448. Rednecks and Broomsticks

rednecksandbroomsticksOriginal airdate: November 29, 2009

The premise: Lisa stumbles upon a trio of Wiccans, and becomes interested in their beliefs and practices, leading to her having to defend them when the town incurs their own modern day witch hunt. Meanwhile, Homer becomes chummy with Cletus once he discovers he and his fellow hillbillies’ penchant for underground beer brewing.

The reaction: What shocked me most in a lot of the season 20 episodes is how at times there would be no story. Things would be happening on screen, but there was no feel of progression, or meaning, or characters caring about what was happening. This is one of those shows. There’s this stuff about the Wiccans seemingly having powers and making the town go blind (again, expecting us to buy this crap, and wait for the SHOCKING reveal), but there seems to be absolutely zero care in establishing who these characters are, what they do, or what they believe, apart from one or two paltry lines about believing in nature or some bullshit. On that note, Lisa’s affiliation with them, and her departing line where she considers them friends, rings completely hollow since you barely see them in the episode. More time is spent with Homer and Cletus, which at the very least crosses into the main story, serving as our explanation for the mystery. Why are Lisa episodes so damn empty? She used to be such a rich, soulful character. Then again, so did everyone else…

Three items of note:
– On the long drive home, the kids drive Homer and Marge nuts playing a handheld game “Bonk It,” clearly a “parody” of Bop It. But that thing came out in the 90s, I remember seeing commercials for it when I was a kid. Was there a grand Bop It resurgence with a new generation of kids that I don’t know about? Whatever. All I know is they’re playing that thing for over a minute of screen time, which the show in its prime would have used to tell more than one joke.
– Lisa’s skepticism of the Wiccans’ power is absolved when she miraculously gets a substitute teacher on the day she had forgotten to do her art project. Why not? Never explained. Just a plot contrivance. The substitute just keeps screaming “Which craft?!” until it hammers the point home.
– Desperate, sad, pathetic Moe takes an even darker turn, in which he expresses disappointment that Cletus and his fellow hillbillies weren’t planning on gang raping him. I really wish I were making this up.

One good line/moment: A quick shot of Ned’s speed dials, where we see one for the “Nipple-Slip hotline.”

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7 responses to “448. Rednecks and Broomsticks

  1. ‘Lisa changes her personality or beliefs in order to make new friends’ is pretty much a stock Simpsons plot now. The fact that she was so easily swayed into giving up both her Buddhism and her scepticism in this episode rings completely false – a hollow, arbitrary decision.

    Compare this to the excellent characterisation of Lisa in Summer of 4 ft. 2, and it’s clear how far the show has fallen.

  2. Yeah, I think Bop It’s actually did become popular again at some point, I think.

  3. It was popular when I was in 7th grade in 2004.

  4. While the Dell/Hell computer joke was mildly amusing it doesn’t work as the computer looks more like an iMac (NO don’t even say the M word here!) than a Dell even though some Dell computers have unique designs so it shouldn’t have been hard to draw one… WHOOPS!

  5. I liked the gag where after Homer smashes the Simpsons’ Bonk It, an equally annoyed father in a nearby car throws a Bonk It out of his car…and right into Bart and Lisa’s laps.

    Otherwise, pretty crap episode.

  6. The bopit joke was the only thing I remember, indeed I didn’t even recall it was from this episode and I probably only remember it because I own one.
    But for sake of fairness yes, Bopit was still very much around at the time, and is still around now though is rapidly being replaced by games on the mapple my phone :D.

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