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Worldly Distractions: The Simpsons 26.15 - The Princess Guide


crazyforkate

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blog-salad.jpgprincess

The title inspires hope in me of a surprise cameo by Robin Wright. The reality is probably far harsher. Can you handle it?

The opening features a cameo from Princess Penelope, oh Jesus no let's not bring back Anne Hathaway.

The Simpsons are printed out of one of those old-timey (dot matrix?) printers, but get stuck in a paper jam - a nice run-of-the-mill couch gag.

Lisa is accompanying her dad to Take-Your-Daughter-To-Work Day, which makes Bart remark on how there is no equivalent for sons. Homer responds, correctly, that boys already have a career advantage (though he ruins his point by gloating about it). Still, Lisa looks forward to going to work with her dad, which she totally hasn't done, ever in the past twenty-four seasons. Just ask Langdon Alger. Homer comments on the rash of infertility at the plant as if this is news to him, despite having been sterile since Season 3. At the plant, Lisa is curious and Homer incompetent, as usual.

Burns is in a foul mood because his plant has been rendered near-bankrupt by Elon Musk. Wait, we're going to start following continuity now? I am stunned. And also annoyed, because I'd rather pretend that episode never happened. Anyway, the plant is in a state of decay, and Burns has even had to resort to releasing poodles instead of hounds. And, hey, we get a guest appearance by Richard Branson just because. Anyway, Burns needs capital and fast. He's paired up with a Nigerian king, who has promised him a lucrative venture. Smithers is understandably wary. Theres also a sad scene of Smithers longing for a future with Burns that will never happen.

Lisa's food has been ruined by an unexpected almond milk accident, so Homer displays an impressive talent at lunchroom trading, which results in a delightful improvised salad.

salad

The Nigerian king turns out to be real, even played by Kevin Michael Richardson, who has apparently begun a second career as a guest voice on this show. He has brought his twenty-something daughter (Yaya DaCosta) on the trip, and since she isn't part of the business negotiation, he asks Mr. Burns to find someone to show her around. Just then, Burns catches a glimpse of Homer and Lisa getting along wonderfully on his security cameras. He decides that such a great family man would be an excellent companion for Kemi. Smithers tries to warn him, but apparently his crush on Burns has turned him into a lobotomy patient this week, because after one glance at his boss he agrees wholeheartedly.

Burns leaves Homer and Kemi with a stern warning about staying in the hotel room, which is promptly ignored, at least on Kemi's part. He gets a phone call from Marge, who totally doesn't believe his story about dating a princess. He and Kemi share a giggle over her frustration. She asks if they can go out, but Homer is more interested in TV. After the umpteenth insipid episode of The Bachelor, she becomes quite frustrated. Finally, Homer takes her out - to Moe's.

I don't even need to tell you that Moe instantly falls in love.

Yeah, this is the Simpsons doing Roman Holiday. I'm sure it's happened before, but I don't care, because this is adorable. Moe commits several faux pas within minutes (confusing her with someone from the British Royal family, claiming that no one on earth can speak five languages), but is so endearing in the process that she is charmed. However, he completely craps all over this when he learns that she is from Nigeria. He takes Homer into the backroom and explains that he did fall for a Nigerian prince scam. Clearly, Kemi is related to the mysterious scammer, and he wants nothing more to do with her. Homer angrily says that Kemi is his guest and he will take her back to the hotel. However, he finds her gone. While searching for her, he is thrown in the drunk tank by Chief Wiggum.

Moe is mumbling to himself when Kemi shows up. Surprisingly, she wants to hang out with him. Moe is flabbergasted. However, he still has her supposed "brother" in the back of his mind. Meanwhile, Homer is bailed out by Lenny and Carl. They search for the princess, but not before suggesting that Carl dress in drag and pretend to be her instead. Not to mention that Smithers is breathing down their necks...

The princess and the barkeep get along famously, sharing intimate details of their day-to-day lives. She goes to the back room to get something. A while later, Moe finds her curled up on his cot, asleep. He good-naturedly prepares to kip on the bar itself, reciting his own version of "Goodnight Moon" (which Kemi overhears). The last line? "Good night, princess who treats me nice."

Yeah, everyone go have their cry now.

Burns attempts to sell the plant with goats, which does not impress King Kevin Michael Richardson. Eventually, though, he is won over. Meanwhile, Moe and Kemi decide to spend the day exploring Springfield. Cue an adorable montage. They even rent the requisite scooter. Unfortunately, just as they're starting to get kind of romantic, Homer arrives to take the princess home. The couple are forced to flee in a pedi-cab. However, Kemi eventually tells Moe that though she had a lovely time, she doesn't want to stay away from her father forever. She kisses him on the cheek. Unfortunately, a paparazzo manages to catch this. Soon, her story is splashed all over the Internet.

Just as they are about to sign the contract, the king finds out that his daughter's reputation has been besmirched by an ugly America. He of course flips out. Smithers, who engineered this in order to get Burns to run away with him to a tropical island (long story), is delighted.

Kemi tries to explain to her dad that she is a grown-up who just wanted to have some fun. However, she doesn't have romantic feelings for Moe, though she thinks he is sweet and was happy to spend time with him. The king is about to give his daughter the end of all lectures, but Homer asks if he might speak as a fellow parent. The king is stunned that anyone would have children with Homer, but allows it. Homer speaks of his own two daughters, both independent spirits, and advises the king to let Kemi go her own way. Father and daughter reconcile. Smithers is heartbroken, though.

The paparazzi ask Kemi all kinds of questions about the mystery man, because apparently this is Notting Hill now, but Moe shows up (in disguise as a spokesperson, of course) to field all questions with relative dignity.  At the bar, though, he and Smithers - an unlikely pairing, but one that has actually shown up on this show before, if you can believe it - sit and mope. Kemi arrives to say goodbye, and to give him some books from Nigeria. Think Chinua Achebe. He gives her a coaster from the bar, and they part as friends.

Years later (three, to be exact), Moe is gray and wrinkled. Richard Branson, meanwhile, shows up at Mr Burns's to shill his charity. He doesn't get very far, though I assume these few lines got him a sizeable paycheque.

The episode is dedicated to Leonard Nimoy, who will live on in our hearts as a passenger on the Springfield Monorail's maiden voyage. Rest in peace.

So, yeah, this episode was adorable. The writers have finally figured out that Moe is a fascinating character with a talented voice actor behind him (though Shearer definitely met his match with guest star DaCosta this week). Running for almost the full show on one A-plot, the show never lost momentum and provided some excellent character study. After a shaky start, these last few weeks have been a real upswing. I can't wait until next week, when...

Chief Wiggum gets a jetpack?

I've said it before and I'll say it again - this show truly does have the most loyal fans in the world.

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