Original airdate: October 11, 2015
The premise: After finding out their father died of lung cancer, Patty and Selma decide to finally give up smoking, but this of course is easier said than done. Meanwhile, Maggie has a solo adventure with some happy little animal friends.
The reaction: For whatever reason, we’ve never really known all that much about Marge’s father. Outside of “The Way We Was” and “Fear of Flying,” there’s barely been any mention of him at all. It sure would be nice to learn some more about the Bouviers, but at this point, I don’t really expect much of anything from this show anymore. Case in point: Jacqueline Bouvier finally admits to her children that their father died of lung cancer, and never told Patty and Selma about it because smoking made them look cool. And that’s the end of the discussion. Does this sound normal to you? So this is seemingly a Patty and Selma episode, something we haven’t seen in a long time, but thanks to a time consuming B-plot, there’s really not much to it at all. After they go cold turkey, we get a scene of them at the DMV, and it actually wasn’t that bad. Seeing these two characters talk to each other and going through a story was novel, and I wanted to see more. Turns out Selma quickly went back to smoking, then we get a quick cut of Patty leaving to live with the Simpsons. After that, we have Selma alone in the apartment as she exposits to herself what her dilemma is and what she has to do (“Who am I kidding? The one I should be talking to is the one who’s always been there for me.” “Looks like I have a choice to make.”) As we get to the second half, their story’s time is monopolized by our side plot of Maggie hanging with cute little animals and trying to save a possum from Cletus. Titled “Maggie’s Extraordinary Animal Adventure” and with its own chapter title cards, they’re clearly trying to make a new “The Longest Daycare,” but that just makes it feel that much more derivative. It’s kinda cute, I guess, but almost completely bereft of laughs. The climax involving the troupe fighting a big dog is just a fight scene; no subversion, no twist, no real gags, it’s just straight forward and boring. It’s odd that in an episode featuring a major life change with two important secondary characters, we get this completely isolated B-plot to eat up as much time as possible. Considering Patty and Selma are harder to write for (ergo why we see them so infrequently), I guess it shouldn’t be so surprising. And by the end, none of it matters: the two go back to smoking in the last scene, for no real reason other than they have to. Status quo forever!!
Three items of note:
– Selma’s daughter Ling continues to be nothing more than an easily forgotten prop. Our last Selma show featured her marriage to Fat Tony, where she barely appeared whatsoever. Here, we see Selma feeling sad and lonely in her apartment without Patty, so her solution is to phone up some booty calls. Wouldn’t it make sense to have part of them wanting to give up smoking because it would be less endangering to Ling? But again, out of sight, out of mind. We see her at Jacqueline’s birthday party, and then not at all afterwards. Even worse, we see her in the photographs that Selma is longing for, but her name doesn’t even leave her mouth in talking out loud to herself. They might as well have figured out some way to write her out of the show considering they keep neglecting to acknowledge her.
– At Jacqueline’s birthday party, Mr. Burns randomly shows up to woo her over, with celebrity guest Yo-Yo Ma. Shortly after that, he admits that he only wanted to cock block Abe and leaves. Does this count as fan service? If you hadn’t seen “Lady Bouvier’s Lover,” what would you make of this bit?
– When Homer accidentally walks into the shower on Patty, he freaks out and pours bleach into his eyes. Later, he does the same to Bart as he’s about to walk in. He does this about two more times, and then he also pours bleach into his ears too. I guess this got big laughs, or something. Heh heh heh… well, you all know what laughter sounds like.
One good line/moment: I did get a surprise laugh out of the randomness of the parrot among the critters being Duffman’s. Although they do a gag at the end where he returns talking like Cletus, and Duffman calls him a cracker. What’s that about? Is Duffman not “white”? I just assumed he was just super bronze/tanned.