Monday, April 23, 2007

The Simpsons: "Marge Gamer" Review

The world of Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games is ripe for parody. South Park tore into World of Warcraft earlier this year. Now The Simpsons takes on these games with the eipsode "Marge Gamer".

Marge finally discovers the internet and after clicking through some banner ads finds "Earthland Realms", a parody of WoW. The game looks like and plays like WoW, with quests and spells. The big baddie in Earthland Realms is the Black Knight, who is controlled by Bart. Of course, how bad could Bart be with his mom now hanging around? Marge decorates the Black Knight's lair with Hello Kitty stuff and embarasses him in front of his minions. Bart learns to accept his mom, giving up his life to protect her. She then cheerily says that she will hunt down every one of his murders to seek revenge.

The B-plot has Lisa playing soccer with Homer as a referee. At first, Homer does not know anything about soccer and Lisa gets mad at him being uninformed. Then Homer starts to call the games accurately, but with a bias towards Lisa and her flopping. Homer gets called out on this and is forced to call a foul on Lisa. Lisa gets upset and the usual plotline with a Simpson child having a rift with Homer plays out. The only difference is this time Homer is actually in the right.

This episode was not anything special. While the visual references to WoW were funny, the episode often decided to enter the Earthland world and make it seem like The Simpsons were doing a medieval tribute and not a gaming one. Many Springfieldians appeared in EArthland Realms, but their appearances varied from humanoid to hybrid of animals, which really isn't a feature of MMOs. Lisa suddenly picking up soccer seemed to come out of nowhere, occuring almost halfway through the episode.

Some of the jokes hit (Marge's character selection, Mrs. Krabapple's profession in Earthland Realms) and some of the jokes didn't (Homer on "Google Earth"). Overall, the episode is not a memorable one.

2 1/2 Kidnapped Moes out of 5.

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