(originally aired October 5, 2008)
The Simpson family has always seemed to remain curiously out of time and out of date, so it’s always been a little weird seeing them grappling with new technology. It wasn’t until the early 2000s where they finally gave Homer a computer, and now we have Bart clamoring to get his hands on a cell phone like every other kid in school. Denied by his parents, he eventually finds one that belonged to Denis Leary, who Bart proceeds to fuck with. The show then becomes basically a love letter to Leary, who is name dropped and lauded by characters numerous times, ending in him demanding Marge get her kid under control. He informs her of the tracking chip in his phone so she can keep an eye on him at all times. Marge is able to show up and stop Bart’s many shenanigans, until he catches wise to her actions. Bart then attaches the chip to the leg of a bird, leading the Simpsons on a wild chase that ends with them scouring Machu Picchu. …huh?
Under the surface there’s actually a potentially good premise here, of Marge learning that she needs to let her son go out in the world and experience things for himself, without her being a constant safety blanket. It’s just too bad it takes until the halfway mark to introduce this point, and it’s not given the proper time to develop. Bart is left home alone in act three and finds himself petrified of the dark, which feels like an easy solution of showing how he buckles without adult supervision. Meanwhile, Lisa discovers Bart’s trick with the chip strapped to the bird, but decides to hide that information because she really wants to go to Peru. So they drove all the way through Mexico to get there, without once thinking why the fuck Bart would be going there, and how was he going so fast. Or, better yet, why not call the goddamn cell phone and find out where Bart is? These logic gaps are just humungous. There’s some isolated moments here that work, which is high praise for a new episode, but everything around it sucks per usual.
Tidbits and Quotes
– There are a few nice things at the beginning, with Bart secretly enjoying Lisa’s tea party, Marge buying peas on an installment plan, and Dr. Hibbert’s aside comment to Dr. Nick when Bart fails to accomplish simple math (“This is why my kids go to private school.”)
– All the Denis Leary stuff is boring, just more ass-kissing (“Boston comedian turned movie star turned basic cable notable?”) Also, is there some kind of joke with him making Pop Tarts and dashing to catch them mid-air? I feel that might be a reference, or it might just be ordinary nonsense the show is prone to do.
– Marge seems nervous and conflicted about handing over the trackable phone to Bart, then seems completely cool and collected walking in to spy with Homer (“Did he take the bait?” “Like a big-mouthed bass.”)
– More needless, needless exposition (“Well, I could tell Mom and Dad the chip is on the bird and hope they take me to Machu Picchu another time, or…”) Yeah, Lisa is never brought to task for her actions, by the way.
– A lot of work went into this Peru stuff… I wish it made more sense, and was set up better than an offhand remark Lisa makes in two seconds in act one.