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America's Favorite Non-prehistoric Cartoon Family - The Simpsons Thread

Johnny Unusual

Yeah, there are definitely things that work better in theory and theme than in practice. I do like the episode but its not the show at its strongest, that's for sure. That said, I'm actually surprised how many people feel this one is an episode people feel is the "tipping point" in show quality. It still makes me laugh. Meanwhile, I feel I get in theory why people felt that way about the Principal and the Pauper but on its own, its mostly a good character piece.

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
“Making promises is what makes me a good father!”
Keeping promises would make you a good father”
“No, that’d make me a great father”


Oh, I don't considere it a tipping point. Honestly, I don't even thing of Simpsons as Good Early Seasons and Bad Later Seasons. (I also never understood the dislike for Principal and the Pauper, at least not to that extend)

The series changed, that's all. I know people who prefer later seasons, or at least like stuff past season 10. Which is perfectly fine. I just prefer the early seasons, because they are more grounded in humanity and emotion than the later ones, and are more interested in the characters as, well characters.

There are still episodes that I like a lot, we are just moving away from the things that make the Simpsons what it was in the beginning, so far that it is a different show at some point. I know that I'm a bit alone in this, but the show never was primarily about the jokes, for me. I mainly enjoy spending time with these people and in this world.

I do dislike the guest stars, which really sours me on the episode, but it is generally fine. It just focuses on stuff that doesn't work for me, so the good points don't feel as strong as I would like. And Homer is just too much of a jerk in here, which is another point that makes me disinterested in episodes (it's a big reason why I don't particularly like the episode where Homer goes to college - it's a good and interesting with excellent jokes, but I can't really get over the fact that Homer ruined parts of the Deans life).

I'm not sure I got out what I meant, but my thoughts are too muddled today for anything more precise.


Arm Candy
When You Dish Upon a Star had one of the most cringe-inducing Smithers moments, though.

Johnny Unusual

D'Ohin' in the Wind

Does every generation have to reckon with the failings of its youthful promises? Or is every generation merely anxious about it? For people of my generation, I remember everyone was battling for environmentalism and for more tolerance and acceptance of peoples of all stripes. The former issue now seems more insurmountable than ever. But the second? Well, the evils are more in the open at least, but the internet has also created more vocal toxic hatred. I feel like the narrative for the hippie generation around the time of the release of this episode was that people who are still "hippies" are obnoxious and naïve and people who were once hippies became sell-outs. While not about hippies per se, Austin Powers made an entire film about the changes between the era of sexual revolution and the present. And I feel like it is easy to see the problems and faults in hindsight, I think these generations of young people did more good than bad, in fighting status quos. If anything, some ideas broached in the era have taken root again in the mainstream. Its easy to roll eyes at boomers waxing nostalgic of the importance of the era (heck doing that is almost more a cliché than the actual waxing of nostalgia) but I feel good was done, though it should all be viewed with a clearheaded lens.

In this episode, Homer realizes his he doesn't actually know his middle name and in his quest, he goes to meet his mother's old hippie friends. After getting his answer, he realizes he missed a hippie lifestyle that he would have loved to be a part of. Homer decides to be a hippie and starts hanging out with his Mom's old friends. He's surprised that they are veggie juice entrepreneurs now and encourages them to return to their hippie routes with a freak out. They acquiesce and they engage in a timid but fun freak out only to return to realize Homer caused an accident that ruined a shipment. Feeling guilty, Homer sneaks into their property to fulfill the order by harvesting the rest of the crop and juicing it, including (accidentally) the hippies' entire peyote supply. With the drinks dosed, Homer brings on the wrath of the police who shoot a flower into Homer's brain. The end.

This isn't a bad episode but it isn't particularly strong either. I think my big problem is that it feels like my complaints with a lot of later episodes... it doesn't feel completely thought through. There's definitely some interesting ideas but it never coalesces into a confident whole and sort of ends abruptly, without much of a point. I guess I could interpret Homer getting shot after an impassioned speech as a cynical "No every good value from the 60s is dead and gone" but I don't think that's it. Maybe just take Homer's speech at face value? Except the episode didn't seem to be about that.

What the episode really seemed to be about was Homer taking on the most superficial aspects of the hippie movement and missing the point of any sort of values. He's just a parody of a hippie, the same way Bob Hope is in the episode. And I think Homer's speech does point towards an interesting idea: that clothes don't make the values, they survive in other forms. Man, I wish the episode was about that. Heck, Austin Powers was about that. It literally says it in a big speech from Austin to Dr. Evil, where Evil says Austin's time has past and Austin is "the good stuff survived". I got to watch that movie again, it sounds like it holds up surprisingly well (including Austin, despite being a chronic womanizer, has a better understanding of consent than other movie characters at the time).

Really, it feels like this might have initially been about something but was more interested in wringing jokes about hippie Homer. And hey, there's some real funny stuff in the episode. In that respect it's not bad. You have comedy legends Martin Mull and George Carlin in there (though not getting a lot of funny lines). That's good. But this had the potential to address Homer's relationship with his mom and the idea that it might be OK if he missed being that kind of person if he retains her humane values. Or going another way, it could have been a more cynical tale of the way dreams and values chafe up against practical concerns. There's a lot of ways to crack this story and it felt like they didn't in favor of Homer antics and at the expense of Homer's character. Again.

Jokes I missed before:

Andy Daly has made me keenly aware of Sha Na Na.

Other great jokes:

"There were script problems from day one."
"Didn't seem like anyone even read the script."
"That was the problem."

"15 years of loyal service and this is how they tell me? A jester with an invisible proclamation."

"Stunned league officials say point shaving may have happened in as many as three Harlem Globetrotter games."

Other notes:
Some animator was really invested in getting Jill St. John's rack right.

I know George Carlin has a history as the "hippie weatherman" but is there a specific reason for casting Martin Mull as a hippie?


It's always time for burgers
Staff member
"There were script problems from day one."
"Didn't seem like anyone even read the script."
"That was the problem."

This is a funny exchange yet at the same time is indicative of the kind of rhythm that these post-golden age episodes proceed at. I dunno, it just comes across as... inauthentic to me. It feels cheap. Funny! But empty.


The DRKest Roe
(He, Him)
The scene with Chief Wiggum deciding to just outright shoot them for nothing definitely has a different ring to me now than 20 years ago.


aggro table, shmaggro table
They actually retired that name a while back because everyone knew that "Alan Smithee" basically meant 'name withheld upon request' and that the attached film would be hot garbage.


Arm Candy
The Alan Smithee pseudonym was officially retired by the DGA in 2000, and "D'Ohin' in the Wind" first aired on November 15, 1998.


the room is full of ghosts
When I first saw that, I thought Alan Smithee was a pseudonym for Waylon Smithers.

Johnny Unusual

Lisa Gets an A

When I was in elementary school, we were given a "No TV for a week" challenge. As you can imagine, that was hard because I loved TV, but for whatever reason I decided to take it. And I mostly succeeded. Mostly. One day at Radio Shack while mom was shopping, I played a video game and she drew my attention to that being TV. Well, I kept my mouth shut and got a button for my trouble. Its a pretty cheap gift, considering (maybe there was a certificate, which is slightly better) but nonetheless, it became a source of shame and I smashed that button with a rock. Frankly, my shame was far greater than the weight of my crime but selling integrity really does help.

In this episode, Lisa gets sick and misses a few days of school. During this time, Lisa gets hooked on a video game and ends up skipping her reading assignment. When Lisa finally gets back to school, she is confronted with a test she isn't prepared for. Lisa panics and ends up cheating on the test with help from Nelson and not only passes but ends up getting a better score than she's ever received. Lisa is given constant reminders of her "success" and is consumed with guilt and eventually confesses to Skinner... but Skinner doesn't want to take it. It turns out that Lisa's success put the school over the top for a badly needed grant to fix some of the school's more serious problems. Lisa is eventually convinced to continue the lie but eventually confesses during the grant giving ceremony. It seems that all is forgiven and Lisa is rewarded for her honesty... until Lisa leaves. It turns out Skinner predicted the betrayal and created a fake ceremony to placate Lisa and a real one to get the money. Meanwhile, Homer raises a lobster.

Lisa Gets an A is a strong episode for this season, in that it taps into a feeling we may have all felt from time to time; the shame and guilt of cheating. The show keeps it quite relatable throughout but builds when the problem becomes far greater than anticipated. But its also an interesting episode in that it is both a morally simplistic one but also one that doesn't exclude the possibility of complexity. I generally am in favour of honesty but in the face of the horror of a massively underfunded school, lying about Lisa's cheat feels very much something that would personally be easy for me to do. Lisa definitely does a morally correct thing but she also does something that has real consequences. Now there's a good practical reason to tell the truth; to stop hurting herself with guilt. But in doing that she risks the school's future. Weirdly, Skinner's elaborate plan of lies and fraud is something I have NO issue with.

And even though the show doesn't directly address it, I think there is a more morally complex quandary here. From Skinner's end, asking Lisa to continue the lie is asking her to swallow her shame and guilt, and that's a lot for an 8 year old to contend with. Conversely, this school is in serious jeopardy. The underfunding of schools and the screwed systems that decide who gets funding (like "no child left behind") are the real villains and as cowardly and sniveling as Skinner is, he's a guy trying to save an institution he loves in the face of apathy towards the well-being of children. Oh, Skinner's no angel in this one, but his sneaky solution is sort of brilliant in that it takes into account Lisa's integrity, allows her to have a win and still keep the money. It also plays with the sitcom standby that everything will work out if you are contrite. But it won't, necessarily. Its a cynically playful finale that feels like it is siding more with Lisa in terms of actual values but is also letting us enjoy Skinner's sneaky win.

I feel like I'm in an era of the show when I am complaining more but the show still has a lot of life in it. Yes, a lot of good joke formulas are getting repeated but episodes like these get to tap into specific emotions that the characters haven't felt yet in new ways. It can still be outrageous and silly but we are also invested in Lisa's pain and that feeling you've compromised your integrity in a moment of weakness. Interestingly, one of the more derided episodes of the last decade, Lisa Goes Gaga (the Lady Gaga episode), actually begins with a VERY good first act about Lisa doing something similar. Unfortunately, then it becomes a fawning celebration of Lady Gaga at the expense of making sense. Though compared to the Elon Musk episode, fawning over someone who actually deserves it, while somewhat cringey, is definitely the better option than saying "yay" to the tech monster. But these episodes still have a lot of life in them and when I see an episode like this, I'm reminded why I stuck with the show for so long.

Jokes I missed before:
Not a great joke but one of the "healthy" cereals is "Count Caroba". Inexplicably, not "Carobula".

Other great jokes:
"No, Mom, wait, we can make a deal."
"You don't have anything I want."

"Is this my house?"
"No, you live in a different house."
I know this is just the set up for more Ralph wackiness but I like Smith's matter of fact delivery. The character is patient and used to dealing with Ralph.

"Weren't you at Brown, Otto?"
"Yep. Almost got tenure, too."

"Lisa, you're saying brown an awful lot."

"Can't you see the difference between earning something honestly and getting it through fraud?"
"I suppose maybe if uh... No. Sorry, thought I had it there for a sec."

"But we can't accept that money. Its tainted."
"Leave the money out of this. Its not the money's fault you cheated."

I love that Chalmers calls it "that song Charge".

"Hi Lisa, Hi Super Nintendo Chalmers."

"Oh, thank God! Now let's talk rust-proofing. These Colecos will rust up on you like that. Shut up Gil, close the deal, close the deal."

"After all, education is the search for truth."
"No, no, don't listen to here, she's out of her mind."

"Who among you can't say you've never cheated... on your wives... or your husbands."

"Where I come from, Canada, we reward courage."
This is why I've never been rewarded.

"Alright everyone, let's have a round of applause for the real comptroller."

"I know a liquor store where we can cash this right now."

Other notes:
I would play Dash Dingo.

Bart says "If it was me, I'd take the zero." On accident, Bart makes the more moral choice.

Nelson's flimsy plausible deniablity excuses are perfect. "They're study aids. They're for novelty purposes only."

Hoover's alcohol stained grades paint a dark picture.


I always feel like Skinner, being flawed and all, is really trying his hardest to actually make something out of the school, because he wants to give these kids the education they need. I mean, the system is so stupid, how is he even supposed to work with it? Why are schools put into a weird form of competition, where you only get money if your school is "successful"? And not help the schools that actually need it?

I don't have any problem with Skinners scheme. He only gets money he should have access to anyway. The only one losing is the stupid system, so win-win here, I guess.

Well, and I guess there is another school with no money that won't get what it needs now. Did I mention how stupid it is to let schools compete with each other? But, of course, competition ist the super-drive of mankind.

Uh, before I continue ranting, let me just say: Good commentary.


dirtbag lesbian
I always feel like Skinner, being flawed and all, is really trying his hardest to actually make something out of the school, because he wants to give these kids the education they need. I mean, the system is so stupid, how is he even supposed to work with it? Why are schools put into a weird form of competition, where you only get money if your school is "successful"? And not help the schools that actually need it?

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
It’s a cruel stereotype to assume that every comptroller who is serious about their job is Canadian.

It’s a mark of pride when one of our ranks rises to that level, however

Johnny Unusual

Homer Simpson in "Kidney Trouble"

When does a character like Homer become irredeemable? And is it in his actions or how the show's creators portray them? Obviously, if you were to look at Homer's behaviour over the course of the series, it paints a dim picture. But the Simpsons is supposed to be viewed on an episode by episode basis, not as a serial. Homer can be a jerk but often his fallibility is relatable by the episode's end on some level. Or it should be. The problem ongoing is Homer constantly fixing problems with quasi-related big gestures of love with no long term promise of change. But some individual episodes put Homer beyond the pale. Even some of the writers felt Marge should probably have left Homer after the cartridge family. And this one is cited as a high point for Homer's lows. But watching it again, I'm not sure if the problem is the weight of Homer's misdeed or the way the episode handles it.

In this episode, Grandpa's kidney's explode after Homer makes Grandpa hold his pee during a long trip. Abe's only hope is Homer giving him a kidney. Homer is gung ho but eventually develops a fear of the operation and eventually chickens out and runs away. Filled with shame, Homer tries to run away to the sea and ends up on a boat with the world's weirdest outcasts. But even they are disgusted with Homer and oust him. Homer decides to try again but chickens out again. However, he also gets into a freak auto accident and finds when he wakes up that his kidney was taken and given to grandpa.

Controversial take: I don't hate this episode. I think there are a lot of good jokes. That counts for a lot. But this episode is troubled with a very bad Homer. I feel like I've definitely seen episodes where Homer is just worse somehow. But this one, one where we should be to some extent either in his corner or invested in his redemption, makes Homer a little too awful in the first act to make acts 2 and 3 work. Homer and Abe have a lot of reasons to have genuine animosity along with love but Homer's cruelty is beyond the pale as he makes his dad's kidneys explode through very overt meanness. After a very funny, goofy first act, it leaves a bad taste in your life. I really like the first act from a comedy standpoint but perhaps it took some room to let the story breath with emotional weight. Or maybe it was never there.

Both this and the previous episode are very much fueled by shame. But "Lisa Gets an A" puts us in Lisa's headspace early on but unless you are a monster, this is pretty unrelatable. And it doesn't have to be. Fear of doctors and operations are completely understandable on a base level and there's potential for a story where Homer overcomes it and even if he fails to overcome it. But this isn't it. The first act made Homer too awful, he had VERY little feelings or regret over his actions and his shame/fear-based story is far too broad and goofy and doesn't allow Homer's feeling to play for anything but broad comedy.

So its weird with ALL these complaints, I don't hate it. But I do hate Homer in it and I feel bad the episode excised any emotional investment (aside from spite). It didn't even have to be an emotional episode from a sentimental standpoint. It could have been a cynical exercise with some weight and trenchant observations about human weakness. But I feel like this script was either overwritten in the writer's room or underwritten and never corrected. What are we left with. Some pretty strong jokes and set pieces. I love a lot of the Old West town's bits. I love the ship of lost souls. And there are various one off jokes that I like. But I would probably sacrifice more of that for a more human story about fear and shame instead of a half-baked one with very little insight.

Jokes I missed before:

Other great jokes:

"If you look off to your left, you'll see a real old west hitchin' post, possibly used by bandits, possibly during some exciting adventure. And these planks below us were often used as a sidewalk by people who may or may not have been bandits."

"Oh, yeah, that would look so good on me."

"But if I die during the operation, will you do one thing for me?"
"Oh, anything sweetheart."
"Blow up the hospital."
"Hmm... Well, I said I'd do it, so I guess I'll have to."

"Um, can I be a mate on your ship? Preferably first mate."

"I was born into wretched poverty, so one day, I stole a loaf of bread, put it in the freezer until it was very hard, then robbed a bank with it."

"And when Mr. Dinkley saw what I had done, I was banned from the car wash forever."
"Forever? How awful."

Other notes:

Seriously, I feel like this is the era when we start to see overcrowding in the plots. If the first act as it is was shortened, the second act could have built up more of Homer's fear more and taken us with him. Or the third act could be two acts with Homer spending more time in his self-imposed exile, reflecting on his behaviour. OR even make act three act one or two and the final act about Homer NOT have coming through in the end and having to live with it, like in Force Majeure.

Grandpa as movie monster is a bit mean-spirited but I feel like its also a well-done scene.

Man, going into this, I thought I was going to write more about Grandpa and the show's portrayal of the elderly and how we treat them. I feel like there is SO much to dig into on this topic and it can be so on point it can be rough to watch. But also a lot of "laugh at them". There's a lot going on here.


Me and My Bestie
(He, him)
Yeah, Homer being afraid of an operation to help a loved one would be fine on its own but the story is tainted by Homer's negligence being the reason why his father needs a kidney transplant. What makes it worse is how Homer's negligence here is played for humor.

Also this episode really feels like it jumps around the place. It goes from another wacky family outing to emotional drama then to a brief bit with some eccentric shipgoers.

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
The jokes are somehow solid enough to make up for how monstrously cruel Homer is in the first act.

Also, while it’s a close race, Hibbert chuckling after telling Abe he won’t need to worry about eating any more might be the grimmest joke in the series.

Top 3 at any rate

Johnny Unusual

A lot of grimness on the Grandpa side of the episode. The aforementioned Grandpa being treated like a movie monster simply because he's happy someone is willing to spend time with him. And Krusty coming in for the "last laugh" program, him exiting after sucking at it and Grandpa meekly asking "Come back Doctor."

Johnny Unusual

Mayored to the Mob

What does it mean to put someone else's life before yours? Its a noble endeavor but does it even mean anything if the person you are protecting isn't worth it? There are countless stories about people risking their lives to help protect bad people, showing that the sacrifice can make a difference and that even the lives of bad people have value. But there are also a lot of stories where the idea that loyalty is robbed of its nobility when its on behalf of someone or something that isn't worthy. Heck, we've just seen the ousting of a president who insisted on loyalty but was constantly willing to throw anyone under the bus he could get. Its like people missed the point of what makes loyalty a virtue and where it is to be placed.

In this episode, The Simpson attend a sci-fi convention that breaks out into a riot. Homer protects Mark Hamill and Mayor Quimby and ends up gaining Quimby's favor, who ends up firing his other guards and hiring Homer. Homer follows the Mayor to his rounds of picking up various bribes and kickbacks and Homer is fine to look the other way. However, Homer can't when he discovers that the mob is selling rat milk to the school. He ends up muscling the mayor and forcing him to turn on Fat Tony. Quimby is soon on Homer's hit list but Homer vows to protect him. Though he admirably stops Fat Tony's henchman, Tony brutally beats the Mayor and ends up getting fired.

There are themes to this episode about the mistrust of authority but overall Mayored to the Mob is focused on being as silly as possible and succeeds admirably. If the episode was just a little off in tone, a lot of the stuff, like Homer knocking out his own family members, would have made it a little too nasty. But this is an episode that works on a logic closer to Looney Tunes or Airplane! and it being a "jokes come first" story works in its favour a lot better than some of the episode of this era. Do I see potential for a more complex story, like digging into the idea that Homer forced Quimby into a less safe position that he needs to protect him from. Instead its a series of funny bits and set pieces and I'm completely fine with it due to the quality of the comedy.

I will say that the episode continue one of the show's major themes of complete mistrust of authority. Yes, its about Quimby's corruption but it also implies that there's no one source and that most of Springfield's business owners are corrupt in the name of economic expediency. Its not darker or even more damning than other portrayals on the show but this one is definitely using the episode to imply extreme pervasiveness of the graft within Springfield. Considering what we know, I would not be surprised if the school was well aware of the rat milk problem and looked the other way. Its funny, I feel between this and the Springfield Connection, I actually feel there's a great unmade episode about (rather than referencing or using it as a plot point) the idea of getting into a job in law enforcement, only to find that the system makes it difficult to be the "good guy" you want to be.

Now I'm going to dedicate a paragraph to Mark Hamill. He is so great. And not only does he do a great job, I feel like the show new to take advantage of his voice acting talent. After Baldwin and Basinger's somewhat lackluster performances, its nice to see an actor who really digs into it and the show knew enough to give him TWO characters to voice in the episode, allowing him to be in all three acts for extended periods. As himself, he plays him as a bit of a weary shill and a vain showman and as the bodyguard instructor, well, he's just playing a silly instructor but he makes it work and you can tell he's having a great time, making the most of his lines. He's definitely a performer I could see the show bringing on regularly if they wanted and he could have made some great recurring characters.

Jokes I missed before:

"As you can see, you stand to save you up to 17 cents a month over the more dependable providers."

Other great jokes:
Makes me think of

"You stupid nerds! He's trying to save you money on long distance."

"And I need a volunteer to play Ob-Wan."

Hamill must have loved doing this one.

*after whistling at a woman, who is not happy about it*
"I couldn't be happier with the way that went."

"Thank you Fat Tony. However, in the future, I would prefer a non-descript briefcase to a bag with a dollar sign on it."


"I'm not so much disappointed as I am blinded with rage."

Other notes:
I feel like they definitely went to the actual Neil Armstrong to see if they could get him.

The original Robot voice actor in a voice that implies Jonathan Harris was a pedophile is... something that happened in this episode. Also the first and last time anyone would ever make a reference to the 1998 Lost in Space movie.

Hey, "Set Phasers to Fun" is also the name of Talking Time's Discord Star Trek channel. Was it a reference to this or a happy accident?

"Oh, Fat Tony."
"What? What did I do?"

Johnny Unusual

Viva Ned Flanders

I'm a person who generally lives safe. Oh, I am accident prone but I never seek out a lot of the major "vices". I'm mostly OK with that. I feel like I have an addictive personality so I'm glad I never got into booze or drugs or cigarettes. But I also never put myself out there a lot. I never felt comfortable in a lot of situations where I could meet people and have never been in a romantic relationship. I've travelled the world but aside from seeing sights, I never felt comfortable partying with my co-workers after work for very long. So I'm someone who is not unhappy with his life but always worry that my fear and desire for comfort and routine has allowed me to rob myself of a richer, fulfilling life.

In this episode, Homer notices Flanders paying for a carwash with a senior discount card. Believing him to be defrauding the car wash, Homer tries to expose him at church, only for it to come out that Ned is actually 60 years old. Everyone is impressed how youthful Ned is but when he reveals the secret of his youth is "resisting all the major urges", everyone decides they rather not and seem to pity Ned for his lack of adventurousness. Ned starts to feel self conscious but feels unable to really live life to its fullest. Ned goes to the most impulsive person he knows, Homer, and asks him to teach him to take risks. Homer takes Ned on an impromptu trip to Vegas and Ned is hesitant but eventually gives in and has a wild night on the town with Homer. Ned is proud of himself the next morning until he and Homer discover they married cocktail waitresses while drunk. The two make a run for it and end up getting caught, roughed up, and kicked out of town and the two walk home together.

Viva Ned Flanders has a main thrust that speaks to me and I like the first two acts better than the final. I feel like the first two are a real examination of a feeling I relate two and the intent of the last act is to show that "really living" can have consequences. And I feel like it doesn't come to an interesting conclusion in that regard. I feel like "oops, married" is a pretty played out trope by this time and that it doesn't give me a satisfying end to Ned's journey. Like, it ends on the two coming up with excuses but not really whether finds if Ned finds that if the consequences were worth the life experience and it doesn't bring Homer and Ned closer or even further apart. I feel like an episode that explores Ned finding a perverse virtue in Homer and trying to use that to have a richer life needs a richer ending, but here its more like "OK, the escapade is over. See you next week."

But I really do like the first act and it balances the characters in a way that I feel like we don't see after. The Homer of this era is broader and spends the episode as a selfish jerk but its not too far beyond the pale to spoil the fun like in Kidney Trouble. Meanwhile, Flanders has not yet been Flanderized and an ugly Christian caricature rather than a character and after the episode Hurricane Neddy, he's also more than a mere doormat for Homer. This feels like it is the perfect time to have the two characters have more interplay (though a mildly more sympathetic Homer is appreciated) and I think this episode does a decent job for most of it. The game is Ned is willing to follow Homer's weird, dangerous rabbit hole because he's afraid of going the opposite way.

I get how the last act could work better. Homer has spent a lot of the last two seasons living life like it has no consequences, so it makes sense to drop a big one on him in this episode that's about the quest to escape a comfort zone and ending up too far. But as I said, I don't think it gets to say anything or even ask unanswered questions about the nature of that kind of life. I also feel like the show could have even cornered the characters a bit more, giving a sense of urgency into what previously was a mere lark for the characters up until this part. But I like that leading up to it, Ned is following what is clearly a reckless, careless and thoughtless man in every respect because he is hoping to have richness that he has while Homer is actually SO untethered from responsibility that he's a bit empty. Of course, again, I might prefer it being about a more human Homer and Flanders wanting to emulate elements of that but within the first two acts, I was pretty happy.

Jokes I missed before:

"And then there's Maude. AND THEN THERE'S MAUDE!"

Other great jokes:

"I'm just thinking of my employees. Card sharps, bottom dealers and shills. Where will they go?"
"They're managing your chain of nursing homes, sir."

"Remember how excited we were when this place opened? Then a week later we just forgot about it."
"I'm surprised they moved it when they moved the town."
"Oh, I can explain that, you see--"

"I've never heard of these bands, Mom. What kind of music do they play?"
"Crap rock?"
"Wuss rock?"
"That's it."
Trust me, there's a difference. Sometimes wuss rock is pretty decent.

"What's your secret Flanders? Goat placenta? Monkey sweat?"
"Some kind of electric hat?"
"Holy water? It's holy water, isn't it? AHH, IT BURNS!"

"It could be in the middle of the night. It could be when you least suspect it. Or, you know, whatever's good for you."

"How do you silence that little voice that says 'think'?"
"You mean Lisa?"

"Someone dishonoring their marriage vows? Not in Las Vegas!"

"What if we switched wives? Would that help?"
"For the last time, no."

Other notes:
Its weird to follow a joke about Don Rickles making a stupid Latino joke and then making the laziest, eye-rollingest one only a few minutes later.

Dunking on Joan Rivers is one of those dunking ons from the 90s that feels stupid in retrospect, like Britney Spears and misc.

I love that based on his speed, Homer might have been planning to drive right into the casino. Or, rather, I did, until I remembered "people driving into things" has a much more horrifying reality into it thanks to the last five years or so.

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
Meanwhile, In the Future

Just reached That 90s Show, which I had always insisted was the equal to Princial and the Pauper in that complaints about how it handled continuity were overblown and the episode was more than funny enough on its own.

And I was half right; complaining about continuity in the Simpsons is dumb, but also the episode was way less funny than I remembered. There were some genuinely funny gags (albeit... err... entirely at Kurt Cobains expense) but most of them were just a little too self aware, really generic 90s riffs.

There was a billboard about Sonic the Hedgehog teaching abstinence, and you better believe I’m going to find ways to work that into more correspondence