Tag Archives: The Simpsons

SSR #24: “One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish”

Introduction:
The Simpsons have been on the air for 30 years now, but have we considered the possibility of a main character of the Simpson family dying? Sure, the show has dealt with character death before, and some characters have been flat out retired, but what if a character of Homer’s status were to pass on? How would the world be different? How would his family react? How would he handle his last moments? Well, interestingly enough, Season 2 just so happened to have an entire episode dealing with that, and today, we are going to be taking a look at that episode.

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SSR #21: “Bart the Daredevil”

Introduction:
Bart Simpson has done a lot of crazy things, but now he is going to stare danger right in the face with the next episode of Season 2, “Bart the Daredevil.” This is a pretty iconic episode of Season 2 and the series in general, mainly due to the final setting of the episode and certain gag that gets shown and referenced a number of times throughout the entire show’s duration. But how does this episode stand the test of time in general? Today we are going to find out!

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SSR #17: “Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish”

Introduction:
I have no intention of starting a discussion on politics here, but I do hope all of you, American citizens, went out to vote this week. After all, you don’t want a person like Mr. Burns in charge, do you? So, last week we had a very appropriate episode to celebrate the Halloween holiday. This week, we have another episode that’s very appropriate, time-wise, to what the US is currently going through with the mid-term elections going on. It’s interesting how starting Season 2 so late ended up being thematically appropriate to the current schedule of events huh? It’s almost like I planned it that way (I really didn’t, don’t give me that much credit).

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SSR #16: “Treehouse of Horror”

Introduction:
There is one holiday that the Simpson family never seems to miss a beat with and that holiday is none other than Halloween. Every season, starting with this season, has had a Halloween special and it has become a bit of a tradition with the all the writers and producers. It’s a time where they can all come together, pitch some scary story ideas, come up with some interesting parodies, bring the aliens Kang and Kodos out of retirement, and just in general have fun with creating some non-serious and non-canon storylines. It’s not just for the writers’ benefit though, as the Halloween specials are quite popular with the Simpson viewing audience too. In a countdown I watched many years ago of the most favorite Simpson episodes of all time, there were many Treehouse of Horror episodes featured in the Top 10 list alone, which shows how recognized and how loved these spooky stories are. So today, in the spirit of Halloween, we are taking a look at the very first Treehouse of Horror.

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SSR #15: “Simpson and Delilah”

Introduction:
We’ve all been quite accustomed to Homer Simpson’s hairstyle…an extremely bald head with two single hairs on top and a continuous “M” strand around the back (mainly to signify creator Matt Groening’s signature with Homer’s G-shaped ears). However, Season 2 decided to experiment very early on with an episode that gave Homer a full head of hair; an experiment that led to some very interesting results for the animated father-figure we all know and love. Today we will be taking a look at “Simpson and Delilah!”

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SSR #14: “Bart Gets an ‘F'”


Introduction:

Ladies and gentleman, it is time to take the long-awaited dive into Season 2 of The Simpsons for this retrospective. It’s been over a year since I took a look at the final episode of Season 1, and I do not feel like making you guys or myself wait any longer. Season 2 is a very iconic season for me; mainly because it was the season where I first started watching the show and are the earliest episodes I remember watching as a kid, aside from the Christmas special. My parents had a video cassette that had a number of Season 2 episodes on it; from Dancin’ Homer, Dead Putting Society, Bart the Daredevil…lots of episodes that I have pretty much grown up with and episodes that are very iconic or memorable to me. I wouldn’t say that Season 2 is the best season of the show; in fact, most Simpson fans consider Season 2 to be the bronze age of the series (episodes that are indisputably good, but not amazing). Season 2 is probably the most nostalgic for me though as I’ve seen a lot of these episodes a number of times and could more than likely identify most of these episodes from a still image alone if provided to me. I have a lot of fond memories of this season and I very much look forward to re-examining the era and seeing how these episodes still hold up today.

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The Simpsons: Season 1 Episode Ranking

The Simpsons: Season 1 Episode Ranking

Hello Simpson fans, SlimKirby here and about ready to start Season 2 of the Simpsons Retrospective I started last year. I know it’s been awhile since I’ve done anything with this series, but I’ve been very busy with making videos, streaming, and being part of the Link to the Past Randomizer tournaments, but I’ve been on a bit of a Simpsons kick lately (especially after the Hit & Run revisit on my Youtube channel) and felt like it was a good time to pick this back up and watch some more Simpsons episodes.

However, before moving on straight to Season 2, while I was in the process of finishing Season 1, I mentioned making another post where I would rank all the Season 1 episodes in order of favorite to least favorite. So to officially close out Season 1, and do one final recap of the season as a whole, I present to you my final ranking of all the Season 1 episodes for the Simpsons television show.

So my process for doing this was quite simple

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SSR #13: “Some Enchanted Evening”

Intro

Introduction:
I sense a great disturbance in the force. That’s right, we are finally going to take a look at “Some Enchanted Evening,” an episode I’ve been rather vocal about in terms of my lack of enjoyment of. There are great number of reasons for why this episode in particular gets such low marks from me, but I’m obviously not going to talk about those reasons right now. Heck, if anything, my opinion could change after this most recent watch…we’ll just have to wait and see! “Some Enchanted Evening” first aired on on May 13th, 1990 and has the ‘honor’ of being the first episode written for the show’s first season, but the last one of the season to actually air. The reason for such the huge delay in airing was due to the fact that, as we will see in our viewing of this episode, the animation looked absolutely atrocious, and many of the show’s producers were not happy with the final product. They basically held it back from airing first for that sole reason and decided to spend a little more time polishing up the animation for other episodes that would end up debuting before this one, a decision that was definitely a good call on their parts. I find it weird that this episode still managed to make it on TV though because of that presentation, but I guess the writers and producers were still confident in the episode’s plot at least, and figured that the presentation would only be a small hurdle to jump over. The chalkboard gag of the episode is “I Will Not Yell ‘Fire’ in a Crowded Classroom,” and the couch gag…there is no couch gag! The Simpsons come inside and sit on the couch and nothing happens. I guess this is further proof that this was supposed to be the first episode, because we saw actual gags before we even saw the original “no gag” animation.

Marge PhoneDr. Monroe (phone): “If he doesn’t start loving, you will be leaving!”
Marge: “Leave Homer?”
Dr. Monroe: “Don’t use his real name!”
Marge: “Leave Pedro?”

Plot:
The story starts with breakfast on another morning in the Simpson household. In perhaps one of the crudest animations in the entire series, we see the entire family, sans Marge, shoveling food into their mouths while Marge is standing around witnessing the act and looking rather troubled about something. From this we can gather that Marge isn’t incredibly happy at home. Her kids don’t seem incredibly appreciative and her husband is, quite frankly, a pig who doesn’t show her the love she should be receiving. After the kids ignore the lunches she made for them, Homer doesn’t give her a kiss good-bye, and Maggie falls asleep on her, we start to get the feeling that Marge is quite depressed at the moment.

After hearing about a radio talk show with Dr. Marvin Monroe, Marge calls in and starts talking about the problems she is having at home. This same radio show just so happens to be playing at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, where Homer works, and he manages to hear everything. During the call, Dr. Monroe tells Marge that she needs to tell Homer off and that she is not going to be treated this way anymore. Marge responds enthusiastically (with anger) and Homer is now incredibly worried about coming home that night. He decides to stop in at Moe’s Tavern on his way home, and while talking to Moe about his problem, he decides to give Homer some advice. He tells Homer to go home with flowers and then show Marge an evening she will never forget that’s all about her and how much he really loves her. Homer accepts the advice and finally decides to go home. Although Homer isn’t able to get many flowers with his budget, and even though Marge has been at home stewing in anger the entire day, Marge immediately is touched by Homer’s gesture and forgives him.

Homer makes plans for the two to go out to dinner and dancing for the night. However, this creates a problem with the children who will now be left at home unsupervised unless they get a babysitter. Although they have some trouble at first (since they have been blacklisted from the babysitting service, and need to call under a different alias), they eventually get a babysitter under the name Ms. Botz. Marge and Homer then proceed to go out for an amazing night of fun and romance.
Back at home, Bart turns on “America’s Most Armed and Dangerous,” and while watching, Bart and Lisa start hearing about a criminal known as “The Babysitter Bandit.” They proceed to get scared, thinking that their own babysitter might be the criminal, and right when they show a picture of the lady, known as Ms. Lucille Botzcowski, Ms. Botz comes out of the other room with ropes and restraints, ready to tie-up the children. Their babysitter is in fact, the Babysitter Bandit. Both kids are captured, even Lisa, who almost manages to call the hotline about the criminal, but is cut-off at the worst possible time. The only child who isn’t captured is Maggie, who is still in her room, but manages to sneak out and look for her brother and sister.

Maggie finds the two tied-up on the couch and helps them get free. From here, the children decide to set a trap for the bandit, where Maggie crawls into the other room to get her attention, and has her follow the child into a closet where Bart proceeds to knock her out with a baseball bat. They tie up the lady and leave her hog-tied on the middle of the living room floor, forcing her to watch “The Happy Little Elves,” while they leave the house to call at a pay phone down the street because the bandit disconnected the telephone lines. During this time, after their romantic evening has ended, Marge decides to call home to check on the children, but gets no answer. Fearing that something bad has happened, they drive home.

When they arrive home, they find the babysitter tied up and they freak out not knowing the reason for it. They send the lady home with an increased payment and her bags, which they are unaware has all of the stuff she stole from them, and right as the babysitter bandit leaves, the children return home with the police and “America’s Most Armed and Dangerous.” Homer gets angry at Bart for what he has done, but while he is disciplining the boy, the police reveal that Homer had just paid off and set free a criminal. In a moment of awkwardness, Homer tries to spin the story that she had escaped and that he had struggled with keeping her captive, but the damage is already done and Homer looks like the biggest fool in town. However, during the last moments of the episode, Marge comforts him and lets him know that if he was capable of raising children that could capture a criminal, he must be doing something right, and reminding him that the entire night wasn’t a total waste.

LobsterWaiter: “Why don’t you pick one that’s a little more frisky, sir?
Homer: “Why?”
Waiter: “Well, when you choose one that’s floating upside-down, that kind of defeats the purpose of selecting a live lobster.”
Homer: “Oh, okay. Then I’ll take that one there with the beady eyes.”

My Personal History:
Of all the episodes in Season 1, this is probably the episode I’ve seen the least amount of times. Not because it’s the last episode or anything (usually, when I watch a DVD, I watch the entire disc before putting it down), but because in the Season 1 DVD boxset, this was the only episode on Disc 3, so it never really that important to put an entire disc in to just watch one episode, especially if it was an episode I was never really that crazy about. But yeah, as you probably expected, I didn’t get to see this one until I got Season 1 on DVD, so I don’t have much to say here beyond that. I can’t wait until we get to Season 2 so I actually have a little more to say in these sections.

BartSmartBart: “We know who you are, Ms. Botz, or should I say, Ms. Botzcowski! You’re the babysitter bandit!”
Ms. Botz: “You’re a smart, young man Bart. I hope you’re smart enough to keep your mouth shut.”
Lisa: “He isn’t!”

Favorite/Memorable Moments:
Despite this episode being a little hard to watch at times, I will say that there are actually quite a few nice moments in this episode. For one, I like the dynamic of the Simpson children just being a whole lot smarter and better at everything than their parents (especially Homer) are capable of being. The way they captured the Babysitter Bandit was absolutely incredible and the fact that they could improvise in such a quick manner just makes me wish we could have seen more of that in this episode. Home Alone is probably one of my all-time favorite movies, and I think it would have been fun to see an entire section of that in this episode; just watching the three kids completely outsmart and outmaneuver the criminal. And then, just having your entire plan get ruined by Homer’s actions…it makes for a very disappointed ending, but also a very funny ending as well. This is how the Simpson family is supposed to work; they have moments of brilliance and excellence, but then something comes along and screws everything up, resetting the status quo, and in some cases like this, giving the family less of what they started with.

I think Marge and Homer have some nice moments as well, but definitely not along the same lines as the Simpson children. I like how Homer can be romantic and thoughtful when he really puts his heart into it, and it’s just nice seeing the husband and wife going out and having a good and fun time together. This is the 3rd episode in the last five episodes where Marge and Homer have some kind of spat or marital problem, and even though they managed to pull themselves out of the mud in every instance, it’s not really a thing I want to see too many times in the series. They’ve already been through some pretty rough situations and tough times in just the first season, and if they overdo it, it will probably make viewers wonder why they are even together if they keep having these problems. So it’s nice to see them in a more relaxed and fun environment where they can be themselves and just have a good time together, which in terms shows how compatible they actually are.

As far as best individual moment, the one moment I always remember from this episode is when Bart and Lisa are calling the hotline to inform the police that they captured the Babysitter Bandit. Bart asks Lisa to ask them what their reward will be for catching her, and after she asks, she responds with, “If she’s convicted, we’ll get t-shirts!” and Bart exclaims, in a very positive manner “All right!” I love it just because they are kids who are getting excited over t-shirts of all things, which I think is pefect. It’s perfect because it makes a good joke, and it really just shows the simple-minded nature of children. They don’t need a huge cash reward; sometimes just the experience and a reminder of that experience is all they will ever need.

Also, this is going to be a very short paragraph, but there is one more thing I want to point out before we move on. Isn’t this the THIRD episode in a row where Bart has outsmarted a criminal? Unfortunately the one in this episode escaped, but he captured the French winemakers in Episode #11, Sideshow Bob in Episode #12, and now the Babysitter Bandit in Episode #13. Seriously, at this rate, maybe Bart Simpson should be a police officer, because he is on a roll at the moment.

TV“Have you ever seen a kung-fu movie? It was just like that! But now I know her moves. So, if you are listening to me, lady, you’d better think long and hard about trying this on Homer Simpson again!”
– Homer Simpson

My Review:
This is an episode I haven’t really been looking forward to for a while now. Going into this project, I was confident that this was going to be my first “negative” review. Even though I have been negative on some aspects of different episodes from the first season, most of my reviews have been relatively positive. However, I knew this episode in particular would be the hardest shell to crack in terms of changing my opinion around, just because it’s always been a chore for me to go back and watch this one, for a multitude of reasons. However, on this particular re-watch, there was really only one thing that bothered me.

As I’ve said before, the visual presentation for this episode is just not very good. I think the first scene in the episode pretty much speaks volumes for the entire presentation as a whole. You get an extremely awkward animatic for the Simpson family eating breakfast with Homer eating with his mouth open and the entire family just eating like pigs in general. Then you just start feeling incredibly bad for Marge because of what her family is doing to her. Then you get the extremely cliché wife calling to complain about her husband routine, with the husband finding out and then figuring out a way to win her back…the entire first act in general is just really, really hard to get through and is probably the weakest part of the episode, in my opinion. It definitely improves from that point forward, but I still think you should have a good story throughout the entire twenty-one minutes, and not just fourteen of them.

From the second act, onward (pretty much when the babysitter comes into the picture), the episode is actually pretty strong. You really start to see the Simpson children in their element when it comes to dealing with a bad guy (or bad girl, in this case) and the entire game of cat-and-mouse between the children and the Babysitter Bandit is just exciting and entertaining to watch. It’s like I said earlier in the review, this really should have been the basis for the entire episode, and not just the second-half. They could have started from Marge and Homer getting ready to go out for the night and skipped all the awkward “Marge not happy at home” business, and then we could have gotten another act of the kids and the bandit at war, which is what I wanted to see more of. The Homer and Marge stuff was nice and sweet when we got to the second and third acts, but it just wasn’t as strong as the other storyline going on, and as I said, I just really didn’t like the first seven minutes of this episode.

I think it’s actually kind of interesting when you consider the fact that this was initially planned as the first episode of the series. And you know, honestly, I kind of wish it would have been. “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire” was a nice premiere, don’t get me wrong, but I feel like first episodes in general always kind of have that “first episode” stigma attached to them. It’s the stigma where, while you are watching, you know and feel like it’s a first episode. Whether it has to do with, in this case, the art direction and presentation, or how a character portrays their lines and attitudes. It’s stuff where you can watch the episode and think “Wow, that character has changed a lot since then,” but not be turned off or lose interest completely. That’s the vibe I get from this episode, but it’s funny considering the season already has a couple of episodes where the characters and art direction has improved beyond this point, yet this episode still falls at the end of the season anyway. It was just a very, very odd choice to keep it in as the episode finale, at least in my opinion. It makes me wonder why they didn’t just scrap it entirely or at the very least, try to remake it with better animation later when they had access to it, instead of just releasing it as it already was. I imagine it had to do with financial reasons, in the sense of, if they just threw away what they had already gotten animated, it could have been a huge loss of money, so it made sense to work with what they already I had, I guess.

So yeah, after re-watching this episode again, I have to say that I wasn’t as disappointed as I thought I would be. I still think this is far from the best episode of the season, but I came out of the watch feeling more positive about this one than I have ever been before, which I think is quite the accomplishment. It’s an awkward episode, sure, but once you get to main course, it offers plenty of thrills for everyone to enjoy. And hey, I’m not going to lie, it’s a good feeling to finally have Season 1 wrapped up with this amount of positivity.

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Guys…we’ve made it! Season 1 has officially been finished, and we can start looking forward to the future of this series. I have to say, this was a lot of fun to do and it was great to re-watch the first season and look at the episodes in a way I’ve never done before. It really opened my eyes to things I liked from episodes I was never really crazy about, and further confirmed why I love some episodes better than others. With that being said though, this is still only the first season and there are many, many seasons to go. Heck, even if I only focus on the golden age of The Simpsons, that’s still only one year of episodes versus at least 9 or 10 others, so I’m not going to be so quick to congratulate myself on a job well done. Although, I will say it feels good to finish 13 episodes in half of a year with really only 3 delays in between (where two of which I had no control over).

So how about the future of this series? Well, I will say for certain that I am looking forward to Season 2, but before I start, I’m going to take a bit of a break from this. Right now, I’m working on a bunch of different projects as it is on my Youtube channel and there are a lot of others things I need to figure out as well before I get myself too deep into something I may or may not be able to handle. Because once I start Season 2, I want to hit it hard and strong with no delays whatsoever, so the least I could do is wait until I know I can make that happen. If I had to give a date, it would probably be near the end of July or start of August, so stay tuned until then. For now though, this has been SlimKirby, and I’ll talk you guys later!

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SlimKirby Central – May 2017

SlimKirby Central - May 2017

Hello everybody, SlimKirby here, and welcome to May 2017’s episode of SlimKirby Central!

I know SlimKirby Central has been very “weird” this year, for lack of a better term, but I did tell you guys I would have a written update this for month, and even though it’s a little late, I’m still making sure I pull through with it. I don’t have a lot to update you guys on either, which is perfect for a written update anyway, so I’m going to go ahead and get this thing rolling!

First and foremost, work on the 10th Year Anniversary has started and has actually been off to a great start so far! I, alongside 13 other Star Warriors, have been going through projects from the last four years of my channel and pulling moments for the clip show I plan to make. There’s still a lot of work to be done, but considering less than a month ago I had no idea of where to start or begin, I’ll take any sort of progress. I’m also going to work under the principle of, “If it doesn’t get done by the July 4th deadline, it’s not a big deal, as long as it’s somewhere near my anniversary.” I’ll also have you know that the clip show will not be the only surprise for my anniversary, so prepare for a load of announcements when we get to (or closer to) the date.

Youtube has been going very well. Pokemon Trading Card Game will be wrapping up this week with a Tuesday/Thursday update, and I will be working on getting the replacement project ready in the meantime.  Dynasty Warriors 2 has a few weeks remaining before it’s done, but I estimate around 20 videos for the project’s end (it will be 20 battle videos exactly, but with the intro and an extra video as well). NES Remix will certainly be going on for a while though, especially since I don’t really have any strong idea of when it will end (since I’m going for Rainbow Stars now), but as usual, that will be continuing on for the weekend. As far as upcoming projects are concerned, one project you can look forward to starting on my channel, before the July 4th anniversary anyway, will be the next Advance Wars playthrough with Advance Wars: Dual Strike. I don’t know if that will be the project starting next week or the one replacing Dynasty Warriors 2, as it will all depend on if I can come up with another short game to do, or not. I would have loved to have Star Fox (SNES) or Zelda II prepared, but I’m still not feeling ready for those just yet (although I do want them done by the end of the year). I’m also looking to getting Mario Kart Wii and Super Mario Galaxy 2 going as well, but whether they will happen before the anniversary or not, again, I just don’t know.

So…what’s the agenda looking like at the monent? Well, looking at what I’ve said in past updates and in this update…I’ve promised Advance Wars: Dual Strike, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Sonic Adventure, and a mysterious fourth project. I’ve also announced I want to do Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, The Walkiing Dead Season 3, Mario Kart Wii, one of the Mario Party 3DS games, and potentially getting started with the Mega Man Game Boy games. Then, in this update, I announced the potential for starting Zelda II and Star Fox, and as you’ll find out in the final videos for Pokemon Trading Card Game, I’m still very much interested in returning to Pokemon Stadium as well and finish up those loose ends from several years ago. So yeah…safe to say, I have a lot on my mind at the moment, and I’m still not 100% on how the pieces will fall into place. But…you guys know how I am and you know that I eventually get things moving in a direction that works for me, so I imagine by next month I’ll have a better idea on what is exactly coming up. The only question is…will I reveal my master plan when the time comes? Probably not, but at least you know of some potential candidates now!

Moving on to Twitch, streaming has actually been going quite well as of late! Thanks to my streams, I’ve finished three games in the last 2 months; Shovel Knight, Freedom Planet, and Digimon World 1. I’ve done various The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past item randomizers and have been trying desperately to beat my 2 hour, 51 second PB (personal best) time. I’ve been going through a Pokemon Yellow Randomized Nuzlocke run. I recently started playing through Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia. And when I’ve had time and the desire to, I’ve tried doing RetroAchievements, but safe to say, that hasn’t been my focused. But yeah, streaming has been going good! As usual, I stream every Saturday night (not this Saturday, since I have a class reunion, but in general, it will be every Saturday) at 8:00 PM EDT. During the weekdays, my schedule is completely random, so be on the look-out for my Twitter posts that announce when streams are happening. Monday is usually my Link to the Past randomizer day, so that’s usually the only constant in my weekday schedule. So yeah, go to the link below if you are interested in checking out the action!

On the website, The Simpsons Retrospective I’ve been working on is about to come to a close for the end of the 1st Season! I am by no means done with doing these write-ups, but I am taking a bit of a break after I finish the final episode of the first season (which should be up later this week or next week). This break should last until after my Anniversary (again, July 4th), so I’ll get back into the “spring” of things (get it? SPRINGfield?) sometime after that date. In fact, I may try to also finish up any website loose ends I have at that point too, since there are some sections that are still lacking some data and information. These really have been a lot of fun to work on though and it’s cool to see that I’ve actually made it through an entire season!

I think that’s about all I wanted to report in on though. Again, if you’ve been keeping up with all of my mediums, then you should be pretty well informed of this stuff already, but this is for all the individuals who are kind of split up between all the different things I do, whether you are Youtube subscribers, Twitch followers, or heck, even just a random lurker who found the Simpson reviews. I like to keep updates like this to keep people informed of all the things I’ve been working on, and these probably make good time capsules as well! So yeah, I think that’s going to do it for now, so I’ll leave it at that. I’ll see you guys next month for another written update and then in July for the next video update! Later folks!

– SlimKirby

Links:
Youtube
Twitch
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Simpson’s Retrospective

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SSR #11: “The Crepes of Wrath”

Intro

Introduction:
When Bart Simpson is starting to become too much of terror at home, the adults decide that maybe it’s time for the little hell raiser to take a little vacation to the other side of the globe. Although he is very excited about the journey, life in Paris, France for Bart Simpson is getting ready to open his eyes to a world that perhaps he never should have experienced. “The Crepes of Wrath” is the eleventh episode of The Simpsons first season. It aired on April 15th, 1990 and even though it wasn’t the last episode of the season, it was the last episode written for Season 1. The chalkboard gag for this episode is “Garlic Gum is Not Funny,” which I agree, garlic is never a good flavor for gum, and the couch gag features the entire family squeezing onto the couch and forcing Homer to get pushed off onto the ground (aka: another repeat).

 

SkinnerVisitSkinner: “I think it behooves us all to consider deportation.”
Marge: “Deportation? You mean kick Bart out of the country?”
Homer: “Eh…hear him out, Marge!”

Plot:
The episode starts at the Simpson house with the immediate revelation that Bart is having a bit of an issue with keeping things tidy. His toys and possessions are strewn all over the house and after Homer trips on Bart’s skateboard, falling down the stairs and hurting his back, Marge punishes Bart by making him clean his room. While cleaning, Bart finds a cherry bomb and decides to use it to play a prank at school. He flushes it down the toilet, causing every toilet in the school to explode, including one that happens to be in use by Principal Skinner’s mother. Principal Skinner takes Bart home and discusses with Marge and Homer a way to punish Bart for his mischievous ways; not by suspension or expulsion, but by deportation.

Principal Skinner suggests signing Bart up for the student exchange program, where he would be sent to another part of the world to learn and study in a brand new environment. In exchange, the Simpsons will take in another student from a different country. This way, Bart will have a golden opportunity to see another part of the world, while both Skinner and the Simpsons get a break from Bart’s mischief. Marge and Homer are on board and when Bart hears of the opportunity, he becomes excited as well. Principal Skinner and Homer then celebrate on being rid of the boy’s shenanigans for a few months.

Bart is sent to Paris, France to live with two very strict winemakers; Cesar and Ugolin. They live in a worn-down, dilapidated chateau, and they don’t treat Bart as a member of the family, but as a slave to their business. All of Bart’s clothes and possessions are taken by the two French men and some of them are even given to the donkey. Bart very quickly starts to hate his temporary home. Back in America, the Simpsons have opened their home to a little Albanian boy named Adil. Adil is very kind to everyone and is very helpful around the house and Homer takes an immediate shine to him, even to the point of showing more love to him than his own son. During a talk with Marge though, Homer does admit that he does miss and love Bart, he just appreciates the more loving side of Adil.

Things start to get a bit suspicious though when Adil starts asking to go with Homer to the nuclear power plant. Homer thinks Adil is just inquisitive about his work and is unaware that Adil is taking pictures to send back to his home country of Albania. It turns out Adil is actually a spy working for the Albanian government and is trying to find out top secret information from American nuclear power plant generators. However, Adil’s signal is traced by the FBI and Homer unintentionally blows Adil’s cover, leading to the prompt arrest of the young boy. Charges are not pressed on Adil as the kid is exchanged for a young American spy who was caught in Albania for a similar act of espionage.

Back in France, Bart’s living conditions do not improve and on one rainy day, he catches the winemakers adding antifreeze to their product in order to make a shipment deadline. While being sent on an errand, Bart runs into a French police officer and he tries to tell the man about his predicament, but is unable to relay his information because they don’t speak the same language. Bart starts to feel depressed that he can’t speak French despite living in the country for the past few months, but during his monologue, he realizes that he does know how to speak some French and immediately goes back to the police officer to confess everything. When Bart reveals that Cesar and Ugolin have been putting antifreeze into their wine, the two brewers are arrested and Bart becomes a hero in France. He returns home with gifts and souvenirs for the entire family as the episode comes to a close.

 

Welcome to France“Welcome to your new home. Escape is impossible. My name is Cesar, this is my nephew, Ugolin. You may find life here at the chateau hard, but if you shut up and do exactly as we say, the time will pass more quickly!”
~Cesar

My Personal History:
As usual, I didn’t get to see this episode until the Season 1 DVD came out, but when I did get around to watching it, my god, I was surprised at how depressing the episode was, at least in terms of Bart’s story. Yeah, Bart can be a bit of a hell-raiser, and sometimes you feel like the bad karma train has to start sometime, but damn, Bart definitely did not deserve what he ended up with. I’ll get more into that later though, when I’m actually reviewing the episode.

 

Adil Speech“Although, oficially, I am required to hate you, I want you to know that I do not feel it in my heart!”
~Adil Hoxha

Favorite/Memorable Moments:
When examining this episode for favorite moments, there are definitely a few things that really click with me. For one, I love how invested Homer gets in Adil being part of the family. I don’t agree with him completely shutting out Bart or making jokes about exchanging Lisa too, but I think you have to realize that when it does come to Bart, he has been testing Homer’s patience for a long while now. Being a trouble maker at home, and having to endure that trauma, even on a physical level (with him falling down the stairs and hurting his back), and then having to hear about his son’s transgressions at school, and from around the neighborhood…honestly, Homer just really wanted a break from that and he got that from Adil, even if Adil’s actions came from a place of dishonesty and deception. Then, when Homer is completely clueless and unaware of what Adil is actually doing, I think it really adds a nice bit of humor to the equation as well. I think one of my favorite lines in the whole episode is near the end when the Simpson family is saying goodbye to Adil and Homer weepingly says, “Good bye Adil, I’ll send you those civil defense plans you wanted!” showing that even after the situation was explained to the family, Homer still didn’t understand that Adil was an Albanian spy committing foreign acts of espionage for his own government. You could say it just makes Homer look like an even bigger idiot, and I would see your logic, but from an entertainment perspective, that was a great line to close that story on.

I also think it’s very clever how the writers portrayed International affairs between America and other countries. I feel like this could have been a risky episode to release because some people could watch the episode and think that Albania is trying to spy and steal information from the US and they must be a bad country because of it. However, the last scene of that story shows the FBI informing the Simpson family that Adil is not going to be locked up or imprisoned, but rather sent back to his country at the exchange of an American spy who was pretty much doing the exact thing Adil was doing, giving the message that, “yeah, he was doing something bad, but we are definitely guilty of it too, so we don’t really have room to determine what needs to be done here.” I’m not saying that’s the way all politics work or should work; clearly if nations have to resort to spying, then there is obviously something not right with that relationship and something needs to be worked out, but again, as far as this “television show” is concerned, I think it was a funny route to take. In other words, I think it did a good job of trying to avoid International controversy. I’d say the same goes along with all the France stuff too, although I feel like there was less to worry about there because the evil nature of the two winemakers had nothing to do with them being French, but with them being bad people in general.

I also think the conclusion of Bart’s story was well-done as well, albeit a bit predictable and cliche. It’s the classic formula of “living under bad circumstances,” but then coming through or learning something at the end to make it a worthwhile venture. It’s something we’ve seen a lot in television, it’s something we’ll see a lot of in this show; it will just vary in how different the routes are that take that path. I think what makes it good in this path is just the fact that it’s an end to Bart’s suffering and the end of two bad guys who are up to no good. Bart really does go through some terrible experiences, which, despite his behavior at home, is not something he or anyone should ever deserve, no matter the circumstances. I will say though, it will definitely give Bart some things to think about at home. At the very least, I would hope he would try a little harder to keep his room clean, because after three months of sleeping on the floor or in a bale of hay, he’d probably be thankful for just having a bed.

Goodbye Adil“Goodbye Adil, I’ll send you those civil defense plans you wanted!”
~Homer Simpson

My Review:
I don’t actually have a lot to say about this episode (especially compared to the last episode I looked at). Overall, I don’t think it’s a bad episode, but once again, I wouldn’t say it’s the greatest episode either. It’s got a good story with nice conflict resolution, it has a side-story that’s entertaining to watch, and seeing how this is supposed to be a Bart episode, we get some good moments and some great development with our little yellow-skinned trouble-maker. I think one of the greatest character traits of Bart that gets shown here is that despite Bart’s resume for causing trouble and making mischief, he’s actually got a very strong sense of justice and for the way the law should work. He knows that what his “host parents” are doing is wrong and doesn’t hesitate to go to the police at his first available opportunity. You could say he does it out of convenience, as he is being treated as a slave, but still, we’ll see in future episodes that when it comes to Bart Simpson, he does not let criminals get away with anything. In fact…we may have an episode OR TWO coming up that complements this  very well, but of course, I’ll get into that when it’s relevant again. Basically, what I’m trying to say here is that Bart isn’t a bad kid at all. He’s a fun-seeker and a little rebellious at times, but he does know the difference between right and wrong.

In fact, I’d almost say the lowest point of this episode is just the act of watching and witnessing Bart go through the trauma of living with his strict host parents. When watching this back, I really felt sorry for Bart and disgusted that he had to live under those conditions. I believe in being punished for something if you do something bad, or that karma is boomerang, but I don’t believe anyone should endure what Bart had to go through, regardless of past acts. It was a little hard to watch honestly, but at least those evil men got what they deserved at the end of the day and it seemed like Bart was handsomely rewarded and given reparations for the few terrible months he had to endure. And hey, Bart learned how to speak French; that’s honestly pretty cool, am I right? So yeah, overall, I’d say it was a good episode and worth a watch, even if the middle of the plot was a bit rough to get through.

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We only have two more left guys, and coming up, we have a candidate for best episode of the season, and a candidate for worst episode of the season. I’m not going to spoil too much, not to mention it seems like a lot of my opinions have changed or been modified to a rather large extent after doing these rewatches, but at the very least, it’s been a lot of fun doing these retrospectives and I’ve enjoyed it very much. I do apologize for this one going up a bit late, as I meant to post it last week, but I had a lot of work I had to get done which resulted in this getting pushed back a little. And honestly, don’t be surprised if the same happens to the next episode as well, just because I am hitting a very busy point with all of my mediums. I’m still hoping to be done with Season 1 by the end of May, so here’s to hoping that all the cards will fall into place for that to happen!

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