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Worldly Distractions: The Simpsons 25.14 - The Winter of His Content


crazyforkate

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blog-thewinterofhiscontent.jpgthewinterofhiscontent

 

After last week's sad tribute to Edna (oh, and a whole other episode I chose to forget), we get the oft-repeated plot of Grampa having to move in. Maybe Mr. Burns will get shot again this time?

Billboard has an ad for the local synagogue, urging viewers to "Give Up Jesus For Lent". No Jew I've ever met would ever say that - it's not a proselytizing faith at all - so five seconds in and we're already offensive! Hoorah. Chalkboard: My dad's already drunk for St. Patrick's. Come on, Homer, you should have had a lock on this for the entire month of March.

One mystery - if Lisa plays a different instrument half the time (a fiddle this week), why does she still have the sax on her bike? And is Mr. Largo that hard up for additional instruments? This is important stuff, people.

Couch gag: Homer is the "Operation" body and all of the characters are various parts. Bart (Pain in the Butt) begins to poke him with the buzzer thing. Homer's screams continue to echo through the opening credits.

Marge and Homer get back from a date (which apparently went quite well) and make out all over the front lawn, then take things to the bedroom. However, the phone rings. They decide to ignore it, but Lisa has picked it up and brings them the news - Springfield Retirment Castle has lost its license and Grampa is homeless. COCKBLOCKED.

The retirement home is full of sad old people being picked up by their ungrateful children. This includes Dr. Hibbert's dad, who is voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson of Family Guy fame. After briefly considering sticking Grampa in a dog kennel, Homer reluctantly brings him home. However, before they leave, Marge asks Crazy Old Man and Jasper where their relatives are. Turns out they have no family, so next thing you know, they're living with the Simpsons. Has every character on this show lived with these guys at some point? And that doesn't include when they turned their house (on separate occasions) into a hostel and B&B. No matter what, I see many, many, many parodies of Grumpy Old Men.

They are placed in cots in the Simpsons' basement, where there is much grumping about the moving arrangements. Some good gags come out of this - my favorite is Maggie and the childproof cap. Of course, Homer inevitable crashes with an armful of furniture.

At school, the kids have just come out of their inevitable game of Bombardment. While the gym teacher forces them to take showers (who even does that anymore?), the kids strip down and Nelson is revealed to be wearing women's underwear. He tearfully confesses that his mom is broke and he has to wear her clothes. Being kind and charitable souls, the kids - and the goddamned teacher - make fun of him. I'm disgusted. Only Bart has an ounce of decency left. He steps out and reveals that he, too, wears hand-me-down underwear. (Homer's, in this case, and of course he swims in them.) He challenges the other children to laugh at him, too, if they're going to laugh at Nelson. Amazingly, they applaud him, and Nelson extends an offer of friendship. Wait, wait, wait. Nelson would lash out, hide and pretend this never happened. Besides, we've had like eight episodes where they were temporarily friends before. This is bullshit. BULLSHIT, I tell you.

The old people generally wreck the Simpsons' lives, putting bran cereal everywhere, constantly needing to be defibrillated, and raising the electric bill until Homer himself needs the paddles. Lisa watches an Itchy and Scratchy short called "Downton Tabby". YES. People, this is what my life was made for, seriously. I am grinning from ear to ear. You might want to watch this like eight times.

The Itchys are the Crawleys and the Scratchys are the staff. All your favorite characters are present, including the Earl and Dowager Countess. As the show theme plays, Matthew-Itchy is wheeled in and shakily walks again. He then stabs Footman-Scratchy with his crutch. Mary (or Edith?) kills more staff with silverware. (Unlike the Crawleys, the design for the Scratchy-Staff isn't as clear on the characters.) Another one gets strangled with an old-timey telephone, while yet another is blown up from the inside by the Dowager Countess' parasol. The rest of the servants are tasked with removing them. And wow, seeing what I just typed, this could be a really unexpected series finale. Make it happen, Fellowes.

While Lisa laughs on the couch, Homer bitches about the old people. Lisa asks Homer not to be so mean to Grampa, pointing out that one day he will be old and need care. (Also, we find out Homer's own grandfather is still alive, or at least he's under that impression.) Marge, too, is crumbling under the strain. One evening, Homer descends to the basement and offers a peaceful coexistence. I'd make a joke about Europe right now, but that seems in poor taste.

Bart gets a rock thrown through his window. A note is attached, asking him to come outside. He goes out only to have a hood slipped over his head (and he Lampshades all the times this happened before). In silhouette, we see the bullies wheel him away in a shopping cart. The police cheerfully ignore it.

It turns out Bart is perfectly OK - the bullies just took him to their hiding place (an old country club which shut down rather than mix genders) to induct him into their secret society. To become an "honorary bully", he must walk through a stolen bicycle graveyard wearing a necklace of stolen retainers. Bart is edgy about this, remembering the shit they put him through, but they explain that since he knows their secret, he has to do it no matter what, or the consequences will be dire.

Homer has adopted an old person lifestyle, going out to breakfast at 6 AM and mall walking. Homer realizes that though he is 38, inside he's more like 79. (For the record, my dad is 76 and does not do any of this stuff.) Grampa wrinkles up Homer's skin, hitches up the waistband of his pants, and fondly welcomes him to the club. We get more old-people stuff, like bingo and chicken dinners and endlessly turning up the thermostat. Marge realizes what's happening and is not amused. I have to say, this is really fucking stupid, AND they did it in Season 9 when Apu had to pretend to be married to Marge and Homer had to move to the nursing home. Are we just going to be stuck in some sort of sitcom time-loop forever?

Bart reads up on bullying at an isolated outpost with his new "friends". The bullies are in awe of a bully demigod, Chester, who is holding some sort of bullying summit this weekend. Just then, Wendell and Martin wander in wearing Boy Scout Junior Camper uniforms. Jimbo starts to taunt them, while Bart looks uncomfortable.

Marge complains to Patty and Selma over Homer's weird old-person transformation. As always, they immediately encourage her to divorce him. Bart and the gang go to the Bully Summit, taking the subway in what I'm sure is a parody of some 2000's British film I'm supposed to have seen. We also meet a bunch of bully gangs from around town, as well as Nelson's old accomplices from "Bart the General". It's been a long 24 seasons since, guys.

They all head to the abandoned "Six Flags over Krusty". Everyone awaits the much-touted Chester, who is something like a preacher, talking of their downfall from increased anti-bullying measures. A rival in the crowd steals Bart's slingshot, hoping to take out Chester and assume the top spot. This plot is so dumb that I want my lost brain cells back. The shot hits Chester, who collapses, and the crowd descends into chaos. (And I've got to say, I'm creeped out by some of the implied parallels here. Gross.) Bart is immediately blamed, as the slingshot is his and the would-be assassin is quick to cover his tracks. (I'm told, by the way, that this is a parody of the 1979 film The Warriors, for which I have no frame of reference - but sure.)

Bart and gang take shelter on the Ferris wheel. The bullies are disgusted, but decide to help him escape for - no discernable reason. Anyway, they need to make it to the subway to avoid everyone else. They flee the scene while the radio puts out a call for their arrest. They outmaneuver various graffitied buses and weirdly-costumed gangs. Nelson sacrifices himself by, in a move of poetic justice, being thrown down the hill in a garbage can. The gang shares a sad "Ha ha" in his honour and boards the subway. They arrive home at dawn. However, Chester's rival is still chasing them.

A short distance away, Homer and the old guys are having a beach walk. When they see what's going on, Homer wants to help his son, but the others balk. He runs up and punches Chester's rival, who tearfully admits that he's never been in a fight and runs away. The day is saved, everyone goes their separate ways, and we get a pointless tag scene with Homer and Marge's sex life. End credits.

Well, all I can say is this: dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb DUMB. These two pointless, recycled plots just show how tired and lazy this show has become. It seems like they'll just throw anything together and call it an episode. A slight laugh here and there, but that's IT. The show has become something of a zombie over the past decade - and we've still got at least one more season. Sigh.

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  • Posts

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      Posted (edited)

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      Edited by dawn9476
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      • Upvote 1
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