At Long Last Leave
Billboard: Kwik-E-Mart: Yesterday’s food at tomorrow’s prices
Bart’s earned a day off (Written by Milhouse as Bart looks on)
Couch gag: A collection of couch gags from the previous 499 episodes, zooming out to reveal a photomosaic spelling ‘500’.
Director: Matthew Nastuk
Julian Assange as himself
Kelsey Grammer as Sideshow Bob
Jackie Mason as Rabbi Hyman Krustofsky
Allison Krauss & Union Station performing the Simpsons theme over the closing credits
Synopsis: The Simpson family are banned from Springfield for all the trouble, damage and costs they do. The family are accepted in the Outlands, where they prefer to live but spoil it by promoting the area to other Springfieldians.
Discussion: Welcome to episode 500! Yes boys and girls, I have wasted 500 days of my life on this project and am currently just 52 days away from finishing. (By then, season 26 will probably have started…)
Anyhoo, this episode sees the Simpsons evicted from Springfield. It feels a lot like The Simpsons Movie but with less snow and no crazy Native American women using interpretive dance. This time, instead of heading to Alaska, the Simpsons head to the Outlands (complete with new opening sequence and couch gag). Anything goes in the Outlands, so much so that the Simpsons start inviting other Springfieldians to come experience the joys of living where rules don’t apply.
It’s a decent episode, one worthy of being the 500th, despite the thematic similarities to the movie (which wasn’t that great). The fact that Marge feels at home with Springfieldians rather than “home” being a place reminds us that while Springfield is important to the show, it’s the characters that make it what it is. It’s like New York’s relationship to the girls of Sex and the City; I once heard NY described as a fifth character and in some ways, it’s also true of Springfield. Aww.
There’s a few famous voices in here, adding to the familiarity. Julian Assange… Well, that’s a bit strange. I get that he’s an outlaw on the fringe of society, and it’s a great joke. I read that his lines were written by a very funny Australian writer named Kathy Lette, who wished to add a bit of Aussie irony to Julian. I didn’t pick up on it while watching it and I missed it again watching the second time knowing it was written by Kathy Lette. Whatever she was aiming to achieve in terms of Aussie-ness, didn’t work. I also felt Sideshow Bob could have had at least a couple more lines.
There’s no solid resolution to this ep, which also makes it feel a bit movie-ish. The ep is far more sentimental than it probably needs to be but then again, it is a milestone episode so I’m willing to overlook it. There’s a shortage of laugh-out-loud moments but hey, we’re pretty used to that right now. This ep is more about a warm fuzzy comfort feeling, like eating hot soup on a cold winter’s day. It might not be the best soup you’ve ever tasted but it sure makes you feel good anyway.
If I was to rate this ep, I’d give it a 7/10 but that’s probably mostly due to the comfort-food feelings it inspires rather than being a fantastic ep.