Original airdate: March 5, 2017
The premise: In a direct sequel to “Kamp Krusty,” Bart and Lisa are scarred from their traumatic camp experience and seek to face their demons. Meanwhile, Homer becomes a more productive worker with the kids back, leaving Marge sexually pent up.
The reaction: This show has mined nostalgia from the classic years for brownie points for years now, but this episode is on a different level: a sequel twenty-four years after the fact. That’s nearly a quarter of a century, how crazy is that? Watching this, it’s just impossible to not think about “Kamp Krusty” and foolish to even try not to, so it’s really weird the writers felt confident enough to do an episode like this. So the kids return home from camp all visibly shaken up and are all sent to counseling, with Homer, Marge and everyone else appear unclear about what exactly happened there. Marge in particular seems very aggressive in wanting to sweep her children’s trauma under the rug, believing them to be exaggerating and that they should just move on so she can continue getting her mack on (wonderful, more Marge being uncaring to her kids.) So I guess we’re retconning Kent Brockman’s report from Kamp Krusty, since no one seems to really care that much about what happened at camp, and Krusty gets off completely scot-free. Bart exaggerates his trauma to get out of school, but then he starts getting actual memories of a horrible incident he and Lisa were a part of, and the two return to camp to figure out what happened. The whole thing is treated like a serious mystery, as they finally recall that a kid they were kayaking with seemingly drowned and try to figure out what happened. “Kamp Krusty” was one of the show’s goofier episodes, back in the day when they could make anything funny and entertaining, even using and abusing children. So I don’t understand who this follow-up is supposed to appeal to, being such a wildly different tone. Who is this fan service aimed at? How can anyone who enjoyed “Kamp Krusty” and understood in even the slightest sense what made that show great, then watch this episode and not clearly notice the tremendous plummet in quality? Checking No Homers, it appears that even those folks weren’t impressed, with their lowest ratings ever: 2/5. I guess that counts for something. Maybe.
Three items of note:
– Marge is pretty awful in this episode. At first, she’s sympathetic of Bart’s crocodile tears and lets him take Homer’s place in bed (which I believe has happened before in a recent episode. Is this not weird to anybody?) This prompts Homer to go to work early, and ultimately leads him to being a model employee and husband, getting a big raise and tending to the house. The trade-off is that his hyper-efficient lifestyle leaves him uninterested in sex, which gets Marge frustrated (“First the kids are screwed up, now our marriage? We need therapy.”) They go to couples counseling, and now Marge seems to care less about her kids’ problems (which she never seemed all that concerned with to begin with, especially Lisa’s actual trauma) than her own selfish needs. It’d be a stretch for her character, but if that were kind of the point of the whole episode, I could buy it, but as usual, these shows have no mission statement or overall theme or anything like that. It’s just a bunch of nonsense stitched together by a threadbare premise. The therapist recommends they all go back to camp so the kids confront their demons. While driving, we get this inner monologue from Marge to recap everything for the third time (“My kids are a mess. Homer’s turned into the man I’ve always wanted, which I don’t really want. And for some reason, we’re going back to Kamp Krusty.”) “For some reason”? Did she black out when the therapist was talking? Once at camp, now an adult pleasure resort “Klub Krusty” (don’t ask), the kids run free to solve their mystery, and meanwhile, Marge repeatedly tries to seduce and fondle Homer until eventually he just gives in and they have outdoor sex. She could care less where the hell her children have run off to, as long as she gets fucked, who cares? Just incredible.
– When Homer and Marge are at therapy, Moe shows up as the next appointment behind the door, with some kind of robotic monstrosity… it’s like a woman’s head on a central vac with a bunch of bells and whistles on it (and wings?) Anyway, from behind the door, he causes it to make a whole bunch of building noises until it finally dings, at which point Moe utters, “Alright, I just finished. Deviant out.” What, did they just have a mutual climax? How fucking creepy and disturbing, this has got to be a new low.
– The ending is just horrid, one of the worst I’ve ever seen. So we surmise that the sole cause of Bart & Lisa’s trauma is their kayak flipping and the kid they were with supposedly drowning. Also, they were rowing in escape of Sideshow Mel’s performance of Phantom of the Opera. So are they making like Kamp Krusty was a joke, or are they treating it like they were actually abused, like what actually happened? Do they even care about the original episode at all? Well, they dragged in “Kamp Krusty” writer David M. Stern to do this one, but like Jeff Martin and David Mirkin before him, I’m sure they ripped apart his draft like every other episode to create this mess. So the Simpsons arrive to find the camp has been turned into some kind of posh swingers club. I’m not quite sure how much time has passed for that to have happened, but whatever. Security guard Raphael somehow knows about the missing kid, which makes no sense given I assume he was hired to work this new club. But he takes him to see “Charlie,” who is now working at the new massage parlor. Turns out he’s a little person, and a spy for Departures magazine (isn’t that for rich people travel and getaways, why would they want to cover a shitty kids summer camp?) The explanation of what happened is not only brief, but also aggressively snarky (“But you didn’t have your life vest!” “I’m a grown-up, I can swim!”) It’s like the writers saying, yeah, this is our ending, you think we give a flying shit? And clearly, they don’t; at the end we get a chyron promoting “Kamp Krustiest” coming in season 52. I’ll say it again, and again, and again and again and again, the writers all know how poor this show, and their work, is, and they just don’t care. No one can be this level of deluded to believe otherwise, not even in Hollywood.
One good line/moment: FUCKING BLANK.