"We have a family!" -- Marge
"A better one!" -- Homer
I think I have whiplash. One minute this episode of The Simpsons was about the new comic book store in Springfield and the next Homer was getting his stomach stapled.
I may have to sue.
Granted, that doesn't mean that this week's Simpsons wasn't enjoyable. It was one of those episodes that had a little bit of something for everyone. For the comic book wonks there was the appearance of three of the best independent comic writers of today: Alan Moore, Art Spiegelman, and Dan Clowes. For me this was the best part of the episode. Not only did Comic Book Guy finally get his comeuppance, but there were plenty of inside comic book references.
For the fan who enjoys The Simpsons constant jabs at society trends there was Marge's entry into the business world with the opening of Shapes gyms for women only. For those who have more important things crossing their minds, Shapes is a reference to the Curvies franchise of gyms that focus on women only. Granted, Marge's spotlight was only about 6 or seven minutes long, but she had some good moments (she lost her 26-26-26 figure). What I enjoyed was the brief tribute to OK Go's video for the song "Here it Goes Again" (which I think is the best video I have seen in a long time).
Finally, for fans of Homer there was...Homer. This was smart, insecure Homer. His issues were something that he has revisited several times over the last 18 years: Marge may leave him and find someone else better. This time around he decided to get a stomach staple to make himself look good for the Corporate Marge ("Everything I eat takes like barf"). The best scene was when Homer was showing off his new body to Marge in the bedroom. What she didn't see was all of the fat that Homer had clipped and rubber-banded around his back.
What completed the episode for me was the pleasant little scene between Homer and Marge, walking along the streets of Springfield at sunset. Homer seriously asks his wife why she stays with him and Marge responded that she always sees the little boy that she fell in love with. It was sweet, and even the flying League of Independent Comic Book Writers couldn't distract from it.
My one problem with the episode was, you guessed it, the total under utilization of the guest voice. This time around it was Jack Black. His character was there in the first few minutes of the program (he was Milo, the owner of the new comic book store) and then singing behind the end credits, which actually went on without interruption. That was it. Really, one of the other voice actors on the show could have done something similar to what Jack did. Although, I did think that his Japanese rendition of Tom Jones' "What's New Pussycat?" was pretty funny.