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Worldly Distractions: The Simpsons 26.7 - Blazed and Confused




Oh, boy. Is Homer going to get into weed - again? Is Bart going to commit arson - again? Come on, show, try and thrill me.

Show opens with Kang and Kodos in a flying saucer, wearing costumes, because they took too long to get dressed and Treehouse of Horror aired already. Cut straight to the couch gag, where the Simpsons' couch turns into a ski lift. The family is brought back dishevelled and injured.

The principals of the school district are gathered at SES for the "dance of the lemons", where they each get to swap their worst teachers. They Hunger Games the lottery, going through a variety of awful educators (fortunately, they are not so tasteless as to have Mrs Krabappel among them). Naturally, Skinner gets stuck with the worst of them all - Mr. Lassen, a complete hardass played by Willem Dafoe. I want to marry this episode already. Okay, okay, I said I was down on guest stars lately, but come on -

willem dafoe


We hear the history of Lassen's frightening career, and oh my god, Dafoe is deliciously psychotic. They really are hitting it out of the park with guest star + role lately. Bart has a series of pranks planned, of course, though they're a little meh when you think of what he's about to encounter. Lassen, who sounds suspiciously like Sideshow Bob to be honest, immediately terrifies the class into their seats. Only Nelson is brave enough to make a smart remark. This brings down a fantastic monologue about all of Nelson's shortcomings. While the bully weeps in the corner, Bart (perhaps unwisely) decides to go ahead with the prank. Naturally, Lassen is as creative with his punishments as he is with his insults. He finds a trumped-up dress code violation involving Bart's hair and shaves his head.

At dinner that night, Bart refuses to remove his hat. Homer, Maggie and Lisa eventually coax it off and find the new 'do hilarious, but Marge is outraged, especially when she hears who was responsible. She decides to confront the teacher, though Homer advises her not to, as it will result in "stink-eye at the school fair". Oh, and the Simpsons are going camping this weekend, which I guess will be the B-plot. When Marge is told that Homer didn't reserve a spot at their favourite campground, she breaks down weeping. Homer vows to make it up to her, somehow.

An angry Bart graffitis the blackboard, though he's dumb enough to sign it "El Barto". Mr. Lassen is beautifully sarcastic when he finds it. Seriously, if I'd had this teacher, we would have gotten along great. Probably would've smoked bowls in the parking lot at lunch and made fun of that one math teacher down the hall. Lassen's reaction to the graffiti is to punch through the blackboard, ruining Lisa's book report in the next room. His vendetta against Bart continues to science class, where he involves the kid in electricity experiments, most unethically so. Bart is of course electrocuted, Dr. Marvin-Monroe style, and vows his revenge. A reluctant Milhouse is enlisted to help him, though for some reason he keeps advertising the New Zealand film industry.

They have planted a webcam in the teacher's lounge, which chronicles Lassen's enormously successful attempts at flirting with Miss Hoover (oh, it makes such perfect sense, I ship them now). Bart decides to impersonate Miss Hoover online and set a trap. Presumably to murder him and dump his body in the radioactive lake. Meanwhile, Homer tries to book a campsite, to no avail. He does get to chat with a Jason Voorhees ripoff, though, and gives away all his personal information.

A traumatized Nelson begs Bart to destroy Lassen once and for all, just before Lassen takes his lunch money. While searching, Bart discovers old pictures of Lassen at "Blazing Guy". No prizes for guessing that one. They decide to go there and catch him doing something terrible, and end his teaching career once and for all. This just happens to solve Homer's problem, too, so the A and B combine and we're off to the desert.

Wait, wait, wait. When I got invited to go to Burning Man, tickets cost like $1000 and were gone in minutes. How did they get there on a low budget with such short notice? I smell a rat.

Marge is bewildered by the scene before, while Lisa is enchanted. To top it all off, the tent gets blown away. Naive Marge takes a cup of tea from a stranger. I assume she will spend the rest of the episode high off her tits. Lisa gets out her saxophone and soon finds a community. Bart and Milhouse find Lassen, but can't catch him in any sort of compromising position. Milhouse suggests framing him for not tipping at a restaurant. Ha, that kind of controversy was so 2012. Whatever was in the special tea seems to have the same effect as combining al-key-hol and "Battling Seizure Robots", so Marge runs around completely out of her mind. The Coyote from Homer's hallucinogenic chili episode even appears in her hallucinations. When a sandstorm comes up, Homer uncharacteristically takes responsibility, carrying his strung-out wife back to their new tent.

Lassen is set to start off the festival's big fire ritual, so when Bart discovers a whole bunch of unattended flame retardant, he immediately gets an idea. They douse the giant "Blazing Guy" statue to be burned. That night, Mr. Lassen approaches the statue and is predictably humiliated. As punishment, the festivalgoers stuff him back into respectable clothing. He catches the kids laughing about, and humiliated, goes after Bart with a flamethrower. Homer catapults himself onto the structure to save his son and winds up collapsing the whole thing. For his attack on Bart, Lassen is sentenced to "human prison" (being trapped between a whole bunch of people) for five whole days. After some more intense  hallucinations, Marge comes to in an empty desert.

After being fired from the school, Lassen gets a job as a prison guard - where he immediately strikes up a friendship with Sideshow Bob. Dark days are ahead. Or at least, they would be if the two killers could agree on which one gets to deliver the killing blow.

Okay, for starters - Willem Dafoe was inspired. If anything, the episode should have had more of them. Though I enjoyed Marge getting high, the Burning Man sequence really was just another lazy entry in the Simpsons'  neverending travelogue, full of stereotypes and cliches, so it didn't really have a huge effect. Overall, the episode could have used a few rewrites. Was it still fun, though? Of course. Without Dafoe, though, I'm not sure if it would have been anything more than a slog. Will the Simpsons continue to rely on guest stars this season? Find out next week, when Will Forte joins the roster!

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  • Posts

    • Smee


      On 5/22/2024 at 4:36 PM, medimus said:

      A homeschooling, mommy blogger with 11 children who converted from evangelicalism to one of the above latin mass only, skirts only, mothers stay trad catholic groups (I forget which one) is Celeste of Joyouslessons.


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    • marmalade


      1 minute ago, Coconut Flan said:

      Looks like that's the Justice Dept response to the Duggar appeal not the Supreme Court final.  Reddit was a bit ahead of themselves.

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      • Upvote 2
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    • Coconut Flan


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    • JermajestyDuggar


      28 minutes ago, justpassingthru said:

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      • Upvote 1
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