This punishment is not medieval (in medieval writing)
Couch gag: the evolution of Homer
Directors: Mike B. Anderson and Ralph Sosa
Glenn Close as Mona
Lance Armstrong as himself
Synopsis: Homer’s mother Mona returns again for one last hippy stunt.
Discussion: I’m torn, dear readers. Mona returns to the Simpson household, and Homer is upset because every time she returns, she leaves again. This time, Mona assures him he’s the most important thing in her life now, but Homer is still very upset. When he goes to apologise, Mona has died so the last things she heard Homer say were how mad he was at her.
In itself, this is quite sweet, but I’m also a bit mad at Mona for dying and leaving Homer all alone… again. Mona was in the episode for far too short a time and then came some silliness about ashes, a Swiss army knife and foiling a nuclear waste experiment. But that’s what The Simpsons does- takes a sweet, poignant moment such as death and hides it away under metaphorical carpet: remember Maude Flanders’ death when Homer got Ned into the dating game mere minutes later? The ep also has dedications to Dan Castellaneta’s mother and Harry Shearer’s mother at the very end, but I felt the episode overshadowed the real grief felt when someone loses their mother.
Mr Burns’ under-mountain lair felt a lot like Hank Scorpio’s lair, and I expected him to come busting out of somewhere with some crazy plot. Instead, Mr Burns appears with some weird thing about sending nuclear waste to a rainforest via rocket. Mona’s ashes foiled that plan but I still felt cheated that a) Mona died so early in the ep, b) her death was overshadowed by Mr Burns’ waste plot and c) the touching tribute to Mona at the end still made her seem like a whacked out hippy who cared more about the Cause than Homer… Hadn’t we already established the last time we saw Mona that she was over all that nonsense?
Anyhoo, because I felt such polarity, this episode is classed as “average”. It’s like having hot feet and a cold head- on average you feel fine.