I’m Goin’ to Praiseland
Genetics is not an excuse
Couch gag: A cement mixer pours a cement family onto the couch, but Homer breaks in half.
Director: Chuck Sheetz
Shawn Colvin as Rachel Jordan
Synopsis: After finding Maude’s sketchbook, Ned decides to make her dream of a Christian theme park come true.
Discussion: This is the episode that had to happen. After the disappointing ep where Maude Flanders died and Ned pretty much moved on straight away, this feels like a narrative closure in every way. Ned meets up with Rachel Jordan again, who first appeared just after Maude’s death but Ned wasn’t ready to move on. He thinks he’s ready now, but the furnishings in his home suggest otherwise. Cue the Simpsons to “sort” through it all and prod Ned to create the world’s lamest amusement park.
Now, aside from the sentimentality of the ep, which is necessary for the plot and Ned to move forward, this ep is really rather good. Don’t listen to the critics, they’ve been sniffing natural gas. This isn’t just an excuse to bring back the “Christian Madonna” Rachel, this is a chance for Ned to see past divine miracles and get the logic centre in his brain working.
Springfieldians genuinely care for one another, and this ep demonstrates that… as long as there’s something in it for them. Much like real life, really. When the gas leak appears and people start having visions of their own personal Heaven, the park becomes really popular, and provides a way to get a fourth wall for the town’s orphanage. Who can argue with that?