(originally aired April 9, 2006)
With some of these episodes, I feel it’s enough of a review to just post the synopsis; the stupidity and silliness usually can speak for itself. There’s glimmers of interesting ideas in this show, but they’re completed buried under nonsensical plot turns, and nonsensical nonsense. We open with Burns announcing he’s outsourcing the plant to India, but he’ll need to hold on to one American employee. Who do you guess that will be? I feel like “Homer gets picked for something he’s grossly unqualified for” is almost like a running gag, that like many of the series’, has run out of gas and just descended into goofiness. “Homer the Smithers” in season 7 was poking fun at it, now ten years later, Burns tosses a bouquet into the crowd to see who gets the position. He’s an intelligent businessman, why wouldn’t he just pick the most senior man? Doesn’t matter though, since this is a strange new kind of Burns. Not cartoon supervillain, not frail old man, but unusually affable self-identified showman: making a big entrance in India, chumming it up with Homer, what happened to the joyless old miser? He’s long dead at this point.
So Homer is off to India, and despite knowing nothing about management or how to run a plant, ends up doing fine at his job. Some of the gags are efficient, like how the Indians seem to just be humoring Homer so they can get to work, or the many outsourced jobs Apu’s cousin have picked up, but the plot making no sense blares over any bright spots. Then we have our ending, where Homer believes he’s a god and the employees seemingly worship him. The entire third act is one great big “WHY.” Why does he think he’s a god? Because someone mentioned power corrupts and he says he’s a god. Why does he not think he’s a god anymore? Because he says so at the end. The end with the plant being “ruined” by the Indians finding out about American work benefits is kind of clever, but again, it makes no sense through the plot. How did they find out? They claim through a binding contract Homer gave out. How could he put together such a message? I feel the core idea of this show is pretty strong and could have worked, but it’s in completely incapable hands.
Tidbits and Quotes
– The pro-outsourcing video is pretty good, with the American workers whining that their jobs are too hard (“Hey, America! Why not let some of the other countries carry their share of the load!”)
– It’s small, but it bugs me when Lisa, or Bart, have knowledge or can identify things that no kid would be able to know about. How does Lisa know about Mac Tonight? Those commercials ran in the late 80s.
– The B-story involves Patty and Selma meeting the man of their dreams, Richard Dean Anderson, aka MacGyver. When he rebuffs their fandom, they resort to kidnapping. Anderson is able to escape a la his character, and finds it so thrilling that he has the sisters restrain him again and again, until even they get sick of him and come up with a plan to get rid of him. I like the idea of a revered celebrity getting on a fan’s nerves, like Stan Lee in “I Am Furious (Yellow),” and as a side story, I’m willing to forgive the silliness a bit more. There’s a fair amount of mention of his other show Stargate, almost to the point that it feels like promotion. Anderson is a good sport, and gives a pretty great performance. I certainly liked it more than the main story, but under it all, it almost feels too-little-too-late. When was the last time Patty and Selma even mentioned MacGyver? We barely see them anymore as it is.
– The best joke in the show is when Homer must find Apu’s cousin: medium height, dark complexion, brown eyes, black hair. Shouldn’t be too hard to spot out in the middle of India.
– Patty and Selma return to their apartment to find Anderson is gone. Selma panics, claiming she can’t face jail. Patty shrewdly responds, “I can.” Because she’s a lesbian and she would love women’s prison! So her being gay is now her default character trait, I guess.
– There’s more weird jokes in this show that we’ve seen in the past, of horrible things happening or being mentioned to Homer and him just shrugging them off or ignoring it. Bart calls his father in fear of a bully who breaks into the house, Marge mentions Chief Wiggum was mortally wounded, is any of this supposed to be funny?
– None of the ending makes any sense whatsoever. Why did they paint the tower like Homer’s face and dress like him? It’s just building to the big cop-out at the end, and then everything can go back to normal. And also the obligatory Bollywood ending, which doesn’t feel earned at all.