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Worldly Distractions: The Simpsons 25.13 - The Man Who Grew Too Much


crazyforkate

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blog-manwhogrew.jpgmanwhogrew

 

Part Two of tonight's Simpsons extravaganza. More Sideshow Bob? Yes, please!

No opening credits, just a bizarre couch gag where the Earth has five Simpson-shaped continents, until a Moe-shape asteroid crashes into them. Huh?

The kids in Lisa's class watch an outdated science movie while Mrs Hoover presumably sleeps off her hangover. (And now that I'm an actual teacher, I can understand why she would do it.) Lisa begins a tirade about how Hoover didn't follow her lesson plan, which is fortunately interrupted by the weekly stampede to the cafeteria for Taco Tuesday. In the midst of the mayhem, Willie bravely sacrifices himself to save his mop while the Titanic theme plays. After the taco chaos is finished, Lunchlady Doris puts the uneaten vegetables back in the freezer. Lisa wonders if they'll go bad, to which the lunchlady replies that they're genetically modified, so it's okay. (They do, however, have Jell-O dating from the M*A*S*H* finale.) Oh, boy, it's the inevitable Lisa-meets-GMO episode we've been dreading for about five years. Plug your ears, people.

Indeed, Lisa takes it on as her latest cause, ranting in the car. However, Marge has something else on her mind - she needs to get to the church's volunteer signup before the good positions are taken. However, she's too late, and winds up stuck with teen abstinence counselling. There's a fruitless task if I ever saw one. In the process, Rodd and Todd admit that they've taken the pledge and won't have sex until they're married - to each other. Considering all the weird fundie siblings we've heard about (Zsu's kids, anyone?), I lol'd. Have the Simpsons writers been lurking at FJ all this time? The first session begins, but comes to an abrupt halt when Jimbo and his girlfriend get busy.

Lisa brings up the subject of GMOs at school, and I have to say, I love how they've been taking the piss out of the anti-GMO crusaders all episode. It's a pretty speculative field, to say the least. Not to mention that we've been doing our own genetic modifications since there was agriculture. Skinner shows a hyperbolic video, which even Lisa deems unscientific (especially when Jenny McCarthy endorses it), but it doesn't matter - the audience is hooked. Fortunately, Lisa manages to do some quick research and warns them away from hasty bans. Springfield embraces "Monsarno" wholeheartedly, and the Simpsons even get invited to its research centre. Lisa remarks on how great the company's mission is, but her warm feelings quickly dissipate when she is introduced to the chief scientist - AHHH! Sideshow Bob!

Bob has recently earned a Ph.D. When did he get out of jail again? I've lost track. Oh, wait, he's on work release - just like in Season 8. Sigh. They didn't even get David Hyde Pierce as Cecil this time. Anyway, he started out as a test subject, and quickly rose through the rank. Hey, where's Bob's wife, guys?

They're all still terrified of him, but Bob quickly redeems himself by saving Bart from a tube of phosphoric acid, then compliments Lisa on her intelligence. As they leave, he begs them to visit again. Lisa, ever the bleeding heart, is taken in by his lonely pleas. At dinner, she asks her mom if she can go back to visit, and gets a predictable reaction. The thing is, she sees a lot of herself in Bob, and doesn't want to think of him as all bad - even if the good parts are a bit pretentious.

The abstinence workshop continues, which includes finger puppets - uncomfortable Duggar-Lego relations come to memory. "Nancy No-No" vs. "Yolanda Yes" and "Mable Maybe", indeed. Unfortunately, during her little speech, Marge unfortunately makes them look like they're humping, so all is lost.

Bob and Lisa have a great time getting reacquainted, combining Cole Porter with serious science. Meanwhile, Marge sighs about her troublesome teens, feeling she should learn to manage them even though "It looks like we'll never have any." Continuity ZING! Homer, in one of his few wise moments, suggests that maybe trying to teach teens abstinence is a waste of time.

The joke's on him, though, because Marge hauls him in to her class, and also apparently cuts him off, claiming that they've been abstinent for TWO WHOLE DAYS so it's totally not hard you guys! However, the teens are just horrified that Marge and Homer have had sex at all. When the two dare to - gasp - touch each other, the game is up, and the teens all beg to sign the Pledge if they can just leave, right away.

Bob gets an hour's pass to go to the art museum with Lisa. He has become quite fond of her, to the point where he even deigns to look at the Impressionists ("the boy bands of art"), and saves her from a falling sculpture at one point. Lisa is impressed by his brute strength, and inquires about it. Rather than making a pithy Jean Valjean reference (as I would have done), he instead confesses that he has been modifying his own DNA during the course of his work with Monsanto. He demonstrates the point by kicking himself free of his restraints. Lisa, in shock, asks what he is doing. Apparently, there is a display of genetic material from famous people (Einstein's brain, Washington's hair, etc) and Bob plans to steal it all and become superhuman. Um, what? Are DNA exhibits even a thing? I have so many questions, guys. Oh, and he plans to take over the world, just like Brain.

Bart shows up with a slingshot at that moment, ready to save the day. Bob goes into a rage. The kids run for it, Bob throws priceless artwork around, and the police do nothing because they're concerned with the town's teen abstinence problem. Full of unspent energy, the youth of Springfield have begun to riot. Bart and Lisa continue to run, but Bob uses his genetically modified powers to chase them, all the way to the Springfield Dam. Yep, you know where this is going. Still annoyed they left out Cecil. The kids try to sweet talk him into singing, so that they might live a little longer, so he swings them over the precipice while entertaining them with his lovely voice.

The Simpson parents arrive in the nick of time, during which Homer admits that "I call all music Mozart!" Marge has brought the abstinence class, and proceeds to sic them on Bob, promising to let them out of the pledge if they manage to destroy him. Unfortunately, even a dozen angry teens can't take him down. It is Lisa who manages to end it, not through violence, but through quoting Walt Whitman. Overcome with guilt at his actions, Bob jumps off the dam...and remembers, too late, that he gave himself gills. He walks along the river bed. Naturally, a rake is waiting to be stepped on.

There's a tag scene involving Edna and Ned learning to tango, alluded to earlier in the episode. Despite his moral qualms, Ned proves to be adept at dancing. It is soon revealed to be a fantasy, however, and we see Ned with a black armband staring at photos of his two dead wives, remembering how he "misses that laugh". Nelson walks by, and admits that he misses her, too. I guess this is the way they're retiring Edna - and the end of her voice on the show. Marcia Wallace, we love you. The credits come up in silence.

Okay, the main plot was pretty dumb and transparent. They've milked the Sideshow Bob thing for far too long, and in a way, I almost wish they'd killed him off at the dam (and it makes me wonder which character they do plan to kill, as has been discussed many times). The teen story also was pretty pointless, though the way they converged was kind of funny. It was just way too rushed and repetitive to really work. However, the Krabappel tribute was sweet and terribly heartbreaking. Poor old stupid Flanders. On that sad note, I bid you good night. Join me next week to see what else The Simpsons might bring us.

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