(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.