(originally aired November 30, 2008)
This episode blows my mind, it’s the most offensive, uncomfortable show I’ve ever seen. Bart befriends new kid Bashir and his Muslim family, and Homer succumbs to his bar buddies’ insistence that they might be shifty-eyed terrorists. All the racial stuff is amazingly embarrassing to watch, it all feels so wrong. Homer’s latent homophobia in “Homer’s Phobia” came from an understandable place, reflecting the ignorance of the common man. Here, Homer is representing racist asshole Americans who assume all Muslims are terrorists. It reminds me of a similar instance in South Park where Cartman is instantly averse to the new Muslim kid in school (similarly named Bahir, I might add), but there it works because we know he’s a bigoted intolerant racist dickhead and is treated as such. Homer is supposed to be our hero, and in episodes like these, I just want to strangle him to death. The final act begins with Homer eavesdropping at their window and mishearing the father announce he’s going to blow up a building… because he works in demolitions. How did he miss that part of the conversation? By ducking down and leaning forward not even a foot away from the window. How could he not hear him? You gotta be fucking kidding me with this nonsense.
This episode also has the Mapple shit in it, which is only saved in that I find the main story so much more infuriating. So yeah, Mapple, myPod, Steve Mobbs… How much do these writers get paid? At least in Futurama, they called them eyePhones because they were literally installed into your face. This episode attempts to mock hardcore Apple fan boys, making Lisa one herself, but overall the tone just couldn’t be more fawning and favorable toward the company. It doesn’t feel so much like a parody than more promotion and screen time for Apple products, with Lisa being so enamored by everything (“Such beautiful packaging. I never thought a company could be my soul mate!”) By the end, we see Mobbs in his underwater Mapple base, an all-knowing diety who offers Lisa great compassion. Isn’t Apple… I mean, Mapple, so great? There’s so many things you can poke fun with involving Apple and its crazy fanbase, but the episode doesn’t seem to want to bother. Again, it just feels like an exercise in saying how fucking cool Apple is. One of the worst episodes of the entire series.
Tidbits and Quotes
– I chuckled at the beginning with the mall worker throwing a reindeer in the wood chipper, and the Meet Santa stand being replaced by Meet Martin Luther King, Jr. (“Lunch time!” “Free at last! Free at last!”)
– All the Mapple stuff… I’ve mentioned this before about the show ripping on brands, how it used to be more encompassing. Duff represents all alcohol. Krusty Burger mocks all fast food. Mapple is just… Apple. It makes the jokes and the material so limited; Duff Beer is a parody beverage, but has become an original icon and time-honored staple of the show, while Mapple is Apple with a fucking “M” in front of it.
– For once, I actually liked the way the bullies were handled in this show, ragging on the new kid, until Bart comes to his defense and points out all of their differences, ending up in them just beating themselves up.
– Like most of them of late, the Itchy & Scratchy cartoon runs twice as long as it needs to, and is unfunny.
– “So, now that we’re alone… death to America, right?” Homer’s behavior is downright despicable in this episode, the worst he’s ever, ever acted. Along with his intolerant and offensive comments, he neglects to tell Patty and Selma to vacate the mall he thinks is going to be blown up, then dives underwater to rescue a truckload of beer, but leaves Hans Moleman to his watery grave. Also, he apparently put poison in the American flag cake, so he was going to kill Bashir’s parents, I guess. And he’s never held to task for blowing up the newly constructed bridge, of course. How in the ever loving fuck are we supposed to support or like Homer in any way?
– Funny that Dan Castallaneta voices the Genie in Homer’s dream, having voiced him for the Aladdin TV series and one of those direct-to-video sequels.
– As if the ending isn’t aggravating enough, they have the old mall right across the street from the new one? A mall we’ve never, ever seen before? We’ve always seen the same Springfield Mall for the entire series, now all of a sudden there’s an old one? Maybe at the beginning of the show the family could have gone there, acknowledged it as a dump, and they could have made a joke where they walk across the street to the newer, better mall, which has the Mapple store in it. But now I feel I’m putting too much thought into this. Why should I think when the writers clearly didn’t?