433. Gone Maggie Gone

Gone Maggie Gone(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.

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12 responses to “433. Gone Maggie Gone

  1. Re: “their shoebox things” … http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camera_obscura / http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinhole_camera

    Re: the endless Rube Goldberg machine, I thought that was the best part of the episode.

    Re: knowing how to play the organ, while I find it hard to believe, it has been established that she’s a musical prodigy at, like, all instruments, ever (I guess if you know how to play sax, you’re a genius at all music?!).

    …..Actually, all in all, this is a surprisingly clever episode, that — while it has its annoying bits and boring moments — remains mostly entertaining throughout. The puzzles were pretty fun, but I’m a Professor Layton fan, so there’s that. I wasn’t annoyed by Lisa deciphering the clues quickly; it would’ve been boring to see her try to figure these things out while just sitting and thinking endlessly, plus she knew from the get-go that these were puzzles, so she had something to look for in each one.

    One thing I find strange about this episode is the constant shots of character’s apparently looking directly into the “camera” though it’s revealed that they’re talking to someone. This is a joke they did before, with Moe/Barney “you’ll be back… and you.. and you.. and ESPECIALLY you…” But they reuse the joke a few times in this episode, kinda odd.

  2. I think this episode is brilliant. It has puzzles, it has a mystery, everything that makes it be something different than every other episode out there. Is it better than the classic stuff? No. But it definitely ranks up there with 24 Minute and Eternal Moonshine in being some of the best Simpsons episodes ever. If I could just own these 3 episodes by themselves in HD I would be happy. (Upscaled for 24 and Eternal, obviously)

    Anyway, I especially love the ending when Bart sits on the throne. That was just awesome.

    • I’m pretty sure this episode has been available on digital platforms since it aired. (All of Season 20 is; the first non-classic season.) It’s not a season-only purchase, so you can buy this episode and this episode alone. Unfortunately, 17 and 19 aren’t available yet.

  3. The scene where Marge’s retinas burn and she screams in terror makes me cringe. I know it’s a brief bit, but I can’t watch the episode because of it.

  4. There’s a lot of hammy Pixar references this season (and many more to come). Later this season we see Carl Fredricksen’s house. It just screams “Get it! Look what we’re referencing!” Although, there’s a pretty good Ratatouille scene in The Food Wife. It’s a lot more subtle than what we get here.

  5. If I had to choose between the friendly French-Canadian nuns from “Bart’s Friend Falls in Love” and these demons, I’d choose the French-Canadians. Mother Superior was a rub-it-in-your-face bitch! That’s right, I called a nun a bitch (only if the series pushes me far enough). But this episode shows that Marge is far too attached to Maggie (and frantic like a nut about it), to the point of forsaking peace. As for Maggie, from what we’ve seen as of season 9 on onward, she’s anything but of pure-heart to be this “rock-gem”.

    Also, this whole “Bart is the hell-spawn” thing has been pushed far enough. The lyrics are: “Terrorizin’ people wherever I go. It’s not intentional, just keepin’ the flow.”

    • You could call that num from Time Squad a bitch too really.

      • That’s because she was, if you’ve ever seen the show (and I recommend you do, because, like The Simpsons in its glory days, it’s funny in that “looks like a kids’ show, but really has some risque and sometimes subversive content in it.”) What does it say about “The Simpsons” that “Time Squad” was more entertaining in the two years it was on than “The Simpsons” had for the last decade (also Time Squad actually had the balls to do a George W. Bush episode, even if it meant that everyone would lose their jobs over it). I love how Cartoon Network’s show runners have more of a spine than Al Jean and Matt Groening. Maybe that’s why I stopped giving a crap about this show. Hell, even Trey Parker and Matt Stone and even Seth MacFarlane have more balls, even if some of their jokes fall flat or are just an excuse for them to soapbox about an issue.

        [QUOTE]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.”[/QUOTE]

        At least “Last Tap Dance to Springfield” had the act break joke of Kearney fooling Homer into thinking he’s Marge so he can trick him into buying Jack Daniels and cigarettes for him, Dolph, and Jimbo, which is clever when you think about it. Kearney is of the legal age to buy cigarettes and alcohol for himself, so why would he have to trick Homer into doing it for him? Easy — since Dolph and Jimbo are underaged, Kearney buying alcohol and cigarettes for him and them would mean that Kearney would get in trouble for buying cigarettes and alcohol for minors. If he enlists Homer (who is an idiot and tried to get beer for Kearney and his friends before — as seen in “The Springfield Connection”), then Homer takes the fall and Kearney gets away scot-free.

  6. I was amused by the reference to how the farmer would get across the river with the chicken, grane and cow, and “the puzzle done puzzled itself”
    But that was pretty much it.

    it’s sad, most zombie simpsons episodes have no plot, but now one actually does have a plot, it just doesn’t mean anything, which is quite something when talking about a mother reclaiming her lost child and the possible destruction of humanity :d.

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