Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder
I won’t use no double negatives
Couch gag: A cement mixer pours cement in the shape of the family but Homer breaks in half.
Director: Mike B. Anderson
Ron Howard as himself
Penn & Teller as themselves
Pat O’Brien as himself
Nancy Dell as herself
Synopsis: After winning a perfect game of ten pin bowling, Homer’s fleeting status as celebrity wanes and he decides to spend more time with his family.
Discussion; We already know Homer is pretty good at bowling, so it’s not really a surprise that he can bowl a perfect 300. In this episode, which spoofs the fleeting status of celebrity, he decides that family is the most important thing in life.
I’m not convinced the two concepts marry well. You’ve got Homer becoming a minor celebrity for five minutes which rapidly becomes a plot focused on Maggie, the forgotten Simpson. Taken as two separate plots, they each work well, but trying to marry them as nothing-else-matters-except-family, it’s not quite there.
Maggie, being a (mostly) mute baby, doesn’t carry whole episodes and it is difficult to make those ideas work so you do need something else to plug the gaps. Here we only have one brief reference to Maggie before she becomes the plot: Homer is bowling instead of having the promised tea party with Maggie, leaving her to apologise to the guest teddy bears. How rude!
The scenes of Homer’s fading celebrity are the highlights of the ep. In particular, the scene where Homer is centre square on Springfield Squares, which also begs the question of how real are Itchy and Scratchy? It’s the warping of two worlds which make this show great. Anyhoo, I digress. The suicide scene is tough to watch (this was produced before 11 September, 2001) but lightens considerably when Otto and Homer find underground societies.
Overall, this is a better than average episode. Maggie is smart and witty in her own way (complete with baby’s first facepalm) and Homer is still unbelievably stupid. The themes of family work, but only just. Fading celebrity, and the ease of which one can become a celebrity, is much easier to swallow.