The Great Simpsina
Director: Chris Clements
Jack McBrayer as Ewell Freestone
Martin Landau as The Great Raymondo
Ricky Jay as himself
David Copperfield as himself
Penn & Teller as themselves
Synopsis: Lisa stumbles across a magician, who takes her as his apprentice.
Discussion: Although this episode never really reaches the heights of a truly great Simpsons ep, it’s pretty good and very enjoyable. From its beginnings as an unrelated opening act in which the family pick a million peaches to its sweet ending as the great magician dances with his lost love, this ep is full of moments which make me wonder why every ep can’t be this good.
There were things that I would have liked to see, such as Ewell Freestone singing ‘Peaches‘ by Presidents of the United States of America, but then I realised that Ewell’s song was far more annoying and suited to the situation. I would have also liked to see a reference the The Sorcerer’s Apprentice from Fantasia, but that’s only because I’m a Disney fan and random Disney references are always welcome.
Apart from those, I thought the episode was well thought out and executed. Lisa-centered episodes tend to be preachy and boring, but this one, she uses her intelligence in a subtle way which doesn’t seem holier-than-thou… until she decides the ethical choice is to save Cregg Demon, who has been stealing magicians’ secrets and using them for his own gain. The addition of so many guest voices didn’t seem forced; they were in a natural environment doing what magicians do- sabotaging more successful magicians. Wait, what?
While I don’t think this season has been particularly good (colour me shocked), I do think this ep is a highlight.