Dodgeball stops at the gym door
Couch gag: Matt Groening’s name is written on the carpet. Marge scrubs it out but an animated Groening writes it in again.
Director: Mark Kirkland
Synopsis: After being censored as the face of the new Duff calendars, Moe has plastic surgery and begins a new life, being popular.
Discussion: Poor Moe. He’s unlucky in love, in careers (being knocked back from a soap opera in his younger days because he’s not pretty enough), and ends up with the same pug fugly face he was born with. But hey, we love him anyway.
Despite the critics not loving this episode, I do. Based on the story of Pygmalian, Moe has plastic surgery when his face is deemed too ugly for print on the new calendars. It’s an age-old story and becomes poignant in a couple of moments, notably when Carl asks if Moe’s new face will still have bad feelings on the inside and when Moe ponders the great question of why his face went back to the old face instead of an entirely new one.
The subplot of Bart and Lisa chasing a pink elephant balloon through town… well… it depends on what mood I’m in as to how silly this is. Usually I find it charming satire on identity- pink elephants are often associated with drunken visions but here they’re also linked to gay Republicans (it’s no coincidence that the balloon floated into that office!). Today I just thought it stupid (possibly because I have a lot on my mind this week, but I digress).
This ep is a satire, plain and simple. Especially today, when there is so much emphasis on how you look and changing yourself to be “happy”, we see Moe’s transformation really is shallow. You’re the same person underneath and if people can’t accept you for you, you don’t need them anyway (unless you hurt animals or kill children, then we don’t need you…)