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Posts tagged ‘cheating’

Let the blossoming of Milhouse begin

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All’s Fair in Oven War

Couch gag: The Simpsons and their couch are launched from a trebuchet

Director: Mark Kirkland

Guest Voices:
Thomas Pynchon as himself
James Caan as himself

Synopsis: Marge enters a home cooking competition and cheats her way into the finals. Meanwhile, Bart and Milhouse find some girly magazines and transform the treehouse into a bachelor’s hangout for their friends.

Discussion: Moral dilemmas always work well in The Simpsons, and this episode is no exception. Feeling unworthy, Marge sabotages the other entrants in a cooking competition and Lisa disapproves. What happens between these characters is typical of a real life family situation, and in this case it’s Lisa pulling the guilt trip with a devastatingly cute card which compels Marge to do the right thing. You know it’s going to happen, it’s a narrative convention and it works well in sitcoms.

The B plot is also very interesting and, at times, threatens to overthrow Marge’s A plot. During the remodelling of the kitchen, Homer finds some old Playdude mags, Marge cuts out all the nude women and Bart finds the discarded magazines and does what every male pretends to do: reads the articles. From these 1970s magazines, Bart and Milhouse form an idea of what’s cool and set about to transform their treehouse into a rockin’ party pad, similar to Hef’s Playboy Mansion. Of course, it all goes pear-shaped when Homer gives the “facts of life” speech to Bart… with hilarious results.

It’s an above average episode, but only just. Marge’s plot seems a little forced at times, but there’s enough to hold interest for the entire 20 minutes. It’s well worth a look just for Bart’s B plot.

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It’s gonna be a rough couple of lifetimes

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The Sweetest Apu

I will never lie about being cancelled again

Couch gag: Repo men take away the couch and Homer cries.

Director: Matthew Nastuk

Guest voice:
James Lipton as himself

Synopsis: Homer catches Apu kissing the squishee lady and tries to get their marriage back on track.

Discussion: The Simpsons are tackling another real-life issue: Apu is cheating on his wife. Poor Manjula finds out via CCTV tape from the Kwik-E-Mart. Naturally, the Simpson family take matters into their own hands in order to get things the way they should be.

Now, this episode has all the right ingredients for a great ep. It seems that the real-life misadventures end up as the best shows. What goes so wrong here?

Firstly, there’s waaaay too much filler. The first act is largely made up of a civil war re-enactment (which I don’t really understand anyway. I’ve never seen Australian recreating any of the wars they’ve been in, but then again, we’ve never staged a war aga8inst our fellow countrymen) and after Homer discovers Apu and Squishee Lady, there’s more filler. Concentrate on the story at hand and you’ve got yourself some hilarity.

Secondly, it’s very rushed. Affair -> thrown out of home -> do a list of stuff to win Manjula back -> cue a bedroom scene. In ye olden (and golden) Simpsons days, this state of affairs (‘scuse the pun) would take up a story arc of its own. Think Luann and Kirk, Milhouse’s parents. Milhouse mentioned in the previous ep that his mother was remarrying, and this plot line has been going for several seasons. What’s wrong with making Apu miss his family over the course of a few episodes? Drag it out a bit. It’s too good a storyline to have it neatly fit within 21 minutes.

Speaking of story arcs, Barney has been sober for quite a while now, and this episode marks the first time he’s had a drink, thanks to Homer. Thankfully, to Barney’s credit, he does stop after just one drink, so kudos for that.

This ep has the potential to be a very good ep, but as it stands, it’s just mediocre. Unfortunately, that’s about the best we can hope for at this point.

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