TV Review / Recap: Marge Produces Krusty’s New Daytime Talk Show on ‘The Simpsons’ – ‘The King of Nice’
Those who pay the slightest attention to entertainment news will remember the scandal surrounding comedian Ellen DeGeneres’ daytime talk show Ellen Few years ago. Well, it turns out that a few years (more or less) is about the runtime for a new installment of The simpsonsso it only makes sense that America’s longest-running animated TV sitcom is finally catching up with the parody of this whole sordid affair.
In this latest episode of The simpsonstitled “The King of Nice”, our old friend Krusty the Clown (voiced, as always, by Dan Castellaneta) is tired of performing at celebrity birthday parties and recording messages for fans on Cameo – he obviously lost all his money on NFTs (“non-funny tv shows”) and needs extra income.
So Krusty takes a lucrative gig as Ellen-like a daytime talk show host, down to the short haircut and dancing – oh, so much dancing – to Flo Rida’s “Low.” And after Marge Simpson (Julie Kavner) nearly suffers another family-inspired breakdown in the dog food aisle, she volunteers to contribute to a focus group for the show. During the session, television executive Lindsay Naegle (Tress MacNeille) is so impressed with Marge’s ideas that she hires her on the spot, replacing the segment’s producer who is in the same room at that time. So Marge shows up for work and things go well for a while, with Krusty raking in the money, and Marge generating plenty of slots for the show like “Baby Hat Fashion Show”. But the pressure below the surface begins to mount as Marge realizes how many of these episodes need to be made, and as she realizes that Lindsay Naegle isn’t exactly the nicest person to work for (“Come on get a baked potato cake so I can throw it at you!” Naegle yells at a trainee).
The clever twist here is that, as Krusty notes, for once he’s not the cause of a hostile work environment. He pretty much shows up, dances, cracks a few jokes (there’s a subplot here about Krusty finding love in that kind of job that’s going nowhere), and leaves at the end of each episode’s recording to go buy new sports cars trucks. It’s Naegle who causes stress among all of the show’s staff by cracking the whip way too hard, and Marge finds herself on the brink of breakdown once again after all of her suggestions begin to be rejected. Eventually, Krusty’s backstage show grief escapes through a TMZ-like a gossip outing, and the clown is forced to host a dark apology episode in which he’s brought onto the stage with a slowed-down, melancholy version of “Low” shot by DJ Sideshow Mel (also Castellaneta). But when Marge decides to do the right thing and publicly lay the blame on Krusty, there’s something of a deux ex machina in the form of a judge show offer for the TV personality, which actually forces him to be mean instead of nice.
For what it’s worth, I thought “The King of Nice” was a pretty solid, above-average episode for the current era. The Simpsons. It got me more than enough laughs, even though some of the gags came across as a bit ‘in baseball’ as far as the TV industry goes – and I may work as an entertainment reporter, but I think most people pay attention to this stuff, at least on a superficial level. The Ellen the parody might seem a little less topical (especially considering the real show was off for almost six months) and I have a feeling it won’t age very well, but that’s easy to get past when the backing storylines are so strong. The intervention that Homer (yes, it’s Dan Castellaneta) and a seemingly random assortment of attendees (Patty and Selma I get, but why is Moe there?) throw in for Marge is particularly funny, and I loved it the running gag of TV interns being basically treated like dirt. ‘This King of Nice’ got a fair number of laughs – I remember earlier Bart’s extremely meta use of the Krusty+ streaming service to access ‘over 700’ classic episodes of the show usual children’s clown – and chained a relatively coherent plot, and really what more could you ask for at this point?
New episodes of The simpsons airs Sunday nights on FOX.