710. The Wayz We Were

Original airdate: October 17, 2021

The premise: When Evergreen Terrace becomes a never-ending traffic jam, the Simpsons must confront Wayz, a navigational app to redirects traffic to residential areas. Meanwhile, Moe is reunited with his old girlfriend Maya, but is plagued with insecurity about her possibly leaving him again.

The reaction: Season 20’s “Eeny Teeny Maya Moe” is a pretty fondly remembered episode by a lot of fans, which isn’t easy to say about any episode from the last fifteen years. Surely the writing staff has noticed this, and as a result, we get the Maya sequel episode that fans have been clamoring for thirteen years after her introduction. I don’t remember caring much for “Eeny Teeny,” as it felt an overly saccharine affair with a boring, schmaltzy Moe and a rushed ending. Moe was all set to propose to Maya, as well as get height adjustment surgery for her, but Maya broke it off with him because she felt that he didn’t see her for her, only her as a little person. Except that wasn’t actually true, and she only got mad when he started making short jokes about her, but only after she made them herself, and she also did weird shit like pretend to be a doll for some reason. I don’t really remember much about Maya as a character, nor do I think there probably was much to her in the first place, but here, she is a complete blank slate. She and Moe reunite in a traffic jam, and she is still head-over-heels in love with Moe with absolutely no reservations, or explanation, as to why she wants to get back together. She off-handedly mentions she got her PhD, but we never find out in what, what she’s been doing for x amount of years, or anything like that. We get a few short clips of “Eeny Teeny” showing her and Moe together, but besides that, we’re given no re-introduction to this character who appeared in one episode over a decade ago. I feel like there are pretty dedicated fans who might not remember her episode well enough after all this time to discern who she is. So Moe and Maya are back together, and since we’re not going to develop her character or their relationship whatsoever, the bulk of the episode is about Moe dealing with his crippling anxiety that Maya might leave him again. We never go into why she left him in the first place, of course, which makes this even weirder. Why bring this character back if you’re not going to bring up anything from the previous episode? But none of that matters, because it’s all building to Moe proposing to Maya to lock that shit down (when Homer suggests “the big M,” Moe thinks he means, “murder-suicide,” again completely forgetting that he proposed to Maya in the last episode.) So Moe pops the question, Maya says yes, and then the episode ends. So, I guess they’re a permanent couple then? Just like Comic Book Guy and Kumiko, I assume this means it will take many, many years to do another episode actually examining their relationship, or giving Maya any sort of characteristic or personality trait. Like, I get the impulse of wanting to bring back this character from an episode people like, but they did absolutely nothing with her. I guess there’s people who will just be happy that Moe got a happy ending, but… why? Moe being a miserable loser leeching off of his regular customers, as well as a disgusting, perverted lowlife, are fundamental bedrocks of his character. If he’s now going to be a happily married man, they have to completely reconstruct his character, and I know they’re not going to do that. We’ll get plenty more of the same kinds of jokes with Moe, and every now and again, Maya will show up and the audience will be baffled that she still exists. I mean, I’m more than willing to be proven wrong, but once again, CBG and Kumiko is a perfect example of a “big” change in the series that ultimately proves to nothing. Let’s see what happens!

Three items of note:
– We get another guest couch gag done by Stoopid Buddy Studios, where Maggie imagines her little wooden kingdom playset comes to life. It’s all done in a similar style to their Hulu series Crossing Swords, a show that I’ve never heard anybody talk about ever, but apparently is still premiering its second season later this year. Does anybody watch that? Anyway, it’s not terrible, but nothing really memorable either.
– It’s weird that the Moe/Maya story is kind of the B-plot in this episode, with the A-plot being the Evergreen Terrace traffic jam thing, which takes up the bulk of the first two-thirds of the show, and gives us the episode title (really stretching how many times they can naming shows after The Way We Were ). The traffic never, ever stops, so a neighborhood meeting is called, but everyone just uses it to bitch about how much they hate the Simpsons. We also get a look at who apparently lives on the block: the Hibberts (I thought they’d live in a much nicer, more expensive area), Sideshow Mel (same comment), and Pamela Reed returns as Ruth Powers to give a meta joke about how it’s been two decades since Marge said hi to her. Later, Professor Frink saves the day by hacking into the navigation app’s code to remove Evergreen Terrace from the map completely, and Homer is annoyed at how everybody loves him now for fixing the problem. Or telling Frink to fix the problem. Oh, who gives a shit. It’s surprising enough that the Moe/Maya thing, something a considerably amount of fans wanted to return, is not only the B-plot here, but to such a really boring “main” story such as this.
– Crippled by his incredible anxiety, Moe spends the night in Bart’s treehouse, and when he returns to the bar the next day, Maya is already packing to leave (“You’d better speak fast, or for the second time, you’re going to lose the first good thing that ever happened to you!”) In “Eeny Teeny,” Moe’s crackpot plan to reduce his height is kind of stupid, but he gave a heartfelt speech about what Maya actually meant to her as a person, but she just left him anyway because the episode was ending. Here, rather than actually talk to Moe, Maya is just going to leave him again, despite completely dropping her entire life (whatever that is) because she just had to be with him again after all this time. Like… what? WHO is this character? In both these episodes, thanks to poor writing, she almost comes off fickle and slightly manipulative, and I know that’s completely unintentional. I look forward to an episode in season 39 where we can finally learn that Maya used to be a gymnast in college or whatever bullshit crumb of backstory they decide to give us.

17 thoughts on “710. The Wayz We Were

  1. Once again, the writers showed that they have no idea how to write new characters. I can’t wait to see Miss Hoover and Duffman’s relationship episode next. Also, KMR was bumped up to get his own Also Starring credit this episode, like Tress MacNeille and Pamela Hayden. Definitely don’t give this same credit to Chris Edgerly and Maggie Roswell who have had more experience and credits, but sure I understand.

    1. I like to think it’s a combination of two things:
      a) name value. To be more specific, it’s plenty fashionable to namedrop KMR in press releases of casts these days, even if it’s only as a minor role (see also Kamek in the cast announcement for the upcoming Super Mario bros. movie, or as Beast Man in Masters of the Universe: Revelations). So I’m not surprised the show decided to do the same here.
      b) Roswell doesn’t show up as much as she used to and Edgerly has no set role, similar to Karl Weidergott before him. This also might go in explaining why they haven’t been given their own singular slide. Ditto Grey and Alex, who mostly serve as soundalikes with little in the way of additional voice roles on the show.

    2. Just looked at Chris Edgerly’s credits on the show, and holy shit they are absolutely stacked. Just funny to me because he’s the English VA for Hidan from Naruto. I feel very at peace that “British Homer” shares the same voice of a sadomasochistic maniac who moans in sexual pleasure when hurting others or himself.

  2. I’m more curious about this week’s episode: “Lisa’s Belly”

    Because of making Lisa fat so she can be proud… Despite many times showing that she is afraid of being fat and how unhealthy it can be.

  3. Does this even count as fanservice? At this point, the episode is “nostalgifying” one that is so recent it was already in HD. Literally nothing about the episode is nostalgic, you could literally frame that as a backstory with no context and nothing would be different. Boy, can’t wait for the episode where they bring back the fracking lady Mr. Burns had a crush on, or that one “crush” of Lisa’s that Michael Cera played. The neckbearded superfans will really slap their fins for those ones.

    Also, who the hell talks about Waze at this point? I remember using it maybe once or twice almost 5 YEARS ago, but I’m legit surprised they decided to parody THEM. Boy, their finger is right on the pulse of popularity, isn’t it? Can’t wait for their stimulus episode in 2027.

    1. I genuinely don’t think I know a single person who uses Waze. Almost everyone I know just uses the predownloaded GPS that comes with most phones, probably because (to my knowldege- can’t drive yet) they’re free.

      While I’m excited for the stimulus show, I’m really looking forward to the COVID episode in 2025 where Homer has a zoom call with all of the barflies at Moe’s and Herman forms a militant anti-vax QAnon group.

  4. Seriously, is like now they want to give everyone happy, sugary endings, especially to the WRONG characters: First CBG and now Moe. Don’t get me wrong, I adore Moe, but what made him great back then is that he was a shady, dangerous character.
    Turning Moe into an over-sensitive, love-starved, lame loser is what ruined him in the first place. Marrying him with an unimaginative female plot device will be the last nail in the coffin.
    And what a waste of Ruth’s character… I knew they were going to waste her potential like they did in season 14, but here was just lame.

  5. Between the last episode and this one it’s been a real eye-opener to just how *shitty* they really are to their female cast. Last week it was continuing to spitefully abuse two children for being girls who aren’t either nicey-nice or blatantly and creepily fetishized (as in, Shauna) This week it was doing another case of the “fixer wife” which seems to be one of the few types of meant-to-be permanent women they can make anymore. See: Kumiko, the literal big boobed anime waifu.

    Like… christ, what’s these guys’ issues with women and girls?

    1. I think it’s to seem like an “edgier” joke- really, one could make the argument the response to the Apu situation was for a while. There, they were aware of just what the problem was, yet their only response for a while was “we’ll take care of it eventually”, hoping it’d get rid of their pain in the ass. Here, I almost get that same feeling- all the shows and even their rivals (even fucking Family Guy) have at least made more effort to enhance their female leads beyond just eye candy, and this show’s “response” is to not ONLY make their strongest female character such an annoyance that everyone watching HATES her, not only to make sure all anyone notices about Marge’s arguments is that nobody’s bothered to give her a lozenge for a decade or so now, but to pull out some of the most stereotypical designs this side of Stripperella (remember that, anyone? No? Probably a reason for that.)

      This show really is embedded in it’s ways, and it truly does feel like the only solution at this point is to just give up, encourage others to give up, and literally make the show unprofitable ourselves. But at this point, I’m almost convinced that’s just yelling down a well at this point.

      1. I mean you’re really not wrong. And the eye candy thing I’m pretty sure is both an issue with the fandom and show. I mean, there’s a clear pattern between the ones the show and fans love and can be bothered to work with and the ones that die over and over. It’s that the latter aren’t sexualized HAWT TEENS (barf) or even pretty.

        Even when they gave Sarah a backstory they had to sexualize her. It’s like they’re literally incapable of working with a female character they’re not thirsty for.


    Day 4

    Feeling confused: People actually liked “Eeny Teeny Maya Moe” the same way they like other actually not that shitty ZS episodes like “Holidays of Future Passed” and “Brick Like Me?”

    No, seriously, “Eeny Teeny Maya Moe” was terrible. Every Season 20 episode was terrible. (Maybe the episode in subject was one of the less shitty ones but still, Season 20 is no different than Season 32) I do not care for this Maya character at all, and they decide to bring her back? This isn’t like early Zombie Simpsons where they try to bring back one-off characters from the classic era like Homer’s mother or Krusty’s father and trod them out in half-assed garbage. To tell you the truth, I actually thought they’d be bringing back a different character for this episode. When I saw that Pamela Reed was guest starring as Ruth Powers, I figured the episode was going to be about her and that it would be a sad retread of “Marge on the Lam” which would make a lot more sense considering that episode is from when The Simpsons was at the top of its game. But no, she just appears for a pointless cameo; you fooled me again, Zombie Simpsons! Man, that is flagrant false advertising! But anyway, I guess Moe and this Maya chick are engaged now? I guess we should start seeing her more often at this point, maybe next season will showcase their wedding? …Who the fuck cares, the fact that fans actually liked the first Maya episode is enough to make me go batty.

  7. even now i’m still irritated that they wasted ruth and laura powers in the classic era when they could’ve been fun reoccurring characters, so it feels particularly poetic that ruth only makes two appearances nearly 20 years apart under jean, one where she derails an episode by hooking marge on roids and another where she makes an unfunny joke about not appearing for 20 years. clearly this show deserves another couple dozen emmy awards

  8. holy fuck this episode was bad

    I mean, OK, 95% of episodes over the past decade and a half and another decade are bad, but this was one of the absolute worst outings, period. I thought when I got to Season 33 things were supposed to get better! I know a higher percentage of Selman-run episodes is why people say that and this was a Jean affair but this is absolutely dreadful, even for this show.

    I can’t think of a single “joke” here that wasn’t plug-and-play from Zombie Simpson’s character “bits” cliche or their lowest-effort shitty writing formula for tackling “topical” issues or one-off guest star templates. And Matt Selman episodes tend to deal in melodrama and it’s often just kinda boring, but Al Jean’s attempt to do that here isn’t even boring, it’s somehow worse than that.

    This episode feels like a first draft with placeholder everything. Like it was generated by an AI – an AI from years ago that was worse than what we have now. Especially since AI have no idea who the established characters are, and this episode is all about legendary sweetheart Moe learning to be confident and find love. I mean, what the fuck?

    None of this is new, but I think the way the … (I hate to use this word but it’s the most charitable interpretation) … laziness of the script damages the story is incredibly prevalent here. Maya comes off like she went through some tough life shit and is rebounding towards random ex Moe, acting incredibly manipulative to what this episode depicts as a vulnerable person struggling with mental illness. “You better speak fast, or for the second time, you’ll lose the best thing that’s ever happened to you.” Anyone who says that in real life is being an abusive fuck. Especially when you’ve just entered into this relationship a week ago.

    That’s far from the only example (like how the second Moe and Maya sleep together, she asks if he’s had any girlfriends since her) but Moe proposing to Maya comes off like a horribly twisted ending where rushing into an abusive one-sided marriage is celebrated as a positive thing. At least when Family Guy glamorized abusive relationships there was a backlash. Fuck this episode. Fuck this show. The only bright side is that no one’s actually watching.

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