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Author Topic: Do casual viewers understand the show?  (Read 797 times)
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ivan_fry

Bending Unit
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« on: 11-08-2006 03:49 »

Recently myself, as well as fifteen or so friends, watched disc four of Futurama Season 4 (The Farnsworth Parabox, Three Hundred Big Boys, Spanish Fry, The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings). I'm not going to talk about the first two episodes as much as I will about the last two, because SF and TDHAIP are the best examples for what I am going to say.
I haven't really been at PEEL much. I am more frequently found at the NHC, which specializes more in Simpsons discussion. There, a lot of fans dislike sex jokes, testicle jokes, fart jokes, and the like, so I suppose the same would most likely apply for Futurama fans.
Anyway, when we watched Spanish Fry, which is basically a 20-minute 'joke fest' (which I give only a 3 out of 5 due to the sexual nature of the story), everyone was laughing whenever there was a "lower horn" joke, or Bender's "Whooo"'s (of which I enjoyed only the latter, and cringed almost everytime all the other people were in fits of laughter). What shocked me even more was when we watched Devil's Hands, at the end (after one of the most dramatic as well as touching scenes in the entire series) everyone [minus me] passed it off as one of the worst pieces of television they had ever seen. Now, I am the only 'hardcore' fan out of that group, I don't think some of the others had even seen Futurama beforehand [it hasn't been on here tv here since it's cancellation], but I really didn't like the fact that no one except me actually paid much attention to the storyline and what was actually happening (everyone else was more paying attention to stupid one-liners or visual jokes rather than any character emotion).
Like I said above, the other people are really more of 'casual' viewers, so they probably wouldn't even know Devil's Hands was the last episode of the show ever made, but even if it wasn't then it's emotion, as well as the great work and writing put into it would have still made it one of the greatest episodes of all time (which raises another question: would Devil's Hands have been as good if it were not made to be the final episode?).
Of course, hardcore fans would see and explore the show a totally different way to casual viewers, but to me it only seems a lot of casual viewers only watch the show for the sake of a cheap laugh, rather than actually noticing anything heartfelt and meaningful that the characters say.
What are your opinions?
Dave B

Urban Legend
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« Reply #1 on: 11-08-2006 04:37 »
« Last Edit on: 11-08-2006 04:37 »

I completely agree Ivan I am a hardcore fan and am proud to be one and so I follow the story line in detail which I feel gives you a better experience in watching the show when there is this enjoyable continuation in the story throughout the episodes such as for example the Bender obsession with becoming a folk singer present from even the second episode which is continued brilliantly to when Bender's dream came true in Bendin' in the Wind and also the continuation from Parasite Lost to form the object of Fry's desire to play the Holophoner well. Its all a rich tapestry which if you are a true fan of the show and follow these story developments then I feel you enjoy the show much much more! I know I do    big grin

So yeah casual watchers might as well not watch at all as they will only be watching it for a quip which as you said is cheap and there is no actual interest into the actual series like a fan would but just watch for the comedic value which as I feel the same is wrong. If you are going to watch it you should either dislike it and not watch again or at least sdhow an interest to learn the series' plotline to experience the viewing at its best!.

So in short "Go to hell Barbad..." uhh casual watchers lol the show should be only for the true fans to watch    big grin
Dave B

Urban Legend
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« Reply #2 on: 11-08-2006 04:39 »
« Last Edit on: 11-08-2006 04:39 »

Please ignore, sorry
coldangel

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #3 on: 11-08-2006 04:49 »

Casual viewers come for the laughs. Diehard fans stay for the pathos. There is room for both types, and the more people who watch the better the ratings... of course.
The show is one of the rarities that lends itself to both types of viewers. Usually shows with ongoing story arcs and mythologies inevitably pigeonhole themselves into appealing to die-hard fans only, because they become inaccessible to the casual viewer due to their inherent complexity. This is especially true of science fiction shows that whittle their audience down to the scant few who are committed enough to keep up with hundreds of episodes worth of back-story. It's slow death.
Futurama, on the other hand, has discovered a healthy medium between light froth and ongoing mythology that is friendly to a wide audience of geeks and non-geeks.

Re: low-brow humour in Spanish Fry - I think the lewd jokes were intended as being cringe-inducing. I laughed at the fact the jokes were being told, not the jokes themselves, if you catch my drift. It was making a mockery of the characters' own immaturity and by extension the immaturity of anyone who would find those jokes genuinely amusing.
ivan_fry

Bending Unit
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« Reply #4 on: 11-08-2006 06:02 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by coldangel_1:Re: low-brow humour in Spanish Fry - I think the lewd jokes were intended as being cringe-inducing. I laughed at the fact the jokes were being told, not the jokes themselves, if you catch my drift. It was making a mockery of the characters' own immaturity and by extension the immaturity of anyone who would find those jokes genuinely amusing.

I do agree with what you said about how it seems to be intended, because basically the whole episode is a whole heap of low brow jokes (from as early as a minute or two in with the "droppings of someone who saw bigfoot" right up until the closing seconds with Lrrr and Ndnd having sex in the forest); I think the main reason I actually felt uncomfortable with the people surrounding me actually finding a lot of this to be hilarious was probably because I was the only one that that knew there is basically no other episode of the show that is all-the-way-through lowbrow humour (or, at least to my recollection).
There was actually a "joke" i forgot to say in my first post, which is from Three Hundred Big Boys. The shot of Mushu barfing at first was "sort of" humorous, but the overall length actually causes me to feel queasy and makes me cringe (probably moreso than anything from Spanish Fry), but like the outcome of all the above examples from Spanish Fry, everyone else seemed to find this lowbrow humour in Three Hundred Big Boys to be absolutely wonderful.
But I suppose you would have to watching the episodes of the show over and over until you actually start appreciating them. I will admit, the first time I watched a lot of episodes of Futurama, I didn't understand a lot of it and paid hardly any attention to what was going on, but now I actually watch it for great moments (as well as the ocassional laughs) like in Devil's Hands, Luck of the Fryrish, and Jurassic Bark.

(Dave B, I read your post too, and I agree with absolutely everything you said).

coldangel

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #5 on: 11-08-2006 06:23 »

It is a multi-faceted gem.

You can thank the show for illuminating the idiocy of those around you that you may secretly laugh at them when their backs are turned. Don't feel uncomfortable - just feel superior.
Tim B

Bending Unit
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« Reply #6 on: 11-08-2006 11:43 »

I think Devil's hands is one of the best episodes of futurama, but if you haven't seen the show before, you're probably not going to appreciate or even like it.  The level of enjoyment you derive from this episode depends on your level of investment with the characters.  It is a character driven episode, not a joke driven one(though it does have a lot of great one liners). Case in point, the first time I saw Devil's hands, I had only seen about half the episodes and was only slightly familiar with the Fry and Leela backstory(I had at least seen 'Parasites Lost').  I thought it was pretty good, but could have been better.  The second time I saw it was after I had the DVD's and watched them from beginning to end.  I thought Devil's Hands was a masterpiece.  Honestly, everytime I watch the episode it gets better in my opinion.   
Writer unit32

Professor
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« Reply #7 on: 11-08-2006 12:03 »
« Last Edit on: 11-08-2006 12:03 »

Actually the thing about Devil's Hands is that you don't know what happened to the part of the story we shippers all care about the most(Fry and Leela shippiness).That is one of the reasons why there are so many fan fics.
I also like the Robot Devil come-back.He's my favourite character,after Fry(because he likes to torture people just like me!If it weren't for that I would be a complete copy of Fry.Only Fry's human and I'm not).
LuvFry

Bending Unit
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« Reply #8 on: 11-08-2006 12:38 »

Well, the very first ep of the show I saw was "The Honking"- and not the full ep. I came in when Car Bender is chasing Leela. I had no idea what was going on, so I chalked it up to a Simpsons halloween ep, and went on my merry way. The next ep I saw was "The Sting"-again not the full ep- this time I came in at the very end, Fry's picture telling Leela he loved her, and Leela waking up. I was hooked. For one, I had no idea what the heck was going on, and now it involved a love story. Now I wanted to figure out this ep and this show that I had previously believed to be a Simpsons copy, so I attempted to watch the show, but never could thanks to Fox and its irregular viewing times. Eventually I found out it was on Cartoon Network, and I began watching it faithfully. To reply to the original posting (finally) I think it is hard for people who are not hard core fans to pick up all of the subtleties of the show. I, too had to watch them more than once. I also think it has to do with how willing you are to dedicate your time to figuring a show out. Me, I just searched on-line to get the general break-down of the plot. I probably wouldn't have given the show a second thought if I hadn't seen the end of "The Sting." Just goes to show how much of a girl I am.

Oh, and I love "The devil's hands..." but, could it be that certain people are turned off by it because it's parodying operatic plot? Anywho, people who aren't invested in the relationship (or lack there of) between Fry and Leela, may have found the ep boring. Not me, I am far too invested in this relationship. As stated above, I am such a girl!

In an attempt to quote Matt Groening from the DVD commentary (don't remember which ep, or if it was even MG who said it, or if this is even close to what he said):
"Sci-fi fans have been waiting for everyone to burst into song. We're just fulfilling that fantasy."

Feel free to correct me. Man, I should really watch the DVDs again, if only to figure out where I got this from. The logical place to start would be in the musical episodes, but since I have never been logical: To the first episode!  wink
Writer unit32

Professor
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« Reply #9 on: 11-08-2006 13:03 »
« Last Edit on: 11-08-2006 13:03 »

The first ep I saw was Space Pilot 3000(the weirdest thing that I didn't have a Futurama DVD then,I saw it on the TV.Since then I was a Futurama fan
tyraniak

Urban Legend
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« Reply #10 on: 11-08-2006 14:02 »

Yeah, I've been watching the show since day one, I really do like the character development on the show, and futurama is a little harder for newcomers to "sink in" since people are more familiar with the simpsons and the continuity is more lenient


P.S. Hey Ivan, it's me, Sniper Squirrel
ZoidFryLeelaAmy
Bending Unit
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« Reply #11 on: 11-09-2006 16:13 »

I get that too. the other day i was told that this dumbass idiot freak's little twice what i just said brother "understands futurama and watches it every night"
My response was that he watches it because its on right after neighbours and he laughs because bender is a robot and leela looks funny. and i can remember watching it with my friends and being the only one laughing at the jokes that were actually funny. even channel 10 doesnt understand it. all the ads feature bender drinking and mentioning "ass". it sickens me. yet im only 12. any australians who watch futurama on ten, do you agree with me????  smile
Arockalypse

Bending Unit
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« Reply #12 on: 11-09-2006 16:33 »

Look what I just came up with - Futurama is like the Matrix
1.You have to venture further into the rabbit's hole to understand it.
2.You can't catch one Futurama ep on TV -for instance-The Farnsworth Parabox and get the hang of it;you must start from the very begining.
tyraniak

Urban Legend
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« Reply #13 on: 11-09-2006 16:57 »

The second claim isn't entirely true, the main theme of the show is that Fry is from the past and the show is set in the year 3000, most viewers could understand that aspect without necessarily seeing SP3K, or maybe they could understand that aspect by seeeing any random episode in which Fry makes reference to the past, there are some continuity factors that rely on viewers seeing previous episodes (Fry lacking the delta brain wave), so your first claim is more accurate in that the more you watch, the easier it is to sink in and fully understand
Tastes Like Fry

Urban Legend
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« Reply #14 on: 11-09-2006 17:52 »

I think the first episode has to be personally acceptable by onesself. When Futurama first came to Australia; I hated it.
Love Labour's Lost in Space was not the best episode for me to have watched first. Zapp Brannigan totally put me off. It wasn't until much later when my brother convinced me to watch the first Xmas ep.
It was different, amusing and for some reason I felt most frustrated when Fry and Leela didn't kiss, thus my addiction started because of some personal need for that relationship closure.
Tis also why I bought the DVDs, so I could watch the whole thing in order and see the relationships and everything build up gradually.
coldangel

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #15 on: 11-09-2006 18:18 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by ZoidFryLeelaAmy:
even channel 10 doesnt understand it. all the ads feature bender drinking and mentioning "ass". it sickens me. yet im only 12. any australians who watch futurama on ten, do you agree with me????   smile

Oh God yes!! Kiddo, you may only be 12, but you got a brain in your head alright. Those knobs at channel 10 need to be beaten with a large fish. You with me? Let's get 'em!!
Apple Tea

Bending Unit
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« Reply #16 on: 11-09-2006 20:35 »

I used to watch Futurama when it first aired, but I watched it like I would watch Simpsons or Family Guy.  I merely found it mildly humorous.  Then I started watching it again when it started airing on cartoon network and I was like hey this is more interesting than I remember but I still didn't really get into it.  The third time I started watching it again was when I bought some of the DVD's and actually tried to get into the story and I was like man this is pure genius! (or maybe it's just cause I haven't watched TV in like a year...)  But yea, I didn't fully appreciate the story til I tried to look past the humour, you simply cannot watch it like you watch Simpsons or Family Guy because there's just more to it than shallow humor I guess.
Professor Zoidy

Urban Legend
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« Reply #17 on: 11-09-2006 21:30 »

I think this all depends on the casual watcher. Some might have started liking it by casually watching it now and then and found a deeper side later on. Most of the time, a cheap laugh is all we get from the Simpsons nowdays, so why would they expect anything better from Futurama, more deep and compelling enough to inspire one's own creativity? They don't. This might be a factor, especially new fans that recently started to watch it when Simpsons went on the downhill side of it's years. Or, maybe they only watch it since it's the only thing on television at nights and they're too lazy to change the channel. To find a good and accurate answer, I'd ask one of the casuals. I myself remember taking a quick liking to the show when I found it on adult swim. I picked up on some of the deepness the writers and artists had created. Of course not even the most devoted can catch all of it and comprehend it in one viewing. It might take a few more times to actually grasp it in it's entirety.
coldangel

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #18 on: 11-09-2006 21:45 »

Simpsons = family sitcom = fairly shallow.

Futurama = space adventure with ongoing mythology, complex characters and sci-fi hilarity = quite a lot deeper.
ZoidFryLeelaAmy
Bending Unit
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« Reply #19 on: 11-10-2006 00:56 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by coldangel_1:
 Oh God yes!! Kiddo, you may only be 12, but you got a brain in your head alright. Those knobs at channel 10 need to be beaten with a large fish. You with me? Let's get 'em!!

Yay finally someone agrees with me!!!  smile ur the best!!!!


coldangel

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #20 on: 11-10-2006 01:18 »

What? You mean about the fish? YOU WERE THINKING THAT TOO?? What are the odds...? Okay, I'll meet you down at the sea-food Co-Op and we'll buy a couple of the biggest Stergeons we can find to beat those TV execs with.
ZoidFryLeelaAmy
Bending Unit
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« Reply #21 on: 11-10-2006 02:12 »

HehHehHeh..... (evil grin)
KurtPikachu2001

Urban Legend
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« Reply #22 on: 11-10-2006 17:11 »

I believe casual viewers as well as die-hard fans, both of the types of fans understand the show.
totalnerd undercanada

DOOP Ubersecretary
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« Reply #23 on: 11-10-2006 17:58 »

I believe that there is a middle ground in between die-hard fanboy who thinks he understands, and casual armchair critic who doesn't care what it means as long as he's laughing.

The majority of "active PEEL" falls into this middle group. They do understand the majority of it, but also understand that there are layers that they probably haven't managed to peel back yet. At the same time, they're not rabid foaming-at-the-mouth "OMGILUVFUTRAMMA" idiots. They like it, they may like Family Guy or The Simpsons more, they probably prefer Firefly, but they do like Futurama, and they do understand the show.

If you're not in this group, if you're at one end or the other, then you won't agree.

However, in the event that you do disagree with me, you're wrong, and that's fine. Because you're entitled to hold an opinion, even if your opinion isn't worth shit.

Crash_7

Professor
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« Reply #24 on: 11-10-2006 19:34 »

The thing about "The Devil's Hands..." is if you haven't seen "Parasites Lost" and "Hell is Other Robots", your enjoyment of it is going to be greatly diminished.
coldangel

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #25 on: 11-10-2006 20:03 »

It's difficult to explain the show to non-geeks who only watch it as a comedy. It has so much to say about fate and predestiny; humanity and the worth of a person.
ZoidZoid

Bending Unit
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« Reply #26 on: 11-10-2006 20:34 »

I enjoy Futurama for the story and the jokes but I agree with what Crash_7 said: "your enjoyment of TDHAIP will be greatly diminished if you haven't seen Parasites lost or Hell is other robots"

I am however a casual viewer of the Simpsons
ZoidFryLeelaAmy
Bending Unit
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« Reply #27 on: 11-10-2006 20:44 »

Look, even if someone watches futurama for days on end, if they were idiots in the first place, they will continue to be idiots, just with bender quotes. my friend is a great example, she will nnnnneeeeeeeeeeeveeeeerrr under stand the show, not in 10 years, not in 100 years, not in 1000 years.
Apple Tea

Bending Unit
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« Reply #28 on: 11-10-2006 21:37 »

I still consider myself a casual viewer, though the closest thing I've had to TV is my season 3 futurama DVD's which I've watched like a 100 times...but yea, the more I watched it the more the chracters seemed to jump out at me.
coldangel

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #29 on: 11-10-2006 23:02 »

The planet is divided into those who truly 'get' works of fiction, and those who do not.

The first group must destroy the second and claim dominion of the Earth. WHO'S WITH ME?!
Arockalypse

Bending Unit
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« Reply #30 on: 11-11-2006 06:22 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by coldangel_1:
The planet is divided into those who truly 'get' works of fiction, and those who do not.

The first group must destroy the second and claim dominion of the Earth. WHO'S WITH ME?!
Comrades!It's time to throw the chains of un-understanding opression!

coldangel

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #31 on: 11-11-2006 07:17 »

Let us rise up and crush the unbelieving philistines that we may inherit this Earth and begin the thousand years of debate about what colours the characters' eyes would be if they had irises!!
master616

Bending Unit
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« Reply #32 on: 11-11-2006 11:15 »

I am both a Diehard fan of both the simpsons, futurama and family guy and i think i am more of a fan than family guy and the simpsons because first of all season 4 of futurama had to be one of the best in all the seasons of futurama especially the last four episodes in season for they are some of my favourites some people are just dumb by saying "TDHAIP is one of the worst episodes on TV" i have to disagree with that as like someone said they obviously havn't seen the episodes where fry and leela get together/nearly kiss and so forth. also just wondering what happened to benders Ass in TDHAIP.
futz
Liquid Emperor
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« Reply #33 on: 11-11-2006 11:30 »

Bender probably realized a day or two later that it was in the trash can right where Robot Devil left it.
coldangel

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #34 on: 11-11-2006 20:05 »

master616... I'm not sure what you're a master of, but it isn't punctuation. Put some periods into your writing, don't just let sentences flow together like some kind of mutant train of thought.
Robot Santa

Poppler
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« Reply #35 on: 11-13-2006 12:18 »

I found this topic very interesting, I consider myself pretty diehard as a fan and I wonder how you other diehards regard "Bender Should Not be Allowed on TV", which is my least favorite episode.  Spanish Fry is pretty near the bottom, too.  What really bugs me about BSNBAOTV is the great premise, which is utterly wasted.  However, browsing this website I find that BSNBAOTV gets pretty good reviews. Are they from the casual viewers, or am I the only one who hates this particular episode?
roustie
Poppler
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« Reply #36 on: 11-13-2006 14:15 »

I don't think it's so much "understanding" the show, it's more of knowing the story line of the show.  I think Crash_7 said it best, if you haven't seen those two episodes then you can't really understand the final one.

Really, if you don't know the relationship between Fry and Leela, you won't see where that storyline is coming from.

So it does have to do with casual fans over dedicated fans, because the dedicated ones are obviously the ones that have seen every episode, and like the intricacies of the relationships.

Generally speaking, I think a lot of people don't care about such stories that they have to follow along with. They want a quick laugh, or some passionate sex scene, or some violence.  It's pretty simple.
NJ_Bella

Crustacean
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« Reply #37 on: 11-13-2006 15:56 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by coldangel_1:
Simpsons = family sitcom = fairly shallow.

Futurama = space adventure with ongoing mythology, complex characters and sci-fi hilarity = quite a lot deeper.

i agree. i also feel (which i've stated in another thread i believe) that most people tend to follow family guy more than any other cartoon show these days. in my opinion family guy is ok. it's mostly full of one-liners and sight gags, which i believe to get old.

futurama on the other hand has a story behind it as well as one-liners and sight gags which makes it stand the test of time in my opinion.

roustie
Poppler
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« Reply #38 on: 11-13-2006 17:00 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by NJ_Bella:
 it's mostly full of one-liners and sight gags, which i believe to get old.

futurama on the other hand has a story behind it as well as one-liners and sight gags which makes it stand the test of time in my opinion.


I agree with that.  Also: Family Guy rips off quite a bit.  Not even in the way that everybody rips off everything, I mean they directly lift jokes and even characters from other sources and call them as their own.

Also, the Simpsons didn't used to be fairly shallow, it used to be really, really good with meaning and funniness and a full gammet of emotions.  Then about 4/5 years back it just started going downhill.  It used to be really intelligent, you all remember that?
NJ_Bella

Crustacean
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« Reply #39 on: 11-13-2006 21:19 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by roustie:
 I agree with that.  Also: Family Guy rips off quite a bit.  Not even in the way that everybody rips off everything, I mean they directly lift jokes and even characters from other sources and call them as their own.

Also, the Simpsons didn't used to be fairly shallow, it used to be really, really good with meaning and funniness and a full gammet of emotions.  Then about 4/5 years back it just started going downhill.  It used to be really intelligent, you all remember that?

thanks for the comment and agreeing!!

to be fair the simpsons have been on for what, 18 years? that's a long time to provide fresh, interesting, and funny shows. they are bound to lose something after all that time.
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