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Posts tagged ‘Michael Jackson’

I’m gonna die in my jammies

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Barting Over

I will not (and then Bart hacks the chalkboard with an axe)

Couch gag: The Simpsons are gingerbread people living in a candy house

Director: Matthew Nastuk

Guest Voices:
Jane Kaczmarek as Judge Harm
Tony Hawk as himself
Blink 182 as themselves

Synopsis:  Bart divorces his parents after discovering Homer spent all his earnings from a commercial featuring Bart as a baby.

Discussion: Holy mother of God… Where do I begin in this car crash of an episode?

Firstly, the last time the Simpsons had a spring clean, Bart won an elephant. This time they’ve found a bunch of videotapes featuring Marge and Homer carving pumpkins and one of Bart as Baby Stink-Breath. Homer’s spent all the money earned from this escapade, and Bart’s so mad, he divorces his parents and goes to live in a loft (which, incidentally, is not full of hay). The premise isn’t so bad, truth be told.

Cue a bunch of celebrity voices with nothing more to do than show up in an episode and be paid for it. Whoops, did I say that out loud? Tony Hawk (only familiar to me because I’ve seen his video game in the shops…) lives in Bart’s building and something about Homer being cool and becoming Bart’s legal guardian again. What?

Then there’s the not-controversial controversy about this being the 300th episode. This is self-referenced within the ep: Marge asks how many times Homer has gotten into a scrape, Lisa clicks over a counter to 300, Marge remarks she could swear it was 302 (which is the actual episode number. Ep 300 was two episodes ago). I get it- put in some big name stars to attract (weakening) audiences for a milestone show. Whether or not the audience was treated to brilliance… I think not.

This ep feels like it was mashed together from about three different storylines. The emancipation from his parents echoes the troubles of child star Macaulay Culkin, who was a dear friend of Michael Jackson (the infamous baby over the balcony incident is also referenced in the episode). Bart goes to live in a building in which the tenants have a drug problem. Why not explore that part of it (obviously don’t show Bart taking drugs, what if he gets caught up as a suspected drug mule or something?) I just don’t love it.

Happy birthday, overlooked middle child

Stark Raving Dad

I am not a dentist

Couch gag: The couch falls backwards, tipping the family back and through the wall.

Director: Rich Moore

Guest voices:
Michael Jackson (credited as John Jay Smith) as Leon
Kipp Lennon as Leon’s singing voice

Synopsis: Bart throws his lucky red hat into the wash, turning all Homer’s shirts pink. Having no choice but to wear the pink shirt to work, Mr Burns pulls him up for possible anarchy and Homer is sent to a mental institution where he meets a 300 lb white guy named Michael Jackson. Homer is released, given a certificate is not insane, and returns home with Michael Jackson in tow. The town is disappointed. Meanwhile, it’s Lisa’s birthday and Bart hasn’t gotten her a present, so Bart and “Michael Jackson” write her a song.

Discussion: Welcome to season three!! Thanks to my sister, who is a massive MJ fan, I’ve seen this episode about a thousand times. She was disappointed at the credits listing the great MJ as “John Jay Smith”, something the Simpsons producers changed after this episode: if you wanted to guest star on the show, you had to be willing to be credited with your real name (remember Lisa’s Substitute where Dustin Hoffman was credited as Sam Etic?)

Anyhoo, this is actually a pretty good episode. I’ve always thought the pink shirt = mental institution thing was a bit weak but perhaps Mr Burns is right when he says it’s the first step to anarchy. Homer is much more likely to be made fun of (as he is, courtesy of Lenny and Carl) than creating anarchy. It’s a pink shirt! Perhaps more could have been made of the Bart connection- “There really is a Bart?!?” Maybe Homer could have fallen asleep at work, muttering about Bart’s latest prank and Mr Burns sends him to the mental facility.

Michael Jackson seems to have had fun with the episode. He’s clearly taking the mickey out of himself and enjoying doing so. I’m unclear on the reasons why he’d choose not to sing as well, but hey, MJ was impossible to figure out. Kipp Lennon did a great job and Wikipedia tells me that MJ thought the impersonation was a lot of fun. That certainly would have been a fun day at the recording studios. No pressure, Kipp.

In any case, it’s a fun episode that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Lisa is sad, what’s new? Bart pulls a stunt that wins him Lisa’s respect and everyone’s happy (except Homer, who can’t seem to get that INSANE stamp off his hand).

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