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Waverly Hills 9021 D’oh

couch gag: The Simpsons are sitting at the Colosseum during Roman Empire times. A gladiator’s head flies into the crowd and Bart catches it. 

Director: Michael Polcino

Guest voices:
Maurice LaMarche as the school inspector
Ellen Page as Alaska Nebraska

Synopsis: Marge is unimpressed with the quality of teaching at the kids’ school so she arranges for an apartment in upmarket Waverly Hills, which boasts a better school. Bart and Lisa try to fit in at the new school by lying.

Discussion: I don’t know why Springfield Elementary is suddenly not to Marge’s liking. Surely she must have realised long before this that the school was mostly keeping up appearances? Lisa has been complaining about it for years! Anyhoo, this time Marge has decided to do something about it and has arranged to have an apartment within the district of upmarket Waverly Hills, where celebrities have dogs in their handbags which hold tinier dogs with tinier handbags. The school is so fancy that maths and PE are in two separate rooms!

Naturally, to fit in, Bart and Lisa have to lie through their teeth. Bart makes promises to Chief Wiggum that he can’t keep, while he tells Lisa’s classmates that she’s besties with the hot young starlet Alaska Nebraska (an obvious and clever take on Hannah Montana). Obviously the plan falls apart but not before a chicken-skin covered Lisa begs for mercy from the hot young starlet in an awkward encounter which the viewer knows is doomed to fail- after all, the Simpsons need a reason to return to Springfield.

There’s a subplot about Homer living in the apartment to wait for a random inspection to ensure the kids actually live there in order to attend the fancy school. He turns the place into a bachelor pad where he and Marge can be alone and do what rabbits do. I found this subplot to be a bit weird. We know Marge and Homer have a sex life (for better or worse) but when they start behaving like teenagers, it’s more than just a bit weird and doesn’t fit with the overall themes of the episode. However, I do like Homer’s frat boy neighbours, especially the one wearing the What Would Itchy Do? T-shirt.

Although Joe Mantegna is credited as Fat Tony’s voice in the ep, Fat Tony doesn’t actually speak. It’s the second time I’ve noticed this; were lines recorded and edited out of the final episode? Ellen Page is delightfully snooty as Alaska Nebraska although I did kinda want to hear her sing her speech to Lisa. The character is supposed to be very theatrical and I think it would have been nice to employ that a bit more… although I don’t think Ellen Page is a singer.

Overall, I think it’s a slightly above average episode. It’s certainly a lot of fun.

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