Revenge is a Dish Best Served Three Times
Couch gag: The Simpsons are babies who crawl to the couch before growing up to their normal ages.
Director: Michael Polcino
Synopsis: Three stories of revenge because Homer is trying to exact revenge on the Rich Texan.
Discussion: Boy, am I ever glad that’s over and I never have to watch it again. The Simpsons are in their car, the Rich Texan pisses Homer off and Marge, Lisa and Bart tell him stories to talk him out of it because revenge is never sweet (I beg to differ, but anyway…)
Count of Monte Fatso is a parody of The Count of Monte Cristo where Moe frames Homer, Homer becomes rich and exacts revenge. Blah blah blah. It’s an OK adaptation, along the lines of abridged Simpsons stories like Hamlet and you know, the other ones. Why is it always Moe who gets Marge when Homer’s out of the way? Why not Lenny?
Revenge of the Geeks is a parody of Revenge of the Nerds except there’s no nudity. Martin Prince unveils a glove which has a series of revenges such as wet willies, Indian burns and wedgies. Point the glove, press the revenge and bingo- the action is taken on a bully. Milhouse finds a reason to take revenge on everyone he knows, to impress Lisa. There’s no substance to this story so if you can stay awake during it, more power to you.
Bartman Begins is a parody of Batman Begins where Homer and Marge are killed by Snake. Bart is determined to avenge their deaths and becomes a buff superhero. This is probably the most interesting section but that’s not saying much. This part also has Lenny’s line which is the title of the blog. Here Lenny is Poison Ivy (or rather, Poison Lenny). A smirk may have crossed my face but there’s nothing to laugh about.
Overall, it’s a very weak episode. The thread holding these stories together, Homer versus Rich Texan, is uninteresting and the three stories don’t offer much either. Give it a miss unless you want a 20 minute cure for insomnia.
The Italian Bob
Couch gag: A hand deals cards, which land on the couch. Each card is a Simpson.
Director: Mark Kirkland
Kelsey Grammer as Sideshow Bob
Maria Grazia Cucinotta as Francesca
Synopsis: The Simpsons are sent to Italy to pick up Mr Burns’ new car, but find Sideshow Bob is Mayor of a Tuscan village.
Discussion: Sideshow Bob is back, baby! This time he’s mayor of a Tuscan village AND is married with a son! Whoa!
The premise to sending the Simpsons to Italy is stupid, but in a good way. It’s like the writers thought of the dumbest reason ever to get the family over there and used their A stuff for the main plot. I don’t mind; Lisa can finally use that Italian she learned from Milhouse in the previous episode.
But is Bob a changed man? His new life in Tuscany means that no one there knows his criminal past in America, until Lisa gets tipsy on wine and spills the beans. Bob’s wife Francesca is hurt that this accusation is true, but Bob’s son Gino is ready for vendetta (in English, that means “vendetta”).
Without the scheming, Bob is a pretty boring character but he sure can sing. Throw in Krusty for more villainy and there’s the best episode so far of season 17.
Day of the Jackanapes
The hamster did not have “a full life”
Couch gag: The family run in, Homer lies on the couch and says to the psychiatrist, “Oh doctor! I’m crazy!”
Director: Michael Marcantel
Kelsey Grammer as Sideshow Bob
Gary Coleman as himself
Synopsis: Krusty quits TV and Sideshow Bob takes the opportunity to exact revenge and kill Krusty once and for all, using Bart as a hypnotised boy-bomb.
Discussion: It’s been a while since we’ve had a Bob episode, and this one isn’t bad. Krusty, fed up with the network big wigs telling him what to do, quits show business for the fifth and final time. Sideshow Bob thinks this is a great opportunity to finally be rid of both his nemeses, and trains Bart under hypnosis to kill Krusty.
It’s probably only the fact we’ve not seen Bob for a while that makes this ep interesting. It’s much the same theme as every other Bob episode- trying to kill Bart and/or Krusty. Using hypnosis is a novel idea but I’m not entirely sold by it, especially as he’s foiled his own plan by getting all sentimental after Krusty’s tribute.
Don’t get me wrong, I think Kelsey Grammer’s Bob work is fantastic and it’s nice to have recurring voices after the retirement of Phil Hartman’s characters due to his death. It’s just… well… where do you go with the Bob character, especially after so many episodes about the same thing?
Miracle of Evergreen Terrace
Rudolph’s red nose is not alcohol related.
Couch gag: The Simpsons are in a snow globe.
Director: Bob Anderson
Alex Trebek as himself
Synopsis: Bart accidentally sets fire to the Christmas tree and presents, and hides the evidence under some snow, telling his family and the police that a burglar stole everything. The townspeople give money to the family and Bart eventually comes clean about the whole thing, angering the townspeople.
Discussion: I’m undecided on this holiday treat. Bart has ruined Christmas before, so it’s really retreading old ground, but at the same time it’s retracing the issue of family togetherness and the spirit of Christmas… until the townspeople steal everything from the family as payback for the money donated and spent.
The residents of Springfield are generally very kind, but also quick to react when there’s a scam going on. Scaaaaaam! Taking back the Simpsons’ possessions is a fitting way to end the episode; the other Christmas episodes end on that warm, fuzzy feeling one expects from Christmas themes. There’s nothing really wrong with that, and one could argue that the family running around fighting over a washcloth exemplifies the Christmas spirit “as long as you have your family!” but really, we know it’s all about the presents, especially when you’re a kid.
So Bart usually screws up Christmas, this time the whole family are feeling the pinch. They’re receiving hate mail, fruit thrown at their windows and graffiti on their car. This is somewhat unusual; usually Bart’s actions only affect the family. I’d expect Lisa to casually mention the Buddhist principles of happiness not coming from material possessions, but I guess the anger of losing a yellow sweater clouded her brain…