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Worldly Distractions: The Simpsons 26.12 - The Musk Who Fell To Earth





Yes, this is an episode where Elon Musk guest stars as himself. It's okay, you can cry. Let it out.

No opening credits - just a title card and straight to "created by Matt Groening". I can't wait to see what scintillating writing was deemed more important than the couch gag.

Lisa is dismayed when a bald eagle devours all the birds at her new feeder. The vicious creature even attempts to take Maggie, but is satisfied with Homer's hair instead. Bart and Milhouse manage to trap it in the house, Marge prepares to cook America for dinner, and Homer almost loses an eye in the effort. Lisa begs them to take it to an animal rescue, or at least try to save it themselves. You know, for a smart girl, you should know that having a killer bird in your home is a wildly bad idea.

Miraculously, they survive an offscreen month with the bird. "Squawky" is released into the wild and promptly hits a spaceship? which... lands in their backyard and OH JESUS CHRIST NO NOT ANOTHER KANG AND KODOS EPISODE.

Actually, it's just Elon Musk. Lisa's impressed and Homer worshipful (though he thinks it's because Musk invented wheels on suitcases). Lots of fawning over the big celebrity, even though he can't act his way out of a paper bag. Seriously, it's extremely embarrassing. You're better than this, Simpsons. 

Homer invites him to the nuclear plant. Lisa sneaks along. They also have Musk writing notes on paper instead of talking, which is probably a blessing, since this dude CAN'T ACT. Lisa discovers the guy has no self-esteem, as he is running out of ideas. However, he begins to take cues from Homer's babble. That's right - Homer is the unwitting muse of Elon Musk. He even has fun doing it!

Once at the plant, Musk begins stuffing the suggestion box with ideas, because apparently he's given up on the idea of "patents" or "money". Mr Burns notices them, and decides to look for the writer. Smithers introduces Burns to Musk, though the old man mistakes him for Henry Ford. Musk insists that Homer is a font of brilliant ideas. Burns hires him as a consultant for a steal and they get to work.

Homer and Elon continue to be friends, hugging it out on top of the nuclear reactor while violins play. Soon enough, Musk unveils all his big plans, including forcing Groundskeeper Willie to electrify the school manually (think giant wheel), some kind of vacuum monorail, and much to Frink's chagrin, the "Glayvinator". More mindless fawning over Musk. Pass me a drink, please.

One person who shares my feelings is Smithers, who distrusts the inventor and attempts to talk Burns out of collaborating with Musk. All he gets is a pack of hounds sicced on him.

Soon enough, the town feels the effects of Musk's bold changes. With driverless cars everywhere, there are no accidents - but on the other hand, Arnie Pie in the Sky has nothing to do. Homer instructs his car to "park at work so people think I'm there", while Bart overrides it into manual mode and goes for a jaunt.

Despite all these great changes, there's one problem - Musk reports that they're losing millions of dollars per quarter. Burns is stunned and attempts to trapdoor him, but it instead plays what the writers think is a Powerpoint. Everyone gets laid off, the town sinks into a depression, and everyone goes all sepia-toned and bluesy. Elon Musk's name is mud. Burns confides to an injured Smithers that he's going to have the man killed.

Meanwhile, Homer lies awake worrying at night, feeling guilty for his former friendship with Elon. It's all very homoerotic. Er Homer-erotic. Marge even advises him to break up with Elon gently. Burns proceeds with his assassination plans, hiring an elderly man who is apparently still a good shot. While Musk spouts off endless ideas, Homer sits there looking sullen. The bullet smashes the window. Musk jumps on Homer, saving his life and barely missing death himself (though the recoil kills the assassin, go figure). Homer chooses this moment to dump him. Poor little Elon's heart is broken. Best romance ever. And yeah, I didn't say Bromance.

So Elon leaves in his space ship, though he has to drop off stowaway Lisa first. However, the man does leave her a bit of hope, by building a state-of-the-art technobirdhouse. Homer can't help but shed a tear. Up in space, Elon reveals the thing that will keep him sane on his journey - a little hologram of Homer, sharing his mindless genius for eternity.

Apart from the weirdly touching Elon/Homer stuff, this episode was pretty thin. Lots of squealing over the celebrity (and what an iffy cameo that was), but not much in the way of plot, character development or message. All in all, this episode felt tired - there was nothing being brought to the table. Since they went to all this trouble to bring in Elon Musk, isn't it a shame he couldn't invent us a better episode?

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