(originally aired January 10, 1999)
One of the Scully years’ biggest crimes is making me hate Homer. Or rather, the exaggerated cartoon version of himself he had become. But another aspect that made it even worse is that no one seemed to comment that his behavior was anything unusual. As obnoxious, inconsiderate and downright brain dead as his comments and actions were, no one around him would call him out on what really is clinically insane behavior. There’s so much wrong with this episode, rotten almost to its core, but what baffled me the most is that it seemed to center around canonizing this new cray-go-nuts Homer, almost like a spiritual sequel to “Lost Our Lisa,” but instead of just the last three minutes, it’s the entire episode. But even before all of that, our episode begins where Flanders is goaded into a confession at church, revealing that he’s sixty years old, and has kept his youth by living a tame, risk-free life. This whole idea feels so silly, considering it steps on the idea he was raised by beatniks, but honestly, the episode gets so much worse from this point it’s the least of my worries.
Ned feels he’s squandered his life by playing it safe, so who does he turn to? Captain Wacky, of course, who all of a sudden has in place a program for living on the edge, and decides to take Ned to Las Vegas. Much of the back half of the episode consists of Homer doing something incredibly stupid and irresponsible, and Flanders either not reacting to it at all, or asking how he could be so stupid and irresponsible, not out of anger, but of reverent amazement. I was really just plain stunned more than anything watching Homer not even bat an eye as he makes reckless turns through town, gambles away all of Ned’s cash and credit cards, and inadvertently cause the death of Captain Lance Murdoch. He’s really beyond a cartoon character, because in a cartoon there are at least some clear motives for what someone is doing. Here, I really don’t understand what Homer is doing through parts of this show; he doesn’t act like anything closely resembling a human being. And again, no one seems to comment on this. Ned has become Homer’s sidekick, which is something that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
So our big third act climax is that during their wild Vegas night, Homer and Ned get remarried to two cocktail waitresses. Okay. Well considering they’re already married, then this new one is presumably not legally binding. So that’s it. They straighten it out and leave town. End of episode. Or we can have a big dumb chase sequence that makes absolutely no sense that ends with the two of them having to walk home through the desert. Yeah, that’ll work. I’m hard pressed to really add on or elaborate on anything; most of the entire episode as I’ve said is Homer doing some absolutely moronic and Ned acting as his lapdog lackey. From this, I assume that the writers think that Homer’s behavior in this episode was so hilarious that it could act as the crutch for the entire show. If that’s the case, then we are in big, big trouble from this point on. The throne for worst episode gets refilled and “Kidney Trouble” was only two shows ago. Oh dear.
Tidbits and Quotes
– I hate the beginning with blowing up Burns’ casino. The writers tried to cover their asses about how it makes no sense for it to still be there after they moved the town, but it just serves to remind how much it wouldn’t make sense for them to move it, and also how the ending of that episode made no fucking sense. It’s just like they were saying, remember how that made no sense, and neither does this? Well let’s remind you. And then for some reason Don Rickles was still in the building when they blew it up. Okay.
– Perhaps the only good line from the episode comes from Reverend Lovejoy (“And, once again, tithing is ten percent off the top. That’s gross income, not net, please people, don’t force us to audit.”)
– The craziness starts when Homer stands up in church to put Ned on trial about apparently lying about his age, making a humungous, overly dramatic speech which everyone in church just sits quietly for and listens to. And all gasp in unison when appropriate. Why is this happening?
– An episode about Ned wanting to live life more dangerously is feasible, but… it just doesn’t work here. I don’t buy his wanting to be more risky, and I certainly don’t like how he words it that he feels he’s wasted his life. That’s not the Ned I know and love.
– I guess Homer barbecuing a chicken over the chimney is something we expect is normal for him to do now. I don’t get it, when did he become Homer the Daredevil? When did this become normal behavior for him? If Homer wants a chicken, he whines for Marge to cook it for dinner. I don’t think he’d even have the energy to climb the ladder to the roof on his own volition.
– Homer talking to Ned in the car about living life impulsively pretty much mirrors the scene with him and Lisa in “Lost Our Lisa,” except it’s even more terrifying here since it’s happening with more than half of the episode left to go.
– Murdoch’s lovely assistant appears to be the replacement Lisa from “Spin-Off Showcase.” Just interesting to note.
– So during Murdoch’s stunt, Homer hilariously sits up from the ‘X’ to make sure Ned doesn’t spill his beer. Murdoch is startled and reacts, and ends up crashing his bike. His head is still encased with a safe, though probably a lightweight one to hold on his shoulders, but he flies off the bike and hits that wall so hard. Just from seeing it, and maybe it’s just me, but I think he’s dead. That impact felt so final to me, there’s no way he survived. And Homer walks away not giving a shit. At that point, my hatred towards him was seething.
– Alright, what’s left… Ned attempting suicide, wacky chase scene atop slot machines… oh, one last thing that was pointless was the Moody Blues cameo. Homer addresses them by name, and each band member gets one line each. In the coming seasons, we’ll be seeing that over and over and over again. Ugh…