The Spy Who Learned Me
Couch gag: The Simpsons are at a ball game and the crowd hold up cards to form a picture of the Simpsons sitting on their couch.
Director: Bob Anderson
Bryan Cranston as Stradivariaus Cain
Eric Idle as Declan Desmond
Synopsis: Homer adopts an imaginary friend, a spy from a movie, to help him win over Marge. Inspired by a documentary about someone eating junk food and getting too fat to move, Bart encourages Nelson to overeat, thereby protecting himself and the other nerds from being bullied.
Discussion: This episode is a mash up of two major films (or film franchises). Homer’s storyline is a parody of the James Bond films, and the episode title is a take on The Spy Who Loved Me. Bart’s storyline is inspired by a documentary parody of Super-Size Me, but this time it’s Declan Desmond overeating Krusty Burgers and becoming morbidly obese.
Homer’s storyline felt stale, and I didn’t know til the credits that Mr Cain was voiced by Bryan Cranston. Despite being overweight and bald, Homer does attract the ladies (think Mindy and Lurleen) but his pick up lines need some work. If Marge is impressed by a clean car then it doesn’t seem like Homer has to try very hard to win her over. Just sayin’ is all.
Bart vs Nelson is a long-running saga which takes a turn in this ep when Bart feeds Nelson Krusty burgers in order to make him so fat he can’t bully other kids. The tactic works although backfires when Lisa confronts Krusty, who employs his own personal trainer to whip Nelson into shape, making him a punching machine at the end.
And while I’m talking about The End, Nelson’s final scene feels like it was tacked onto the ep at the last minute. Homer wanders off for a pash with Marge, leaving Cain to promise to return in ‘Lisa Gets a B+’ and shooting the screen Bond-style. Then we switch to the playground where Martin says it’s so great not to be bullied, only for Nelson to return (looking quite buff) and punching a kid. Lisa is impressed by Nelson’s new look, but I’m thinking the ep should have ended the other way round, with this storyline leading into Cain shooting the screen. It would make a lot more sense- the shooting of the screen is more of a closure.
Speaking of low points, the “joke” about Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl was waaaaaay below the belt and out of line, even for The Simpsons. It was unnecessary and uncalled for.