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Love, Springfieldian Style

Couch gag: The family rush into the living room and attach themselves to a giant mobile, but Homer’s weight crashes them down.

Director: Raymond S. Persi

Synopsis: Whilst stuck in a Tunnel of Love ride, the Simpsons tell three stories of love.

Discussion: Who doesn’t love Valentine’s Day? Well, OK, it’s a lame holiday… but full of TV gold. This episode is The Simpsons‘ offering from 2008 and one of the better episodes of the season.

Bonnie and Clyde , starring Homer and Marge as the title characters. Bonnie (Marge) is only turned on by violence, leading Clyde (Homer) to rob banks and pull in a civilian (Ned) to help. When Ned snitches, Bonnie and Clyde’s love ends in gunfire. The ending surprised me because it’s quite graphic for the show: the sequence lasts over a minute where Bonnie and Clyde are fired upon without dying or even bleeding. I understand the episode was heavily edited for UK audiences but I don’t know what happened on the original Australian airing (I’d long given up watching new episodes by this point). It’s not a very strong segment and the ending really is quite shocking. Despite bloody, gory deaths being shown on the show before (usually in Halloween episodes), this particular one was disturbing. Maybe it was the lack of blood and death which made it so eerie?

Shady and the Vamp is a parody of Disney’s Lady and the Tramp. The film is classic Disney and everyone knows the scene where Lady and Tramp are sucking on spaghetti. Here, Shady (Homer) and Vamp (Marge) have a fling but Vamp ends up with a litter of Barts and Lisas, who wander off to find their father Shady and wind up very close to the gas chamber of the local pound. Again, this is a little bit disturbing- no one likes to think about animals being euthanised. Being a Disney fan, I loved this segment, particularly the song sung by all the characters. The Siamese Cats (Patty and Selma) are just one of the highlights from this segment. I was sad to see it end!

Sid Vicious & Nancy Sid and Nancy’s story happened before my time, but even I know that they were destroyed by drugs. Of course, you can’t show drug dependency on The Simpsons so they’ve replaced heroin with… chocolate. Come on! Give the fans some credit! Get Nancy (Lisa) and Sid (Nelson) addicted to caffeine or some other mostly-harmless substance. The drug/chocolate scenes are numerous and overpowering so that their codependent love story is overshadowed, as I guess their real-life relationship was. At least this story doesn’t end with an alleged murder and death by overdose.

As a Valentine’s Day ep, it’s OK. It doesn’t get overly mushy and keeps that satirical edge throughout the episode. I found parts of it quite disturbing and am glad Sid and Nancy’s demise wasn’t shown, although I guess it could have been an interesting bookend to the Bonnie & Clyde non-death segment…

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