Network TV is not dead
Couch gag: The family are dropped onto the couch by pneumatic tubes. Fry from Futurama is placed on the couch before being replaced by Bart.
Director: Mike B. Anderson
Synopsis: After discovering a crayon lodged in his brain is impairing his intelligence, Homer has it removed and realises what it means to be smart. But intelligence isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Discussion: This episode took a long time to get to the point, which makes it seem like a short episode. Act 1 was still good, don’t get me wrong, but the ep could have been made into something better. Homer’s financial woes are a common theme within the series, so there’s nothing new there, but the discovery of a crayon in his brain feels like a tacky add-on instead of the catalyst for the plot of Homer’s intelligence. I feel that the intelligence plot wasn’t explored as fully as it could be.
Having said all that, I’m glad another aspect of Homer is explored. We’ve already explored Lisa’s dumbening, Bart’s focusing and Marge’s occasional bouts of alcoholism. It’s good to see what Homer is capable of in a different paradigm, even if it is temporary and he can’t handle it. The note he left Lisa is beautifully written and a real asset to the episode.
Lisa the Simpson
Couch gag: A vine grows in the living room and the family grow on it, appearing as vegetables.
Director: Susie Dietter
Phil Hartman as Troy McClure
Synopsis: Lisa feels she’s becoming stupider, and Grampa reveals there’s a defective Simpsons gene that ensures her intelligence will disappear forever. Meanwhile, Jasper freezes himself in the Kwik-E-Mart and Apu turns it into a freak show to make some extra cash.
Discussion: Poor Lisa is the last in the group to solve a brainteaser, leading her to believe that she’s getting stupid. This is confirmed by Grampa, and Lisa takes her brain on a last tour of intellectual activities.
This is something pretty much everyone (sample size: me) experiences at some point in their life. You wake up one morning and suddenly can’t seem to do the same things you did last week. Mental blanks are increasing and things you should know aren’t there. Luckily for Lisa, this is just a phase and the defective Simpsons gene is only on the Y chromosome, so only affects males. Simple!
I really like this episode. It’s full of memorable moments and shows the panic someone goes through when they think they’re starting to lose their marbles. Eight years old is a bit early… but when you’re talking Lisa Simpson, it’s entirely plausible.
Easily the standout scene is Apu’s freak show, capitalizing on Jasper’s decision to freeze himself in the ice cream freezer so he can experience the future (with a change of pants as fashion dictates, obviously). My favourite part is the haunted ATM which dispenses images of dead presidents. Brilliant!