Gone Maggie Gone
couch gag: The couch, hung like a pinata, is hit by a blindfolded Ralph and the Simpson spill out from it.
Director: Chris Clements
Synopsis: Maggie is accidentally taken by an order of nun’s, and it’s up to Lisa to infiltrate and solve the mystery.
Discussion: What a fun episode! Loosely following the plots of National Treasure and The Da Vinci Code, ‘Gone Maggie Gone’ has everything you’d want in a mystery episode. Each act break (i.e. just before a commercial break) has a riddle or puzzle that needs to be solved. At the end of Act I, Homer needs to figure out how to get Maggie, a bottle of poison, and Santa’s Little Helper across a river only carrying one thing at a time. Act II is figuring out the biggest ring in Springfield and Act III has an anagram which needs to be solved. If anyone can solve the anagram in the approximately three minutes of an ad break, you have my awe.
Apart from the religious overtones and Lisa’s comment about how clever God is to remove her scepticism by making her the answer to the anagram, this is an extremely well-crafted episode. It’s funny, clever, modern, fresh and surprising. It’s one of the best later-season episodes I have seen. Also, being a huge Disney fan, I appreciated the references to the film Ratatouille, including Homer’s pirated (and misspelled) DVD of the film.
Although Ed Begley Jr is credited as a guest voice, there’s only a gasp when the Ed Begley Jr solar train is about to hit Ed Begley Jr’s solar car. If he did in fact just voice the gasp, it’s a gross waste of talent for a mildly amusing joke. The Simpsons is great at dragging out crap, why didn’t they do it here? Just a few seconds would have sufficed.