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

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Simpsons: I Don't Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

If I don't make it, feel free to re-marry from anyone on the list on the bulletin board in the closet. -- Marge, during her hostage scare

I had two good things happen in this episode of The Simpsons. First, I finally had an episode that didn't focus on Homer. Second, I had a guest voice that was actually utilized. Actually, there were two guest voices used well; I just didn't know about one of them until the credits were rolling. More as I progress.

This was another episode that could be filed under 'Marge's Heart is too Big to Keep Her Promises' with a sub-heading of 'Marge Gets Involved With a Convict. Again.' I know that Marge is one of the nicest people to live within the confines of Springfield. Sometimes, her achievements in niceness backfire on her, as they did this week.

All Marge was trying to do was to get Dwight David Diddlehopper, voiced by Steve Buscemi, to give himself up after a botched bank robbery. But, because she promised to visit this bug-eyed criminal in prison she gave herself more trouble. This is fairly typical Marge when it comes to the criminally insane. When she tried to help Jack Crowley get back to society in the episode 'Pokey Mom' all she got was trouble.

I think that this is Marge's bane of existence. When Homer gets into trouble he can, for some reason, get out of it without too many repercussions. For Marge, though, there's always some type of effect from the promises she makes. Take a look at what happened here. If Marge had visited Dwight he would have served his sentence. Because she avoided it he escaped and stalked her throughout the town. Of course, this is all animated, so none of my ravings mean anything at all.

Now, for a few months I've ranted how the guest voices were not being used to their maximum ability. This episode that argument can stand down as Steve Buscemi had a fairly meaty role as Dwight. Maybe this was to make up for the small cameo he had as himself in the episode 'Brake My Wife, Please'. Whatever the reason, Steve did a good job in the role. He even had a catchy phrase -- a loudly snarled 'Dammit!'. The funniest time that this was used was when he escaped the penitentiary through the prison waste pipe, only to realize that the Clean Spring Water pipe was just a few feet away.

Another guest voice on this week's show that took me by surprise was Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Since she wasn't credited in the promos for the show I didn't realize that she was Snake's (Three D's?) girlfriend until I saw her name in the credits. I wondered why Snake's scene, where he complained about his biography being edited in Wikipedia, was included. It was a small moment in the episode but it was used well.

While I thought the episode was funny and focused well on Marge, I do have one small complaint. When am I going to see some Bart/Lisa episodes? These two have have had very little screen time over the last month ... I don't think Bart said more than one or two words this entire episode.

Over to the highlights:

Blackboard gag: I am not a FDIC-Insured Bank

Firsts of the season: Homer having a conversation with his brain, and an appearance from Gil.

Poor Gil, the man has worse luck than Britney Spears.

Homer working on his Superman novel after arriving early for Lisa's award ceremony.

'Oh great! We're being robbed by Johnny and Clyde.'

Chief Wiggum not understanding that a robbery was in progress. Finally, with stick figures he realizes that it's a 'shootie-stealy'.

Marge's re-marry list: Lindsay Naegle, Booberella, Bly the Dancer, Also: Feed Cat

Krusty is named worst clown of 2007 by Laffways magazine, beating out even Carlos Mencia.

Dwight being hit by countless blue-dye packs, including one shaped like a bank employee.

Chief Wiggum learns hostage negotiation tactics from a DVD of, what else, The Negotiator.

Ted Nugent wants you to say 'No' to a proposition banning crossbows from schools.

Johnny Stabbo's many references to the electric chair.

While scanning the skies of Springfield to land at the penitentiary we see Ralph Wiggum flying away while holding a number of balloons.

In the Itchy & Scratchy episode -- is it me or were the jet pilots wearing X-Wing fighter helmets?

Names of various rides at Plaster Mountain Theme Park: Dilbert's Flying Cubicle, Tilt N' Spew, Mr. Frogs Mild Ride, FedEx Presents: The Bathroom, It's a Long Line

Krusty and Dr. Hibbert meeting up at the amusement park and talking about their harrowing hostage experience. Seems to me they were referencing The Nine in that scene.

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