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Don’t Fear the Roofer

Couch gag: Someone is putting together a jigsaw puzzle of the family and swaps Homer and Maggie’s heads.

Director: Mark Kirkland

Guest voices:
Stephen Hawking as himself
Ray Romano as Ray Magini

Synopsis: Everyone thinks Homer has an imaginary friend when he starts talking about the unseen Ray.

Discussion: There’s something not quite right with this episode. OK, there’s a lot wrong with it. It starts off well: there’s a storm in Springfield and the Simpsons’ roof is leaking. Homer ruins a surprise party for Lenny and finds a new bar, meets a roofer named Ray, and they hang out together.

It all goes awry when Marge starts making accusations about Homer’s sanity, believing Ray to be an imaginary friend and sending Homer to a mental institution to have electroshock therapy. Ray rocks up, everyone’s surprised he really does exist, and Stephen Hawking reveals he’s been working on mini black holes in the hardware store which is why Bart couldn’t see Ray.

Right.

I love Stephen Hawking. He’s arguably the smartest man alive, defied all odds (having been told at age 21 he only had two years to live, he turned 72 on January 8) and, judging by his appearance in The Simpsons and The Big Bang Theory (among others), he has a fantastic sense of humour as well. But really, who thought mini black holes in a hardware store was a good plot point? The eye injury had been done (the bartender at the Hooters-type bar had lost an eye) but maybe Bart’s wielding of a chainsaw could have been the plot point instead. And I hate to nitpick at Stephen Hawking, but if the black hole was between Ray and Bart, why could Homer still be seen and heard? Just saying is all.

The ep is weird and stupid. Ray Magini is a good character… but the storyline doesn’t do him justice.

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