"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Simpsons: He Loves to Fly and He D'ohs

Blackboard Gag: I will not wait 20 years to make another movie

It started out normal enough, with Bart writing on the board. But then the school bell rang and he skateboarded right out into the devastated ruins of Springfield from The Simpsons Movie. On his journey back home he met up with a mutated squirrel (the one that caused all the problems in the movie in the first place), skimmed along a piece of the plastic bubble that surrounded the town, and passed by a number of characters direct from the summer blockbuster.

When he reached home it was a house that was still under construction. Meanwhile, Homer pulled up, just like he always does, but this time the silo full of pig poop was tied to the roof of the auto. Speaking about pigs, right on the couch was none other than Spider-Pig (also known as Harry Pooper Plopper). Oh man, I'm still laughing.

Of course, once the opening sequence concluded I was right back into the Springfield that I have known and loved for the past eighteen seasons with nary a sign of the disaster wrought against the hamlet.

I think that a bit more attention is going to be focused on this season of The Simpsons than the past decade's worth of seasons. Credit that to the huge success of The Simpsons Movie and the fact that most people felt is was the funniest 90-minute episode that they had seen a long time.

I actually liked the episode. It's just that, after watching so many recent ones where Homer seemed like a barely functioning mental patient, I wasn't used to a Homer that was actually fairly normal. In addition to that, this was a one story episode, which has been a rare animal over the last few seasons. I've never really been a fan of the dual-plot when it comes to the FOX Sunday animated block. Family Guy does it frequently, but it is able to balance this out fairly well.

Anyway, back to The Simpsons. There were plenty of plot points this episode that have been touched on many, many times before. There's Homer's unending need to obtain more than he already has, and his quest to leave the nuclear power plant for a better position (which he seems to do every other episode), and the helplessness he feels when he tries not to disappoint Marge.

Then, there was the hiring of someone outside of the family to help Homer achieve his goals. This time around it was Life Coach Colby Kraus, voiced by the lovely and talented Steven Colbert.
Even though the story has been done several times before in various seasons, this episode was an entertaining piece of work and there was a lot to enjoy. Here are some of my favorites:
  • The appearance of Lionel Richie and the request by Homer to make the song Say You, Say Me about beer. Eventually all of the words of the song were replaced by the word beer (and Homer forgot them)
  • Homer and Mr. Burns' tour of Chicago (the Miami of Canada). They passed such legendary places as Ditka's, Wrigley Field, Wherever the White Sox Play, and the First Bank of Oprah. They also stopped by the Second City Theater for some Improv.
  • Homer at the bowling alley. His walk down to the lane reminded me of all of those moves Fred Flintstone made before he rolled the ball down the lane.
  • 'Freak Fry!' 'Watch out! If it touches you, you die of suicide!'
  • 'Duff Man has reported you to the F.A.A'.
  • 'And now to taxi to the terminal.' Of course, there's no terminal there and Homer pilots the plane over the cliff and into the water.
  • Colby sitting there in his shirt, tie and jacket but no pants. Why do they always show losers on the show dressed like that in their homes?

All and all, the 19th season premiere of The Simpsons was a good one. Heck, I knew it wasn't going to be as rip-roaring funny as the movie. That took four years to prepare. This episode took a year to write.

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