I watch, and blog, and watch and blog and watch. It's the Simpsons every day!

Posts tagged ‘friendship’

Woo hoo, marital sex!

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The Haw-Hawed Couple

Couch gag: Cartoon hands (implied to be Homer’s) cut Homer out of paper and it’s revealed that it’s the whole family holding hands.

Director: Chris Clements

Synopsis: When Bart is the only person to come to Nelson’s birthday party, they become best friends. Meanwhile, Homer is upset at the death of a fictional character in one of Lisa’s books.

Discussion: This episode starts well, then somewhere just after the middle it loses steam and crawls limply over the finish line. We start with Marge and Homer having some morning snuggles but that minor subplot gets lost by the wayside when Homer starts reading to Lisa. Marge is not seen in the ep after this point… I guess having her get mad at Homer for not coming to bed is way off course.

Anyhoo, the best part about the episode is Bart convincing all the other kids not to go to Nelson’s party, then being forced to go himself. This is also how Bart became best friends with Ralph Wiggum. This time he embraces his best friend-ship with Nelson because he’s now protected from the other bullies at school, but Nelson soon sees through it all when he spies Bart flying kites with Milhouse. This is where the ep starts to falter: Bart thinks Nelson’s gonna kill him and Nelson becomes this disjointed caricature of himself. Obviously he’s not really going to kill Bart, but his actions are a bit strange and don’t fit with the rest of the episode.

Meanwhile, Homer’s upset that the wizard from Lisa’s bedtime reading dies. The story is a parody of the Harry Potter novels (I don’t think it’s a spoiler that Dumbledore dies in the series) and translates well into this parody. Homer’s reaction at the wizard’s death isn’t exactly out of character, and it echoes the reaction by Harry fans when they’d read the then-latest novel… but it doesn’t go anywhere. Having a drink at Moe’s whilst lamenting the death is not funny, it’s weird and a bit creepy.

Because the ep started out well then went south just after halfway, I’m gonna have to score it an average mark. It’s unfortunate because there are some great lines (in the first half), including Martin Prince uttering, “We form a mighty faggot!” while a dictionary definition of the term ‘faggot’ appears on screen. For those who only know the derogatory meaning, a faggot is a bundle of sticks held together for fuel (it’s also a type of food: chopped liver rolled into a ball and fried). So there’s your learning for the day.

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I found a moon rock in my nose

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This Little Wiggy

I was not told to do this

couch gag: Bart checks to see if anyone’s looking then graffitis his family onto the couch.

Director: Neil Affleck

Guest Voice:
Phil Hartman as Troy McClure

Synopsis: Bart is forced on a play date with Ralph Wiggum, who suddenly becomes a lot more interesting when Bart finds the police master key which opens every door in Springfield.

Discussion: Arguably, Ralph Wiggum has the best lines in the show and doesn’t disappoint in this episode either. Bart is having another trademark guilt trip between wanting to be cool and exploring the old state prison, and being friend to the hapless Ralph.

I like this ep. Poor Ralph only wants a friend who doesn’t tell him to burn things. Bart just wants to have fun. Together, they can cause mayhem when armed with nothing but a master key.

The ending chooses to be a feel-good ending where Ralph is applauded for having a pretty good idea… even though Lisa came up with the idea that actually saved the mayor. Even though it’s a bit weak, it still works because the audience loves Ralph and he does deserve his moment of appreciation. I’m sure Lisa is disappointed at her lack of credit but hey, she’ll make it up again tomorrow at school or something…

You can flash-fry a buffalo in 40 seconds

Bart Sells His Soul

I am not a lean mean spitting machine

Couch gag: The family drive around the lounge room in clown carts. Beep beep!

Director: Wes Archer

Synopsis: After getting into trouble at church and a chat with Milhouse about having a soul, Bart sells his to Milhouse for $5. When weird things start happening, Bart wants to buy back his soul. Meanwhile, Moe turns his tavern into a family restaurant.

Discussion: Oh my freakin’ ears! Bart’s genius is at play again when he produces a hymn for church which sounds like “rock and/or roll” – Iron Butterfly’s In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, except Bart has it sung as “In the Garden of Eden“. (The story is actually pretty interesting, it’s apparently a mondegreen. Also listen to the full version, it’s pretty cool).

Anyhoo, Bart and Milhouse talk about souls as they spend their punishment cleaning the organ pipes “befouled” by playing this music. Bart doesn’t believe the soul exists, so sells his to Milhouse for $5. Strange stuff happens after Bart sells his soul- the cat doesn’t like him, automatic doors don’t open when he approaches, he has no breath to fog glass and he dreams everyone else has a soul and he doesn’t. Blah blah blah, Lisa has bought his soul and gives it back.

Meanwhile, Moe had turned his tavern into some sort of creepy family restaurant. I say “creepy” because Barney’s right; the dank is gone from the bar. It’s brightly lit, Moe wears a smile and your meal is free is he ain’t smiling when you get the cheque. Trouble is, some kids are being a pain in the butt and Moe loses his cool, sending families scurrying away from the restaurant and Moe turns it back into a bar.

Firstly, the soul plot is pretty good. Who hasn’t wanted to buy or sell a soul? Imagine having that kind of power! Mwahahahaha! The theme of souls isn’t new to The Simpsons; There’s a ruling that Homer’s soul belongs to Marge after Homer sells his soul to Satan (played by Ned) for some doughnuts in one of the Halloween episodes.

Secondly, I’m not a huge fan of Moe’s family establishment and subsequent breakdown. I can’t put my finger on it exactly- maybe it doesn’t fit with the major storyline, maybe it’s just not done well, maybe I don’t think you should mess with an iconic place like Moe’s Tavern. I don’t know, but I don’t like it.

Overall, it’s a great episode… as long as you focus on Bart’s soul and not the Moe bits.

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