Goo Goo Gai Pan
Couch gag: The living room is dark, and when the light switches on, it’s a surprise party from the townspeople. Homer has a heart attack.
Director: Lance Kramer
Robert Wagner as himself
Lucy Liu as Madam Wu
Synopsis: Selma and the Simpsons travel to China to adopt a baby.
Discussion: The Simpsons are off on another overseas adventure, but this time it’s Selma’s treat because she’s adopting a little bundle of joy. Awww! The catch is, Selma’s not allowed to adopt unless she has a husband and, lacking anyone better, writes Homer’s name. Hehehehehe.
Every time the Simpsons head overseas, the episode becomes embarrassing and offensive. In the “few days” Selma and the Simpsons have to experience Chinese culture before taking the baby, the viewer is again treated to Chinese culture as we’ve never imagined. OK, I concede the dragons are cute. The giant Chinese take-away box… not so much. Nor are the Chinese on pogo sticks trying to get over the Great Wall of China. Oh puh-leese!
What we end up with is two distinct parts: Selma (with Homer) trying to keep the baby, and filler. The filler bits don’t quite reach the embarrassment of other overseas adventures such as Japan and Australia, but given any more air time and it would surely happen. Retrieving baby Ling and keeping her are the episode’s highlights, especially Homer’s stint as a statue of Buddha. Madam Wu is delightfully disarming and even though her bureaucratic backflip is entirely predictable, Lucy Liu delivers the performance brilliantly.
It’s always nice to see someone other than a Simpson centred in an episode. Even though the family are an integral part of this ep, Selma and baby Ling steal every scene.