"Replaceable You"

"Replaceable You"

This is the first Simpsons episode where I found myself thinking "I am not enjoying this" while actually watching the episode
I know it's fashionable to hate on The Simpsons, but I genuinely like the show, and I enjoy watching most episodes. I have to start this review with a caveat, because that is how trite it is to complain about a Simpsons episode. If you want to do it, you have to start with an explanatory preamble.
 
Typically when I watch an episode of anything, I get involved in the show. It's not until after the episode is over that I take time to reflect on what I have seen, which parts worked, which parts didn't, what made me laugh, and so forth. In other words, I suspend the critical mind while watching, and just try to enjoy myself.

As far as I can remember, this is the first Simpsons episode (and I have seen all of them) where I found myself thinking "I am not enjoying this" while actually watching the episode. 
 
I found myself distracted by odd details, the way you might get fascinated by the tag sticking out of the back of a coworker's shirt during a very boring staff meeting. The seals' back feet: why were they feet, like teddy bears? Shouldn't they have been flippers, like seals? At times, it seemed that the feet were used together like a seal's flipper. But at other times, they were clearly rendered as two separate feet. It made me wonder, have the art directors ever actually seen a seal? 
 
And the way the camera lovingly focused on the jumpers, each time the seals were turned either evil or nice. Moving the plug from left to right, or right to left. It was as if they were trying to teach us how to do it. Everything about this said "this is important, so remember it later," but it's not like it was integral to a joke or plot twist. Why?
 
And why was Marge in the shower, twice?
 
I also think the scriptwriters would be surprised how long it took me to realize that Homer was supposed to be getting stabbed in the back by Jane Lynch. I honestly just thought that the normal thing was happening: a more effective employee being promoted over a well-known dead weight. We were seriously about 20 minutes into the episode before I realized I was supposed to feel sympathetic towards Homer. 
 
And in the finale, instead of making an effort to do a better job, Homer sabotages the saboteur. Is that really fair? I felt like what Homer did was just as bad as what Jane Lynch's character did, except that we were expected to applaud Homer and boo Lynch. 
 
It left a bad taste in my mouth all around.