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Posts tagged ‘Mona Simpson’

I failed the basic duty of childhood

How I wet your mother

How I Wet Your Mother

Couch gag: The Simpsons are rolled into sushi and cut into rolls. Maggie pops out unscathed.

Director: Lance Kramer

Guest Voices:
Glenn Close as Mona
David Byrne as Dream Operator singer

Synopsis: The family enter Homer’s dream to find out why he’s been wetting the bed at night.

Discussion: I didn’t feel like I was watching The Simpsons. I felt like I was watching Inception with Simpsons characters. Don’t get me wrong, I love Inception and think it’s one of the best films of the past thirty years. But to use the plot of the film to solve Homer’s bed-wetting problem? It’s a little too weird.

The hook of the episode is Homer allowing unrestricted access to the power plant’s supply closet and not getting caught, while everyone else does. Immediately after this incident, he starts wetting the bed at night. According to the American Association of Continence, this problem affects about 2% of the adult population, and is more prevalent in males than females. Usually this is caused by a medical problem such as prostate problems or certain medications, but in Homer’s case, it’s either karma or a niggling psychological issue.

Enter Professor Frink, blown from his house after trying to dodge a news site’s paywall. He’s developed a machine that allows people to enter other people’s dreams. Now, I like the idea and think it’s a clever one, but to then parody the entire plot of Inception made the ep feel overly familiar with nothing fresh and new. I did enjoy the sequence of Homer’s ultimate dream land, where drink driving is encouraged and there are giant doughnuts and beer bottles on every corner. The guest appearance by Homer’s mother Mona (voiced again by the fantastic Glenn Close) was a real treat and a lovely surprise, considering she died several seasons ago but lives on in Homer’s memories.

Mona’s appearance tried to bring the episode back to what it does best: bonding families together and creating those warm, fuzzy feelings. I wouldn’t say that this ep entirely failed in that respect but it certainly lacked something to kick it into high gear. There were a few good jokes along the way, but I still felt that the episode lacked zing. I’m also quite glad that, despite the title, Marge never actually got urinated upon…

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What a shrill, pointless decade

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My Mother the Carjacker

Couch gag: The family decays and turns to dust

Director: Nancy Kruse

Guest Voice:
Glenn Close as Mona Simpson

Synopsis: Grandma Simpson returns and is exonerated for her crimes in the 60s.

Discussion: Yawn. We’ve seen this all before: Grandma comes back, ends up on the run and disappears for another few seasons. Hopefully, this time was the end and we’ll never see her again. She’s become the Sideshow Bob of the series: every appearance is the same old thing with the same old tired tricks and storylines.

Homer, trying to win his own shirt for finding a hilarious headline, discovers a secret message from a mysterious person, who turns out to be his mother. They reconnect, she’s still on the run, and Homer tries to relive his childhood with his mother. In other words, exactly the same thing which happened the last time they reunited. Whereas the season 7 ep ‘Mother Simpson’ was sweet and poignant, this one is just retreading old ground. There’s nothing new here.

Sadly, I think this is the state of things to come: same old, same old. It’s sad, Mona is such an interesting character who doesn’t mind bonding with a dependent son yet she’s treated to the exact same thing each and every time.

No door is gonna keep me from meddlin’

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Mother Simpson

Couch gag: The family are placed on the couch by a bowling arm, as if they were bowling pins

Director: David Silverman

Guest voices:
Glenn Close as Mona Simpson
Harry Morgan as Bill Gannon

Synopsis: Homer fakes his death in order to get out of helping his workmates clean up the highway. His long-lost mother, believing he is dead, reappears at the cemetery and is reunited with her son.

Discussion: Just when everyone thought Granny Simpson was dead, she’s back to honour her son, also thought to be dead. Aww! It’s actually a very sweet episode with an ending that is certain to make most people a bit teary. Or at the very least, appreciate their own mothers.

While I’ve always found Mona’s sudden rebellion a bit weird and weak, her life as a fugitive is inspired. Killing off Mr Burns’ germ warfare program enforces the characters of Burns as a heartless, greedy, empirical man who won’t let anything stand in his way of world domination. Thankfully, he’s never met Pinky and the Brain… Anyhoo, Mona’s been living on the run for 27 years and Homer thought she died when he was a kid. There’s very few moments of Homer and Mona making up for lost time (well, it’s only 22 minutes they have to play with) but they’re funny and special. Lisa has obviously inherited her smarts from her grandmother, and they too share a special bond. Bart’s contribution is to calculate interest on presents he’s missed out on for the past 10 years. Marge is unsure of her new role as daughter-in-law to her mother-in-law but after hearing Mona’s story, the family are supportive.

The final moments are some of the sweetest in Simpsons history. Mona escapes FBI detection after being identified by Mr Burns and Homer stays with his car long after she leaves. There are no words, and none are needed.

Overall, it’s a slightly above average episode. I’m not a fan of sentimentality so for me, this is where the ep falls down. Homer’s handstands while crying, “Look at me, mom!” and “Mom! You’re not looking!” rings so true as anyone with kids (or babysitting) will attest. It’s sad to lose Mona again after only 20 minutes, but she will be back.

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