I watch, and blog, and watch and blog and watch. It's the Simpsons every day!

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Helter Shelter

Milhouse did not test cooties positive

Couch gag: After the Simpsons are on the couch, a cursor moves Homer, then changes the wall colour, and finally changes the boat painting to the Mona Lisa.

Director: Mark Kirkland

Guest Voices:
Larry Holmes as himself
David Lander as Squiggy

Synopsis: Lisa’s souvenir hockey stick infests the Simpson home with termites, forcing the family to live away from their fumigated home for six months. Finding no other suitable place, they become part of a reality TV show set in 1895.

Discussion: What the hell…?

The episode takes about 9 minutes to get to the point (so, just under halfway through the episode’s length) and involves an ice hockey game and termites. Fair enough. Then the Simpsons become contestants on reality TV, again, I can live with this. But the third act, where it all goes horribly wrong, is just stupid.

Reality TV was a huge new thing back in the 2000s (still is, actually, and the premises just keep getting more and more pitiful). Reality TV is comparatively cheap to produce (as Lisa pointed out in a previous ep, the network doesn’t have to pay actors or writers) and it’s one of those things that brings in viewers as their own guilty pleasure- no one admits to watching Big Brother et al. (Personally, I only watch Survivor…)

Anyhoo, the Simpsons are living in 1895, where the only modern technology allowed is the camera to record their confessions. Marge isn’t even allowed tampons (seriously, don’t Google what happened before tampons). However, the show gets boring so the producers bring in a washed up actor from the 70s- Squiggy from Laverne and Shirley, then dump the house & occupants into the Amazon, where they meet a forgotten tribe from another reality show… and then I’m not really sure what happens. It’s completely ridiculous and loses any momentum the episode had built up.

I think this episode has a lot of potential. What if the kids had gone to school and only learned knowledge “known” in 1895? The highlight (if you can call it that) is Homer and Marge attempting to make whoopee by taking forever to undo her Victorian undergarments.

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