snakes, the neighbours are stoned plant-people and “sex bugs” get put on trial. Promising madcap adventures, this metropolis provides the setting for Tuca and Bertie, a new Netflix animation that feels like a natural successor to Broad City.Tuca & Bertie (2019)The show’s creator Lisa Hanawalt, known for her work on nihilistic cult favourite Bojack Horseman, has rendered this new universe with a lighter, fizzier touch. The result is a rare thing – an adult animation made by women about women (albeit women in bird form). And, in a particularly canny bit of casting, Tuca and Bertie has signed up two of the buzziest comics around.

Tuca & Bertie (2019)Tiffany Haddish, the breakout star of Girls Trip and the most extraordinarily candid celebrity ever, plays Tuca, a gobby, gumptious, hot-pant-wearing toucan who is in need of “constant positive reinfofo”. She gets it from Bertie the song thrush, her steadfast but neurotic BFF voiced by Ali Wong, the standup who soared to fame for her perineum-splitting comedy specials about pregnancy (Baby Cobra) and parenthood (Hard Knock Wife). Co-starring are Richard E Grant and Tig Notaro – and it’s clear they’re all having a clucking riot. Never have fowl been so foul-mouthed.Tuca & Bertie (2019)Bertie has always been there to buoy up Tuca with reminders that she won’t ever leave her – and that “most girls would kill to have such a curvy beak”. But Tuca is now moving out of their apartment to make way for Bertie’s boyfriend Speckle (played by Steven Yeun, AKA Glenn from The Walking Dead). By day, Bertie is trying to get a promotion in her office job at Conde Nest. By night, she’s desperate to keep the spark alive in her relationship (with help from Nests of Netherfield, her Downton Abbey-esque porn substitute) and fulfil her dream of being a pastry chef.  Tuca, never one to conform, ribs her incessantly for all this “normie lifeplan bullshit”. Eventually Tuca wanders into a neighbourhood called Adulthood, replete with shops called Matching Crockery and Furniture Already Put Together, but ends up committing instead to a new forever friend – a purple jaguar she names Jackie.Tuca & Bertie (2019)The whole show is a topical sendup of our age, tackling the cult of Facebeak, the #Metoo movement (via predatory rooster bros) and even Marie Kondo. But the writers have also put in the hours dreaming up every possible bird gag – from the local birdega to the musical Nest Side Story. So if bird-pun-spotting is likely to ruffle your feathers, you may be in the wrong place. In comedy terms it’s more rolling chuckle than laugh-out-loud, and there are sometimes slightly jarring shifts in animation to lo-fi claymation or even sock-puppet styles. Those aside, this is a chirpily realised world that stays true to its experimentalism – and its pleasures are consistent, if deliciously twisted, and very surreal indeed.At one point, Tuca and Bertie race past a woman on the street and the show morphs into a Mrs Dalloway-esque piece of metanarrative. For just a second, the action falls away as words ping up around the woman, sharing her story in a hilariously succinct way: “Sandy Q Piper. Rich interior life. Not part of this show. You will never see her again.” The series plays out like a feminist fairy tale, one “where Mother Goose is not defined by her ability to lay eggs.” At its core, Tuca and Bertie is about the many and complex joys of female friendship, about navigating the sometimes crushing world of adulting with your best bud by your side, about growing together, bolstering each other – and buying sex-bug ointment together.