The Husband:

The Simpsons 20.13 “Gone Maggie Gone”

The Simpsons decided to go into full-length-episode movie reference mode this week and ended up with a neatly plotted but somewhat empty episode. Combining the similar nuttiness one would find in movies such as National Treasure and The Da Vinci Code (and, of course, the book of the latter, which is pretty much just the movie but without Tom Hanks’ hairdo), it lead Lisa on a quest to find Maggie, who through a series of circumstances disappeared at a Catholic church. (Never mind the title being a reference to the Dennis Lehane novel and film Gone Baby Gone, which, aside from having a missing child, had nothing to do with the episode.

But how did Maggie get there? Well, Marge looked at an eclipse head-on instead of through a camera obscura and temporarily blinded herself, and so she has to be bandaged up for two weeks. The rest of the family have to do all her chores for her, but when the kitchen is overrun with rats (with a momentary Ratatouille cooking sequence), Homer goes to buy some poison, bringing Maggie and Santa’s Little Helper along with him. But driving back home, the dog and the baby begin fighting over a Life In Hell doll and some candy-colored poison (“What is it with kids and candy-colored poison?”) made Homer crash his car off of a bridge. As the car flies through the air into certain doom…

“Why did I bring a baby and a dog to the poison stooooooooooooooore?!” — Homer

Landing on solid ground, Homer tries to get himself, Maggie and the dog across a body of water, but there’s only enough room in an abandoned boat to bring two at a time, much like the common riddle with the fox, the hen and the chicken feed. In the distance, Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel is experiencing the same problem, until the fox eats the two other items.

“Well, the puzzle done puzzled itself out.” — Cletus The Slack-Jawed Yokel

When Maggie, during Homer’s solution of the riddle, ends up by herself in front of a church, she is picked up by a nun and brought inside.

Phew…so that’s why she’s there, and that was the funnier part of the episode.

Lisa, meanwhile, goes to find her, and discovers that she must go through a series of word problems and Rube Goldberg devices to find Maggie, all while unraveling the mystery of the “Gem,” an item that the nuns need to bring a new era of peace to the world. Lisa, through her own cunning as well as help from Skinner and Comic Book Guy, learns that she may, in fact, be the gem, and goes to the church to reveal herself. But she had misread a clue, an anagram that could have said either “Lisa” or “Maggie” depending on how you solved it, and finds that Maggie is the gem child. But as the sun hits Maggie and peace comes to Springfield, a blind Marge bursts into the church, having a mother’s instinct as to where her child is, and is unwilling to let her child be used as a spiritual conduit. She takes Maggie and the family home, leaving Bart there to be the gem child, but when the sun hits him, the walls begin melting and fire bursts from the walls.

I did not expect to write as much as I did on this episode, so I guess that’s a sign that I liked it more than originally reported. Yes, I liked the story just fine, but the humor, the actual laugh-out-loud humor, was all in the first act, and as I’m not the biggest fan of either National Treasure or The Da Vinci Code (I’m kind of morally opposed to non-children’s books that have five-page chapters), the rest of the episode was just one extended gag, clever but tedious.

Other funny bits from the episode:

  • The mocking of Ed Begley, Jr.’s environmentalism, despite the fact that I agree with everything he stands for
  • “Wolves are taking all our women!” — Homer’s reaction to a Tex Avery cartoon
  • “I’m not an albino. I just use a lot of sunblock.” — Smithers

King Of The Hill 13.12 “Uncool Customer”

Peggy, upon visiting a music store desiring a cassette of the new Michael Bublé album, discovers that she hasn’t kept up with the cool trends for about 20 years now, and sets out to find a place in the new millennium. And what better place than with the hip, trendy mothers of the cotillion class Bobby convinced his parents he’d like to attend. And oh, are they trendy. They have names like Kat Savage, give their daughters hip boy names like Michael and frequent hidden wine bars that needs passwords. Much to her delight, they take a liking to Peggy.

“You’re fun. You say what you think. Like you’re already drinking.” – Kat

Soon, she is struggling to keep up with all the “cool things,” from purses to vacuum cleaners, while Bobby follows her around also trying to find out how to be cool, as he has a major crush on Kat’s daughter Michael. Soon, Bobby is doing the best he can to keep up with fashion statements, even though his baggy, sagging jean-phase is about ten years too late.

“How about you wear pants and I think of them as pants!” – Hank

When Peggy and Bobby are deemed worthy enough to attend Michael’s party, they show up looking like Kid ‘n Play, thus ruining the party. But when they happen upon Kat’s room, it seems like that of a crazy person, as she maps out her struggle to stay trendy above all else. Kat comes in and proclaims how difficult it is to keep up with the times (e.g. she visits 142 blogs a day) and how it completely wears her down.

“I’ve even done some streetfighting.” – Kat

Finally, she admits that she loves Peggy because of how uncool she is, which has in turn allowed Kat the ability to let loose of all her “coolness” and just be herself, which concludes with her watching shitty sitcoms with Peggy at Chez Hill.

I think Peggy cribbed this outfit from Tyra Banks, actually.

I think Peggy cribbed this outfit from Tyra Banks, actually.

Meanwhile, Hank doesn’t want anything to do with the cotillion (no surprise there), so he goes to see what’s up at the old polygamist compound that has now been turned into a restaurant. Turns out that the sandwiches are delicious, but the seating is community-style along very long benches.

“This table smells like a diaper, and this is still the best meal I’ve had in years.” – Hank

Hank tries to get over the seating arrangements, but he soon begins overhearing conversations that are simply TMI and none of his business. (This episode’s main example? Women talking about birth control.) When he brings the gang to the restaurant to indulge in their meatloaf sandwiches, they stake out a private four-top and rush to it in its tiny turnaround time.

“That pregnant woman was fast, but we wanted it more!” – Dale

Still, Hank can’t take this untraditional restaurant, and so he accepts the fact that it is not for him. However, the sandwiches are so good that he’s willing to take a hit in the wallet and pay somebody to bring him his sandwich.

I’m starting to really gravitate toward Peggy’s stories, perhaps as I get older, as I can relate to them more than I could Bobby’s ten years ago. I’m nowhere near as culturally clueless as her, nor am I close to as old, but I appreciate her effort to be a better person, or at least a more outwardly cool person, which is pretty much a struggle for anybody. But as I am no longer of “party” age and I vastly prefer coming home after work and watch television to grabbing a beer at a noisy bar, I get it. Life gets in the way, and that may not be such a bad thing.

Family Guy 7.9 “The Juice Is Loose”

I can understand why the show decided to put a disclaimer at the beginning, claiming —true or false I am unsure — that this was a “lost episode” that took place in the fall of 2007, as the focus of the episode, O.J. Simpson, is now in jail for non-murder-related charges, but it really didn’t make this lame episode any funnier.

After Peter and his friends are left to look after the kids, they nearly destroy the house with a pillow fight-turned-fistfight while Stewie accidentally locks himself out on the roof. Peter distracts Lois and all of us with an extended rehash of the Conway Twitty joke from a few seasons ago (it was more strange than funny the first time ’round, so I felt pretty damn cheated by this 3-minute cutaway) to ease the tension on him. At the dinner table, he discovers an old winning sweepstakes ticket from decades earlier that entitles him to a round of golf with a celebrity, who just happens to be O.J. Simpson.

Despite protests from his family and friends, Peter decides to go through with the game of golf — it helps that he doesn’t even remember, you know, the Trial Of The 1990s — but soon becomes suspicious of O.J. and tries to get him to confess, going to the golf game wearing a wire. O.J. discovers the trick, though, but instead of killing Peter, he convinces him that he was innocent, and living the past 14 years of his life being thought a killer despite being acquitted has turned him into a lonely man.

Pete brings him back home to see his family and assures everybody that O.J. is a human being just like everybody else, but when the town of Quahog hears that an alleged murderer is in their midst, they form an angry mob and make way to Spooner Street. There, O.J. and Peter convince the mob that he is not a bad guy, and everybody apologizes and begins living in peace…

…Until O.J. stabs three townspeople and runs away.

So, an old joke that really doesn’t have any bite left and an unfunny three-minute cutaway? Not one of FG‘s brightest moments.

Some good bits, however:

  • The Robert Mitchum film Out-Of-Shape In-Shape Guy In The 50s
  • “We’ll stay in, pop some popcorn and watch Jimmy Kimmel try.” — Peter
  • “You know how much mustache cream costs?!”

American Dad 4.13 “Jack’s Back”

When Steve joyfully informs his father that he has signed them up for a father-son bike race, he learns Stan’s terrible secret — Stan doesn’t know how to ride a bike. (Stan has a lot of terrible secrets, doesn’t he?) As his criminal father was never around, he never learned any of the things a young son is to learn, including car mechanics.

“Now it’s making a black tinkle out of the hoozy-wuzza!” — Stan on an oil leak

This is okay, since Francine has her own things she simply cannot deal with (i.e. she doesn’t like spumoni, because while it’s ice cream, it sounds like pasta to her), but this doesn’t stop Steve from wanting to reunite his father with his own father. But after a bit of research, he finds out that Pappy Smith is in prison, trial is soon approaching, and he needs a good character witness. So Steve is allowed to bring Stan and the elder Smith camping, but Stan, never having been taught how to fish, begins shooting into the lake.

You're just mad because you can't ride a bike!

You're just mad because you can't ride a bike!

After a series of incidents, Steve discovers that Grandpa Smith really is a bad guy and not the misunderstood misanthrope Steve assumed he was, but he wants Steve to learn a good lesson and decides to turn himself into the court house and be slapped with a “guilty” verdict, all while Stan rethinks his own position on his father-son relationship and surprises himself by ferociously riding his bike across town to the tune of Queen’s “Bicycle.” (Any excuse to use this song is okay by me.) But Stan is too late, and his father goes off to jail once again.

In the extremely bizarre B-story, Roger lets Hayley intern at his bar in the attic, but the lazy Hayley doesn’t like doing any of the actual work. And so the two one-up each other with costumes and assumed personalities, being anyone from a labor board supervisor to members of the Armenian mob to a time-traveling half-cow-half-person from the future to finally each other, where Hayley finally “Duck Season/Wabbit Season” tricks Roger into signing her internship form. Hey, if Roger isn’t going to be in the A-story, I’m fine if all of his B-stories can be this strange and funny.

Funny stuff. A little lightweight. I’m still waiting for AD to get back its sharp satirical edge, but this was definitely an improvement over the last couple weeks.

Other funny!:

  • “I just Mr. Belvedered myself. Google it.” — Roger (To wit, Christopher Hewett, who played Mr. Belvedere on his eponymous show, had diabetes. Put two and two together.)
  • According to Steve, taking a #4 is two men taking a poop while holding hands
  • “I have to air it out at night or else I get eye mushrooms.” — Pappy Smith about his usually eyepatch-covered eye.
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