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Worldly Distractions: The Simpsons 25.19 - What to Expect When Bart's Expecting





And no, Bart hasn't mutated into a girl and gotten freaky with Nelson, though I wouldn't be surprised with all the dumb plots lately. Let's see what they have to offer.

Standard opening credits. Chalkboard: "You can't play April Fool's jokes on April 27th." We get a cool couch gag, drawn by Michal Socha, which involves a ridiculous journey through Homer's insides after he accidentally swallows himself. Fabulous animation, some Simpsons gags along the way, and we wind up on the brain/couch, just like every week.

There's a secret meeting at Moe's, involving all the bartenders in town. The bar scene in Springfield is suffering, mostly because of the prevalence of liquor stores. Moe suggests a "superhero pub crawl", which they immediately accept. Cue all of Springfield staggering around wasted in ridiculous costumes. Homer (dressed as the Thing) decides he's had enough, but fortunately Moe has made a video for this possibility - sponsored by Canal+, no less. Cut to Homer being dumped on his lawn the next morning while the school bus pulls up to witness his shame. However, he is not alone, as all of Springfield appears to have been trashed in the festivities.

Bart and Milhouse arrive at school only to be sent to art class, much to their horror. Stuck sketching Groundskeeper Willie, he slowly begins to disintegrate under the nattering of his hippie art teacher. After school, he runs into Jimbo's girlfriend (and Chalmers' daughter) Shauna, who tells him to get rid of the teacher with voodoo - and offers him a kiss, too. Once he's recovered from that particular trauma, he cycles out to the Voodoo Queen's trailer and gets the supplies. In the dark of the night (and mixing up a half dozen different traditions), he and Milhouse cast the spell, hoping to give her a stomach ache. It backfires, of course. The next day, she shows up in class and announces that she's pregnant. Cue Ralph's stunned declaration that "Bart Simpsons got a teacher pregnant!"

Bart is hauled down to Skinner's office, where he confesses the voodoo story. Skinner more or less absolves him, but still refuses to tell him where babies actually come from. Homer gives Bart a long lecture on the drive home. The story spreads through Springfield. Soon, Homer is defending his son's "magic knock-up powers" to the entire bar. Meanwhile, while Bart helps Marge take out the trash, a couple watches him from across the street. They approach him and ask that he work his magic to give them a baby, too. He agrees, but only after charging five bucks. Soon enough, the couple is expecting, and a line of couples wait outside Bart's new business. Homer's not amused, especially since Bart took the family spatula to use in his ceremonies.

He takes Bart to the bar - as punishment? I'm confused - where they are promptly kidnapped by Fat Tony's henchmen. Moe tries to save him, but then backs off when he realizes Homer's out of cash. Simpson and son are taken to Tony's lair. It turns out Tony wants a baby, too. For his prized racehorse. Bart protests that his magic only works on people. Tony tells them that there should be a horse baby on the way by sunrise, or they'll both get whacked.

Er, not like that.

Trapped in the barn, Bart blames Homer for their predicament, which Homer surprisingly accepts. He decides to be a good dad for once and get them out of there as quickly as they can, which involves pairing up the horses. But when the stud starts dancing to "It's Raining Men", they realize they've got a problem on their hands. The mare is in love with another horse, who used to be a Duff Beer mascot and is considerably less prestigious than the gay one. They decide that one stud is as good as any and set some mood music, which is sung by Bart and Homer and sounds oddly like Les Mis. The song has the desired effect, and the horse is revealed to be pregnant the next day, because these guys live in a universe where pregnancy tests work within hours, apparently.

A year later (of course, none of the kids are older), the foal has been born and the sire is involved with both the mare and would-be stud. Lisa declares it a modern family (snerk), to which we get a parody of Modern Family's opening credits, featuring appearances from both Satan and Poochie. Maggie is holding the final picture, and drops it, to which all the little people in the portrait fall out and run around. WTF?

As a tag, we get what looks like a court scene in which the horse is called up to the witness stand, but turns out to be a Duff commercial. Ohhhh, yeah.

For an extraordinarily silly premise, this episode actually worked pretty well, offering some decent gags in almost every scene. Even if it is out there, it's definitely territory the Simpsons haven't explored yet, which counts in its favour. I'm also impressed that they could sustain an entire story for twenty-two minutes, something they've bothered to do less and less in the past dozen seasons. The episode moved at a brisk pace - perhaps a bit rushed - and had some good moments, though the ending petered out. Next week we get the much-hyped Lego episode, and we'll see how it measures up. Until then, my readers.

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