(originally aired September 28, 2008)
This episode feels like someone just wrote the bare basic outline, and then they just went into writing it without developing anything. There have been plenty of shows like this, but this one feels particularly egregious, where we just hit the familiar plot beats so transparently: bonding scene, chase scene, dramatic “twist.” Everything is explained and laid out so openly so the dumbest of viewers can follow. After a drunken St. Patrick’s Day Parade brawl, Homer is arrested and must see a bail bondsman, because this is normal behavior for him now. Arriving there, he’s introduced to a bounty hunter, who, in one long piece of exposition, explains who he is and what he does, and Homer automatically decides to become one. He tracks down his first perp, Snake, and is saved from being shot in the face by Flanders, in one of the biggest cheats in the history of the series. The two end up becoming partners, just ’cause, and bonding in the process. But soon Flanders must take Homer to task for his past transgressions, as his last job is to bring him in.
Homer can’t stand Flanders, but I guess because he saved his life, he decides to team up. Then we see the two grow to like each other during a stakeout, a scene that just feels shoehorned in for the purpose in showing them growing on each other. They sing from Flanders’ white-washed AC/DC cover band, then Homer shows Flanders a new way to eat pizza… like, what the hell is this? Then we finish it off with a big two-minute chase across town in an overly elaborate and choreographed fashion, because parkour is popular and it’s a thing we can do to show we’re still relevant. I thought back to previous instances of over-the-top chases involving these characters. In “Homer the Heretic,” Flanders chases Homer in his car in a last ditch effort to bring him back to Christianity, which is the whole point of the episode. In “Homer Loves Flanders,” Homer latches onto Ned’s car a la the T-1000, a complete lunkhead who doesn’t realize he’s pushing his new friendship too far. He’s being dragged by a speeding car, but we buy it because it ties in with the theme and makes sense in the story. Here, Homer and Ned are agile acrobats doing backflips and jumping across cars on the highway for no particular reason. Anything to pad twenty minutes, I guess.
Tidbits and Quotes
– Small moments sometimes hurt and reveal the most. The Simpsons comment on the Springfield river being green for St. Patrick’s Day. Then Mr. Burns chimes in (“Actually, my nuclear plant did that. And now that you know, your life is in danger.”) Music sting. Tint fingers. Then he walks away. Why would Burns just openly mention this? And of course then the threat is deflated. Burns used to be a formidable force, an actually legitmate antagonist. Now he’s a toothless, doddering old fool who’s of no harm to anyone, unless the writers remember he’s supposed to be evil, then he becomes a one-dimensional cartoon super villain. None of this is new though. That’s why this blog has become so stale.
– Not only do we see that goddamn leprechaun again, now there’s an orange Northern Irish leprechaun for him to play with. And the Hulk and the Thing are there too. Oh wait, in court he says he’s the Mulk. Goddammit.
– There’s a B-story here too where Marge becomes an erotic baker. Okay. She works in the guy’s shop for what seems like a good amount of time, and yet doesn’t realize what’s going on until he comes clean. It’s just more awkward attempts at trying to be racy, but not understanding that saying “penis” on The Simpsons just isn’t funny in and of itself.
– The bounty hunter’s name is Wolf, and he looks like Dog the Bounty Hunter. Great work, guys.
– Gloria returns again, now pregnant with Snake’s child. Does the staff really love Julia Louis-Dreyfuss or something? Why does this character keep coming back?
– So Homer chases Snake down an alleyway, and Snake shoots at him. The bullet races towards his brain… bounces back and nabs him in the arm. What stopped it? Flanders, holding a big piece of bullet proof glass he was buying for the Leftorium. There’s an giant empty opening on the side of the building facing the alley he just happened to be in. And the glass he’s holding is nowhere near big enough to fill his store window. What a load of fucking shit.
– Homer’s obsession with his tazer reminds me of better times of him using mace on his eggs (“Mmmm… incapacitating.”)
– Fat Tony appears in this show, being arrested by Homer and Ned, and has no lines, but his grunts and gasps are done by Joe Mantegna. He’s famous for his love for the character, and saying that if Fat Tony so much as sneezes, he wants to do the voice. So, I guess they called his bluff. Couldn’t they have given him just one line though?
– “Marge, do we have any more of your extra long Twinkees?” “Oh no! Those were for Mr. Smithers’ commitment ceremony!” Sigh.
– “You hang onto resentment like a Confederate widow!” “I forgave you for accidentally killing my wife!” “Yeah, but you hold onto the big things!” I don’t know what to think about them actually acknowledging Homer’s hand in Maude’s death. It’s not like it changes anything; Homer brushes it right off. It’s just another example of the writers recognizing shoddy writing, or Homer doing something awful, and just joking around about it to fuck with the fans.
– Homer and Ned fall in wet concrete and are frozen shut in it, despite the fact they were standing on a beam held by an operating crane, so clearly there must be people at the construction site, or anywhere near by, who would have noticed them.