My Mother the Carjacker
Couch gag: The family decays and turns to dust
Director: Nancy Kruse
Glenn Close as Mona Simpson
Synopsis: Grandma Simpson returns and is exonerated for her crimes in the 60s.
Discussion: Yawn. We’ve seen this all before: Grandma comes back, ends up on the run and disappears for another few seasons. Hopefully, this time was the end and we’ll never see her again. She’s become the Sideshow Bob of the series: every appearance is the same old thing with the same old tired tricks and storylines.
Homer, trying to win his own shirt for finding a hilarious headline, discovers a secret message from a mysterious person, who turns out to be his mother. They reconnect, she’s still on the run, and Homer tries to relive his childhood with his mother. In other words, exactly the same thing which happened the last time they reunited. Whereas the season 7 ep ‘Mother Simpson’ was sweet and poignant, this one is just retreading old ground. There’s nothing new here.
Sadly, I think this is the state of things to come: same old, same old. It’s sad, Mona is such an interesting character who doesn’t mind bonding with a dependent son yet she’s treated to the exact same thing each and every time.
Bart the Fink
couch gag: The couch spits out a fax with the family on it.
Phil Hartman as Troy McClure
Bob Newhart as himself
Synopsis: When Bart catches Krusty’s illegal bank account, Krusty fakes his own death.
Discussion: This episode is weird. It starts with a premise of an unseen Simpson (probably a Simpson and not a Bouvier since Marge’s sisters aren’t there, but then why isn’t Grampa there and the lawyer states the family are the only heirs?) dying and leaving the entire estate to the family if they spend a night in a haunted house. Riiiiiight… Anyhoo, they end up with $100 which leads to Bart getting a cheque book and sending a cheque to Krusty for his autograph.
Taking just this part alone, it’s genius. How else would the IRS indict Krusty for illegal bank accounts and not paying tax? It gets better when the IRS takes over Krusty’s show and restaurant chain- the scene of Homer buying tax burgers and dependent-sized drinks is hilarious.
Then the climax: Krusty fakes his death. Again, this is poignant in a way that only The Simpsons can do. Troy McClure hosts the funeral and introduces Bob Newhart, who is waiting for another funeral to start. Personally, I think Newhart drags the pace of the ep and I understand several of his lines had to be cut for time reasons.
Bart then sees Krusty in a disguise, puts the clues together and discovers Krusty has faked his death and is living as Roy Bellows! Who’da thunk it?
Overall, it’s a very well-crafted episode. It highlights the flawed nature of celebrity life as well as leading one part of the narrative to another. It’s something the show will come to do often in later episodes, with varying degrees of success.