Category Archives: Season 20

434. In the Name of the Grandfather

In the Name of the Grandfather(originally aired March 22, 2009)
Yet another travel episode… yawn. This was a pretty anticipated episode, airing overseas days before it aired here, a first for the series. At least it didn’t seem quite as offensive as past travel shows, instead it was just boring and uninspired. The Simpsons forget about their special day with Grampa for the umpteeth time, and promise to make it up to him. So, it’s off to Ireland in the blink of an eye! Grampa wishes to revisit the bustling tavern he visited back in his army days, only to find it’s been practically abandoned in the new modern age Ireland. The innkeeper is delighted to have Homer and Grampa’s business though, and after a drunken night, manages to stick the two with the deed, leaving him scot-free. Determined to turn the place around, they ship in Moe in a crate (no really) to determine how to run a successful bar… why Moe’s is considered successful, I’m not sure. They allow smoking, which is illegal, and of course they’re caught, and the charge is deportation, so that’s another country they’re banned from returning to.

The “satire” here is so softball. They don’t even get on the ground in Ireland before showing the pilots, donned in green with shamrocks. We get plenty of references to leprechauns, Guinness, the Blarney Stone… my goodness, how lazy. And when all else fails, puns! Marge and the kids go sight-seeing, which kills time, but most focus is on Homer and Grampa and their eventual new ownership. I’ve noticed a big issue with episodes this season is that every plot turn must be openly narrated by a character, and it’s a particularly big offense here. “What can’t people do in bars in Ireland?” “Look, smoking isn’t allowed in bars in Ireland!” “Well, then we’ll open a smoking bar in Ireland!” That’s barely an exaggeration, that’s pretty much the dialogue. And it’s so ridiculous, they allow smoking in the bar, and through the windows you can clearly see the billows of smoke. Any cop walking by would shut it down immediately, but it’s open just long enough so we can show it’s getting successful. And ultimately, what’s the point? Homer and Grampa succeed by breaking the law, then nothing happens to them, per Simpson immunity. And the judge is Mr. Potato Head. Yawn. Another lifeless outing. I hope the Irish were happy with it.

Tidbits and Quotes
– The Simpsons flopping like fish out of water is one of those gags where they felt they let it run so long it would be funny… but it really just runs too long.
– I don’t get the Kathy Ireland bit at all. They show her, and have big text on the screen describing how that’s not her voice, she didn’t want to do the show, and best wishes. Two possibilities: she simply said no, and the writers got in a huff (“How dare someone not want to do our show!”) and this was their petty “vengeance.” Or, a more adamant no regarding her voice or likeness, and this was their idea of a compromise. But whatever the reason, the joke is completely toothless and fucking terrible.
– I’m sure the writers were really pleased with “yupp-rechauns.” And the goddamn puns… The Simpsons drive past upscale Irish stores like Colleen Secret and Mac’s Fifth Avenue, those are bad enough. Then they’re highlighted as jokes: Hewlett Fitzpackard, Mick-rosoft, Cisc O’Systems. Enough. Enough with the fucking puns.
– I kind of enjoyed the Giant’s Causeway gag being like the layout of Q-Bert, but maybe only because I enjoyed the seemingly obscure reference. Or maybe just because it made me think of Wreck-It Ralph.
– Lisa sneaks into the brewing room at Guinness to see the secret ingredient… why would she do that? It would make sense for Homer, but he’s not there. But why not Bart?
– When they run out of actual Irish landmarks, they make ones up: McEllis Island, with their own Statue of Liberty… a leprechaun holding a pot of gold and a shamrock. Come on, you guys… Then later Moe announces he’s going to look for his long lost relative based on a photo… on a Lucky Charms box. Come on, you guys…
– The only thing I chuckled at were the cops vacuuming up the smoke at the bar into evidence bags, then holding one full bag up to camera.

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433. Gone Maggie Gone

Gone Maggie Gone(originally aired March 15, 2009)
I guess this is the series’ lampoon on The Da Vinci Code and National Treasure for being too silly. Once again, guys, pot to kettle. At least I didn’t feel as aggressively annoyed as I was during the last couple of bombs, this one’s just kind of innocuous and boring. Following a sequence of dumb events, Maggie is left on the doorstep of a Catholic church, and brought up by nuns, who refuse to give her back to a befuddled Homer. So… call the police? Or, we’ll have Lisa masquerade as a nun to infiltrate and rescue her. She’s immediately sidelined from her mission by a mystical quest for some ancient gem or something. Then we get smarty-pants Lisa who is oh-so-satisfied with herself as she solves clues and narrates them as she does it. Within seconds, she can decipher Latin, play the organ and recognize patterns and riddles, and I think we can agree nothing is more entertaining than a story about problem solving where our lead character instantly deciphers clues and is incredibly pompous while doing it.

During her sleuthing, Lisa encounters Skinner and Comic Book Guy, who are part of some mystery group or something who tell her the history of the gem: it’s been sought after since colonial times, so much so that the Revolutionary War was just a cover so the Americans and English could uncover it before the newly arrived nuns could. I’m not so bothered by this; it’s just silly enough to be funny to see King George and George Washington play acting fighting each other while they search for the treasure. Long-time Freemason Burns gets in on the action, and eventually it’s concluded that the “gem” is actually Lisa. As if her head wasn’t big enough, she returns to the church as smug as ever, but finds she decrypted it wrong: Maggie is the chosen one, and her placement on the throne brings instant peace and happiness to the town of Springfield. Until Marge takes her away and everything goes back to normal. It’s a conflicting ending, one I felt could have been more satisfying if there was more focus on the Marge-Maggie relationship, in place of Marge being rendered blind when an eclipse literally burns her eyes. Goddammit.

Tidbits and Quotes
– The CG with the Earth and the moon actually looks pretty good, mostly because they’re just frigging spheres. I chuckled at the bats fleeing the Washington Monument, and the solar car stopping on the tracks, and almost being hit by a solar train.
– So the Simpsons are ready to see the eclipse through their shoebox things, and of course Homer breaks his. Feeling bad for her petulent man child, Marge gives hers up, and Homer rubs the majesty in her face (“We’ll be talking about this together for years! I finally feel like part of a family!”) Then Marge looks directly at the eclipse, and we literally see her eyes burn. Wonderful. That’s even more disgusting than Homer’s eyes crusting over in “Last Tap Dance in Springfield.”
– There’ve been a lot of Pixar references as of late. We had Homer’s horrible honey-less future dream with a WALL-E knockoff, now we have him re-eanct Ratatouille with a rat controlling him in his rat-infested kitchen. Not only does he openly reference the movie, but he narrates what’s happening as it happens. If I were Brad Bird, I’d be very disappointed.
– Homer runs his car off the bridge and down by the river, completely totaling it. He then gets out and then goes into figuring out how he’s going to get across. No injuries, no wailing about his destroyed car, just keep pushing the stupid plot forward.
– I hate everything about Lisa’s sleuthing. Though I did laugh at the endless Rube Goldberg device that even she gets bored waiting for. The CG on the machine and later on the Springfield sign also aren’t too bad.
– After the world goes tranquil, we see the prison warden tell the executioner to just set the electric chair to “massage.” He was previously voiced by Charles Napier; I think it’s Azaria doing him here, but he’s not even trying to do a sound alike. Napier was still alive, and I can understand if they didn’t want to bring him in for one line. So then, make it another character, or have one of your actors do a Napier impression. Or, do neither of those things, because who gives a shit.

432. No Loan Again, Naturally

No Loan Again, Naturally(originally aired March 9, 2009)
We’ve seen many instances before of Homer being an aggressively unlikable protagonist, but here’s an example where it spills into Marge, and where we see the Simpson family are hated town-wide pariahs for some goddamn reason. We start annoyingly enough with Homer’s annual backyard Mardi Gras party, which is absolutely humungous, both in attendance, and the size of their frigging backyard. This is just another exorbitant expenditure that Homer thinks he can get away with his home equity, but when he finds his mortgage rate has gone through the roof, he’s forced to give up the house. Immediately it’s hard to feel bad for him despite his gross ignorance because he was so smug and self-righteous about seemingly pulling a fast one on the bank. Also, Marge appears to be out of the picture, or just an idiot. We see her worry about the cost of the party, then proceed to get drunk anyway. Lovely. At the auction for 742 Evergreen Terrace, a guilty Flanders buys the house, offering to rent it out to the Simpsons.

With Ned as her new landlord, Marge uses this opportunity to take advantage of his good will by putting him to work on numerous odd jobs around the house. She even gossips to her sisters about having her own little personal assistant. Ned understandably gets worn out, leading to an angry phone call from Homer (“Landlords like you are the scum of the Earth! You lounge around in your egg McMansions and we never see you unless the rent check’s late!” “The rent check is late!”) They then proceed to get a news piece on Channel 6 vilifying Ned. Infuriated, Ned wants the Simpsons out of the house by the end of the month. Looking for a loophole, Homer finds he can’t be evicted if there is a senior living in the house, so he carts Grampa over, and of course openly shoves it and laughs in Ned’s face. Ned retaliates by inviting Abe to live at his house, and the Simpsons are out on the street. Again, am I supposed to feel any sympathy toward them given how both Homer and Marge are completely responsible for all of their hardships? Ned nearly signs the house to two new perfect tenants, but I guess because he’s an eternal push-over, invites the Simpsons to move back in. What fucking garbage.

Tidbits and Quotes
– I hate their stupid Mardi Gras party. Marge and Lisa apparently can build a gigantic metallic float on their own. And the backyard is big enough that Homer can ride around in that huge thing. And Marge is such a responsible parent for not only allowing the entire town to get drunk and party all night, but we see her dancing wildly all boozed up herself. Remember how horrified she was at Homer’s drunken antics in “War of the Simpsons”? That and she of course never questions how Homer can afford such an exorbitant event. And the ending features everyone on the block deciding to move now that the Simpsons are back, yet they seem to be a pretty big hit with this party. I could be leaving stuff out, but my teeth have ground into dust so I should probably stop.
– I’m confused why Gil works at the mortgage company and is in a bit of a position of power over the Simpsons. It’s not as bad as “Cross Words,” but it still betrays him being a put-upon loser. Why are they using him like this?
–  The evening before the auction, Homer tries to hang himself from a tree in the front yard in front of his children. I can’t fucking believe it… I mean, we’ve never seen trees on their front lawn before! And we’ve never see them since! Come on… But seriously, I’m glad the show thinks this is funny and acceptable, just like all the other incredibly tasteful jokes they’ve done about suicide. Class act, guys.
– Homer yells at Ned on the phone holding a cigar has got to be amongst his most jerkass-iest moments. I just can’t see how the writers, throughout the entire process of making he episode, didn’t realize how unlikable this paints the Simpsons through the whole thing.
– Should I even comment on Bart’s hair color being naturally red? Nah.
– Ned’s only rationale for getting the Simpsons back, I guess, is, “You can’t be a saint unless you live amongst the lepers.” As in, let me invite back this horrible, horrible family who abused my kindness and good will so I can feel better about myself. And that family are our lovable main characters. The first three HD episodes out of the box and all of them make my skin fucking crawl.

431. How the Test Was Won

How the Test Was Won(originally aired March 1, 2009)

Man alive, these last couple episodes have been quite boring, with no engaging or interesting stories to be found. Skinner and Chalmers put Springfield Elementary on alert of a government-mandated aptitude test that could get them much-needed funding, so to make sure they get as much cash as possible, they drill the answers into the kids’ minds by any means necessary. This conceit could be amusing satire, of educators teaching test answers rather than practical knowledge, but like most material on the show nowadays, it’s so ham-fisted and the jokes are made so blatantly obvious that it becomes heavy sigh-worthy. To hedge their bets, Skinner schemes to hide all the troublesome students, Bart, Ralph, and the bullies (“Whacking Day,” anyone?), and cart them to Capital City. But Chalmers sweetens the deal and has Skinner exported too. Meanwhile, Lisa suffers massive test anxiety during the exam.

It feels like nothing happens in this episode. Nothing. Skinner, Otto and the kids end up stranded in Capital City by means of stupidity, Ralph gets stuck on a barge and just sits there because he’s brain damaged, then Skinner must do a thing to save him that requires knowledge and the other kids are instantly impressed. Everything is explicitly narrated so that the audience knows exactly what’s happening, and none of it sounds natural or makes sense. From this, Skinner realizes that kids don’t learn from tests, and rejects the national exam. What exactly did he learn? And how will this not affect Springfield Elementary at all in coming episodes? It’s all an exercise in futility, and I’m not even sure what the meaning of any of it was. Or if there was any meaning at all. Probably not, since we end with a minute recreation of the Footloose ending. No other jokes to go with it, they just do the ending with everyone dancing. Jesus Christ, and I thought the random dance ending of “Tales From the Public Domain” was intolerable. One of the emptiest episodes ever, completely bereft of any kind of… anything.

Tidbits and Quotes

– We get a minute-long clip package at the start of all the times Homer has gotten hurt on the series, and surprisingly most of them are from the classic years. Despite the show’s over-reliance on terrible physical comedy nowadays, whoever edited this still realized how much funnier it was done in the past.
– The VPAT is part of the No Child Left Alone Act… boy, that sounds familiar, doesn’t it? They’ve mentioned actual legislation like the Patriot Act before, why not just call it what the fuck it’s called?
– There’s a B-story, kind of, involving Homer forgetting to mail out his insurance renewal, and upon frantically delivering it weeks later, is a paranoid wreck, making sure no one is injured on his property until he becomes insured again. Or at least until he believes he will be. He envisions an insane bloodbath occurring at home during Marge’s book club, where everyone is killed by Marge and Lindsay Naegle… who then make out. Talk about cheapening your characters. Next they’ll have Marge pose for Playboy. …oh wait. We end with a knife pegging Mr. Burns in the skull, who for some reason was walking outside the Simpson house, followed by a great bit of blood spurting from each open orifice of his body. Later, Homer apologizes, but of course not only does Marge forgive him, but acknowledges that it’s her fault (“Sweetie, at this point in a marriage, a wife should know what her husband can do and what he can’t. Who was I to think you could mail an envelope?”) That’s our Marge, spineless enabler to a reckless, irresponsible ape.
– Everything about the Skinner & company stuff is wrong. Everyone acts like morons, they all go into the bathroom with Ralph for some reason so they can not see the bus get taken apart, then of course Ralph can’t do anything he’s told because he’s mentally handicapped. Skinner slingshots a balled up note to a crane operator to help out, which flies through the window, hits the guy driving and knocks him unconscious. A fucking paper ball. Then we get more shitty CG with the crane swinging the container ship around. Skinner builds momentum on top of it by running around in a circle, and the kids are learning! How do I know? Because they openly say it (“Learning can teach you things!” “Education rules!”) Fuck.

– The paranoid Lisa stuff sucks too. There’s a joke that I really fucking hate where she comes to the first problem, but all four possible answers appear correct (“That can’t be. In life, everything only has one answer!”) The joke is about narrow-minded institutionalized teaching… but it’s coming from Lisa’s mouth. They could have done this joke earlier and had Krabappel or Chalmers say it, but why Lisa? Speaking of Chalmers, he’s completely apeshit in this episode. During his loud panicked tirade to the kids, Azaria is really straining; I guess we’d never heard him get loud before, but he doesn’t sound right at all.

430. Take My Life, Please

Take My Life, Please(originally aired February 15, 2009)
So the show finally makes its leap into high-definition widescreen, and wouldn’t you know, it’s just as shitty as ever. I’m gonna save my comments on the new opening and format for down below and focus on the actual episode for now. Springfield honors successful businessman Vance Connor, and Homer recalls how he was their class president in high school, back in… 1974. I was willing to accept a floating timeline for that goddamn ’90s show last season, now their past is in the ’70s again. Come on, you guys, what the fuck? So it’s about how Homer bemoans having lost class president to him, which I guess he wanted. What? Homer was a lazy smoking slacker in high school, why would he want to run in the first place? Anyway, turns out Principal Dondelinger rigged the election, and Homer actually did win. He had Lenny and Carl bury the ballot box, instead of just… throwing it out. Turns out it was to protect Homer, as the jocks did a mass vote for him so they could ridicule him. But even after hearing that, Homer still believes his life would have been amazing if he had been class president. Why?

Turns out there is a way to see what could have been… by way of some weirdo Italian cook at Luigi’s, who can show you alternate futures in his special sauce… okay, this totally makes sense and is completely believable. We see that Homer would be a great class president and go to prom with the head cheerleader, but drop her the instant he laid his eyes on Marge, who is basically falling over herself to be with Homer. So much more romantic and satisfying than “The Way We Was,” huh? Mr. Burns gives him a high-ranking plant job due to his position, and now he lives in a gigantic mansion with no children. What? How the fuck could he afford that? Oh whatever, it’s just a pasta sauce hallucination. So Homer bemoans his current life and his family, and the others try to cheer him up and reward him in spite of his selfishness. Hey, it’s happened before. He said awful things about his wife and kids, they send him to go play with the Rolling Stones at rock ‘n’ roll camp. Here he wishes his kids were never born, we install a plaque for him on the wall of fame, and apparently pay some father and son to take a picture of him, because that’s the only reason that makes sense. The first episode in HD and this is the slop you start off with? How embarrassing.

Tidbits and Quotes
– Okay, so here it is: the show is finally in HD, and it’s as stiff and lifeless as ever. High-definition worked for the movie because it had a budget, and David Silverman directing, so it actually looked pretty sharp for the most part. Now, the clarity makes the un-detailed backgrounds, unmoving extras and short-cutted drawings stand out even more. There’s also the matter of the new opening. I could dissect it scene by scene, but why even bother? My thoughts can effectively be summed up in this heavily passed around gif. Just look at the old version. The arc in Marge’s hair as she turns, and her look of relief that her baby is safe. The stretching of the cashier’s arms, bounce of the bag and how Maggie pops out, all of it so visually appealing. And look at it now. Marge rotates her head at a perfect angle, and smiles. Maggie emerges from the bag and shakes her fist at Gerald in a manner so empty and soulless it defies description. There’s also a blog post by an animator who worked on several shots, and his frustration of having being told repeatedly to tone his work down and make it “less cartoony.” Astonishing. The only connection the show used to have to its classic era was the opening titles, and now that’s long gone too. I remember after seeing the new opening and this episode, it was the first time I seriously started reconsidering watching the show. I just felt so bewildered about the whole thing, and figured I’d give it until the end of the season to decide. The show’s new HD beginning was the beginning of my end…
– And also, we have the new four act “structure.” I hate it. Act one, act two, act three. It’s a natural order of storytelling, used in every film ever made ever. Now everything’s all mixed up.
– The episode is immediately annoying from the start with the Springfield Wall of Fame, which honors Hank Scorpio, who isn’t from Springfield, Poochie, widely reviled cartoon, and Lisa’s dance instructor, Chazz Busby. Who for some reason is now in the opening titles. Who the fuck cares about that guy?
– Al Gore is at Moe’s bar. And no one acknowledges a fucking ex-Vice President sitting there until he opens his trap. This is the world this show exists in now.
– Homer announces his revenge on Dondelinger (“I know what he did last summer… twenty-two years ago!”) From 2009, that would make Homer’s senior year 1987. Which we see it’s not. Come on, you guys. What the fuck.
– We see teenage Maude asking Homer out in high school, despite a few shows ago we see her and Ned as adults picking up a twenty-something Homer and Marge. Oh, whatever. Also, I’m shocked at the attention to minute continuity with showing us Debbie Pinson, who Homer got a call from in “Homer to the Max.”
– The alternate future of everyone loving Homer and him being amazing makes no sense whatsoever. Suddenly Patty and Selma are taken by him, and we get this gem (“Who’s that side of beef munching on our sister?” “I don’t know, but in this reality, I am not gay! Hubba hubba!”) Ugh.
– My God, I fucking hate the ending (“Dad, do you think I could be elected class president?” “Well, we can’t all be Homer Simpsons, son.”) Where did this father and son come from? It’s so pathetically saccharine with no attempt at irony or jokes or anything. This show used to tear this kind of cloyingly phony material apart, now it’s what we settle for an ending.

429. Lisa the Drama Queen

Lisa the Drama Queen(originally aired January 25, 2009)
Since it aired, I’ve been confused for the longest time about what the hell the deal is with this episode, now I see it’s a parody of the film Heavenly Creatures. From what I can be bothered to read, it’s about the obsessive, borderline sexual relationship of two girls who immerse themselves into their own fantasy world. And in the end they kill one of their mothers. That sounds like perfect fodder for a story about eight-year-old girls. At a rec center art class, Lisa meets Juliet, an enlightened English girl who she quickly develops a friendship with. Should I mention the girl in the movie is also named Juliet, and her father is also a professor who just moved to a local university, and the girls met in an art class where they were being stifled creatively? Just a coincidence, I’m sure. The two create their own girly fantasy world Equalia, and end up getting more and more distanced from the outside world and other people. At first it seems like Lisa will realize that Juliet’s gone mad, seeing fantasy creatures outside her mind, but then it turns out Lisa sees them too, the two of them having a mutual hallucinogenic trip. What’s going on here?

As to be expected, Juliet has no real character and is boring. Emily Blunt is beautiful and a great talent, but a little girl, she ain’t. There are moments in this episode that really feel quite disturbing, where the girls talk about how much they mean to each other, they hold hands, and in their fantasy, they slow-dance to a romantic Josh Groban song… Like… what am I supposed to think here? The movie features lesbianism, and it looks like there’s a lot lifted from it in this episode, like Lisa and Juliet sitting in one hammock mirrors a shot where the two girls are naked together in a bathtub. What the ever loving fuck is this? The turning point in this show, I feel, is when it’s quite clear that Juliet is crazy; she tells Lisa she sees her fantasy world in her backyard, Lisa looks concerned, we hear dramatic music… then all of a sudden, Lisa is insane too. Couldn’t they turned the source material on its ear and had Lisa concerned for her friend’s sanity, Juliet could have snapped and she would have to talk her down from doing something drastic? Instead, they run away together, escape from the bullies, and stop being friends on a dime, with Juliet chastising Lisa for wanting to live in reality. A very frustrating… confusing episode.

Tidbits and Quotes
– So the scene with the art teacher criticizing Juliet’s work and Lisa coming to her defense is apparently right out of Heavenly Creatures. With all of these flagrant similarities, I don’t exactly know how this can be considered parody, it’s bordering on plagiarism. I hope one of my readers has seen this movie and can comment on this, I know very little about it.
– We kill thirty seconds by having Lisa and Juliet sing a Josh Groban song. I guess that means they’re bonding. Also, I hope Groban sent a gift basket or something for all of the name drops in this show. Also, this sequence is awful. There have been several instances of late of characters singing padding out shows, but this is the most blatant I’ve seen. Also, Yeardley Smith and Emily Blunt together is pretty painful to listen to.
– Lisa is nervous about having a first date… er, play date (“Not that I couldn’t get one if I wanted…”) Later, Marge forbids Lisa from seeing her girlfr… I mean, friend (“There are limits on how much two people should be together!” “Well you can’t keep me and Juliet apart!”) Then Juliet urges Lisa to run away with her (“Equalia needs you! I need you!”) There’s so much of this kind of stuff in here; it’s not even lesbian subtext, it’s the actual dialogue.
– The ending is so unbelievably sloppy. They escape the bullies by wooing Kearney over with their stupid story, who then proceeds to fight with Jimbo and Dolph so they can get away, to the tune of another goddamn motherfucking Josh Groban song. Also, there are holes in their cages for some reason so Lisa and Juliet could hold hands. Identical cages, with one having the hole on the left side, and the other on the right. Good thing they made those cages like that. Then Juliet leaves when Lisa says she wants to live in the real world (“The real world? The real world is for people who can’t imagine anything better. Goodbye, Lisa.”) It would have been good if they had addressed Juliet’s psychosis earlier in the episode, wouldn’t it, instead of brush it off completely.

428. The Burns and the Bees

The Burns and the Bees(originally aired December 7, 2008)
Of all the episodes this show is rehashing now, did we really need to retread “Monty Can’t Buy Me Love”? And it can’t even focus on that premise, combining it with another boring Lisa story fighting for a new cause… yawn. Mr. Burns wins the Austin Celtics basketball team in a bet, and now finding himself figurehead as their manager, decides he wants to be a respected icon to the masses. Like in “Love,” this comes from nowhere and makes absolutely no sense. Burns is a greedy, self-serving, manipulative old bastard, and he loves it. That’s what makes Burns Burns, and why we love him so much. Now, randomly, he wants to cut loose, have fun and try to cater to these penniless lowlifes who couldn’t be more beneath him? I can’t possibly buy this premise any less. Alongside of this is Lisa discovering bees all over the world are dying due to the lack of a suitable habitat. Wow, this is almost as exciting as when she took up astronomy. She becomes their keeper when an uninfected queen bee latches onto her and she forms a bee beard. We’re not even at act two and I’m slipping in and out of consciousness.

The two stories collide when Burns decides to build a brand new stadium for his team where Lisa has set up a new bee sanctuary in an abandoned greenhouse. She is easily bested in a town hall debate by Burns’ newfound showmanship, and becomes depressed over the impending death of her beloved bees. Homer finds out Moe is harboring African bees (“I saw this ad in a gentleman’s magazine for excited African honeys, and that’s what they sent me,”) so cross-breeding them with Lisa’s bees makes them more agitating, attacking everyone at Burns’ stadium and making that their new home. This episode could not be more lifeless and boring. More neutered Burns, who is cloying and nonthreatening in every way, combined with another boring Lisa-takes-up-a-cause story. And we have another Lisa show coming up next! This is like four-in-a-row, what’s up with that?

Tidbits and Quotes
– Burns is unable to comprehend the concept of fun, yet he seems to be having a lot of it at the billionaire’s camp, starting a food fight and skinny dipping. Also, I hate all of that shit. The only time Burns should be laughing delightfully is if he’s thinking of that crippled Irishman.
– I hate Willie’s little bee graveyard, all named after celebrities with “B.” or “Buzz” in their names! Also listed is Gordon Sumner, but just so the audience doesn’t have to do any thinking, “Sting” is right under it. Not that I know Sting’s actual name, but it’s like, why bother writing it all out that way when you could just write “Sting”?
– Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, appears to give two throw-away lines. Mark Cuban has a larger role, basically filling in for Arthur Fortune as the affable billionaire Burns “aspires” to be. I don’t really know him very well, but I did enjoy his enthusiasm, especially his last scene, driving off a cliff and dying in Burns’ thoughts (“I’m out of my mind!!” “Well, that’s not much help.”)
– I do like Homer’s very cavalier attitude preparing Marge for the sight of their daughter covered in bees.
– Burns is an old man, but apparently he thinks Austria took over America, and doesn’t remember anything past the 1910s. The scene of Smithers repeatedly whispering the events of the 20th century to him is endless.
– I really like the timing of the peaceful tranquility of the thriving greenhouse… until a giant wrecking ball smashes through, nearly hitting Lisa and discombobulating her. It’s a rare ruthless act from Mr. Burns.
– Lisa is at the bar when Moe asks her what’s wrong, even though he must know; he was at the town hall meeting, and better yet, he voted for Burns’ stadium. I don’t think the writers notice these things.
– Moe whispers Homer the plan about having the two swarms of bees mate, which he mishears (“You and me?” “No, the bees!” “Oh yeah, that’s what I meant too. I have no… inclinations.”) What’s with all these jokes about Homer wanting to be gay? It’s just like the gags that imply that he does drugs, or has drugs stashed away somewhere.
– I like the one bee calling Bumblebee Man an Uncle Tom, and the bee bloopers, although it’s kinda dumb, I still chuckled.