Eric Idle as Declan Desmond
Synopsis: Documentary maker Declan Desmond returns to Springfield every 8 years in order to film updates on the residents.
Discussion: Based on the popular English series Seven Up, Declan Desmond returns to Springfield every 8 years in order to interview residents of Springfield to see what they’re up to. Homer decides to pretend he’s wealthy in order to impress Declan and “stop making everyone else (in the doco) look good” by comparison.
It’s a good idea, but the execution of the narrative doesn’t quite get there. It very much feels like there’s two separate narratives here: one about the updates of Springfieldians and one about Homer feeling like a public failure. Homer’s story isn’t new; he often feels like a failure and there have been many episodes dealing with it. Borrowing Mr Burns’ summer home to show off is a new angle and worthy of its own episode. Trying to squish it in with a story about other townspeople forgets about those stories, which are also interesting. Eleanor, aka Crazy Cat Lady, holds a double degree in law and medicine but burned out and bought a cat… and then another cat. Why can’t we see the back-stories of how townspeople came to be in their positions? Sideshow Mel is shown as an 8 year old, and I’ve said before that having him as a central character could be really interesting. Why is he content to be a sidekick and not the main star?
A+ for being different, but C overall for cramming too many ideas into 20 minutes.
‘Scuse me While I Miss the Sky
Couch gag: Homer waterskis over sharks and when he lands on the couch, it is revealed sharks have his legs.
Director: Steven Dean Moore
Eric Idle as Declan Desmond
Joe Mantegna as Fat Tony
Synopsis: A documentary filmmaker comes to Springfield Elementary. Bart tries to be cool by stealing a hood ornament and Lisa protests about light pollution over the town.
Discussion: Forgive me for being jaded about this episode; another variation of a theme. Lisa is on yet another crusade for science and Bart is causing trouble while attempting to be cool.
What would make this ep more interesting would be Lisa deliberating on say, Obler’s Paradox. Bart’s attempts to get in with the cool kids is passe at best… and since when have bullies been “the cool kids” anyway? Mr Burns should have been ecstatic to have perma-noon lighting over the town, this is what the townspeople fought against way back in the Who Shot Mr Burns? episodes. Yet the only shot on Mr Burns in this ep is him looking adoringly at the night sky (well, to be technical, there’s also a shot of Burns and Smithers looking at the sky and Smithers does the yawn-and-stretch-arm-around-the-shoulders bit). Maybe his cold fiscal heart has softened somewhat over the course of 300+ episodes…
Let’s talk about Sideshow Mel. I get it, he’s a peripheral character by definition, but what if we had a whole episode about him? We know nothing about Sideshow Mel yet he’s often given the best one liners in an episode. He’s obviously intelligent. There’s no need for him to follow Sideshow Bob’s storylines (been there, done that) but surely something can be made up for him?