439. Waverly Hills 9021-D’oh!

Waverly Hills 9021-D'oh!(originally aired May 3, 2009)
Another episode that seems to have some kind of premise… it just gets lost in a bunch of meaningless nonsense. Marge happens to witness firsthand what a shithole Springfield Elementary is and ponders what can be done. There happens to be a much better facility in a nearby city, so Homer and Marge decide to rent an apartment there so the kids can attend that school. Where is this? Waverly Hills, an affluent, tropical area with a parody theme by Weezer. Have you guessed what this is a “parody” of yet? The eponymous sign, the various buildings, the city hall, all modeled after actual areas in Beverly Hills. So, is this supposed to be funny or clever that they just Simpsonized this place and replaced some letters in its name? Then we get there, and we barely even focus on the school. We see that it’s very rich and over-the-top, and that Lisa isn’t getting straight A’s like she used to, and rather than embrace a challenge, she whines and bitches about it. And ultimately that’s partly why she wants to leave in the end. Every character is oh so likeable nowadays…

For the back half of the episode, more time is spent not at the school but with Homer, where the gag is that he’s like a single swinging bachelor and Marge is his new girl, who becomes more and more over-involved with his life, like when he gives him a key to his apartment, she cramps his style by redecorating. It’s a cute premise when the two were self-consciously joking about it (“So can I see you again?” “How about you, me and my wife have a two-way?”) But then it just keeps going, and it just feels weird; are they still fucking around or are they believing their ridiculous premise? But whatever, the other time is spent with a ludicrous Lisa story. After spending a bit establishing street cred in Waverly Hills, Bart, for some reason, tries to get Lisa popular, spreading a rumor that she’s best friends with tween pop star Alaska Nebraska. Again, whoever could that be a parody of? It’s not clear why Bart does this, or why Lisa allows the charade to go on so long, or what the point of any of this is, but at the end of the day, we’ve killed twenty minutes, and that’s good enough for this show as it is now.

Tidbits and Quotes
– On her morning walk, Marge is stopped and samples scienceWater. Once again, whatever could this be parodying?
– At the school, Marge sees a classroom with triple-decker desks, just as they will be in the future in “Lisa’s Wedding.” And speaking of random callbacks, in the quick shot of the telemarketing office the teachers work in, the Heimlich maneuver poster of the man choking up a whole lobster is on the wall, as seen in “Homer at the Bat.”
– More random singing, after Homer mocks Bart about losing his elementary school friends, he and Milhouse sing, “Stand By Me.” Why would Milhouse be singing if he’s going to lose Bart?
– And more references instead of actual parody or humor; the city inspector is based on Anton Chigurh from No Country for Old Men, in that it’s just that character. He flips a coin, he uses a captive bolt pistol… there’s no joke other than it’s just this character that you recognize from that movie.
– Skinner is shocked to find Superintendent Chalmers meeting with the Waverly Hills Elementary principal. So was I, considering it seems that Chalmers is living at Springfield Elementary nowadays. This leads to a back-and-forth of the two and their fractured relationship, as if there wasn’t enough gay subtext between them already at this point.
– There’s an endless sequence at the act break of Bart running from Wiggum and the cops, tracking him down for not holding up his side of the bargain of going to Ralph’s birthday party. It’s a minute of pure unleaded time killer, since it has no point to the story at all.
– The Alaska Nebraska shit is completely pointless. There’s plenty to joke about regarding the Disney marketing machine, selling an image to impressionable preteen girls, the vacuous artistic content of these pop icons… but no, there’s literally no commentary about Hannah Montana or any of that stuff at all. It’s just a plot device for a Lisa story that makes absolutely no sense. And it’s subpar MAD magazine-type naming conventions too. Nebraska is voiced by Ellen Page, which makes it even more confusing, since her voice and candor don’t fit the character she’s playing. Is that supposed to be the joke? That she’s a bubbly pop star with a gruff, frank manner of speaking? Except we never see her perform or anything other than the one scene of her backstage. Oh, whatever.
– Homer plays Halo on Xbox! And also has a Wii! Oh wait, don’t you mean Funtendo Zii? Or Ybox? Fuck this shit.
– I love the ending, where we desperately wrap up all the loose ends as quickly and stupidly as possible. There’s really no reason for the Simpsons to go back, but we’ll manufacture some anyway. Lisa needs to escape from the girls who want her blood for lying about the Alaska Nebraska shit, a problem she created herself, Bart has no reason other than a joke, and Homer’s roommates stop by randomly to tell him that they hate him. Status quo, whatever would we do without you?

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13 responses to “439. Waverly Hills 9021-D’oh!

  1. – At the school, Marge sees a classroom with triple-decker desks, just as they will be in the future in “Lisa’s Wedding.”

    You forgot to mention the TOH 5 callback with the dangerously overcrowded classroom DHS did a great bit about those callbacks but i never noticed the poster callback before

  2. I notice you didn’t mention the lame video game objective-esque of waiting for an inspector to prove they live there rather than a more standard bills and documentaation… and also if not-Beverly Hills has shithole parts to it wouldn’t there be bad schools and other poor children about???

  3. Wish I’d known that the inspector was a reference. I thought he was the cleverest thing about the episode, but now that I know he was ripped off from somewhere else, just like every other element of the episode? Terrible.

    I’ll agree that the Homer/Marge plot was the best part (relatively speaking), even though it didn’t make a ton of sense.

  4. Wow, seems like this is the first season where you don’t like even one episode. I guess there is a new bottom to hit after all.

  5. As much as I hate to admit it, ‘Alaska Nebraska’ is much cleverer than their usual change-a-few-letters “parodies”.

    • South Park had a Sadie Dakota poster in the background but any mention would use the real term “Hannah Montanna”.

  6. That’s a legal thing regarding defamation. You can say they were talking about a character Hanaaa Muntayna, but a poster with her name on it makes that claim invalid.

  7. Ever seen Hard Candy? Ellen Page can be pretty damn gruff and evil. And sexy.

    God I hate the NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN reference in this episode. Way to shit on the Coens’ masterpiece, writers…

  8. AManFromDeclan

    What a waste of an episode, Homer and Marge fool around (as usually), while Lisa is treated like crap by a bunch of Caitlins, and a bitch in Disney Channel teeny-bopper clothing. Makes me hate ritzy towns, Hanna Montana, alpha-bitches, and security guards even more.

    Oh and Homer and Marge, always seem to have their canoodling time at the expense of everyone else’s A/B-plots.

    I guess a kinder ending is asking way too much for the HD-era Fox writers’ severe creative inability.

  9. alaska nebraskahad potential and I did like the lipsinking comment, as well as the names of the girls all being varients of “Kaitlin” (doubly amusing given it’s apparently a popular name following game of thrones).

    Also the line from Homer’s Neighbor “this man crush has got bromantic!” is one of my favourite one liners and one my brother and I have parodied on occasion for micky taking the bromance trope.

    In general though, not memorable, heck I didn’t get half of the Beverly hills references being from England, nor the school inspector guy either.
    I remember the days when the simpsons actually had humour even if you didn’t get the references, then again are references funny just for being references if they don’t actually have anything funny about what their referencing? methinks not.

    Again, not the worst but that’s not saying much here.

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