Tales from the Public Domain
Vampire is not a career choice
Couch gag: The Simpsons are on a flip book
Director: Mike B. Anderson
Synopsis: Homer gets a notice to return an overdue library book, and reads three stories from the book.
Discussion: This is another trilogy episode, where three stories are presented in the same ep. Here, Homer reads from an overdue library book he borrowed when Bart was born.
D’oh Brother, Where Art Thou? Inspired by Homer‘s Odyssey, this tells the story of Odysseus (Homer Simpson) presenting a wooden horse to the King of Troy (Ned Flanders) and the subsequent journey back to his fair maiden, Penelope (Marge). The best part is Patty and Selma being Sirens and luring Odysseus et al into their scary lair.
Hot Child in the City A re-telling of Joan of Arc‘s story starring Lisa as Joan. It leaves out the most awful parts, such as Joan’s rape while she’s imprisoned before her trial, and Marge says that Sir Lancelot saved Joan before she was burned, then eats the last page so the family won’t know what really happened. It’s the only segment which is based on a true story.
Do the Bard, Man Bart portrays Prince Hamlet in a much abridged version of Shakepeare’s play. Moe is usurper to the throne and murderer of Hamlet’s father, while other Simpsons characters portray the play’s other famous characters (my favourite is Rosencarl and Guildenlenny).
As far as trilogy episodes go, this one is one of the better ones. These stories which delve into classic literature/legends of olde are fantastic for bringing new audiences into a different world, one which existed before Twilight, one which actually had great stories to tell, epic adventures which we just don’t see nowadays. It was because of this ep that I finally read Hamlet… and I completely agree with Bart’s assessment of the play.
The Simpsons are masters of parodying, lampooning and re-telling stories which already exist. Some are obvious, such as this ep’s Hamlet, and some are only very loosely tied to their original source, such as the recently viewed ‘Half Decent Proposal‘. There’s nothing wrong with this, it still has elements of originality and creativity (Hamlet‘s ending is just a bit different to the ending portrayed here…) which makes for epic viewing.