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Tennis the Menace

I will not publish the principal’s credit report

Couch gag: The family ice skate to the couch. Homer and part of the couch fall through the ice when he sits down.

Director: Jen Kamerman

Guest voices:
Venus Williams as herself
Serena Williams as herself
Pete Sampras as himself
Andre Agassi as himself

Synopsis: The Simpsons install a tennis court and become socialites, entering a charity tennis tournament amid family rivalry.

Discussion: Like any great game of tennis, this episode is a bit hit-and-miss. The typical red herring at the beginning to throw the viewer from the eventual twist is actually one of the better ones and could probably be a storyline of itself. Being self-reflexive (i.e. Homer’s remark, “I bet you didn’t see that coming!”) gives the ep a little extra punch. The famous guest voices didn’t add enough to the episode to make it great, however they were all good sports about it (no pun intended).

The main theme of the ep is familial bonding, which is explored periodically with varying degrees of success. This ep shows Homer and Marge’s tennis partnership failing, which is great, and each parent teams up with a child in order to restore balance. Naturally, these partnerships also break down, leading to famous tennis players taking the Simpsons’ places in the tournament. There’s nothing wrong with this plot, but I feel the voice talent is wasted. What if these players showed up at the Simpsons’ home for a tournament? Perhaps invited on false pretenses by Kent Brockman and Stephanie the weather girl?

Personally, my favourite line is from Serena Williams: “*groan* I just ate a personal pizza!” although there are many great quips contained. Another favourite is Bart’s “We can wipe out BC (balcony collapse) in our lifetime!” or Homer’s “Try telling that to Killy McGee up there!”

Overall, this episode is above average for the season but doesn’t quite make it to the heights of previous seasons.

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