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

MetManMas

Me and My Bestie
(He, him)
Oh I know, it just seems like these kinda endings are getting far more out there as the show goes on.
 

Tegan

dirtbag lesbian
(She/Her)
Been watching a lot of shitty Simpsons lately. This aged weird.


 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
The Great Money Caper

I love tales of con artists. The idea of using charisma, wits and planning to concoct a scenario to make a little money is often fun. Parasite. Paper Moon. Better Call Saul. They all have merits outside of the con sections but the cons are always the parts that are fun to see through. Its the joy of a process mixed with the joy of a magic-like reveal if done well. Of course, in real life, I couldn't imagine what it takes to be that in terms of a lack of empathy. Usually in fiction, the rube is either deserving or usually we are made to feel OK with how things turn out. At the very least, there's a naughty thrill. But I've had things stolen before without being tricked an it felt like a violation that left me upset. I imagine being made to look stupid on top of it would be worse.

In this episode, a freak accident leaves the Simpsons' car wrecked. Homer and Bart try to make a little extra money with a magic act but end up accidentally making money after Bart is mistaken for a kid in need. Homer and Bart then decide to try con artistry on for size and do good business. Eventually, they are approached by Grandpa who reveals he has conning chops and invites them into a con on the old folks home. As the con reaches its climax, the Simpson boys are arrested by an FBI agent... or so they think. Soon they realized he conned them and stole their money and car. Homer decides to blame a vague figure whose description ends up matching Groundskeeper Willie. Willie is arrested and put on trial and eventually Homer confesses. In the end, it turns out the trial, the other con man and grandpa's plan were part of an even greater con to teach them a lesson about conning, one that nearly everyone in town was in on.

Due to my love of con stories, I thought this one would be a joy to return to but its sadly a whole lot of nothing. Note that this isn't an episode that offends me with being overtly bad in any capacity but it also lacks anything to make it good. The big con itself isn't that clever or fun. The jokes often don't land. It has very little insightful to say about grifting or the grifting genre of cinema... for the most part. I will say there is one moment that feels pointed, Homer pointing out the effort required for the con is ridiculous considering the purpose and then the show distracts with a non-ending. But... also it just results in an unfunny meta-non-ending that has been done better in other episodes.

I will give it some credit. The episode brought Paper Moon to my attention, though I wouldn't see it for 17 more years. Do check it out, it is a sweet little comedy about a father/daughter crime team. Some of the scams are not-unfun to watch. There are a few good lines here and there. But what's missing is a core beyond the hi-jinx. It isn't really about what it means to be a con man. Homer gets a taste of his own medicine but that's a bit boring. That's what happens in every other Home Improvement (that family loved elaborate ruses). I feel like there are a bunch of different ways to do a better grifting episode but the two big ones should either be a wackier comedy that digs in one how ridiculous the plans in movie are, which the episode briefly does or actually have Homer, someone who is constantly lying anyway and usually failing to get away with it, deal with more intimate results to his behaviour.

I think the structure of the episode isn't bad... but it lacks anything substantial. I feel in the third act, it would be better if they took it slightly more seriously. Its weird to say about a comedy show but the episode intentionally makes the comparison between the con and a magic show. The mechanics should make me applaud in the last reveal rather than "Oh, OK." I have no doubt writer Carolyn Omine (who is still on the show) likes caper stories and tried to do her own. Its hard work to tell a story as is but it must be even harder to make a story that requires both a strong handle on technical story telling to keep track of moving parts. But this episode doesn't feel like its trying too hard in that regard and feels like a dull echo of a beloved thing rather than a true pastiche.

Other great jokes:

Not a lot....

"Mom, you're missing a great show."
"You don't know WHAT I'm missing."

"Folks, this is not part of the act. Please help her."

"I love you too. Goodnight, and have a pleasant tomorrow."

"He'll work off that cake in the acid mines!"

"Yeah, in the Depression you had to grift. Either that or work."

"I can't believe everyone was in on it."
"WILLIE WASN'T"

Other notes:
Not going to lie, drunk Marge is fun.

What is some good con fiction? I'm feeling hungry for it now.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Oh yeah that whole series is great.

Meanwhile in the future

I think I feel confident calling the early 20s a good era. Definitely on par with the mid-teens at least. Occasionally lapsing into… not good. There’s usually at least one solid bit per episode;

“Would you really be willing to risk mom and dads marriage just to get out of doing homework?”
(Stares blankly) Lisa, I would end all life on this planet to avoid learning fractions.”
“Fractions aren’t hard! You just have to find a common denom-“
ALL! LIFE! ON! THIS! PLANET!”
(Bart storms out of the room)
“You’d need to know fractions to make an explosion that big”
(Off camera)
“Don’t care!”
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Skinner's Sense of Snow

Obviously, taking care of kids is a challenge. Particularly discipline. You don't want to spoil anyone but being obstinate doesn't do anyone any good. I've definitely had a few moments were I got into a battle of wills when it would have actually just been better overall to cave. I was worried that my nephew wasn't drinking enough water and might get sick but I sat with him too long to try to get him to drink and it really just turned into suffering for both of us. Its OK to let go for everyone's well being sometimes and not to get lost in the situation.

In this episode, most of Springfield is closed for snow except Springfield elementary. The kids go to school but by the end of the day find that they are snowed in. Skinner tries to take care of the kids but with rationing what little food there is in the school, Skinner quickly becomes unpopular... er. Skinner remembers his experiences in Nam and decides military-style discipline to maintain order. Bart tries to create an escape hole and Skinner, deciding it is unsafe, decides to destroy it, only to get stuck inside. The kids use the opportunity to usurp Skinner and cause havoc in the school. Eventually the kids are rescued and Bart and Skinner decide to forget the entire experience.

Skinner's Sense of Snow is one I remember liking so I'm glad it actually mostly holds up as a solid episode. One thing I've learned to appreciate is actually exploring a theme or a character rather than just broaching it, having a few disjointed scenes vaguely related to the topic and never really settling on anything or digging into the ideas it brought up. This one definitely does... until the climax, where the story just ends because it is time. The concept is exploring someone who loves teaching but doesn't really think much of the people he's teaching. Skinner has a passion for education but he never gets the kids or how to treat them. He becomes convinced they need military-style discipline but to him that only involves suffocating control.

And no one can blame the kids for rebelling. Its not just that Skinner is a kind of sucky adult. It's never completely explicit but it seems like the ball was in Skinner's court in keeping the school open, meaning he's directly responsible for endangering them. He wants to do the job well but he misses the forest for the trees and does no give or take. Its all on his terms as far as he's concerned and he realizes that the kids have the ability to rob him of any authority. Its a shame it doesn't have a proper ending. Considering Bart's hangdog expressing when he is about to confess his part, it seems like he feels bad about it but nothing in the story would suggest that. It feels like the ending should be about learning to understand what the kids need instead of telling them and/or Bart also losing control of the situation, giving him some sympathy, if not forgiveness, for the very tyrant he overthrew. Instead, snow's melted, story's over.

It might drop the ball in the last act, but it is still a better episode than it isn't. It also helps that the comedy game is largely strong. I feel that the weakest parts are the Homer/Flanders pairing, down to an ending where an out of it Homer tries to make out with Bart. But there are a lot of extended beats I liked, such as the intro to the Cirque du Puree show and "The Christmas That Almost Wasn't But Then Was". So it is also funny. I'm willing to forgive a lot for that and its a shame that it also stops being funny around the same time it gives up on having a proper arc. But finale aside, I liked this one. I do know there is an episode down the line that once again forces Skinner to realize he doesn't get kids (even Chalmers gets one) but I suspect this one does a better job on this front, failings aside.

Jokes I missed before:
I didn't realize the one movie's title is a reference to a movie that would one day appear on MST3k.

Other great jokes:

"But I cannot help you, I'm just a local merchant from... this town."
"JUST SMASH IT OPEN!"

"They always pick the guy with the wires."

"And its open season on savings at Springfield's Menswear... which is closed."


"How will the kids get home?"
"I dunno. Internet?"

"We'll miss the Itchy and Scratchy where they finally kiss!"

"What would Superintendent Chalmers do?"
"SKINNER!"
"That was no help."

"Get back to the candy bar,"

"That elephant ate my entire platoon."

"I told you, no one can climb a rope. Its physically impossible."

"Lookit me! I'm throwing paper."
Sometimes I just love dumb ADR.

"Nelson, if you get me out of this, there's a hall monitor position for you."
"I spit on your monitors."
"I know. That's why the position is available."

"A hamster ball."
"Just like the one that saved Ezekiel."

"It's happening! My horoscope was right!"


"There'd better be a good explanation for this."
"There is, sir."
"Then I'm happy."

Other notes;
I like Skinner's low key obsession with Kristi Yamaguchi.

Jokes They Did One Too Many Times Now:
"That sounds like a silo tipping over."
Basically the same joke as "That sounds like a pig fainting" and it doesn't up the game to be a good recurring bit.
 

Tegan

dirtbag lesbian
(She/Her)
I was about to say that I think this is one of the best episodes of the bad seasons but then remembered that it has the Cirque de Purée scene, which I think is really indicative of how shitty the show's ability to parody things got over time. A good parody joke should work even if you've never experienced the source material, but even as someone who's never seen Cirque du Soleil it's obvious that it's nothing like the real show and is just their shitty imagined version with a lazy pun name that doesn't mean anything. This is how we get to the likes of Mapple in later seasons.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
I like the introductory sequence of it not as a parody and more for two jokes I like (namely, Homer's solution to the jar of rainbows problem), but then it starts to meander. But yeah, their ability to parody just gets much worse in being unfocused and not really about anything. Mapple is a low point for a number of reasons but most notably... stupid rhyming names? Like, these are place filler names at best.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
HOMR

Flowers for Algernon is one of the classic short stories. The story follows a mentally disabled man who undergoes a radical procedure to increase his intelligence, which ends up tripling. However, he later learns that the procedures effects will be only temporary and after trying to go back to his old life, he finds he cannot and moves on. I remember liking it at the time, though I'm curious what I would think of it now, particular in that it is a story trying to humanize the mentally disabled and is trying to show what would happen if they overcame it and I feel like it could easily make a misstep or come across as a little to smug or cute. But as a broad structure, there is a sad beauty of someone rising to see a world in a new way, having to revert but being changed for the experience. The thing is, often parodies forget that last part, sometimes with intent such as the fun Spider-Man comedy tale Flowers for Rhino and sometimes for convenience, like in this episode, whose title seems to be a r

In this episode, Homer makes another boneheaded purchase and needs to make a little extra money so subjects himself to lab experiments. While there, the scientists discover that Homer has a crayon lodged in his brain from a childhood shenanigan. The scientists allow Homer to have the crayon removed and Homer's intelligence is noticeably increased. Homer grows closer with Lisa but finds that his intelligence has isolated himself from the rest of society. Eventually, Homer decides to have the crayon put back in and reverted to his "normal" intelligence. When he returns home, he gives a message to Lisa that as an intelligent man, Homer learned to appreciate Lisa's strength.

HOMR is an episode that has a few classic jokes and moments but as a whole has a pretty shallow take on what it means for Homer to be smart now. There is a lot of different ways to approach the idea of Homer rising to average intelligence (which, to Homer, is super-intelligence) and there's so much I wish they did. Now, there are things I appreciate. I always like that whenever Homer in this series manages to change one notable thing about himself, he's still very much himself. When Homer became a physical powerhouse, he's still gluttonous and lazy. And when he's smart, he's still the kind of guy who would rather drive than walk and is pretty into effigies. I also like the fact that his loss of intelligence is a status quo resetting choice than an accident and the writers are knowing that him making this choice is a bummer tragedy.

But I also think that the episode is VERY Al Jean, for better and worse. I feel like I beat on Al Jean a lot and as show runner, he's lead it to where it is now. He also seems to rely a little too much on pop cultural references and bring some of the tonal similarities to his other show, the Critic, which on rewatch, is just left of center of being the show I remembered liking as a kid. And while I do think this episode could have been better, it doesn't feel as patched together as the show would become and it does feel like he did what he set out to do: tell a tale about Homer getting smart, being alienated by the world and appreciating Lisa more for it.

I do see better avenues better, though. I don't like that one of the big moments where Homer realizes he's separated from the average man is in taste in cinema. The fake movie is a fun parody that I like to quote but the choice that crummy pop culture is responsible for Homer losing faith in humanity is TOO Al Jean. The show was closer to what speaks to me when Homer's intelligence allows him to adequately do his job and everyone gets fired for it because Burns is an immoral jerk. The idea that intelligence doesn't protect you from your own failings and the failings of others is interesting but the show only covers the second part, really, and then makes the failing about our lacking pop culture. Having Homer lose everything due to his intelligence just as he gained everything by not thinking could have been closer to saying something damning about society and capitalism. As usual, I also can think of other things I would have wanted to see with the potential, like more time with Homer and Lisa. I feel like its the heart of the episode but it never completely lands, meaning either it needed more time invested or the time invested needed to be of a higher quality.


Other great jokes:

"Whose going to buy a pill that makes you blind."
"We'll let marketing worry about that."

"Where did that rat come from?"
"He must have brought it in with him."

"Notice I no longer say liberry or tomorrie."

"That sonata might not be a Glenn Gould performance but I must say its as good as Gould."
*fucking smug Homer laugh*

"I make a lot of graphs."

"Point out your plot hole elsewhere" is an off-quoted bit by JBear and I.

Other notes:

This is another episode where I think the show is in love with its first act so much, it takes a lot of room despite barely informing what follows. But more damning... that could actually be fine. Think about it, Steven Universe and Adventure Time episodes are, like 11 minutes and tend to accomplish complete arcs, even when part of a larger story.

Even in the early 2000s, people stopped saying "Japanimation"

Oh, Barney's drunk again.

Flanders burns evidence there is no God and watches a Davy and Goliath parody that encourages domestic terrorism. We have emerged into full Flanderization.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Pokey Mom

About 10 years ago, I was working with a small ESL school. I did a lot of good teaching and the owner wanted me to be a business partner. It did not go well. He didn't actually teach me much of the business and left town for six months. He got really upset that I didn't complete my objective but with very little guidance, I had a hard time doing my job properly. Eventually, I took him to court to get what I was owed financially and won. The weird part was after the trial, which took nearly a year to finish up (thanks to my long explanation of the series of events the defendants very long cross-examination, which made what was supposed to be a morning trial into two that took a long time to schedule). Then he gave me a call and suggested now that this was behind us that he could get the band back together. It was galling but part of me is curious (though far from tempted) what the fuck putting trust in someone who put me through that frustration would be like. After all, I'm all for forgiveness but it needs to be done with something of a critical eye.

In this episode, the Simpsons attend a prison rodeo where Marge meets Jack Crowley, an inmate and talented artist. Seeing his talent, Marge starts a prison art program and gets closer to Jack. Feeling that such a soulful artist should get a second chance, Marge helps Jack at his parole hearing and manages to get Jack freed into her custody. Marge gets Jack a job at the school painting a mural but ends up getting into creative differences with his employer, Skinner. Skinner forces Jack to compromise his vision, the results of which are received poorly and Skinner passes the buck to a visibly angry Jack. The mural is burned down and Jack is suspected and tries to convey to Marge that he didn't do it. She believes him and tries to help him escape... until he sets Skinner's car on fire and confesses to burning down the mural, leaving Marge disappointed.

Pokey Mom is half-way to a good episode, I think, There are a few good bits, which counts for a lot in this era of the show. The recurring non-sequitor sundae gag really works for me. Beyond that, though, is a story about the emotional frustration of putting your faith in the hands of someone else and the heartbreak when they disappoint you. Its something that the episode is very much built on and while some episodes I feel like I need to dig to figure out what that is about, this one very much has it front and center. The idea that we want to believe in people and would love to see a redemption story. It also is somewhat about the idea that a person of creative talent doesn't mean they are great in other areas, something more pointed today when we are finding some of our favourite creative types might turn out to be real pieces of shit.

The problem is that the show does OK with Marge's journey but it doesn't have much of anything to say at the end beyond "sucks that it didn't pan out." It seems to stop asking whether it was right for Marge to have faith, even if it didn't pan out. It doesn't really say anything about the idea that Marge was fixated on his talent and is willing to ignore warning signs. Or maybe it does, and if so, I don't agree. There are warning signs but there are also signs that Jack is a man who is willing to work for forgiveness. I think the idea that Marge didn't do the wrong thing and sometimes putting your faith in something comes with risk and maybe its even worth it if it doesn't pan out. But I feel like it doesn't go any deeper than "Marge disappointed" and I think that's a shame considering the lead up is pretty strong. Its an episode that is very invested in the character of Marge and getting us on her side of being worried if she made the right choice but also wanting to trust that someone can change through their art, rather than maybe their capacity for beauty and charm hiding something a little more dangerous inside.

I think it helps a lot that Michael Keaton is the guest star here. Keaton is such a talented actor and its interesting that this episode came out at a time when the actor's visibility was lowering for the next few years. As a gravelly voiced prisoner, he's mostly working at one level throughout but manages to imbue him with the humanity to win Marge over. He seems like a good guy... in the right context. But he himself is also very much intentionally giving Marge warning signs through self-deprecation while Marge wants to see him pick himself up and forgive himself, despite having shot Apu (though he was apparently quite polite about it). He's one level but unlike some guest characters, not one note and does very well with the material, going a long way to help the episode.

Jokes I missed before:

Skinner's lunch menu essentially being a TV network's scheduling plan, complete with discussion of demographics.

Other great jokes:

"Eeeh, I'm a little disappointed. There were too many aprons."

"Well, don't feel too bad for him folks, he's in prison for erecting a nativity scene on city property."
"So much evil in the world."

"Where's your blue shirt."
"I don't have a blue shirt."
Take that early 90s marketing team.

"Maybe its the tear gas or maybe this was the best damn prison rodeo ever."

"Wow, the artist really captures Jimi's passion and intensity."
"And his fondness for the guitar."

"Tain't no air in space."
"There's an air-n-space museum."
I appreciate the show having the gumption to do the daddest of jokes.

"Do you have a title?"
"A time to kill."
"....titles are hard."


Dumb low key visual gag I liked: Marge looking from the same vantage point and at the same spot and seeing the prison AND the school at different points.

"Now I can focus on my crippling emotional pain. Oh, daddy daddy, why won't you hug me? You hugged the mailman!"

"You know, when Superintendent Chalmers suggested a school mural, I almost thought he said a school Muriel. You see, Muriel's his sister..."
I love that its not even that he thought that. He ALMOST thought that.

Other notes:
Charles Napier is always a welcome voice.

There's also a very small guest star, Robert Schimmel, whose presence is notable but I didn't know who he was, so it felt a little weird.

Bruce Villanch will always be the guy who guest stars as himself to point out that he's a shitty comedy writer.

Marge points out Homer likes Jimi Hendrix. I guess I can believe it but I'm more likely to believe Marge is the fan of good 60s music while Homer is more into 70s radio rock.
 

MetManMas

Me and My Bestie
(He, him)
I'm not about to condone Jack's arson, but it was pretty shitty for Principal Skinner to force Jack to compromise his vision then blame him when people didn't like it.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Yeah, the episode is pretty unequivocal about that. Skinner is A bad guy in the episode. The point there is clearly Jack doesn't have the faculties to handle human shittiness reasonably. Its one of the stronger points: in civilized society, there are times were you should to compromise, particularly when doing so outweighs the cons, no pun intended. Even when it feels like ass. To Jack's credit, he swallows his pride and does so. Then Skinner throws him under the bus and he did a poor job handling it and essentially sabotages his own future out of pettiness. Which hurts the person who gave him a lot of chances. And that's the part I wish we got more closure on in the episode's end, instead of an OKish back and forth that ends on an odd gay joke.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
forgot to mention this at the time on my Future Rewatch, but I thought about it today and got mad again, so I just have to get my Least Favourite Joke off my chest.

I forget the context (Chalmers berating Skinner doesn’t narrow things down much), and I’m paraphrasing a little;

Chalmers: “If this were a decent school, you wouldn’t have a lunch lady who was on trial for her husbands murder!”
Doris (indignant): “I was acquitted not convicted!”
(Doris holds up a food tray)
D: Now who wants Roast Pete?
C: “Did you say “Roast Pete?”?
D: His friends called him Pete.

The first line was a solid “The School is terrible” joke, the second is an extra punchline that just made it funnier.

And then it just falls apart and the joke gets less and less funny each time. They had gold and they traded it for… like… pig iron.

Or a cup of hot spiders or something
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Worst Episode Ever

As I mentioned last post, I entered into a business partnership that turned out to be ill-advised. I was hoping that the owner of the business who wanted me to be a partner would give me some guidance but he basically disappeared for a long time and gave me little guidance on how to do my work. Then when he did, he spent three hours chewing me out for resigning when I returned for the money I was owed. So... not good. Though working with him sometimes frustrated me, I assumed some of our problems was due to me being in a position I never was in before and that I was still learning the give and take of the work but afterwards, it became clear he was just a bad dude (I heard a pretty bad horror story about how he tried to keep an immigrant secretary under his thumb). Its hard to find a good partner but more important is learning when to walk away from a rough relationship.

In this episode, Bart and Milhouse are banned from the Android's Dungeon and Baseball Card Shop. When they show up and attempt to sneak into a Tom Savini appearance in the shop, they witness Comic Book Guy so humiliated that the rage gives him a heart attack. In the hospital, Comic Book Guy is told that he must take a break from the store to recover and is forced to put the shop in the hands of Bart and Milhouse when he has no friends to rely on. Bart and Milhouse do a competent job until Milhouse feels being taken for granted and decides to make a business decision that puts the story in dire straights. This leads to a fight between Bart and Milhouse where they accidentally discover Comic Book Guy's secret stash of rare and obscure video tapes, including ones illegal to own. The kids make money with showings to kids. Meanwhile, Comic Book Guy tries to make friends and ends up falling in love with Agnes Skinner, until he's arrested when the police discover his illegal tapes.

I've said before that some Simpsons characters simply aren't suited to having episodes about them. Surprisingly, it is my opinion that Comic Book Guy (Jeff Albertson) is actually... not in that camp. The problem is I don't think he's had a good episode about him yet. I feel like he is a tricky character to crack. That's with the virtue of hindsight, I suppose. In the 2000s, it was all "nerds, are good and loveable" but now the 2010s have revealed the truth: nerds kind of suck. I am one. There's some much toxicity within nerdom and he's the perfect character to explore that. After all, he was born of the insufferable nerd archetype and frankly it turns out it might be more evergreen than the hero nerd, sadly. So there is a lot of potential. The problem with cracking it is exploring the character's bad traits while still giving us enough to like. I feel like this is hard than the similar "scummy but loveable" Moe because Comic Book Guy, while AS pathetic as Moe, is just less likeable. Sure he's fun for the writers to get their nerd references out but with Moe we see a desperation and a hunger for love that makes him more human (even if it is a human jerk).

But I think he can be used to explore certain ideas and this episode's seed is not a bad one. After all, as an adult, it really is hard to make friends. Its an idea that's been explored with Marge but I also feel like there are other ways to tackle the issue. And when Comic Book Guy falls for Agnes, there's kind of a sweetness to their shared misanthropy. It never actually hits funny, but it does hit me liking them enjoy each other's company in a Statler and Waldorf-esque fashion. So even though I think this is a weak episode, I feel it manages to muster a defense for a Comic Book Guy focused episode.

Sadly, as mentioned, it is weak, despite both the a-plot and b-plot gesturing towards more interesting ideas. The a-plot, which weirdly I have less to say about, is about Bart and Milhouse fighting about business and I wish the show took the time to really dig into what it is clearly about: Bart and Milhouse's relationship, one in which Bart is invariably the dominant force. A healthier version of this is in the show Brooklyn Nine-Nine, where Peralta and Boyle are happily completing each other. Sometimes one can go too far but their relationship is healthy and they are both willing to cede power or take charge when they feel it is right for their friend. But Bart and Milhouse's relationship is much more rigid. This feels like it would have been a really good time to examine a tipping point for them but instead the show's third act manages to deflect instead of being an episode about them. Its another one that doesn't come to a conclusion or even commenting on human nature to want to ignore serious problems in the name of friendship. The episode is never actually BAD but its also not remotely GOOD. And that's a shame. Though, again, while not "funny", I like watching lovey-dovey assholes CBG and Agnes.

Other great jokes:

Seriously very little this episode. You'd think that means I hate the episode or something but its just kind of limp rather than actively awful.

"My neighbor Homer released a radioactive ape in my house. He's taken over the whole top floor."
"It wasn't dad's fault. The ape tricked him."

"What do you mean I can't take off my sweater. I'M HOT!"

"Now for total security, I'll now terminate the cameraman."
"OW! Thanks a lot, Steve!"



Other notes:
The story mechanics of getting Milhouse and Bart, who are children, into the managerial role seems particularly lazy. It could have even be fixed by just having him put Homer in charge out of desperation, Homer being all in for a hot second, then just forgetting and putting Bart in charge because Homer is a big dog who will easily be distracted by some other thing. It's not that hard.

Similarly, Lisa and Marge reading "The Daily Set-Up" is the show doing Bad Meta, lampshading a cliché by highlighting it but not going any further than that.

Ugh, the "its funny that the old person and fat person are having sex" bit.
 

Büge

Arm Candy
(she/her)
I can't believe you forgot about Homer's back injury in "Pokey Mom".

"Your spine is more twisted than... Sinbad's take on marriage! [chuckle]"
"So? Just gimme some drugs and surgery!"
"Oh, I'd love to, but, to be honest, modern medicine has a lousy record of treating the back. We spent too much time on the front."
"Yeah, there's some neat stuff on the front."
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Tennis the Menace

I've only been into one sport for an extended period but I've flirted with the idea several times in my youth. In Jr. High, our Phys Ed did touch football and I found it fun to be a running back. There was a summer where our family was playing tennis for fun. But probably more relevant to this episode where my parents made me take gymnastics. My sister really got into it and they thought it would be great for a physical activity. But I never was interested. And it involved a lot of stretching and not being used to the idea of a pain threshold, I always wanted to give up after mild discomfort. Even worse, a friend joined and my disinterest rubbed off on him, to the point where his parents asked me to please try. As a more mature person, I probably would but I certainly didn't like to be told what to be interested and I found gymnastics to be boring when everyone else wanted me to be invested, even if just to a small degree.

In this episode, Homer gets a tennis court as one of his random ventures and Marge goes all in, seeing it as an opportunity to improve the Simpsons's social life. It certainly makes them popular but while Homer simply likes to goof around, Marge actually wants to play and is frustrated by her husband's inability to focus. Even worse, Marge overhears the Simpsons mocked by their neighbors and pleads with Homer to try. Homer does but doesn't do much of a good job. That doesn't stop him from entering himself in Marge in a doubles tournament. Marge, not wanting to be embarrassed, drops Homer and plays with Bart, who is actually quite good. So good, in fact, that they win the tournament and are invited to a charity tournament. Homer, feeling very betrayed, gets Lisa to join the tournament to compete against Marge and Bart, causing a rift in the family. In the day of the tournament, Homer ropes Venus Williams into replacing Lisa. Soon, all the family are replaced with professional players and everyone makes peace by enjoying a high level game.

Tennis the Menace is not a particularly strong episode but I will say that it does what I often complain the show doesn't do in post-season 10 episodes: exploring an idea, rather than using it as something to hang jokes off of. I think the weakness is the episode does feel like that, but after the first act, another one with NOTHING to do with the other two, but each plot movement explores different aspects of the nature of competition. I like the aspect of Homer and Marge having very different approaches to having fun: Marge wants to improve her skills and compete while Homer just wants to have more chaotic, freeform fun and has no particular interest in winning. Both are alright approaches in theory but if everyone is not on the same page, the frustration is understandable. And to Homer's credit, he does try to get more invested once Marge asks for help.

The last act is really about the potential toxic nature of competition which leads to a logical ironic conclusion that to actually "win", everyone is removed from the actual game, meaning they aren't even competing. And then by that point, everyone learns to stop caring. So despite the fact that my reaction to the episode as a whole is completely lukewarm, I'm just glad that the show hasn't completely given up its structural integrity. As a younger man, I probably wouldn't care as long as the jokes were all funny but in rewatch, seeing the early episodes exceed in that AND storytelling makes me realize a poorly told story needs REALLY good jokes to hold it up or else I'm remembering ingredients and not the meal.

That said, as food, this is merely an edible soup with mild flavours. I can eat it and I'm not dissatisfied but I'm not going to order it again. Note: don't write reviews while hungry. Anyway, my point is that its a competent episode but completely unmemorable due to a lot of the jokes being completely pedestrian. We are also heading into the era where even thematically Act One has little to do with anything and it actually isn't that funny. Its an episode that does explore an idea and for that I'm grateful. I just wish that helped make it an episode I found interesting.

Other great jokes:

Homer being vocally invested in the plate spinning is a bit of fun.

"What on Earth are you doing?"
"Practicing tennis."
"That's tennis? Then what's the one where the chicks wail on each other."
"Foxy boxing?"
"YES! THAT'S WHAT I WANTED!"

"So from now on, all hats are banned from the school."
"Even bonnets?"
"Especially bonnets."
I'm still a sucker for complete non-sequitor business.


"They're easier to beat a suspect in shackles."
"Pretty easy to beat a suspect in shackles, Chief."
"Well, that's the joke, Lou. Its on the Simpsons and their easy beatability."
Police are terrible.



"He thought that trip to the guillotine factory was just for fun, but it was the perfect place to shoot him."

"Dear Lisa, psyche. Psyche psyche psyche. Signed, Super Psyche."
"I think he's trying to psyche you out."

Other notes:

I actually remember enjoying the next three episodes quite a bit. I hope my memory is actually good on this front.
 

MetManMas

Me and My Bestie
(He, him)
Frinkiac is being buggy with GIFs again, I take it. It cut off right before the best part: Marge stopping the car and Homer running away in fear.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Matt was the guest on the most recent (penultimate) episode of Round Springfield.

And, honestly, I don’t think he’s being at-all disingenuous whenever he says the shows as good as it’s ever been; he genuinely has all the love in the world for the series.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Late season 21 has to have the single biggest departure between the first and second act in the show; and possibly any show.

Act 2 and 3 are about Ned being put in charge of a CCTV system that monitors the whole town, and Homer starting a speak-easy in the one part of Springfield where none of the cameras can see.

Act 1 is about a dirty nuclear bomb destroying the Springfield train yard, releasing “enough radiation to make a dozen Incredible Hulks and a Spider-Man”.

This is… a much bigger deal than the time they had to move the whole town ten miles down the road because of litter
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Day of the Jackanapes

I can't speak for the generation after me or before but I feel like the TV my generation was consuming was written by comedy writers who were most interested in writing about TV. The 90's Warner Bros cartoons (Tiny Toons, et al), the Simpsons, Mystery Science Theatre 3000, all shows that even when they weren't specifically about the writers experience had it bleed through. Even Batman had more than one episode about TV with some hard winks to camera. It was an era of newfound media savvy for the audience and the writers correctly assumed that they could use that and. in kids shows, even if the kids didn't get the specifics, they could gather the intent from context. The Critic is a show that seems very much this attitude at its peak, a show about a TV star dealing with his network (including his ludicrous millionaire boss, which feels like a precursor to the 30 Rock dynamic) while mocking pop culture. That show ended up failing after a network change and one (or maybe one and a half) season of TV. That's when the creators went over to the Simpsons... and ended up becoming show runners.

In this episode, Krusty the Clown, inundated with inane studio notes, ends up announcing his retirement show in a fit of anger. During an interview, he notes that he erased all his old episodes, including the ones with Sideshow Bob. Bob is furious and vows revenge and concocts a plot to kill him during his final episode. He kidnaps Bart and brainwashes him into becoming a Manchurian Candidate-style sleeper agent, so that he may blow himself and Krusty up with a bomb. However, as his plan is going into action, Bob is moved when Krusty tells the audience that he always felt bad about heaping enough abuse on Bob that he would turn to crime. Bob is moved and tries to stop the assassination but fails... but Krusty's chimp, Mr. Teenie, doesn't and saves the day. Bob and Krusty make peace once again.

Day of the Jackanapes is a pretty shallow Simpsons episode. In terms of character, I don't feel like we are learning anything new about Bob, Krusty or Bart. In terms of theme, I guess it is saying something about the ridiculousness of show business but its pretty tepid in that respect. As a parody of assassination stories and the Manchurian Candidate, there still isn't much going on. But I like this episode. Not love, but like. For the most part, there isn't a lot that makes me cringe. And in fact, there are jokes I actually quite like and have stuck in my head for a long time. It certainly goes a long way that the character of Bob is a lot of fun and Kelsey Grammar, who sucks in real life, certainly has the perfect voice for the character.

You might think the weakest part of the episode might be that its a little too focused on the wacky factor over something steeped in character. I feel like everyone not noticing how clearly super-hypnotized Bart is feels more appropriate to a kids show or a Halloween episode. But I'm pretty forgiving just because the gags are decent enough and I never once winced at the cliché nature of it, rather accepted it as a worn but serviceable comedy trope (your mileage may very, of course). Too me the weakest bit is writer Al Jean indulging in his must base comedy writer instinct: "ugh, these stupid network executives, right?" Its the part of the show that feels like it should have been left in the 90s and completely falls flat for me. I like the Lindsay Nagle character but using her as a mouthpiece to complain about network execs' naked attempts to stay relevant and popular at the expense of coherence gets tiring fast. It works a LOT better in Itchy and Scratchy and Poochie where she helps design a character by committee but here instead of feeling like an incisive satire, it feels like kvetching and ends with the story LITERALLY dehumanizing them in favour of a dumb T-1000 gag.

But despite the episode having Al Jean be Al Jean with a LOT of pop culture commentary (the pain of reading Tom Clancy, network execs, shallow TV retrospectives), I still like it. Even when it is at its weakest it is watchable and some jokes are legit very enjoyable to me. Its joke first character second but that's not inherently bad and it doesn't feel like any of them are being "betrayed" to their core. Skinner is willing to hire someone who tried to kill his students pretty quickly and Marge and Lisa don't notice a zombie Bart but I can accept this because in the name of comedy, I am happier to accept that handwaving and silliness far more than characters being overtly cruel to each other, then the show having a bad take on that. Having them be mildly stupid or negligent in the name of moving a gag conveyor belt forward every once in a while doesn't hurt. I can point to it and say "huh, interesting" but it doesn't make me angry. And I feel like under Al Jean, there was a lot of that, so frankly, I'd take funny but shallower over an "everyone is a creep" take on the show any day of the week.

Other great jokes:



"Well, I was born in Indiana, so that ain't it."
The Who Wants to Be a Millionaire parody pretty apt but not super strong. I like this bit of business.

"Well, it all starts when a nulecule come out of it's nest."

"A world without Krusty. What would that be like?"
"Hey, what's on TV?"
"Nutsy the clown."
"OBOYOBOYOBOY!:"

"Krusty the Clown's retirement has provoked an outpouring of anguish not seen since the small plane crash that killed the Banana Splits."

"Hey, Kent, are you still having that contest where we guess which city the weather girl's in?
"Hehe, that was eight years ago."
"Is it Pittsburgh?"





The "Bart goes to the tool shed" scene is pretty good. "Ring around the rosie..."

"You are in my power."
"I am at your command."
"I didn't say anything about command. If you are in my power, say so."
"I am in your power."
"Excellent. No wait, go back to command. No, power! Power."

I liked the Krusty's kids bit. Its an old bit but I like how the cheesy banter is actually a shakedown. I actually think it would have been funnier if they did the whole scene with a veneer of false geniality throughout.

"Ah kettlechips, the perfect sidedish... for revenge!"
I mean, somewhat, but if your anything like me, you get gas after."

"This is your Waterloo. Soon, you'll be Napoleon Blownaparte!"
"Ugh, terrible."
"Oh, hush up, Leo."

Other notes:

OK, aside from the Execs jokes, there is one big eyerolling piece of mocking the show's longevity. Mr. Smithers coming in to say "Maggie shot Mr. Burns again" feels a little weak but having the character stare at each other while crickets chirp is an extra bit of business to make the bit even more "blah".

I never mention this but great sound mixing of Bob's sinister laugh over the intercom, which has a slight sinister echo, making Bart's obliviousness even funnier to me.

Man, someone loved using that same "Gary Coleman does kung fu" sound clip.

Looking ahead... I think I'm actually going to like the rest of the season? Like, none of them are top tier to me but I remember enjoying all of them. DON'T BE A LIAR, MEMORY!
 

Tegan

dirtbag lesbian
(She/Her)
Is this the one that introduced that weird Jerry Lewis-esque "mmmmm, that's good ____" bit that they kept coming back to for a bit, or did that come earlier?
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
I mean, its appeared in so much stuff, particularly a lot in MST3k, but I don't remember the first time the Simpsons did it.

But it comes from this (Go to 1:20 for the set up for the referenced gag).

Weirdly, it was a famous Gleason catchphrase for his millionaire lush character and yet a regular straightforward clip is hard to find. But it was a big deal, so much that "Mmmhmmm that's good booze." became...

 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
New Kids on the Blecch

I remember in the late 90s and early 2000s that boy bands and pop singers were ripe for parody. It feel like everyone loved to hate on these bands and their tepid pop. I'm still not really a fan but looking back, I can appreciate the technical craft and even thought that went into making memorable pop songs. There's a lack of depth perhaps but that's not necessary to be enjoyable music. And realizing that a lot of these performers were actually being used and abused makes a lot of the acid-tipped mockery age poorly today. Realizing the terrible abuse Britney Spears went through is really eye opening compared to the shitty takes on her talent and personal life. And N*SYNC was run by Lou Pearlman, a massive scam artist and according to a former LFO member, a real sex pest.

In this episode, Bart meets a record producer after a prank who wants him as part of a boy band made of the kids around Springfield. Bart agrees and he, Milhouse, Nelson and Ralph form The Party Posse for producer L.T. Smash. The band becomes a hit but Lisa notices in their big music video that it contains subliminal messages and the creation of the band was designed to convince people into joining the navy. No one believes Lisa but when the government cancels their program to recruit through pop music due to a parody in an upcoming issue of Mad Magazine, Smash goes mad and steals an aircraft carrier to destroy Mad Magazine. He succeeds but no one is hurt and the Party Posse is scuttled.

This is an episode I remember liking quite a bit despite my disinterest in boy bands. Rewatching it... its serviceable. There's a real mix of stuff I like and some eyerolling stuff that feels like the show is above. In terms of the main plot, it is about something, so at least there's that. Its about the prefabricated nature of pop bands, and also how pop culture is an effective tool, intentionally or unintentionally, to spread ideas and therefore can be used to sell or recruit. Its not exactly the most mind-blowing revelation but the episode commits to being about that and does get some decent laughs out of it. At the same time, it is an episode that feels like it is dedicated to selling N*SYNC. There's some more subversion than, say, the Lady Gaga episode, an episode I liked far less with an artist I like more. But the end credits on the Disney plus version feature a clips package (and early 2000s-style Fox Channel credits) of the band doing stuff (of little interest) to remind us these people are popular entertainers.

I think the episode's quality gag episode to placeholder/downright weak gags (the winking at the camera "close with a Matrix" followed by one member failing out of the pose is some MTV Movie Awards level shit). The whole thing feels like the show was given the logline "Bart joins a boyband" and then they had to work backwards from there. I feel that this is when we REALLY start getting to the point in the show where Bart and Lisa's ages don't matter and they are both treated more like they are in their early teens. Not that it was a far trip at this point but I feel like we've entered the era where in order to open up the kinds of stories the show can do, we really need to avoid thinking about the specifics of these kids ages.

I think the episode has some little touches I like. One member of N*SYNC just saying "word!" over and over (apparently inspired by his protests to the line). L.T. Smash's company name tipping off the reveal of the episode. But over all, this is an only sometimes fun episode that has the thing to say about boy bands. Ironically, the message was a little close to the truth in that Lou Pearlman used bands like N*SYNC to scam people by gaining their trust. If anything, L.T. Smash's would-be homicidal rampage in the name of protecting his band is more sympathetic. Plus, he made that one guy feel better. So I don't mind it. But I feel the tone and structure of the episode would repeat into episodes I like far less. Perhaps because it would feel a little more like a Mad Magazine parody of itself. The magazine is lovingly razzed in the episode but I feel like we are seeing same's worst instincts in tired jokes like "New Kids in the Ditch" (so... its just another, less good location), and "Boynuedo" (are ya even trying?). I don't mind the episode, but it is a definite bellwether of the show's falling into some lazy instincts that result in some very bad episodes.

Other great jokes:

Hitler showing up to get angry at the 1986 games is a fun gag.

I like that Bart wants a walking tour of Springfield.

"What up G-Money" isn't super funny but I loved saying it for a VERY long time.

"Are you adequately prepared to rock?"
"YAY!"
"SILENCE!"

Bart gaslighting Skinner to get the crowd on his side amuses me.

"We saw your band formation notice in the paper."
"You saw our BFN?"


This is a stupid gag and I like it.

"That's right. Lt. L.T. Smash!"



"Why don't we call it Everybody Hates Raymond."
"Well, we stayed up all night but it was worth it."
This is unrealistic in that character names NEVER stay the same in Mad Parodies.

"Is everybody OK?"
"Yeah."
"I'm fine."
"I actually feel better."

"Those whack invertebrates will sting you old school."

Other notes:
Sometimes, I could use anti-chaffing nipple tape during my runs.

Its weird how three times in the episode "rock" is used when it is clearly just pop. Not a judgment, but those are different (if other related) things.

I know it happens in the space of a minute for the audience, which isn't much, but it still feels like Lisa is taking WAY too long to decode Yvan Eht Nioj.

I feel like we live in the superliminal age.

I don't know if they are different takes or what but JC's "NOOOOO!" at the end of the episode feels weak but the one in the promotional package actually sounds pretty good. Are they different takes and they chose the wrong one or did it just not translate to animation?
 

jpfriction

A most radical pontiff
Between this, her crisis of faith in Lisa the Simpson and “Jeremy’s Iron”, starting to think that Lisa may not be that great at word puzzles.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Hungry, Hungry Homer

I love to eat. A lot. A few years ago, I was told that I was pre-diabetic and decided to make a concerted effort to losing weight and reducing my sugar intake dramatically. Over time, I lost around 60 pounds and am still on my same diet (though I've plateaued). I'm proud of what I did but it wasn't easy. Fear was a pretty good motivator and I can still make a lot of good meals for myself but I anticipate cheat days the way I would anticipate Christmas. I hope that someday, it will be easier to simply eat less (I definitely notice myself getting full faster) but at least I have tangible results. If I didn't, I imagine it would be far easier to give up.

In this episode, Homer decides to start looking out for "the little guy", doing good deeds for people who need help. When Lenny wants to have a ticket to a baseball game returned, Homer talks with the owner of the Springfield Isotopes. While there, he stumbles on a plan to move the team to Albuquerque. The owner tries to silence Homer but he decides to fight back with a hunger strike. Homer suffers for the truth but people see him as an oddity to be gawked at rather than listening to him. Still, people like looking at him, so the team owner decides to place him in the park where he can be seen and not heard and claims the hunger strike is until the team wins the pennant. Homer keeps going but no one is listening. When Homer becomes to unpleasant to look at anymore, Homer is "freed" and is offered a hot dog before the audience. Homer realizes the hot dog is covered in South Western ingredients, evidence of the teams new New Mexico loyalties. Homer is vindicated and goes on a feeding frenzy.

"Hungry, Hungry Homer" is a pretty decent episode for the season. Funny jokes, decent construction and there's some thought being put into the point. After all, Homer is great at throwing himself into an idea so him becoming a full-on do-gooder is definitely a thing he'd do for a while. Where the challenge lies is that early on, Homer is able to see immediate changes based on his actions. Homer gets a real challenge in that when he goes on a hunger strike, he's on a longer road and soon it becomes apparent that no one is listening to him. Its one thing to do something difficult if you can see change but to do it with no promise of change is a challenging and heart-breaking challenge. Tonally, this isn't classic Simpsons but this decision does feel like a story from back in the day when there was a bit more existentialism in some of the morals and lessons.

The choice that works that also feels more right for what the show had become, a show that maintained its deep mistrust of corporations, is that the owner of the Isotopes (played by veteran character actor Stacy Keach), co-opts the very thing trying to bring him down. He tries to subvert his message and drown it out with his own, then get rid of him when he's too unappealing to be of any use. He also makes the very obvious mistake of letting him speak, which even in his broken state seems like a bad idea, but I'm willing to forgive that for two reasons. One, it might not make much literal sense, but I do think it works for the overall themes of the episode. And two, we so live in an age of people saying the quiet part loud, this is bizarrely plausible today.

The episode ends with Homer inspiring Duffman, the other villain of the episode, to turn against his master. Classic henchman stuff. And I like how it fits into the idea that even though Homer was feeling useless, SOMEONE was watching and noticing and he was putting in the seeds of change, even if it was an unlikely source. Of course, that some nice stuff in theory but in practice, it feels much more cliche. Not BAD, but not as good as I made it sound. I wish they made it more effective but I do appreciate they never let on that Duffman is going to change, simply that he was paying enough attention that he could. Overall, Hungry Hungry Homer is a solid Swartzwelder episode and one that doesn't feel like it is punching down.

Other great jokes:

"So, how much did you like Blocko Land!"
"It was alright, I guess."

"You knocked his block off."






"Cause that's the kinda guy I am this week."

"I tried to return my season ticket but they wouldn't give me my money back. They say THEY wanted it."

"Man, that is malty... BUT HE'LL NEVER KNOW! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"



"He's right folks. The only story here is the rich, smooth taste of Duff."
"Yes, that is an important story..."



"I don't mind being called a liar when I'm lying or about to lie or just finished lying. BUT NOT! WHEN I'M TELLING! THE TRUTH!"
Great line read by Castellaneta.

After shitty Mad Magazine style joke names, Sportzilla and the Jabber Jocks is a gloriously stupid return to form.

"Why don't you just cook less."
"I don't do things that way, Lisa."

"Yeah, but his weary shuffling makes my heart smile."

"Death is a part of baseball."
"Yeah, the main part."

"Who are you?"
"The spirit of Caesar Chavez."
"Why do you look like Caesar Romero."
"Because you don't know what Caesar Chavez looks like."


Other notes:
This is one of the weirdest and most arbitrary act one breaks in a while. It is clear they didn't have a good stopping place for the ads and tried to fix it in editing. That's what happens when act one is not completely unrelated to act two, I guess.

Man, the "shirt fire" joke feels weird. Police beating turns out to be something nice is just... yeah.

So Homer helps Bart through... negging?
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Bye Bye Nerdie

Thankfully, I never had a serious bully problem. I'd been bullied every so often but usually they turned out to be isolated incidents, which sucked to be sure but at least it was not a cloud hanging over my head. But I remember the solutions I'd be given were pretty much the same and not particularly helpful. Tell a teacher: sensible but there's a world of kids where that only helps, if any, after the fact. Then there are narratives projected onto the bully that they are jealous or maybe just needs a friend. I feel like the latter is an attempt to understand how someone can be cruel without REALLY understanding or finding a solution. I'm all for empathy but it doesn't necessarily help the bullied.

In this episode, a new kid, Francine, comes to school and when she's looking a little lonely, Lisa tries to reach out... only to get beaten up. Soon, Francine becomes Lisa's regular bully and looks for a solution. When reaching out doesn't work, Lisa considers a scientific solution. After some investigation and research, Lisa realizes that the problem is biochemical: she and all bullies are set off by the pheromones given off by nerds. Lisa reveals her findings at a science symposium as well as a solution: a salad dressing perfume, which masks the pheromones.

The Simpsons have done bullying episodes before or after and its resident bully character, Nelson, is given a depth of backstory while never forgiving his jerkiness. But usually it involves Bart. This is the first one to focus on Lisa and rightly the show makes the solution very different in tone. Its only partially about bullying but also very much about using science to fight age old problems. While you can say Lisa "defeats" her bully but that's not what it's "about". Lisa's victory isn't over Francine but rather for science and it is sort of about how some of the problems we assume are to be contained in one field of study or thinking can have a solution elsewhere.

Apparently, the episode was going to go in a much different direction, with Lisa accidentally being accused of being a bully while defending herself and going to juvenile hall, which could have made for a fun take on Alfred Hitchcock's The Wrong Man (a great movie if you haven't seen it, but I think this is an interesting episode in what it does. Everyone comes up with an idea for why Francine is a bully but the fact is, even she doesn't know. I actually find this pretty plausible, as I feel even pre-meditated bullying is done by people who are probably not terribly introspective about their actions. On the other hand, I'm torn that by the episode's end, she's basically just treated like a dumb animal. I think childhood bullying is a complicated thing because kids generally still need to be taught and guided to behave properly. These kids are only friggin' 8-10. But I imagine after being bullied, you don't want to have to be told "well, think about it from THEIR angle".

And this is a story were everyone seems to be putting out reasons without much thought. Heck, the reasoning of the scientific community is clearly self-serving, assuming it is from jealousy. But really, bad behaviour CAN come from a chemical place and sometimes there are scientific solutions to the problem. When you look at it from that angle, though, making Francine a full on wild animal is a bit weird, as she is someone who needs some sort of assistance to prevent her from being a complete jerk. As an episode, its fine. I feel the "Big Science Thing" is a scene that yields a lot of wall-to-wall laughs and I like that the structure defies the usual "bully episodes", especially in an era where even in funny episodes the structure can fall into self-parody. I am disappointed by one thing: based on the title, I assumed this was the Columbo parody with Nelson in the title role and I was looking forward to seeing that again.

Other great jokes:

"That ad campaign may have crossed a line."
"What can you do? Sex sells."
"???"

"It's like Speed 2, but with a bus instead of a boat!"

"That's a pretty big caboose for a baby."
"Homer don't be... WOW, THAT IS HUGE."

"You see how quickly could have been drinking this... Simulac Baby Formula?"

"Remember your first day at school?"


"That baby-proofing crook wanted to sell us safety covers for the electrical outlet, but I'll just draw bunnies on them to scare her away."
"But Maggie's not afraid of bunnies."
"She will be."

"Poison delivery service. A gift basket of poison is on its way."

"Do you mind if I swab you with a wet rag?"
"Not at all, swab away.
Hey, no one mentioned a beaker."





One guy in the background, twice "Let's not listen."

"That's impossible, chemicals are our friends."

C. Everett Koop: "She's a witch!"

"Are you mad, Frink? Put down that science pole!"

"So all her bullying was just to get some attention."
"No dad, weren't you listening to anything I said?"
"Just to get some attention."

"Don't worry, she'll punch herself out."
"Someone's going to sleep well tonight."
Other notes:


A couple moments of really striking shot compositions.



But that does lead me to the well-worn point that Homer is just getting TOO mutilated these days.

Look, I know Drederick Tatum is Mike Tyson but maybe alluding to his crimes is not good for the humor.
 

Ghost from Spelunker

BAG
(They/Him)
A couple moments of really striking shot compositions.



But that does lead me to the well-worn point that Homer is just getting TOO mutilated these days.
It's worse than you think, back in "Stark Raving Dad" they were punching down on America's Funniest Home Videos and one of the finalists was "Baby with a nail gun" (alas, we never found out if it won against other two, "Man breaking hip" and "Dog on fire")
 
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