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Worldly Distractions: The Simpsons 26.11 - Bart's New Friend




I'm still wary after last week's abomination of an episode, but I will soldier on. Lend me your ears, fellow FreeJingerites. And let us pray, fervently, that this episode written by pre-Freaks and Geeks Judd Apatow can heal our broken fan hearts.

Aaand we get "Snowmen don't have carrot penisies" as our chalkboard quote of the week. Dear god, someone pass me a Flaming Moe so I can repress this.

The couch gag is somewhat more tame, parodying "Goldilocks" with Homer, Marge and Bart as the bears. They find Lisa curled up on their couch, and proceed to attack her. However, they wind up eating Homer instead. Okay, what is this obsession with killing Homer? Did he come to life and sleep with all the writers' wives or something? Anyway, the whole thing turns out to be a story Homer is reading to Maggie, who looks traumatized. Let the episode begin.

Homer attends a coworker's retirement party, where he finds out that the guy retiring has been the second safety inspector of 7G all these years - the bulk of his work mainly being to cover Homer's mistakes. Since Homer didn't even realize the position existed, he is stunned. An existential crisis ensues. The retiring man tells him he always felt Homer had something special, "like rooting for the Cubs". (The coworker, by the way, is played by famous funnyman Stacy Keach.) When the time comes to sing "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow", Homer can't make a sound.

He arrives home depressed that he actually has to do his job. The next day, he recommits to his work, ignoring Lenny and Carl and relentlessly studying the workings of the plant. Even Lisa thinks Homer is pushing himself too hard. Homer retorts that the economy makes hard work necessary, though he seems to have a rather bizarre notion of the options available to him. To relax him a bit, Marge offers to take the family to the circus. In fact, this makes Homer remember a childhood trip there when several people died, but he's still game.

In fact, he can't even relax at the circus, desperate to keep in touch with work. I have to say, this Homer-as-workaholic plot is actually providing some laughs. Who knew. He winds up getting into an altercation with a clown, which prompts him to take the family home early. Bart begs to go see the hypnotist, "Sven Golly". The hypnotist manages to pull a Good Will Hunting on Cletus, so he is clearly a man of true talent. Homer is predictably chosen as the next volunteer. He is reluctant, and only chooses to when Lisa claims it improves efficiency (in reality, she just thinks it would be funny). Sven Golly tells Homer that he will become ten years old when he wakes up. It turns out that this pretty much turns him into Bart. Unfortunately, midway through the act, Sven Golly is arrested for some sort of Rock n Roll Hall of Fame fraud. I dunno, I liked this episode better when it was called Office Space. 

Homer is brought to Dr. Hibbert, who concludes that he is in serious condition, since he's so childish that he thinks beer is disgusting. The doctor urges Marge to find the original hypnotist and reverse it. On the bright side, Homer and Bart seem to be getting along better than ever, though Marge wonders if she will ever get her husband back. She takes up knitting to get over certain - deprivations.

Is it just me, or is Dan Castellaneta deliberately imitating Robin Williams in Jack? Same plot, same mannerisms, and the actors have been compared before (and indeed, Castellaneta took over the Genie after the first Aladdin movie). An interesting idea - let's keep track of it.

Homer is sent to school with Bart, which turns out to be a great experience. However, Homer tells Bart that he never wants to grow up and have a spouse and family. Bart is shocked, but philosophical about it, and decides that pranking him will be suitable revenge.

Bart's solution is to refer to Homer as "a kid" or "my friend", which seems to keep the man content. He's an able playmate, a great protection against bullies, and a very loyal pal. They have a whole montage of friendship, which mostly recycles jokes from previous episodes. In the interest of fairness, Marge asks Homer to spend some time with Lisa. In fact, Lisa is delighted by Homer's new status, as this is likely the only time he will ever enjoy her saxophone music.

Still, his closest relationship is with Bart, who is desperately afraid that Homer will change back into an adult. Unfortunately, he accidentally gives up the secret - though Homer still doesn't quite figure it out. The police find the hypnotist, which delights Marge and Lisa, but sends Bart into a spiral. Desperate, he takes Homer and runs away.

They wind up at Itchy and Scratchy Land (where they really should have been last week), despite this taking several hours back in Season 6 - a new location, perhaps? In the twentyish years since that episode, the park seems to have become an even more blatant Disney parody. The cops catch up with them soon enough. Homer is reluctant to return to his old self, but with Marge's pleading, he eventually acquiesces. However, he does say a heartfelt goodbye to Bart, telling him to "stay ten forever". Sly. Marge asks the hypnotist to fix her husband, only changing things so he likes cuddling after sex. A confused Homer comes back to adulthood. He decides that it must have been a bender at Moe's, and begs Marge to forgive him.

The next day, Homer returns from work to find his son depressed. Bart mentions something about a friend. Homer recounts a tale of a friend he once knew, who was possibly his best friend ever. Bart makes his usual quip, Homer goes to strangle, and swaps it out for a hug at the last minute. Needless to say, it doesn't last.

A little while later, Marge finally gets her cuddle after decades of marriage. Awww.

The tag scene shows Wiggum and the hypnotist playing chess in a futuristic bubble. Wiggum believes that the hypnotist is the true Wiggum. Also, Loki shows up for no reason. The end.

It was a good balm to last week's crude mess, even if it wasn't the funniest thing ever put on television. The jokes didn't fly left and right. That's okay. The renewed friendship between Bart and Homer was easily the episode's highlight, amusing yet sincere throughout. Interestingly, there wasn't even a real B-plot. It was just Bart and Homer, being the friends they never get to be on the real series. This is an example of how the Simpsons should try new premises. I am curious to see how much Judd Apatow's original draft resembled the final product (my guess is, not much) - but what we have here is of real value, too.

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  • Posts

    • JermajestyDuggar


      2 hours ago, Red Hair, Black Dress said:

      Much of Kendra's uber strict uber trad Catholicism is exactly the same as the fundies we follow.

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    • Bluebirdbluebell


      3 hours ago, JermajestyDuggar said:

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      • Upvote 1
    • Red Hair, Black Dress


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      • Upvote 1
    • thoughtful

      Posted (edited)

      On 5/18/2024 at 7:42 PM, SisterCupcake said:

      On the KJ Bible College page...I'm still trying to figure out what it means: 


      Screenshot 2024-05-18 at 7.41.03 PM.png

      "Quit you like men" is KJV-speak for "behave like a man and meet your obligations." It's from 1 Corinthians, 16:13.

      KJV: Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.

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      I've heard it explained that "quit" is an old form of "acquit," in the sense usually given as the second definitiion:


      to conduct (oneself) usually satisfactorily especially under stress

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      I always want to punctuate it differently, just to aggravate them, when I hear these clods preaching against homosexuality:





      Edited by thoughtful

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