Monday, December 12, 2011

Simpsons: Christmas in 30 Years

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

The Simpsons are coming up on their 500th episode. In all that time, they have only looked into the future four times, including this episode. I remember two other occasions vividly... I'll have to look up what the third one was - perhaps it aired during the decade or so I didn't watch the show at all (circa 1997-2008). [ETA: thankfully, the AV Club has already written about the other past-future shows so now I'm caught up.] I really and thoroughly enjoyed this episode, as much of an oddball as it was. Maggie was a bit disappointing, but I should have expected as much when it came to her non-verbal character. Bart and Lisa both rang pretty true, and apparently fit in with some (but not all) of the other future musings from the show. The idea that New York sank and that the South Pole has become a desert were a bit odd, as were the ideas that Lisa went to school on the Sun, on the Moon, and on Pluto. But, whatever... when you write the future you get to take your own liberties. I did, however, especially like the way Zia (and eventually Lisa) get onto the Ultranet, haha.

The Simpsons "Holidays of Future Passed" (S23E09): The chalkboard writing this time: "Cafeteria trays are not toboggans." [meh. nothing special.] Rather than a true couch gag, this episode showed the family as Christmas cookies on a plate. [boring!] The storyline begins at Thanksgiving Dinner, and Marge wants to take a family photo for the holiday cards... which nobody is excited about. [What was with the bells on Lisa's head?] After one is taken, we see a parade of 25-30 others, with the family actually aging. We learn that Bart went to a state college and flunked out, and eventually Homer and Marge had to kick him out of their house. [really? Bart even made it to a state college. Color me impressed!] Lisa became a lesbian for a while. Maggie is a guitarist in a band. We see Homer and Marge traveling the world.

Then, onward to the future. Bart, about 40, is living in a classroom-turned-apartment at Springfield Elementary, with Skinner as his landlord. Bart's two sons come to visit him for Christmas, though they're not excited about it. Turns out, Bart's ex-wife has recently remarried, which really bothers Bart. Then, we see Lisa and Milhouse with their daughter, Zia, similar to a teenaged Bart. Milhouse's allergies are bothering him, so (for some unknown reason) he goes to Michigan (which is still under Sharia law) for the holiday. [luckily, with All-American Muslim being on the air right now, maybe some viewers will get the joke there...] We find out that Maggie is in London, pregnant with the child of (likely) one of her band co-members. For some odd reason (umbilical cord = vocal cord?), Maggie should refrain from speaking until the child is born.

All of the kids head home for Christmas, but the only trip we see is Maggie's: because you can't teleport when pregnant, she must take an airplane, which is a very dangerous mode of travel. [what's with everything pretty much being a hologram? but, that laser cookie cutter was awesome! who saw Prince Harry becoming a tyrant? like Hitler, no less?] Maggie goes into labor in a taxi on her way to the Simpson home, and there is a string of puns about "no room at the inn" and "a star in the East," etc. [how about those ads in the stars? I hated it!] Lisa reveals that she still talks to Nelson on the phone and wonders if she should have married him. [ that's deeper than I was expecting. Though I still liked that English fellow that she was going to marry  at one point...] Patty and Selma show up with lovebots. [awkward!] At the hospital, Dr. Hibbert gives Maggie a pacifier instead of an epidural. [of course. should've seen that coming, but I didn't.] Lisa joins into the Ultranet to "save her daughter," and we learn that Google has enslaved half of the world. [I still love Google; people need to get over that.] We learn that Ralph keeps getting cloned since he's killing himself all the time. [I thought this was strange but still laughed.] Homer takes Bart's kids to the cryogenic facility where Abe is, and gives a great speech about how "everyone thinks their dad's a jerk." The episode ends with Maggie bringing a daughter into the Simpson home. [A little bit of a dud ending, but overall I liked it. Patty, Selma, and Ned's appearances all seemed a bit forced, though. I also wanted some interaction between Zia and Bart's kids. just me?]
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