453. Boy Meets Curl

boymeetscurlOriginal airdate: February 14, 2010

The premise: Homer and Marge’s marriage gets a new spark when they take up interest in curling. They partner up with Skinner and Agnes, and eventually are invited to try out for the Winter Olympics upon its admission of the sport to their games. Tensions arise when Agnes wants to urge Homer off the team, and later Marge sprains her shoulder to cover for him during a game. But then they bounce back and win the gold! Hoooraaaay… whoooo carrrees…

The reaction: Curling… my God. The scenes during the games attempting to play for drama are hysterical, they must be intentional. Could this be any more dull? I guess this is another of their gimmicky, attempting-to-stay-relevant episodes, as it aired during the Winter Olympics, and mixed curling was up for being included (results: it wasn’t). Homer and Marge try out curling, and of course instantly become good at it, enough to get selected to try out in the motherfucking Olympics, apparently. So they go to Vancouver, Agnes wants to throw Homer off the team for some reason, more tensionsless scenes of curling, blah blah blah blah… and then they win, and everything’s great. So are they going to the actual winter games now? Yawn. Long gone are the days of the Simpsons being lovable failures, I guess. Watching underdogs in believable situations is a lot more entertaining than characters who succeed at the most gargantuan of tasks. Oh, and there’s also a B-story about Lisa being addicted to collectible pins and acting like a crackhead. What a pile of nothing this show is.

Three items of note:
– So I guess we’ve retconned Skinner again where we see he is Agnes’ biological son, in an absolutely disturbing image of unborn Seymour kicking her from inside, with a little foot jutting from her stomach… in slow motion. Has any other characters’ past been rewritten so much? And just as we’ve seen with Krusty, Burns and many others, at the end we get Agnes acting wildly out of character; she tells her son she’s so, so proud of him, in a completely saccharine, irony-free moment of “emotion.” Where did this come from? And why? And did they literally make a reference to Shaq taunting Kobe Bryant with Agnes taunting Norway, “Tell me how my ice tastes?” I feel… so unclean.
– Bob Costas gets a lot of lines here as himself, but none of his lines are funny, and none of them really form him into any kind of character. Remember when James Taylor, Stephen Jay Gould and Jasper Johns were inexplicably assholes? That certainly doesn’t happen anymore; everything on this show must now be held with the kiddiest of kid gloves.
– It feels like so little happens in these shows because there’s so much goddamn padding… all the montages, the hallucination with the medicine lady, the Curlys bit (which felt soooo long, the writers must have been real proud of themselves for that one, “Curling… it sounds like Curly!”) and that end bit with the stupid upside down Homer muzzle thing. It was kind of like the random bit of Lisa skating to “Season of the Witch” and the end of “Rednecks and Broomsticks,” like with so little story, they still came in short and had to pad twenty more seconds.

One good line/moment: Another sign gag at the ice rink (Thursday: Clockwise Night). It seems that sign gags are the only card the show has up its sleeve anymore, normally they’re the only things that work in these shows.

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6 responses to “453. Boy Meets Curl

  1. The Skinner retcon is mind-boggling, really. It’s worse than “not caring” at this point, but it feels they’re purposely doing this stuff to piss off viewers.

    This episode also has one of the most blatant “make sure all of our dumb viewers got the joke” instances. I actually thought they had something funny going on with Bart making an Olympic mascot out of a photo of Homer, but not only do they show the whole process of Bart making the pin, but in the end they have that whole dance with Homer and the mascot… then close-up of Homer’s chin and turn over the screen. As if we didn’t already figure it out. Just show Bart starting the first cut on the photo, then jump to the next scene with him trading the pin for the pearls. It would have worked without treating the viewers like morons.

    And this episode was written by… Hoo boy, Rob LaZebnik. He’ll get one episode each upcoming season, and take a guess, they’re all terrible.

  2. I agree that when the the show tries to be serious these days, it just doesn’t work either being out of character or just an afterthought (usually both). With a handful, but there isn’t any honest warmth in these sorts of scenes that the first decade of the show managed to pull off while being memorably funny to boot.

    I really don’t have an objection with them attempting a curling episode. After all, bowling isn’t the most exciting sport but it made for a solid episode in “Team Homer” thanks to actual effort put into the core drama and that the episode never felt completely bereft of comedy. Even the climax of that one had an mostly farcical climax and a cruelly funny turn of fate at the very end.

    So we’ve gone from Homer not even being allowed to win a bowling trophy to an irony-free climax of being awarded a gold medal at the Olympic games? D’oh!

  3. Well said about sign gags, I’ve noticed this too. A terrible episode. Terrible writers.

  4. “It seems that sign gags are the only card the show has up its sleeve anymore, normally they’re the only things that work in these shows.”

    That’s because they’re short jokes that don’t always require a lot of context. That’s become my problem with the show, especially as of late. They’ll occasionally have funny jokes, but never funny scenes. That was very untrue of classic Simpsons.

  5. “So I guess we’ve retconned Skinner again where we see he is Agnes’ biological son, in an absolutely disturbing image of unborn Seymour kicking her from inside, with a little foot jutting from her stomach… in slow motion. Has any other characters’ past been rewritten so much?”

    And that pisses me off because I’m one of the few that actually LIKED the twist in “The Principal and the Pauper”.

    • Considering Agnus is basically Skinner only wrinkly the twist is already stupid imho but the princial and the pauper was still a funny episode despite the dramatic twist

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