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Posts tagged ‘good Simpsons episodes’

I put on my secret Christian underpants

Nedliest catch

The Ned-Liest Catch

Director: Chuck Sheetz

Guest Voices:
Joey Kramer as himself
Ken Burns as himself

Synopsis: Ned and Edna start dating, but Ned gets cold feet after learning about Edna’s sexual history.

Discussion: Well well well! I’d heard about this episode but had forgotten it existed. It’s like coming in halfway through the run of Friends without seeing Ross and Rachel “on a break”: so, that’s how it happened.

Bart gets Edna into trouble by pushing her buttons one too many times and she slaps him. On hiatus from her job (is sabbatical the wrong word?) Bart tries to fix the situation, Edna falls out a window and is caught by Ned. The two start dating and Ned finds out about Edna’s uh, history while Bart tries to scare the Flanders kids by telling them about evil stepmothers. The episode ends with Homer and Marge informing viewers that they can vote on what happens to the new couple.

Whoa.

The ep took a while to get going but when it did, it was like a freight train with no intention of slowing down. I like that the viewers had a choice in what happened to Ned and Edna (or, in the style of Brangelina or Bennifer… Nedna) and I like that two completely opposite people found that they were able to date despite not having anything in common.

This episode is all about Ned and Edna, and that’s the way it should be. I don’t really know what happens next, but I only have to wait until tomorrow to find out. It’s a surprising turn of events but welcome as well- this season has been chock full of stale storylines so it’s nice to see something spicy for a change. Although, I do know that the character of Edna was retired after the death of her voice actor, Marcia Wallace, so alas, Ned and Edna are ultimately doomed.

It’s like a beloved dog that died on your head

Homer Scissorhands

 

Homer Scissorhands 

Billboard: Nelson’s mother with a Mother’s Day special: she’s half off

I do not deserve a Mother’s Day gift for being “one badass mother”

Couch gag: The couch is on display at the Smithsonian and the Simpsons break in, go through a series of obstacles and sit down.

Director: Mark Kirkland

Guest voice:
Kristen Schaal as Taffy

Synopsis: Homer shows a flair for hairdressing while Milhouse, rejected by Lisa yet again, begins dating a fifth grader.

Discussion: Look, I liked this episode. It’s usually fun to explore Homer’s other jobs (does he even work at the power plant anymore?) and who knew he was a closet hairdresser? The references to¬†Edward Scissorhands are numerous and appropriate, making the episode seem more familiar than it is, if that makes sense.

Meanwhile, Milhouse decides he’s been too subtle in declaring his affections for Lisa, so after an awkward song and dance in the cafeteria over lunch, Lisa yet again rejects his advances. Along comes Taffy, a fifth grader, who is interested in Milhouse (“Everything’s coming up Milhouse!”) and the the two start dating, leaving Lisa a teeny bit jealous. Lisa starts stalking them in order to find out why a fifth grader is dating Milhouse, but either I missed it or it wasn’t mentioned; Taffy breaks up with Milhouse before the reason is revealed. Bummer.

I liked it. I thought it was entertaining, new and fun. Homer’s quibbles about the women’s gossip were on the money (despite being female, I detest gossip) although I thought the story could have been executed a bit better. What if he wore earmuffs?

Today’s lesson is feed your props

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The Great Simpsina

Director: Chris Clements

Guest voices:
Jack McBrayer as Ewell Freestone
Martin Landau as The Great Raymondo
Ricky Jay as himself
David Copperfield as himself
Penn & Teller as themselves
Synopsis: Lisa stumbles across a magician, who takes her as his apprentice.

Discussion: Although this episode never really reaches the heights of a truly great Simpsons ep, it’s pretty good and very enjoyable. From its beginnings as an unrelated opening act in which the family pick a million peaches to its sweet ending as the great magician dances with his lost love, this ep is full of moments which make me wonder why every ep can’t be this good.

There were things that I would have liked to see, such as Ewell Freestone singing ‘Peaches‘ by Presidents of the United States of America, but then I realised that Ewell’s song was far more annoying and suited to the situation. I would have also liked to see a reference the The Sorcerer’s Apprentice from Fantasia, but that’s only because I’m a Disney fan and random Disney references are always welcome.

Apart from those, I thought the episode was well thought out and executed. Lisa-centered episodes tend to be preachy and boring, but this one, she uses her intelligence in a subtle way which doesn’t seem holier-than-thou… until she decides the ethical choice is to save Cregg Demon, who has been stealing magicians’ secrets and using them for his own gain. The addition of so many guest voices didn’t seem forced; they were in a natural environment doing what magicians do- sabotaging more successful magicians. Wait, what?

While I don’t think this season has been particularly good (colour me shocked), I do think this ep is a highlight.

Just as the cookie foretold

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Million Dollar Maybe

Couch gag: Homer plays with a couch app on his smartphone.

Director: Chris Clements

Guest voice:
Chris Martin as himself

Synopsis: Homer wins the lottery but at the time he bought the ticket, he was supposed to be with Marge, so if he tells her he’s won the lottery, she’ll know he skipped out to buy it. Meanwhile, Lisa buys the residents of the retirement castle a video game system.

Discussion: This episode was really rather cool. Marge and Homer are supposed to sing at a wedding but Homer, believing the fortune cookie is on the right track, stops to buy a lottery ticket, leaving Marge to perform on her own. When he wins, he’s presented with a conundrum: if he owns up to winning, Marge will know he deliberately stopped to buy the ticket instead of going to the wedding. Hmm, what to do? There’s really only one thing he can do: hide the money and don’t tell anyone.

It’s such a simple concept yet embodies everything we’ve loved about the show for 20 years (even if some of those years were pointless wastes of time).

The family dynamic is the important thing here: Homer is buying things that the family genuinely wants and needs, e.g. hiding some Philharmonic tickets in Lisa’s saxophone. Although Lisa is mostly seen at the old folks’ home with their video game, the rest of the Simpsons are enjoying the gifts from the mysterious benefactor. As always, there’s a catch: Bart finds out and threatens to blackmail Homer.

The first few minutes provide some genuine laughs, and the momentum is kept up throughout the episode, making it very enjoyable to watch. It shows that even simple ideas can take the show back to greatness; you don’t necessarily need the convoluted ideas and big guest stars to entertain people (although, Coldplay are hired by Homer to play, and ordered to stop by Bart when Bart needs to use the toilet). A good episode overall.

Does Obama know about this?

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O Brother, Where Bart Thou?

Couch gag: The Simpsons walk in to find the living room furniture dancing.

Director: Steven Dean Moore

Guest Voices:
Huell Howser as himself
Peyton Manning as himself
Eli Manning as himself
Cooper Manning as himself
The Smothers Brothers as themselves
Kim Cattrall as the imaginary third Simpsons sister
Jordan Nagai as Charlie

Synopsis: After seeing the sisterly bond between Lisa and Maggie, Bart wishes for a brother. An escapee from the orphanage becomes Bart’s brother for the day.

Discussion: It’s only taken 8 episodes, but finally we have a good episode from season 21! Hooray!

Everything about this episode works. There’s great lines, a good solid plot, some fantastic guest stars, hilarious cultural references and some old-fashioned father-son bonding over a scary movie.

When a blackout hits the Simpsons household on a snowy day, Lisa and Maggie hold a fashion show and Bart is envious that he doesn’t have a brother to do cool things with. So, he does what any normal Bart Simpson would do and tries to force his parents into making a baby brother, even going as far as switching Marge’s Pill with candy (the Pills, in the candy container, are found and eaten by Nelson haw haw!) When that doesn’t work, he goes to an orphanage and wakes up to find an escapee wants to be his new brother. Aww!

It’s a really great episode which examines the bonds between same sex siblings. Bart knows a lot about reproduction (and seduction) for a 10 year old, but I suppose he’s had to learn something in those 20-odd years (remember when he thought parents were reverse vampires in connection with the saucer people?) There’s a load of great lines, which shows that the writers still have tricks up their sleeves. Bart’s dream about having a brother is reminiscent of when he sold his soul but instead of Springfield characters with brothers, he’s dreaming of famous brothers (although Sideshow Bob and his brother Cecil appear in the dream). The Smothers Brothers didn’t air in Australia; the first I knew about them was when I was writing an essay about television’s response to youth culture. In that essay, which inspired me to watch The Simpsons every day, compared The Monkees to The Simpsons as TV tried to keep up with youth of the day. The Smothers Brothers were also part of that youth revolution.

But I digress. This ep references South Park, Barney as the Plow King and famous brothers from all walks of culture from the Wright Brothers to Mario & Luigi. Charlie is an adorable character and the perfect fit with Bart- he’s not too naughty, yet loves games but not scary movies.

Highly recommended viewing. Aren’t you glad I do the hard work for you so you don’t have to sit through all the shitty ones to find the gems?

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