The Simpsons are back and its more of the same, which is either a good or bad thing, depending on how you look at it.
I usually don’t mention the couch gags, but this week’s was a real treat. Finally we have the couch’s point of view of the events leading up to the show. He shaves, spends time with other couches, and puts in his time card just before the family sits down. Pretty funny and amazing to think they can still come up with ways to continue the tradition.
This week’s episode starts out great, with a 4th vs. 5th grade dodgeball match heating up the tension between the two grades. This even boils over to the teachers, who start an old fashioned western-style brawl, complete with Principal Skinner dodging beer bottles while playing honky tonk piano.
The kids follow suit and plan their own brawl, until Bart and a 5th grader notice they have the same scar, a small figure of a sword on their hands. Bart confronts Marge about this, and the episode goes downhill, turning into a Marge centered episode. Anyone who watches the series regularly knows if the plot is centered around Marge, things probably won’t be good. I loved where the episode was going with tensions on the school ground and wanted to see this aspect more, and was disapointed when this never happened.
Anyway, it seems Bart was a part of a preschool class where his friends were just as rowdy as him. Marge was also friends with the mothers, and uses Bart’s inquiry to reestablish connections with her past friends. The group broke apart because Marge believed the boys to be a bad influence on Bart, but decides to give it another try. Even the dads must now spend time with each other, now that their wives are together again. The interaction between Homer and the other dads were the best parts of the episode, as Homer and awkward situations go together perfectly.
Bart finally gets to the bottom of his scar, with happened when he, along with his friends sabotaged the 4th of July fireworks display seven years earlier, making the fireworks heat those sandwich swords and then getting burned by them. At the same time, Bart misses having Marge around, as her reconnection with her friends has her spending time with them instead of spending time with the family. Eventually Marge leaves the group when she learns that the other mothers thought Bart was the bad influence, returning everything to were it was before.
I have a few thoughts on this episode. Once again I am disapointed with the plot, as not only does it end where it began, but it was just bad in general. The story was not enjoyable or believable (how can someone go ten years without noticing a scar?). I was content with the jokes of the episode, which delivered quite a few laughs. The lag in Homer’s and Moe’s Skype conversation actually being Moe’s palsy being the highlight. I don’t think this is enough however to make it a good episode. I rather have a great story with no laughs than a weak story and laughs every minute.
I’m pretty miffed that the show used the same technique as the Donnie Fatso episode, where everything returns back to the status quo. Even this week’s episode acknowledged this, with Marge reading a book called The Joy of the Status Quo. The show knows what its doing, so change it up already! Other than that, I felt this episode was funnier than recent ones, and so maybe the show can make up for the poor plots with great laughs. Here’s to hoping!
Next week Moe and Smithers turn Moe’s Tavern into a gay bar, and the episode is called Flaming Moe, a reference to the great third season episode. Let’s hope it’s half as good as its namesake.
To watch clips of this episode and others, or to learn about upcoming episodes, go to thesimpsons.com.