434. In the Name of the Grandfather

In the Name of the Grandfather(originally aired March 22, 2009)
Yet another travel episode… yawn. This was a pretty anticipated episode, airing overseas days before it aired here, a first for the series. At least it didn’t seem quite as offensive as past travel shows, instead it was just boring and uninspired. The Simpsons forget about their special day with Grampa for the umpteeth time, and promise to make it up to him. So, it’s off to Ireland in the blink of an eye! Grampa wishes to revisit the bustling tavern he visited back in his army days, only to find it’s been practically abandoned in the new modern age Ireland. The innkeeper is delighted to have Homer and Grampa’s business though, and after a drunken night, manages to stick the two with the deed, leaving him scot-free. Determined to turn the place around, they ship in Moe in a crate (no really) to determine how to run a successful bar… why Moe’s is considered successful, I’m not sure. They allow smoking, which is illegal, and of course they’re caught, and the charge is deportation, so that’s another country they’re banned from returning to.

The “satire” here is so softball. They don’t even get on the ground in Ireland before showing the pilots, donned in green with shamrocks. We get plenty of references to leprechauns, Guinness, the Blarney Stone… my goodness, how lazy. And when all else fails, puns! Marge and the kids go sight-seeing, which kills time, but most focus is on Homer and Grampa and their eventual new ownership. I’ve noticed a big issue with episodes this season is that every plot turn must be openly narrated by a character, and it’s a particularly big offense here. “What can’t people do in bars in Ireland?” “Look, smoking isn’t allowed in bars in Ireland!” “Well, then we’ll open a smoking bar in Ireland!” That’s barely an exaggeration, that’s pretty much the dialogue. And it’s so ridiculous, they allow smoking in the bar, and through the windows you can clearly see the billows of smoke. Any cop walking by would shut it down immediately, but it’s open just long enough so we can show it’s getting successful. And ultimately, what’s the point? Homer and Grampa succeed by breaking the law, then nothing happens to them, per Simpson immunity. And the judge is Mr. Potato Head. Yawn. Another lifeless outing. I hope the Irish were happy with it.

Tidbits and Quotes
– The Simpsons flopping like fish out of water is one of those gags where they felt they let it run so long it would be funny… but it really just runs too long.
– I don’t get the Kathy Ireland bit at all. They show her, and have big text on the screen describing how that’s not her voice, she didn’t want to do the show, and best wishes. Two possibilities: she simply said no, and the writers got in a huff (“How dare someone not want to do our show!”) and this was their petty “vengeance.” Or, a more adamant no regarding her voice or likeness, and this was their idea of a compromise. But whatever the reason, the joke is completely toothless and fucking terrible.
– I’m sure the writers were really pleased with “yupp-rechauns.” And the goddamn puns… The Simpsons drive past upscale Irish stores like Colleen Secret and Mac’s Fifth Avenue, those are bad enough. Then they’re highlighted as jokes: Hewlett Fitzpackard, Mick-rosoft, Cisc O’Systems. Enough. Enough with the fucking puns.
– I kind of enjoyed the Giant’s Causeway gag being like the layout of Q-Bert, but maybe only because I enjoyed the seemingly obscure reference. Or maybe just because it made me think of Wreck-It Ralph.
– Lisa sneaks into the brewing room at Guinness to see the secret ingredient… why would she do that? It would make sense for Homer, but he’s not there. But why not Bart?
– When they run out of actual Irish landmarks, they make ones up: McEllis Island, with their own Statue of Liberty… a leprechaun holding a pot of gold and a shamrock. Come on, you guys… Then later Moe announces he’s going to look for his long lost relative based on a photo… on a Lucky Charms box. Come on, you guys…
– The only thing I chuckled at were the cops vacuuming up the smoke at the bar into evidence bags, then holding one full bag up to camera.

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13 responses to “434. In the Name of the Grandfather

  1. And — wouldn’t you know it — they had ANOTHER episode in the current season where the entire plot is jumpstarted by them forgetting grandpa’s special day.

  2. Maybe I’m nitpicking, but the expressions on Homer and Grandpa in that picture don’t seem to fit what they’re doing. They look drunk, sure, but they hardly seem to notice they’re balancing on those barrels.

  3. Why didn’t they just impersonate Kathy Ireland seeing as it’s just for 1 (bad) line??? :/ It’s like that Dennis Miller credit back in TOH 12 in Season 13.

  4. I haven’t seen this episode, but this looks pretty much the same as the Family Guy with the Drunken Irish Dad.

  5. “I kind of enjoyed the Giant’s Causeway gag being like the layout of Q-Bert, but maybe only because I enjoyed the seemingly obscure reference. Or maybe just because it made me think of Wreck-It Ralph.”

    Anything that makes me think of Wreck-It Ralph is going to make me smile. 🙂

    This is another Season 20 episode I caught, and I remember just being bored out of my skull with it. Yawn, another vacation episode where they do the laziest stereotypes imaginable wrapped around a dull plot nobody cares about. And yeah, the fish-flop thing went on way too damn long. But I actually did get one laugh out of this one (“So, it’s our syntax you’re criticizin’, then?”).

  6. See, I’m Irish (and also queer) so this episode was personally offensive.

    It’s lazy in an unbelievable way. I understand getting the bus colour wrong, but not checking the time it’d take to get from Dublin to the Causeway and back? 4 hours to get there, couple hours there, 4 hours back. And they come back on a London bus and it’s still bright outside. Wonderful.

    The whole no smoking in pubs thing is also pretty stupid since most bars have uncovered beer gardens where you can smoke, so that plot falls apart with any minor thought.

    Oh and haha gay people who are leprechauns. Funny. Ireland is still pretty homophobic, I’ve had people stare at me when I was with boyfriends. Implying that everyone’s progressive over in Ireland is just wrong.

    Also, the Blarney stone gag makes no sense, Guinness is delicious, the Ulysses walk is a pretty cool thing that Lisa would be fascinated by, and Mick is a slur. Basic stuff guys.

    I did laugh at one of the billboards, though. “U2 Removals, We Move In Mysterious Ways”.

  7. Blech. Around here, this has probably been the most showed episode since it entered syndication.

    It’s terrible how so many stations have a catalog of hundreds of episodes, but they’ll only show the last 3-5 seasons. Someone at my Fox affiliate has been sneaking the occasional older episode into the middle of a Zombie season lately – I’ve seen ones from seasons 5 and 8; last night was Burns’ Heir – but that just causes whiplash more than anything.

    • My local station only ran episode from the past few years as well. The earliest we ever got in years was a season 13 episode.

      Now they don’t even show The Simpsons anymore and show paid programming in its place.

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