Brush With Greatness
I will not hide behind the fifth amendment
Couch gag: The couch tips over and Maggie lands on a cushion
Director: Jim Reardon
Jon Lovitz as Professor Lombardo
Ringo Starr as himself
Synopsis: When Homer becomes stuck in a waterslide at Mt Splashmore, he decides it’s time for a diet. While looking for athletic equipment in the attic, Bart and Homer find Marge’s paintings of Ringo Starr, painted during her high school days. Marge is encouraged by Lisa to enter an art class and she wins first prize for her portrait of Homer. Meanwhile, the Mr Burns Wing is due to be dedicated and Mr Burns hates all his official portraits, so commissions Marge to paint his portrait.
Discussion: This is an all-round great episode. The plot starts in one direction, then leads into another and takes another twist to end up somewhere completely different to where it started out! This style of writing is a hallmark of the show and does get overused in some episodes, but is completely appropriate for this particular episode. It’s one thing that leads to another in order to tell the story, and having Marge as the central character is well-deserved. So often, she’s the background character, the wet blanket in the family. No, you can’t do this, no, I don’t approve of that… but here we discover her hidden talent and passion for art (something which is carried throughout the series) and her own chance at greatness when she’s selected for the Mr Burns portrait. Mr Burns’ reaction to the portrait surprises me, he normally dislikes his vulnerabilities shown in public. Maybe he does understand that he is a mere mortal after all?
In October 2008, Ringo Starr announced he was too busy to answer mail or sign any memorabilia. I think it’s really rude to tell your fans that anything they send you will be “tossed out”. Fair enough, you’re busy, you’ve got a lot of projects happening (even if they won’t get you to the dizzying heights you once knew) and you don’t have time to personally answer mail… but this is sending a clear message that you have no time for your fans (who got you there in the first place. Without fans, you’re nothing.) End rant.