410. E Pluribus Wiggum

E Pluribus Wiggum(originally aired January 6, 2008)
Whelp, one step forward with “Moonshine,” two gigantic steps back with this episode; a disjointed, truly pathetic attempt at political satire with a mind-bogglingly nonsensical third act and no ending. Let’s begin with some Homer antics, because those are always enjoyable. Dreading the first day of his new diet, Homer drives down “Fast Food Boulevard,” sampling their many disgusting wares. He disposes of all the trash from his car at a Krusty Burger trash disposal, including a leaking car battery, which hits a main gas line. Lighting a cigar and tossing the match down the hole, he triggers an explosive reaction that decimates the entire street of stores, as he drives away puffing his cigar, completely oblivious. Is Homer ever held accountable for all this wanton destruction? Not at all. His arrogance was slightly annoying in the movie when he polluted the lake, but at least there he was brought to task for his actions. Here, either nobody knows or gives a shit; in the next scene, he’s rallying everyone at town hall to rebuild the entire area that he effectively destroyed, and to get the initiative passed quicker, Quimby moves up the presidential primaries, now making them first in the nation.

This announcement sparks a media circus to convene to Springfield, with pundits and lobbyists poking their noses into everybody’s lives. All attempts at satire are so amazingly paltry, ground this show has covered so much better in older episodes. Also, references to then-current figures like Fred Thompson and Dennis Kucinich, which definitely date the show. At the end of act two, Homer once again opens his fat fucking trap to encourage everybody to nominate the stupidest possible candidate to get everyone out of town. Who could it be? Ralph Wiggum. But this only causes both parties to go after the kid, trying to get them on their side. The third act is so unbelievably bizarre; I guess that’s what the writers are going for, but stretched to fill the entire six minutes, it doesn’t feel so much as a goof. And while we’ve seen the Republican Party Headquarters as a spooky castle many times before, now we see the Democrats HQ: at the salad bar of a whole foods store, populated with women (Lindsay Naegle), minorities (Bumblebee Man), and gays (Patty, and Julio, who holds up ass-less chaps he plans to wear to Ralph’s inauguration. This is your representation on this show. gay America. I’m so sorry). The episode ends with a political ad for Ralph’s candidacy… and that’s it. That’s the end. Well, I guess since the episode had no real story, then I guess it doesn’t need an ending, does it? What a piece of shit.

Tidbits and Quotes
– Lenny, Carl and Homer wait desperately for Burns to get in his car and drive away so they can leave, but he gets caught up talking to the mail room guy. So Homer calls his phone, tells him he has his wife and/or brother held hostage, and will release them if he steps back from Burns and does a little dance for his amusement. What a likable guy!
– Homer drives up to every fast food place on the block during one meal time. They roll a gigantic sub sandwich in his mouth as he eats it in one go. He douses fries and a lobster on top of a pizza, closes the box, shakes it up, then takes a bit into the box. Heeeeee’s Homer the food monster!
– Another nod of awareness with the Jerk-Ass Homer brand of cigars Homer smokes. And the fact that they make this “joke” during one of the most thoughtless, stupid and, yes, jerk-ass-iest things he’s ever done, is basically like the writers unzipping their flies and pissing in the fans’ faces.
– Jon Stewart has a completely disposable cameo. The joke is that Krusty tries to steal jokes from him, but it, like many jokes of the modern era, lasts twice as long as it needs to.
– Here’s a perfect example of the show over-extending a joke. A panel is being held for one of the debates, with someone from CNN, slate.com, and “Ron Laharr, a print journalist from the Washington Post.” The moderator says it with distinct disdain, you already get the joke, and it works. But then it’s stepped on and ruined with Nelson and Skinner (“Ha ha! Your medium is dying!” “Nelson!” “But it is!” “There’s being right and there’s being nice!”)
– I honestly don’t even feel like discussing the third act. It literally is the dumbest thing the show has ever done. Am I supposed to take it the least bit seriously? Should I care? Lisa voices her legitimate concerns as the only sane man, only to be immediately swayed when Ralph gives an unusually coherent, out-of-character rhetoric about what he “plans” for his “Presidency.” “Maybe you wouldn’t be such a bad President, Ralph!” Get the fuck out of here.

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11 responses to “410. E Pluribus Wiggum

  1. This pretty much got the evisceration I was expecting. Can’t for the That 90s Show review. Might buy a bottle of champagne just for reading that one.

  2. I don’t know what’s worse: The fact that Rainer W. was President in The Simpsons Movie or Ralph W. almost became President in this episode, which I consider non-canon, a bad dream or nightmare if you will; either makes no sense as one can only run for President if they are born here and a mentally disabled minor could never run as you have to be, well, at least 35 years old and not mentally disabled (come to think of it, they never did make fun of George W. Bush on this show, except maybe once or twice during the whole series unless I’m wrong but don’t think so)

    Anyway, great review as always Mike. I also cannot wait for you to review that 90’s Show. If you ever saw or see the Apple/Maple episode with Steve Jobs that aired this year, please give it a review here or somewhere else someday, even under a different name. Thanks.

    • I love how Liberal ZS is yet Bush Jr. never gets mentioned yet they have his best friend Tony Blair come in and voice himself… :S

      • I say love sarcastically of course lol.

      • I didn’t even realize that Patrick! Good points I might add.

      • Lol, you’re right, he doen’t get mentioned much. But actually, he gets mentioned in this episode:
        At the republican HQ. I forgot the exact lines, but I did laugh at the remark. I do remember that Burns said something about the 2004 election being rigged in Ohio after it.

  3. This episode is dated -horribly-. Obama isn’t even mentioned, IIRC. And the episode just kind of abruptly stops, which I’m never a fan of. And yes, Lisa has a very abrupt change of attitude in the last couple minutes. She was the one arguing against Ralph being a candidate, now she’s in favor of him because he gave an innocent speech? Puhleeeeeze.

    Regardless, I do like Kent Brockman surmising that Ralph’s a Republican because he said he liked Elmo (as in Elmo Zumwalt, according to Kent). That was pretty clever. And I did like the focus group scene, where Lenny and Carl give contradictory feedback (“Every part of it was good, but overall I hated it.” “I feel the exact opposite, but the same.”). And Homer and Bart’s lax attitude on the Patriot Act was a good satire on the (sadly) all-too-common “gladly give up freedom/allow the government to spy on us to feel a little more secure” feeling that some still hold.

    It’s a small thing, but I like how the Sideshow Mel garbage bin is programmed to say “THANK YOU!” every time it gets trash. Ironic when you see what Homer throws in there.

    “Jon Stewart has a completely disposable cameo. The joke is that Krusty tries to steal jokes from him, but it, like many jokes of the modern era, lasts twice as long as it needs to.”

    While you’re right that the bit was dragged on too long, I did like Krusty’s final line: “But I’ve -always- been terrible!” My main beef with his cameo is that the caricature didn’t really look like Stewart all that much.

    “Here’s a perfect example of the show over-extending a joke. A panel is being held for one of the debates, with someone from CNN, slate.com, and “Ron Laharr, a print journalist from the Washington Post.” The moderator says it with distinct disdain, you already get the joke, and it works. But then it’s stepped on and ruined with Nelson and Skinner (“Ha ha! Your medium is dying!” “Nelson!” “But it is!” “There’s being right and there’s being nice!”)”

    I have liked that exchange in the past, but upon reading this, you make a good point. The moderator could’ve added a derisive “pfft” and left it at that.

    • It’s funny how ironic that Elmo joke became just 4 and a half years later:

      “I love Big Bird” – Mitt Romney

      He’s a republican all right!

  4. Yeah, this episode is utter crap and ends just as abruptly as that episode where everyone but Lisa and Maggie are in jail.

  5. “and to get the initiative passed quicker, Quimby moves up the presidential primaries”

    What the fuck do presidential primaries and getting an initiative passed have to do with each other? And am I wrong in thinking Springfield isn’t a state but a town, meaning they don’t have their own individual primaries? Does anyone on this show have even an elementary understanding of how presidential elections work?

  6. Once again this is another case of a ZS episode where you can understand the satire but it’s executed very horribly. Aside from the no ending the only thing decent is where Lisa lampshades how ridiculous this whole mess of Ralph running for president is. Once again the ZS trope of eating large amounts of food in 1 go happens. I so cannot wait for your review on the next ep.

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