Original airdate: January 8, 2017
The premise: Homer gets Plopper the pig registered as a therapy animal. Meanwhile, Marge pushes a purge-happy lifestyle on the family, leaving Lisa so anxiety-ridden she gives up her sax.
The reaction: It’s pretty obvious the only real cultural footprint The Simpsons Movie left behind was Spider-Pig, and in hindsight, I’m pretty surprised they didn’t try to ride the popularity of the character into the series in some way, aside from a brief cameo here and there. So, ten years post-movie, scraping the bottom of the idea barrel, we have our Spider-Pig episode. It turns out the piggy has had his own sty in the Simpsons backyard all this time, which would be pretty insulting if I didn’t care so little. Marge urges Homer to give away the animal, but he is resistant, going so far as to register him as a therapy animal. So he and Plopper are thick as thieves once again, so why did this take so long? It’s unclear how much time has passed since the events of the movie, but that doesn’t really even matter. It’d be one thing if the joke was that Homer neglected this thing he liked and is now overcompensating because Marge pushed him to get rid of Plopper, but that’s not it at all. Homer loved Plopper in the movie, the pig was in the yard neglected for x amount of time, now he loves it again. No matter. Homer takes his beloved to a company picnic, where the hounds get loose and attack him. It’s a seemingly dramatic moment where the dogs really get their jaws into that poor pig, but once they flee, Plopper looks slightly tired, and there’s like a couple of weird rip marks on his back, looking more like torn paper than flesh. I’m not expecting to see a horrifically bloodied pig corpse, but what you’re showing me doesn’t make much sense. So for two times in three epsodes Homer is in prime position to sue Mr. Burns, but Burns counters to offer to heal the pig on his property medical center. Then he himself falls in love with the little porker, then Homer has to save him from Burns Manor, and Smithers lets him because he feels jealous. Yawn. Homer and Plopper are reunited, and I’m sure he’ll go right back to being completely absent for many years to come. I understand Plopper being used as desperate pandering to something from the show actually becoming popular, but ten years later? Who exactly is this for at this point?
Three items of note:
– The B-plot features Marge adopting the KonMari method of cleaning, going through each one of your possessions and determining if it gives you joy, and if not, throwing it out. Lisa takes this to an obsessive degree, completely clearing out her entire room save for her saxophone, but then she ends up second guessing whether she even enjoys that, turning her back on jazz altogether. You’d think that a crisis in faith like this would have demanded more screen time, but I’m sure that an entire episode of this would have been even more embarrassing. This feels like another passive aggressive Marge story, who seemingly didn’t bat an eye when Lisa cleared out her entire room and all her furniture, or do anything to rectify her daughter’s situation up until the very end. Bart does the heavy lifting, restoring Lisa’s love of music by playing her demo tape over the school PA. After that, we see Lisa playing air saxophone, with Marge standing in her doorway, asking, “Now what’s wrong?” She says this with a very forceful nature, like she’s fed up with her daughter’s complaining. Her daughter who threw away all her possessions and has been living in a completely empty room with no bed for at least a couple of days. She also had a panic attack in the middle of the episode, so I indirectly hold Marge responsible for that as well. In the end, it turns out that Marge never threw anything away and kept everything in a storage locker, including Lisa’s sax. Does that include all of Lisa’s furniture as well? What am I supposed to make of this? Why has Marge been kind of a bitch over the last few seasons?
– There’s a joke near the beginning that really confuses me. Bart thinks back to a prank he pulled on Skinner. After removing all of his car door handles, Bart pumps Squishee drink into his car after he gets in it, causing it to flood. As the car almost fills all the way up, Skinner laments, “Why did I wear Mother’s blouse today?” What’s the joke here? I honestly don’t know. Was he walking around in a blouse with his legs exposed… so the Squishee covering his bare legs make it even colder and more uncomfortable? That’s the closest I can get. Any other explanations are welcome. But don’t strain yourself over it.
– Homer has a Family Guy-esque cutaway fantasy when Marge mentions the Mayo Clinic, featuring mayonnaise jars as doctors. Yup. Mayo Clinic. Mayonnaise. This show has won hundreds of awards for its writing, and not only did this joke make it to air, I guess they were so tickled by it, they give it thirty more seconds at the end for the vestigial fourth act. Anything to kill time, I guess.
One good line/moment: BLANK.