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

Posts tagged ‘kidnapping’

I’m high on sheep embryos

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Blame It On Lisa

Couch gag: The family are marionettes, who get tangled and fall in a heap in front of the couch. It is revealed they are being operated by Matt Groening.

Director: Steven Dean Moore

Synopsis: The Simpsons travel to Brazil to find an orphan Lisa has been sponsoring.

Discussion: Let’s file this episode under all the others which poke fun at a country. It’s unfunny, slightly racist and full of bad cliches and flaming inaccuracies.

Anyhoo… the premise is simple enough. Lisa has been sponsoring Ronaldo, a young orphan who has gone missing. She’s called the orphanage and racked up a $400 phone bill, so the obvious solution is for the family to fly to Brazil to look for him. Of course! Cue every cultural cliche known to man and they call it an episode. Despite Ronaldo being the catalyst for the trip, he only appears for about a minute, and half of that is on a video sent to Lisa when she first started sponsoring him. Ronaldo is a cutie, why isn’t he prominently featured as a plight to draw attention to the slums of Brazil?

Despite my criticisms, there are a couple of good moments. Homer’s scrapbook of his kidnapping is disturbingly poignant, and the TV show Bart is watching, Teleboobies, demonstrates an early form of twerking (go on, watch the ep to spot it). Carnivale is an awesome spectacle and a highlight of the ep; it makes me actually want to see this live and in person.

Overall, however, it’s not a good episode. The writers’ ideas of “poking fun” at other countries is not cool. Every time they air an episode where the Simpsons go overseas, they end up with a lot of complaints about the way the country is portrayed. It’s not funny; some of these things are quite offensive to those living in the country. Other “jokes” are just plain stupid. Keep the family in Springfield where they belong.

It’s part of being a lowlife

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Take My Wife, Sleaze

I can’t see dead people

Couch gag: The family sit on the couch, which is a shredder. 

Director: Neil Affleck

Guest voices:
Jay North as himself
John Goodman as Meathook
Henry Winkler as Ramrod
Jan Hooks as Manjula
NRBQ as the band in the bar/closing credits

Synopsis: Homer builds a bikie gang, not knowing a rival gang has the same name. After they crash and trash the Simpson house, the rival gang kidnap Marge, who tries to teach them how to be upstanding citizens. 

Discussion: There’s a stereotype portrayed in the media of bikie gangs being rough, rude kidnappers. This episode reinforces that view. 

When I was a kid, there were stories of bikie gangs kidnapping children. I was terrified every time a gang of them passed our car- I’d worry they’d see me in the back, force my parents to pull over and I’d be kidnapped. 

Marge is the unlucky one facing those fears in this ep. She’s unwittingly become a mother to a gang who can’t work out how to get a patch onto a jacket or get puke stains out of a vest. The bikie gang move on, taking Marge with them, where she gives some good advice like not calling your employer a skank. Ohhh, you *don’t* call them a skank! 

These days I think of John Goodman as the voice of Sulley from Monsters Inc and Monsters University (even though he’s been on our screens for years e.g. Roseanne). So, it’s a little strange hearing him as a the rough Meathook after the kindly monster Sulley. On first viewing (in fact, every viewing) I never pick up on Henry Winkler but he’s a natural choice for Ramrod. 

I don’t think it’s a brilliant episode but it’s lots of fun. From the 50s style cafe to the Cycle Sluts magazine to marge giving them advice on landing a job, it brings together a bunch of stereotypes and fits them nicely within the Simpsons world. 

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