The War of Art
Director: Steven Dean Moore
Max von Sydow as Klaus Ziegler
Synopsis: Marge buys a painting from the Van Houtens, which turns out to be quite valuable, and divides the town.
Discussion: You know what would liven up this episode? A couple of songs about why Marge should and shouldn’t pay the Van Houtens. Like the “war” between the do-gooders and the rock n roll people from that Tom Cruise movie no one watched, Rock of Ages.
In any case, we open the ep with five minutes of Lisa trying to pick out a guinea pig, because she’s never had any pets before. Now, I can only assume this is supposed to be an ironic statement, because she’s had almost as many pets as Homer has had jobs. The guinea pig does what pig-things do, and chews through everything, including Marge’s favourite picture of a boat. Way back when, something else happened to that boat painting and Marge simply opened the cupboard to reveal a stack of boat paintings. I was hoping they’d throw back to that episode, but no, Marge and Homer go out to buy a new picture. Turns out to be valuable (then not valuable), which brings up a moral dilemma: do the Simpsons share the profits with the Van Houtens or not?
This has the potential to be interesting, but it actually turns into a sequence of arguments that don’t work. First, we have a bribery attempt to keep Milhouse quiet, while Milhouse argues it won’t work. Hands up who thought that was going to work. Then we have an argument between the Simpsons and Van Houtens when Luann and Kirk find out. Then another argument between Luann and Kirk when some random chick rocks up claiming ownership of the painting. Seriously?
The only interesting plot point in the entire episode is Klaus reveals he’s the real painter, thereby rendering the painting worthless. But since he’s already fooled the art elite, I reckon Homer should have kept the secret, sold the painting for squillions and donated the money to some art gallery with Lisa’s approval; after all, she was the one who was there when the fraud revealed himself.
So, it’s yet another case of OK premise, poor execution. At least it explains why there was a sudden appearance of a guinea pig in my The Simpsons: Tapped Out game…
PS, if you are considering a pet for a small child, guinea pigs are awesome. They are a bit noisy, and they will chew through everything in your home so keep them outdoors.