Ned Flanders: Imploring people I never met to pressure government with better things to do to punish a man who meant no harm for something nobody even saw, that's what I'm doing!
The only reference to this being a milestone (400th episode) of some sort occurred in the opening: a short from the Tracey Ullman days showing Homer trying to take a picture of his family. It was nice and simple and a way of saying, "hey, we've been going at it this long, and we're going to keep going." Maybe I'm just not one for a lot of fanfare and hoo-ha, but I found that quite touching.
Okay, on to this episode.
Some may think this episode was inspired by the recent Imus riff, but it wasn't. What it was really about is how often things that would normally slip by without incident can be blown completely out of proportion by overly sensitive people with way too much time on their hands. In this case, Ned Flanders.
Kent Brockman swears on TV, but since no one watches television anymore, nobody hears it. Of course, Ned Flanders scours all television for bad stuff.
The way this episode poked fun at the FOX network for providing entertainment for both ultra-conservatives and people who like to see shows about strippers flying planes was pretty funny, as was the completely-out-of-left-field ending with the network "dubbing" the voices of the characters and silencing Homer in the end, but it's not like making fun of FOX is new to the Simpsons.
Also, I'm not sure how I feel about the template the series now uses (well, it's been using it for a long time now) of starting off with one storyline and then veering off into the main plot later. Many have argued that it doesn't allow for the kind of story arcs that made the earlier seasons so great, and I have a tough time arguing with that.
Still, the whole dentist sequence did have some great moments. I loved the Raising Arizona sequence with Marge running home to get the kids to the dentist on time. And I loved how Bart pulled a prank on Skinner while Skinner was on nitrous (not to mention the fact that Skinner actually refers to him as "Doctor Bart").
As far as the main episode, my favorite moments were Krusty's voiceover on the "Itchy and Scratchy" cartoon, and the "Edward R. Murrow" segment complete with Lisa tapping his leg just as Murrow's producer Fred Friendly did.
So no, this wasn't the greatest episode ever, but I still liked it.