(originally aired May 17, 2009)
So chalk immigration up as one more hot button topic this show clearly can’t handle. This entire episode is so hamfisted and obvious with its points, once again to the point where characters are just flat-out expositing the plot and their changing viewpoints. The show chronicles Springfield’s experience with an influx of immigrants. From where? Neighboring city Ogdenville, whose populous nearly all got laid off following a tainted barley snafu. We’ve seen the Ogdenville Outlet Mall, and of course this is one of the towns Lyle Lanley swindled with his monorail scheme, but now the town is full of Norwegian-esque types, kindly, naive hired hands that the people of Springfield quickly take advantage of. Then we see problems that Springfielders basically create for themselves (Bart getting hurt on his skateboard trying to show up an Ogdenville kid, Homer getting fired for showing up drunk on Aquavit) are blamed on the Ogdenvillians. I know Springfield is filled with idiots, but they should still remain sympathetic and likable to an extent. Marge hands Maggie over to a nanny (why she wants a woman in to clean the house and take care of the baby, her two most valued things in life, is beyond me), and is horrified to find her first words are in “Ogdenvillese;” she kind of made her own bed on that one.
How do we stop Ogdevillians to get in? Set up a border patrol, of course, with the most slovenly, intolerant, idiotic folks imaginable, and their leader will be the dumbest of all… Homer, of course. So it’s like “Homer the Vigilante” again, except not really because there’s barely any screen time devoted to their exploits. All we get to see if that they’re incompetent, and compare their jingoistic outlook to the KKK and the Nazis. Way to be subtle, guys. What’s our grand end-all solution? Build a wall across the border, but because that’s too much work, we’ll have the Ogdenvillians help us do it. While building, we see the two sides talk to one another, and we see how they actually relate to each other and get along real well, in an embarrassingly on-the-nose sequence (even more so when Flanders blatantly says, “Maybe we’re not so different, Sven.”) They finish the wall, then the two sides make up and everybody’s fine. A real head-scratcher; everyone in Springfield is painted in such a bigoted, scornful light, and yet we have a big party at the end. It’s like when they make Homer an intolerable ass and expect you to still like him, but on some of these episodes, that disease has spread to the entire town. No, sir, I don’t like it.
Tidbits and Quotes
– More great “parodies,” as the Simpsons watch “The Drowningest Catch” on the Planet Channel. Though I did chuckle at the two guys being thrown overboard (“It was worth it to be on TV!” “Put our dying screams in the promo!”)
– Apu makes an appearance, because he can eat one of the new barley burgers as a Hindu, then he makes a silly Indian dance and leaves. Remember when Apu was actually a character outside being a convenience store clerk and from a foreign culture we can make fun of?
– So Ogdenville’s entire economy hinged on barley, and every single citizen was a barley farmer? They make things so exaggerated and one note nowadays that it’s impossible to take this kind of stuff seriously.
– So much on-the-nose dialogue (“You know, I’m glad you’ve come here to take all the jobs we don’t want to do. Can’t have too much of a good thing.” “This Ogdenville influx has been great for everybody!”)
– Homer shows up to work drunk, and gets fired. He then blames the Ogdenvillians for getting him drunk somehow. And Marge sympathizes (“Oh, poor Homey. And you with your alcoholism!”) I guess her being a spineless enabler is funny?
– Another Pixar reference as we see Carl’s flying house from Up float by behind Lenny and Carl. That’s really all it is, a reference, reminding me I could actually be watching far, far, faaaaaar better things than this piece of shit.
Season 20 Final Thoughts
And so, we reach the end of our final season. For almost an entire year, I’ve watched as this series I love so much has descended into that shallowest possible version of itself, and shockingly, it just keeps getting worse and worse each season. As such, season 20 boggled my mind. Boatloads of expository dialogue, inept attempts at humor, scatter shot characterization, the problems with these episodes are incredibly numerous. What shocked me was how many of these shows seemed so vacuous and devoid of anything really… happening. Things would happen in them, sure, but none of it seemed to really follow with any story or theme, or seem to have any purpose whatsoever. A lot of it just felt like twenty minutes of white noise. We’ve gone from the greatest show on television, and it’s been eaten away to… nothing. A show of just… nothing. I remember being quite beaten down after the run of HD shows when I first watched them. The thought of stopping had crossed my mind, but it was becoming more of a likely possibility after the finale. But I just wasn’t ready to quit. I’d give them another chance with season 21, I thought. However, as it turned out, my tenure would soon be up.
…yep, it finally happened. Out of the twenty-one episodes this season, I honestly can’t say I enjoyed any of them. That’s a good enough telltale sign that this would be my last season.
“Mypods and Boomsticks,” “Lisa the Drama Queen,” “Take My Life, Please,” “How the Test Was Won,” “Wedding for Disaster”