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Posts tagged ‘romance’

Time to ram-a-lam these ding dongs

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The Bart Wants What It Wants

The Giving Tree is not a chump

Couch gag: The family form a chorus line, which is revealed to be a huge production

Director: Michael Polcino

Guest Voices:
Wolfgang Puck as himself
Reese Witherspoon as Greta

Synopsis: Bart meets Rainier Wolfcastle’s daughter, Greta, who falls in love with him.

Discussion: Bart has another girlfriend, this time it’s the daughter of actor Rainier Wolfcastle. Bart likes her because she has awesome stuff, Greta has genuine feelings for him. Aww! Naturally, it’s destined for disaster. Bart chooses to heckle Skinner at a comedy club instead of taking Greta to a school dance. Greta finds solace with Milhouse… and something about going to Canada.

Bart and Milhouse’s girl troubles are regular fodder for the show, and this one isn’t really that different. What if Bart and Milhouse were each trying to win the affection of Greta? And what if they didn’t go to Canada and use every cliche in the book?

Reese Witherspoon, as always, is fantastic in this ep. She has an ability to be sweet as pie or delightfully snide. A little bit of both are seen here as Greta falls for, and punishes, Bart. And Milhouse, to a lesser extent.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing new. Girl troubles and tired cliches about another country are really all this ep offers. It starts out well but by the third act, it’s just embarrassing. There are some good moments, usually provided by Rainier Wolfcastle (including the appearance by authorised look-alike, Chuck) but overall, the ep falls flat.

I’ll have the shark butt with butt sauce

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Hunka Hunka Burns in Love

Fun does not have a size

Couch gag: The family burrow to the couch, dressed in prison garb.

Director: Lance Kramer

Guest Voices:
Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Gloria
George Takei as the waiter

Synopsis: After meeting Gloria, Mr Burns enlists Homer to help him appear vibrant and youthful in order to win her love.

Discussion: We’ve seen Burns fall in love before only to have his heart broken, and here we go again. This time, Gloria feels there’s just too much of an age difference, so Homer comes along to assist. Just the usual things: placing Burns’ hand on Gloria’s knee, carrying them upstairs to the bedroom, kickstarting Burns’ heart… Just when everything is working out nicely, Gloria’s ex boyfriend Snake comes along and wins her heart again. Aww.

It’s not a bad ep. There are some fantastic one liners and the plot keeps moving nicely. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is a lovely addition to the episode (as well as the always awesome George Takei) although I do wonder about Homer’s short job as fortune cookie writer. How does one get such a prestigious job using lines like “You will be aroused by a shampoo commercial”? One of the highlights is Homer taking a jab of Burns’ aphrodisiac and scarring the kids and Flanders for life. Hilarious!

Don’t just gasp, read it

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I’m With Cupid

Hillbillies are people too

Couch gag: The family sit on the couch and hairdryers give them each a new hairstyle from another family member. 

Director: Bob Anderson

Guest voices:
Elton John as himself
Jan Hooks as Manjula

Synopsis: Valentine’s Day is approaching and Apu is determined to show Manjula how much he loves her. His extravagant displays of affection make the other men in Springfield look cheap and lazy to their wives. 

Discussion: It’s a cute, sweet episode that doesn’t pretend to be anything else. Apu is married to the Kwik E Mart, working 7 days a week, 18 hours a day and Manjula is tired of never seeing her husband.With seven days to go before Valentine’s Day, Apu plans some very special surprises, culminating in skywriting over Springfield. 

Elton John’s guest appearance is the highlight of the ep. It’s always funny when a celebrity pokes fun at themselves and Elton John is a good sport for allowing his animated self be locked into a dog carrier at Springfield airport, and for singing a special song to Manjula on the rooftop of Kwik E Mart. Aww! 

The show has been focused on the Simpsons family a lot lately, something the writer tried to avoid in earlier seasons, feeling that the other residents of Springfield deserve some attention as well. Therefore it’s refreshing to see Apu and Manjula featured again. 

All’s well that ends well: the women of Springfield, thanks to Homer for spoiling Manjula’s surprise, think their men have put the skywriting in place and presumably give their men some very special snuggles. 

You bunch of ungrateful ingrates!

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Dumbbell Indemnity

Silly string is not a nasal spray

Couch gag: The family sit on the couch and are squished into a cube by one of those things that squishes cars into cubes

Director: Dominic Polcino

Guest voice:
Helen Hunt as Renee

Synopsis: A woman is finally interested in Moe but he goes broke trying to keep her happy. 

Discussion: We all know Moe is unlucky in love (and for good reason, apparently). It’s nice to see him with a woman just to explore the lengths he would go to to keep her. Renee (voiced by Helen Hunt, who was Hank Azaria’s girlfriend at the time) is a sweet woman and doesn’t ask for all this extravagance unleashed upon her, but she doesn’t shy away from it either. Moe runs out of money, engages Homer in an insurance scam to get more money, Homer screws it up yadda yadda yadda. 

It’s not the first time Homer and Moe have fought. Remember when Homer made a delicious drink and Moe took the credit? Homer and Moe are more than friends, Moe is the person who gets Homer drunk. It’s a special bond. 

What’s great about this episode is Moe’s relationship with Renee. She’s a normal woman, for a start, and Moe’s character deepens within this relationship. He’s awkward. Not just around women, but with himself as well. He knows his shortcomings and he knows women won’t just like him for him (he may be surprised…) 

Homer’s stint in jail is a dark point in the episode, but when viewed as a whole it works. Out of context, it’s a bit out-there and doesn’t really add to Homer’s character. Homer is very much a What’s In It For Me? kind of person even though it mostly masquerades as a desire to help a friend. For example, after he’s stolen Moe’s car, he takes a detour to see a movie, All Hail the Chimp. Instead of taking the car to the railroad as planned, he’s decided to do something for himself, which ultimately screws the entire plan and gets him into trouble. Maybe it’s s good thing Moe spends the insurance money on a trip to Hawaii and not bailing Homer out; it shows Homer that sometimes friends are selfish as well. 

One last thing: this ep’s title is based on the movie Double Indemnity. I encourage you to watch this film, it’s really good. It was one of the first American film noir films and also made smack bang in the middle of the Production Code, which forbade it from showing all the juicy bits (this is why mutually attracted people are shown to smoke; it’s a symbol of smouldering sexuality). Also during the Code, all crime had to be justified- the criminal had to be caught. It’s a very interesting time in Hollywood and a really great movie. 

It seems new to impressionable youth

Another Simpsons Clip Show

I will not use abbrev.

Couch gag: A giant foot stamps on the family.

Director: David Silverman

Synopsis: Marge reads The Bridges of Madison County and wonders where the romance has gone in the marriage.

Discussion: There’s a lot of criticism for clip shows, but when done well, they work nicely. The family sit around the table after Marge laments the lack of romance in their lives. Each Simpson tells a story of broken romance- Homer finds out about Jacques and Marge finds out about Mindy. The moral of these stories is that the romance is alive and well between Homer and Marge. Aww!

There’s a lot of clips from the previous 5 seasons; someone else has done the hard work and listed them all on Wikipedia. Clip shows look very dated when viewed (as in this case) nineteen years after they first aired with a lot of water under the bridge and reruns every day on TV, but I still think that this one works well. You need a theme to build on when you’re doing a clip show, and showcasing the Simpsons’ flirtations with temptation highlights just how ‘human’ they are. They’re not impervious to temptation. I’ve said this a hundred times before, but the original idea of the show was to humanise sitcoms and not show a sanitised-for-TV showcase of robotic forms. (In case you wanted to read the original post, here it is again, complete with research). This clip show emphasises that perfectly in one neat half hour gig.

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