Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Simpsons: Robots Taking Over

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

Can we agree that the best part of this episode was the haiku that Homer accidentally helped Lisa write? Because I loved it. The rest of the episode? notsomuch. Robots taking over has been a "thing" for as long as I've been alive. I remember two episodes where machines took control on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles alone! So, this was nothing new or innovative, and I found the non-robot scenes to be the funnier bits. The only other thing of note (in my opinion) was that Mr. Burns came to Springfield when Marge was a child... and if his age now includes four digits (isn't that conflicting with some information regarding his age from about 10-12 season ago?), he was mighty old then, too... but he doesn't really look it. Not that cartoon characters age well, or that the characters on this particular show really age at all, but that's an entirely different issue.

The Simpsons "Them, Robot" (S23E17): Opening credits = Maggie riding a large paper airplane. No chalkboard or sax scene. The couch gag has the family through the years... figuring America would succeed right up until 2012, when Maggie holds the flag of China. [what an interesting statement they have decided to make... and I haven't read much as far as others commenting on this... am I alone in finding this to be an odd shot?]

Homer is asleep on the job once again. [I jerked when Homer's buddies flung a paperclip into his mouth!] Burns makes an announcement about drug and alcohol testing coming up, so Homer's pissed he has to detox all weekend. [the earthquake not affecting the dominoes but killing the guy was funny.] He thinks he's in the clear (though he is taking a ton of anti-depressants), but he accidentally ingests a mimosa at Sunday Brunch, thinking it's orange juice. He follows it up with (Irish) coffee, (Long Island) iced tea, and (Mike's Hard) lemonade. To solve this problem, he tries to "soak up" the alcohol with (rum) cake, crepes (Suzette), and cherries (jubilee). [I thought it was a humorous scene. cool effect with spitting fiery cherries, too!]

Homer's not the only one struggling to "stay clean," however. When Lenny finishes his drug test, he licks a toad, passing a guy huffing and another drinking the milk from a snake's fangs. [so is the bottomline that Springfield is so depressing that EVERYONE is trying to forget about their sad lives?] The tests are largely forgotten about, however, when Burns unveils worker-robots to take over the power plant. Smithers suggests that they keep one human to sign for packages and do things that would "waste a robot's time," so Burns lets Homer stay. [I know Mr. Burns is old and all, but can he never remember that Homer is just about the worst employee ever?] Smithers is also replaced, regardless of how hard her tries to be a robot. [haha] Homer heads in the next day and jokes with the robots, but they don't respond and eventually shock him. Homer is blamed for all user errors, and he's getting pretty bored. But, when he busts a robot and tries to fix it, he learns that the robots can be put into a "conversation" mode, yielding Homer a new BFF. [bets on how long this will last??] Homer learns that the robots can only move along yellow guidance lines, so he draws them out of the power plant and to a baseball field.
[loved the idea!] Soon, the town is almost completely taken over by the robots and the unemployment rate is 99%, so it's only a matter of time before the robots decide to go rogue, chasing down Homer and Burns. Luckily, the town bans together to take out the robots, and the power plant is re-manned, though the workers are now hired as "temps." [that sucks. after they just saved Burns' life, too! Also, does this make Homer a temp as well, or does he retain his regular employee status?]

Homer re-programmed one robot as a friend and they go fishing... but the robot kills itself. [what a disturbing ending!]
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