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Posts tagged ‘Family’

Let’s see what’s on tummy vision

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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

Guest voices:
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. 

It’s craptacular

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Miracle of Evergreen Terrace

Rudolph’s red nose is not alcohol related.

Couch gag: The Simpsons are in a snow globe.

Director: Bob Anderson

Guest voice:
Alex Trebek as himself

Synopsis: Bart accidentally sets fire to the Christmas tree and presents, and hides the evidence under some snow, telling his family and the police that a burglar stole everything. The townspeople give money to the family and Bart eventually comes clean about the whole thing, angering the townspeople.

Discussion: I’m undecided on this holiday treat. Bart has ruined Christmas before, so it’s really retreading old ground, but at the same time it’s retracing the issue of family togetherness and the spirit of Christmas… until the townspeople steal everything from the family as payback for the money donated and spent.

The residents of Springfield are generally very kind, but also quick to react when there’s a scam going on. Scaaaaaam! Taking back the Simpsons’ possessions is a fitting way to end the episode; the other Christmas episodes end on that warm, fuzzy feeling one expects from Christmas themes. There’s nothing really wrong with that, and one could argue that the family running around fighting over a washcloth exemplifies the Christmas spirit “as long as you have your family!” but really, we know it’s all about the presents, especially when you’re a kid.

So Bart usually screws up Christmas, this time the whole family are feeling the pinch. They’re receiving hate mail, fruit thrown at their windows and graffiti on their car. This is somewhat unusual; usually Bart’s actions only affect the family. I’d expect Lisa to casually mention the Buddhist principles of happiness not coming from material possessions, but I guess the anger of losing a yellow sweater clouded her brain…

He was a simple man…

One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish

I will not cut corners
I will not cut corners
”   ”    ”    ”      “

Couch gag: The couch tips backwards when the family are seated.

Director: Wesley M. Archer

Guest Voices:
Larry King as himself
George Takei as Akira
Sab Shimono as the sushi bar chef, Master.

Synopsis: Complaining about the monotony of eating the same dinners every week, Lisa prompts the family to eat at a new sushi bar. Homer finds the food delicious and tries everything on the menu, including the potentially deadly fugu fish. When cut correctly, it is delicious and safe, but when served incorrectly, can be fatal. Master is preoccupied (with Mrs Krabappel in the back of a car) and the apprentice takes over, but fears he has made a mistake. Homer is told he has 22 hours to live, and uses his last day to make amends with family and neighbours.

Discussion: I’d forgotten this episode. The major theme is again family, with various examples of where each member fits into their role. For example, when Homer tries to have a heart-to-heart with Bart, Bart jumps on Homer’s lap and pulls down his pants, expecting a spanking. When Homer tries the same with Lisa, she asks if he wants her to “turn down that infernal racket”. Meanwhile, Homer himself sees his own place within his family and his society; Barney won’t let him go without one last beer at Moe’s and Flanders invites him over for a barbecue “tomorrow” which Homer accepts, thinking he won’t be alive to honour the invite. I wonder what happened when Homer woke the next day and realised he was going to Ned’s for dinner…?

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