(originally aired November 12, 2006)
Another piss-poor topical “satire,” this time targeting at the Armed Forces, and just as it was intelligent design and other topics, it feels incredibly mean-spirited. After failing to recruit the town bullies, a recruitment agent says, “Even the dumbest teenagers in the dumbest town in the dumbest state know better than to join the army.” We’re three minutes in and already the point is clear: people who want to serve their country are fucking retards. This mindset pretty much runs through the whole show, and I think it’s unbelievably disrespectful to those serving. But I’m more offended in that none of it is funny. No topic is off limits, and I have no issue with their chosen target, as there’s plenty to knock the army about. It’s just the manner that they do it that feels so bitter and ham-fisted; it feels like a spec script written by an ultra-liberal freshman film student. Because he’s a big gullible dummy, Homer ends up enlisting, but is deemed too stupid to serve, so ends up participating in local war games. He and his company hide out in town, and their opposing commander, who apparently is insane, lays siege to recover them.
The commander is voiced by Kiefer Sutherland, and is a crazy person. Literally. And it’s never addressed. He organizes these war games, and when Homer and company escape, he immediately acts to invade Springfield. It’s an effort that’s costing the government millions, and he’s using actual ammunition to hunt down and presumably kill Homer and his infantry. It’s unclear exactly why the fuck he’s doing this, all we get is another heavy-handed “joke” (“US Government policy is very clear: never back down, never admit a mistake, that’s why we’ve won over half the wars we’ve fought!”) And everyone on the base goes along with him, putting Springfield under enemy occupation. I guess. We never really get a sense of it, but I guess that’s what it is. Also the commander is a big dummy; he rounds up all fat, bald men in town to weed Homer out, I guess, but if he’s that adamant to find this guy, why doesn’t he abduct his family and hold them hostage? And again, these are phony war games and this guy is a psychotic violent criminal. But in the end he signs a term of surrender on a aircraft carrier and nothing ever happens to him. At one point this show was brilliantly satirical. Now I dread when these episodes crop up; they’re not so much offensive as they are just pathetic.
Tidbits and Quotes
– “We just want to talk to you about something near and dear to us.” “What, being gay?” That’s three gay cracks in five episodes. I think I’m gonna start a tally.
– I don’t know if there’s a deleted scene explaining the origin of the Bart bust Marge is carrying, or whether it’s just a set-up for a joke late in the scene, which doesn’t seem worth it since before that you’re just wondering why the fuck she has that bust.
– We have liberal activist Lisa dousing a fur-wearing Krusty with blood, but I like the cute kid moment at the end when she innocently asks when his movie is coming out before she’s escorted away.
– Outside the recruitment center is a sign in the window: “Suicidal Teens Welcome.’ Am I getting unusually sensitive, or do these jokes seem really mean-spirited. Like, hey kids, gonna kill yourself? Why not go out with a blaze of glory! This show just doesn’t know how to deal with touchy topics anymore; between stuff like this and Moe’s constant suicide attempts, it just feels so wrong.
– I like this exchange with Homer getting suckered into enlisting (“Wouldn’t that take me away from my family for two whole years?” “Hey, a big target like you will be home a lot sooner than that!” “Woo hoo! Where do I sign?”)
– I like the bit of Homer cheering up Maggie before he leaves, if only because it’s the only time I’ve seen them interact in a good long while. Or if I’ve forgotten some scenes, the first time I thought it was cute.
– At the start of the games, Homer gives away his position and blinds the enemy because he remembers it’s Chinese New Year and blasts a few flares in the air. Boy, that Homer sure is a big dummy, huh?
– The Looney Tunes parody with Homer and the helicopter drone is just awful. I guess I see what they were going for, but it just doesn’t work at all, it’s two minutes of just pure filler. And if he destroyed the drone in his home, and the commander was watching it, wouldn’t that give away his position? And moreover, couldn’t Homer be charged for destruction of government property? It makes absolutely no sense.
– The ending with the whole town mobilizing is almost like the show commenting on how everyone knows everyone now, with Mr. Burns on the phone with Nelson, and Krusty with Ralph. Doesn’t make it any less annoying though.
– “Colonel, I hope you’ve learned that an occupying foreign force can never defeat a determined local populous. Among the many things we’ve learned from Vietnam…” Yep, totally sounds like an eight-year-old talking. Totally does.
– And we close with Sutherland calling the crew members to front line infantry, which is just a hollow repeat of Homer’s cuts from “Bart Star,” or even his moaning of all the wealthy people’s names from “The Mansion Family” (“Don’t shush me, you rich bastard!”)