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Posts tagged ‘American history’

I pay the Homer tax

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Much Apu About Nothing

Couch gag: Marge, Lisa, Bart and Maggie are mounted heads on the wall while Homer is a rug on the floor. A hunter sits on the couch smoking a cigar. 

Director: Susie Dietter

Guest Voice: 
Joe Mantegna as Fat Tony

Synopsis: Apu admits to being an illegal immigrant and tries to avoid being deported. 

Discussion: The beginning of this episode is sheer brilliance, but then loses pace in the middle and later stages. There’s a bear wandering the street and Homer proposes a bear patrol to keep away other bears. However, he doesn’t like paying the tax to pay for the bear patrol. The mayor’s solution is to deport Springfield’s immigrants and Proposition 24 is up for public voting. Apu admits he is living in America illegally and it’s up to the Simpsons to find a way he can stay. 

Firstly, the two catch cries in the start of the ep have become part of everyday vernacular: “Won’t somebody please think of the children?” and “We’re here, we’re queer, we don’t want any more bears!” (I encourage each of you to utter at least one of those phrases today in general conversation. Go on, you know you want to. It’s like homework, but way more fun.) 

Then there’s Apu. He’s become a much loved character on the show and to the Simpson family. Apu’s attempts at becoming American are hilarious. Decorating his store with American gear is just plain funny, but Homer’s tutelage in American history for the citizenship test is hilarious. The 13 stripes on the flag are for good luck. 

It is a strong episode all the way through, but I do feel it lacks originality seen in the bear scenes. Maybe originality is the wrong word. It lacks oomph, zest, funniness… Starts strong (and leaves the viewer wondering where this is going) and ends with a warm & fuzzy ending where Apu is a citizen and everyone’s happy… except Groundskeeper Willie. 

It’s some sort of land cow

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Lisa the Iconoclast

couch gag: The Simpsons appear in a Brady Bunch-like opening sequence, with the couch in the middle.

Director: Mike B. Anderson

Guest voices:
Phil Hartman as Troy McClure playing Jebediah Springfield
Donald Sutherland as Hollis Hurlbut

Synopsis: While researching a paper about Springfield’s founding, Lisa discovers that the town’s hero has a dark past.

Discussion: Welcome to a history lesson about Springfield and the founding father, Jebediah Springfield, aka Hans Sprungfeld, noted pirate who tried to kill George Washington. Unsurprisingly, no one believes Lisa when she tries to make the knowledge public. Even the curator of the Springfield museum is unimpressed and pockets the famous silver tongue with the skeleton is exhumed. In the end, however, Lisa chooses not to reveal Jeb’s shady history and spoil the bicentennial celebrations. Sometimes it’s more important for people to be blissfully ignorant.

Episodes focusing on Lisa are a little extra nerdy. She’s always on a campaign for something- vegetarianism, Buddhism, recycling… It makes her episodes a bit repetitive in my opinion. There are exceptions, such as the future episode where she’s popular and not preachy about something or other. This ep doesn’t shine as much as it probably could. There’s nothing wrong with some history and it’s especially notable for popularising the words “embiggens” and “cromulent”, both of which have now been added to the dictionary. Imagine if Bart found the secret confession, the ep would probably have been a bit less preachy and a bit more fun.

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