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Worldly Distractions: The Simpsons 25.18 - Days of Future Future





Another Simpsons episode where the kids get to (temporarily) grow up! These ones can be hit ("Lisa's Wedding") or miss ("Bart to the Future"), but at the very least, they offer a break from the same-old same-old routine. Let's see how this one measures up.

No opening credits, except for a couch gag where the living room is covered in bubble wrap and everyone jumps on it. I admit it's one of the cleverest in a while.

Marge wakes up to find Homer bloated from overeating, the kitchen and living room trashed with food remnants. Exasperated, she tells him to cut down on it before he destroys his health. He tries to get into the spirit with his exercise, but has a heart attack and dies. Wait, was THIS the death this season? There have been way too many teasers. I'm jaded, guys.

At Homer's funeral (church sign: "We Told You So"), everyone gives their sympathies and Moe makes a pass at the new widow. However, Frink interrupts the funeral, saying he cloned Homer. He presents an exact replica complete with memories. And yes, despite all the stupidity they had this season, this is the stupidest thing they've had in a while. Aside from being a total Ass Pull, of all the people Frink could clone, he chose Homer? New Homer vows to live a healthier life, but winds up dying the next day. We are then introduced to Homer3, and no, that's not the awesome 3-D animated Treehouse of Horror segment. He dies too. As the kids grow up and various tragedies happen, we get all the way to Homer 76. You'd think they would quit while they were ahead. Milhouse is old and balding, Bart's two sons are present, and Grampa is still alive somehow. And Moe is still on the prowl. Frink sadly announces that he can't bring Homer back again. However, he did download Homer's brain into a USB stick. For the rest of his existence, he will be a talking computer monitor.

Marge is a little dismayed (though the grandchildren love chasing "Grandpa" through the house's various screens). To distract herself, she talks to Milhouse, who is having marital problems with Lisa. Meanwhile, Homer has managed to wreak havoc even as a collection of pixels. Fed up, she banishes him to live with Bart at the Springfield Elementary Lofts - where he promptly strangles his son (in 3-D) for sloppiness.

Bart sends his kids to their mom, his high school sweetheart Jenda, who is played by Amy Poehler (and also currently dating a Hank Azaria-voiced alien). Disheartened, Bart turns to his dad for solace - but Homer's buffering. He's still downcast at his job (he basically works at Jurassic Park), though his boss Nelson advises him to cheer up - and even offers to fix him up with one of his mom's co-workers. Yep, Mama Muntz is still stripping away.

Lisa has a new cause. At a soup kitchen several times a week, she volunteers to feed zombies a vegan "synthetic brainlike substance". Apparently, there's been quite a wave of undead lately. Milhouse shows up, concerned for his wife, and accidentally says some racist (zombie-ist?) things. In retaliation, one of the zombies bites him. Meanwhile, Nelson makes good on his promise and takes Bart clubbing. However, Bart gets kicked out for being totally inept with women. On his way home, he sees a notice targeted to lonely people, and enters a place called "Moving On". It's pretty much Total Recall/Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, where a zap from a machine makes you totally over your last breakup. Bart gleefully announces that he's moved on.

Lisa takes Milhouse to see Dr. Hibbert, where we learn that the zombie disease can be cured if caught early, but Milhouse may still have mild symptoms, such as poor grammar. Bart wakes up to find out that he has moved on, in bed with a beautiful brunette. That's right, guys - Bart has a sex life, and Homer even wakes up from his buffering in time to get an eyeful. Creeeeepy. So we get a long line of Bart's one-night stands, including an alien and Miss Hoover, which leads to one of the grossest jokes in the Simpsons' history. He also has a nine-some with Krusty, some women and bunch of clowns. I have to say, even though Bart is aged up in this episode, it really is very weird to watch this. VERY weird.

Milhouse is still a half-zombie, though Lisa tries to keep him on low-sodium organic vegan brains anyway. When the Bullies try to mug her, Milhouse charges at them, and she thus discovers that she has a useful husband for the first time in her life. In fact - she's kind of hot for him. Okay, who's going to have the creepier love life, Bart or Lisa? Ugh.

Bart begs Marge to reconcile with her husband, bringing him in to discuss it via the television. He gets nowhere, especially since he accidentally taped his dad over. They still have tapes? At Bart's place, Homer's robot body arrives at the same time as Bart's sons, who still don't have names. They report that their mom's nice alien boyfriend has moved out. Too bad, he seemed cool. Seriously - Azaria did a great job with him. Jenda is inconsolable, but Bart says all the right things. She asks him out on a date. Homer gets to babysit the kids, and sends his body to Moe's.

At the Gilded Truffle, Skinner is out with his mom's skeleton, Maggie is dating the One-Eyed Baby (now all grown up), and Bart and Jenda are trying to reconcile. The Squeaky-Voiced Teen still works there, by the way. Jenda is still totally hot for Bart, and well, it's good that they fade to black.

Homer continues to babysit his grandsons, who play near the Groundskeeper Willie memorial. They're just thrilled to have a grandpa they can hit with sledgehammers and set on fire. Bart and Jenda decide to move in together again, which inspires Homer to haul his robot ass over to Marge's for a new start. So Bart becomes a stay-at-home dad while Jenda works for Google, rescuing people from "all those self-driving cars that turned evil". However, he's still part time at Dinosaur Sea World. Milhouse is still a zombie, and Lisa likes him so much that way that she deliberately skips his anti-zombie injections. Shudder.

All is not well in paradise, though, and Bart and Jenda find they're having the same old arguments. Fed up, Bart goes to Moe's, where he finds Lisa halfway sauced. Even more shockingly, Marge is there, also wasted. They ask her for the secret to a good marriage, though since they've spent the last decade or so almost exclusively occupied by petty fights, I'm not sure she's the right person to ask. And, you know, the fact that they're CURRENTLY SEPARATED. Long-lasting on paper =/= good. Anyway, she advises the kids to go with their heart and all that bullshit. So they do. Marge commits suicide to live with Homer in computer-land. Once she arrives, Homer sets it to "Game Over", and the two disappear forever. Um, WHAT THE HELL. Lisa gets Milhouse de-zombified, much to her disappointment. Bart breaks up with Jenda once and for all, and she gets back together with Jerry the alien. It's then revealed that everything from Bart's trip to "Moving On" was a dream! That's right, the ultimate cop-out. No computer suicide, no reconciliation with the ex. Well, that was dumb. Meanwhile, Mecha-Homer has become much nicer, a combo of C-3PO and the robot from Metropolis. Oh, and Lisa kept her husband a zombie, and we all found out something incredibly creepy about Lisa.

Ending the episode, we get a parody of the incomprehensible Mad Men "next on" segments. It's pretty rad, but I'm still kind of in shock from the episode.

So...what even was that? Lisa's storyline was horrendously disgusting, Homer's and Marge's somehow managed to be a retread while destroying all continuity, and while Bart's story had some good moments, it didn't amount to much. The dream ending was the icing on a terrible cake. It's always strange and oddly fascinating to see the Simpson kids struggle with "adult" issues. Tonight, they veered way too far into the strange. It was a disservice to the fans and to the show in general. With few laughs to make up for the uncomfortable moments, I think it's fair to declare this episode part of the Bad Future category.

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