Clown in the Dumps
Billboard: Jimbo: Send me your lunch money online
Spoiler Alert: Unfortunately my dad doesn’t die
Couch gag: A time travelling Homer ends up in a future episode, 10,000 years in the future. Directed by Don Hertzfeld
Sarah Silverman as herself
Kelsey Grammer as Sideshow Bob
Jackie Mason as Rabbi Krustofsky
David Hyde Pierce as himself
Jeff Ross as himself
Director: Steven Dean Moore
Synopsis: Krusty is devastated when his father dies, and Lisa worries about Homer’s health.
Discussion: Welcome to Season 26, which premiered after almost a year of hype over which character would die. Let me just say that there was no hype whatsoever in Australia and the only mention I saw of a character being killed off was thanks to Dead Homer Society a couple of months ago. The day the ep aired, there was exactly one article over here about the disappointment at which character dies. Did anyone really think it would be a Simpson?
The ep begins with a Roast of Krusty, which I’m sure has been done before and like every other roast in history, is just plain mean and completely unfunny. You can’t hide your truth about someone behind “comedy”. Feeling down, Krusty seeks advice from his father but his father dies unexpectedly after approximately one minute on screen. Worst. Death. Ever. At least Maude Flanders had a tangible death. No sign of Homer “helping” Krusty move on from his loss, so that’s a positive. Then there’s some lame plot about Lisa worrying that Homer is about to die due to his obesity. What?
This is hardly a stellar introduction to yet another season which will likely rely on flab jokes and explaining said jokes. Shoving in a bunch of famous people in the first five minutes will not save the episode nor make one excited to see what the hell happens. Makes me wonder if the writers plan more than four seconds in advance.
This punishment is not medieval (in medieval writing)
Couch gag: the evolution of Homer
Directors: Mike B. Anderson and Ralph Sosa
Glenn Close as Mona
Lance Armstrong as himself
Synopsis: Homer’s mother Mona returns again for one last hippy stunt.
Discussion: I’m torn, dear readers. Mona returns to the Simpson household, and Homer is upset because every time she returns, she leaves again. This time, Mona assures him he’s the most important thing in her life now, but Homer is still very upset. When he goes to apologise, Mona has died so the last things she heard Homer say were how mad he was at her.
In itself, this is quite sweet, but I’m also a bit mad at Mona for dying and leaving Homer all alone… again. Mona was in the episode for far too short a time and then came some silliness about ashes, a Swiss army knife and foiling a nuclear waste experiment. But that’s what The Simpsons does- takes a sweet, poignant moment such as death and hides it away under metaphorical carpet: remember Maude Flanders’ death when Homer got Ned into the dating game mere minutes later? The ep also has dedications to Dan Castellaneta’s mother and Harry Shearer’s mother at the very end, but I felt the episode overshadowed the real grief felt when someone loses their mother.
Mr Burns’ under-mountain lair felt a lot like Hank Scorpio’s lair, and I expected him to come busting out of somewhere with some crazy plot. Instead, Mr Burns appears with some weird thing about sending nuclear waste to a rainforest via rocket. Mona’s ashes foiled that plan but I still felt cheated that a) Mona died so early in the ep, b) her death was overshadowed by Mr Burns’ waste plot and c) the touching tribute to Mona at the end still made her seem like a whacked out hippy who cared more about the Cause than Homer… Hadn’t we already established the last time we saw Mona that she was over all that nonsense?
Anyhoo, because I felt such polarity, this episode is classed as “average”. It’s like having hot feet and a cold head- on average you feel fine.