The premise: Homer ends up bonding with Chief Wiggum during his term of community service, and the two become good friends. Things take a turn, however, when Wiggum takes a near fatal bullet for his new friend in a scuffle with the mob. Meanwhile, Bart becomes obsessed with a new toy craze, only to be misinterpreted by the school staff as him dealing narcotics.
The reaction: Here’s an idea I felt I could go with halfway. I enjoy episodes where we take a closer look at our supporting players, seeing them in a new, semi-serious light. A show involving Wiggum feeling unwanted at home and finding kinship with Homer could work, and in a few moments here, it kind of did. But like many things nowadays, they push it too far, and comment on it whilst doing it. Vulnerable Wiggum? Sure. Wiggum acting like a giddy teenager in love? Nope, that’s too much. By the time he gets shot, it feels like things have been pushed too far. The relationship hasn’t felt strong enough to justify this dramatic of a turn, and then when Wiggum wakes from his coma and starts taking advantage of Homer, it feels out of nowhere, and their little bit of strife feels forced. But I actually did enjoy select parts of their interaction, and as hokey and joke-free as it was, I liked Homer staying by coma Wiggum’s side in the hospital. The closest I’ve come to liking an episode this season… that is to say I didn’t think it was complete and total trash.
Three items of note:
– Marge trying to figure out the gender of the kid whose birthday it is, Homer’s concealed candy apple mistaken for a gun, the initial bonding scene with Homer and Wiggum… I was surprised how much was working in the first half of the episode. Some of the scenes definitely ran longer than they should have, but I at least enjoyed their set-ups.
– The B story is so limp and lackluster. Apparently the toys are a parody of Bakugan Battle Brawlers, something I’ve never heard of, and the idea of surely came from one of the writers seeing his kids playing with them. Last episode we had the hacky soap opera contrivance of a character overhearing others talking bad about them, but this time it’s even worse with Marge listening in on Bart and Milhouse talking about the toys, but sounding like drugs. Oh, but it’s okay, because Marge lampshades it (“Let me just listen to a little more, out of context.”) The plot “ends” when Marge discovers the toys and thinks they’re cool, ergo Bart thinks they’re uncool. Great job, guys, you basically lifted the ending of South Park’s Pokemon episode from over ten years ago.
– In act two, we see Wiggum able to put sugar in his coffee while driving using his tongue. Then in our conclusion, we see him utilize those skills to mess with Fat Tony’s CD changer. At this point, it’s really shocking to see any form of set up/pay off in any of these episodes, so I was really impressed.
One good line/moment: “Chicken parm, meatball parm, eggplant parm, shiska parm, angel food parm, moo goo gai parm, my wife can parm anything.” Also, I’m really really hungry as I write this.