The Dad Who Knew Too Little
couch gag: A parody of a famous photograph featuring the Simpsons eating lunch and watching TV atop a steel girder.
Director: Mark Kirkland
Elliott Gould as himself
Synopsis: Lisa realises Homer doesn’t know anything about her after he buys her a star-yourself movie for her birthday, full of incorrect information. Homer hires a private detective to find out Lisa’s interests and causes trouble when he won’t pay the expenses bill.
Discussion: Forgive me for laughing, but this was a truly enjoyable episode (Gasp!). Homer and Lisa have had their ups and downs, but it’s no surprise that Homer knows practically nothing about her. Instead of turning into another bonding episode, this takes a different tact when Homer refuses to pay the PI’s expenses, the PI frames Lisa for a break-in at an animal testing site, and Homer & Lisa end up on the run from the law. Ooh!
There are some great moments in this ep: Nelson’s secret prized possession (a photo of himself with Snow White), the oh-so-comical home movies where your child is a star (“My hobbies include… diabetes”) and Bart wearing a T-shirt which says “Bart” (in context, it’s hilarious). This is an ep I would expect from one of the early seasons- yes, it’s that good.
The private investigator, Dexter Colt, is based on film noir detectives, and, IMO, is brilliantly done. Film noir was smack in the middle of the Production Code (one of my favourite subjects), which prevented any mischief from happening. The old cliche of smoking = sex was conceived (‘scuse the pun) during this era as it sex was not allowed to be shown or even hinted on-screen. Add in the naughtiness of the film noir PI trying to seduce a hapless married woman and you have yourself taboo. (For those interested, I highly recommend Double Indemnity starring Fred MacMurray)
In any case, this is probably one of my favourite episodes from recently-viewed episodes. It’s an old theme but with a twist and some laughs.