Friday, January 20, 2012

The Simpsons: Ted Nugent for President / Coder Lisa

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

It makes me sad when I really and truly dislike an episode of The Simpsons. Not because it's my favorite show or anything, but because there are so many haters at this point that I don't know how many more "bad shows" they can risk. Now, luckily, when The Simpsons does a great episode, it tends to be pretty phenomenal. Each of the two episodes I am recapping and remarking upon today fall under one of those two categories. The first episode I found to be so bad that I almost turned it off, not caring about what would happen. The second one, however, was so brilliant that I found myself pausing multiple times to write down various amusing lines and clever puns. Yes, I care more about social media than politics, but I don't think that was the full reason as to why I so immensely preferred one over the other. It's rare that I look at two back-to-back episodes of anything, but I think that it's particularly amusing in this case. Did you find the quality to vary widely between the two as well?

The Simpsons "Politically Inept with Homer Simpson" (S23E10): [blackboard gag was not amusing. the couch gag, however, made me laugh.] We start with the family at the airport, as they're heading to a cousin's wedding. [loved the bit about doing these things so as not to make someone feel bad.] Homer's bag is two pounds too heavy, and everyone ends up having to throw away some stuff. [except they threw away more than $25 of stuff, so why not just check a bag??] Then some silliness ensues... a baby checks Maggie's bottle, Marge gets chided for not breastfeeding, Homer gets a massage instead of a pat-down, and Homer's bag won't fit in the overhead compartment. It only gets worse from here, though, as they wind up sitting on the tarmac for seven hours, and when Homer isn't allowed to use the restroom, he grabs the PA and starts making announcements. [I bet the family saw this coming, don't you?] The air marshal confronts Homer, and he is clubbed outside the plane. Bart had recorded the entire thing and posts it online, with tons of people tuning in all over. [hello, 2010s, glad to see you dating this episode, since it's otherwise pretty difficult to tell when in the Simpsons canon something belongs!] It gets 150M hits... so many that Homer now has to go out in public in disguise. [...really?]

Homer ends up on a television debate over what happened, and Marge tells him to rant and rave as if sports were on television. [this made me laugh, honestly. I thought that advice was pretty funny.] He ends up succeeding, and is offered his own show, Gut Check with Homer Simpson. He does a segment on how awful it is that a school in Nebraska is doing away with football. [haha at the joke of painting a Shrek mask yellow.] Some people are starting to question how much Homer is crying on the show, but, of course, there are other people taking Homer's actions on the show to heart... leading to marches with people wearing gravy boats on their heads. (yeah... so Homer poured a gravy boat of paint over a meat outline of America. truth.)
Marge and Lisa try to talk to Homer, but it doesn't help. Ted Nugent shows up and Homer decides to endorse him for President. [you know, I knew this storyline was coming and completely forgot about it!] Homer has nightmares about the Presidents, and figures out that politics are important. [wow! novel concept! and, haha on both "that's what a play-within-a-play is for" and "no strangling on school days."] It's only moments before Homer figures out that the family planted those ideas in his head, and he's back to supporting Ted Nugent. But, when it comes time to make a campaign video, Homer can't muster up the enthusiasm. [yeah, that's pretty much it. seriously.]

The Simpsons "The D'oh-cial Network" (S23E11): The couch gag starts with the family in a NYC taxi, but the traffic makes them get out and keep going on foot, making their way toward Letterman or some other such show. [kinda funny? a bit long, too.] The official episode begins in a courtroom, and Lisa is on the stand. ["Leave her alone, that's my only talking daughter." hahaha!] Lisa starts a story from the beginning, a few months earlier. [let me interject here and point out that I don't know that the story of HOW her family got a Mapple computer means anything to the rest of the storyline, but okay.] The family went to a new mall, and immediately pull the ol' the-guy-in-that-car-thinks-we're-leaving-so-let's-see-how-long-he'll-wait-for-this-spot trick. They find it hilarious. [it rather ticks me off.] Then, they spot Lenny, who has moved into the condos in this fancy new area but he's pretty depressed. [I thought it was strange that this doesn't factor in later, tho...] Marge tosses a bunch of gift cards for stores that have closed. [quick moment of silence?] Then, family splits up and goes to various stores to use the other gift cards. [so I guess timing-wise, this episode does happen near Christmas and that's why she has all of these cards all at once?] Homer eats cinnamon buns, Bart uses so much moisturizer that he can glide along the floor, and Lisa wants to buy a building block set. [haha at the idea that if you build something else other than what the set was designed for, you'd be sued.] Then, Lisa runs into the twins, who are getting feathers in their hair. They make fun of Lisa and silly bandz. Meanwhile, Homer wanders into the MappleStore and buys a laptop. ["provided you charge me for services that Google offers for free" lol!]

Later, Lisa realizes that she has no friends, so Homer lets her play with his new Mapple computer. Soon, Lisa realizes that it's easier to be friends with people online than in real life. [I'm on the brink of arguing with this theory, but it's a bit complex so I'll refrain.] So, she wants to create an online meeting place of sorts, and recruits the guys in the computer lab to sit around writing source code (on old computers, mind you. There are iMacs sitting on the shelves). Adults and children alike are all over SpringFace, and everyone becomes attached to their mobile devices. The episode pokes fun of people with multiple profiles (Milhouse) and those who use loopholes regarding putting up their real profile pictures (the aunts). In person, though, Lisa is still lonely. [the joke about Ask Jeeves was too drawn-out for me.] Lisa says that SpringFace was used in ways that she never expected, and before long it's causing accidents because people are using it while driving. [the MappleCare ambulance was great.] Lisa ends up taking down the site and telling people to get lives, and a familiar tune begins to play. Instantly, some girls come over to ask Lisa to play Marco Polo... outside the pool. [I didn't understand this at all - not the invitation nor the playing-it-on-land part. I did like SpringTwit, tho.]

The story ends with Marge's sisters rowing against the WinkleVoss twins in the 2012 Olympics with quite a few references to how bratty they were in the movie, The Social Network. [whoa on the makeout session at the end!]

Amusingly, after the episode, there was apparently time to kill. So, they put on a "show's too short" short at the end, and although it was rather amusing and old-school, the rhyming was really the best part about it.
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