372. Million Dollar Abie

(originally aired April 2, 2006)
Another episode with no idea what it’s doing or what it’s supposed to be about. Some of these shows I find difficult to surmise. Is it about Grampa getting a new lease on life and living it to the fullest? Well the second half is, but it barely even feels like it. It’s just a bunch of ideas thrown together into something that vaguely resembles a coherent story. It starts with Homer succeeding at getting a football franchise in Springfield, which I guess is something that not only are we supposed to just accept, but only serves as part of our first act. Grampa roughs up the NFL commissioner thinking he’s a burglar, costing the town the game, making him a town pariah. He then resolves there’s nothing left for him but to kill himself. So the show’s tackling euthanasia now; there’s nothing grossly offensive about it, except that it gives no real commentary on the serious issue, and feels completely inconsequential. The show’s like a pinball game, just batting around from one idea to the next.

Once Grampa keeps on living, the show shifts gears once more: something needs to be done about the football stadium the town built, and randomly it’s suggested that it become a bull fighting ring, with Grampa volunteering to be a matador. All of this totally makes sense. Everything is so slapdash, each act feels like a completely different episode. So now the conflict is between Grampa and Lisa, who is disappointed at her grandfather’s gross animal cruelty. Thankfully it feels more innocent than preachy, but the treacle is still pretty thick. Grampa says for the first time in his life people are cheering him, to which Lisa responds, “I was always cheering for you, Grampa. Until now.” Is that so? I wish the episode had led to this point even the slightest bit. In the end, Grampa frees the bulls, and they proceed to terrorize and gore the entire town. There’s a shit ton of filler here too: the Hollywood video, two music montages, the story is just so damn thin. But it doesn’t even have to be. Grampa having a near-death experience and wanting to live it up is a premise that’s rife with potential. Instead we get this, whatever it is.

Tidbits and Quotes
– The only specific thing I remember about this episode is that when it aired, they premiered the first teaser for The Simpsons Movie. It was pretty simple and dumb: panning across a giant ‘S’ so you thought it was for Superman Returns, but then pulling out to show Homer on the couch with a Superman shirt and undies on. Even back then I was kinda disappointed considering how much they were hyping it.
– The Los Angeles pitch video is a full two minutes of complete time killing. All you need is the board to express disgust over L.A.’s phoniness, which you could communicate with a flyer or a brief sidebar or something. The joke in the video is the agenda that L.A. is awesome and Springfield sucks, which grows tired instantly, and I’m just praying for it to end when we get to the “Springfield Blows” song. Everything just draaaaaaaaaggss.
– If anything, the town fucked themselves over by renaming all their street names, which is why the commissioner gets lost in the first place.
– I don’t know what to make of the euthanasia bit. I’ll say something like the diePod crosses over into “so-dumb-it’s-funny” for me, and I like the callback that the man the doctor had just killed was Wiggum’s brother-in-law, but all of it felt very uncomfortable, seeing one of our beloved characters about to die willfully. Then it’s swept under the rug rather quickly. Grampa inadvertently admits it to the family, who are shocked, then he assures them he’s fine, because he’s learned a lesson. Cut to him staring hopefully at the stars as saccharine music starts playing. It’s like someone spliced two different shows together, the tone shifts so quickly it’s like whiplash.
– Everyone is so completely on board with the bull fighting idea, they cheer immediately for it. Why are they so psyched? Why are they all so blood-thirsty in the third act?
– The tension builds as Grampa debates killing his first bull, then finally does, with no sound effect. Were they trying to be dramatic and artsy, or did they just puss out? Meanwhile later there’s sounds of clothing ripping and flesh piercing as Luigi is gored by a group of bulls.
– The show ends with Grampa and Lisa floating on lawn chairs with balloons. Why? I dunno. Then we see some bulls have tied balloons to themselves and floated up too. What the ever loving fuck is happening?

12 responses to “372. Million Dollar Abie

  1. ” He then resolves there’s nothing left for him but to kill himself. “‘

    This episode is bad enough for the viewer to want to commit suicide rather than watching it.

    “The show ends with Grampa and Lisa floating on lawn chairs with balloons.”

    Isn’t this a reference to some movie that was out around this time? Billy Bathchair or something, I think? Heh.

  2. The episode’s existence is justified for the hilarious newspaper headline: “Old Man Beats Meat.” When I saw that, I burst out laughing, which hadn’t been the case for this show in a while.

  3. I forgot all about this episode and I watched it back in July.

  4. When did that “Stupid Flanders” term start and why was it included on the actual name of the stadium as it counts as libel it would have been better if it was in homer’s original idea but then rejected later on.

  5. Stupid sexy Flanders i guess

  6. Awful, awful episode.

  7. I’ve gotta agree with everyone here, this episode is just awful. Granted, I did find the fact that they kill people using an iPod to be funny, especially the Megadeath setting, but seriously? Come the fuck on!!!!!

    This episode is just so atrocious and mean spirited. Also, that ending, what the hell is up with that ending? How did Lisa and Grandpa even get balloons that would take them up to the sky in the first place? Secondly, how did the bulls get those same balloons attached to them and why? Are they intelligent creatures? That was a scene that belonged either in a dream sequence or a Halloween episode, NOT in a regular one. Hell, I would have accepted the episode if Abe had just woken up in the bed to find that all of it was a dream.

    Then again, all of this was over a god damned football thing. Oh no, the football team wasn’t coming to Springfield, how terrible. That means you won’t have unwanted fanatics polluting your streets on Sundays, making it impossible to really do much of anything, especially if your stadium is downtown. How horrifying!

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