Bonfire of the Manatees
Does any kid still do this anymore?
Couch gag: The family walk through an airport metal detector but Homer sets it off. After setting it off again wearing only his underwear, a security guard manually scans him with a portable scanner.
Director: Mark Kirkland
Joe Mantegna as Fat Tony
Alec Baldwin as Dr Caleb Thorn
Synopsis: When Homer settles a debt by filming a snuggle film in the house, Marge leaves him and finds comfort in nurturing manatees.
Discussion: Oh, the huge manatee! Whoever decided that this would be a good start to season 17 was very much mistaken. Here are some lowlights: Marge angrily tells the family that the yoghurt in the fridge is about to expire and Homer says sadly, “We’d better eat the yoghurt”, Homer losing at checkers with a chicken, Mr Burns and Smithers giving a sponge bath to a manatee who is dressed as Homer.
There is nothing good about this episode. There was a hint of a smirk when Marge asks if this is a snuggle film, but that’s the extent of it. It’s just so awful. Nothing against manatees (or as we Aussies call them, dugongs), but this ep makes no sense and is just ridiculously stupid. Do they pick a cutesy title and build a “story” around that? (I use the term story loosely.) It’s the only explanation for this monstrosity of crap.
Alec Baldwin has been a guest voice before, but he was playing himself. Here he’s Dr Caleb Thorn, a ruggedly handsome guy who is dedicated to saving dugongs… or roasting them if they can’t be saved. To be honest, he’s not a memorable character. Marge’s dalliance with the manatees is weird and something Lisa would do, not Marge. The whole manatee storyline serves no purpose, leaving the whole episode incredibly painful to watch.
When You Dish Upon a Star
Butt.com is not my email address
Couch gag: There’s a washing line in the living room and Marge hangs up the family to dry.
Director: Pete Michels
Kim Basinger as herself
Alec Baldwin as himself
Ron Howard as himself
Brian Grazer as himself
Synopsis: While having fun at Springfield Lakes, Homer lands on the summer house of Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin, who plead with him to keep their secret. But Homer can’t resist telling his closest drinking buddies.
Discussion: Who doesn’t love it when celebrities poke fun at themselves? Just by appearing as oneself on The Simpsons, you know there’s already going to be a degree of self-poking just because that’s what the show is. In this episode, produced back when Kim and Alec were still married, it’s Ron Howard who steals the show.
Despite making fun of her Oscar and berating Alec for not having one, Kim still comes off as being a bit stuck up. Her voice work doesn’t seem as relaxed as the male co-stars although Alec’s voice work also takes a while to settle into his character. But, it’s Ron Howard who wanders in, completely relaxed, and takes Homer’s jibes about being Potsie and Horshack. All you youngsters out there, you may need to ask your parents about this one.
It’s a great episode. It does feel a bit awkward at the beginning when Homer first falls into the house of Kim and Alec, but then again this adds to the awkwardness of invading the privacy of someone. Another highlight is Homer’s Museum of Hollywood Jerks, in which he sells tickets to see the collection of crap left behind in his car from the celebs and is caught mocking Kim and her bikini by the stars themselves. Last but not least, the end scene in which Ron Howard is selling movie ideas to his business partner Brian Grazer, and tells of Homer’s idea about the killer robot being sent back in time- priceless!