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Rome-Old and Julie-Eh

Couch gag: The Simpsons parody the opening to Bonanza

Director: Nancy Kruse

Guest voice:
Jane Kaczmarek as Judge Constance Harm

Synopsis: Abe and Selma find love, while Lisa and Bart build a fortress out of cardboard boxes.

Discussion: I’m not sure what to think about this episode. On one hand, it’s bucking against the grain in terms of surprises: we’ve not seen a couple this mismatched since Agnes Skinner and Comic Book Guy. On the other hand… Abe and Selma? Ewwwwwwwww. And then we have the almighty battle to save Boxingham Palace… What?

We’ll start from the beginning. Homer builds a rec room in the basement, and files for bankruptcy. In the phase of cutting expenses, Grampa is kicked out of the retirement castle to come live with the Simpsons. OK, OK, yes, good, I can deal with that. Homer and Marge go out for dinner and Selma is invited over to help babysit. Well… OK… And then Grampa and Selma start smooching, dating, and marrying. I think it’s a good avenue to explore- it’s completely unexpected but not without small inconsistencies. For example, Selma is called over to help babysit yet leaves her baby with Abe while she works very long hours. OK, so Grampa destroying the kitchen happens after they marry… but where’s the baby?

The subplot of Lisa and Bart building a fort from cardboard boxes is weak. The battle versus the shipping company is a parody of a battle from The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, but I’m not really buying it. At most, it’s only slightly interesting as Bart, Lisa and Nelson use cardboard weapons to deliver blows to defeat their enemy, who only want their boxes back. After the mighty battle, they hose down the fort until it’s nothing but a pile of soggy cardboard. What an anti-climax! 

I’m going to go with my first instinct here and say this episode is average. I’m torn between it being brilliant for the use of unexpected coupledom (even though we really don’t need to see it…) and it being really bad, mostly for the same reason plus the cardboard fortress is kinda lame.


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