(originally aired April 23, 2006)
I really don’t like this trilogy episodes, they’re of absolutely no interest to me. They were mildly amusing and novel at first, retelling Bible stories and tall tales, but now it’s just like random stories that the Simpsons happen to be in. This time it’s three stories that all involve boats… okay. First is the Mayflower’s voyage to America, second the infamous mutiny on the Bounty, third is The Poseidon Adventure. It seemed like the idea with these episodes was putting our beloved characters in the roles of famous fictional or historical figures, like Milhouse as Moses or Homer as Odysseus. It doesn’t really apply in this case, it’s just going through the motions of these stories you know of, with Simpsons characters in it as they crack insufferable joke after joke. The first segment is about how Puritans talk funny and are crazy religious types, the second is Skinner vs. the kids a la “Skinner’s Sense of Snow,” and the third, I don’t even know what to make of it. The characters take the time to introduce the story and their roles within the story itself, so it couldn’t be more lazy. I can’t even pad this more than a paragraph, I feel nothing for these episodes. Just twenty minutes of white noise.
Tidbits and Quotes
– The wrap-around involves the family waiting for their meal at the Frying Dutchman, and with Captain McAlister’s lack of knowledge of sea stories, the family takes their crack at telling some. Makes sense. The trilogy format also has started becoming self-referential, which for most running gags and elements means it’s probably about time to stop doing it (“Homer, you can tell the third story. Bart will tell the second, which is usually the weakest.”) But why do that when you can run the same shit into the ground for years to come!
– Flanders is at the helm of the Mayflower, and with the joke being the crew are religious fanatics, it’s quite the feat that they made Ned even more psychotically devout, whipping himself merely for acknowledging Marge is a woman, pouring salt into the wound as he does.
– I’ve been noticing over the past few seasons, but especially in this one an abundant use of “gay,” mostly by Homer, to slight something for being effeminate. Bart and the bullies use it too; it makes more sense with them since they’re kids, but even then, that alone doesn’t work as a joke. Think back to “Lisa’s Date with Density,” and the bullies’ cutting jab at Nelson (“You kissed a girl? That is so gay!”) That’s using the slang term and making it funny. But now, calling someone gay and homosexuality in general is kind of treated as a big goof. There’s three gay “jokes” here: Homer calling the ship the “Gayflower,” the kids’ drawing of Skinner making out with a merman, and at the end with Bart saying Dolph is gay for Kearney. None of these are funny whatsoever; I’d hesitate calling it homophobic, but it just feels unnecessary and misguided.
– There’s one joke I chuckled at. Flanders goes down to the brig to find the crew drunk and gallivanting about (“Horseplay! Rough-housing! Horse-housing?!”) We see a drunken horse with a little house over him. A dumb visual gag, but it worked for what it was.
– Joke types in the three stories seem to carry over, such as the hilarious in hindsight gags. Homer mentioning how fundamentalists will rule America by the twenty-first century, Skinner’s incredulous nature about a possible mutiny (“On the Bounty?!”), and the entire first half of the third segment is literally all jokes about the ship will soon be tossed upside down.
– Similar to last episode, there’s also many jokes involving Homer’s blind ignorance toward the misfortune of others. He celebrates the new year surrounded by dozens of dead shipmates, then he kicks CBG into the water and ignores his dying plea after he had just saved his ass.