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Posts tagged ‘Stephen Hawking’

His dandiness will slowly return

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Don’t Fear the Roofer

Couch gag: Someone is putting together a jigsaw puzzle of the family and swaps Homer and Maggie’s heads.

Director: Mark Kirkland

Guest voices:
Stephen Hawking as himself
Ray Romano as Ray Magini

Synopsis: Everyone thinks Homer has an imaginary friend when he starts talking about the unseen Ray.

Discussion: There’s something not quite right with this episode. OK, there’s a lot wrong with it. It starts off well: there’s a storm in Springfield and the Simpsons’ roof is leaking. Homer ruins a surprise party for Lenny and finds a new bar, meets a roofer named Ray, and they hang out together.

It all goes awry when Marge starts making accusations about Homer’s sanity, believing Ray to be an imaginary friend and sending Homer to a mental institution to have electroshock therapy. Ray rocks up, everyone’s surprised he really does exist, and Stephen Hawking reveals he’s been working on mini black holes in the hardware store which is why Bart couldn’t see Ray.

Right.

I love Stephen Hawking. He’s arguably the smartest man alive, defied all odds (having been told at age 21 he only had two years to live, he turned 72 on January 8) and, judging by his appearance in The Simpsons and The Big Bang Theory (among others), he has a fantastic sense of humour as well. But really, who thought mini black holes in a hardware store was a good plot point? The eye injury had been done (the bartender at the Hooters-type bar had lost an eye) but maybe Bart’s wielding of a chainsaw could have been the plot point instead. And I hate to nitpick at Stephen Hawking, but if the black hole was between Ray and Bart, why could Homer still be seen and heard? Just saying is all.

The ep is weird and stupid. Ray Magini is a good character… but the storyline doesn’t do him justice.

Stop looking down my blouse, Copernicus

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They Saved Lisa’s Brain

No one wants to hear from my armpits

Couch gag: The couch is sunk by a passing iceberg

Director: Pete Michels

Guest voice:
Stephen Hawking as himself

Synopsis: Lisa is asked to join Mensa when she writes an open letter to Springfield about their buffoonery during a gross-out contest. Meanwhile, Homer uses a voucher for an erotic photography session. 

Discussion: Taken at face value, this episode isn’t fantastic. When viewed with a bigger understanding of current society and the emphasis placed on celebrating stupidity, this ep is brilliant. 

Embarrassed by the town’s gross-out contest and subsequent riot, Lisa pens an open letter encouraging residents to better themselves. The Springfield chapter of Mensa, comprising Comic Book Guy, Skinner, Dr Hibbert and Professor Frink, invite Lisa to join. After the mayor runs away, Mensa start ruling the town but disagree on several points. 

Having a high intellect comes at a cost, apparently. Not everyone shares the same vision for an Utopian society but some of the rules the literati make are plain silly. Which is, of course, the whole point. Enter Stephen Hawking, who is brilliant as himself. Hawking is a good sport, he will poke fun at himself (as he’s also proven by appearing on The Big Bang Theory) and continue his quest to popularise science. Wonder if they tried to get Marilyn vos Savant on the show too? 

Special mention must be made to Homer’s photo shoot. Some of the best shots in the entire series come from this shoot. Originally I was going to use the shot where Mensa members are dressed for the Renaissance, but I just couldn’t resist Homer being sexy. I use a lot of Homer-centred shots, just because he often has the best poses. 

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