Original airdate: November 27, 2011
The premise: After impressing him at a party, Mr. Burns promotes Homer to be the power plant’s “accounts man,” but as he gets more accustomed and overworked in his swank new job title, his family life begins to suffer for it.
The reaction: We love foodies. We love the Ocean’s movies. Now, we love Mad Men. I think? I saw maybe half of the first season, but John Slattery plays what I assume is basically a facsimile of his Mad Men character who is mentoring Homer in his new job of doing nothing but wearing fancy suits and drinking. But before all that, we have an unrelated opening where Krusty throws a party at the Simpson home for his brand of vodka for no real reason. Then, Mr. Burns shows up of his own volition, by himself, and tries to make awkward small talk with guests. Then he does karaoke with Homer and is having a great time. As previously mentioned in “Replaceable You,” very anti-Burns behavior. From seeing Homer making clever small talk with a group of guests, Burns makes him the company accounts man, a job that is never quite explained, which itself is made a joke of. But as the episode goes on, we see that the job is both incredibly easy and uncomplicated, and also is stressing Homer out and overworking him. Maybe we could see the transition that’s not just a meaningless montage for once? But whatever. The ending is pretty stunning. It involves Homer promising to take the family river rafting, and also promising to take Burns and some other investors river rafting as well! So, he’s got to be in two places at once without the other party knowing! Have you ever heard of such a crazy scenario ripe for comic hijinks?! That the show is exhuming such a hacky, played-out sitcom staple like this is bad enough, but the execution is even lamer. The two rafts are running downstream at the same speed and positioning, with a little land divider between them with shrubbery to obscure the view. So Homer jumps ship to go back and forth between the two rafts and neither party seems that suspicious about it. Then it ends with him deciding which raft to save before it goes over a waterfall, because I guess Burns and the four able-bodied adults can’t paddle themselves to safety. And then later Homer falls down the waterfall in a hilarious ending and he’s just fine. The episode ends with Marge expressing gratitude that Homer’s not an ad man anymore, which ultimately means nothing because I still have no idea what that means. What a shit show.
Three items of note:
– The opening bit with Krusty is really dumb, but what’s most annoying is the pathetic set-up/pay-off they do. Krusty has some clown tricks spring-loaded in his trousers. The vodka reps come to talk with him, and Krusty warns him about the spring at the beginning, and then toward the middle. So, yeah, they’re telegraphing that it’s gonna go off at the end of the scene. When it finally does, his dickey flies up at his face, and the seltzer propels him backwards into a brick wall. A wall that’s maybe two feet behind him. Like, it’s literally just out of frame. The visuals and the timing of this joke are so poor and limp, made even worse that they were building this up through the course of an entire scene.
– I guess they couldn’t pad out this story for another two minutes, so we get a thin sliver of a story of Lisa teaching Bart how to read Little Women. He’s caught reading on the playground by the bullies, who then become enraptured by the book. It’s… nothing. It’s completely pointless and not funny, especially compared to similar bits in the past, like from “Homer Loves Flanders” (Moe tearfully reading the same novel) or”Homer vs. Patty & Selma” (the bullies being emotionally touched by Bart’s ballet). Also, remember a few episodes ago when these kids were walking lock step behind Bart in their Teddy Roosevelt crusade? The writers sure don’t.
– There’s a quick bit which has Maggie getting milk drunk, driving and crashing a toy car, then placing the doll passenger in the driver’s seat before leaving. So taking after her daddy, then? Remember when Homer framed his wife for drunk driving and drove her into a fit of anxiety in the exact same fashion? What a wonderful episode.
One good line/moment: I’m struggling a bit writing this 24 hours after I watched this, I forget a lot of it. John Slatterly was like a flat line for me. The DVD title “Drunk Girls Who Signed Waivers” is kinda chuckle-worthy. Sure, let’s go with that.