652. I’m Dancing As Fat As I Can

Original airdate: February 10, 2019

The premise:
When he’s put in the doghouse for binge watching a Netflix show without Marge, Homer tries to make amends by taking dance classes to impress her.

The reaction: Apparently this premise was based on real-life strife with Al Jean and his wife Stephanie Gillis, so I guess this episode is almost like their form of couples therapy. Before leaving to visit her ailing aunt, Marge instructs Homer to not binge watch the newest season of Netflix’s “Odder Things” (groan), but eventually he breaks down and gives into his temptations. Marge returns and is absolutely furious, being cold and abrasive toward Homer for the duration of the episode. I understand that this is pulled from real life (there are many shows that my wife and I must watch together), and I get it’s exaggerated, but the “conflict” just feels so meaningless. Am I supposed to care about stakes here? I mean, I haven’t for many, many years now, so I guess why bother worrying about them now? Homer finds out Marge also binges a lot of dance competition shows, so he decides to learn how to dance to win her back. He works a lot with a teacher, and then at the end of the show, he invites Marge out to a big party with all their friends, woos her with his dancing skills… and then that’s it. The episode’s over. It’s played 100% straight, with shots of the crowd cheering, Homer and Marge looking lovey-dovey at each other, and we fade to black on their embrace, right before the unrelated tag before the credits. What a knee slapper, huh? Am I supposed to be so touched by the sweet, loving relationship of these characters I love so much that I am just enthralled by this non-ironic ending? Given the low-impact impetus of their strife, and how little I give a shit, I can’t imagine how anyone could feel a thing by this conclusion. Except for Jean and Gillis, I guess. I hope they had a nice dance after he binged season 2 of The Crowd or whatever.

Three items of note:
– So Netflix gets name dropped constantly, and the CCO of Netflix appears as himself, but the show in question is still “Odder Stuff.” The D-grade MAD Magazine style name “parodies” we’ve been getting for the past fifteen-plus years. Why do they do this? Do they think that making the reference non-specific that’ll make it time-less, despite using Stranger Things music and iconography? They even mention the Guffer (Duffer) Brothers; with all of this shit we’ve seen over and over, am I supposed to laugh that they changed one letter of the real noun, or the fact that they looked up the entries of “Stranger” and “Things” in a thesaurus? Also, Stranger Things doesn’t really feel like a show that Marge would be into, I don’t feel. And even weirder to think, thanks to the show’s floating timeline, in the early 80s when Stranger Things is set, Homer and Marge would have been infants, so they’re not even like the adults now who get nostalgic over their 80s childhoods.
– Characters in this show using modern technology always feels off to me, and then even more jarring on top of it is when they act like new tech acts like old tech. Seeing the kids are watching “Odder Things,” Homer frantically changes the panel to Not-BoJack Horseman (“Too depressing,” he comments. Zing!) But you couldn’t just “change the channel” on the streaming service. Could they not have had like a quick menu pop up where he switches to a different show or something? This really feels like nitpicking, but it just makes jokes like these feel even lazier and less thought out. In a similar vein, Homer finishes off his illicit binge-watching, with the TV displaying a giant “END OF SEASON 2.” Marge returns home, and Homer frantically turns the TV off. Sensing the set is still warm, Marge turns the TV back on, and the end-of-season message is still there. The Netflix app would need to be restarted when you turn the TV on, unless it were like on a separate cable box he didn’t turns off or something. Again, nitpicking, but it seems so half-hazardly done. They could have had Marge excited to watch the new season, and Homer nervously spout out a spoiler and nervously have to cover himself up, and the secret being revealed… but that seems like it’d be a lot harder to write, so fuck it.
– Apparently they had a woman from So You Think You Can Dance as a choreographer on this episode, who I guess gave her expertise to all of the dance sequences. This feels like more evidence that I was supposed to be entertained and impressed by Homer and Marge’s big dance at the end. It wasn’t supposed to be funny, it was supposed to be important and heartwarming… Ugh. So glad there’s gonna be 2+ more seasons of this kind of stuff!

One good line/moment: The bit with Homer writing notes on cards to Marge after saying she doesn’t want to hear his voice was kind of cute (“Enough with the rebuses!”)

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14 responses to “652. I’m Dancing As Fat As I Can

  1. I have literally nothing original to say about this completely disposal episode. Another one for the pile, I guess! Those two additional seasons should be well worth the money that Fox could be investing into newer shows of better quality *sighs*.
    Out of curiosity (having read through your impressive backlog of reviews), what would you say are your top ten worst episodes of the show? I fully understand if this is a frustrating choice (considering how numerous and forgettable the Jean-era episodes are), but are there are specific episodes you can recall being among the absolute worst of the series (or potentially the true ‘worst’ episode)? I suspect that a number of season 28 episodes (“There Will Be Buds”?) may factor heavily into your choices.

  2. Wow this sounds like studio-mandated schmaltz. By the way, I’ve seen screenshots for next episode and Homer has hair. You know what that means… another fucking flashback episode! Woop-dee-doo!

    • “The Clown Stays In The Picture: Krusty reveals the untold story of his past in his movie “The Sands of Space”; while working as personal assistants on the movie, Bart and Lisa learn about the early years of their parents’ relationship.”

      So yes, anther fucking flashback episode.

  3. The Simpsons twitter account put out a post prior to the episode airing hyping up all the extensive dance choreography work that went into it. I mean…does anyone care about this aspect of the show? Make with the laffs, people.

  4. Man, this season started out so good (at least by modern Simpsons standards) and now it’s like it is getting worse with each episode. There were a lot of funny parts, such as when Homer comes into work and everyone is talking about Stranger Things (I mean Odder Stuff) and he is the only one that hasn’t seen it, but then other parts were just ugh. Ralph outwitting Bart and Milhouse to win the shopping spree was pretty awesome.

    Back to the main plot, it was just another dull ass story that’s been done a hundred times over (and I mean that literally). Nothing to see here folks.

    • What I don’t get is why did they change Stranger Things’ name, yet not Netflix, or even the other shows that pop up (Alf and Rosanne). I mean if you’re going to commit to your terrible naming scheme, then either go all the way or don’t bother. Not both.

  5. So since the show is never gonna end is thus your final season of blogging. It don’t sound worth continuing. Maybe start on a better show.

  6. I won’t be watching this so i’m wondering with all the mentions of Netflix did a nod to Disenchantment come around in the episode?

  7. The TV parodies in the classic era were hilarious. They aren’t even trying with these. (I hope.)

  8. I was shocked to see Apu in the background at the end. It’s nice to see he can still at least exist.

    I was really happy that the dance instructor wasn’t voiced by Tress, but then we get the forceful backup instructor. At least they didn’t have Tress voice both of them.

  9. The BoJack Horseman thing was a hallucination, anyway. I don’t think Homer actually changed the channel.

    Also, I have a Roku streaming device so that’s how my TV works as well.

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