(originally aired March 15, 2009)
I guess this is the series’ lampoon on The Da Vinci Code and National Treasure for being too silly. Once again, guys, pot to kettle. At least I didn’t feel as aggressively annoyed as I was during the last couple of bombs, this one’s just kind of innocuous and boring. Following a sequence of dumb events, Maggie is left on the doorstep of a Catholic church, and brought up by nuns, who refuse to give her back to a befuddled Homer. So… call the police? Or, we’ll have Lisa masquerade as a nun to infiltrate and rescue her. She’s immediately sidelined from her mission by a mystical quest for some ancient gem or something. Then we get smarty-pants Lisa who is oh-so-satisfied with herself as she solves clues and narrates them as she does it. Within seconds, she can decipher Latin, play the organ and recognize patterns and riddles, and I think we can agree nothing is more entertaining than a story about problem solving where our lead character instantly deciphers clues and is incredibly pompous while doing it.
During her sleuthing, Lisa encounters Skinner and Comic Book Guy, who are part of some mystery group or something who tell her the history of the gem: it’s been sought after since colonial times, so much so that the Revolutionary War was just a cover so the Americans and English could uncover it before the newly arrived nuns could. I’m not so bothered by this; it’s just silly enough to be funny to see King George and George Washington play acting fighting each other while they search for the treasure. Long-time Freemason Burns gets in on the action, and eventually it’s concluded that the “gem” is actually Lisa. As if her head wasn’t big enough, she returns to the church as smug as ever, but finds she decrypted it wrong: Maggie is the chosen one, and her placement on the throne brings instant peace and happiness to the town of Springfield. Until Marge takes her away and everything goes back to normal. It’s a conflicting ending, one I felt could have been more satisfying if there was more focus on the Marge-Maggie relationship, in place of Marge being rendered blind when an eclipse literally burns her eyes. Goddammit.
Tidbits and Quotes
– The CG with the Earth and the moon actually looks pretty good, mostly because they’re just frigging spheres. I chuckled at the bats fleeing the Washington Monument, and the solar car stopping on the tracks, and almost being hit by a solar train.
– So the Simpsons are ready to see the eclipse through their shoebox things, and of course Homer breaks his. Feeling bad for her petulent man child, Marge gives hers up, and Homer rubs the majesty in her face (“We’ll be talking about this together for years! I finally feel like part of a family!”) Then Marge looks directly at the eclipse, and we literally see her eyes burn. Wonderful. That’s even more disgusting than Homer’s eyes crusting over in “Last Tap Dance in Springfield.”
– There’ve been a lot of Pixar references as of late. We had Homer’s horrible honey-less future dream with a WALL-E knockoff, now we have him re-eanct Ratatouille with a rat controlling him in his rat-infested kitchen. Not only does he openly reference the movie, but he narrates what’s happening as it happens. If I were Brad Bird, I’d be very disappointed.
– Homer runs his car off the bridge and down by the river, completely totaling it. He then gets out and then goes into figuring out how he’s going to get across. No injuries, no wailing about his destroyed car, just keep pushing the stupid plot forward.
– I hate everything about Lisa’s sleuthing. Though I did laugh at the endless Rube Goldberg device that even she gets bored waiting for. The CG on the machine and later on the Springfield sign also aren’t too bad.
– After the world goes tranquil, we see the prison warden tell the executioner to just set the electric chair to “massage.” He was previously voiced by Charles Napier; I think it’s Azaria doing him here, but he’s not even trying to do a sound alike. Napier was still alive, and I can understand if they didn’t want to bring him in for one line. So then, make it another character, or have one of your actors do a Napier impression. Or, do neither of those things, because who gives a shit.