547. Luca$

Original airdate: April 6, 2014

The premise:
Lisa starts spending time with a little fat boy, which leads Marge to worry she might end up with an overweight loser of a partner just like she did. Meanwhile, Bart protects Snake from the cops, and he returns the favor by stealing a bunch of stuff for him, much to Mihouse’s jealousy.

The reaction: Just when I said last episode was the worst I’ve seen in terms of repetitive expository dialogue, here comes another hearty contender. It’s become yet another shortcoming of this show that I feel like I have to stop bringing up again and again, it’s just what the show is now. “Tell, not show” is this series’ mantra now. Lisa meets this kid Lucas, an earnest failure who wants to be a competitive eater, and thankfully we have Lisa’s brain to tell us exactly what she’s feeling (“Aww, he’s sweet. …what am I doing? He’s just Ralph with a dream! But I’m sure I could totally change and fix him.”) What? So Lucas comes by the house and the two just kinda hang out, with Lisa seeming to barely tolerate him. Marge and her sisters are watching them in the backyard, with Patty and Selma taking swipes at his poor kid for being fat, and chiding Marge that her daughter’s going to end up with an obese tub of lard just like her, which felt incredibly mean-spirited and vindictive for them to say. Then the episode completely switches gears, leaving Lucas behind to become a Homer-Marge show. Marge proposes Homer taking Lisa out to dinner to improve their relationship, and after Homer talks about all the things he wants to do, Marge replies, “Homer, you can’t just do the things you want to do!” This is later followed by Homer speaking more of the plot (“She might marry someone like me? You think that might be bad!”) The whole show is just filled with people just saying what they’re thinking or currently doing or what they previously just did. Our ending involves Marge crashing Homer and Lisa’s dinner date to apologize. She takes him over to a corner of the restaurant, then takes off her coat to reveal a fancy, sexy dress, then stands over a convenient grate to have it billow further up her legs. I guess we’re supposed to forget that their daughter is a few feet away and can see all of this. Marge claims she sold her sewing machine to buy the dress, and Homer makes some kind of reference to Project Runway. I honestly do not understand what this is about. And this is our conclusion. What is this? This show is all about over explaining, but for this bit, I feel like it’s the opposite.

Three items of note:
– The B-story is just as inane. When Bart gets Chief Wiggum off of Snake’s trail, he repays him by stealing a bunch of stuff for him. The sympathetic angle played to Bart, and later Milhouse, is Snake’s excuse for robbing to be able to support his son. So was this all a lie? Is there some kind of parallel between Bart and Snake’s son, any repercussions to Snake favoring one over the other? Nah, not really. Milhouse gets jealous and turns Snake in, but then Bart ends up saving him. Except not really, he gets out by Wiggum and Lou’s (?) utter incompetence. Like more so than normal, to an insulting degree. The story just ends with Snake explaining what “suicide by cop” means, and then that’s it. I guess any conclusion is good enough, I guess.
– There’s a whole two minute sequence at the beginning explaining how Homer got stuck in a big playground coil. All I could think of is how It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia did the same gag, but realized it’s even funnier (and less time consuming) to just show a character in that predicament and not explain it.
– I thought the title “Luca$” would actually mean something, like the kid was rich, or something to do with money, but Luca$ is actually the kid’s would-be competition name. It’s weird that we got this and “Diggs” within the same season, two episodes named after new kid characters for no discernible reason other than they seemed just not to bother coming up with any other title.

One good line/moment: There’s a running gag toward the end where Homer and Lisa’s daddy/daughter date is sometimes talked and treated like a real date date, like when Homer nervously calls his daughter with the guys at Moe’s egging him on, or later when Marge arrives, Homer treats her as if she were a jealous ex. That stuff starts to come across pretty creepy, pretty quickly. But the sequence of Homer and Lisa at the restaurant having a good time and genuinely enjoying each other’s company was pretty adorable. Homer really wasn’t that buffoonish and insane this episode; he reacts understandably hurt at Marge’s insulting dig toward him, and puts 100% into his dinner with Lisa, which only serves to make Marge look like even more of a bitch for the way she acts.

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8 responses to “547. Luca$

  1. Add “Snake and Bart in cahoots” as one of the premises I’d have loved to see explored in the classic era. Shame it seems to have gone to waste here.

  2. The Project Runway bit was essentially a promotion. There was an episode of Project Runway that had Marge as a model and the contestants designed a dress for her, and the winning dress was on the show.

    You can sort of tell it was shoe-horned into this Luca$ script where the main plot is essentially derailed to find an excuse for this dinner date between Homer and Marge

  3. At the beginning of the Minecraft opening sequence, there is a text written “Parodies Are Easy”.
    Coming from this show, this is hilarious.

  4. Mike, which do you think is worse? An episode that is boring or one that is completely forgettable? I ask because while Diggs was indeed boring, this one was forgettable. I didn’t even remember it existed until I read your description of it and was like, “OH yeah, I remember this one now.”

  5. The “Cuts of the Potato” thing there is pretty clever/amusing. Maybe the show should just be a cavalcade of funny signs.

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