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Flaming Moe

Couch gag: The Simpsons are scooped ice-cream into a a bowl, covered with whipped cream and chocolate sauce, then licked up by Santa’s Little Helper

Director: Chuck Sheetz

Guest Voices:
Kristen Wiig as Calliope Juniper
Alyson Hannigan as Melody Juniper
Scott Thompson as Grady

Synopsis: Smithers helps Moe turn the tavern into a gay bar for less attractive men, while the new clientele assume Moe is gay. Meanwhile, Skinner falls for the substitute music teacher.

Discussion: Not to be confused with ‘Flaming Moe’s‘ from the third season, this episode sees Moe changing his bar yet again. This time, he’s catering to Springfield’s not-so-attractive gay men, trans population and drag queens. The catalyst for this venture with Smithers is because Mr Burns has left Smithers out of his will. I’m not so sure this is the best catalyst, as a gay bar doesn’t really exact revenge on Burns… but anyway, everything else seems to work.

While Moe and Smithers are catering for gay Springfieldians (there seem to be more and more gay townspeople every week!), Skinner is busy falling in love (or lust) with Ms Calliope Juniper, a young and enthusiastic music teacher. After a double date with Bart and Calliope’s daughter Melody, Skinner scores. Nice one, Seymour. Naturally, he’s single again by the end of the episode but that’s what we come to expect of poor ol’ Skinner.

There’s so much about this ep that worked, it’s easy to overlook the things that didn’t. There were two laugh-out-loud moments for me: one was early on when Mr Burns sneezed and his scalp flipped open, revealing his brain, and the other was Mr Largo calling for a drum roll and Ralph rolls past inside the drum. Two visual gags which are very welcome and so funny.

I’d have liked to see more of Melody. She was interesting enough to warrant a few extra minutes at the expense of Moe’s running for council. This episode focused on Skinner/Calliope and Moe/Smithers, making the Simpsons peripheral characters. While there’s nothing wrong with this, the interaction between Bart and Melody felt forced and could have been more organic; maybe bring Lisa in to befriend her when the date didn’t go well or even before that, when negotiations fell flat.

I’d also have liked to see at least one scene with Edna making fun of Skinner’s new relationship. Let’s face it, she pretends not to be bitter and takes every opportunity to poke a little deeper into making fun of their failed relationship and Skinner’s flaws as a boyfriend and potential husband. Anyhoo. It’s still a great episode.

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